Day 11...Circumventing the Australian continent...Quite a day in US politics...Interesting email from a loyal reader...Medical emergency one year ago!


A small rescue boat anchored to the side of the ship.
"Sightings on the Ship in Australia"

Not sure what this display is about...footballs of some sort?
With the election behind us, we can now return our focus to life aboard ship.  That's not to imply that our focus has diverted from having a great time. But it has been on the minds of most Americans and others worldwide for some time. and often the topic of conversation among our fellow passengers, both Americans and Australians.

I'm looking forward to being able to read the posts and see photos of family, friends and readers in Facebook without the toxic vitriol espoused by those expressing their personal views of either candidate. 

At times over this past year, I'd considered giving up on FB but its also been a great means of seeing family and friends photos and staying in touch across the miles of sea between us. 


Clothing for sale in one of the ship's shops.
Hopefully, now and in the future, opinions will be focused on our own efforts to make the US and the world a better place with love, understanding and compassion in the forefront.  Amid that, supporting our new President's efforts will surely unite our country whether we agree with his plans and ideas at this time.  Time will tell.

Speaking of our readers, yesterday we received this letter from a long time loyal reader Tom met long ago on another cruise.  Of course, I asked her permission to post her letter to which she happily agreed.  I've also included my response.

Please see below:

"Jessica, you and Tom have been our inspiration. 
 
We just sold our house and our things are about to be given away/stored for now.  We have taken a severance package from our employer. 
 
Our plan is a 2 year adventure for now.  I have been reading your blog since we briefly met Tom on Brilliance of the Seas TA (I have written before) a few years ago now.  We begin in January.  Our plan is similar to yours, avoiding flying, cruising to destinations and Air Bnb etc monthly stays in cities we like, along the cruise repositioning routes.  (Continued below).

Men's clothing.

have learned a lot from your site.  I still have not decided which direction we are going yet.  I couldn’t plan as this all happened rather suddenly (sold our house while cruising to Australia lol).  Any advice about direction?  Follow the sun for warm weather..(Australia, New Zealand first, then Singapore to Dubai, then Suez canal to Europe) or do
 
South America followed with a Transatlantic with summer in Europe?
 
I hope you enjoy your Transpacific on Explorer of the Seas in April.  We did it both ways this year.  If you ever make it to Pt Vila Vanuatu you must tour with Atmosphere tours and ask for a guide named Alfred – he is passionate about his culture and a fabulous guide.  Best guide we have ever had.
 
In closing I wish you and Tom all the best and continued happy and healthy travel.  The memories of the life you are leading mean more than all the “stuff” people have.
 
I hope we run into each other on a future cruise.  Would love to chat.
Elaine"

Logo wear.
We replied as follows in bold type:
 
"Elaine, how excited we both were to see your message.  We're so excited for both of you embarking on your own adventure.
 
Its not easy answering your questions when so much is predicated by what appeals to you both to see over the next two years.  Our desires may be entirely different than yours.
 
We both believe your best guide is to make a list of where you'd like to visit and then using the world map, map it out so you don't waste time and money jumping all over the globe. (Continued below).

Perfume and cologne shop.

We don't like big cities but you may.  We no longer care if weather is ideal.  We're looking for the experience.  We don't care to live in apartments.  You may find this works for you.
 
Since our focus is wildlife and nature, you may find historic buildings more interesting.  If we never enter another old building, we'll be fine.  But, Africa is calling us for another visit in 15 months.  Antarctica in on the schedule for 14 months. 
 
You see, how its so hard to say where and when to go.  Our tastes are all so diverse and unique.  But, I will say we've love NZ and AU.  By the time we leave the South Pacific for a 9 week family visit, we'll have spent almost two years in this part of the world.
 
Thank you so much for reading our site.  You have no idea how much it means to us if we've inspired you even one iota.  We'd love to hear what you decided to do and wish we could be more helpful.
 
May I copy and paste your email to our site.  We won't use your names but what a great story to share!
 
Warmest regards,
Jess & Tom

Tourist trinkets.

Then, Elaine responded again:
"Sure go ahead and post my email Jess and Tom.  Thank you for your responses.  They actually do help a lot.  We want to do Antarctica too and the Northwest passage.  We must see the pyramids in Egypt.   Two years probably won’t be enough, but as long as finances hold and we don’t get tired of travelling (not likely for us) we probably keep going.
 
One more question for you.  Which are your favorite booking sites?  Vacations to Go?  For cruises...VRBO for bookings (have you had any bad experiences with bookings?)  Favorite Airlines (sometimes a necessary evil)?   Any favorite ways to save money...ie Airline Miles plans etc.  Diamond status is lovely isn’t it.  We just hit it on our last cruise and I expect it’ll be great.
 
Quote “You have no idea how much it means to us if we've inspired you even one iota”  (Continued  below)

Bargain tables with handbags.

Our whole idea for doing this began with the posts by Tom made on Cruise Critic which led us to your website, talking briefly to him and reading your words each morning before I go to work.  We always intended to travel, as we do already now, but not to just cut loose and go.  That cutting loose is what is enabling us to finance this trip by investing our money. 
 
The next 7 weeks are going to be crazy!  We love Australia too, but have never been to New Zealand. I’m not sure what our focus is yet.  We’ve seen many historic buildings already.   I love art and sculpture.  My husband loves history.  Wasn’t Petra amazing, but I could do without that walk in the heat!   I think we just want to go everywhere and see and experience as much as we can, while we can, make memories for when health fails us and have no regrets.  So exciting to see all the wonders of the world we’ve heard about all our lives.
 
I’ll email our choices once I figure them out!  Wish I had more time to plan, but what a wonderful conundrum to have!
 
So, Thank you both once again.  You are changing our lives.
 
 Elaine"

Scuba, beach and snorkeling products.

Our dear reader posed some excellent questions as shown in blue above from her most recent response.  Due to space and time limitations today, we'll answer the above questions in blue in tomorrow's post.  Please check back.
 
Have a beautiful day!
__________________________________________

Photo from one year ago today, November 10, 2015:
One year ago, we visited the dentist in Fiji when Tom developed an abscessed tooth. The bill for the dentist visit was surprising at FJD $6, USD $2.76, AU $3.60.  The two antibiotic prescriptions were "free' when we walked across the parking lot in the local hospital's pharmacy.  For the full story and photos, please click here.

2 comments:

Elizabeth Banks said...

I am in utter awe of you guys, who have the confidence to sell up all and fulfill long held dreams of travel. I am unsure if I want to travel, and with the wonders of our technological age I see many thing that I never imagined through wonderful television documentaries and on the Internet. I agree with Elaine, that a regular truthful blog with stories from the horse's mouth, often gives far more of a real picture and flavour of the culture and country than the usual common views of well visited locations.
Good luck on your planning and travels Elaine. The world is an amazing place!

Jessica said...

Liz, we are so appreciative of your kinds and flattering comments. Elaine will be pleased to see your thoughtful wishes for she and her husband. The world truly is an amazing place.

In today's world the readily available media showing us the world is often satisfying enough for some who'd prefer the avoid the hustle and bustle and demands of travel. But, for some of us nomad types, first hand is all that will do.

Love to you both,
Jess & Tom

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