Booked three more cruises...Returning to US for a family visit...New beach photos...



Surfboard menu at a local restaurant in Trinity Beach.
There was no doubt in our minds that sooner or later we'd return to the US to visit family.  We visited my cousin and uncle when our cruise ended in Boston staying for three days last September.
We'd chosen that specific cruise in order to see them with my uncle who'd recently turned 95 years old.  Who knows when we'd ever be back in Boston?  It was a wonderful visit and then we were on our way once again.

Holloways Beach.
At that point, we didn't stop in Minnesota since most of our kids and all of our grandchildren were coming to see us in Hawaii for Christmas, only seven months ago. 

A two week stay in Minneapolis can easily run over US $5000, AUD $6734 with the high cost of hotels, rental cars and meals.  With the cost of bringing 12 family members to Hawaii, we had to tighten our belts and stick with the budget and the itinerary (as we always attempt to do) preventing us from any other stops along the way at that time.

House on a hill in Yorkeys Knob.

It will be wonderful to see our family and friends and most assuredly, our stay will be a flurry of non-stop activity however long we may stay.  As time nears, we'll pin down the dates we'll be in Minnesota, Nevada and Los Angeles.

Planning this far in advance is crucial for us when we notice cruises posted as "sold out" or cabins we may have wanted to book already taken.  Early booking is vital especially around the South Pacific, where all of these newly booked cruises will be sailing.  Aussies love to cruise.

A sunbather on the beach.
Not counting the upcoming Vietnam cruise next year we have six cruises booked in the South Pacific.  After considerable research, we discovered that Australia is too huge to tour by car with visa restrictions preventing us from staying more than 90 days. 

With Australia the size of the US with the major points of interest around the perimeter, driving for foreigners like us is not a likely nor affordable way to see this massive continent.  Cruising is the ideal way to see.  Two of these cruises we booked over the weekend, visit the entire perimeter of Australia.


A camping area in Trinity Beach.
We've seriously investigated renting an RV but the cost, is outrageous, more than the daily cost of cruising.  And, honestly, driving an RV for months no longer appeals to our way of life.  We don't liked feeling locked in for so long.

As much as we prefer not to bring up expenses as often as we do, the reality is clear...there's no way to do what we're doing long term without constantly being aware of expenses. 

Camping and caravanning is popular in Australia.
There's no way we'd want to put ourselves in a position of "worrying" about finances.  Currently, the way we budget and carefully follow that budget, we have nothing to worry about. We remain concerned and diligent neither of which elicits a sense of worry in our case.

Rather than list the finite details of each cruise here, which can be less interesting for those who don't cruise, tomorrow we'll post a brief synopsis of these three new cruises. 

This sign is posted outside a restaurant in Trinity Beach.
Soon we'll be posting our general upcoming itinerary which encompasses over 600 days, including two gaps we've created by booking these cruises which we'll fill in time, most likely staying in Australia or its surrounding islands. 

The interior of Lunico restaurant in Trinity Beach.
Tom has been busy for weeks planning all of these cruises busily typing away on his laptop on Cloud 9.  He loves doing this.  On the other hand, I have little interest in booking cruises.  Point me in the direction of a cruise ship and I'm content.

This reminds us that we could dine out on occasion.  But, with my restricted way of eating its not so appealing.
Thus, the total number of cruises we have booked at this time including the Mekong River cruise is a total of seven.  This reminds me of our early days when we had eight cruises booked right out of the chute even before we originally left the US. 

Sitting outdoors at the restaurant overlooking the ocean is appealing now that its not raining almost every day as it has since we arrived one month ago.
We've loved every single cruise each with their own unique merits including the experience of three days and nights of raging seas on the Norwegian Epic in 2013.  Its all been a part of our vast experiences of traveling to see the world.

There are lots of pizza and pasta restaurants along the beaches.
What better way is there to see a lot at one time than cruising?  Yes, there are crowds, germs, mediocre food and occasional periods of waiting to board and disembark. 

We've always giggled over seniors partaking in "early bird specials." Now that we're in that category, we totally get the benefit of early dining, often finding ourselves at the dinner table by 6:30 at the latest.  We've haven't tried the 5:30 dining time yet but most likely its in the future.
Overall, cruising has provided us with many memorable experiences of making new friends and seeing so much of the world which far surpasses any potential annoyances.  Plus, we had a blast with the Aussies on this last cruise to Sydney and we can't wait for more social interactions with these warm and friendly people in this highly conducive environment.

The sky will be blue as shown in some of these photos and in a short period its raining again.  Many days, I've put on my swimsuit in the morning, hoping the sunny day will continue and we can sit outdoors for 30 minutes (sun too hot here for longer) for a dose of Vitamin D.  Invariably, by the time I upload the post, its cloudy or raining and I change into my clothes.
This afternoon, we'll head back to the doctor for my test results and then get to work on Tom's upcoming exams and tests.  Hopefully, all will be good and we can continue on with added peace of mind.

We've been here over a month and how the time has flown.  We like it here.  Its a good place to live and we're content.  What more could we ask for?
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Photo from one year ago today, July 13, 2014:

Tom always says I don't post enough photos of myself.  I'm not your basic "selfie" type person obsessed with photos of myself.  There's a lot more interesting scenery than me posing for one of Tom's less than stellar photos, many of which I'm compelled to delete.  Here I am in front of a decorated tree trunk in Ribeira Brava, Madeira last year. For more details, please click here.

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