Socializing under the cabana…Paradise with new friends…Friendship…

Our new friends, Pia and Thomas, live just steps away from the beach. They too have had tremendous global experiences and adventures.

“Sightings on the Beach in Bali”

Sunset from the veranda.

First, yesterday’s water situation has been solved. The villa was cleaned, dried with furnishings and decoration items in their usual places. The only remaining challenge is repairs to the TV  and sound system having been soaked from the water flow pouring down to the lower level of the broken pipe in the hot water heater located on the roof.

Then, last night when we were settling in for the night, turning on the AC in our bedroom, water started pouring out of the air con in front of the bathroom door. We swiftly turned it off and called Gede. 

Within minutes, he arrived on his motorcycle, suggesting we slept in the bedroom on the second main floor in the comfort of air conditioning. Having been awake since 4:00 am, that seemed like a logical solution since we were pooped and anxious for a good night’s sleep. Having been awake since 4:00 in the morning, it seemed a logical solution since we were pooped and anxious for a good night’s sleep. 

That recycler stopped at our villa.    Notice the motorcycles carrying the trailer.

Gede thought the unit had jammed with ice during the awful high humidity when we’d stayed indoors for a few hours earlier in the day while the work was being completed. The high humidity of all the water in the villa from the broken pipe could easily have contributed to the unit working overtime.

Gede asked us to leave it on all day to determine if the problem is resolved. Poor Gede.    He woke up early and came back early in the evening. Hopefully, tonight we’ll be able to sleep in, the more familiar master bedroom.

Yesterday the workers were here most of the day. By 4:00 pm, the water heater was fully repaired and once again we had running water. We couldn’t wait to get into the shower.

We’ve seen these flowers in most tropical climates.

Our new friends Pia and Thomas, originally from Germany, arrived promptly at 2 pm as planned. They’re currently residing in Thailand, with two houses in Bali, one down the beach from us and the other located in a planned community on the way to Lovina which soon we’ll pass on our upcoming road trip on Monday. 

We were so excited to spend time with Pia and Thomas. It had been since July, on the Mekong River cruise, where we socialized with other travelers, all possessing the commonality of interests in seeing amazing parts of the world. 

We didn’t have any cocktail fixings or wine to offer, instead pouring them each a frosty glass of iced tea, refilled often on the hot humid day. We all lounged under the shade of the cabana enjoying the cooling ocean breezes, engaged in delightful chatter, sharing mutual stories of world travel and the wide variety of adventures we’d all experienced over the years.

Shrine in the neighborhood.

Spending time with Pia and Thomas reminded us of how much we enjoy socializing. In a little over a month, we’ll be back on a ship for 33 nights, which most likely will entail non-stop socialization and making new friends.

In our old lives, we both reveled in our active social lives, both individually and as a couple.  We’ve been able to stay in touch with many of our friends through Facebook and email. To many, its almost a daily interaction in one form or another.

Having always been a part of a social group of “girls” I’ve certainly missed the face to face aspect of these special relationships; the long lunches; the shopping trips and the often lengthy phone conversations when we shared a personal joy or tribulation, analyzing every possible resolution. 

A boy and a buffalo.

Now, when faced with a challenge, I can easily “chat” via email to a friend, but it’s never the same as sitting across a table in a restaurant sipping an iced tea while dining on cooked-rare, sliced on the diagonal, yellow fin tuna atop a bed of fresh greens, drizzled with a lemon vinaigrette. Of course, I miss the conversation, the ambiance and the food.

Tom is now my “girlfriend” along with being my husband, lover and travel companion. He’s actually a good close second when over these past four years, we’ve grown so much, it’s easy to share any topic with one another, including topics I’d previously reserved for “girl time.”

We do see a large number of birds in Bali, although we hear them singing all day.  This white bird was sitting atop a satellite dish.

And he behaves similarly with me discussing “guy stuff” including railroad stories, gross “guys only” kinds of jokes and stories he’d have shared with his friends on a fishing trip, with a beer in hand at the bar, or at work. We’ve certainly made use of the reality that we each truly need to be each other’s best friend.

We often hear those in relationships refer to their significant other as their best friend.  And yet, when they have an issue with one another, they may discuss solutions with their “other” friends. 

For us, being together 24/7 with no opportunity to socialize in person with our old friends, we only have one another with whom to discuss any worries, concerns or issues, especially those related to one another. 

Mosque along the highway.  There are more Muslims in Indonesia than any other country in the world, with only approximately 5% of the island of Bali, a fact we only recently discovered:  “Indonesia has a larger Muslim, population than any other country in the world, with approximately 202.9 million identifying themselves as Muslim (87.2% of Indonesia’s total population in 2011).”

Subsequently, we “talk it out” with each other. The end result? We problem solve handling all issues quickly face to face. Perhaps, in the long run this has contributed to our getting along as well as we do.

Sure, on occasion, Mr. Overall Grumpy rears his ugly head, and I, Miss Overly Bubbly, maintain a stance of low stress, peace and harmony.  Last night, “water, water, everywhere,” he appeared for only a moment to magically disappear after a few choice words were spewed, by no means directed at me. I don’t take it personally. Only minutes later, we were laughing and teasing in our usual playful manner.

Colorful dome of the above mosque.

Friendship, whether short term or long, people we’ve met on the beach or on a cruise ship, or in daily interactions with one another, all add an element to life that provides a richness and depth to which nothing else can compare. 

May your day bring new friends into your life!

Photo from one year ago today, September 23, 2015:

In Fiji, our dish towels had been hanging outside for days unable to dry with the constant rain. We couldn’t throw them in the dirty laundry (done weekly by staff) when they’d be covered in ants by morning. When necessary, I placed them into a bag in the freezer until laundry day in order to avoid the ants.  For more details, please click here.

Water pipe broke…Minor inconveniences in the realm of things…

This morning, a few hours after we were up and about, the flexible cold water connection under the bathroom sink fell apart and water was spewing everywhere.

Immediately, we called Lee, who called Boo, the maintenance guy, and within 5 minutes he arrived by motorcycle, tools in hand to shut off the water after there was over 2″, 5 cm, of water on the bathroom floor which luckily had a drain in the floor. Tom had grabbed the travel scale off the bathroom floor before it was ruined.

Now, as I write here, a plumber has arrived and is in the process of repairing the broken water line while a few of the cleaners followed behind to clean up the mess when he’s done.

In the realm of things, this minor incident, responded to quickly, reminded us of the insignificance of our rapidly spewing water when people all over the world are suffering in recent flooding from storms. 

As quickly as the water flooded the bathroom floor, we could barely imagine the horror of the residents in many parts of the world where fast flowing water has caused such devastation and loss of lives.

It’s hard to grasp the magnitude of the horror experienced in many parts of the world including the horrific flooding and loss of life in Louisiana in the US with 1000s of residents living in shelters after their homes were destroyed by fast moving water as a result of relentless storms.

For today’s news on this storm and others, please click here.

Are natural disasters on the rise? Or, are we hearing about them more due to 24 hour news cycles from around the globe having become more readily broadcast over these past three decades?

Its hard to say. When attempting to research this topic, “Are natural disasters on the rise?” one will find thousands of varying “opinions” on the topic from a wide array of “news” related sources and agencies. 

This morning as I researched this topic (which I’ve done before) I was shocked by how statistics are skewed based on the intent of the source of information. What are we to believe?

I supposed its not unlike other “theories” in today’s world. Everyone has an opinion they’d like to express and would like to be revered for their views. In reality, if the focus stayed on providing relief and support to the victims of natural disasters and finding solutions to lessen the impact in future events, the sensationalism in the news could be lessened.

That won’t ever happen. As the news escalates to entice and titillate the public to read and watch more and more, we often get the perception that the world is on its way to total collapse as a result of natural disasters, let alone the effects of human intervention, wars and disharmony.

But, what do I know? Whom am I to speculate? I can only observe, pray for the future and hope along with the rest of us, that our planet is here to stay. 

With news of meteorites heading our way, black holes gobbling up our planet, and gloom and doom for the future, our little lives become insignificant and meaningless.

What can we do in the interim, if anything? Oh, I’d like to say if we all treated one another with love and kindness, an altruist view and subsequent behavior could change the world. 

But, we’re past the ability to do that on a worldwide scope. We can only do it within the small framework in which we live. And perhaps, those bite sized pieces can eventually unblur the lines and we can see beyond our often narrow views of what’s right and what’s wrong.

We can’t live in fear. Fear has the ability to incite anger and dangerous behavior. Exercising caution, sensible reactions and thoughtful personal introspection are some of the tools we’ve been provided as humans. If only we all could use these tools to make the world a safer and better place.

In the interim, us two grains of sands on the vast beach of Life, attempt to keep everything in perspective, a broken pipe, a small household flood, a recovery from an injury, in the realm of things, it’s but a minor inconvenience. 

We remain grateful for the gifts bestowed upon us as we continue on our path of experience and knowledge, as we pray for the well-being of those suffering in the world.

Photo from one year ago today, August 18, 2015:

One year ago we walked into this park for awhile eventually turning back when we realized the trails weren’t as suitable for walking as opposed to use by fast moving mountain bikers. Ironically, in our post one year ago today, we mentioned bombings in Thailand. Please see here for details.

Is running out of new photos an issue?…What do we do in the event this occurs?…A trip to the local dump proved to be interesting…

At the Marloth Park dump, we found these Marabou Storks everywhere.  If photo ops don’t come to us, we’ll go to them.

Writing every day is challenging at times, especially when we’re kicking back and relaxing. Would one have photos and stories to share in their everyday lives? Hardly.

In our old lives, weeks could go by without a single thought of taking a photo. Also, we’d never learned to take photos. Life was too busy to take on another hobby. As a result, we only used a camera on special occasions, neither of us showing a propensity toward any skill. 

For me, no skill? No interest. That’s how perfectionist-types operate. That’s why I don’t play golf. For that matter, Tom, good at most sports, hasn’t played much golf either, getting easily frustrated when he doesn’t play well enough by his own standards.

From afar, these birds look pretty. Up close, not so cute in the face. These birds are carnivorous eating other birds, carrion scraps, small rodents and have a propensity for human garbage and can digest rotten animal matter.

Now, back to posting daily and it’s challenging…

Yesterday morning, after posting, today’s post was fast approaching as being one of those days that writing this blog left me stymied. I had no new photos to post. I could run around the yard to look for small things or interesting vegetation or even, if necessary, stand in the road waiting for a photo-worthy event.

The height of a Marabou Stork is approximately 152 cm, 60 inches; weight is 9 kg, 20 pounds; the wingspan is 3.7 m, 12 feet. They have the largest wingspan of any bird. The Marloth Park dump is thoroughly cleaned out every few weeks. It is where many of the locals bring their garbage with only a small percentage having pickup service. We haven’t observed any recycling in Kenya or South Africa.

To prepare for our upcoming dinner party on Monday, Okee Dokee picked me up at 11:00 am Saturday morning to go to Komatipoort for groceries. Having created a menu and a grocery list I was ready to tackle the weekend crowds at the strip mall. 

While waiting in line at the grocery store, I mentioned to Okee Dokee that in the past 16 months since leaving Minnesota I’d yet to purchase any underwear. Add the fact that we’d unloaded so many clothing items along the way, my inventory was sparse and worn to the point of ridiculousness. I’d never gone so long without purchasing undergarments or clothing for that matter. 

The Marabou Stork will eat anything it can swallow, including shoes, clothing, and tin cans. They can become aggressive if fed by humans when they are refused food. Although not vultures, their behavior exceeds the traits of vultures whose diet consists of animal remains.

Having whipped through the grocery store quickly, she led me to a local clothing shop. I was pleasantly surprised when we entered the store. Although a small shop, there was clothing for women, men, and children of all ages. We promptly headed to the women’s underwear department where, upon approaching, I squealed with delight. They had rather modern items and styles, all reasonably priced and of decent quality. I’d have to toss the old stuff, avoiding increasing our luggage weight.

Ten minutes later, a bra and eight pairs of panties were being rung up for a grand total of US $23.16, ZAR $259. What? In the US, I would easily have spent US $75, ZAR $838.67 for this type of quality. What’s wrong with this picture?

After making the purchase we headed to the ATM area with two machines, neither of which was working, prompting us to head back to the ATM at the Marloth Park Bush Center which once again worked with ease. 

This injured zebra was near the road when we drove by. It wasn’t enclosed in a fenced area. This fence happened to be on the edge of a property. This injury could easily have been a result of a kick from another zebra. The distended belly of a zebra is common. Their intestinal tract is such that they become bloated with gas from eating massive amounts of vegetation each day. They are prolific at passing gas, as we’ve heard fro time to time. Hopefully, this injury heals on its own.

Afterward, we drove down one of the two only paved roads in the park. Okee Dokee, aware of my photo dilemma quickly made a sharp left turn into the local dump. (As yet, we hadn’t seen any wildlife). Wouldn’t you know, the dump was not only littered with garbage (which is entirely removed every few weeks), but was also littered with what I’d originally thought were beautiful Marabou Storks. 

Thus, the photos we’re showing today are the storks we found at the dump. Leave it to Okee Dokee! As we slowly meandered down the road toward African Reunion House I chuckled. I don’t recall ever taking a camera to the grocery store in my old life.

This morning at 6:30 am while contemplating getting up I heard animal sounds outside. Quietly and slowly I exited to the bedroom to look out the full wall of glass to the garden. Scattered among the bush were no less than 50 impalas, 25 Helmeted Guinea-Fowls with chicks, and one large lone male warthog.

Male impalas along the side of the main road in Marloth Park on our return drive from grocery shopping.

Quickly I awoke Tom, and together as quietly as possible, we opened the door to the veranda, camera in hand.  Alas, the impalas scattered, but the warthog and the “guinea hens,” as Tom calls them, stayed behind. 

Mr.Warthog was very shy, as we’ve noticed in the lone males. He meandered about the garden for a half-hour finally checking out the pellets, deciding to partake. The guinea hens and chicks had a blast picking away at the large pellets, easily knocking them into smaller pieces. Even they are fun to watch.

The baby warthogs are getting huge. When the mom is ready to mate again, she’ll leave the babies to fen for themselves as their own maturing life cycle begins. This particular mom has been a favorite of mine.  She has no fear of me, makes eye contact that is endearing, and is such a good mom, holding back while the babies eat the pellets first. I always make a point of tossing several in front of her and only then does she eat them. Warthogs eat on their front knees which have tough pads from the day they’re born.

As for the rest of today, this morning after posting, we’re heading to the little house to pack all of our stuff to bring it here for packing. Originally, we’d planned to do it on Tuesday, the morning after the dinner party. But, we decided to get it done and off of our minds. 

We’ll put everything in the main floor guest room, shutting the door until Tuesday when we’re ready to begin the dreadful task of sorting and packing everything we own into two large suitcases, two overnight bags, one duffel bag, and two computer bags. Everything we own. More dwindling down. Letting go of more stuff due to increased weight restrictions over prior flights.

“Small Things,” all new…A world of miniature vegetation and willife…All creatures today…Small things in life…

How perfect can nature be to create this symmetrical creature we captured on the sliding glass door at night?

It’s the small things in life that may be among our most dreaded experiences; an unkind word, a lump found on our body, an email with bad news, a wasp sting, a lost piece of jewelry or at times or hearing the simple word “no.”

Impossible to shield ourselves from these seemingly “small” scenarios, most of us live with the intent of accepting these possibilities, not allowing them to immobilize us, keeping us from the joy of living. 

And yes, the “big things” loom heavily in our hearts at times in our lives; a life threatening illness or injury, the loss of a loved one, a divorce or separation, the loss of a job or financial stability and more.

A butterfly catches my eye on the long walk down the driveway.

A recent first sighting of a baby tree frog. Could this be a result of an earlier foam nest over the pool? He’s sitting at the end of the hose that we use each day to add more water to the pool which has a leak.

The second showing of this photo for those who may have missed it, when we had dozens of grasshoppers hanging out in our driveway for almost a day.  They were munching on a piece of cabbage we’d left out.

It’s amazing that any of us can function at all with these possibilities facing us at any given moment. But, we do. Some of us with aplomb and a passion for living with nary a care in the world and others with a chronic sense of doom, stripping their lives of meaning and fulfillment.

Then, there’s the rest of us in the middle, gauging when worry and fear are necessary to inspire us to be cautious or occasionally being fearful when a situation is thrown in our faces.

For most of us at times “small things” monopolize our thoughts, more than the possibility of big catastrophes.  Awakening in the middle of the night for no reason at all, my mind wanders to a list I keep in my head of possible small worrisome things, ticking them off one by one.

This centipede has small insects living on it. Double the freakiness.
We discovered this colorful insect in the grass when we toured the Panorama Route a few weeks ago.
We found this bug in the house. We opened a window, sending her on her way.

“Is there a snake on the floor if I get up to go to the bathroom? Will the lightning hit the thatched roof while we fumble for the keys, left on the nightstand next to Tom in order to unlock the gates on every window and door to allow us to get outside? Did I forget to close the drain in the bathroom sink to prevent centipedes from coming in? When will I feel like doing the taxes for 2013?”

It goes on and on. But, somehow I fall back to sleep, awakening in the morning, full of energy, enthusiasm, and gratefulness for the opportunity to live yet another day. Bolting out of bed, I begin the familiar routine of preparing myself for the day all the while filled with a sense of lightness and anticipation. What pleasure and purpose will this new day bring?

The “one day at a time” philosophy adopted by many recovery groups easily applies to all of us, in recovery or not. In reality, we’re all “recovering” from something; a bad childhood, marriage or relationship, the death of a loved one, the loss of a dream or, the personal goals of letting go of anything that isn’t good for our bodies and souls. 

We discovered this insect on the veranda which was approximately 4 inches, 10 cm, long.

We’ve seen many varieties of geckos including this wider version. We ignore them when they’re inside the house. They leave white poop droplets everywhere.

Living one day at a time gives us peace and comfort, leaving behind our failings and mistakes from the past while embracing the possibility that tomorrow will be a better day.

Again today, we share more “small things.” Not insignificant. Not meaningless. It’s all a part of the life cycle that we share with endless generations of evolution, God (or whatever higher power you may believe or, not) and, Mother Nature.

“Small things,” whether in our environment or in our thoughts, are all a part of who we are, our purpose, and ultimately, who we choose to become at the end of the day. 

One morning, I discovered this live bat in the kitchen sink, perhaps injured. Tom scooped it up in the dustpan and let it outside. Bats no longer make me cringe. They eat mosquitoes.

Cruising to Cabos San Lucas…Be there tomorrow…

To our readers:  We will be adding photos here as soon as we are near land and able to use XCOM Global Mifi device which doesn’t work away from land.  We are at sea all day today arriving in Cabo San Lucas at which time we’ll upload photos.  The cruise ship’s wireless connection is too slow at this time to upload any photos.

The Celebrity Century which we boarded yesterday in San Diego, California.
It felt as if someone had pulled the plug and I’d slithered down the drain. To say I was exhausted was an understatement. Tom was his usual perky self, ready to dance the night away.

Dining in the Grand Dining Room last night, a table for two by the window, ensconced in the gentle rolling of the ship, we found ourselves relaxed and at ease for the first time in the many months of planning our year’s long journey to see the world.

Our dietary restrictions were generously accommodated with gluten-free references to the well-appointed menu, offering a wide array of what one might consider being upscale dining. Surprised that we weren’t herded about as cattle at a buffet line, we chatted with nearby guests and teased our articulate Croatian waiter. We couldn’t wipe the smile off of our faces. 

All the while the exhaustion was creeping up on me and after our four-course dinner, capped off with a scoop of rich sugar-free vanilla ice cream, I was ready to go back to our cabin.

We’ve yet to unpack other than the items we had had in a duffle bag in San Diego, a few pairs of jeans, underwear, a small bag of toiletries, and my workout clothes. Soon, we’ll leave our “comfy chairs” in this casual dining area after a hearty breakfast and head back to our cabin to see if the overflowing toilet is repaired. Ah, so it begins? No big deal, we laughed. The toiled overflowed in Scottsdale too.

Leaving San Diego was a combination of a test of our organizational skills and our resilience to stay calm when our soon to be turned over vehicle (to son Richard who generously took it off of our hands) was so loaded with “stuff” that we had no choice but to pile luggage on my lap
on the drive to the pier. 

Some items were to be left for Richard who flew in from Las Vegas to pick up the car and my sister and her partner who drove from LA,  all of whom came to see us off at the pier. The remainder was our orange Antler luggage, two computer bags, two duffle bags, and my bulky overloaded handbag. (We “converted” Tom’s”murse” into a computer bag. Now he likes it).

Arriving at the pier to unload our bags at noon proved to be another pleasant surprise. We drove into the baggage drop off area next to the ship and in less than five minutes our bags were tagged
and hauled out the SUV by a burly porter (to whom we gave a generous tip).

In moments, we were on our way to the Fish House Restaurant less than 1/4 of a mile away to meet up with Julie, Maureen, and Richard for our final goodbyes. (We drove past the USS Midway, wishing we had time to explore. We’ll save that for another time).

Having said our goodbyes to our other three adult children, their significant others, and the six grandchildren (who Tom lovingly refers to as the “pallbearers!”) in Minnesota only two months ago and again over the phone in the past few days, we now were faced with more goodbyes. 

At 2:30 PM after entering through two relatively painless checkpoints and security, hundreds of passengers before us, we found ourselves aboard the ship.  Our luggage would be outside our door within a few hours while we were free to roam the ship after a mandatory 3:30 lifeboat training session in our designated muster station. 

I felt my heart racing for a moment when instructed as to how to wear the life vest. While
drawing a deep breath, I looked over at Tom, suddenly feeling at ease. Many years ago, he’d been a volunteer fireman having proven to be highly competent in emergencies. No doubt, he’d take good care of us.  My pulse settled down and a calm washed over me.  Everything would be OK.

Our luggage had arrived in part when we returned to our compact cabin. We were missing a bag
with all of our power cords and another with my space foam neck pillow and Tom’s unfinished bottle of Courvoisier which we had anticipated would be confiscated. 

Passengers are not allowed to bring alcohol aboard the ship which they tag to be returned upon the day of departure.  We were aware of this but it was a shame to toss a bottle of VSOP which no one we knew wanted.  Finding our way to security we discovered our two bags.  Not only was alcohol not allowed but no power strips, extension cords, and multiple adapters were allowed onboard due to a potential fire hazard. With only two electric outlets in our cabin, we knew we’d have to

Now, we’ll return to our cabin, hopefully finding the toilet repaired. We’ll unpack our bags,
hang our fancy clothes in the shower to un-wrinkle for tonight’s formal night and find our way to begin the much-anticipated process of having fun.
Of late, many have asked us, “Are you excited yet?”
We’ll respond in unison, “This is our life now.  One doesn’t wake up every day and say they’re
excited. Some days, we’ll be excited. Some days we won’t think about it. But, most days, we’ll be happy simply being together, wherever that may be.

Laundry around the world…

Peculiarly, caring for our clothing is somewhat of a hobby of mine. Perhaps, I was a laundress in another lifetime (not to say there is such a thing as another lifetime). Perhaps, I slept in a laundry basket as a baby.

It began when I was quite young, this fascination with laundry.  The middle of three sisters, I was assigned the task of washing, folding and ironing the family’s wardrobe when I was 10 years old. I didn’t mind at all. 

In grade school I attended a “girls only” home economics class (remember that, babyboomers?) where I learned to iron a man’s 100% cotton long sleeved dress shirt from the inside out in two minutes flat.  Failure to do a perfect job resulted in a brisk slap on the hands with a wooden ruler. (Can you imagine what would happen to that teacher in this day and age?)

Over many months, my hands were red and bruised every Thursday after the class.  I didn’t cry or complain to my parents. Determined to get it right, I practiced at home, night after night with a clunky old Sunbeam iron and a wobbly ironing board, often leaving rusty iron stains on my father’s old white dress shirt.

In time, I became the best “ironer” in the class. By the end of the school year I was presented with a pink and white certificate. Not only were my shirts the most neatly ironed in class, but I was able to accomplish the feat in 90 seconds flat.  I’d make a good housewife someday. This was 1958.  

Over the years, my ironing skills honed as irons improved and I could iron a dress shirt in 60 seconds, still doing so today.  

Folding is also quite enjoyable.  I love laundry. Putting away?  Not so much.

In this old house, the laundry is located in our creepy, cobwebbed basement, a full flight of stairs and long walk away. I don’t mind. The exercise is good, up and down, six times a day, to accomplish a mere two loads of wash.

Six flights a day, on average, over the past 26 years and I’ve run up or down, 56,940 flights of stairs!  I’d probably weight 100 more pounds had our laundry room been on the main floor.  I like laundry.

Of course, as time marches on toward the beginning of our year’s long world travels, I can’t help but think about laundry. 

Here are my concerns while living in vacation homes:

  1. Will the washers and dryers work efficiently in each of our rental homes?
  2. Will there be a nearby laundromat in the event one or both doesn’t work or in the case of the Stone House in Cajarc, France with no washer or dryer in the house at all?
  3. Will I be able to remove wrinkles with our new dual voltage steam iron?  
After considerable research, I have discovered that most cruise ships, on which we’ll spend almost one third of our time during the first five months, have no self service laundry facilities. This was both surprising and disappointing to me, far beyond my personal pleasure in doing our laundry, for the following reasons:
  1. Sending out a single tee shirt to be laundered by the ship’s staff may cost upwards of $4! Can you imagine the cost of an entire load of laundry? Including the tips payable for the staff person returning the items to the cabin and two loads of laundry may cost $100!
  2. Irons are not allowed on cruise ships and are confiscated upon entry, an obvious safety hazard (I get this). Thus, one must “send out a dress, shirt or suit coat” to be ironed, costing more than $15 each.  Ouch!  Hopefully, we can depend on that steamer.
  3. Piling up dirty underwear, socks, tee shirts and daily wear to repack in one’s suitcase is rather unappealing. Some of our cruises two weeks or longer. How many pairs of dirty underpants will we accumulate between the two of us and how much space will they take in our otherwise stuffed bags?  No, we won’t turn our underpants inside out and wear them again the next day!  No, thank you!  Dirty socks?  Yuck!!!
My little brain went to work on these realities. As for the vacation homes, we’ll just have to wing it, unaware of what we are up against until we arrive.  If the facilities are not manageable, we’ll plan a weekly outing, doubled up with other activities when we’re already renting a car and make the trip to the local laundromat a fun experience,  playing cards or reading aloud while we wait.  

I’d more than be willing to go to the laundromat without Tom, laundress that I am, but Tom insists that he’ll join me. In certain areas one won’t be safe alone at the laundromat. Daily laundry as I have known, most likely will be a thing of the past. Also, I surrender the fact that I will not be ironing unless an iron is provided.  

As for the cruises, my fingers went flying across the keyboard searching for a solution. In reading reviews at varying cruise websites, I noticed a common comment: many cruises purposely don’t have bathroom sinks with a closing drain.  Here is our solution to washing our own underwear, tee shirts, and small items, purchased from
Laundry Pack w/ Sink Stopper  Price  $16

Travelon Laundry Soap Sheets, 50-Count

Travelon Laundry Soap Sheets, 50-Count

by Travelon

List Price: $7.19
Price: $4.42 ($0.28 / oz) & eligible for FREE Super Saver Shipping on orders over $25. Details
You Save: $2.77 (39%)

I purchased four of the above laundry packets which fit into the palm of my hand weighing only a few ounces.  These will provide us with 200 sinks-full of wash.  With the above clothes line that suctions inside the shower walls plus soap for my delicate items, we’ll save $100’s while cruising, leaving instead with a small load to deal with at our next vacation home.

Traveling the world for several years with no home, no place to return to repack, restock and replenish, all of these items will save us money, frustration and most of all, precious time doing that which we love, for me; a lot of love and laughter, a touch of adventure, and a little bit of laundry; for Tom, a lot of love and laughter, a touch of adventure and a smile while watching me do laundry. Ah, life is good.

We’ll have bug bites, we’ll be hot and sweaty, the bed will be lumpy, our feet will be tired, we’ll leave a shoe behind, a flight will be cancelled and a vacation home won’t be as described online.  But, in any case, our clothes will be clean.

Is a good memory needed for travel?…How I improved my memory after it started to decline…

Peculiarly, my memory is better now than when it was when I was 20 years old (so I think).  When I turned 50, while working at a stressful job, my memory started deteriorating rapidly. I expected to be a mindless blob at 60, let alone, my now almost 65.  

I’d find myself wandering around a room, wondering why I was there, forgetting my keys (don’t we all?). On occasion, I’d get into a stranger’s unlocked car in a parking lot that
happened to be the same color and model as mine. That scared me. Remember names? Forget about it! Impossible, at that time.

About 10 years ago, I started working out after a five year hiatus during the stressful job.  The more I worked out, the more I noticed that my memory was gradually improving over time.  
Changing to a low inflammation diet and upgrading my exercise routine over the past year as I wrote in a post two weeks ago, gradually enhanced and thus, creating a leap in my memory. Plus, spending seemingly endless hours researching for our adventure, pushed my memory to a whole new level.
To sum up what worked for me:
3. “Exercising my brain” via hours of research, learning new information, decision making.
4.  Being passionate about any topic of interest which fires up brain cells.
Many studies suggest stress relieving activities such as meditation, yoga, and Pilate’s may be instrumental in improving one’s memory.  For me, learning new information is fuel for my soul, providing great stress relief and enjoyment. Thus, my memory improved.

Through this lengthy and time consuming process of planning to travel the world for years to come, I discovered that good memory was a benefit of good record keeping.  

Documenting our travel plans in a methodical order on an series of Excel spreadsheets within a single workbook was highly instrumental in building a foundation for our itinerary.  Keeping detailed records of our itinerary, deposits paid, balances due, a to do list, an estimate of eventual “actual” travel and living expenses, cruises, flights and other means of travel is a constant point of reference leading to building my memory.  

Subsequently, referring to this Excel workbook, without even trying, somehow I’ve memorized every detail.  Much to my surprise.  Its seems to me that, “the more I remember, the more I remember.”  This is a far cry from where I was over ten years ago.
Dementia is a common and expected fact of aging.  We see it in our family members, friends and acquaintances.  We witness lapses of memory in our loved ones, dismissing it, in part for fear of embarrassing them and also, for our own vulnerability. 

Perhaps, we may be able to prevent our own memory loss by being physically active, eating healthfully and living a proactive life. If we stay engaged, busy, passionate about our lives, purposefully and frequently memorizing tidbits of information while entering into lively animated conversations (easy to do in this heated political environment), we can retain and actually improve our memory. 

If we read to learn, not only to entertain and listen to others with undivided attention, maybe, just maybe, we will remember, not only what happened 40 years ago and also last year and… most of all, minutes and hours ago.

After all, every step of our lives is but a memory only minutes later.  Drawing upon those memories is the essence of life’s richness to share with those we love, to gather into our hearts in times of sorrow and to take with us into our old age.
As I close for today, it would be typical for one to make a joke, a play on words on memory loss. I won’t. I can’t think of any!

Clothes, clothes and more clothes…mostly mine…

As a “girlie girl” all of my life, with an affinity for the feminine flair, as far removed from “Tom Boyishness” as a female can be, I unabashedly admit to being the female stereotype when it comes to clothes.  

Although, annoyed by the process of purchasing clothing and its varying accouterments, there is a certain sense of glee when finding a bargain on an item I am particularly interested in acquiring. Not an impulse shopper, I rarely purchase items I don’t need or want.  There isn’t a single unworn, still price- tagged item in my closet (less the items we are purchasing for our journey).  
It’s all about “the hunt” and in some cases, “the negotiation” that get my shopping juices flowing and then, the subsequent acquisition of a high-quality, well-priced, properly fitting item to add to my repertoire of varying taste and style.  

Not a fashion maven, I  possess an uncertainty of my “personal style” as encouraged by an endless pouring of style and fashion shows on TV which I seldom watch. 
Moderately comfortable Easy Spirit fashion flats
Shall I say good-bye to these?

From time to time, I peruse a current fashion magazine in a genuine effort to become familiar with current hemlines, popular colors and shoe styles, always hoping they are befitting my body type, relevant to my age and commensurate with my comfort needs. 

As a result, my current wardrobe consists of a mishmash of layering pieces which I tend to wear without layering, with either a comfy pair of jeans or more often, not so comfy pair of jeans, the comfort factor based on what I had to eat in the past two days.  Sound familiar?

Shoes?  Not so much.  Yes, I have some high heels (seldom worn), fashion flats, (most often hurt my feet), sandals (no flip flops when I can’t stand to wear anything in between my toes), boots and those staples you’ll see me wearing in the grocery store; workout shoes, Keds slip-ons,  Easy Spirit anything and Aerosoles. (In the 70’s, I could wear Candie’s high heeled shoes for 18 hours straight. Not now.)
Comfy old Keds slip-on shoes.  Are these worthy of taking along?

Assessing mine and Tom’s current wardrobes some months ago, realizing how long we’ll be traveling, we both made the decision to sell all of our old clothing at our upcoming estate sale on the weekend of October 27, 2012 and to bring only new appropriate clothing with us.  

There’s no sense in bringing lots of jeans and sweaters to Belize, Africa, Italy (in summer), Madeira and Hawaii and other warm climates.

Old, worn, favorite comfy Dexter’s flats.  Shall I make room for these?  Here again, probably not, based on worn condition.

Here’s my list.  I posted Tom’s clothing list on Thursday’s post, May 31, 2012. Hold onto your shorts!  I said that I’m not a “clothes horse” but, I do like having choices:

  • 15 casual dresses, for everyday wear, easy to dress up or down, roll in a ball in a suitcase
  • 4 dressy dresses, for formal nights on cruises
  • 5 pairs jeans
  • 5 pairs Capri pants
  • 9 pairs shorts, mostly Bermuda length (acceptable to wear in public on hot days)
  • 1 black maxi skirt
  • 16 tee shirts
  • 12 various tops 
  • 4 cardigan sweaters, 4 shrug cover ups (for breezy nights aboard ship, matching dressy dresses)
  • 2 light weight jackets (1 blazer, 1 rain coat)
  • 1 hoodie sweater
  • 3 sets of workout clothing
  • Exofficio BugsAway: 2 pair convertible pants, 2 long sleeve tee shirts, 2 hats, 4 socks
  • 2 belts for dresses
  • 2 scarfs to dress up outfits
  • 4 bathing suits, 2 bathing suit cover up dresses, 1 black pareo
  • 6 sets sleepwear, mostly tanks and shorts, 1 lightweight robe
  • 1 pair workout shoes, 2 dress shoes, 2 pair walking shoes, 3 pair sandals, 2 casual shoes
  • 5 bras, 12 panties, 2 shape wear items for those formfitting dressy dresses
  • Various costume jewelry to match outfits – We will be selling all of our “real” jewelry prior to leaving due to the high risk of exposing oneself to theft while traveling
  • 3 handbags; 1 large, 2 small
Undoubtedly, I am unknowingly leaving out some items at this point.  As the packing begins, I’ll post photos of our packed goods and post a list of all the non-clothing items we will find necessary to pack.  

Most certainly, frequent travelers will laugh when they see our extensive lists.
I would only ask them this one question, “When have you traveled when you are never going home to repack, carrying everything you own for a period of no less than 3 years?”  Now, tell me we’re taking too much!

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!