Happy Valentine’s Day to all of our family, readers/friends…

Not us, but indicative of world travel. Happy Valentine’s Day to all of our family, readers/friends.

It’s that lovely, romantic, seemingly Hallmark card-generated holiday of Valentine’s Day. This special day of observing love began in the 14th century, as follows from this site:

“Valentine’s Day occurs every February 14. Across the United States and other places worldwide, candy, flowers, and gifts are exchanged between loved ones, all in the name of St. Valentine. But who is this mysterious saint, and where did these traditions come from? Find out about the meaning and history of Valentine’s Day, from the ancient Roman ritual of Lupercalia that welcomed spring to the card-giving customs of Victorian England.

Saint Valentine, according to some sources, is two distinct historical characters who were said to have healed a child while imprisoned and executed by decapitation.

Saint Valentine, who according to some sources is actually two distinct historical characters who were said to have healed a child while imprisoned and executed by decapitation.
Fototeca Gilardi/Getty Images

Where did Valentine’s Day originate from? The history of the holiday—and the story of its patron saint—is shrouded in mystery. We do know that February has long been celebrated as a month of romance and that St. Valentine’s Day, as we know it today, contains vestiges of both Christian and ancient Roman traditions. But who was Saint Valentine, and how did he become associated with this ancient rite?

The Catholic Church recognizes at least three different saints named Valentine or Valentinus, all of whom were martyred. One legend contends that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young men. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When Valentine’s actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death. Still, others insist that Saint Valentine of Terni, a bishop, was the true namesake of the holiday. He, too, was beheaded by Claudius II outside Rome.

Other stories suggest that Valentine may have been killed for attempting to help Christians escape harsh Roman prisons, where they were often beaten and tortured. According to one legend, an imprisoned Valentine sent the first “valentine” greeting after he fell in love with a young girl—possibly his jailor’s daughter—who visited him during his confinement. Before his death, it is alleged that he wrote her a letter signed “From your Valentine,” an expression that is still in use today. Although the truth behind the Valentine legends is murky, the stories all emphasize his appeal as a sympathetic, heroic, and—most importantly—romantic figure. By the Middle Ages, perhaps thanks to this reputation, Valentine would become one of the most popular saints in England and France.”

We thought the rain may have ended, but it rained off and on all night, and then, this morning, when Tom left for his haircut, an indescribable downpour practically shook the house. I was awake several times during the night listening to the rain and overslept this morning, awakening only after Tom had left.

I bolted out of bed, wondering if we could get to Komatipoort today to go grocery shopping. We haven’t done so in almost two weeks, and Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard is looking quite bare. We’ve decided that as soon as I was done with this post, we could head out. But, with the sun shining, it might be a good time to go. So we are off and will return in a few hours, hoping to be able to get there with the roads open.

What are we doing to celebrate Valentine’s Day? Nothing special. We’re staying home for a nice dinner and evening on the veranda. Hopefully, many animals will come to visit, but with all this rain, the vegetation is lush, and they’re happily enjoying Mother Nature’s bounty.

Happy Valentine’s Day to all who celebrate, and for those who don’t, may you have another day of love.

Photo from one year ago today, February 14, 2022:

2015: Princeville, Kauai, Hawaii

This parent and chick sit close to one another until the chick becomes more confident, and the parents feel more at ease. In time, the chick will likely be left behind on its own in June or July. Although Cathy, the docent from the Las Angeles Zoo, explained that on occasion, a fledgling won’t leave the nest until August, at which time she can go on her vacation. She won’t leave until they have all left the area, and her job of overseeing them for the years is over until next November when many will return to the sea. See the post here. For the year-ago post, please click here.


Happy Valentine’s Day to those who celebrate…

Happy Valentine’s Day to our friends and family all over the world

Today is Valentine’s Day, celebrated in one way or another throughout the world. I found this website listing how a few countries celebrate this day of love, a few of which I am sharing below using their photos:

Finland and Estonia

“While Valentine’s Day is celebrated with cards, candy, and flowers in North America, other places around the world put their spin on the holiday. They may celebrate a little differently now to ensure social distance, but people still find ways to show their love during this holiday.

box of chocolates

Image by Jill Wellington from Pixabay

In Finland and Estonia (both countries in Northern Europe), February 14th is less about romance and more about friendship. In fact, these countries celebrate Friend’s Day rather than Valentine’s Day. During this holiday, people exchange cards and small gifts with their friends.”

In 2019, we visited both of these beautiful, historic countries in our travels. While there, it was evident they are kind and friendly people, certainly impacting how they celebrate Valentine’s Day.


Valentine's Day wooden spoon

“Photo Public Domain by Jose-Manuel Benito

Wales, part of Great Britain, has its version of Valentine’s Day. On January 25th, the Welsh people celebrate St. Dwynwen’s Day. For centuries, men gave women a “love spoon” as a token of their affection. These wooden spoons were carved by the men and had elaborate designs on the handle. Today, love spoons remain a popular gift on St. Dwynwen’s Day and are even available in chocolate.”

We visited Wales in 2019, while in the UK as we will be again in only a few months. Their rich history, fascinating ruins, and points of interest made our two weeks there memorable and special. Of course, we’ve spent Valentine’s Day in nine countries over the years.

Following is a list of each of the countries where we spent Valentine’s Day over the past nine years of world travel:

2013: Placencia, Belize

Valentine’s Day sunrise photo of the Caribbean Sea taken by Tom this morning while standing less than 10 feet from our veranda. See the link here.

2014: Marloth Park, South Africa

Honey, if I can’t make your favorite butterscotch pie for Valentine’s Day to celebrate. Instead, I present you with this photo of one that I had made many moons ago in the days when we ate sugar and flour and ingredients were available. See the link here.

2015: Princeville, Kauai, Hawaii

This parent and chick sit close to one another until the chick becomes more confident, and the parents feel more at ease. In time, the chick will be left behind on its own, most likely in June or July. Although Cathy explained that on occasion, a fledgling won’t leave the nest until August, at which time, she can go on her vacation. She won’t leave until they have all left the area and her job of overseeing them for the years is over until next November, when many will return to the area. See the post here.

2016: New Plymouth, New Zealand

Here’s my Valentine’s Day date, smiling as always. See the post here.
It was fun to be out to dinner. See the post here.

2017: Huon Valley, Tamania, Australia

Statue in Franklin commemorating World War I soldiers. See the post here.

2018: Marloth Park, South Africa

There she was yesterday,  a pretty kudu, standing by the watering hole in the yard of our holiday home. She nibbled on pellets and hung around for some time. Female kudus usually weigh 463 pounds (210 kg), while male bulls may be well over 661 pounds (300 kg). Only the males have long spiral horns. We’ll share male kudus we spotted while out on our nightly drive tomorrow. See the post here.

2019: Nelspruit, South Africa

There was no post on this date. I was in the hospital in Nelspruit, having had open-heart surgery two days earlier.

2020: Amritsar, India

Town after the town became a picturesque view as we wound our way down the mountains from Shimla to Amritsar in India. See the post here.

2021: Marloth Park, South Africa

Due to WiFi issues, there were no photos posted on this date. See the post here.

That’s the list, folks. We left Minnesota in October 2012 but didn’t celebrate our first Valentine’s Day on our journey until February 2013. We hope all of our family, friends, and reader/friends, have a lovely Valentine’s Day celebrating those you love, near and afar.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, February 14, 2021:

As mentioned above, there was no photo on this date in 2021.

Happy Valentine’s Day!…A special day for many throughout the world…How are we celebrating this year?…

A pretty pink rose with Happy Valentine’s Day wishes for all of our readers both today and tomorrow, depending on which side of the International Dateline you’re residing.

As the years of world travel literally fly by, the special occasions and holidays become less important to us. Instead, we focus on the exquisite joys of daily life, simple in their execution and complex in the layers they represent in our world journey.

View from the car while driving on Highway A6 in the Huon Valley.

Valentine’s Day is another of those special occasions that we’ve gradually lost interest in celebrating with gifts, flowers, or lavishly prepared meals. Tonight, we have delicious leftovers, which are quite fine with us.

In our old lives, it was an entirely different scenario. Tom would always come home from work with a big bouquet, an embellished greeting card with handwritten loving words contained therein. 

Apple ripening, ready for the picking.

I’d bake a heart-shaped cake (yes, I had two heart-shaped baking pans), decorated with a loving touch (no, I wasn’t the best at decorating cakes) along with the special dinner, a beautifully wrapped gift, and of course, a card.

Church in a small town.

Around this “holiday” and others (seemingly perpetrated by Hallmark) lie a certain number of expectations. Easily, these types of celebrations may result in a degree of disappointment and heartbreak if one or the other of a couple doesn’t hold up their end of the deal. 

Huumm…another vehicle atop a roof of a fuel station. It must be a trend here in the Huon Valley.

We’re way beyond setting ourselves up for such potential disappointment. Besides, in many parts of the world, particularly less developed countries where we’ve spent considerable periods of time, it’s simply not possible to shop for such items when Valentine’s Day isn’t celebrated worldwide.

Splendid scenery.

As in this statement from The History Channel at: (click the link for the origins of Valentine’s Day:

“Typical Valentine’s Day Greetings    

In addition to the United States, Valentine’s Day is celebrated in Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, France, and Australia. In Great Britain, Valentine’s Day began to be popularly celebrated around the 17th century.

By the middle of the 18th, it was common for friends and lovers of all social classes to exchange small tokens of affection or handwritten notes, and by 1900 printed cards began to replace written letters due to improvements in printing technology.

Ready-made cards were an easy way for people to express their emotions when direct expression of one’s feelings was discouraged. Cheaper postage rates also contributed to an increase in the popularity of sending Valentine’s Day greetings.”

An unusual fishing boat.

As it turns out,  Valentine’s Day, my birthday (February 20th), and our wedding anniversary (March 7th) fall within a three-week period.  Were we to make a fuss over each of these occasions, we’d be in a predicament. 

This fuzzy fruit left us curious. What could it be? Shaped like a pear, fuzzy like a peach. Any suggestions?

A warm embrace, a kiss, and a loving smile are all either of us needs or wants on these otherwise celebratory occasions. Besides, neither of us has any room in our luggage for any superfluous items. Therefore, we strive to keep it “light” in every way possible.

We took this photo through the water-marked window to the end of the dock to find this Black Faced Cormorant. She/he stayed at the end of the dock for a few hours in the rain.

By no means does this diminish our love and devotion to one another, which we revel in each day. How many couples spend 24 hours a day, seven days a week in each other’s company and still adore each other after almost 52 months of traveling the world (and together, almost 26 years)? We’re blessed. We’re grateful.

However you celebrate Valentine’s Day or not, have a loving, fulfilling, and meaningful day!

Photo from one year ago today, February 14, 2016:

Love comes in many forms. This year ago photo was posted on Valentine’s Day in 2016. For the birth of a new little cria, please click here for the story.