Day #1…We’re on the move…USA, here we come!…

Mom and baby. We’ll miss you all.

No doubt it’s a long journey to the US. Soon, we’ll make the 90-minute drive to the airport in Nelspruit (MQP), over the treacherous N4, the highway I’m not particularly eager to travel. Unfortunately, there’s been a lot of traffic and road construction, so we’re leaving hours earlier than usual, figuring we could easily be delayed.

Most likely we’ll arrive at the airport two to three hours earlier than our flight if traffic isn’t as bad as expected. Unfortunately, due to the Level 4 lockdown a few days ago, the restaurant in the airport will be closed, and we’ll have to wait on benches in the corridor of the small airport. There are no “gates,” so to speak, at this airport, so we’ll have to hover while waiting for our 1:50 pm, 1350 hrs flight to Joburg.

Once we arrive in Joburg, we’ll stay overnight in a hotel since our flight to Germany isn’t until the following day. From Joburg, we’ll have over 32 hours of travel time, including layovers. Then, we’ll repeat a similar journey on our return flight four weeks later.

The excitement of seeing everyone is tempered by the long travel time. Once we’ve had our Covid-19 vaccines at the airport in Minneapolis, picked up our luggage, the rental car, and arrived at our hotel, we’ll feel more relaxed and able to enjoy seeing our family and friends over the 16 days. I’m sure a good night’s sleep will be our first concern, especially since we’re arriving in the evening.

Over the years, we’ve experienced several long hauls such as this. In each case, the exhaustion was palpable, but a good sleep usually set us right the next day. Hopefully, it won’t be any different this time. The time difference is only seven hours between South Africa and Minnesota. This slight difference doesn’t usually result in any jet lag for either of us.

Our Covid-19 tests arrived in my inbox this morning with both negative as expected. We’ll stop at Louise’s Info Center to pick up our copies on our way to the airport. We have all other documents in order as required by the airlines. No special consideration is required for US citizens returning to the US from South Africa other than a recent (72) negative Covid-19 test.

Of course, we’ll consider our potential exposure when visiting family and friends based on the fact we’ll only have had the one-dose J & J vaccine on July 1st. We will always proceed with caution.

Thank you to so many who’ve written, wishing us a safe journey. We plan to post again tomorrow from Joburg since our first flight doesn’t depart until 5:00 pm, 1700 hrs. So we’ll have plenty of time.

Little and Tiny are both here now. I hope this isn’t our last goodbye. The warthog culling takes place in mid-July, when 500 will be taken out.

Be well. Be safe, and we’ll be back soon.

Sharing an interesting email from a loyal reader in Minnesota, USA…

A furniture store with a shrine in the parking lot.

In yesterday’s post we mentioned, we’d received an email from a long time reader in Minnesota.  Shortly after we left Minnesota, a local publication wrote a story about our upcoming travels: Please click here to read the article.

From the publication of that article in our home town of Chanhassen, Minnesota, we gleaned a number of new readers, many who’ve continued to follow us to this day often writing to say hello and sharing precious morsels of local news along with their own personal stories and tidbits of information. 

Whenever hearing from readers anywhere in the world, it means so much to us. When communicating with readers from our own former small town, it adds a layer of heartwarming memories we’ll always treasure as is the case when most of us are reminded of favorite places we’ve lived throughout our lives.

From what we’ve seen so far, Thai architecture isn’t as distinct in local shops and buildings, although prevalent in the temples.

Over these past years we’ve been contacted by book publishers and a variety of publications inquiring as to our interest in further promoting our story. At this point, we have no interest in becoming “celebrities,” working the book signing circuit, being on talk shows, etc. That would totally change the nature of our experiences.

Others traveling the world in a similar manner; having no worldly possessions, no home to return to, no storage facility with “stuff,” and no plans to settle anywhere in the near future is becoming more and more common in today’s world as more and more people retire.

At various times we’ve heard from other retired couples (one as recently as a week ago) who’d made a decision to leave everything behind to travel for a designated period of time, later to settle in a location they find appealing where they’ll buy, build or rent a home after they’ve fulfilled their dream of world travel. 

Mom and Pop type grocers are found on almost every block.

Often, for Americans, they may choose warm climates such as Arizona or Florida or prefer states with no income tax (Federal tax still applies) such as Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Texas, Washington and Wyoming. 
We surely understand why others eventually lose interest in continuing to travel over the long haul.  It’s not easy, especially as people age, with more and more medical issues cropping up over time.   Plus, some may find the nuances of continually traveling cumbersome and difficult over an extended period.

Certainly, we’re not exempt from these realities and undoubtedly at some point, we’ll have to make big changes. We have no delusions about this fact and have emotionally and financially prepared ourselves for this eventuality. However, at this point, we’ve only enhanced our desire to continue on, health providing.

Thai massage is known throughout the world for its healing benefits.  Unfortunately, message hasn’t been beneficial to my current condition.

Anyway, after getting off track here, I return to the email we received from a loyal long time reader that joined us after reading the above mentioned newspaper article. Over these years, she’s written to us a few times much to our pleasure. 

With such communication, meaning so much to us, we easily remember hearing from her and her husband, as we do for most readers who’ve taken the time to contact us.

Preferring to be anonymous, we avoid mentioning her name as she requested. (Many readers who comment online prefer anonymity). Here’s what our loyal reader wrote a few days ago after which I requested and received her permission to post a portion of her email message:

Public building in the background.  We weren’t able to read the sign written in the Thai language.

“Today’s post (see this link) gave me a nudge to connect with you. Several weeks ago, my husband and I drove past Grizzly’s, the restaurant near where you will be staying when you visit Minnesota next year. It reminded me of your writings about abandoning the RV idea and securing a location to stay when you will be back in Minnesota. 

Ever since then I’ve been thinking about your upcoming stay. I know that you will be very busy with family and friends, but I’m wondering if you would have room in your schedule to set a time when area folks who have “followed you” might get a chance to meet you just to say hello.  Even though we’ve never met I feel like I know you having followed your great adventures since the beginning.

I smiled when you again referenced Garage Logic today.  I shared that my husband is also a huge fan of Joe and the gang and we have had many laughs while listening to the show and their topics of the day. One of the things we do each year on our visit to the State Fair is to get a comfortable spot at the Garage Logic broadcast booth and just hang out for a lengthy period of time listening and observing the goings on as they banter and put the show together. It is indeed great fun.”
We couldn’t stop smiling after reading her thoughtful email. We giggled with delight over the prospect of meeting some of our readers living in Minnesota who’d consider making the trip to get together with us as a group to share our mutual stories, experiences and dreams of world travel.
ATMs and Seven Eleven stores are commonly found along the highways.
What a marvelous idea! This had never entered our minds, but as the time approaches, we’ll certainly make several announcements here on our site with a date, time and location for the future get together.
We’d love to hear feedback from our readers as to any suggestions they may have as to a good central location in the Twin Cities.  Most likely, a Friday or Saturday evening at a local restaurant will be ideal for most, perhaps even the above mentioned Grizzly’s by our loyal reader whom we thank for her thoughtful suggestion.
Surely during the six week period we’ll spend in Minnesota, we’ll find an evening that works. We’ll be back in touch with a date for next June, 2017 since we’ll be leaving MN shortly after the US holiday, the “4th of July” to head to Nevada for the next visit with family.
After narrow two lane roads in Bali, these wider roads in Phuket are easier to maneuver, especially with less traffic than in Bali.
If any of our readers are living in and near Las Vegas or Henderson, Nevada we’d be thrilled to get together with those of you interested during our three week stint in the state from July 7 to August 1, 2017.
Of course, this applies to any of our readers living anywhere in the world we may be visiting at any given time.  How wonderful it would be to meet some of you!

That’s our story for today, dear readers. As we’ve said, please don’t hesitate to contact us to say hello, share a story or express a dream you may have of stepping outside the box for a new experience, whatever that may be.

Have a dreamy day!

Photo from one year ago today, August 8, 2015:

We could easily envision a croc coming up and over this hill from the ocean to Deadman’s Gully in Cairns, Australia. For details of such an incident, please click here.