Why did we decide to include home-free retirees world travel tips?

The Golden Temple Amritsar, India
The Golden Temple Amritsar, India as seen through a decorative archway on the religious grounds of the historic Sikh location. Please click here to see more photos from Amritsar.

Note: This post is the second of the 2000 word posts required for SEO. Some of the verbiage may sound repetitive. We’ll be back to our usual post tomorrow. Only three more of these to go. Thanks for your patience. Feel free to read.

As Tom’s retirement was fast approaching and we’d made the outrageous decision to travel full-time, we searched online for travel tips that possibly could point us in the right direction, especially those applying to retirees. When many young people travel the world, even with children, they often stay in hostels, camp, rent or buy campers or caravans and may live very different lifestyles than we were seeking.

At that time in 2012, considerably fewer retirees had “given it all up” to do what we’d chosen to do, travel the world for years to come with minimal possessions with us, no storage facility anywhere in our home state or country, and find a way to make it work being totally home-free. We considered no condo, apartment, or studio-type living quarters as a base to return to should we so desire. We chose to make the “BIG commitment” and for us, that only came when we sold everything we owned, leaving us little opportunity to change our minds if something went wrong, especially in the early days. Always a part of our mission was to include home-free retirees world travel tips.

Our friends and relatives bombarded us with suggestions and travel tips, amid a plethora of travel warnings on all the potentially horrible situations we could encounter along the way, some even life-threatening. We chose not to take heed of their warnings when instead, we chose to do research on our own.

Searching online was little help. We found countless travel tips from travelers who’d been “out there” on their own, as a couple of a family of three or more. But, few were retirees, and most had a place to call home to return to for a break or respite. Of course, today, eight years later, we’ve encountered other retirees, home-free, and traveling the world. But after a fashion, most acquiesced and returned to their home country, recovered their belongings from storage, and began again. Not us. We wanted to do it differently, to truly experience the challenges and benefits of living life on the move, as retirees, with no safety net.

What are the potential challenges facing home-free retirees world travel tips?…

The most frequent travel tip/question most travelers tossed our way revolved around these two topics:

1. What will you do if one of you becomes very ill, when, retirees, due to an advanced age are more likely to encounter health problems?
2. What will you do if something goes wrong or you tire of traveling?

In the first over six years of our home-free world travel lifestyle, neither of these potential issues had any impact on our lives. As retirees, we were healthy, fit, and relatively active. We’d had extensive medical tests before we embarked on our journey, all required dental work completed. As we traveled the world, every few years, we each had basic health checks, blood tests, and dental appointments. All was well until…

The “worse case” scenarios transpired…

While living in a holiday home in the bush in South Africa, in February 2019, I had to have emergency triple cardiac bypass surgery, which resulted in four total surgeries (due to complications) and over the US $150,000 in medical expenses which our then international health the insurance company refused to pay, claiming I had a preexisting condition (I had no idea).

The question many other retirees had asked, “Should such an event occur, what would you possibly do?” Would being home-free prevent us from quality medical care and a place to recover after such a frightening event? It did not. We simply extended our rental period for the holiday home or would have moved to another while I recovered.

At the time, many home-free retirees world travel tips came our way with suggestions for us to return to the US but that tip was preposterous. I couldn’t travel on an airplane for at least three months. We stayed in the wonderful bush house while I recovered sufficiently to again begin our world travel journey. Nothing was holding us back. We continued on for three months in an oceanfront house in Connemara, Ireland as my convalescence continued.

The second question above asks, “What will we do if something goes wrong or you tire of traveling?

Tom and I made a pact when we began traveling the world, as home-free retirees. If either of us ever became tired or bored with traveling the world, we would stop. Even amid the challenges facing us these past few years, neither of us has suggested ending our journey to the other.

Another huge challenge that tested our durability and commitment as home-free retirees, was the pandemic that hit the world in January and February 2020. At the time, we’d just completed a weeklong tour on the renowned Maharajas Express Train from Mumbai to Delhi. After the train, we embarked on a 55-night tour of India, which we had to cut short when COVID-19 presented us with a huge risk of continuing on. Most temples and tourist sites were packed with people, often crowding in small spaces. More, we considered home-free retirees world travel tips from other readers with similar experiences.

We decided the risk of being at crowded venues was too high and started self-isolation on or about March 12, 2020, when we were notified that our upcoming cruise on April 3, 2020 had been canceled due to the COVID-19. As of this writing, we have officially been in India’s government-mandated lockdown which began on March 24, 2020, for a full six months. More and more of our readers write to us each day with tips and suggestions as to what we should do at this point. But, it is our special circumstances and home-free lifestyle that has guided us as to what works well for us.

Considering home-free retirees world travel tips weren’t a factor in preventing us from heading back to the US to hunker down in lockdown. Where would we stay? Ultimately, we decided to stay put in a lovely Marriott hotel until such time as we can continue on our travels. At this point, the pandemic has reached such proportions in the US, we have no desire or plan to return. Also, without a home, it would be difficult to decide where to stay while we waited it out. We’ve been safe in this hotel, although India has been hard hit as well. Only time will tell when we can continue on.

During this period, we’ve received hundreds of tips geared toward our home-free status, as to what we should do. We’ve appreciated all the tips, suggestions, and updates sent by readers, family, and friends. Most of the retiree’s circumstances are very different from ours and what they would choose to do in these circumstances may be very different from our choices.

What do we do as home-free retirees if the lockdown/pandemic continues for more months to come?…

We are safe. This hotel has exercised diligent efforts to avoid a single case of COVID-19 since we arrived. All staff is required to wear face masks and gloves. All staff members live within the walls of the hotel. No one is allowed to clean our room or serve our meals, via room service, unless they’ve been living here for a minimum of three weeks. We are confined to the fourth floor except for those few times we’ll head downstairs to the reception desk to pay our bill. We haven’t been outdoors in six months.

But, when we think of retirees living in a retirement community, most likely they haven’t been outdoors much either. Perhaps, our situation isn’t so unique after all. We’re safe. We have everything we need. We’re relatively comfortable. We do miss socializing and often think of how enjoyable it would be to get-together with other retirees and commiserate over this challenging situation.

But, it appears, as retirees, we’re the oldest people in the entire hotel. The staff and any other guests appear to be mostly in their 20s, 30s, and 40s, at most. Every few days, we receive tips in our email with movies and TV series, we should binge-watch and games we should play to allay the boredom we’re experiencing now. We take many of these tips to heart and find ourselves streaming many fun new series suggested by our readers. This means a lot to us.

How are we emotionally impacted by home-free living?…

Often, we’re asked, don’t you feel lost without “roots?” Our answer is simple from an old adage, “Home is where the heart is.” And, although our hearts are filled with love for family and friends back in the US, as a couple, we have made anywhere we may be living, at any given time, our “home.” That premise prevents us from ever feeling lost and lonely in a home-free lifestyle.

Most home-free retirees world travel tips include comments from those who spent their lives and careers in Minnesota, often leaving to spend their retirement in warmer climates. In most cases, they’ll purchase or rent a condo, house, or apartment in such states as Arizona, Florida, Texas, or Hawaii. Often, they’ll keep their original home and deal with the maintenance of having two homes. This didn’t appeal to us at all.

Instead, as retirees, we chose to be totally home-free; no apartment somewhere; no bedroom in one of our adult kids’ homes with a closet full of clothes; no lease on a storage facility as a safety-net to enable us to “set up housekeeping” once again. This was it, just the two of us and our luggage, the size of which has diminished greatly over the years.

In the beginning, Christmas was a time we had to make adjustments. We’d no longer have a Christmas tree, nor did we have decorations, or a need to bake endless cookies and baked goods. We no longer sent Christmas cards and gifts, instead of sending gift cards to our grandchildren. This commitment required a lot of emotional changes experienced by many retirees who become ex-pats and world travelers.

The hardest time we’ve experienced has been during my recovery from open-heart surgery and now, six months in lockdown in a single hotel room. But, somehow, these two home-free retirees have managed to maintain emotional strength and resilience in the knowledge that in time, we’ll be on the move again.

Will we ever settle down?…

This question has been asked of us over and over again. And, the reality is, we’ll have to at some point. With advancing age and potential health conditions, it may be necessary for us to return to the US and find a place to live. Does this worry us? Not at this point. We’ve survived so much, we both feel confident that when the time comes, as has been the case in every other situation, we’ll figure it out.

Home-free retirees world travel tips often include ways to figure out major life changes at some point or another. We are no exception. The fact we’ll have lived a home-free existence for so many years, makes those decisions only a little harder, mainly revolving around: Where will we choose to live?

We’ve considered the possibility of continuing to live in holiday homes in several parts of the US for three to six months, giving us a further opportunity to see more of our own country in our waning years. There’s also the possibility that in the next few years we may find a country besides the USA where we’d like to live as retirees, again with the principle of renting various, fully-equipped holiday/vacation homes.

In conclusion…

A home-free lifestyle is not for everyone, whether they are a young person starting their lives, a young family, couple, or retirees. We each have our own unique desires and emotional needs when it comes to our chosen lifestyle. If and when we have a need and a desire to be “rooted” to one location, we’ll do so.

World travel is not on everyone’s radar or in their dreams of what will ultimately be fulfilled and purpose-driven. We never knew we had a dream to travel the world as retirees, living a home-free lifestyle. It came upon us in a happenstance manner which is described in our first few posts and many more to come over the years.

As we’re fast approaching our eight-year anniversary since we became home-free on October 31, 2012, we have no regrets from the most exciting adventures to this most recent mundane period, spending over six-months in lockdown in Mumbai, India.

We’re hopeful for the future that in time we’ll be able to continue on our home-free journey to see the world. In the interim, we’ll continue to offer home-free retirees world travel tips as well as hearing from other world travelers. The world is a big place. We all have much more to see and to say.. Stay with us, dear reader. There’s definitely more to come.

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Photo from one year ago today, September 23, 2019:

Pond Cottage, in Witheridge, Devon, UK
The pond next to our house, Pond Cottage, in Witheridge, Devon, UK,  with a few ducks and geese. For more photos, please click here.

Early morning routine…Life of retirees…More photos from cultural coffee farm tour…

Tom holding the broom (escoba) made of vegetation at El Toledo Coffee Tour.

“Sightings from the Veranda in Costa Rica”

Layers of clouds rolling into the valley.

As candid as we are regarding how we live our daily lives, we’re also curious as to how other retirees may spend their time.  Is it so unusual its Tuesday morning at 8:00 am and we’re sitting in the screening room while Tom is watching last night’s Minnesota Vikings game while I busily peck away at my laptop?

The items throughout the cafe each had their own story to tell.

Probably not.  We haven’t spent any of our retirement years living near friends and family which would give us a better perspective of what other retirees may be doing in their spare time, as compared to us.

The El Toledo Coffee Farm’s coffee is nicely packaged.

It’s not a desire to emulate the activities of others.  More so, its simple curiosity, the same curiosity bringing some of you back, again and again, to see “what we’re up to” from one day to the next.

An old fashioned cart.

A big difference for us, besides living in a new country every few months, is the reality of living without a car at certain points, often without easy access to public transportation.  It’s the price we pay for choosing to live in more remote locations.

Every corner of the area was filled with family treasures.

Many world travelers with whom we’ve communicated chose to live in apartments and condos in big cities, heading out each day for sightseeing, dining, and tours. 

Gabriel educating us while we sat at the long table.  We were entranced by his manner of speaking and expertise.

The big city life is far removed from our reality, except on occasion such as our upcoming one-month stay in Buenos Aires beginning on December 23rd, (Tom’s birthday).  Surely during those 31 days, we’ll be dining out (no kitchen), using public transportation for tours and sightseeing and getting out of the hotel room each day to wander about.

Handmade wood boat.

Even us, who don’t mind staying in, don’t enjoy sitting in a hotel room all day and night.  This period of time will give us a good opportunity to get out walking, something we’ve missed here in the villa in Atenas.  The hills are simply too steep to navigate for an enjoyable leisurely walk.

The coffee cafe with its cultural decor was fascinating.

Luckily, on the weeks we’ve had a car (every other at this point) we’ve chosen various types of sightseeing all of which have required extensive walking.  Although these “hikes” aren’t frequent enough to build the level of fitness we’d like to restore, at least these tours, thus far, have kept us on the move.

The clutter was oddly appealing.

As for a day like today…once the football game ends and I’ve uploaded the post, most likely, we’ll spend time out by the pool.  The past three days have been cloudy and rainy by the time I’ve finished the post.  We’re both anxious to get our token 20 to 30 minutes of sun time and spend time in the pool.  Rain or shine, we spend the better part of each day on the veranda with the roof protecting us from the rain.

Once we embarked on the tour we entered this working area.

It’s during those pool times we discuss our dreams for the future; where we’d like to go after visiting the US again in 2019.  At this point, we’re tossing around some ideas, taking into consideration which countries we’ve yet to visit and those we long to see.

Gabriel explaining the use of the space.

Our typical day to day lives, may not be too different than yours, except for a few factors;  we don’t do any household repairs and maintenance; we don’t do yard work; and, we don’t go to Home Depot. 

Wine making area.

We don’t “jump in the car” to drive short distances to visit with friends and family; we rarely go to the doctor; we don’t go to Costco for a fun shopping trip loading up large quantities of food and supplies; we don’t head over the Walgreen’s or CVS for a few items, using these little rewards cards for discounts hanging on our key ring.

Drying racks for the coffee beans.

Then again, most peculiarly…we don’t have a key ring!  How odd it that?

Have a pleasant day!

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Photo from one year ago today, September 12, 2016:

When we watched this activity on the river, we had no idea what was transpiring until we saw they were cleaning the carcass of a cow in the river.  Yikes!  For more photos, please click here.

“It’s always somethin’ Jane!”…

Six years ago today, on November 19, 2013, we posted this photo when we visited the Swahili Beach Resort for dinner at Diani Beach, Kenya.

We can live anywhere in the world and wherever we may be at any given time, life isn’t free from worries and concerns for ourselves and for our loved ones. As we spend more time with family while in Minnesota, we have a first-hand opportunity to witness the trials and tribulations of those we love, often centered around health problems commonly found as a result of aging and other causes.


With our dear DIL dealing with cancer and similarly one of Tom’s sisters and with Tom’s sister, Sister Beth, in the hospital with some unknown illness, we find ourselves worried. Tom spent the better part of the day at a local hospital with DIL Tracy, who is having tests for a worrisome condition, yet unknown, we feel like health issues are everywhere. We hope and pray Tracy will be OK.


No one is exempt from the risks of acquiring health conditions. When Tom met for lunch with several railroad retirees last week, more than half of the group was suffering from one serious illness or another. Railroad workers are often exposed to toxic chemicals in their line of work which may result in serious health conditions later in life.


When we’ve met with his family over these past several days, it’s evident that many are in the throes of recovery from surgery or illness or in the manifestation of a new condition in itself.


What’s happened in this world? Why are so many people getting cancer, heart disease, and a wide array of other life-threatening illnesses? When I think of my own situation, I can hardly blame it on lifestyle or pesticides. I’ve spent a lifetime eating healthy, fresh foods, avoiding sugars, starches and now in the past 8 years, grains.


Of course, there’s no easy answer. For many, illnesses may be age-related, lifestyle-related, environmental, and as in my case, genetic, the most difficult causal factor to change. 


As research, unbiased of course, not funded by Big Pharma, continues in many of these areas, “they” are discovering more on more on the role genetics play in our health throughout of lives. Perhaps, not in our lifetime, but down the road, more discoveries will be made to attempt to avert some of these seemingly inevitable scenarios.


On this topic…as each day passes, I begin to feel a little better. My cough is about 20% better than it was yesterday, now day 4 of antibiotics and Prednisone. I can’t wait to be able to breathe more easily and sleep better at night.


Still, I remain grateful for the quality of care I had at the local Medexpress Clinic and of course, the reasonable fees of $189, plus the cost of the various medications that weren’t too bad. They provided us with discount coupons for the meds! Amazing!


Next week on Wednesday when I see the cardiologist for my early one-year heart check, it will be much more expensive and we’re bracing ourselves for that. Since my heart feels good, I see no reason for a plethora of tests.


As one of the worst patients on the planet, I tend to pick and choose what I feel is appropriate for me, not necessarily what the doctor may order. Many may disagree with this type of thinking but we each have to be our own advocates and do what we feel is right for us.


Taking drugs that cause me to be exhausted, in pain and feeling ill is not on the horizon for me. Quality of life is of the utmost importance and I continually strive to build and maintain such a lifestyle to enhance that possibility.


That’s it for today, folks. Please stay tuned for more mundane updates on family matters. In nine days we’ll be in Las Vegas certainly, there will be a few more photos ops and forms of entertainment to share with our readers.


May you be well, healthy and content.

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Photo from one year ago today, November 19, 2018:
Kudus in the garden. It was always important to feed the animals during the dry summer months in South Africa, during a drought. Vegetation was at a minimum and they often depend on offerings from the visitors living in the bush. For more, please click here.

Southampton, England…A great hotel for two nights…

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The Leonardo Southampton Royal Grand Harbour hotel. (Not our photos).
Fascinating Fact of the Day About Southampton, England:

From this site:

“Southampton is a port city on England’s south coast. It’s home to the SeaCity Museum, with an interactive model of the Titanic, which departed from Southampton in 1912. Nearby, Southampton City Art Gallery specializes in modern British art. Solent Sky Museum features vintage aircraft like the iconic Spitfire. Tudor House & Garden displays artifacts covering over 800 years of history, including a penny-farthing bike.”
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The hotel we selected in Southampton for two nights is the Leonardo Royal  Southampton Grand Harbour is located only minutes to the cruise terminal. For these dates, the nightly rate is GBP 180, US $231.  
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The hotel at night.

We used accumulated points in Expedia and only paid GBP 145.50, US $187.06 for both nights in a king room with breakfast included which we prepaid at the time of booking.



Yesterday, taking our time on the drive and stopping for a light lunch we arrived at the hotel later than expected. Subsequently, we dined in the hotel’s restaurant.  Unfortunately, the lovely couple, Kim and Keith, whom we’d planned to meet for dinner, canceled due to Kim’s bad cold. They didn’t want us to catch it which we really appreciated. There are plenty of germs on cruises as it is.
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One of the many seating areas in the hotel.

As typical for hotels, the meal in the restaurant was good, not great, with prices commensurate with what we’ve observed in the UK these past few months.  Tonight, we may go out or dine in the bar which has a great menu for my way of eating.  


Food is not so important to us these few days when we have the cruise ahead of us where they’ll make everything befitting my restricted diet. In any case, we don’t make cruising about the food.  
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A king room.

For us, it’s the opportunity to socialize with other travelers from all over the world that make cruising special. Now, situated in the hotel bar preparing today’s post at a table close to an electric outlet without much social interaction. We’ll make up for it soon enough. 


My fast dying laptop (almost five years old) requires I work with it plugged in with the battery also on its last leg. On the upcoming cruise, we’ll have to find a spot close to an outlet. 
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Typical English breakfast served buffet-style in the main dining room.


We’ve been able to find a good place to sit near an outlet on the past several cruises. Cruising on this particular ship, Celebrity Silhouette is new to us and we’re hopeful we’ll find a spot close to all the action. 


We prefer not to be isolated when working on the post especially when other passengers stop by to chat. It may take six or seven hours for me to complete one post with all the interruptions but we love the interactions with other passengers and, from time to time, crew members.

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Cruise ships are often waiting in this harbour for enthusiastic cruise passengers.

It’s funny how passengers will say when they see us working on our laptops, “Couldn’t you have left the work at home?”  


We laugh and often say, “This is “home” at the moment.”


Yes, we continue with our daily tasks, handling photos, the posts, financial matters, banking and so forth wherever we may be at any given time. Its the nature of our peculiar lifestyle.


I don’t have anything in the way of photos today. It’s raining and we don’t care to walk in the rain nor do we want to pay a taxi to take us around when we’ve already returned the rental car.  

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This is where we’re seated now as we prepare today’s post.

Yesterday, when we arrived and couldn’t get a signal on the phone and thus we drove around Southampton (population 253,651) and had a good look.  It’s a very nice city but with too much traffic and commotion for us after these quiet months in the English (and Wales) countryside.

The cruise will be the perfect segue back to a crowded environment when afterward we’ll be on Minnesota highways with plenty of traffic, horn honking, and impatient drivers, typical for any large city.

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Map of our hotel and its close proximity to the harbour. Regardless of the weather, we’ll still have to take a taxi to the cruise terminal.

We always say the most courteous drivers in the world are in South Africa. The slower vehicles always move to the shoulder to let others pass on both highways and on dirt roads. We’ve never ceased to be amazed by this phenomenon.  


(Yeah, I know…I miss it, and every day I wonder if immigration will allow us to return and if we can rent the Orange house again…and then if “you know who” will return to see me.)

Well, folks, tomorrow is another “day-in-the-life” of these two nomads as we board yet another cruise, this time a transatlantic crossing. 

Happy hump day to all the working people and happy any-day to the retirees!
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Photo from one year ago today, October 23, 2018:
Single file, from matriarch to baby.  For more photos, please click here.

Life on a farm…An experience like none other…Once again, adapting…

John, our interesting and attentive host farmer has wonderful stories to tell.  A former physician and world traveler, he’s a wealth of information.  He took us on a partial tour of the 150 acres farm.  On another day we’ll see more.

Fascinating Fact of the Day about Devon, Cornwall:
Devon County Council is responsible for 8,000 miles of road – the longest network in the country. The county is home to everything from single track rural lanes across Dartmoor and Exmoor to major highways like the A38 and A30 – as well as the M5.”

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There are chickens, ducks, and geese on the property along with many Dorset sheep.  (Photos coming soon of these adorable sheep which are kept for their wool, not for slaughter.

Many of us have ancestors that farmed.  In Tom’s case, it’s certainly true when both of his parents, grandparents and some of his siblings were born on a farm.  I have no idea if any of my ancestors were farmers.


We both love living on a farm. It must be in our DNA.  It’s hard to imagine living in a typical city when over the past weeks we’ve lived on two farms, reveling in every aspect.  Of course, part of the enjoyment is based on the fact that we don’t do any of the work.

The acreage is diverse and beautiful.

People we’ve met along the way have asked if we “house sit” or work on farms as compensation for living quarters.  As much as they may be appropriate for some travelers, it just not quite our thing.  


We travel as retirees, although we spend hours each day preparing and working on our posts, taking photos and conducting research.  As we mentioned many times in past posts, we don’t feel as if our site is a “job” based on the enjoyment and benefit we derive out of writing our stories each day.  

If the weather was warm, we’d certainly use this pool but is very cool and rains frequently, as it is today.

Should our level of enthusiasm or interest in continuing to post each day ever changes, we may have to reconsider.  But, for now we can no more imagine ending this process than we can in ending our world travels. 

We can only strive to be healthy, diligently watch our budget and be adaptable to the many nuances properties and locations present to us along the way.  None the less, we’ll always encounter situations that aren’t ideal.

A small pond near their house and the barns.  Soon, we’ll share photos of the pond outside our door of the “Pond Cottage.”

In this new location, a well-built former barn renovated to perfection still has some nuances which we must adjust to, mostly small things such as a difficult to navigate stairway to the second floor where the bedrooms and bathrooms are located.


There’s a tiny under-counter refrigerator that requires bending over to access (although there is, much to our delight, a separate under-counter freezer), the bed is somewhat low and not as comfortable as we’d like.  To avoid being nitpicky there are other small things, not worthy of mentioning here.

John planted 600 sequoia seeds many years ago and now there are over 400 trees.

But, we’re living on a gorgeous farm and in a beautiful house and we appreciate being here more than we can say. The owners are over-the-top wonderful and the nearby villagers are kind, welcoming and friendly.  We couldn’t ask for more.


In a funny way, neither of us feel compelled to get out sightseeing right now as we’re immersed in the quiet solitude on this gorgeous property. Tomorrow we’ll head to Tiverton to check out the bigger of the villages in the area.


No doubt during our three weeks here, we’ll get out to see the local points of interest most of which is beautiful scenery.  There is so much to explore here at the farm that we can stay busy for days.  Also, the hills and rolling terrain is ideal for me building strength in my legs.

This is a young sequoia tree but in generations to come, may become as massive as many seen in Northern California.  

Yesterday, our tour with John was interesting and informational.  His and his lovely wife’s love of their farm is evident in every acre of land, the well-kept nature of every building and loving care of their barnyard animals.  We’re honored to have the opportunity to be here, with them only a short distance away, and all the beauty and wonder surrounding us.


Soon, we’re off to Exeter Airport to return te rental car and get another.  We’re hoping the rain stops and the sun comes out so we can explore on the return drive.


May your Sunday be blessed with joy and wonder!

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Photo from one year ago today, September 22, 2018:
“Gee…the eggs are all gone but I think I’ll lay in the bowl to let them know we want more.” Bands of mongooses came to see us almost every day.  Tom would scramble raw eggs for them and serve them in this bowl.  When the eggs were gone, lying in the bowl was a good way to express their enthusiasm.  For more details, please click here.


Dealing with a lack of motivation…

A sailing regatta near Roundstone at dusk.

Fascinating Fact of the Day About Ireland 

“One of the most well-known facts about Ireland is that Dublin is home to
the world-famous Guinness Brewery. In 1759, Arthur Guinness signed a 9,000-year
lease for the land.”
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From time to time we all feel unmotivated to tackle tasks that must be completed, whether or not we have a timeline.  Lately, these past five months, I’ve been seriously lacking in motivation to do paperwork that is piling up.


Throughout our years of world travel, I’ve never failed to scan receipts and log expenses into our spreadsheet.  When we left South Africa almost three months ago, I had logged everything from our time there but I’d failed to mention the total numbers in a post.


At this point in time, I doubt I’ll ever get to that.  For those of you anxious to see what we spent during our 15 months in South Africa, I can say it averaged about Euro 4457, US $5000 a month, including rent, rental car, fuel, groceries, dining out, tours and safaris, travel and miscellaneous.  

There was no less than a dozen sailboats we could see.


These figures exclude massive medical expenses and lost deposits and payments for future travel we had to cancel.  However, the totals include the two trips we made to Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Botswana to safari and tour, in order to renew our visas and, have more fantastic experiences.  


When 2018 tax filing was due on April 15th, I’d only been out of the hospital for a short time and literally could not even conceive of gathering the information for the tax prep necessary to send to our accountant in Nevada.  He filed an extension for us, good until October 15th, 2019.


I’d promised myself I’d tackle this big task before we left Ireland but I think I will hold off until we get to the UK in August.  Hopefully, by then I’ll feel up to tackling this daunting task.  Most likely I can complete this task in two days.

Most of the sails were dark red.


This week I’ve promised myself to scan the receipts we’ve accumulated for Ireland and enter them into the spreadsheets.  Our scanner died but the camera takes decent photos of receipts.  


What makes this task more time consuming is converting from Euros to US dollars.  Of course, we have an app for that on my laptop but it still takes time to do each one. I do all of the currency conversion first, writing the US dollars on the receipt, separate the receipts by category and then enter them.  I will do this task in the next few days.


Why am I so lacking in motivation?  For those readers following our posts on a consistent basis, the answer is clear.  For new readers, the reasons are easily found here beginning on our posts from the later part of February.  This post explains it all along with all the posts that follow to present day.


What do I do all day?  I spend the better part of each day walking in the house.  It requires an enormous effort to walk 5,000 to 10,000 inside on the main floor.
Recently, I added climbing the steps as many times a day as possible, not necessarily consecutively.  It’s getting a little easier each day.

The wind speed seemed suitable for the race.


Spending all morning researching and preparing the daily post, dealing with photos, cooking dinner and taking care of laundry every other day takes up the better portion of the day.  Incorporating the walking and step climbing into the daily routine also monopolizes a good portion of each day.


By the end of the day, I’m done.  After dinner, all I can do is sit in my comfy chair and watch a few shows on my laptop, sent to the flat screen TV via our HDMI cable.  It’s my favorite time of the day when I allow myself to totally relax and unwind.  


Every so often we sign up for various streaming services for a period of time.  Right now we have CBS All Access through Amazon Prime for Euro 2.63, US $2.95 a month, other free shows available through Amazon Prime and Graboid, a for-pay streaming/downloading service we’ve used for years.


Some nights it takes everything I have to stay awake.  But, Tom is good at saying, “Are you awake?” He’s well aware that sleeping in front of the TV can seriously impede a good night’s sleep.  With daylight lasting so long in Ireland, we often don’t head upstairs until after 2300 hours, 11:00 pm.

A nicely horned sheep with a dark face with a white body.


And you may ask, what does Tom do?  He cooks breakfast each day, helps with dinner, does all the dishes and kitchen clean up, all the heavy lifting, vacuuming floors, booking travel-related venues, and checking daily to see if any our booked cruises have had a price reduction.  


A few days ago, he saved us Euro 401, US $450 the day before the final payment was due on the upcoming cruise from the UK to the US at the end of October.  Once final payment is paid on a specific cruise, the cruise lines won’t honor the benefit of a price reduction. Tom is able to get these reductions on many of our booked cruises by watching daily pricing and informing Vacations to Go to lower our price for the same cabin cate.


In addition, he literally waits on me without an attitude or complaint.  If he sees my glass of water or ice tea is low, he’ll refill it for me.  If I didn’t do all the exercise and other tasks, it would be wise for me to turn down his help to force myself to perform more tasks.  At this point, I’m doing all I can.  His help is greatly appreciated and I’ve had to learn to graciously accept it.


Most people have ultra-busy days and nights in this world we live in.  Whoever thought retirement would be relaxing was kidding themselves.  As we’ve heard endless retirees say, they are busier now than when they worked.  How did this happen?


Hope you find time to relax, get in a little exercise, enjoy a great meal, good companionship and appreciate every day of life.  Join me in this, dear readers.

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Photo from one year ago today, July 22, 2018:

Male bushbuck can be dangerous with their sharp horns.  See this article where a farmer was gored to death by a male bushbuck. We loved for them to visit but we kept a sensible distance. For more photos, please click here.

Part 2…Kylemore Abbey…A romantic gift lives on…A tough walk required to explore…

The view across Lough Pollaacapull as seen from the castle’s veranda.

“Fascinating Fact of the Day About Ireland” 

“One of the most curious facts about Ireland takes place in the town of
Killorglin in the 
Reeks District
. Here, a festival known as
the Puck Fair sees a goat crowned as King Puck for three days. The Queen of
Puck, traditionally a local young schoolgirl, crowns the goat.”
____________________________________
   

The story continues today with photos and the history of the Benedictine Nuns of Kylemore Abbey. Here is the link to the property’s website with a wealth of information if you’d like to read further.

Unfortunately, due to the walk up a long and steep hill to the actual abbey, we could only enjoy the views from afar which didn’t produce good photos due to the distance.
As we approached the enchanting Kylemore Abbey Castle. 
Below is a photo which we borrowed from their site of the exterior of the Neo-Gothic Catholic Church.

“For more than a century, Kylemore has been the romantic nineteenth-century Irish castle overlooking a lake in the West of Ireland.  Just a five-minute (steep) walk along the shores of Lough Pollacapull lies Kylemore’s enchanting neo-Gothic Church. 


Kylemore Abbey’s Neo-Gothic Church was built in the style of a fourteenth-century. Described as a ‘Cathedral in Miniature’ this elegant building is a lasting testament to the love of Mitchell Henry for his wife Margaret. On your visit, you may be lucky enough to enjoy one of the many musical performances that take place here throughout the year.”

Please excuse the blurry photo (not our photo) of the neo-Gothic Catholic Church located on the ground of Kylemore Abbey.

“Benedictine nuns of Kylemore Abbey

The present Benedictine nuns of Kylemore Abbey have a long history, beginning at Brussels in 1598.  This was the time following the suppression of religious houses in the British Isles when British Catholics left England and opened religious houses abroad. A number of monasteries originated from one Benedictine house in Brussels, founded by Lady Mary Percy in 1598.
Houses founded from Lady Mary’s house in Brussels were at Cambray in France (now Stanbrook in England) and at Ghent (now Oulton Abbey) in Staffordshire. Ghent, in turn, founded several Benedictine Houses, one of which was at Ypres. Kylemore Abbey is the oldest of the Irish Benedictine Abbeys.
There are numerous religious statues and displays throughout the castle.

The community of nuns, who have resided here since 1920, have a long history stretching back almost three hundred and forty years. Founded in Ypres, Belgium, in 1665, the house was formally made over to the Irish nation in 1682. The purpose of the abbey at Ypres was to provide education and religious community for Irish women during times of persecution here in Ireland.

Down through the centuries, Ypres Abbey attracted the daughters of the Irish nobility, both as students and postulants, and enjoyed the patronage of many influential Irish families living in exile.

Mitchell Henry, digitized portrait who built the castle for his beloved wife, Magaret Vaughn Mitchell in 1867.
At the request of King James II, the nuns moved to Dublin in 1688. However, they returned to Ypres following James’s defeat at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690. The community finally left Ypres after the Abbey was destroyed in the early days of World War One. 


The community first took refuge in England, and later in Co Wexford before eventually settling in Kylemore in December 1920.  At Kylemore, the nuns reopened their international boarding school and established a day school for local girls. 
Margaret Vaughn Mitchell’s digitized portrait.

They also ran a farm and guesthouse; the guesthouse was closed after a devastating fire in 1959. In 2010, the Girl’s Boarding School was closed and the nuns have since been developing new education and retreat activities.”

                            
The property’s peaceful environment, including the Victorian Walled Garden, left us smiling, grateful we’d taken the time and effort for seeing what we were able to see.
Riding boots.  Horseback riding was prevalent in this period.
I suppose this is how it will be with tours at ports of call during our upcoming Baltic cruise.  I can’t imagine I’ll have a lot more improvement in the next three weeks when we head to Amsterdam.  But, I’ll continue to do the best I can to increase my stamina. 
Visitors aren’t allowed to view the second floor occupied by the nuns.
Have a fantastic “hump day” for those still working.  And a great “all-of-the-days-of-the-week-are-the-same” for us retirees!                            
                    ____________________________________________

Photo from one year ago today, July 17, 2018:

That morning’s 17 kudus in the garden.  See video at this link for details.

Yikes!!!…A snake in the bedroom???…Or, what?…Adults only photo today.

A waterbuck with it’s circular shaped marking on its rear end.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

Only 3% of birds on the planet have penises.  For a scientific perspective in an article entitled “Ostrich penis clears up an evolutionary mystery,” please click here.

Yesterday on the N4 Highway not far from the entrance to Marloth Park a male lion was spotted on the highway and reported as follows:

A lion spotted by motorists along the N4 near Marloth Park in Mpumalanga is thought to have escaped from the Kruger National Park.
A lion spotted by motorists along the N4 near Marloth Park in Mpumalanga is thought to have escaped from the Kruger National Park.
A lion spotted by motorists along the N4 near Marloth Park in Mpumalanga has been darted and captured.
A spokesperson for the Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency Kholofelo Nkambule told SowetanLIVE that the lion would be returned to the Kruger National Park from which it is understood to have escaped.
“The lion has been found and darted. It is ready to be sent back to the park where it escaped from‚” said Nkambule.
The lion was sighted in the early hours of Sunday by motorists who posted a video and pictures on Facebook.”

This story created quite a flurry of activity on the various Marloth Park pages in Facebook which we followed throughtout the situation, pleased to discover the lion had been darted and returned to Kruger National Park by helocopter.  Thanks to all the local people including Marloth Park rangers for participating in this successful recovery. 

Ostriches strutting their stuff!
Our friends Lois and Tom will be arriving here in 15 days traveling on that same road from the airport.  We didn’t send them this link to avoid any concern they may have prior to arriving here and becoming more informed and familiar with such occurrences.
Crossing the road…

None the less the situation caused quite a stir on social media in Marloth Park and of course, we enjoyed reading about it throughout the day.

Also, yesterday a Marloth Park resident posted the above photo of a venomous boomslang snake devouring a lizard from her veranda.  Quite an interesting sight to see. 

This morning when the power had been out for several hours and we weren’t able to finish the post, we jumped in the little car for a drive through the park.

Giraffes, like most animals in the wild are always on the lookout for food.  From this site:  “In Africa, there is a rainy season which allows giraffes to feed on fruits, leaves, twigs, and water but there is also a drought season when they will try to forage for all that they can, mainly acacia trees and bushes. During this rainy months they eat deciduous plants, and during the dry season, the evergreen plants are more consumed. They eat between 34 and 75 kg of vegetation every day.”

At the Crocodile River, we spotted five lions but we were too far away for good photos.  Now back at the house at almost 1:00 pm, we’re settled in for the remainder of the day and evening.

From this site“The giraffe’s main predator is the lion, which can accelerate to almost 50 miles per hour. His second worst enemy, the hyena, can reach 35 mph. If a lion and a giraffe ran a race side by side, the lion would beat the giraffe to the finish line. However, the giraffe is not about to give a predator an even start. He uses his great height and excellent eyesight to spot a pride of lions as far as half a mile away and gets a head start. Lions can sustain their top speed for only about a hundred yards, so they run out of gas before the giraffe does. Hyenas can be more dangerous because they hunt cooperatively. They can take turns sprinting to keep the giraffe from slowing down to catch his breath.”

It’s not as hot today as it had been several days last week.  It’s a paltry 30C (86F) but oddly with no rain for months, its humid today.  The holidaymakers are beginning to leave after the long weekend but many still remain.

Giraffes move quickly so when we spot them we always stop for photos and to observe their fascinating behavior.

There are lots of cars on the road and more will come when the school holidays begin this week.  As a result, we’re hardly seeing any visitors other than bushbucks, helmeted guineafowl, mongooses, and a few warthogs.  

Giraffes crossing a dirt road in Marloth Park.

Once the commotion thins out in a few weeks, it will be quiet and peaceful with visitors clamoring in our garden for pellets, carrots, apples, and eggs.  We’ll stay busy in the interim doing our favorite pleasurable activities; daily drives to the river; dinner out each week at Jabula Lodge & Restaurant where the food and companionship are divine; socializing and entertaining friends for dinner (this coming Saturday); and continuing to post stories and photos each and every day.

It’s dark in our bedroom.  Upon awakening, with Tom already outside on the veranda, I took a peek out the window to see if we had visitors.  Then I noticed this and backed up slowly and calmly.

As for the above photos of what, at first appeared to be a snake, I called Tom into the bedroom and he grabbed the huge telescopic pole he uses to chase off monkeys and baboons, and carefully approached the scene.  

When Tom grabbed the telescopic pole to pull this out from behind the wooden chest, he discovered this.  See story below.

Oh, good grief.  It was his belt which had fallen behind the wooden chest. We couldn’t help but laugh out loud especially as we’ve recalled the situation several times since that morning.

Do we ever get bored?  Never.  Certainly not in this environment.  But, like many other retirees throughout the world, on occasion, we conjure up some added activity to keep us enthused and thoroughly entertained.


Oops, gotta go!  Ms. Bushbuck just arrived.  The pellets are ready for her along with some iced cold carrots, apples and lettuce…her favorites.


Have a spectacular day!

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Photo from one year ago today, September 24, 2017:

Elephant topiary on the church’s grounds and topiary in Costa Rica.  For more photos, please click here.

Part 1…What to bring for an African safari….Lions…we can’t get enough..

Male lion checking his surroundings while he rests.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

Lounging poolside.

As more and more travelers, especially retirees from all over the world, decide to fulfill a lifelong dream of going on a safari, tourism to Africa is increasing exponentially according to many online reports.  


Many come to Africa for its beautiful beaches and luxury resorts, for business  and surprisingly, only 15% actually come for tourism as shown here at this link, stating the following (see below photo):

Female lion at a further distance, hard to spot from afar.

“More than 30 million tourists visit Africa every year. Over half of the international arrivals are for business purposes and may partake in tourist activities as well, while 15% travel for pure tourism and 30% visit friends and family.”


As a result, many travelers struggle with what to pack to bring for, a let’s say a two-week visit to Africa, in order to go on safari.  Of course, it depends on where you’re staying and the dress codes or suggestions based on your chosen bookings.

Female lion lounging.

While in Zambia, we discovered that the Royal Livingstone Victoria Falls Zambia Hotel by Anantara required male guests are required to sports coat to dinner in the upscale dining room and women must wear dressy clothing.  During the day, the guests may be on safari and at night be prepared for a more formal dinner.  


This may sound appealing to those seeking luxury accommodations but for most travelers intent on an all-encompassing safari experience, a more casual and laid-back environment may be more appealing.

The long distance across the Crocodile River made taking photos a challenge

There hasn’t been one occasion in almost 17 months in Africa (combined two visits, one in 2013-2014 and our current stay) have we ever felt underdressed or too casual for any dining establishment.


Here in Marloth Park and Kruger National Park, all restaurants and venues allow wearing appropriately styled shorts, shirts, and women’s tops as long as they are in good taste.  Sandals and flipflops are generally accepted as proper footwear.

Male lion soaking up the warm sun.

One must always consider the weather which can change dramatically in minutes whether on safari, sightseeing, shopping, and dining.  High winds, rain, and temperatures can vary considerably and one must bring suitable attire for those occurrences.


With our friends Lois and Tom coming to stay with us for three weeks beginning October 9th, yesterday we sent them a lengthy email making suggestions as to what to bring for their stay in Marloth Park, keeping in mind most likely we won’t be visiting any fancy establishments in the near proximity.  This is bush country.  Fancy is not required here.

Male lion at rest.

However, if one is staying at a resort or upscale bushcamp it might be worth inquiring as to any special dress codes when booking your stay.  Thus, today’s suggestions are based on a casual environment, not those staying in upscale luxury resorts that may include packing a few extra items suitable for specific events and occasions.


The question always arises as to whether or not to purchase insect repellent clothing.  Cost is a big factor here since most of these items can be expensive, as much as ZAR 1506 (US $100) each. We opted to purchase shirts, pants, and hats before we came to Africa in 2013.  

Female lion lounging on the dry grass

It was a wise decision for our extended current stay and we’re still wearing those items on occasion today, especially when on safari or outdoors during the spring and summer mosquito season.  In most cases, the special clothing will withstand 70 washing before losing its built-in repellent effectiveness. 


Also, travelers can purchase permethrin which can be added to existing clothing for protection for shorter periods, which can save considerable cost.  When we decided to return to Africa for our current long-term stay we purchased a few new insect repellent items on eBay, brand-new with tags. The cost was at least half as much as retail and we’ve been thrilled with our items.  

Waterbucks are beautiful animals.

Clothing:
1.  Shirts, pants, shorts, socks, good walking shoes (tennis shoes are OK) or boots.  
2.  A cool cotton scarf to cover one’s face in the event of an insect swarm and/or high winds.
3.  Swimsuit, if sunbathing or swimming is desired.
4.  Water repellent jacket (weight depending on the time of year) and other such cover-ups in the event of cold weather.
5.  Hats to protect face and neck from the sun and the elements.  Some safari vehicles do not have a covered roof, although most do.  
(During a self-drive into Kruger National Park, for example, one is generally not allowed to exit their vehicle, making one’s attire is of less importance.  But, being prepared in the event of an emergency should be a consideration.
6.  Clothing colors:  Bright, colorful clothing is not suggested as it may attract insects.  In keeping with the African theme, beige, tan, khaki and white are most appropriate while on safari keeping you cool and less attractive to a wide array of insects.
7.  Cool casual clothing/shoes for everyday living, dining, lounging, and sleepwear, if worn.  

Impalas grazing on the bank of the Crocodile River.

Tomorrow, we’ll cover digital equipment needs, adapters and converters, toiletries and prescriptions, insect repellent and miscellaneous items you may find useful.


Please check back for Part 2!

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Photo from one year ago today, September 12, 2017:

Tom holding the broom (escoba) made of vegetation at El Toledo Coffee Tour. For more photos, please click here.

A tour of the visually enticing and historic city of Livingstone, Zambia…Twenty years from now?…Is it possible?…

A craftsman at work encouraged us to take the photo.

“Sighting of the Day in Zambia”

Everywhere we travel in Africa and other parts of the world, we see women, not men, carrying heavy baskets atop their heads.

We prepared today’s post yesterday after uploading the post for August 19th.  With a plan to leave the hotel in Livingstone with Steve from Chris Tours picking us up at 7:00 am, we realized there would be no time to prepare a new post for today.

Our driver dropped us off at this outdoor arts and crafts market in the center of town.

Luckily, the editing site in blogger allows us to select a time and date we’d like a particular post to be automatically uploaded.  This has proven to be invaluable for our commitment to post a new story with photos each and every day.

We encountered some of the most “assertive” vendors we’ve seen anywhere in the world, comparable to those in the souks in Marrakesh, Morocco.

No doubt, this commitment we made to our worldwide readers many years ago has kept us on our toes when we have activities planned that impinge upon the hours of the day we reserve for doing our posts.

Only one vendor refuses to allow us to take photos. (Not necessarily this one).  We respected his wishes.

Yes, I know.  Some of our kindly readers have written saying, “No worries, miss a post or two from time to time.”  Thanks to all of you for your support!  However, if we miss one or two posts here and there, suddenly we may find ourselves missing four or five or ten or twelve.  

The items offered for sale consisted of inexpensive jewelry, Africa themed arts and crafts, fabrics, clothing, toys and such.

We all know how this goes.  Change a consistent habit or process and suddenly it gets away from us.  It’s kind of like being on a diet…only one piece of cake and then I’ll go back to my diet.  

Often tourists can’t resist buying items for their homes.

Well, we know what happens then…a leftover piece of cake beacons us sitting in the fridge in the morning calling our name and once again we re-commit to the diet after we’re done eating this “one last piece.”

With no intent of making purchases, we wandered through the busy area stopping to appreciate some of the items.

Writing these daily posts is one diet we want to stick to, as long as we continue to travel the world and perhaps even after when we can’t continue any longer due to health as we age.  As long as I still have my wits about me, I can’t imagine ever stopping.

Colorful dolls with handmade detail.

Imagine, we had to stop traveling due to health concerns or merely old age and we were thrown into the reality of staying put.  How we handled this may be of some interest to others for both retirees and working folks.  

It appeared many shoppers could easily be locals shopping for themselves and for gifts.

At this point, neither of us can conceive of living out our lives without this magical way we approach each day.  But, most likely, someday, it will happen.  When I think that in 20 years, God willing, I’ll be 90 years old, its hard to imagine doing what we’re doing today…riding on bumpy dirt roads on safari in Chobe National Park in Botswana.

There are numerous banks and financial business in town.

I’m sure some travelers out there have done this at 90 years of age.  Please point them out to me.  I’d love some inspiration that it’s indeed possible, if not likely.  Tom will be a measly 85 years ago…quite the youngster.

A typical day in the city of Livingstone.

When I think of how fast the past 20 years flew by, it makes me realize how quickly the next 20 will come.  So, missing a day’s post is not in my wheelhouse.  Each day counts.  Each moment counts and our intent is to continue to live each one to the fullest, sharing our story with all of you.

We waited for our driver to pick us up while people watching on the busy street.

Tomorrow, we’ll be back with a short post since we’ll be on safari all day once again.  However, we’ll upload a few photos from today’s safari and a few snippets of this return experience to Botswana.


May each moment of your day be special.

________________________________________


Photo from one year ago today, August 20, 2017:

Lavender bougainvillea on the grounds of La Perla, villa in Atenas, Costa Rica.  For more photos, please click here.