Mount Kilauea….Remembering our Big Island experience in 2014-2015 when we saw lava for the first time…

 
This was my favorite shot of the evening we spent in Kilauea National Park with the backdrop of the glow from Mount Kilauea.   For more details from our post, please click here

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

A baby kudu found comfort standing at the base of this tree when there was lots of action in our yard.
Throughout the world, the news is continually tracking the progression of the eruption and subsequent earthquakes of Mount Kilauea on the Big Island of Hawaii.  We are paying particular attention to the details as they continue to unfold.
These trees provided a backdrop perfect for taking photos.

It was Christmas, 2014 when we rented two houses next door to one another while our family came to visit for the holiday.  They began arriving in early December and the last didn’t depart until early January 2015.

Many months prior to our arrival in Pahoa on the Big Island we’d begun worrying that our planned family holiday would be challenging if we had to select a different location with space for the 14 of us, of there was an evacuation of Pahoa.

Smoke rising from the lava flowing in Pahoa, where we lived for six weeks in 2014/2015.  We were concerned we’d have to evacuate.  Click here for this post.

It was Christmas in Hawaii, one of the most popular holiday destinations in the world.  There are too many posts we uploaded at that time to fully describe the story of our time in Pahoa and the interesting and unusual aspect of living in an area with the prospect of flowing lava reaching the holiday homes.

Numerous power poles located in the path of the lava flow had been covered in fire-retardant materials to prevent the flow from destroying the power to the area.  For this post, please click here.

 The first post in the succession began on December 2, 2014, when we’d arrived on December 1st and ended on January 14, 2015, as indicated here.  Here’s a photo below of the backyard facing the Pacific Ocean from the backyard of one of the two houses we rented, located next door to one another, each with an astounding view.

The next door neighbor’s chair gives a good perspective of the massive size of these waves in front of the two houses we rented on the Big Island from this post.

As concerned as we were about the situation we were bound and determined to have as good a time as we could with the family and, if we had to evacuate, we’d figure out a solution.

The swirls in the moving lava were interesting to see firsthand.  For more, please click here.

Shortly before Christmas, the nearby shopping center where we purchased groceries, supplies, and gas, was closed due to fears that the lava was headed that way.  It was an unusual experience to be shopping at the market with huge discounts the day before the store was closing supposedly for good, with the lava on its way.

Kilauea June 27 Lava Flow map updated 7 a.m., December 2, 2014. Courtesy of Hawaii County Civil Defense
This was the updated map of the lava flow as of December 2, 2014.  We were located next to the dark grey area on the coastline at Hawaiian Beaches and Hawaiian Shores.  It’s easy to see why we kept such a close watch.  The area evacuated recently is Leilani Estates south of Hawaiian Shores.  For this post, please click here.

During this period, we discovered that many homeowners in the area had already packed and left their homes, fearful of the arriving lava flow.  They moved out all of their belongings and waited, living in other areas as to what would transpire.  What a hardship for all of them!

To see the red-hot lava between these lava rocks only required a bit of zoom. We couldn’t believe we were with our family and all of us able to see lava flowing for the first time in our lives. For this post, please click here.

Now, as the residents of Leilani Estates struggle with this same reality they’re more certain their homes are at risk of being taken out by the massive lava flows and/or damaged severely by earthquakes.  The fate of the area is uncertain over the long haul. 

Signs such as this were posted everywhere. Click here for the post.

In any case, we enjoyed our time in Pahoa and now we pray for the safety and recovery for those who’ve lost so much in the wake of this violent mountain’s continuing eruptions and earthquakes.

This is a photo I took of a photo of when the lava crossed Apa’a Street on October 25th.
See this link for the news report.

If you’d like to read more on this, please click this link.  To watch any one of numerous live feeds of the volcano, please click here.

A barn or garage that survived the lava flow as it crawled down the road.  For this post, please click here.

 Tomorrow, we’ll share photos of our fabulous day at Frikkie’s Dam in Lionspruit wildlife area with Louise and Danie’s friends, meeting new people while sharing stories of wildlife and world travel.  Although each of the braai’s participants has diverse and interesting backgrounds, we all shared a common interest in our love of the beauty and magic of Marloth Park.

See you soon!  Have a great day!

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Photo from one year ago today, May 7, 2017:

Captain Rick Sullivan chatted with us in Dizzy’s Jazz Bar aboard Royal Caribbean Explorer of the Seas as we made our way toward North America. He invited us to a special function enabling us to do a story.  His warm demeanor and superb sense of humor have made sailing aboard this ship a sheer delight.  For more photos, please click here.

Creating our own good news…Planning for the future…

A fishing boat tied to tree at the beach.

In yesterday’s post our heading read, “Bad news keeps coming and coming…How do we handle the risks?”

After rethinking this negative heading and after watching more bad news on TV, we turned off the news and started thinking positive thoughts as to how we can reframe our thinking during this difficult period in our country, in our world’s history?

Its easy to get caught up in all the negative press much of which is often over reported, over dramatized and over exaggerated to enhance viewership.  How easily we can become entrapped into this cycle!

The way out?  Don’t let it get inside our heads!  This is not easy but its doable, just like everything else we choose in our lives.  We can find joy within the framework of our lives or we can allow ourselves to let outside influences have a profound effect on our daily lives.

The ocean is extremely shallow in this area.

I suppose in part, I’ve become engrossed in the negative news since our arrival in Phuket two weeks ago when we discovered we had English speaking news the TV which we’ve had on all day while we’ve stayed indoors as I continue to recover.  That’s easy to do when one is housebound after an illness, injury or surgery.

Although I remain somewhat housebound in an attempt to avoid the outrageously bumpy roads we must travel to get to the highway, yesterday we had no choice but to get out when our food supply had dwindled down to a completely empty refrigerator.

Tom could probably grocery shop without me but its important for me to get out and besides getting out its uplifting.  I’d brought along the camera hoping to take a few photos but again it was cloudy and rainy.  I never took a single shot.


Fisherman looking for a possible catch.

Once inside the huge market, Tom pushes the trolley as we both become engrossed in the shopping mode ending up having a good time selecting from the array of fresh organic, non GMO foods, free range eggs, grass fed meats and wild caught fish.

During this outing I started thinking of the last place we lived where we grocery shopped on a regular basis which was the three months we spent in New Zealand living on the alpaca farm from January 19 to April 15, 2016.

We arrived in Bali on April 30th after a cruise.  One month later I was injured, somewhere around June 1st.  Here we are over two months later while I’m still focusing on recovering. 

How we ever managed all the tours on the Mekong River cruise baffles me when now I gingerly maneuver through each day desperately avoiding bending, twisting and sitting too long.  I continue to feel confident that my limited level of activity is contributing toward my attaining a full recovery in months to come.

Close to the shore, this fisherman may be looking for squid.  Fried calamari is a popular dish in Thailand, especially for tourists.  These circles are fishing pools.

In time, light exercise and more walking will be appropriate but for now, easy movement combined with rest seems to be most effective.  I suppose all the activity on the river cruise may have been detrimental to my condition when there were days my FitBit read over 10,000 steps. 

For now, I stay under 3000 steps a day frequently getting up and down engaging in light household activities that don’t include any bending or lifting.  It would be great to get outside to walk the neighborhood but the ruts in the road are so many and so deep, even the most surefooted of walkers is taking a risk.  Falling would not be good.

Back to yesterday…when we returned from shopping Tom put all the refrigerator items away while I sat at the dining table cutting veggies for our salad and side dishes. 

Island across the bay where numerous boats stop to enjoy the sandy beach.

We purchased two roasted chickens, deliciously seasoned with cinnamon and lemon grass (a Thai thing), one for each of two nights.  Adding a huge salad and two side vegetables, fresh green beans and asparagus rounds out the meal. 

As I chopped, I was thinking about getting my thoughts outside of this news related state of mind.  It was time to turn off the TV and start planning again.  Tom loaded his favorite radio podcast on his computer, Garage Logic (from KSTP 1500, Minneapolis, Minnesota) that often has us howling with laughter.

We were able to tune out the limited discussions of negative news to make a point of listening to the endless chatter that easily elicits rounds of hearty laughter from both of us. 

A short time later, sitting at my computer, (the day’s post was uploaded hours earlier) the research began and the first thing I tackled was booking tickets for the Sydney Opera House for March 19, 2017.  Its a good thing we’d booked tickets now.  Based on leftover available dates there wouldn’t have been tickets remaining if we waited any longer.

The water is barely ankle deep at low tide.

The tickets and great seats we chose are for a Sunday at 5 pm.  The day of the week was irrelevant to us.  Us retirees find days of the week for activities less significant as when we were working when Fridays or Saturday nights were preferred for most events.  It doesn’t matter now.

Let’s face it, opera is not Tom’s first choice of entertainment although I’ve always been a  huge fan.  However, the idea of spending a few hours at the famous opera house is an experience neither of us wanted to miss during the 40 days we’ll spend in Sydney from March 13 to April 22, 2017 while awaiting the 24 night cruise from Sydney to Seattle.

Its this very cruise on April 22, 2017, in exactly 8 months 17 days, that will take us back toward the US.  After an Alaskan cruise ending on May 26, 2017 we” fly to Minnesota where we’ll stay seeing family and friends for six weeks.  Later we’ll be heading to Nevada to see more family for another three weeks. Then, we’ll be off “for the world” once again!

Phuket consists of hundreds of smaller islands.  For more information, please click here.

The simple process of booking the tickets for the Sydney Opera House reminded me of how much the future holds, especially seeing family and friends for a total of nine weeks and then…the journey continues on.

We can choose to create positive news in our lives, news that can take us away if only for awhile to live life to the fullest in the best way we can.  

Now, we’re back to researching for the future!  May you find ways to incorporate good news into your daily lives!

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Photo from one year ago today, August 5, 2015:

Boats docked at the marina in Port Douglas, Australia.  For more photos, please click here.

 

Changed the look of our WorldWideWaftage blog…

Web design is not my forte. Last night I changed the design of this blog more out of my boredom with the prior design, than anything. 

If you find this is difficult to read, please comment here.  Our readership is growing rapidly…where are all of you coming from???   We want this blog to be reader friendly so please offer any suggestions.

In time, when we move along on our travels, I will have more time to work on the design and maybe, once and for all, learn web design. Duh, while I am learning to speak Italian and Spanish?  

Thank you all so much for sharing this experience with us.  Have a happy day!

The final criteria, lots more to follow…

Here we go! We’re wrapping up the all-important criteria today, allowing us to proceed to the equally important itinerary in the next post. As I mentioned earlier, listing these vital “rules” again and again is certainly tedious. 

Seeing them over and over, reading them aloud to Tom each time I write, is exactly what we’ve needed to be reminded of the importance of following these guidelines. Without them, the temptation to book expensive vacation rentals, overpriced cruises, and the occasional exorbitant hotel rooms would throw our financial plan out of whack.  

The goal of avoiding the necessity of tapping into our savings or investments is a huge motivator. Fear, the infinite motivator. Fear, being forced to stop this adventure due to financial constraints. Fear, canceling future travel due to health issues. Fear, the caves with the bats, the guano. Fear, the zip line.

Friends and family have asked, “What happens if you get bored?” We didn’t get bored living in our home together for the past 21 years, in the comfy chairs, enjoying lounging in a lawn chair in the summer, eating homemade meals, watching episodes of our favorite TV shows, chatting, laughing, and socializing.  

They also ask, “What if you get tired of traveling?” We’ll stop. We’ll cancel future plans, maybe lose a deposit or two but we’ll stop. We’ve agreed that if one of us wants to stop, the other will agree. Knowing this, comforts us. Knowing this, removes the fear. 

So, the remaining criteria:

Criteria #7:  Never stay in a vacation rental for less than one month. The rationale behind this rule is simple. Staying in one location not only reduces transportation expenses, but provides us with the opportunity to negotiate better rates when staying a month or more.  

Many of the property owners allow a stay of as little as three or four days, requiring added paperwork, liability, and cleaning. Their piece of mind is a substantial motivator for them to accept a lower rent for their property. As each month’s stay is extended in the negotiations, the price goes down proportionately. This will be illustrated by the rental amounts we will post with the itinerary.

Criteria #8:  No trinkets!  As tempting as “bargains,” “souvenirs” and local “handicrafts” appeal to us during our travels, we will resist the temptation. The cost of excess baggage along with the horror of hauling some heavy wooden objects all over the world is preposterous!

We will make a list of the items we encounter that tempt us. Once we settle someday, we will easily be able to find similar items online or in some cases, purchase them from the actual vendor’s web site. Often these tempting artifacts can be found for half the price on eBay, from sellers who found they were tempted during their travels. Most often, when we look back at such a wish list at a later date, we’ll find that we have lost interest anyway.

Criteria #9:  The availability of Internet/cellphone access with us at all times. This was a tough one. I’ve spent no less than an entire week researching various options. We now have discovered solutions (of course, subject to technology changes over the next several months). For Internet access, 24/7, in our rental, on the road, and part-time on cruises, we’ll use MiFi Rental with XCom Global. In a future post, I will write about the cost and how this works.  

As for cellphone service, we will be buying an Unlocked International cell phone into which we can purchase and install a local SIM card using the available local network (which is what most cell phone users in many countries use for service). SIM cards result in considerably lower rates, all without the use of a contract. Here again, I will write an entire post on this subject.

Criteria #10:  Cook and eat in! Due to health concerns we live a low carb, wheat-free, starch-free, grain-free, sugar-free, and gluten-free lifestyle. Occasionally Tom will indulge along the way! He won’t be able to resist pasta in Italy or a baguette in France. But, for me, my ongoing health from this way of eating it a huge motivator. Cooking and eating in the kitchen of our vacation rental will save us $1000’s along the way.  

We currently spend about $800 a month on food (all organic produce with grass-fed meat, free-range poultry, and eggs, organic dairy). This may sound like a huge sum for two people, but that totals only $26.67 a day. After considerable research, we feel confident that we’ll be able to maintain this budget and our food requirements. I currently pack 3 meals a day for Tom’s long 12 hour workdays.

We could never eat two to three meals a day in a restaurant in any of the countries we are visiting for a mere $26.67 for both of us! We have budgeted the cost of enjoying a dinner out in a nice restaurant, once or twice a week depending upon local prices.  

That one dinner a week may cost $25 in Belize including tax and tip, but could be $125 in Tuscany, resulting in an expenditure of $6500 a year, enough to pay for a vacation rental for 4.3 months or 8.6 months, if eating out twice a week. It’s a matter of trade-offs.  

I don’t think we’ll mind grilling a steak on the veranda in Majorca, Spain while overlooking the Mediterranean Sea.

In review, here is a complete list of all the criteria:

Criteria #1: Do not have a permanent home!
Criteria #2: Do not own cars!
Criteria #3: Do not stay in hotels unless absolutely necessary!
Criteria #4: Do not pay more than that which we were willing to pay for rent in our chosen retirement community!
Criteria #5: Use the cruise!
Criteria #6: Bag the excess baggage!
Criteria #7: Never stay in a vacation rental for less than one month!
Criteria #8: No trinkets!
Criteria #9: The availability of Internet/cellphone access with us, at all times!
Criteria#10: Cook and eat in!

Sure, all of the above is subject to change. We don’t know what we don’t know. It’s a work in progress. By the time we are ready to leave in seven months and ten days, we may laugh or even cringe at what we “thought” we knew and posted here, this early in the process. In any case, we learn as we go, on a perpetual mission of gaining knowledge, reducing fear, and ultimately, having the time of our lives.  

Bag the bags!…

Writing a blog about upcoming travel is very different than writing after traveling has occurred. Although we both have traveled extensively in the past, long before we met and little after we met, we know full well that predicting the outcome of future travel, its level of enjoyment and personal enrichment is highly speculative.

There is no doubt that later on, as we roll out each leg of our endless itinerary, that we may change our minds and subsequently change or add to these criteria that we have determined as important for financial success (staying in the budget) and security (of traveling exclusively utilizing our monthly income as opposed to using investments/saved funds).

The process of explaining this is a bit tedious for a writer such as me, preferring a more “flowery” and “expressive” type of writing, as opposed to the more “clinical” aspect of describing this process. 

Undoubtedly, as we move along, traveling and writing, there will be a 50/50 ratio between technical details and the emotionally enlightening experiences such as cruising through the Panama Canal during its extensive renovation, catching our first king salmon in Alaska, and feeding a giraffe through the window of our temporary home in South Africa. The first 571 days of the itinerary will follow soon.

Here are our “rules” so far…

Criteria #1: Do not have a permanent home!
Criteria #2: Do not own cars! 
Criteria #3: Do not stay in hotels unless absolutely necessary!
Criteria #4: Do not pay more than that which we were willing to pay for rent in our chosen retirement community!
Criteria #5: Use the cruise!
Criteria #6: Bag the excess baggage! Cruise lines are more liberal on the number and weight of bags than airlines. In the first 10 months of our itinerary, we won’t step foot on an airplane. The temptation is to load up our two suitcases each and our carry on bags. 

Upon investigating baggage fees, for example, for the possible airlines that can fly us to Africa, the fees are astounding. Some only allow 44 pounds in checked baggage per person! When we flew to Florida for 7 days last fall, we each had two bags totaling 100 pounds! I calculated that we would have had to pay an additional $800 each for overweight baggage, more than the cost of the flight per person from Rome to Kenya!

How will we pack lightly? Can’t imagine! Even Tom has a penchant for packing everything he owns when we’ve traveled in the past. Later on, we will write about how this preposterous scenario will unfold.  

How will a woman, such as myself, pack lightly, one who insists upon using a wide array of cosmetics, having a fresh change of clothes daily, likes a certain tea, a certain coffee bean, a certain low carb sweetener, a certain baking pan and an endless array of gadgets? 

What about workout clothes and the requisite rotating tennis shoes? What about the 20 different bottles of vitamins and supplements we each take in what may prove to be a futile effort to stave off “old man time?”  What about heavy jeans, jackets, rainwear, hiking boots, Tom’s suit, and my evening dress (dresses) for “dress up” dinners aboard the cruise? I’ve spent hours reading about how to pack for travels; two pairs of casual pants, four tee shirts, one dress shirt, one pair of dressy shoes, one pair of walking shoes, a raincoat, an umbrella, and la la la.  

Last week I bought a travel scale. I weighed it on the kitchen scale. It was advertised at 1.5 pounds, but in fact, weighed 2.3 pounds. I am already using 0.052% of my allotment (44 pounds) on the scale itself! Oh, dear, packing is almost as frightening as the zip line in Belize!

Criteria #7 to follow next time. Please come back!