Finding vacation homes…Not so easy…Holes to fill in our itinerary…

 

This was one of our favorite spots located on William Esplanade in Palm Cove Beach due to the colors reminding us of the village in Placencia, Belize from so long ago.

With a 65 day gap to fill one year from today, we’re chomping at the bit to fill this spot with somewhere we’d love to visit. It isn’t as simple as it may seem.

Our proximity at the time is a huge factor. We’ll be at the fabulous house in Bali located in a lovely area for 59 days (visa restrictions) to be returning two months later for two more months. We were provided an excellent price for our two separate stays and loved the property so much, we couldn’t resist the two separate visits.

The Palm Cove Beach Club. In Australia, many accommodations and parking spots are made available for disabled visitors as shown in this parking spot.

At the time when we checked flights and vacation rentals in and out of Bali, we didn’t think we’d have trouble finding a place to stay. Per our previous philosophy of advance planning as much as two years out, we now realize that waiting may have been to our detriment.

With the slow wifi here in the house, which Tom uses, and the cost of the SIM card I’m using, searching is costly and time-consuming. My connection is excellent with the SIM card but I can easily use one gigabyte a day at a cost of AUD $8.74, USD $6.69 per day. 

Spas and beauty shops also were readily available in the area.

This amount is less than our monthly cable bill in our old lives, less than a flavored coffee at Starbucks or a single cocktail in a bar compared to the daily use of one gig. In this context, it doesn’t seem like so much after all, especially when we have so few other expenses; car, fuel, rent, food, health club, and occasional entertainment.

Today, we’ll continue the search which now over the past year will have changed in a very important manner; locations we may have considered in the past are now less safe to visit for obvious reasons we see daily in the world news. Of course, we all know that there is no country or island in the world that is exempt from these horrific possibilities. 

The Palm Cove area wasn’t developed until 1986, making most of these venues less than 30 years old.

Caution will always prevail in our lives, but our sense of adventure and desire to see many parts of the world will also play a big role in where we decide to go. After all, we’ve already been to many of the areas that we wouldn’t visit now as war and strife have escalated in the past few years. We continue to review warnings from the US Department of State Travel information that we take seriously.

There were some apartments and permanent residences along the esplanade.

Let’s face it.  We’ll always make mistakes in our planning. In essence, we probably shouldn’t have booked the second stay in Bali. But, now we’re committed after paying a substantial deposit which we’d forfeit if we canceled. 

There were a number of resorts and hotels interspersed among the row of restaurants along the beach boulevard.

Did we learn a lesson? Of course, we did. It’s the same lesson we learned in staying in Kauai for over four months. Did we have a great time? Yes! Better than ever expected. 

But, without a doubt, it was too long. Ironically, we booked Bali for this extended period over a year ago. We’ve learned a lot in this past year and we continue to discover more and more as to what works for us as we continue on. 

The restaurants were varied in their ethnicity and styles of food.

At no point will we ever say we have it all figured out. With the world changing around us, we continually adapt and change accordingly. Also, with more and more experience we discover circumstances that appeal to our wants and needs.

These two side-by-side restaurants have thick vinyl windows to protect the diners on windy and rainy days and nights.

We aren’t putting ourselves in a position of urgency in selecting how we’ll choose to fill this gap. In looking at a map, the options are plentiful. In considering our budget, the options dramatically change.  We accept the possibility that filling this gap may ultimately cost more than we’d hoped.

Once we fill this spot, we’ll certainly share the details and costs here, not hesitating for a moment to share the reality of having to spend more than we intended. It’s all a part of the reality of our lives. 

The Williams Esplanade in Palm Cove has one restaurant after another.

We have certain criteria and expectations which include a quality place to live, in a good neighborhood, a living room with a good sofa, with interesting views, wifi (if possible), a full kitchen, and on-site laundry facilities. We don’t like typical apartments in a big city which if we can avoid we will. Don’t hold us to this. We may have to change our minds as time marches on.

A number of shops occupied this small shopping center along the boulevard.

It’s Sunday here in sunny Australia. We plan to stay “home” today, spend time on the veranda, make a nice Sunday dinner, and get back to work on the search to fill the gap. 

We hope your day is filled with sunshine!

                                            Photo from one year ago today, June 28, 2014:

Veranda view from our upcoming home in Fiji where we’ll be living in a little over two months. We’d booked Fiji a year ago today. For more details, please click here.

 

Newspaper story about our adventure…

We’ve got press!  The story below was published in the Chanhassen Villager and other western suburbs publications. Some of the facts aren’t accurate, such as Tom ha two sons and my having a son and daughter, when in fact, it is the opposite. Guess that’s how media works. We won’t fuss about the details. 

The story hits the major points.  Our readership has catapulted in the past few days since the story was published on January 3, 2013, the day we sailed on the Celebrity Century out of San Diego.  Thanks to all of our current readers and our new readers for following us!  Thanks to our wonderful friend Chere Bork who was highly instrumental in getting the story in the right hands and son Greg for finding the article and posting it.

 Here’s the link to see the article in the paper.  Please give it time to load. 
 
 
Former Chanhassen couple begins worldwide adventure

Tom and Jess Lyman

Posted: Thursday, January 3, 2013 5:06 pm | Updated: 8:15 am, Sat Dec 29, 2012.

 Bon voyage. Today, Jan. 3, Tom and Jess Lyman, former Lake Minnewashta homeowners in Chanhassen, begin their worldwide wandering. They sail from San Diego today, go through the Panama Canal to Fort Lauderdale, then sail to Belize, then Africa, and Europe and beyond. They may be gone for five years or 10 years, depending on their health and other circumstances. They don’t plan to stop until they find the destination of their dreams or until one of them is tired of living out of a suitcase or just plain wants to stop.

The Lymans won’t be on the road constantly. Instead, they’ll use a series of cruises (already booked through 2015) to transport them to and from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic, to South America, to Europe, to Africa, and then to Hawaii. In between they’ve booked rental homes where they’ll stay no less than one month and no longer than five months at a time. Their rentals include a condo in Dubai, a home in Tuscany, a beachside cottage in Kenya, a home in the Kruger National Park Reserve in South Africa, and a 16th-century stone house in Cajarc, France. They’ll plan on meeting their families on the Big Island in Hawaii for Christmas 2014 where they have a rental and plan to stay through March 31, 2015.
Looking toward retirement.
Nearly a year ago, as Tom Lyman looked forward to his retirement from Burlington Northern, Minneapolis, at the end of October 2012, he and Jess, his wife of 21 years, discussed what they might do once Tom retired. Jess had retired in 2010 after a career in real estate and professional management.
Tom is 60, Jess is 65. Each had been married before and divorced. When they met more than 20 years ago, they recognized kindred spirits and eventually married, blending their families. Tom has two adult sons. Jess has an adult son and daughter. Between the two, they have six grandchildren.
Like scores of other baby boomers, the Lymans considered renting a condo, townhome, or small home in Florida or Arizona in winter, spending their days golfing, socializing with similar snowbirds, relaxing, and enjoying a slower pace.
After 43 years working 14-hour days and enduring a daily two-hour commute, being able to spend more time at home with Jess and his genealogy hobby would be welcomed.
But as they talked, they realized that doing the same old, same old didn’t have much appeal. As a couple they’d spent most of their free time at their Lake Minnewashta home, working on home improvements and entertaining their circle of friends.
“It was time to step outside the box,” Jess said. “Tom and I had both married young and had children in our 20s. We always had to be responsible and our lives revolved around our families.”
Life change
As they looked at approaching retirement, they realized it would be more enjoyable if they were healthy. Although Jess was always slim and fit, she had chronic pain and had high blood sugar. Tom was 40 pounds overweight.
About a year and a half ago, the couple changed their diets to low carb, gluten-free, sugar-free, wheat-free, and starch-free. Tom lost 40 pounds and Jess’s chronic pain went away.
“We’re in good health now,” Jess said. “That was our goal, to be in good health in our retirement. I could not have done this three years ago. The food thing is such a big thing. We don’t eat any grains, not oatmeal, quinoa, any beans, corn, or rice. It literally changed our lives.”
Can we afford it?
While their bodies became healthier, they had to do a similar checkup on their finances.
Jess and Tom ran the numbers. How much would it cost to do the typical retiree thing? They created spreadsheets of their cost of living if they did the typical retirement community life. They estimated their costs for housing, food, clothing, entertainment, and utilities, dental, medical and prescriptions, household goods, car upkeep and maintenance, and everything else they could think of.
And then they compiled spreadsheets of the costs of traveling. The cost of staying in rental homes, not only in the States but in Europe and Africa, food, transportation, special insurance, passports, visas, technology to keep them wired and in touch with family and friends.
“Our baseline was, ‘How much would it cost to rent a condo in a warm climate? How much would we spend a month in retirement?’ That was our magic number,” Jess explained in a phone interview two weeks before their January departure. “Could we make our travel number match that number and not tap into Tom’s pension? We didn’t want to do this and get into financial jeopardy.”
After a lot of research, number-crunching, and Internet research, the numbers worked.
But it would mean a drastic change to their lifestyle. Instead of settling into a warm climate condo to call home base, the Lymans decided they’d travel, trying out different locations and seeing the world until one of them didn’t want to travel anymore. No home, no car, few possessions except what they could pack in six pieces of luggage.
World Wide Waftage
Jess describes herself as a detail person. How detailed? Visit the Lyman’s website called World Wide Waftage at http://worldwidewaftage.blogspot.com/
It’s the culmination of online research “eight hours a day, seven days a week,” Jess explained. Their website is organized into categories: Tom and Jess’s blog posts, itinerary, travel documents, medical issues, health insurance, travel costs, smart decisions, planning mistakes, Internet access, products they like, vacation houses, cruises, retirees, baby boomers, and senior concerns.
It’s so complete it prompted the question, “Are you going to write a book about how to plan for a trip around the world?”
“I’ve always wanted to write,” Jess said. “I always thought that when I retired that I would write. But I needed to find a vehicle to inspire me. So I decided to do a blog for our family and friends to avoid constantly emailing.”
In addition to the emotional preparations the couple is experiencing — saying goodbye to children and grandchildren, selling their home, having an estate sale and the reality of living out of six suitcases, Jess writes about all the small details necessary to make such a trip as worry-free and efficient as possible; details like getting wills and living wills written and into the hands of a trusted family member, doing taxes while out of the country, explaining why a second passport is necessary for the type of traveling they’re doing, questions to ask when buying a mobile phone for international use, arranging for a year’s worth of prescription meds, what to know about health insurance, getting Wi-Fi in remote parts of the world.
“When we planned our retirement and our plans to travel, we asked ourselves, ‘How well can we do this?’” Jess said. “It’s predicated by our health. If we get tired, we’ll stop.”

 

The challenges of posting daily with photos…One year ago today we left South Africa for Morocco…A sad goodbye…

 

With little wildlife in Kauai, other than chickens and roosters, we find ourselves more attracted to birds than we’ve been in the past. These Zebra Doves are commonly found in Kauai although not native to the Hawaiian Islands.

When we first started posting in March, 2012 we seldom posted photos. During the early period, I posted every few days, occasionally adding a photo as we were in the early stages of planning to travel the world. 

The marina in Port Allen, Kauai.

For those of you who entered our site somewhere in between, here is our first post from March 14, 2012, posted without any photos.

As time marched on, I began to write more frequently. When we realized that adding photos was to be an integral part of this site, gradually we added photos, more and more as my skills reach a level where it wasn’t embarrassing to include my feeble attempts at photo taking.

A view from a single lane bridge we crossed along Highway 56.

In March 2013, a full two years ago as of tomorrow, we began to post daily, including photos, only missing a few days here and there due to a poor wifi signal, power outages, or travel days. Although on most travel days, we’ve posted something, albeit short and without photos.   

It’s ironic that there were milestones in March in both 2012 and 2013 but it’s a mere coincidence. Sometime this upcoming summer we’ll hit our 1000th post. It’s hard to believe I’d consistently do one thousand of anything, let alone write every single day. We’ll certainly mention that day when it arrives in July.

The mountains, a few days before the rains.

I’m not tired or bored with doing this nor is Tom with his fact-checking, research, and proofreading. It’s a labor of love coupled with a passion for sharing our sometimes exciting, sometimes mundane, lives with those who will listen. I suppose if I started reading such a continuing story I’d always be curious as to what happens next.

We’ve thought about whale watching tours such as this but after spending over $400 on such tours with no sightings, we tend to hesitate to book another.  Perhaps, we’ll wait for whale watching in the South Pacific.

No words in this amateur writer’s vocabulary can possibly express the gratitude we both feel for our loyal readers who follow along with us even on the dull days with few exciting photos or with photos they may find less interesting. 

A hazy zoom to houses built into the side of a mountain.

My photo-taking skills continue to grow but can only grow as fast as the quality of the camera we have at any given time. On our third camera since we first left the US on January 3, 2013 (we left Minnesota on October 31, 2012), we still have a long way to go. When does an amateur photographer ever feel they can stop learning or improving their equipment?

Rock gardens always baffle us as shown at Russian Port Elizabeth. Of course, in August, 2014 we visited Stonehenge, the premier rock garden of them all.

One of the biggest challenges has been having enough photos to share each day. Its on our minds daily, where shall we go to take more photos? At times like this, when its been raining for three solid days, neither of us have much desire to get out and walk or even drive looking for photo ops.

Not all beaches in Kauai are sandy and pristine. 

At any given time, I have no less than 50 photos I’ve yet to post which I keep in a folder on my desktop, each day moving the photos I’ve used that day to a permanent file. On occasion, when we do post the same photo more than once, I say so in the caption. That’s not to say I don’t make an error from time to time. Gosh, try to write an essay with photos everyday and not make mistakes.  It goes with the territory. 

If perfection were the objective, one would tire of doing this rather quickly. Knowing our readers give nary a thought to our occasional error, I go at it each morning between 7:00 and 11:00 am (our time) with a passion only I can explain. Its been almost three years since the first post, two years since posting daily.

A breakwater with a warning light and a small fishing boat.

This morning as I perused our remaining yet unseen 78 photos, I contemplated the nature of a theme in the photos, which invariably I attempt to include although not always mentioned. 

Today, I’m at a loss so please bear with me. There is no theme, no rhyme or reason to these photos and perhaps those over the next several day’s photos as the predicted week-long rain continues.

One day we stopped by the Kilauea Lighthouse which was closed for the day, hoping to see whales. We’ve yet to tour the lighthouse with it been so crowded on the days it’s open, Tuesday through Saturday, 10 am to 4 pm. We didn’t see whales but will return for a tour as the tourist season wanes in a few months.

Once the sun shines again, we’ll be back out walking and driving enjoying the wonders of Kauai, telling our story in both words and photos, sharing them with all of you the next day.

Luckily, although its raining, we still have a social life. Today, we’re off to friends Richard and Elaine’s lovely home for a midday party with another couple we’ve yet to meet. There’s no doubt it will be a delightful day, although indoors, as we revel in the privilege of having friends in Kauai.

A craggy shoreline in our area of Princeville, where most beaches are located below a steep and treacherous cliffs, often inaccessible. A mere 10 to 15 minute drive will take us to exquisite sandy beaches as shown in past posts.

As soon as I’m done here, I’ll make the second dish I’m bringing to share upon my own insistence. Yesterday, I prepared the first dish. Since our cozy condo is simply too small for entertaining anyone other than ourselves, we feel highly motivated to bring a dish (when appropriate) when visiting other’s homes.

Rain, snow, or shine, we all tend to find ways to keep ourselves entertained and hopefully, engrossed in whatever we choose to do. Happy Saturday!

                                             Photo from one year ago today, February 28, 2014:

We took this photo, our last sunset in South Africa, as our plane headed out of South Africa. Tears welled up in my eyes not only when saying goodbye to our many friends but also to the many visitors that oddly came to call over the last several days as if they knew we were leaving. (Oh, well. Its romantic to think that anyway). Someday, we’ll return. In the interim, our hearts are filled with memories we’ll carry with us for the rest of our lives. For details from that day as we made our way to Morocco, please click here.