Filling in the gaps...It was about time to start booking for the future...


Louise and her adventurous son Jandre (who recently returned from an exciting two months in Thailand) stopped by for a visit and sundowners last night.  There was a bowl of nuts for the humans and a bigger bowl of carrots and apples for the wildlife.
"Sighting of the Day in the Bush"
After Louise had seen our photos of Little coming up the steps to the veranda, we all laughed out loud when he did it again while they were here.  
In years past, six to be exact, we always stayed on top of filling in gaps in our itinerary.  As a matter of fact, during the first few years, we were always completely booked for two years in advance.

As time has marched on we've found it isn't necessary to have every gap, every hotel, every vacation rental, every car rental, and every flight booked so far in advance. 

However, we've found it necessary to know where we'd prefer to be in the upcoming two years, enabling us to research.  Also, we never show up in a country without reservations for a hotel or holiday home.  We have no interest in "winging it."
We're always thrilled to see giraffes in Marloth Park.
Traveling the world has been a learning process.  When we started in 2012, there wasn't a training manual on how to do this.  Over the years many travelers have asked us for advice and we've been delighted to share our best tips for those considering embarking on this lifestyle.

Recently, we read that over 1,000,000 Americans are traveling full-time.  There were so few when we started six years ago.  At this point, we often wonder how many have been traveling, without a home or apartment or motorhome, without storage, or without a car, who've been traveling for six years or more.

If you've been "out there" for longer than five or six years, we'd love to hear from you and compare notes.  We've met many who've traveled in a motorhome for decades.  To us, that's a home of sorts and generally, those who've made this choice, generally stay on one continent, most often their home country to avoid immigration issues.
They often stop eating to check us out.  Once realizing we're aren't a threat, they return to eating the leaves on the treetops.
Many years ago long before we ever decided to travel the world, we discussed the idea of owning a motorhome and traveling the US but dismissed it entirely when the discussion came up in January 2012, of traveling the world.  

We didn't want the responsibility of owning "stuff" packed into a "moving home" nor did we care for the idea of the upkeep, maintenance, and daily management a motorhome requires.  For many, they do this with ease and enthusiasm.  It just wasn't right for us.

Oddly, as world travelers, we aren't that big on long road trips.  We never have been.  This fact has inspired us to find countries, towns, villages we'd like to visit and stay put for a month or more as we make every effort to learn the culture, adapt and blend in.
At quite a distance, a hippo we spotted yesterday on our usual drive.
From this perspective, we've gleaned the best experiences we could ever expect and we look forward to the future as much now as we did in the beginning.  Plus, in the process, we've learned to "live in the moment" wherever that may be.

This one year stint in Marloth Park will be our last long-term stay (beyond three months).  It was only this magical place that inspired us to stay for such an extended period.  When we return in December 2020, we'll only stay in South Africa for 90 days, avoiding any potential immigration hassles.

It wasn't that we haven't loved every moment in Marloth Park.  We've had a fantastic experience that ends in a mere 61 days.  It will be hard to leave our human and animal friends.  
But, it will be time to move on and resume our continuing travels throughout the world, not staying too long in any one location.  There's still so much world left to experience.  Health provided, we'll continue for as long as we can.

Recently, we'd considered going to Rwanda to see the gorillas.  But after careful review of our budget and upcoming expenses (many flights, two cruises and the balance on the amazing Kenya tour in February), we decided we needed to hold off on that adventure until we return to Africa in 2020.
A pair of cape buffalos grazing at the river's edge.
These decisions aren't always easy but practicality must prevail in our lifestyle if we intend to be able to continue on indefinitely at this point.  We are not wealthy people, as some world travelers, we've encountered along the way.  We must remain frugal and sensible at all times.

But, in the process, we've learned how to find great holiday rentals, at prices affordable for our budget.  Of course, pricing is often subject to how long one stays and of course, the good exposure the landlords acquire from our online promotion of their rental properties.  These two facts alone have played a big role in making this work for us without sacrificing living in nice properties.

With the Kenya tour beginning on February 22, 2019, and the South Africa visa requirement that we depart on February 15, 2019, suddenly we were looking at a week we had to fill between these two dates.

The question became, how expensive could we make this week and still stay within the budget.  Hotels and resorts in Kenya are expensive considering the quality we prefer.  

A four elephant family spending time together at the river.
Since we'll be embarking on the extensive and expensive Greg Harvey safari photographic tour (click here for details) for 15 nights beginning on February 22nd and after all the safari and wildlife experiences we've had in South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Botswana over the past year, we decided to keep costs down and spend a quiet week in Nairobi, Kenya.

We won't be sitting around the hotel day and night.  There are several sightseeing venues we'll explore while there which we'll share with photos along the way.

Last night, we booked the hotel, close to the airport where we'll leave the bulk of our luggage when we take off on the 22nd and return to on the last day, according to the itinerary of the tour.  This way, we won't have to move all of our stuff leaving us more time to do what we'd like during the one week stay.

We booked the Four Points by Sheraton near the airport at a cost for seven nights of ZAR 22764 (US $1582) which includes breakfast, wi-fi, and a king deluxe room.  Our additional expenses will be tours, transportation, tips, and the evening meal. (Neither of us eats lunch or snacks during the day based on our way of eating that totally eliminates daytime hunger).
A mom and youngster at the Crocodile River.
We also booked a hotel in Nelspruit, fairly close to the airport, for one night on February 14th since our flight to Kenya departs early in the morning.  With the over an hour drive from Marloth Park to the airport with potential road delays we've experienced in the past, we decided to take no risks and stay overnight in Nelspruit.  

Next, we'll be getting to work on booking our flight from Nairobi, Kenya to Santiago, Chile on March 7th or 8th.  The Kenya tour ends on March 7th, (which is the date of our wedding anniversary) and we haven't decided if we'll stay one more night in Kenya or head directly to South America the same day.  We'll know once we check out flights in the next few days.

So there it is folks.  The beginnings of filling in the gaps in our itinerary over the two years, all of which we'll continue to post here as we go along.

Tonight, we're dining at Jabula Lodge and Restaurant with Rita and Gerhard and Kathy and Don, who are returning to Marloth Park for the holidays.  We have lots of exciting plans with our friends over the holiday season and for Tom's birthday as well on December 23rd.

Have a fabulous weekend!
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Photo from one year ago today, December 15, 2017:

Note the snow-covered pointed peaks in the Chilean Fiords.  For more photos, please click here.

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