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

Yesterday, we'd planned to 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 awhile as we contemplated our options. The problem needed to be revolved due 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 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 as 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 expats 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 which 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


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