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

The Golden Temple Amritsar, India
The Golden Temple Amritsar, India, is 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 verbiages 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 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 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 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. As retirees, we wanted to do it differently to truly experience the challenges and benefits of living life on the move, 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 are more likely to encounter health problems due to an advanced age?
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, we each had basic health checks, blood tests, and dental appointments every few years. 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 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 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 for three months in an oceanfront house in Connemara, Ireland, as my recovery 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 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 considerable risk of continuing. 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, our particular circumstances and home-free lifestyle have 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 we could continue our travels. At this point, the pandemic has reached such proportions in the US, we have no desire or plan to return. Also, it would not be easy to decide where to stay without a home while we waited it out. We’ve been safe in this hotel, although India has been a hard hit as well. Only time will tell when we can continue.

We’ve received hundreds of tips geared toward our home-free status as to what we should do during this period. 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 differ 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, they most likely 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 miss socializing and often think of how enjoyable it would be to get together with other retirees and commiserate over this challenging situation.

At most, the staff and any other guests appear to be mostly in their 20s, 30s, and 40s. But, it seems, as retirees, we’re the oldest people in the entire hotel. Every few days, we receive tips in our email with movies and TV series, we should binge-watch, and games we should play to alleviate 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 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 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 significantly diminished 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 mailing 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 most challenging 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, we may need 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 significant 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 more complicated, mainly revolving around: Where will we choose to live?

We’ve considered the possibility of staying 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 we may find a country besides the USA where we’d like to live as retirees in the next few years, again with the principle of renting various, fully-equipped holiday/vacation homes.

In conclusion…

A home-free lifestyle is not for everyone, whether a young person was starting their lives, a young family, couple, or retiree. We each have our 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 plan to travel the world as retirees, living a home-free lifestyle. It came upon us in a happenstance manner described in our first few posts and many more to go over the years.

As we’re fast approaching our eighth 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 we’ll be able to continue on our home-free journey to see the world in time. 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 prominent place. We all have much more to see and to say.. Stay with us, dear reader. There’s more to come.

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 was 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 about how other retirees may spend their time. Is it so unusual it’s Tuesday 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, it’s 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 significant difference for us, besides living in a new country every few months, is the reality of living without a car at specific 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 was 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 occasions such as our upcoming one-month stay in Buenos Aires beginning on December 23rd (Tom’s birthday). Indeed 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 will give us an excellent opportunity to get out walking, something we’ve missed here in the villa in Atenas. The hills are too steep to navigate for an enjoyable leisurely walk.

The coffee cafe, with its cultural decor, was fascinating.

Luckily, in 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.

We discuss our dreams for the future during those pool times, where we’d like to go after revisiting the US in 2019. At this point, we’re tossing around some ideas, considering which countries we’ve yet to visit and those we long to see.

Gabriel was 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 keyring.

Drying racks for the coffee beans.

Then again, most peculiarly…we don’t have a keyring! How odd is that?

Have a pleasant day!

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.

Up and running again…Fun lunch in the RV park with a memory from childhood..

Yesterday, we stood in front of the Weinermobile for this shot taken by another participant.    

Last night, I left Margie’s home and the buck euchre card game we were playing (Colleen took my spot) to return to our rental. Margie insisted we use her car while here, which Tom used to drive me back. I was anxious to continue working on my laptop issues, knowing I would post today. Sorry for yesterday’s missed post.

We both chuckled when we spotted the Weinermobile.

As it turned out, the cursor wasn’t working after many efforts to fix it, and the lighted keyboard stopped working. Finally, I restored the laptop to factory settings after saving all my files on a portable hard drive. But then I had to start all over to reinstall all my apps and files, which took hours.

By 11:00 pm, I had everything up and running again with most of the apps reinstalled. Later today, I will continue to work on the apps I’ve yet to install and should be done with the process by early afternoon. I’d spent at least an hour on the phone with Acer technical support, but they couldn’t resolve the issues. Frustrated, I left it alone and was anxious to get back to it last night.

Tom didn’t return from playing cards at Margie’s until 3:00 am. There’s no way I would have lasted that long. I slept poorly when I finally went to bed since Tom wasn’t there. When he returned, he fell asleep immediately, and I did the same. I was glad he could spend quality time with his family. We both look forward to playing cards with them again soon.

Yesterday, there was a fun activity in the park, the arrival of the Oscar Meyer Weinermobile for free hotdogs starting at 11:30 am. Let’s face it, people love free food, so there were over 200 standing in the queue and dining at the many tables and chairs in this popular area of Robert’s Resort.

Neither of us had seen the Weinermobile since we were kids, and it was fun to see it again. I stood in line with Tom to get an extra hotdog for him with his favorite topping when I wouldn’t eat a hotdog with or without a bun. He enjoyed them, as did the family, and we had a lovely time sitting outdoors on a nice 80-degree day.

Excuse my finger in front of the lens. Hotdogs were set on a table as they were prepared on a portable grill.

Here are some fun facts about the Weinermobile:

“POP CULTURE AND MEDIA

Oscar Mayer will pay you $35,600 to get behind the wheel of the iconic Wienermobile—here’s how to apply…

Oscar Mayer is looking for someone who would relish the opportunity to get behind the wheel of one of America’s most iconic vehicles.

Tom entered the Weinermobile for these photos. Cute, eh?

The processed meat giant has launched a nationwide search for its next crew of Hotdoggers — paid spokespeople who drive the brand’s famous hot dog-shaped Wienermobiles around the country.

The company is hiring 12 drivers to get behind the wheel of the 27-foot-long vehicle, which is equivalent in length to 54 wieners laid end to end.

The Hotdoggers’ main responsibility is to represent Oscar Mayer daily as they drive the 87-year-old Wienermobile around America between June 2024 and June 2025.

“It’s like they’re running a PR firm on wheels,” says Ed Roland, who runs the Wienermobile program. “They’re key content contributors to all of our social media channels. It’s some of the highest performing content for all of [parent company] Kraft Heinz.”

Oscar Mayer has a fleet of six Wienermobiles. Hotdoggers will travel in pairs and be expected to host over 200 pop-up events over the course of the year. They will be responsible for “pitching and appearing on local television, radio or newspaper media,” according to the job listing.

There were more seats than we expected inside the Weinermobile.

If you want the gig, be ready to present your driving record. The average driver travels 20,000 miles each year, Oscar Mayer says, visiting at least 40 cities.

“It’s a lot like an RV,” Roland says. ”[Applicants] do not need a CDL or any special driver’s license.”

The role will require Hotdoggers to work on major holidays and spend the majority of their year away from home.

The listing says that the one-year assignment will pay a base salary of $35,600, with an additional weekly allowance of $150 for meals and personal travel. Hotdoggers will receive health benefits and 18 days of paid time off, and their hotel expenses will be covered.

In a typical year, the Wienermobile program receives between 1,000 and 1,500 applications for the 12 open slots but has gotten as many as 7,000 in a single year.

Tom was handed a Weinermobile whistle.

Oscar Mayer will accept applications through the end of January and says that bilingual candidates, in particular, are encouraged to apply.

You can apply for the role here.”

This might be a fun experience for retirees who want to supplement their income, although the pay isn’t much, and see the US at the same time. However, it was quite a task to set everything up to cook the hotdogs, prepare the toppings at every stop, and clean up after the event ended, only to get back on the road again to the following location.

Enjoy our Weinermobile photos, which bring back memories from our youth.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, April 5, 2014:

A close look at the pastry cart. Tom wasn’t interested in any of these treats. If I could eat them, I’d go for any of them. For more photos, please click here.

We made it to Arizona…

Leaving Las Vegas.

We were out the door in Lake Las Vegas by 9:00 am. Tom got The Ford Expedition rental from Budget as a free upgrade. We had food and lots of miscellaneous items that we’ll haul to Cleveland in the next 90 days.

The drive was pleasant and uneventful, although it rained intermittently. We stopped for a restroom break at the only rest stop in the last hour of the five hours, but they had no restroom. Weird. Nor did we stop to eat when the only restaurants we passed were fast food.

By 2:00 pm, we pulled into Robert’s Resort in Apache Junction and checked in at the office. There was a long queue, resulting in about 45 minutes to check in, and finally, we made our way to our unit, a short distance from the three homes of Tom’s three sisters. Tom unloaded the vehicle while I got to work putting everything away.

We had more “stuff” this time than we’d had in years, but it wasn’t an issue when we’ll be on road trips. When the time comes for us to fly again, whenever that is, we’ll have lightened our load considerably, back to a maximum of one bag of clothes for each of us and one bag with supplies.

As we unloaded the vehicle, Tom’s three sisters, Margi, Colleen, and Mary (and husband Eugene), stopped by to say hello. I had already started unpacking, but I chatted with them in between. We planned to come to one of their three homes once we were done and had something to eat. We hadn’t eaten all day.

It was a pleasant drive through the Lake Mead area.

With only eggs and cheese on hand, which neither of us felt like eating, we decided to forgo having dinner. We munched on snacks at Mary and Eugene’s place. When we returned to our place around 8:30 pm, I ate a protein bar from the batch I’d purchased at Walgreens. Tom didn’t have a thing but felt it wouldn’t hurt him to fast for a day.

The TV here is so small that we won’t be able to broadcast our streamed shows. We’ll use my laptop to stream anything when we have time. In the next week or so, we’ll buy Tom a new laptop with an outlet for our HDMI cord. His computer is three years old. and is due to be replaced. He’s happy with the Chromebook concept and a small 14′ monitor. When we can’t use a TV monitor for streaming, we will always use my larger laptop.

The bed was comfortable, more than the memory foam bed we slept on in the condo in Lake Las Vegas. It is very soft but enabled us each to get a good night’s sleep. I never awoke during the night, but I awoke early and bolted out of bed, ready to start the day.

While at Mary Ellen’s house last night, I prepared an online grocery order. It arrived at 7:00 am when I’d scheduled it from 10:00 to 11:00 am. Go figure. I have decided to use a different grocery store for future orders since I was disappointed with the small sizes of many items. I may not have better luck with a different market. With all the retirees leaving this area for spring and summer, they only offer petite sizes of most products.

As an example, Tom suggested that this may be because most seniors don’t purchase one-pound blocks of aged sharp cheddar cheese or large packages of romaine lettuce. While we still had the Expedition this morning, we headed to the market to fill in some items and purchase bottled water. The tap water here is not safe to drink.

In total, we spent over $250 on groceries, which is about $100 more than we’d been spending in Las Vegas. We have enough food to last for one week. Prices are very high here.

At this point, we are entirely settled. We unpacked the items we’ll use while here, and somehow, we managed to make space for everything in this small place.

We’ll be fine. It’s not my ideal vacation home scenario, but it’s fun to visit with Tom’s sisters and Eugene. As always, we’ll make the best of it while always enjoying being together, regardless of where we are.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, April 2, 2014:

I tried to get a photo of all of the Seven Pillars that represent the original builders of the city of Marrakech. In the fast-moving traffic, this was all I could capture. For more photos, please click here.

Why are we more busy now than before we retired?…What’s the deal?…

Lovely fresh flowers were on the table when we dined in Marrakesh, Morocco.

When I think back to our old lives, before we started traveling in 2012, I don’t know how I ever accomplished all the tasks necessary to manage our lives and household. Often, I heard retirees mention that they were busier in their retirement than when they worked.

Tom worked 12-hour days, with two hours of driving time (an hour each way), and when he got home, he was exhausted and had no time to help manage a household. He didn’t shop, cook, or clean in those days. I often worked 12 hours a day during my career, but it was nowhere as taxing as Tom’s work. Also, there were many days that I worked for eight hours, leaving me time to do what I needed to do to keep things running smoothly in our lives.

As mentioned in yesterday’s post, I had a house cleaner once a week, which helped tremendously. In the later years, before we left, I had groceries delivered, which saved a lot of time and effort. I could whip through an online grocery order in less than 10 minutes, as I do now.

For most of my career, I was self-employed and often kept my workout clothes in the car, enabling me to work out whenever I had a break. Since Tom usually worked through dinner time, I would go in the evening if I missed working out during the day. Beginning in the 90s, I started shopping online when others thought I was risk-taking in doing so.

In my mind, shopping at a mall was a waste of time. Instead, I’d use that time to go to lunch with my friends and co-workers. This allowed me to build and maintain excellent relationships with my girlfriends, which I still hold today through phone calls and texts. Family time was usually reserved for the weekends when everyone was more readily available, except for Tom, who often worked on weekends with two days off during the week.

I always assumed when we retired, our lives would be spent with family and friends and time together with a sense of ease and few constraints. But, once I retired in 2010, I found myself busier than ever when I worked. My days and nights were jam-packed with errands and social events with family and friends, all of which were enjoyable but seemed to fill my days to such an extent that I had to figure out when to work out and maintain a pleasant home life.

Retirees often say how busy they are/were, and after only a few months, I understood what they were talking about. In a short time, I was spewing the same phenomenon. Did I schedule too much for myself since I now had an extra 10 hours a day to fill? Most likely, that was the issue.

You’d think that now, with no home to maintain and living away from family and friends, I’d have many extra hours to fill each day. But, much to my surprise, I am busy each day running this household, managing financial matters, cooking, cleaning, working out, and chatting with Tom, family, and friends. It’s almost as busy as it was before we began traveling.

I’m not complaining; I love the daily activities, except for the cleaning, as mentioned in yesterday’s post here. Even once I’ve prepared tax stuff for the accountant, I enjoy the time spent managing money each month. The tasks aren’t difficult or time-consuming, providing a tremendous sense of accomplishment when done.

Speaking of which, it’s time to finish exercising for the day, after which I’ll wrap up the preparation for tonight’s dinner: steak and rice for Tom and salmon for me, along with the big salad I prepared this morning. Last night, we dined at The Pub and had a fun evening and meal.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, March 23, 2014:

While walking in the souk, I often hold the camera and shoot, getting whatever I can. Sandals and shoes are popular items for sale in the souk in the Big Square. For more photos, please click here.

Making changes…

We visited the camels on a tour from our riad in Marrakesh, Morocco 2014. The guide informed us of camel facts. It was fun to see this mom and baby.

It was another busy morning. During the first hour, I was busy chopping and dicing vegetables for tonight’s dinner, including our “unwiches” and the usual big salad I make daily. For our salad, I chop freshly washed romaine lettuce, place it in a towel, and then place it in the refrigerator to dry the lettuce before tossing it at dinnertime.

Our salads always contained lettuce, hand-shredded cabbage, celery, and grape tomatoes, all low-carb enough for my eating. Then I toss it with plain Greek yogurt, salt, and my liquid sweetener, which makes a delicious, easy-to-prepare daily salad filled with nutrients.

There have been a lot of posts online that vegetables produce toxins since they can’t run, like animals, if attacked by humans harvesting them or animals eating them. I know that lectins and nightshades in some vegetables can be harmful, so I don’t disagree with this theory. However, I am willing to take risks when certain nutrients appear to be good for my health.

If I didn’t eat vegetables, my diet would be entirely carnivore, which is too hard for me to do, although it claims to have certain health benefits. Also, I consume some dairy products, cheese, sour cream, and Green yogurt, and drink wine, none of which are considered a carnivore way of eating.

A few years ago, I tried carnivore, which didn’t agree with my digestive system. After a few months, I stopped to return to basic Keto/low-carb, which totally agrees with me. There is so much conflicting information online that one could get confused and frustrated. I’ve found that how I feel is the best measure of what works for me.

This morning, I arranged tickets for a movie and a reservation for dinner on Friday night to celebrate Richard’s birthday. The four of us will go for an early dinner, followed by the movie Argylle. I love going to a movie theatre. Tom, not so much, but he does love the popcorn and Coke. I can never eat anything at a movie theater. After 12 years of my diet, it doesn’t bother me a bit.

I never look at other’s food or snacks and feel I am sacrificing. It’s a choice I’ve made for my health, and I have no problem avoiding sugar and starch. I suppose it’s like anything else – when you choose to make a change, rather than being told you have to, it’s a lot easier, although some may differ in this assumption.

Change isn’t easy. Regularly, we find ways in which we need to make changes to accommodate our health or our lifestyle. Recently, I discovered that I sleep better if I go to bed and get up later in the morning. This is a significant change for me since I was always an early riser.

Tom usually takes a nap around 2:00 pm daily, but now he is questioning if doing so impacts his sleep quality at night. Many have reported they have similar problems from napping during the day. Occasionally, I may doze off during the day, but it’s a rarity. I keep myself busy during the day, exercising and doing household tasks, and may only sit half as much as most seniors. I know how unhealthy sitting for long periods is for retirees and others.

Soon, I will head to the ground-level outdoor mailbox to see if the doctor’s office sent my two prescriptions after my recent appointment. A few items I ordered may not have been from Amazon and ended up in the mailbox. So far today, I’ve done more than half of my daily steps and look forward to getting that done.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, March 13, 2014:

This photo was taken in Marrakesh, Morocco, from a third-floor restaurant rooftop where we dined in the past week. For more photos, please click here.

Tom’s flying out tomorrow without me…Tom’s Irish Cream recipe once again…Exciting new photos coming tomorrow!

This is the ground floor lobby we hadn’t posted yet.

Note: Today, after completing the post, we ventured out on an exciting walk in the area and encountered one surprise after another. In tomorrow’s post, we’ll share those photos and the story that goes with it. Please check back!

Tom decided to head to the annual United Transportation Union (UTU, Local 1000) Christmas party in Minneapolis. The last time he attended was in 2011 while he was still working, and we’d yet to plan our years-long world journey. At these parties that he always attended in our old lives, he had an opportunity to commiserate with retirees and current workers. It was always an enjoyable time for him, always hosted by law firms representing workers when injured or disabled.

For the past 11 years, he often talked about attending the party, but we were always too far away for him to make the trip. This time, while already in Nevada, he found a great flight with Sun Country Airlines, and the best price was if he returned around 24 hours later due to higher-priced holiday travel flights.

As a result, he’s flying out at 8:45 am tomorrow, December 19, and returns at 8:56 the following day, on December 20. Surprisingly, as a Platinum member at Expedia on our site, he arranged a rental car for that short period for only $1. That was a shocker! Having a car will allow him to see his kids for a few hours in the afternoon if they can work it out with their busy schedules.

Our current rental car contract doesn’t allow me to drive, which is probably for the best. I am not a good driver, nor did we want to pay an extra $30 daily to add me to the contract. It just wasn’t worth it. He’s taking an Uber to the airport and back on his outbound and return flight.

Sure, he could have left the rental car at overnight parking at the  Las Vegas airport for a lower cost than an Uber. But, at times, convenience supersedes cost. The party starts at 6:00 pm, and he’ll only have one or two drinks and stop drinking alcohol by 8:00 pm to ensure he’s safe to drive to the airport around 1:00 am. He’ll have a long wait at the airport until his flight at 7:15 am, but he’s used to that.

He’s bringing our portable phone charger to ensure he always has power for his phone, which he’ll surely use to entertain himself during the long wait.

I’ll be fine at the condo, working on tomorrow’s post and making phone calls to family and friends, which I haven’t done since we arrived three days ago. Most likely, I’ll see him on Wednesday morning around 10:30 am. He’ll most likely need a nap when he returns after being awake since Tuesday morning. We’ll plan for an easy, laid-back day.

This morning, I did our first load of laundry in the washer in our unit. Oddly, our unit has a washer but no dryer. Our floor has a huge laundry room with plenty of washers and dryers. But since we are used to drying our clothes on a line for less wear and tear, we didn’t want to haul wet clothing down the long hallway to the washroom. Yesterday, we received the clothes drying rack we ordered from Amazon for $20, and Tom quickly put it together.

The rack will pay for itself in two weeks since it costs $1.50 to dry each load in the washroom. We have about seven loads a week, which would have been $10.50 weekly. We’ll have recovered the cost in two weeks when we’ll be here for another 15 weeks.

Do we sound like tightwad? Perhaps, but we always make an effort to save every penny, especially when we’re in the US. This time, we’re paying more for this condo than any other holiday home in the past 11 years. We don’t mind penny-pinching to save a little here and there. It’s so much more expensive to be in the US than any other country we’ve visited in the past.

We can use plenty of coupons here and certainly take advantage of those opportunities when possible. Soon, we’ll drive to our mailing service to pick up my prescription and a few other items waiting for us there. I’m thrilled I was able to make the pills last long enough to receive the prescription. It all worked out well. I worried for nothing until I came upon a good solution to order the drug from ProgressiveRX to arrive when we got here, which it did after I reduced the dose to one pill a day for a week while we were in Ecuador.

That’s it for today, folks. More will follow tomorrow after Tom is on his way to Minnesota. See his Irish Cream recipe below:

Tom Lyman’s Irish Cream (Bailey’s)

1 can sweetened condensed milk

1 pint half and half cream

3 pasteurized eggs (important for safety)

1/8 teaspoon coconut extract

1 T. chocolate syrup

1 cup Irish (or other type) whiskey

Blend in a blender for 2 minutes, then add the 1 cup whiskey. Blend for another 30 seconds. 

Pour into a clean glass bottle with a tight-fitting cork. (Use your empty wine bottles after they’ve been washed in the dishwasher).

Make 1 1/2 wine bottles, enough for sipping while making. The recipe doubles easily.

It must be refrigerated. Keeps fresh for 30 days in the refrigerator.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, December 18, 2013:

With no Poinsettias for us this year, we revel in the beauty of this flower that we encountered in Marloth Park, South Africa. For more photos, please click here.

It’s all figured out…We’re leaving Ecuador on December 14th…Details here today…

We love this photo, taken when we were at Chobe National Park in Botswana in 2022. This elephant illustrates how they use their trunks as snorkels. Aren’t they amazing?

What a relief! We had difficulty figuring out where to go in the US and finding flights and holiday homes available so close to Christmas and on short notice. We researched for hours, finding only a few flights with less travel time and almost no holiday homes available for our preferred dates of December 15 to March 31, three and a half months.

The first question we asked ourselves was where we wanted to go. We were thinking of either Nevada, our home state or Arizona, close to the Mayo Clinic. There were no affordable holiday homes in Phoenix, Scottsdale, or Apache Junction, close to Tom’s sisters, since so many retirees and seniors visit Arizona during winter.

There were several condos available on VRBO for Lake Las Vegas. Years ago, when I visited my son, Richard, he showed me the area, and I loved it. It stayed in my mind as a possible place to stay at some time in the future. The reason there was availability in that area is the 25-mile drive to the Las Vegas Strip, where most visitors prefer to be in close proximity.

For us, staying there makes life so much easier right now. And easy is what we’re looking for based on current circumstances. We need easy grocery shopping, going out to dinner, and some form of socialization, which may be readily available in Lake Las Vegas.

So, here’s what we booked/planned in the past 24 hours:

  1. December 14: Drive for three hours to Guayaquil, where there is a larger airport than Manta and shorter flight times
  2. December 14: Fly from Guayaquil to Panama City to Las Vegas
  3. December 15: Pick up the rental car at the airport in Las Vegas
  4. December 15: Check in to the holiday home in Lake Las Vegas. See the link here. Dates: December 15, 2023, to March 31, 2024
  5. December 30: Return the rental car to the airport and pick up another
  6. January 9: Drop off the rental car
  7. January 10: Tom flies to Chicago for his pulmonology appointment regarding exposure to asbestos while working on the railroad for 42½ years
  8. January 10: Tom flies back to Las Vegas from Chicago and picks up another rental car
  9. February 10: Drop off the rental car at Las Vegas airport and pick up another.

We’re renting cars, which are so expensive in Nevada, using reward points. On one of our credit cards, collision insurance is included for only the first two weeks of the rental, whereas on another card, we are covered for 31 days. We chose the card based on the rewards’ value, but must comply with the insurance periods.

As a result, we’ll have to return the rental car after having it for only two weeks. It’s 15 miles to the airport from Lake Las Vegas. Coverage is only provided on new contracts, not extensions on prior contracts. Tom is fine with this. Also, I will be driving the rental car to the grocery store. Tom is thrilled with this, and I won’t mind being able to take my time while shopping. It’s mind-blowing for me to be able to peruse the countless options.

I’ve spent enough time sitting at my broken laptop for one 24-hour period. I am excited to put it down and relax a little.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, November 26, 2013:

From a walk on the beach across the road. One of our favorite views of the Indian Ocean. For more photos, please click here.

Adults only, please…Debunking a myth about The Villages…Fabulous time with visiting friends…Suez Canal photos…


Tugboats accompany each ship as it makes its way through the canal as a precautionary measure in an emergency—fifty ships per day transit through the channel.

Note: Today’s photos are from our sailing through the Suez Canal ten years ago today. See the post here. (Please excuse the spot on the upper right of each photo.

Last night after a homemade dinner of Cashew Chicken with Broccoli and Mushrooms, our friends Karen and Rich joined us in the living room while we engaged in lively conversation, having not seen them since a year ago in March. The conversation veered to the perception that the location where we’re staying at this time, in The Villages Florida, has a reputation as being the “STD capital of the world.”

This perception was created when an article mentioned that a doctor said The Villages had a high incidence of venereal diseases based on rampant sexual activities. It all started like this from this article:

Al-Firdan Bridge is the largest swing, double-cantilever bridge in the world.

Information abounds about how the STD rumor started…

Some say a disgruntled nurse hurled it as an insult. Others believe it began with a joke on a radio station. But most trace it to a 2006 television news story, “Doctors in Retirement Community Seeing Increase in STDs.”

“While statistics aren’t yet reflecting the trend, one physician at the Women’s Center of The Villages said, even in her years working in Miami, she has never seen so many cases,” the since-removed WFTV article reported.

The Women’s Center of The Villages is no longer open. And the doctor was never named.”

Yesterday, on the Garage Logic show on which Tom is mentioned daily when he contributes, “This day in Minnesota history,” the show’s host, Joe Soucheray, said this myth about The Villages, which the hosts of the show shared their opinions that this may be true. That’s how powerful this perception is that The Villages is a “real swinging place for people in their 60s and 70s.” We had no idea about this rumor when we booked the house here.

Mosques were abundant in all the villages we passed along through the canal.

Here’s the link to the podcast from Garage Logic on May 11. If you’d like to hear their hilarious comments, you can fast forward one hour, 15 minutes, and 26 seconds to the exact spot where this is discussed.

Countless myths are flying around the internet about The Village about this topic including:

What do loofahs in The Villages mean?

Residents from the Florida retirement complex the Villages, which The Post reported on in 2009 as being a “wild retirees getaway,” have been caught on video displaying loofahs on their golf carts, allegedly to distinguish their swinging sexual styles.
This is a myth: Residents use loofahs on their golf carts to more easily identify their golf cart when returning to a parking lot at one of the many venues. There are a reported 70,000 golf carts in The Villages.

A ferry was taking off into the canal.

What do gold shoes mean in The Villages?
According to multiple people, wearing gold shoes or letting your shirt tag stick out in the back signals you’re on the prowl.
This is a myth: Often, seniors choose to wear gold or silver shoes or sandals simply for fashion purposes. Besides, gold shoes often are appropriately worn with dress-up or dancing clothes, and such events may be prevalent in The Villages.
What do the colored scrunchies mean in The Villages?
This is a myth: People wear scrunchies to keep their hair out of their eyes and faces. Those with longer hair scrunchies may be worn to match one’s outfit and simply keep their hair out of their faces. While riding in a golf cart, one’s hair blows around (I know this from recent personal experience). Also, many seniors participate in sports in The Villages, particularly golf, and pickleball.

The peninsulas in the Bitter Lakes area were intriguing, with armed soldiers standing on the shore waving at us.

Does the pink flamingo mean a swinging lifestyle?

It used to be a symbol to show your hospitality and morphed from there. Today, the pink flamingo meaning is used as an indicator of a swinging lifestyle. This type of symbol is not as common as the others, but it does exist.
This is a myth: Florida and other tropical climates have used pink flamingos in their yards for decades, probably going back to the 50s. There’s never been a direct link between pink flamingos and a swindling lifestyle.
These are only a few of the misconceptions about life in The Villages. Many more exist. Sure, in any retirement community, coupled with the lack of concern over pregnancy, seniors may enjoy an active sex life among their neighbors and circle of friends and be subject to various STDs. But this is true anywhere in the world, not necessarily only in The Villages.
We’ve heard tales about nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and other senior-age communities worldwide that STDs are a common occurrence. We take this information with a grain of salt, knowing regardless of the scenarios here in The Villages, we aren’t candidates for this type of lifestyle.

Two other cruise ships were making the transit during our transit, but most of the ships were well-packed freighters. Later in the afternoon, around 2:30, we stood on our balcony as we began the final exit of the Suez Canal, an experience we will never forget.

Our friends Karen and Rich arrived last evening, and we had a lovely time together. The time has gone so quickly, and soon they must leave to head to Karen’s mom’s house for Mother’s Day weekend. We hope to see them again before we leave Florida in 78 days.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, May 12, 2013:

Shortly after stepping out on the balcony at 5:00 am, we passed under the Friendship Bridge as we sailed through the Suez Canal. For more photos, please click here.

Photos from 10 years ago…Comments from readers regarding yesterday’s whiney post…

Our ship, the Celebrity Century as it went under the Bridge of the Americas, soon to be demolished in 2014 when the new locks open in 2014. A newer bridge, the Centennial Bridge, will be considerably higher to accommodate huge ships.

Note: Today, we’re including photos from ten years ago in January 2013, of our transit through the Panama Canal, for the first time. See the post here.

When our readers read our posts, they often don’t see comments made by other readers on previous posts. Today, we’re sharing two comments posted after yesterday’s post here. When comments are posted at the end of any post, I can review them before posting them, adding our response.

Long ago, we wrote that we don’t care to post negative vitriol, bullying, and “hater-type” comments. Fortunately, over the past ten-plus years, we haven’t received more than a handful of such comments, a few of which we’ve mentioned here anonymously. We may reveal the first name of a commenter but never list last names, email addresses, or personal information.

A container freighter ahead of us in line to enter the first set of locks, the Miraflores Locks.

After writing for so many years, we aren’t as sensitive about receiving negative comments. Still, we feel it is important to post comments that may not agree with our lifestyle or how we handle situations. Let’s face it, there’s no rule book on how to live as nomads, although thousands have written books and articles on their personal experiences.

When we read some of these articles and a few books, we found the author’s experiences are very similar to ours. Even recently when we met readers/friends Lisa and Sam (and their friends Karen and Stan, also world travelers), it was ironic how alike our experiences have been, including locations, joyful and meaningful events, and of course, an endless stream of trials and tribulations. Living this life is fantastic, but it, like everyday life, has its ups and downs.

Yes, yesterday’s post was whiney by any standards. I hesitated to take it to the degree I had, but once my fingers started flying over the keyboard, I couldn’t seem to change my attitude sufficiently to take a different turn.

The opening of one of the double set of gates at the locks.

Funny, today it’s even hotter with a high of 104F, 40C with constant high humidity. Yes, we still have all that “paperwork” hanging over our heads that we’re chipping away at bit by bit. But it is a new day, and with that often comes a new attitude and a new sense of getting through it all with grace and ease.

Below are two of the comments we received after uploading yesterday’s post:

  1. Our reader/friend Bob wrote:

“Whining is a much-needed release nothing wrong with it, especially the trial and tribulations you sometimes endure be safe, be happy, be healthy.”

Our response:

Bob, thanks for your support. Wherever one may live in the world, there are challenges. We empathize with all of you in Minnesota and many other states where residents are dealing with excessive amounts of snow, and frigid temperatures, creating hardships and risks for all. Our issues are not unlike yours, just a little different.

Thanks for writing once again.

2. Our reader/friend Karen wrote:

“Come back to the US. Buy an RV and wander Mexico and South America. Might be fun with less hassle.”

Our response:

“Karen, thanks for your input, and we appreciate your comment. Traveling through Mexico is not the safest place at this time, as is the case in many parts of South America as is the case in many countries, including our own US. Also, owning and maintaining an RV does not appeal to us. It’s a different lifestyle than ours. Like everyone else, there are challenges wherever they may live in the world. In our attempt to always “tell it like it is.” Yesterday’s post expressed the frustration that we freely shared with our readers. To pretend that all is ideal during challenging times would be unfair to our readers in painting an unrealistic picture of this nomadic and home-free lifestyle.”

Here I am perched atop our viewing area at the bow of the ship, in air-conditioned comfort. We reserved these excellent seats at 5:15 am!

Avoidance of discomfort and ease of living is impossible regardless of how hard we may try. For example, I apply insect repellent three to four times each day and again before going to bed, and yet, I awoke this morning with no less than 20 new bites, many of which will itch for two or three weeks. The same thing would happen when we lived in Minnesota and spent an evening outdoors in the summer wearing repellent.

Retirees living year-round in Arizona, unable to afford a separate home in a cooler climate in the summer, often experience temperatures much higher than we’re experiencing now. Summer in Nevada, our state of residence, is ultra hot in the summer months, comparable to the temps we have today. No, their humidity doesn’t compare to ours in the bush, but it still feels like stepping into an oven when heading outdoors.

We were exhausted after an early start on the long day of Panama Canal viewing, but joyful and grateful for the experience. All we needed was a good night’s sleep.

Then, we consider that 13% of the world’s population doesn’t have access to electricity. In South Africa, 11% of households don’t have electricity. Load-shedding is not an issue for any of these people. But, then again, it’s all relative. As much as we feel sad for those denied essential utilities, it doesn’t prevent those of us in South Africa, without power as many at 11½ hours a day, from complaining.

Yesterday, the water ran out when Tom was taking a shower. He was unable to wash the soap off his body. The reservoir runs dry when there is lots of load-shedding, as there’s been over the past many months.

Sure, we could spend a small fortune on a motorhome to tour the US. But in that case, we could also run out of water, fuel, WiFi, electricity, and modern conveniences. Plus, the maintenance, repairs, emptying the head, adding water, and frequent driving don’t appeal to us by any means, let alone the added cost of parking at campsites and paying for supplies, fuel, and groceries along the way. Our cost of living in South Africa, compared to an RV lifestyle, is about 60% less.

If our visa extensions are approved, we’ll leave the bush in a mere five months, not to return for about a year.

To sum it up, yes, we may whinge some more over these hot summer months in Africa, getting more bites, dealing with more annoying paperwork, more power and water outages, and whatever else might come our way. But, if we lived in a nice, cool senior high rise in any city in the US, surely we’d find something to whinge about there. Human nature.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, January 19, 2022:

Vultures, on the lookout, for possible prey for possible carrion. For more photos, please click here.