Part 2…Our year in review…Photos of us…Busy preparing new itinerary, ready for tomorrow’s post…

In July, we had a great evening at The Elephant Bar in Henderson, Nevada with friends that live in Las Vegas.

New Year’s Day proved to be another good holiday. We stayed busy posting until later than usual and then spent the rest of the afternoon making future travel plans.

Why do we plan so far ahead?  With our lifestyle, it gives us  tremendous piece-of-mind knowing what’s coming down the road.  Also, it gives us an opportunity for good prices for upcoming venues.

Tom standing next to the Giant Bamboo tree to gain a perspective of its massive size.  The vegetation at Zoo Ave in Costa Rica was almost as interesting as the wildlife.

Although we’ll post the itinerary tomorrow, we’ve yet to book all of the vacation homes for the upcoming visits to various countries but the cruises are already booked. Over the next few months, once we’re in Africa, we start booking vacation/holiday homes in these various locations.


As we’ve mentioned in the past, cruises are a driving force in our decisions to visit certain countries, although as shown we don’t hesitate to fly when necessary.

I used repellent while at Zoo Ave in Costa Rica but still got a few mosquito bites.

Planning is a daunting task and today, we’ll continue with the preparations for tomorrow’s post.  We’re happy we’d made the commitment to post the itinerary. It motivated us to “get the show on the road” and finally make some decisions for the future.  

By no means, our failure to get this done wasn’t due to any lack of enthusiasm on our part.  Instead, it was based on the simple fact that we’ve been rather busy this past month with the cruise and socializing. 

We set up the tripod to take this photo of us in Costa Rica on October 31, 2017, the five year anniversary of our world travels

All along our intent has been to post a new itinerary around the first of the new year.  By tomorrow, we’ll have this accomplished as we joyfully share it with all of our worldwide readers.

As for yesterday, New Year’s night, we ate the remainder of the food purchases we’d we made to share with Margaret and Con.  By 7:30 pm, once again we gathered in a big booth in the Prodeo Hotel’s dining room with a food which included roasted chickens, coleslaw salad which I made in our room, olives, cheese, meat, and nuts.  It was another fine evening.

On formal night aboard Celebrity Infinity only weeks ago.  My teeth were purple from the glass of red wine I’d just finished.

By 11:00 pm, we were sleeping and although intermittently, I feel hangover free and refreshed today, ready to tackle a new day in Buenos Aires.  In a short time, once we’ll upload today’s post and we’ll head to a local barbershop for Tom’s haircut which opens after 12:00 pm.

He hasn’t had a haircut since October.  He’s facing “hat hair” on the upcoming Antarctica cruise when we’ll both be wearing hats for several hours each day.  This is less of an issue for me when a few swipes with the flat iron and I’m back to normal. 

Us, with our wonderful new friends, Lisa and Barry whom we’ll see in June in South Africa.

But for him, his hair has a tendency to be spikey when either too short or too long.  He’s thumbing through past posts right now to see how short he wants it cut today.  We’ll post photos soon.

Tonight, we’ll walk to Serrano Plaza, our favorite area for dinner. There are many restaurants we’ve yet to try.  After eating in these past few nights we’re looking forward to getting out again.  Now that the holiday season is over, we expect to find more dining options.

On the ship’s deck as we sailed through the Chilean Fiords on the most recent cruise.

May your new year begin and end with considerable contentment and joy in all of your endeavors, whatever they may be.  Happy day to all 

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Photo from one year ago today, January 2, 2017:

Green/spring onions were being processed for wholesale distribution at a Penguin, Tasmania vegetable processing farm.  For more details, please click here.

Day 10…No sunshine…Acceptance of conditions throughout the world…

The guard at the gate to the Government Building in Suva, the capital of Fiji.

Since arriving in Pacific Harbour it’s been cloudy and rainy for no less than 17 out of 21 days. While in Savusavu, we experienced similar amounts of rain occurring almost every day during the three-month stay. 

As positive as we attempt to be about conditions where we’re living at any given time, it would be ridiculous to say we’re not looking forward to the coo, sunny climate of New Zealand, definitely not in the tropical climate category. 

At this point, it’s hard to believe our four months in Fiji are coming to an end. Overall, we’ve enjoyed Fiji, mainly for its friendly locals, beautiful surroundings, colorful vegetation, sparkling sea, and some of the finest organic produce, grass-fed meats and free-range chicken on the planet, all at affordable prices.

Recently, dining out on several occasions has been enjoyable with many options befitting my diet, which wasn’t the case in either Savusavu or Trinity Beach when most menu items included starches, sauces, and sugar.

Distant view of the Government Building in Suva.

Fiji is truly an affordable place to visit for the long term when staying in a vacation property and perhaps at different times of the year, it rains considerably less, making it all the more ideal vacation/holiday spot during those periods. 

We remind ourselves that literally everywhere in the world has aspects that may not be ideal to the average traveler or even the long-term resident. Years ago, we often discussed how many Minnesotans retired to Arizona and Florida for the great climate.  But, after visiting both states and watching weather reports over the years, we’ve seen and experienced that their winters can be cool with inclement weather.

When we first left Minnesota to travel the world, we spent our final two months in Scottsdale, Arizona, a beautiful desert community, a haven for many retirees, making final preparations to leave the US long term.

It was warm when we first arrived in Scottsdale in early November 2012 but quickly became cool requiring we wear jackets most days. We never had an opportunity to use the pool outside our condo door. It was simply too cool.

The long fence surrounding the Government Building in Suva.

During our Scottsdale trip, we rented a vacation home for a week in Henderson, Nevada for a family gathering over Christmas. There too, it was very cool and we never used the pool in the backyard. 

On many earlier visits to son Richard in Henderson, Nevada, we recall very cool weather in the winter months. Tom and I easily recall waiting outside a casino after a show for the valet to return our car, freezing while we waited 20 minutes.

Where is the ideal year-round warm climate? Does it even exist anywhere in the world?  If it’s warm, it’s usually humid. When it’s humid, there are usually mosquitoes and a wide variety of insects and…lots of rain.

The more we travel the more we accept these realities, especially when we’ve spent such a huge portion of our travels living in a tropical environment. Over the past 12 months, we’ve lived on four islands of Hawaii, Trinity Beach, Australia, and Fiji, all considered tropical climates, all of which included clouds/rain at least 50% of the time.

The top of the President’s house in Suva.

In the past 12 months, we’ve only spent 18 days cruising. Although we spend a lot of time discussing and planning cruises, some years we spend little time actually doing so. 

In other years it’s much more such as in the upcoming 12 months, beginning on January 5, 2016, during which we’ll be sailing on five cruises encompassing 76 days, approximately 21% of the year. 

Most often, conditions on cruises are highly satisfactory with little inconvenience and adaptation required; no insects, air-con comfort throughout the ship, comfortable beds and seating, relatively good food, no shopping or cooking required, no housework, and frequently, good enough weather to spend a little time each day lounging by the pool. 

Sure, we’ve experienced rough seas on several cruises and a few bouts of “cruise cough” a harsh inevitable reality on some sailings. Once it starts it’s difficult to avoid, especially when one of us “catches” it and transmits it to the other. 

The beach in Suva has several seating areas.

Illness is a downside of cruising for which we’ve promised to be even more mindful of in our upcoming cruises.  No handshaking, touching, and too close proximity to others.  Plain and simple. 

There were a few occasions we excused ourselves as graciously as possible to leave a dinner table when upon being seated near or next to a coughing passenger. This is an awkward must-do. Even so, we’ve fallen prey to the cough on three or four occasions. 

We wash our hands no less than 12 times a day but need to increase the frequency and beef up other methods we’ve implemented over these past 11 cruises. More on that later.

Why cruise? Mainly, the opportunity to visit many parts of the world in a short period, the highly pleasing social interactions, and the relatively easy living onboard a ship continue to provide a tremendous draw for both of us.

ANZ National Stadium in Suva mostly used for rugby and football, popular sports in Fiji.

As we begin the countdown to departure and the end of 2015, not so much anxious to leave Fiji as opposed to looking forward to the next leg of our journey, we reflect on this past year as being one of considerable enjoyment, personal growth, and discovery. 

With many plans and new countries on the horizon, we hold onto our seats for yet another enriching “ride” in the awe-inspiring world in 2016.

Happy day to all!

Photo from one year ago today, December 27, 2014:

Family day at the beach park on Christmas Day, posted one year ago today. Although it was raining, Vincent and Miles (not shown in this photo) were more interested in looking for fish in the shallow tide pools than stopping to eat. For more details, please click here.

Plans for the future revealed!…A new continent…From Hawaii May, 2015 to ????

Yesterday, we’d planned for dinner in Ribeira Brava, a 20-minute drive through tunnels and mountains. With my equilibrium still whacked from the recent illness, I had to back out of our dinner plans and head back home, to dine in.  However, we managed to make it to this beautiful garden in Campanario. 

In the past year, we’ve spent many hours looking at the world map trying to decide where we’d ideally like to travel after our last booking in Kauai, Hawaii ending on May 15, 2015. 

After tiring of long flights and thinking back to our original plans of cruising to destinations, first, we picked a country or continent we’d like to visit. Then, we began the search for possible cruises that could take us to our chosen continent/country, even if it meant a fight in between.

How handy that a Honey Bee stopped by.

We worked on this premise for a while as we contemplated our options. The problem needed to be revolved due to the fact that we had more than one possible preferred location. Over these past months we had three options:

Our choices included:
1. Alaska
2. South America
3. Australia/New Zealand

The beauty of the terraced hills and garden in Madeira. Astounding!

A huge factor in the location we’d ultimately choose is the cost of living including the rent for vacation homes.  As it turned out, as hard as we tried, we couldn’t make Alaska work in the summer and there was no way we’d consider Alaska during at any other time of the year.

For a decent house, condo, apartment, resort, or lodge, the lowest rent for a property we’d find suitable started at US $5000, EU $3668.91 a month. Let’s face it, living in a less expensive run down the basic cabin for months in Alaska was not our cup of tea. Plus, Internet accessibility is an issue in many areas of Alaska.

We were unable to get a clear shot of the worn verbiage on this sign which we’d hoped to later translate.

With the size of Alaska, we’d have to move no less than three times to get a fair sampling of the huge state. With only three months of good weather, we’d feel rushed.

Through our travels, we’ve determined that our goal is to rent a house with a lake or an ocean view if possible.  Doing so in Alaska made it all the more unaffordable. 

Love these!

Based on our lengthy research these past few years, so far Alaska and Switzerland were the two locations in the world that we found to be the most expensive in which to live.

A month ago, we decided to let go of our hopes for Alaska at this time, which continues to have much appeal for us with its considerable wildlife. We’ve decided to save Alaska for the future when we hope to eventually tour the US and Canada.

It is surprising that cactus can grow in this cool climate that rarely tops 78F, 25C at the hottest point of summer in August and September.

Next, we went to work on South America, starting in Ecuador in order to visit the Galapagos Islands to see the wildlife, eventually settling in Ecuador for three months after discovering that many US ex-pats live in certain areas. 

We were able to find affordable housing in Ecuador on the ocean that fit our criteria. At one point, we’d also considered a trip to Machu Picchu in Peru but with the masses of tourists now traipsing through the lengthy trek, we lost interest.

Oh, that I wish I knew names of flowers to share here. Never the gardener, always the admirer, we’ve never learned the names of many flowers. To research each of these and to post them here, is not a task I care to undertake with “other fish to fry.”

After Ecuador, we’d move to another South American country, staying up to three months in each of several locations over perhaps a period of a year. Of course, a cruise on the Amazon River has definitely been on our list of desired future experiences. 

No matter how hard we’ve tried, we couldn’t get excited about South America at this time in our travels. At some point, we will. Also, we hope to return to Africa to visit Victoria Falls, go on another safari, see the gorillas in Rwanda and return to Marloth/Kruger Park, South Africa. (My heart sings as I write about returning to South Africa).

We do know this is a rose.  Wow!

In reality, we only have so much time. I’m 66 years old, Tom is 61. Will our health hold out? We can reasonably envision another 10 years of traveling Beyond that, who knows?

So folks, with much enthusiasm, we’ve decided on Australia and then later, off to New Zealand! Last night, we booked an 18-day cruise from Honolulu, Hawaii on May 24, 2015, heading to Sydney, Australia arriving on June 11, 2015, where we’ll stay for a few days (very pricey big city) and then move to the first of several homes we plan to rent on the continent. 

Could this be a poinsettia?

We’ll have an extra nine days “to kill” in Oahu, Hawaii, most likely in a hotel while we wait for the cruise to depart from Honolulu.

Now, we’re excited! Wildlife, the outback, the ocean, the friendly Aussies, and with many affordable houses by the sea in the smaller communities, we couldn’t be more thrilled.

Tom, overlooking the sea. Nice shot of him wearing the same shirt he often wears in an attempt to wear it out.  No such luck!

Checking out the weather, possible safaris, and vacation rentals, we’ll soon continue our search for where we’ll live, locking them up with deposits as we make our selections. 

We’ve already found several excellent options. However, this is a time-consuming process that will take months to accomplish. As we book each property, we’ll list them here with details and photos.

The warmth of the sun made it possible to take off my jacket as we perused the garden. I’ve been wearing my warmest long-sleeved BugAway shirts while feeling cold since we arrived.

Traveling the world is comparable to having a “job” requiring diligent research and planning. As anyone with a “job” we have free time to enjoy spending time where we are living at the moment. Mix it all together and we love all the parts; the research, the planning, and most of all, the living.

Having this decision resolved for the moment, we can sit back and “love the one we’re with,” the beautiful island of Madeira!

Tomorrow, we’ll post the details of the cruise to Australia, the ports of call, the cost for our balcony cabin, and the details as to how and why we chose our cabin. With eight cruises under our belts since January 3, 2013, we now have three more cruises to anticipate over the next 12 months.  Stay tuned.
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Photo from approximately one year ago today, May 28, 2013:

A side view of AIDer HQ, an office building in Dubai, UAE. This photo was posted on May 30, 2013, when we toured Dubai and Abu Dhabi the prior day. For the story for that day, please click here

Booked our flight to Mpumalanga, South Africa for November 30th plus required one night hotel stay…

OK, we get it. Pronouncing Mpumalanga is challenging. Here’s a link to a site that will pronounce it using a computer-generated voice. Tom and I practiced using this app several times and I believe we now have it down.

How annoying when travelers are unable (or unwilling to take the time to figure out) as to how to pronounce where they are or where they’re intending to go. As we’ve traveled, we’ve made an effort to familiarize ourselves with the names of local cities, establishments, and basic greetings.

Here in Kenya, “jambo,” a Swahili word, is the standard greeting with many meanings as indicated in this link. It’s so easy to go overboard using a certain local word, hoping to endear ourselves to the locals.  From our humble perspective, moderation is the key, as is the case in many aspects of life, not always easy to accomplish.

(At the moment, as I’m writing in our outdoor living room, there is a peculiar sound in the ceiling above my head. It sounds as if a creature is biting into the wood beams, but we’re unable to see it. This has been occurring over the past 30 minutes. Hmm…).

Today will be a busy day for us. Soon, our driver Alfred will appear to take us to a local G4S/DHL store to inquire in person as to their willingness to accept a package of supplies we’re shipping from our mailing service in Nevada.  

Hans kindly offered to have us ship the box of supplies to his PO Box. But, with the high risk of theft throughout the local postal system, we’d prefer having the package sent to an actual package shipping service, where more security will be in place. 

Once we meet with the staff at the nearby G4S/DHL location, our minds will be at ease. It will be interesting to see how much we’ll be charged for them to hold the box for less than one day. When we’re notified by email that it has arrived, we’ll immediately contact Alfred to take us to pick it up. 

In order to arrive in Mpumalanga, Kruger National Park, South Africa, the route was tricky. Here’s what we settled on which was the least amount of waiting and flying time at the best possible price.

11/30/2013 – Departure   1 stop
Total travel time: 8 h 55 m
custom air icon
Mombasa
Nairobi
1 h 0 m 
MBA  11:25am
Terminal 1
NBO  12:25pm
 
Kenya
Airways 
Economy/Coach
Layover: 3 h 35 m
custom air icon
Nairobi
Johannesburg
4 h 20 m 
NBO  4:00pm
JNB  7:20pm
Terminal A
 
South African
Airways
Economy/Coach (W)
12/01/2013 – Return   Nonstop
Total travel time: 0 h 45 m
custom air icon
Johannesburg
Kruger National
Park
0 h 45 m 
JNB  11:10am
Terminal B
MQP  11:55am
 
South African
Airways  Operated by 4Z/SOUTH AFRICAN AIRLINK
Economy/Coach (L)

With the 7:20 pm arrival in Johannesburg, South Africa at 7:20 pm, and the next day departure to Mpumalanga, Kruger National Park, we could either hang around the airport for almost 16 hours or stay overnight in a nearby hotel.  We opted for the hotel, taking the complimentary airport shuttle in the morning. 

The one-way fare for both of us on all 3 flights is a total as follows:

Traveler
1: Adult
 
$613.67
Flight
 
$375.00
Taxes & Fees
 
$238.67
Traveler
2: Senior

 
$613.67
Flight
 
$375.00
Taxes & Fees
 
$238.67
Expedia Booking
Fee
 
$14.00
Total: $1,241.34

(By the way, I am the above referenced “Senior” being 5 years older than Tom. Obviously, I wasn’t awarded any benefit by disclosing this fact.)

Our seat assignments, not stated here, were established when we were directed to the airline’s website.  Luckily, we’re able to sit together. This trip will be considerably shorter than the long flight from Venice, Italy to Mombasa a mere two weeks ago today. How the time flies (no pun intended)!

The cost for the one night’s stay in a highly rated hotel was US $117.66 after a 50% discount provided to us from Expedia.com. Add another US $125 for meals and tips for a grand total US $1484.00.

Considering the distance is over 2300 miles from Diani Beach, Kenya to our destination, this fare is not unreasonable. We’d actually budgeted US $1500 for this leg of our journey.

Soon, we’ll make further arrangements for a driver to pick us up at the Kruger Park/Mpumalanga airport to be on our way to our new home in Marloth Park, located on the edge of Kruger Park. 

At times, we’ve been asked, how we can begin planning the next leg of our travels when we recently arrived at a particular location?  It’s actually quite easy for several reasons:
1.  It takes our minds off of it, freeing us up to fully enjoy our current location.
2.  It ultimately saves us money, when the lowest fares usually sell out first.
3.  It allows us to sit together.
4.  It enables us to select flights in time frames that are most appealing to us.  Some of the options for these flights required a 5:30 am departure.  With the International requirement for arriving at the airport no less than 2 hours before the flight, choosing such a flight would result in our losing an entire night’s sleep.  Also, we consider the check-in time for the upcoming location to avoid waiting for hours to get into the property.

Overall, advance planning translates into “stress reduction.”  With the situations that occur for which we have no advance warning, we’ve avoided creating chaos, of which Tom and I are adamantly opposed.  Chaos avoidance is the crux of making our worldwide travels as seamless and stress-free as possible.

And still, regardless of our best efforts and intentions, stuff happens.

Off we go on our stop at the package store after which we’ll grocery shop. We’re having Hans and his lovely wife Jeri over for dinner tonight. Gee, I wish I had some linen napkins!

Our safari decision is made…Details tomorrow with photos!…More visitors to our house…

At dusk, Tom shot this Kenya sky.  Rather impressive for the infrequent photographer.

Over a period of several days, we’ve read reviews, viewed photos and perused dozens of websites searching for what hopefully will be the perfect safari for us.

Yesterday afternoon, I pulled up a chair close to the open wrought iron weaving (to keep us safe from the monkeys or other larger animals) surrounding our outdoor living room to take photos of the many birds singing in the yard.  In my impatience, I was unable to capture many birds instead focusing on items that caught my attention such as these branches in the shadows.

The prices for anything other than a basic tent in the bush are more than one would ever anticipate. If seeing The Great Migration wasn’t what brought us to Kenya, most likely we’d have waited to see the Big Five when we get to South Africa on December 1st, living on the edge of Kruger National Park.

The red in the background is a bunch of flowers on the bush behind this palm.

But, the Great Migration has been one of the first items on our “must-see” list inspiring us to come to Kenya.  And, see it, we will! 

The tall pointed thatched roof of the house next door to us.

After narrowing our choices down to two separate camps in the Masai Mara where the herds are right now, we continue to weigh our options.  Realizing there was no way we would be able to experience this magical wonder of the world without literally spending US $1000’s, our search has been intense and goal orientated.

Hidden in the fronts of the palm tree, this little yellow bird, the Golden Weaver, the male of the species is noisy and feisty, providing much entertainment flitting about frantically. The male makes the nest and if the female doesn’t like it, she goes on to mate with another more nest building worthy colorful male.
This is the very noisy and particular female of the yellow bird, the African Golden Weaver, less colorful.  They are elusive, sensitive to movement, making photo taking a near impossibility for a novice such as I.  She seeks the colorful yellow male capable of building a satisfactory nest. She landed in our outdoor living room, enabling me to get this lopsided shot.

The criteria we’ve searched:
1.  Close as possible to the Masai Mara where the massive herds of wildebeest will be grazing after their journey over the river.
2.  An option to have breakfast overlooking the “hippo pool” on the river.
3.  All-inclusive: meals and beverages (including cocktails for Tom)
4.  Two daily game drives
5.  Meals optional in the dining room or in the bush, day or night
6.  Complimentary WiFi throughout
7.  Electricity (needed to recharge our digital equipment)
8.  Availability for dates in early October for a better opportunity to see the Great Migration in the Masai Mara
9.  Entrance fees to the reserve to be included (cost at almost US $100 per person/per day for a three-night stay)
10. Round trip airfare included from the local Diani Beach airport, a short distance from here.
11. Affordable based on our budget

Hesborn offered to open a coconut that had just fallen from a tree.  They seem to fall throughout the day.  We have to be careful when we walk under the coconut trees, they cover the entire yard, leaving only a few safe spots for sunning without a risk of being clobbered on the head.

The camps we’ve narrowed it down to meet all of our criteria. At first, the cost of such a three-day event has been shocking. After reviewing the inclusions, the cost at other camps, we’ve resigned ourselves that when it comes to safaris, you get exactly what you pay for and, if not careful, it could be much less.

Hesborn with his machete preparing to cut this thick stringy exterior off of the coconut before releasing the stringy brown interior that we see for sale at the grocery store.

Choosing either of these two options will put our minds at ease, both being highly rated by many booking sites including Trip Advisor, Booking.com, Hotels.com, and more, along with 100’s of positive reviews, ensuring us that in either case, we’ll make the correct decision. We’ll decide today, posting details tomorrow.

This coconut meat was exceptional, the best I’ve had. Tom has no interest in eating this without sugar so he passed it up. What a treat!

With all bookings sold out for September, our only possibilities haven been for October, still in the peak season, still at higher prices. If we waited until November, we’d increase the risk of not being able to see the Great Migration, a risk we just don’t want to take.

As we’re sitting in our outdoor living room this morning while writing, seven goats jumped over their stone wall behind our yard directly in our yard only a few feet from us. Waking up early such as we do, they decided to jump over the stone wall separating us to dine on the lush leaves of the hibiscus bushes in our yard.
I wasn’t able to get a photo of the seven of them together as they were jockeying for space at the lush bushes in our yard. They were a little unnerved by my enthusiastic chatter.
They were in goat heaven munching on the flavorful leaves when they usually dine on boring grass. For them, this was a gourmet meal.

It’s hard to believe it’s Friday again, the time passing so quickly these days. We’re waiting for a confirmation for our dinner reservation in a cave for Saturday night which we’ll excitedly share on Sunday with photos.  Dining in a cave sounds interesting.

Notice the white two front legs on this young goat along with the white tip on the left rear foot. Cute, eh? Hesborn came running into the yard shooing them back up over the wall when he’d realized they were missing from their yard when he brought them water this morning. We all laughed!

Hope all of our readers enjoy today’s mishmash of photos we’ve taken over the past few days.  he number of surprises we continue to experience just “hanging around” makes each day rewarding and unique unto itself. 

BTW, as we wrote this morning, we received information that has prompted us to make a decision on our safari in early October. We’ll post photos and information tomorrow. We’re excited, to say the least!

Be well. Be happy. Check back!

Oh, oh, packages didn’t arrive!…Are we running out of time?…

The four of six boxes we received from the pharmaceutical company. We’re awaiting the two missing boxes, hopefully to arrive or be replaced before leaving Italy in less than two weeks.

When living in the US we rarely gave a thought to our few prescriptions.  Ordering online through Medco it was a relatively painless process with the large white plastic bags arriving about a week after placing a refill order.  Once a year we visited our doctor to get newly written prescriptions to comply with insurance requirements.

Now, traveling the world, taking literally everything we own with us everywhere we go, all of our supplies, prescriptions and otherwise, take on a new meaning. It’s not to say that we’re preoccupied with these items. However, we must stay mindful and proactive to ensure that we have everything on hand as needed, avoiding a crisis and its resulting stress.

Early in July we ordered a year’s worth of prescriptions for both of us through ProgressiveRX, a reputable, prescription required, highly rated BBB online pharmacy with the best prices we’ve found so far.

Between us, we take a small handful of medications. Running out of them could be a problem. Having purchased enough to last us the first year in our travels, now  gone since Halloween, 10 months have passed.  We’d have run out while in Kenya.

Tom’s vitamin and pill cases.  Originally, we had four of these cases, allowing me to restock them once a month. Having to ditch two of these to make more room, I now have to refill them every two weeks. Mine is similar. We carry on all of our meds and few vitamins after the incident in Belize when security confiscated all of our vitamins for 24 hours. Lesson learned.

After considerable research and reading online posts, we felt it was too risky to receive a package through USPS while in Kenya with its reported high risk of never arriving or of getting caught up in customs, all of which is less of an issue in Italy. Ordering in July, with our plan to leave Italy on September 1st, made all the sense in the world. 

Unfortunately, ProgressiveRX process is to send a variety of the prescriptions in a variety of small boxes.  With us needing more Z-Pak (antibiotic) since I’d used one in Dubai when I was so ill, extra malaria pills and our few combined prescriptions, six small boxes were due to arrive. 

Two weeks ago, four of the six boxes had arrived, leaving two missing. “OK,” I said, “Let’s give it a little more time.” 

Becoming concerned last week, I contacted the company by email, receiving a prompt response. They suggested we give it a little more time.  By the end of last week, the two missing boxes had yet to arrive. The rep at the company asked that we wait until today to put in a request that the two boxes be replaced and shipped the quickest method available. With only nine business days until we leave Italy, this plan in itself is risky.

Yesterday, I went through the four boxes that each contained a variety of the medications counting every pill, all individually wrapped in childproof shrink wrap plastic packages, to determine exactly what we’re missing. Once completed, I checked the stock against the original order coming up with a list of the missing items.

As suggested, I sent them an email with this list this morning, suggesting that they quickly resend the missing meds. We shall see how this rolls out over the next several days. In my email this morning, I suggested that if the boxes, missing and new, arrive before we leave, we’ll either return the extras or pay for them, preferring to keep them, thus avoiding the necessity of finding a place to mail them.

We have no complaint with the company. They are responsive, providing quality products. This company was recommended to us by the wife of a delightful mature newlywed couple (they hooked up on Facebook after having dated in high school many moons ago) that we met the day after their wedding while in Belize.  She had a home in San Pedro, Belize  but they had decided to have their honeymoon at our resort, LaruBeya in Placencia. Gee, we loved that place. 

In any case, I took her recommendation for the online pharmacy seriously. As an American citizen, she too required a handful of meds having found ProgressiveRX to be ideal for ordering from afar. 

The names of the prescriptions, although containing the exact same ingredients, are different in some cases.  This is important to know to ensure a patient knows precisely which named prescription replaced the familiar name to avoid incorrect dosing.  Should any of our readers’ order through this company, please be careful in observing the named differences. Their website is helpful in defining these different names.

With the time differences in between Italy and the US, it may be hours before we hear back as to what they will do to get the missing meds to us as quickly as possible. We’ll report back here once we know.

Today, our plan was to grocery shop. After looking in the refrigerator and freezer noting the additional meat products we have on hand and seeing our delicious leftovers for tonight from last night’s dinner of Chicken Breasts stuffed with homemade pesto (from the garden on the patio), Parmesan cheese, wrapped in Prosciutto, we’ve decided we can wait until Wednesday. We’ll recalculate our grocery list to get us through 11 more days, instead of the original 13 days.

Perhaps today, a little refining of our items to be packed is in order, a task I thoroughly dread, among other “moving” tasks.”  Oh, I can’t wait to be sitting on the large veranda overlooking the gardens at the house in Kenya; the packing, the excess baggage fees, the three flights, the trip from the airport to the house in the middle of the night and the unpacking will all behind us.