Our two year anniversary of traveling the world...An interesting morsel from a reader...Happy Halloween to all!


As we drove down the highway, we spotted a dirt road leading to what we though was a lighthouse.  After a distance on the bumpy dirt road our hopes we dashed when we saw this was a microwave or cell tower of some type.  In any case, the scene was lovely.
Today, it is our two year anniversary since leaving Minnesota.  In one way, its hard to believe its been two years and yet in another, it seems like yesterday.

Time seems to fly in by in either segments of exquisite adventure or while involved in gentle contemplation, deep in thought, individually and together we consider how far we've come.

In the heat of the day, these grapefruit sure looked cool and refreshing. Believe it or not, one grapefruit without sugar added, has 16 grams of sugar, 40% as much as a can of Coke. Click here for details. Sure, the grapefruit is better but sugar is sugar.  See a Dr. Robert Lustig video on sugar here.
As I spend every afternoon deep into the revisions of past posts, now almost halfway through, I relive each experience, day by day, working my way through each photo, each entry, each challenge and each resolution.

Last evening before dark, Tom and I walked to a park at the end of the road.  As we walked we spoke of how wonderful it is to be able to go back and relive each day through words and photos. 

This appeared to be a variety of artichoke.
Currently, with almost 250,000 readers worldwide, growing each day (please forward our link to your friends to help us grow our site), that we so much appreciate. We're in awe of their dedication in following us.  If it were just us, writing and posting for ourselves, we'd still treasure (although not as much) that which we've documented almost each and every day.

At any time, we can search the archives to jog our memory as to a date, an experience or a resolution to a problem.  Oddly, we seem to remember more than we'd ever expected by having documented it in the first place.  Being able to verify the past, makes it all the more meaningful and memorable.

As much as I love fresh coconut, its just too hard to open.  The cut halves in the grocery stores lose their moisture and flavor sitting out on display.
Add the fact that many of our readers reach out to us via comments at the end of a post or by email, we feel the joy of knowing that out there in the world, readers are traveling along with us in their hearts and minds, at times, finding comfort in knowing that the mundane aspects of our lives are not unlike our own.  Us humans, we're kind of alike, aren't we?

We cherish the fact that some of our readers find a little comfort and enjoyment reading our posts to discover that we aren't so unique after all, although at first glance, we may seem so.

This Rooster was strutting around showing off his pretty plumage at the vegetable stand.
This morning, I lumbered out of bed and pulled the sheets and pillowcases with me in order to wash the week old bedding, a very "normal" activity.  A moment later, I was sitting at my laptop searching for safaris in Australia after seeing a History Channel documentary a few days ago on wildlife in the Outback perhaps a little less than a "normal" activity.  Our lives, barren of stuff, enables us to consider such possibilities for which we're very grateful. 

We'll be on our way to Australia and the South Pacific for over a year, in a little less than seven months.  A few days ago while I sat entranced by the prehistoric looking animals that wander the deserts in the Outback, I took out the bucket tossing in an Outback safari. I was hooked.  Its hot, arid, and dangerous.  But now, after our past experiences, we feel we can handle it in the hands of a competent and knowledgeable guide.

At the Maalaea Beach Marina. Our condo building is in the far right across the bay.
Recently, I started communicating with Staci, a reader who stumbled across our website through CruiseCritic.com.  As mentioned in a past post, we'll be on the same cruise on April 12, 2016 from Sydney to Perth, Australia for a period of 16 days.  How funny we connected!  How small the world becomes through online communication!

She commented at the end of the post of October 29, 2014, which I quote here with her permission, in the event any of our readers may have missed her comment.

Staci writes:

"These are great pictures! I love the one of the tree on the beach.

I am still wrapping my head around the concept that you aren't on "permanent vacation" but rather on a "planet-wide living arrangement" When you were writing about the blog post correction project I briefly thought "Wow, shame they couldn't wait to tackle that after they got....wait, they ARE home!" Projects don't disappear just because your address changes every few months, do they!

Thank you for your commitment to taking us along your journey. It is a treat to see the sights, even from a computer. "


Staci's words made us giggle over her perfect description of our travels as a "planet-wide living arrangement."  Well said, Staci!  We couldn't have said it better ourselves, in fact we never did.  So, if I may, we'll use this phrase from time to time to better explain that we aren't on vacation.  We're living. Thank you, Staci.  We love having you "with us" and can't wait to meet you in person aboard the ship in 18 months.


Who would possibly want to tackle this nightmare?
Today on our two year anniversary, where last year we celebrated on a three day respite in Kenya to a resort on the Indian Ocean, we do a low key day.  Keeping tight reins on our funds in the event we all have to stay in hotels for weeks eating out each meal (on our dime, as promised) should the lava impede our plans, we play low key today. 

Do we go sightseeing today ending at a nice restaurant for dinner?  Or do we stay put watching the news on the volcano enabling me to correct another month of posts which takes me from three to five hours?  The dinner, we'll do for sure.

A closer view of our condo building across the bay from the marina.
We'll decide after our visit to the pool.  There's a couple of what appear to be lovely restaurants we'd like to try tonight located in the nearby Maui Ocean Center which may be perfect for celebrating our special day; Year Two...the World. 

Thanks to Tom, my dear husband and travel companion, who's courage, determination and pension makes our continuing travels possible.  Plus, he carries the heavy stuff!

May your Halloween be safe and filled with ghoolish laughter! 
________________________________________

Photo from one year ago today, October 31, 2013:

Ugh!  I don't like posting photos of myself.  It seems so self serving.  I'm always complaining as to how the photo came out.  Tom, on the other hand, blind love, encourages me to be visible to our readers.  So, here is a revealing photo of me from one year ago today as we wandered on the beach on the Indian Ocean.  Gee...I wish I still had that suit (in new condition).  The elastic was all stretched out making it was easy to put on. But, it didn't look so hot around the butt with no elastic. I tossed it to further lighten the load.  For more photos of our three day respite from the veranda in Kenya, please click here.

Extermination day...Much to prepare...A year ago...A rare endangered species...


Late yesterday afternoon, Tom spotted this partial rainbow, taking this great shot.  
In our old lives, the only time we'd call an exterminator would be in an extreme case of infestation by any insects or creatures that we could not rid ourselves of after trying every natural method possible. 

The last time I got rid of a creature in our old lives I used a safety trap with cheese. In a short time, I had it trapped and let it go outside.

Living in OPH (other people's homes) we don't have the opportunity to decide on the maintenance they choose for their property. Other than a few biting flies and mosquitoes we haven't seen many insects since arriving at this Maui property two weeks ago. 

About a year before we left Minnesota, I spotted this Chipmunk on the bottom step in our house.  I ran upstairs to the attic, getting the safety trap which I set with a chunk of cheddar cheese on the floor near the steps.
I imagine that on a regular basis, a part of the association dues paid by the owner's each month is allocated to pest control.  Most likely, the work is done every few months or so. 

In a perfect world we wouldn't be exposed to such chemicals which we're so adamantly opposed, except in urgent situations as was the case in Kenya where bugs were crawling all over the walls.  It was this experience that broke us in part to an aversion to insects.  As long as they wouldn't bite or crawl all over us we could live with it.

It's the biting insects that are hard to take when I'm an awaiting meal for any voracious biting insect who invariably thumb their noses at Tom when they see me.
An hour later the adorable chipmunk was chomping on the cheese.  I brought the case outside, opened the door and her/him out tossing the remaining cheese in her direction.
Today, an exterminator is coming to do this entire condo complex.  With no room in the cabinets for any non-perishable foods, of which we purchased in bulk in preparation for Hurricane Ana, this morning we moved all the food to the bedroom, placing it on the bed and covering it with beach towels. 

Also, we cleaned off the countertops in the bathroom of all of our toiletries stuffing everything into the limited space cabinets and drawers. We removed the extra rolls of toilet paper and the tissues, fearful of the toxic stuff ending up in the most delicate of places.

We have no say in this or any other type of scheduled maintenance while we're living in someone else's property.  Luckily, the owners of the homes we've rented these past two years (tomorrow's our two year anniversary of leaving Minnesota).
I can't recall the last time we put onions on the bed.  In any case, we covered them up after taking this photo.
The kindly owner of this condo called and asked how we'd feel about the property being shown for sale while we're living here.  We, in turn, kindly asked that they wait until we leave. 

The house in Morocco was for sale during our stay. There was three showings while we were home, feeling we should be there to keep an eye on our stuff. We felt very uncomfortable with strangers coming into the house.  Having been in real estate for many years I know the risks associated with the possibility of perpetrators "scoping out" a home for digital equipment and other valuables.
Even the bottle water needed to be hidden from the exterminator's toxins.
I also know that real estate people have no knowledge if a potential buyer is in fact a criminal. Background checks aren't provided on prospective buyers.  Anyone can get an appointment to see a house.  

After the experience in Morocco, we decided that we won't rent a house that is actively for sale unless the owner agrees that no showings will occur during our occupancy.
Yea, that's Spam.  It's low carb and gluten free.  Tom's been eating a little each day as a snack.  No thanks!
Bottom line, these aren't our homes. Unless specified during the time of a rental agreement, we have no control over maintenance and other owner arranged visits to the property.

I'm certain that if we'd asked the owner of this condo to keep the exterminator away, they would have complied.  But, with the precautions we've taken today, we're at ease, certain that we'll be fine as will the items we've put out of harm's way.
____________________________________________

Photo from one year ago today, October 30, 2013:

When we were on "vacation" for three days, one year ago today, we spotted the elusive and endangered Colobus Monkey.  No words can express how overjoyed I was to have this one pose for me.  We'd seen a few dash through the yard in Diani Beach, Kenya but hadn't been able to get a photo until this one. For more photos of these monkeys and more, please click here.

Almost two weeks in Maui...Sharks...Hurricane...Lava....Farmer's Market visit...

This smoothie truck was certainly eye catching as we drove up to the Farmer's Market.
Tomorrow will be two weeks since we arrived in Maui.  There's been more excitement here than since we lived in Marloth Park when the adventures occurred daily.
Surfers and swimmers on the beach near the Farmer's Market.
Don't get me wrong.  We find quiet uneventful times relatively pleasing.  And, of course, we pray for the safety and well being for everyone in all of these situations. 

Another beach view along Highway 30.
Its hard to believe that in four weeks and four days we're moving to the Big Island, possibly close to the lava flow to see a major geological event in the making.

A park at the beach on Honoapillani Highway.
We never bargained for this.  Perhaps, if we think long term for us and for our family, we can all feel at ease knowing that in a small way, Mount Kilauea had an impact in our lives, whether we ultimately have to choose other accommodations or not.

A free range chicken at the Farmer's Market.
We're at peace in this knowledge, not panicky, knowing if and when the time comes, we'll make a good decision, whatever that may be.

Home made banana bread for sale at the Farmer's Market at $10 each.
As for now, we're content while I'm busily working on corrections of this site going back from the beginning of over 800 posts.  At this point, doing it everyday since we arrived, I'm only up to July 12, 2013, almost halfway through since the first post in March, 2012.


A wide array of fruit was offered at the Farmer's Market.  Since we can't eat fruit, we didn't buy any.
Its a huge task.  Once I've uploaded the day's post and Tom's removed the photos in order to send it to his blind brother Jerome who listens to it on his talking computer, we head to the pool for a short time. 

Returning indoors, I usually start chopping and dicing for dinner which, depending on what we're having, can take anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour.  Then, after any cleaning and laundry is completed, I start the revisions which takes the remainder of the day, usually until shortly before dinner.  Its easy to see how the day easily flies by.


It would have be fun to purchase raw macadamia nuts but they require a special device to open them.
I'm anxious to complete the revisions to free up time for other things.  But, the more time passes, the harder it will be to go back and do this important task. I'm anxious to complete this task.  If we have to find other living arrangements for the family get together, it will be great to have this time consuming task completed.

We don't grumble about these types of tasks.  They are a part of our lives comparable to keeping our budget updated and keeping future travel plans on track.  Its all a part of the experience that we fully accept.  In the realm of things, it's good that we don't mind these kinds of tasks or we'd be in big trouble.
____________________________________________

Photo from one year ago today, October 29, 2013:

A year ago today, we took a 3 day "vacation" to celebrate our one year anniversary of leaving for our travels on October 31, 2012.  We stayed at a beautiful resort on the Indian Ocean in a gorgeous air conditioned hut.  As soon as we arrived, this Vervet Monkey appeared at our window assuming that new guests will feed her when they always get a fruit plate upon moving in.  We didn't feed her but certainly got a kick out of her looking in the window.  For details of this first day of on "vacation" please click here.

More lava updates...Back to Lahaina photos...A link to one of our favorite recipes...



When we were at the park, we spotted this bird, a Red Crested Cardinal
Yesterday, we were a little sidetracked from posting more Lahaina photos when we reported on the lava flow from Mount Kilauea.  We're constantly watching local news for the latest updates.  It looks like the first house in the village of Pahoa will be taken by the lava today, miles from the houses we've rented which will be shown on the local and world news.

Tom couldn't resist buying fudge.  But, would you believe he purchased the plain fudge when all these fabulous flavors were available?  He ate it in one day (it was a small piece).  Now back to healthy eating.

Tom drooled over the salt water taffy but resisted when he spotted the fudge.
The local officials will allow the homeowners to stay to watch their home be consumed by the lava and go up in flames, enabling them to make peace with the process.  How heart wrenching!  The people of Hawaii are very sensitive, spiritual and thoughtful.  The local news is informative, tender and caring, not sensationalizing this situation at all.

I walked past this store without the slightest interest in looking around.  Living simple is a learned art.  I'm learning.


Popular restaurant in Lahaina, Bubba Gump.
We feel fortunate that we have the time to make a decision by November 15th at which point we'll have to decide if we'll pay the balance of our deposits.  If we decide to go forward and if the hazard continues to the houses, we have no doubt we'll be refunded the entire monies we've paid if we have to bail closer to move-in dates.  The two owners are lovely people and would never take advantage of us.

Many restaurants in Lahaina are "open air" as is the case in most of Hawaii.
In a way, this is yet another part of the amazing experiences that we've added to our ongoing world travels. Who, in their lifetime, has to face the ravages of volcanic lava upsetting their plans?  Our grandchildren will speak of this for years, as well as many of the other challenges we've met.

Here's a familiar spot!
For us, the inconvenience is nothing compared to the homeowners who've had to move everything they own out of their houses, find other places to live and watch their homes destroyed by this situation over which they have no control. 

On the return drive to Maalaea Beach, we stopped at a park and campground.
Many of these homeowners live in homes owned by generations of family, many have rented homes for years, treating them as if they were their own.  Even if the homeowner's are insured, it may be prohibitive to rebuild when not only will they lose the house, but they'll also lose the land to the lava, which becomes a permanent resident for centuries to come.

The beaches on the return drive are beautiful.
We'll figure it out.  And, we'll continue to keep our family members and readers updated on the latest developments as they transpire.  Again, we thank our readers for thoughtful email and comments with your kindness and concern.

We continue on...
______________________________________

Photo from one year ago today, October 28, 2013:


Last year, we posted this photo of our dinner plates made with low carb, grain, sugar and starch free coconut chicken including the complete, easy recipe.  Please click here for recipe and details.

Update on lava flow on the Big Island...

A lava flow advances across the pasture between the Pahoa cemetery and Apaa Street, engulfing a barbed wire fence, near the town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii on Sunday.
Lava flow from Mount Kilauea.  (Not our photo).
Its hard for us to believe that at this time, when our family members begin to arrive in a mere six weeks on the Big Island for the Christmas holiday that the two houses we've rented may ultimately be in the path of the lava flow from Mount Kilauea as it moves at a rate of 10 to 15 yards an hour.  

However, based on the topography and other conditions the direction of the flow could change at any time.  

Why don't we bail on the two houses now?

For a few reasons.  First, we've paid huge deposits in the $1000's on both houses and until more is known and definitive, we won't be getting these deposits back.  If the reports indicate further that those two houses are in danger, we have no fear that we won't get our deposits back.  Secondly, why change our plans when we don't know for certain that these houses and neighborhood is at risk?

Pahoa's location on Hawaii's Big Island. (Images via Google Maps)
If you look at the point on the eastern side of Big Island, you'll see the village of Pahoa where the lava will reach in the next few day.  The houses we've rented are slightly above the green oblong shaped area on the northeastern coast, closest to Pahoa where it says Hawaiian Beaches. 
Thirdly, finding a location for so many of us is a daunting task at the holidays when everything is already booked.  We both have spent several hours online researching possibilities.  Until we know the course of the lava as it nears the ocean, we cannot commit and lock  in another property with a deposit, even if something was available.

When all is said and done if Tom and I have to bear the added expense, we'll all stay in hotel rooms somewhere on the Big island, eating out every meal.  That's the worst case scenario which we're prepared to handle if necessary.

At present, the lava is currently seven miles from the ocean where these houses are located.  The lava could completely stop, reroute or escalate.  Who knows what Mother Nature has in mind?  Here in Hawaii, the locals speak of Pele, the Goddess of Volcanos and rely upon her favor to determine the outcome.
Lava Encroaches on Small Hawaii Town Prompting Evacuation Notice
In this Oct. 22, 2014 photo provided by the United States Geological Survey, Hawaii Volcano Observatory geologists walk over the surface of the flow to track surface breakouts along a portion of the flow margin, about a kilometer (0.6 miles) upslope of the flow front, as the lava advances on the town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii. Scorched and burned trees are seen at the rear. The growing stream of lava threatening homes is expanding and speeding up as it heads toward the small rural town. Officials say the lava advanced nearly 460 yards from Thursday morning to Friday, Oct. 24, 2014. (AP Photo/U.S. Geological Survey) (Not our words or photo)

It's volcanos, earthquakes and weather conditions that formed the world around us.  Who are we to question the course of these event?  All we can do is, everything possible to keep all of us safe from harm.  That's our objective.

As for the rest, its an inconvenience.  Considering all the "safari luck" we've had in our travels so far, we have little room to complain.  As for worrying, we're not.  Of course, we're concerned and on alert. However, we have no doubt that our family will be safe and in comfortable accommodations to fully embrace our upcoming time together. 

Admittedly, if and when we find out that we need different accommodations on the Big Island, we'll quickly get to work to find an alternative that works for all of us.

Thanks to all of our readers who have contacted us both online and by email with their concerns for our safety.  It means "the world" to us to know you care!

Tomorrow, we'll be back with more photos of Lahaina, Maui which we're excited to share.
_________________________________________

Photo from one year ago today, October 27, 2013:

It was two years ago on this date, that we had Tom's retirement party.  There were over 150 in attendance.  It was a fabulous party.  For details, please click here.

Part 2...The road to Lahaina...Many photos from a great outing in the charming village....

This eight or nine foot exquisitely carved Giraffe we saw in an art gallery in Lahaina sent me to the moon!
Another beautiful day in paradise.  Tom was out of bed before me and opened the two doors for a sweeping, cooling cross breeze.  When I walked out of the bedroom I was almost swept away by the feel of the refreshing tunnel of cool air and the smell of the ocean.  It took my breathe away.  If only there were giraffes and warthogs in the yard, I could stay here forever.

Art galleries are commonly seen in shopping areas of Maui including this one on Front Street in Lahaina.

This stretch of beach along Front Street was a perfect spot to stop and admire the sea.
Often when travelers visit to Maui for a week or two, they stay in the popular Kaanapali Beach, a mile long strip of exquisite beach that was developed in the 1960's. 


This side mall off of Front Street had a tattoo and hair braiding shop, clothing for surfers and more art galleries.

Here's the restaurant we'll soon visit, another location in Lahaina for the popular Cheeseburger in Paradise which we frequented in Waikiki on several occasions due to their great fresh food with options for me.
Our next outing will be to visit Kaanapali and it's seeming endless row of hotels, shops and restaurants after which we'll share many photos of the renowned area.

Glass is a popular tourist purchase in the islands.
In my life BT (before Tom) it is the only place I'd stayed in Maui on no less than 10 visits to the islands over a stretch of several years.  In the 80's it was the place to visit when sun, sand and surf were on the menu.


More art shops.
No doubt, Kaanapali Beach has changed as had the village of Lahaina which we continue to highlight today after our recent visit.  I didn't recognize a thing as I'm sure will be the case in Kaanapali, so many years later.
A small shop sold only these and other wood carved sunglasses.  Tom offered to buy me a pair but I graciously declined.  I already have two near new pairs of fine sunglasses.  Novelty items such as these, rarely appeal to me.
As we walked along Front Street, the main street of Lahaina, where most of the shops and restaurants are located, not a single popular establishment jogged my memory other than a few fish restaurants that may have remained from 25 years ago or more.

Putting the past behind, we wandered along the streets, occasionally staring out to the sea, embracing the charm and beauty of the area.  Yes, the focal points centered around tourists spending money.  But, doesn't any tourist area do the same?

"Lahaina was once the capital of the Kingdom of Hawaii. In the 19th century, Lahaina was the center of the global whaling industry with many sailing ships anchored in at its waterfront; today a score of pleasure craft make their home there. Lahaina's Front Street has been ranked one of the "Top Ten Greatest Streets" by the American Planning Association.

Please see this link for more details about Lahaina.


Ceramics and glass.  Notice the Sea Turtles.
Housing in Lahaina is limited with many homes starting at $2 million.  Rentals are high starting at $300 a night for a studio.  For long term stays it often makes sense to stay further away and rent a car visiting the village at one's leisure.


Many of the shops cater to the themes of Hawaii which the tourists gobble up while here.  Later at home, they may wonder why they purchased this bowl with Turtles climbing in and out.  Cute dust catcher.
We investigated every restaurant we passed as we walked along the road planning to return for dinner sometime soon.  We were pleased to see that the restaurant we'd frequented in Waikiki Beach, Cheeseburger in Paradise, was located on an oceanfront corner on Front Street.  We should visit this restaurant since they had the best Cobb Salad on the planet.

The romantic nature of the Hawaiian Islands is tempting to travelers to purchase expensive jewelry.
We noticed beef and pork options on the menus of the popular seafood restaurants which would be suitable for Tom who won't eat fish other than pan fried walleye.  Guess we won't be finding any of that anytime soon.

This painting appealed to us as we walked by yet another art gallery.  Tom reminded me, "We don't have any walls."  Good thing.
Today, we're staying put to relish in this exquisite day, sitting outdoors, visiting the pool, walking along the beach.  Tom will watch the Vikings game on the app he purchased from the NFL while I chop and dice for tonight's dinner.

Tom spotted these Spam flavored macadamia nuts when we perused the Lahaina General Store which was loaded with interesting items.
Tonight, we're cooking steak and lamb on one of the two convenient outdoor gas grills.  Our biggest challenge of the day...can we find a lighter?  I love that!
________________________________________

Photo from one year ago today, October 26, 2013:


Lion cubs lounging in the sun in the Masai Mara as we shared a few of our remaining safari photos on this date a year ago.  Please click here for details.