Lump sums due this week...The Kauai Path...more tomorrow...A year ago, a cart and a cart pusher in Marrakech...



Although we haven't had a sunny days in almost a week, we'd saved these photos to share as a reminder that soon the sun will shine again.
We knew the month of March would require a few good-sized lump sum payments for vacation rentals and cruises. These big payments are a part of our lives and try as we may, we still cringe a little when they come due.

Kealia Beach as we walked along the Kauai Path on a sunny day.  When the weather clears we'll return another day to walk the opposite end of the path we've yet to explore.
Then again, we don't have utility bills, cable bills, yard service and household repairs and maintenance.  Instead, we prepay rent for two to three months, in full, well in advance of occupying the premises. 

The jetty at the beach in Kapaa.
When most travelers pay for a vacation rental or hotel, most likely they are paying for one or two weeks.  For us, the month's long rentals often require amounts due close to $10,000.  For cruises, there's often a balance owing after a deposit of $5000 or $6000.

This week, we'll pay the second payment for the Trinity Beach, Australia house of $3115, paying the balance one month before we move in date of June 11, 2015.  The cruise we're taking from Honolulu to Sydney on May 24th has a balance owing this week of $5110. 

A map of the Kauai Path on display when we began the long walk to the right from the center.
Therefore, this week we'll shell out $8225.  The upside of this is that our rent will be paid up through September 8, 2015.  In May, we'll pay for the next rental in Fiji and so on.  Although we're always paid well in advance we continue to have future rental balances payable in advance. 

Keeping careful documentation is a vital portion of our travels.  At any given time, we can reference our Excel workbook for up-to-the-minute records of all of our current and future expenses, travel dates, reservations, itinerary and so on, copies of which we store in two separate clouds, an external hard drive and two laptops.  That's backup for you!

We've yet had to leave a beach unable to find a parking spot, even on the most perfect days.
Of course, I cringe a little when these sums are due and sigh with relief when the payments are processed, putting it all behind me.  How do we pay these?
The balance of the rental is usually paid via PayPal which charges fees for processing. 

In some cases, the owner will pay the PayPal fees and in other cases after we've negotiated a good rental rate, we may agree to pay the fees.  If an owner is providing us with a good discount for our extended stay, you bet we'll agree to pay the fees.

The shore wasn't sandy at varying points on the Kauai path yet a few sunbather's found a more private spot.
As for the cruises, as we continue to work with Vacationstogo.com for the best fares, they automatically charge our credit card on file on the date the balance of the full fare is due usually 75 to 90 days before sailing depending on the cruise line.  Once paid, we receive a paid in full receipt by email. 

The cruise lines have varying schedules as to when and how much one may recovery if they cancel after the payment is made.  The policies are clearly defined in the cruise documents with a rare exception for an alternate option in case of emergency. 

At certain points, the shore was filled with lava rock.
It's always sad to read about passengers with a need to cancel a cruise when illness strikes and their frustration when they can't get a refund.  Sadly, its the nature of the beast. 

Speaking of cruising, last night we watched the new TV show, "Escape."  This first two hour episode in the series was the sinking of the Costa Concordia in January, 2012.  We both watched in silence, our mouths agape over the horrifying events of this tragic situation and loss of life.

Had a pair of lovers recently made this heart?
When the show was over, Tom asked me if it had an effect on me regarding our five upcoming booked cruises. The biggest effect on us both was from the loss of lives and their family member's grief and sorrow and, the trauma suffered by the survivors.  We'd originally heard about this a year before we took our first cruise.

Of course, we'll think about it next time we go on a muster drill and pay even more attention than in the past and again from time to time when we hear unusual noises aboard ship.  Human error.  Its rampant and at times the cause of tragic events. 

A determined fisherman stood on the rocks hoping for the "catch of the day."
As much as we'd all like to have a guaranty of safety in our lives and a guaranty of good health, these simply aren't available.  But, we can choose not to worry over those situations over which we have no control and which, most likely, will never occur.

As for any angst over lump sum payments, once they are done, I always let it go.  We've budgeted for these expenses, we've made them affordable and they are a part of the amazing life we've chosen to live.

We'd just missed a photo of a whale's full body breach.  Darn it!
Happy Monday to those who still work.  Find peace in knowing that someday, you'll have the time to live your dreams, whether its reading a good book on the veranda, planting flowers in the garden or stretching yourself to do that which you never imagined you'd do.

As for retirees...why do you care that its Monday?  We don't.
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Photo from one year ago today, March 2, 2015:

Once our driver delivered us from the airport in Marrakech to the Medina we were met by Adile, one of the four staff members of our "riad" located in the heart of the souks and, the cart handler who wheeled our luggage to the property.  It was quite a walk through the Medina and the souk.  We were exhausted from the long flight and layovers but, the excitement energized us as we took in the unbelievable sights before our eyes.  For more details and photos, please click here.

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