Difficulties of travel for some seniors...Aging and endorphins...our bodies own miracle...Want to get high?...Could this be the answer?

A deer at Zoo Ave.
"Sightings from the Veranda in Costa Rica"
Here's another sad loss of a bird, a Hoffman's Woodpecker, that hit the glass wall in the veranda.  This one never came back to life.
Regardless of how one may strive to maintain a modicum of good health as we age, there's only so much we can do.  A healthy diet, regular movement and exercise, sufficient sleep, regular small doses of sunlight, and a positive state of mind may seem to be the panacea for a long and healthy life.  But, it's so much more than that.

We're subject to heredity and the past ways in which we've lived our lives, which at times may not have been the most health inducing for the long haul, having an impact on how quickly we age.

Did we spend too much time in the sun resulting in creepy hanging skin and the potential for skin cancer?  Did we smoke or consume recreational drugs in our youth?  Did we drink alcohol in excess?  Were our lives filled with stress and worry impacting the quality of daily lives and an ability for good sleep? 

A deer lounging in the foliage.
Many of us abused their bodies with too much exercise, or as in many cases, not enough exercise, resulting in bad hips, knees, backs, and joints in general.   When we hear about many of our friends requiring hip and/or knee replacement surgeries, we wonder if there was something that may have prevented the necessity of these big surgeries. 

As yet, is reliable information available to inspire the young to prevent the need for such surgeries in their later years?  Many studies we've read seem to contradict one another. 

Thankfully, neither Tom nor I have any concerns over hip or knee surgeries in the imminent future.  The necessity of such could easily stop us "dead in our tracks" for an extended period, in continuing our world travels. 

An Iguana at Zoo Ave.  We've seen them running across roads at various locations but they run so quickly, it's not easy to get a photo while driving.
When we look back at our lives is there anything that we did "right" to avoid these surgeries?  There's nothing we can recall.  Is it merely a matter of chance?  I can't imagine this is so.

Simply due to the fact we've chosen this life of world travel doesn't make us exempt from age-related health issues.  We, too, like many of you, have signs and symptoms commensurate with aging that no matter how hard we try, we can't seem to escape.

We can eat all the low carb, healthy organic, free range and grass fed chemical-free foods we can stuff into our mouths and accomplish a daily goal of 10,000 active steps on the Fitbit and still, we find ourselves struggling to get enough uninterrupted sleep each night and notice subtle changes in our health as the years pass.

Close up of an Iguana face.
No, we don't spend time worrying about aging.  No, we don't frequently check the mirror looking for changes in the amount of wrinkles, skin changes and gray hair that comes with aging. 

However, it's impossible not to notice a new ache, a new pain or a symptom we may not have experienced in the past.  For us, without a doctor and also confused over the varying opinions of doctors and medical professionals worldwide based on fuzzy medical research and protocols, we often have no option but to try to figure out day-to-day issues on our own.

Of course, if we experienced a possibly life-threatening situation or serious injury, we'll head to the nearest hospital.  We're not foolhardy.

Check out the complexities of this unusual creature.
Oh my gosh, while we've had US news here in Costa Rica, we've been appalled over the commercials for drugs that hardly seem worth trying, with all the risks of side effects, unless a person has a life-threatening condition and all other options have been exhausted.  It's hard to believe, isn't it?

Traveling is good for aging.  The joy, the mental stimulation, and the varied experiences surely must be beneficial for one's health.  We've noticed this over and over again during the past five years of world travel (only nine days until the fifth anniversary of our travels).

The rush of endorphins continually wash over us time and again whether its a result of spotting a little bird alighting on the railing, a cultural experience or the sighting of a lion in the wild.   Endorphins are described as follows from this site:

(contracted from "endogenous morphine") are endogenous opioid neuropeptides and peptide hormones in humans and other animals. They are produced by the central nervous system and the pituitary gland. The term "endorphins" implies a pharmacological activity (analogous to the activity of the corticosteroid category of biochemicals) as opposed to a specific chemical formulation. It consists of two parts: endo- and -orphin; these are short forms of the words endogenous and morphine, intended to mean "a morphine-like substance originating from within the body".The class of endorphins includes three compounds – α-endorphinβ-endorphin, and γ-endorphin – which preferentially bind to μ-opioid receptors. The principal function of endorphins is to inhibit the transmission of pain signals; they may also produce a feeling of euphoria very similar to that produced by other opioids."

Turtles seem to enjoy hanging out together.  Hummm...kind of like people.
Gee...want to get high? Experience life's wonders and feel this exceptional sensation of euphoria and well-being produced by our own bodies.  This has got to be good for aging! 
Hardly a day passes where we don't have an opportunity to experience this indescribable rush.  Perhaps, in essence, this is our choice of "drug" that spurs us on to continue our travels.  Perhaps, this may be the "magic" required to extending our health and the quality of our lives, our joy, and our purpose.

May each day bring you an endorphin rush!


Photo from one year ago today, October 22, 2016:
On our last night in Bali, we shot this sunset photo from the cabana.  For more final photos, please click here.


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