Upcoming payments for vacation homes and cruises…How much is the rent here in Vanua Levu and the upcoming rentals?

Junior, the thoughtful head maintenance and landscaping guy on the property explained how he nurtures the orchids by adding coconuts as the ” parasitic” to enhance the growth of the orchids.  See photo below.

Yesterday, we paid the balance of the payment due for the next house, when we move to Viti Levu, the main island of Fiji in a little over two months.  The USD $1,800, FJD $3,919 was the balance due on a total rent for one month of USD $2800, FJD $6,096. 

At the time we booked the second house, we hesitated a little over the price, higher than the rent for the house here in Vanua Levu at USD $2,000, FJD $4,354 per month for a grand total of US $6,000, FJD $13,063 for the entire three month period.

Based on the fact that we stay in most locations longer than the average traveler’s one or two weeks, we’re often given a discounted rate.  Although the owner may not bring in as much income from our rental period, they can’t ever count on having the property rented 100% of the time.  Also, there are additional expenses accrued in the turnover process.

It wasn’t easy finding a good house at an affordable rate near the ocean yet far from the hustle and bustle of Nadi, the capital city.  Once we arrive we’ll rent a car for the 95 mile drive from the airport.

We posted this photo earlier when we weren’t sure of its species.  Yesterday, when Junior stopped by to see if we needed anything, he explained that he’d tied this coconut to the orchid tree which enhances the growth and beauty of the orchids via the nutrients of the coconut. 

With the house a short distance to a beach we can walk at our leisure with hotels on either end it will be quite different than this house in Savusavu where its impossible to walk on the beach in the mountainous region, although there are beaches in other areas.

Also, the house in Viti Levu it has a pool and patio furniture outside the living room door. The pool here, although adequate for swimming, has no space for lawn chairs or chaise lounges, making it less appealing for us.  There’s nothing like a swim in the pool followed up by a drying-off while sitting in a chaise basking in the sun for a short period.

Every location has its pluses and minuses and the minuses are often only a matter of perception and lifestyle.  Undoubtedly, we have peculiarities and preferences that may not matter to the next visitor.  In essence, this house in Savusavu is ideal for many travelers who prefer a quiet location.

As for upcoming payments due by the end of 2015, having just paid the above mentioned balance, we only have two more payments due:

1.  USD $3,871, FJD $8,428 – 14 day cruise on the Celebrity Solstice – Sydney to Auckland (Total fare USD $4771, FJD $10,387
2.  USD $4,616, FJD  $10,050 – 3 month (88 days) rental for the alpaca farm in New Zealand (Total rent USD $5,615, FJD $12,225)

Badal, Sewak’s dog has been visiting us almost every evening.  We’d love to give him affection but in the pouring rain he’s been quite a mess.  Once it clears we’ll happily spend time with him.  He lives entirely outdoors but is well fed and cared for.  With Sewak and his wife vegetarians, we wonder what Badal eats. 

The thought of only having to pay out USD $8,487, FJD $18,478 by December 31st gives us a little peace of mind.  Also, the way my little brain works inspires me to figure out the daily rental (per se for the cruise fare, too) for the above mentioned 14 days and 88 days, respectively, which translates to USD $83 a day for “rent.”  Not too bad by our standards.

Of course, once January arrives, we’ll have a ton of expenses to shell out for several upcoming cruises and rentals in 2016.  We’ll get back to those costs in the new year.  I can’t think about that now.  We’ve carefully budgeted all of these expenses resulting in no need for worry or concern.

The rent itself is only a part of the expenses we bear each month:  groceries, dining out, transportation (car rental and driver as applicable), airfare, excess baggage fees, entertainment, shipping fees, insurance for health and belongings in our possession and a glob of miscellaneous items as we continue to replenish supplies and products we regularly use.

Keeping track of these expenses in quite a task that only works without stress when handled as the expenses occur.  Letting them pile up, which we don’t do, would certainly be instrumental is causing angst and frustration. 

As the rains continue, flowers are blooming throughout the yard.

If our website and travel writing small business weren’t subject to a small (and I mean, small) write-off each year, we’d still keep track of every expense.  How easy expenses could get out of control, beyond one’s means, putting a fast end to the affordability of continuing on?

With our careful and diligent planning and documenting of every last expenditure, we’re always at ease knowing we can afford the next month, the next leg and the next year.  That type of worrying wouldn’t fit well into our motto of “stress free” living. 

As a result, we have no option but to be frugal by our own self-determined standards; avoiding wastefulness, not choosing luxury over peace of mind, selecting affordable rentals and at times, forgoing convenience.

Beautiful colors.

For example, we could have rented a four wheel drive vehicle while in Savusavu which is required to make it up this mountain from the main road.  The rental fees for such a vehicle made no sense at all.  Were such a vehicle available the monthly rental fee would be in excess of USD $3,000, FJD $6,531. 

With Ratnesh’s hourly rates at USD $13.78, FJD $30 for driving to sightsee as opposed to USD $9.19, FJD $20, for round trips to the village, we could use his services for three hours a day for USD $41, FJD $90 and still get nowhere near the cost of a monthly car rental.  Plus, Vanua Levu is a small relatively low population island, not warrantying that amount of travel by any stretch of the imagination.

Thus, a sensible decision was made, especially since we’d would have hardly used a rental during these past three rainy weeks.  As we’ve mentioned in the past, we don’t feel trapped having been without a car on many occasions either walking (where applicable) or utilizing the services of a taxi or driver as needed.

Bananas growing in the yard.

Are we “tightwads” in the truest sense of the word?  Not at all.  We purchase any food items our tastes so desire when cooking or dining out (where possible), we generously tip the support staff and driver at the end of each stay, we pay substantial shipping and excess baggage fees (now with less cringing) and, we continue to book balcony cabins on every cruise our hearts so desires. 

These expenditures certainly don’t fall into the category of “tightwad.”  For us, these “extras” are a way of life that contribute to the ease of travel and above all, the degree of enjoyment we glean as we continue on.

Keeping track of all of this seems to add an another element of pleasure, one that we derive from knowing where we stand and the accompanying peace of mind that comes with it. 


Photo from one year ago today, September 29, 2014:

One year ago, we were fast approaching the Hawaiian Islands, where we lived for a total of eight months during which our family visited us on the Big Island.  Its hard to believe in a few days, we’ll be sharing photos of Honolulu when our cruise ended on October 5, 2014. Where has the time gone?  For more details, please click here.


Part 2…Booked two new vacation homes…Filling an 88 day gap in the itinerary…

The views from the property referred to as Anchorage Waterfront (no relation to Alaska).

We varied from one of our usual criteria in selecting the second property, which is referred to as an apartment.  We’ve always preferred houses, doubles, or condos. 

We’d yet to book a so-called apartment, although we’ve booked several condos. Based on the fact that each of the small number of units is privately owned, it’s comparable to what we’d refer to as a “condo” in the US. The booking is a first floor unit with two bedrooms and two baths, making it particularly appealing to us.

Thus, going forward, I will refer to it as a condo to ensure our readers are aware of the fact that it’s not a single owner apartment building as one may find in many locations throughout the world. 

The living and dining room, although dated décor-wise, will fulfill our needs.

The decision to move halfway through the stay in Tasmania didn’t come without careful thought. Moving isn’t the easiest thing to do.  But this time, it will be different. Between the two locations, we don’t have to worry about the weight of our bags. We can put the less organized luggage into the rental car since we’ll be unpacking later in the day when we arrive at the second property under five hours later.

Here’s the link to the second location we booked in Tasmania.

We’ll pack our big insulated Costco beach bag with ice being able to bring along all perishable food while placing the nonperishable items in a cardboard box. We’ll be certain to rent a car with ample space for an extra box.

The drive across Tasmania in itself will be fun. When we first arrive in Hobart we’ll drive to Penguin from the Hobart International Airport, a 3 hour, 25-minute drive. When we drive to the second house 44 days later, as shown here today which is located beyond Hobart, the drive will be 4 hours 15 minutes.

A fully equipped kitchen. We can’t see the refrigerator but it can’t be much smaller than we’ve had in other locations.

We discovered the following about Huonville from this site:

“Huonville sits on the banks of the tranquil Huon River and is surrounded by fruit orchards, farmland, and the peaks of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area. The town makes an ideal base for exploring Tasmania’s far south.

Set low in the beautiful Huon Valley, Huonville is wrapped in scenery and close to some of Tasmania’s most amazing natural places. With the Hartz Mountains nearby, it’s easy to see what inspires the local creative community and nature lovers alike.

For those who enjoy fine produce, the surrounding area produces smoked and fresh salmon, honey, mushrooms, apples, apricots, plums, cherries, pears, wines, and cider– a veritable foodie’s paradise. There’s even a museum dedicated to the Huon Valley’s famous apple growing story, one that continues today.

Take a wander along the main street and Wilmot Road and find shops that sell a range of first and second-hand treasures from old books and bric-a-brac to new cakes and crafts.

The Huon River and nearby D’Entrecasteaux Channel are attractions in themselves and are popular for fishing and boating, high-speed jet boat rides, or maybe just a quiet walk along the foreshore. Huonville is the last major town before heading into Tasmania’s south, so stop, take a look around and stock up for the journey or stay for a longer taste of the Huon.

Huonville is a 40-min drive (38 km) south of Hobart.”

The master bedroom with views of the Huon River with an ensuite bathroom plus a second bath.

A part of the enjoyment of the move will be the scenic drive across the entire island. Another aspect we love about these two locations is the first is located in Penguin Beach and the second, located directly on the Huon River each with amazing views of the water. 

Apparently, there’s a pontoon boat on the property for which we’ll find out details later. How fun would that be, cruising the Huon River in a pontoon, reminiscent of years past when we had a pontoon while living on a lake?

It’s not that we’re trying to relive our past lake life. We both prefer close proximity to water; a river, a lake, or an ocean. I’m a Pisces, not that horoscopes mean that much to me, but I’ve always been drawn to views of the water, having grown up by the sea in California and having a pool in our yard. 

This is the second bedroom in the property. Although we always share a bedroom, it’s nice to have a second bedroom to store our luggage.

Tom and I both owned boats as adults, long before we met and eventually married, another commonality alighting our otherwise mismatched connection. As a single mom in the 70’s and 80’s I owned a twin-screw Chris Craft cabin cruiser often taking my kids, my sister Julie and friends to Lord Fletcher’s on Lake Minnetonka as well as other popular points of interest on the massive lake.

I was able to dock the boat in a choice spot at the pier, maneuvering the boat easily into a fairly tight spot, tying all the lines using crochet knots. In those days, it was uncommon to see a woman maneuvering a good-sized boat on her own. At the time, I even shocked myself with my independence and skill. 

The Huon River will be another ideal location in Tasmania, located in the southern end of Tasmania while Penguin is located in the north.

The property has a pool and possibly a few chaise lounges. 

The Huon River heads out to sea in the south, another ideal placement for our visit to this beautiful island. At this point, I’m amazed we even found these two properties while dealing with an on and off wifi connection, the outrageous heat on the days we found them, and the speedy and generous response from the two owners, more than willing to work with us.

Yesterday afternoon, I busied myself logging all the information into our spreadsheet in a few separate worksheets; one; the “travel Itinerary” basic expense page estimating the total costs for each of these bookings including rent, rental car, transportation to and from, fuel, dining out, groceries, entertainment and miscellaneous and, two; the financial end on the rentals on the “Deposits Paid” tab including total rents (in US $), deposits paid, date paid, balances due and the dates the balances are due.

Once we arrive in Tasmania, we’ll share more details about the island, the properties, the locations, the cost of living again on the island, its people, its customs, and more.

The dock in front of the property. Gee…maybe there are a few fishing rods we can borrow!

It’s one more cog in the wheel of our continuing world travels. Now, with only one gap to fill for March 13, 2017, to April 22, 2017, prior to sailing to the US for a short stay to visit family and friends, arriving in May 2017, we can sit back and relax knowing a substantial portion of planning for the next 20 months is almost complete.

In these next 12 months, we’ll begin to map out plans for the second half of 2017, hopefully stretching out well into 2018 and beyond. It’s a continuous task that fortunately, we both find to be pleasurable, providing us with a sense of satisfaction, accomplishment, and, of course, excitement!

Thanks for sharing the ongoing journey with us!

Photo from one year ago, September 25, 2014:

There were no photos posted on this date after a long and annoying boarding process to get on the ship in Vancouver, the longest we’d experienced to date. Due to all the delays, we had no time or WiFi access early enough in the day to post other than a short blurb. No sooner we were in our cabins, it was time for the muster drill, and then, our 8:00 pm dinner reservation. Rough waters commenced no more than an hour out to sea.  More on that is upcoming. Please click here for details.

Part 1…Booked two new vacation homes…Filling an 88 day gap in the itinerary…

View of Penguin Beach across the street from the new house we booked in northern Tasmania. Today’s photos were copied from the owner’s listing on VRBO.

Choosing a location to fill a gap from December 3, 2016, to March 1, 2017, was challenging. In the Southern Hemisphere, where we’ll still be at the time, that period is during the high season, summer holiday, when kids are out of school and families from Australia travel to relatively nearby locations.

Should any of our readers be interested in renting this lovely property or learning more about it, please click here for details and pricing.

Many Australians stay in the South Pacific when they go on holiday to save both time and money and to get to warmer climates readily available on many choice islands during the cooler seasons.

This is comparable to travelers with families in North America who tend to stay on the continent and in the Caribbean when they travel as a family during school breaks whether winter during the Christmas season or summer.

Ah, a spacious living room with views.

As we perused many locations in the South Pacific during this time frame, we were stymied, having the most difficulty we’ve had in the past. Prices topped the charts, far exceeding our budget, which in extreme cases, we’re willing to adjust if absolutely necessary.

However, this gap didn’t represent a scenario that drove us to be willing to stretch the budget when we have bigger fish to fry in the future when we travel to a new continent in 2017, after leaving the US for a visit.

Another issue impeding our success in finding new locations has been the realities of a slow Internet signal we faced in Australia and now again here in Fiji, as it jumps back and forth from online to “limited” many times per day.

Fully equipped kitchen with an average-sized refrigerator (yeah!), an oven and a microwave, and a dishwasher! 

In the past week, Mario has worked hard to resolve these issues and it has improved considerably although still presenting problems in the afternoons the perfect time for us to do research after I’ve completed the daily post.

After thoroughly scouring HomeAway with no luck, using the link on our site, we clicked another link on HomeAway’s page (at the bottom), VRBO, a popular site owned by Homeaway as well.  

We’ve found it easiest to peruse one site at a time rather than jump back and forth trying to figure where we left off when there are often 1000’s of options listed in a single area.

We always keep the table set for the next meal, inviting the preparation of good homemade food.  However, there are many restaurants in the area some we may actually try.

We chose to spend three months in Tasmania after hearing such glowing reports on our last cruise and on publications online as to its beauty, its people, and its wildlife. As an Australian island, with manageable visa requirements, wifi, and the ability to shop for foods at various local farms, this is an ideal location for us.

The challenge was totally predicated on finding a property with water views, wifi, and a fully equipped kitchen.  A few days ago, Tom expressed a great idea. Why not take this gap, dividing it in half into two six week segments and stay on two distinctly different areas of the island? 

I loved this idea. It would give us an opportunity to casually explore the island from two entirely different home-based locations. We could travel the north portion of the island at our leisure and then, be close to the capital city of Hobart, the most popular tourist location on the island.

The private house has three bedrooms. Note the flat-screen TV on the wall. What a treat!

We’d been turned down by several property owners who didn’t want to “tie-down” their property with one renter over the entire summer holiday making it unavailable for possible “regulars” who’d yet to book at this distant future, willing to pay premium prices for the short term rentals during peak season.

The task was challenging, breaking it up into two options, Group 1 and Group 2, the north and close to Hobart, respectively. After days of research with the WiFi on and off, we both vigorously spent the past few days on a mission. We narrowed it down to eight options at the VRBO site. 

I sent Tom an email with each listing and together, albeit slowly, we reviewed all the pluses and minuses of each property, finally narrowing it down to a mere three properties, one in Group 1 and two in Group 2. 

The sunrise over Penguin Beach. Can’t wait to see this in person! Then again, we’re not wishing for time to pass quickly. We’re very content where we are now in Savusavu, Fiji even on the seemingly endless rainy days, still continuing yet today.

Contacting each listing owner separately with basically the same verbiage, except for the variances in dates between the groups, we heard back from one last night, after which we booked it paying the deposit at the Australian version for vacation rentals, Stayz, a secure site. 

Later in the evening, we heard back from a second but decided to wait overnight for a possible proposal from the third owner. Alas, early this morning an email had arrived with the third proposal. After once again reviewing each of the remaining two options, we decided on the third, accepting by email and shortly later, paying the reasonable deposit once again at Stayz.

Both properties are confirmed and we couldn’t be more thrilled. Today, we’ll share the first location with a few photos, a single-family house, located in Penguin, Tasmania.

We couldn’t be more excited knowing that penguins actually wander about the beach. Here’s a quote about Penguin from a site describing areas of Tasmania:


Penguin is a picturesque seaside town with a pretty esplanade, scenic walking trails, great coastal drives, and a quirky collection of penguins on the street.

Sitting on the edge of mighty Bass Strait, Penguin takes its name from a nearby penguin rookery and it’s obvious this town dearly loves its little feathered friends. There’s a 10-foot penguin that makes a quirky photo opportunity, while the real thing can be seen each night at Penguin Point.

On Sundays, Penguin hosts Tasmania’s largest undercover market with more than 200 stalls selling food and wine, woodcraft, and second-hand goods.  The coastal road between Ulverstone and Wynyard is a beautiful scenic drive with sweeping ocean views, great picnics spots, and clean beaches for seaside walks and fun.

Look out for the expansive wild garden that blooms year-round between the road and railway line and explore one of the many walking tracks across the Dial Range, with stunning views over Penguin and the north-west coast. There are plenty of eateries and places to stay.

Penguin is a 15-min drive (17 km) east of Burnie.”

Those who have followed us these past years know how this location is suitable for us and how much we’ll love our time spent in Penguin.

We’ll be back tomorrow with Part 2 and the second booking in Tasmania, where we’ll be closer to the capital city of Hobart. At least while we’re still housebound in rainy weather, we’ll be busy logging the new locations in our spreadsheet and updating the itinerary. Stay tuned.

Photo from one year ago today, September 24, 2014:

One of the last photos of Vancouver as we began to make our way toward Hawaii on a cruise on the Celebrity Solstice. For more details and the final Vancouver post, please click here.

Nuances of vacation homes…One year ago…Total expenses for 16 nights in Paris…Check it out below!

This cockatoo settled on the fence at the pool.

Only once, since beginning our travels outside the US, did we vacate a property when we weren’t happy with the accommodations. We stayed for a painstaking week while we furiously scoured every possibility to find another affordable rental. Prices were high in Belize during the season, winter in the northern hemisphere.

Belize, located in Central America, had become popular over the prior decade with its relatively short distance from the US making it a popular mid-winter vacation destination. Availability was limited on the more affordable properties especially with our short notice request for occupancy.

We discovered a new beach on a return drive from cairns, Machans Beach which is a modest beachside community the closest beach to Cairns City. Travelers staying in Machans beach usually do so to escape the busy hustle and bustle and a large number of tourists that flock to Cairns and many of the other northern beaches each year. Due to staunch protests from the locals at Machans Beach tourist infrastructure such as hotels and resorts have remained at bay creating a tranquil and unspoiled hippie-style beachside community.
There were several issues with the property, making it inhabitable for us.  The city water was shut off most of the day (a long term, ongoing situation), on for about one hour and then off again. We were supposed to collect water to use for the toilet when the water would be off for the remainder of the day and night.  If we didn’t shower when the water magically came on at an unpredictable time to a dribble, we were out of luck. 

Doing the laundry was nearly impossible. Simple things like washing our hands become a luxury. We felt dirty and our surroundings felt unsanitary. It only took a few days for us to realize we had to leave permanently as fast as possible. 

Although Machan’s Beach has been subjected to substantial erosion that has been rectified by a rock wall and the slow but gradual return of lost sand, there is still plenty of beaches to enjoy and a lush grassy playfield by the beach that is great for playing sports, picnics or spending time with the family.

On top of it all (long term readers, please excuse the repeated story) the no-see-ums were swarming us when there were either no screens or the holes in the few screens were too large allowing the sand flies them to freely enter. It was hot, humid and we wanted the windows open which was impossible. 

I had no less than 100 inflamed sand fly bites making me miserable both during the day and at night. I was unable to sleep for more than a few hours a night for an entire week. 

It was an awful seven days until we finally found a fabulous resort to rent for the remaining two-plus months and quickly moved out, losing our first month’s rent which the owner had promised to refund.

Recently, the completion of the rock wall ended with a well deserved party for the locals who tolerated the trucks coming and going over an extended period as the wall was built.

Of course, we’d never have rented the property had we known of these issues. We weren’t naïve in assuming that living in other countries would be easy. But, we weren’t willing to risk our health as a result of improper sanitation and lack of cleanliness without water. We’d purchased several huge jugs of bottled water at times having no choice but to use it for the toilet and cleaning what we could.

We never saw a refund. What were we to do? Sue them? Did we want to start our world journey with a lawsuit in a foreign country? Hardly.

If you’re interested in reading the story about the fiasco in Belize and seeing the photos from this period, please begin by clicking here.

A lone sea bird at Machans Beach.

That was our first vacation home outside the US. At that point, it would have been easy to pack it up and head back to the US. But, that never occurred to us. We knew we’d encounter some less than desirable situations and we were committed to figuring them out along the way.

If money were no object, we’d run into less of a risk by renting only upscale properties. And, although at times we’ve been able to negotiate some upscale properties, most of our vacation rentals are in the mid-range and overall, very nice with amenities we’ve found to pleasing.

Here in Trinity Beach, Australia, this property has been much more desirable than we’d expected. We’ve learned to keep our expectations at bay and were pleasantly surprised when we arrived continuing to further appreciate it here the longer we stayed. 

Dozens of cockatoos have been swarming the yard over several of the past late afternoons, stopping to check out the pool.

The owners, Sylvie and Andy, have gone overboard to ensure we have an excellent experience and unquestionably, we have. The well equipped property; the cleanliness; their providing additional items we’ve needed; their vacuuming and washing the floors for us every two weeks (while we sweep and dust in the interim) and their warmth and friendliness, all have contributed to a highly positive experience.

When we look back at past vacation rentals, overall, we’ve had great experiences once that first week in Belize was behind us. Now, as we look to Fiji, we realize were in for a totally different way of living than we’ve experienced thus far in modern, abundant Australia.

These birds are very noisy wasting no time in announcing their arrival.

I added a measuring cup and measuring spoons to my next grocery list to include in the box of food items we’re accumulating to ship to Vanua Levu, Fiji.  People don’t bake while on vacation/holiday. We don’t expect there to be a muffin tin, baking papers or lemon extract for our Low Carb Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins, one of which we have each night with dinner as the ultimate two carb treat providing us with that sense of a small bread item with the meal.

We won’t have a clothes dryer and will hang our clothes outside to dry as we’ve done in most parts of the world. Having a dryer here has been a rare treat. We won’t have a TV and unable to hook up our HDMI to watch our shows, nor will we be able to watch news which we often have on in the background on a staying-in day. 

The biggest challenge will be not having a car. Mario, the property manager, explained that navigating the steep hill to the property requires a four-wheel-drive vehicle which to rent for three months would be outrageously expensive. He further explained that a highly competent driver will be available for our all of needs at reasonable rates. 

With the fees we’ve paid for rental cars in the past, we can easily use a driver five times a week for less than we’ve paid for the rentals. Most likely, we’ll negotiate set fees with the driver (to include a tip) to various locations avoiding the necessity of discussing the rate each time we go out.

This appears to be an agave plant. Agave sugar was the rage a few years ago. But, now its been found to cause a higher spikes in blood sugar than high fructose corn syrup causing weight gain and inflammation.

Also included in Fiji is daily maid service which is a mixed bag for us. I like running around and tidying up. I don’t even mind cleaning and making the bed, tasks we both share. With daily maid service, each day, we’ll have to get out of the way for whatever time it takes for the maid to clean up. 

Since both of us arise early and are showered and dressed by 7:30, most likely we’ll arrange a set time making it easier for all of us. While living there, my household tasks will consist of cooking and laundry while Tom will continues to do dishes.

The remainder of our time will be spent doing what we love to do; posting here, sightseeing and taking photos, searching for future travels, shopping at local markets, walking the beach and enjoying the tropical climate and the beautiful surroundings. 

Wildflowers growing in the yard.

Some have mentioned, based on personal experience, that they don’t like Fiji mainly due to the poverty. We’d decided long ago to accept the reality of poverty we’ll see throughout the world. 

Although we don’t necessarily live in the poverty-stricken areas, we often shop in the same markets and make purchases from the same vegetable stands and from the same vendors utilizing the products and services offered by these hard-working locals.

Not every vacation home has all the amenities we’d chose in a perfect world. In essence, its the imperfections in the world that ultimately we find the most interesting and its our own imperfections within that world that we strive to improve as we adapt to yet another new way of life.

Photo from one year ago today, August 16, 2014:

Tom’s last dinner out in Paris ended with this banana split. While dining out during the month we spent between Paris and London, Tom ate whatever his heart desired. It wasn’t until we settled into our next vacation home in Maui, Hawaii in October 2014,  that I started cooking again and he joined me in my way of eating.  For the final expenses for our costly 16 nights in Paris, please click here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

There were some apartments and permanent residences along the esplanade.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We hope your day is filled with sunshine!

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

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

Kilauea lava flow heading toward the vacation homes we booked for our family vacation…Cause for concern…A year ago…A meal in the bush with wild animals surrounding us…

October 8, 2014 - small scale lava flow map
By drawing a straight line to the ocean from the current northeast flow of the lava to the darkened rectangular area on the coastline, this is the area where the two houses, next door to one another are located. This is a current map from the National Park Service.

When the lava from the Kilauea volcano on Big Island changed directions on June 27th and lava began to flow toward the village where the two houses are located that we rented for the holidays with our family, of course, we were very concerned.

When the varying daily lava flows slowly worked its way to the ocean near the two houses, we started following updates on a variety of websites including the National Park Service and United States Geological Service. 

The current narrow lava flows from Kilauea heading to the northeast. (Not our photo.)

Maps on both of these sites indicate that the lava is flowing to the neighborhood where the houses we’ve rented are located.
With poor WiFi signals on the past two ships, we were frustrated and worried over the almost month at sea. It wasn’t until we arrived in Honolulu on October 5th, that we had a strong signal and more than anything, have been able to get daily updates on the activity of the flow on the local news.

The two vacation rental houses are in the village of Pahoa as shown in the upper right of this map.  (Not our photo).  Please click here for notes from a meeting held in Pahoa in the Puna District on Friday evening with professionals on hand to discuss the status of the lava flow.

Why didn’t we post our concern? We didn’t want to alarm our family, many of whom read our daily posts until we had more information. 

Our biggest concerns have been as follows:
1.  The lava flow could wipe out the houses or we’d have to evacuate while in the houses.  (The lava flow is 100’s of feet per day at most providing ample time if evacuation is necessary).
2.  The road to the houses would be inaccessible when we arrive or are ready to depart
3.  We’d have to find another house large enough for our family that is still available for the Christmas holiday, a difficult proposition or, hotel rooms if necessary.

Thermal image of the lava flow.  (Not our photo).

As of this point with $1000’s paid in deposits and airline tickets, the owners of the two houses aren’t prepared to return our deposits until more is known over the next few weeks. The lava flow is difficult to predict. 

Last night an announcement was made on the local news that an emergency access road is in the works and will be completed in 45 to 60 days. This fact provided us with considerable relief. But, until we know the final course as the lava flows to the sea, we will stay on alert, prepared to make alternate plans as quickly as possible.

A view into one of the skylights of the lava tube supplying lava to the June 27th lava flow.” (Not our photo).

Everything we’ve heard and read is that the flow will make it to the main road two weeks from now, giving us time to make backup plans. It won’t be an easy task although we have no doubt that we’ll figure it out.

Obviously, our first concern is the safety of our family and secondly, to provide a worry-free environment in which we all can enjoy our precious time together.

Hawaii in general is a geological hot spot. The islands were created millions of years ago as a result of volcanic eruptions beneath the sea. Earthquakes are common on all of the islands. Please see this article for detailed information on the formation of the islands. Each of the islands in the Hawaiian Archipelago maintains active and currently inactive volcanoes as indicated in this article.

We’ve had “safari luck” in our travels, safety being the number one priority. We can only hope and pray that “safari luck” continues and soon, we can put the worries behind us to enjoy an amazing experience with our family.

                                            Photo from one year ago today, October 12, 2013:

A specially made breakfast was prepared for our safari group of six, with our guide Anderson happily preparing our table. We were excited to experience our first meal in the bush, the wild animals all around us in the Maasai Mara. What a glorious experience!  For details, please click here.

Household hazards…Treading carefully in vacation homes…Mindfulness is the key,,,

Standing at the low railing outside the master bedroom illustrates how one could fall over this railing to the brick floor or fountain below. Frightening!

Over the past year, we’ll have spent five and a half months living in houses 100 years old or more as here in
Marrakech and last summer in Italy, a 300-year-old property.
In each of these cases, we’ve experienced a similar situation, dangerous steps, and uneven stairways. What frequently causes steps to be dangerous, in their unexpected placement and unevenness in both height and depth in a stairway.

While living in Boveglio, Italy last summer, we’d posted photos of uneven stairways, but also of unexpected steps along a long hallway, a dangerous tripping hazard. Add the fact that if one fell they could easily bang their head on the stone or brick walls or floor adding to the risk of serious or fatal injuries. For photos and details of the tripping hazards in the old house in Italy, please click here.
When booking Dar Aicha, the riad in Marrakech, we anticipated that there would be many steps throughout the
riad, some uneven, others unexpected. We were right. They are everywhere.

The extra-long draperies kept closed to keep the sandflies out also creates a potential tripping hazard if one isn’t mindful when exiting.

From our perspective, unexpected steps are more hazardous than uneven stairways. Why? When going up and down stairways, aware of the risks, we tend to be more careful in general, holding onto a railing or wall if no railing is available while stepping gingerly.

Simply leaving one room to walk into another is often done without thought, resulting in tripping. The ultimate key to avoid tripping lies in a single word: mindfulness.

This has been a learning experience for me, the proverbial “bull in a China shop.” For Tom, having walked on uneven areas while working on the railroad for over 42 years, he has ingrained mindfulness. 

This is the stairwell from the main floor to the second floor. Although not easy to detect in this photo, the stone steps are high and shallow not fully fitting one’s shoe as each step is taken.

Luckily, I’ve had Tom at my side to “educate” me since the onset of our travels. When we walk, he always says, “step,” “two steps,” etc. ensuring I’m noticing what’s upcoming. With my camera in hand when we’re out, I’m often oblivious to uneven walkways, steps, and stairways.

In the process, I’ve become more mindful, able to easily maneuver throughout the riad, constantly aware of the possibility of tripping. Of course, this is not to say a fall is impossible or unlikely. 

One area of major concern while living in Dar Aicha has been when stepping outside of the master bedroom onto the second level balcony. The heavy drapes covering the doorway, necessary to be closed at all times to keep sandflies out, have two feet of excess material at the bottom, in itself a tripping hazard. 

There are two shallow steps to maneuver into and out of the master bedroom. 

With the two steps to navigate with a wide landing in between, required to get from the bedroom to the hallway, it’s an accident waiting to happen. From the photos we’ve posted here today, it may be difficult to determine how easily one could trip while coming out of the bedroom, either on the drapes or on either of the two steps resulting in being flung over the railing to the brick floor below in the open courtyard. Yikes! This possibility has scared us. 

Falls are the leading cause of household deaths worldwide. When adding the injuries incurred inside and outdoors one’s home from tripping and falling, it proves that even in one’s familiar surroundings the hazards are rampant. We’ve all seen the possible debilitation of a senior citizen’s health when breaking a hip from a fall, a common occurrence. 

As we’ve mentioned in the past, “Fear is a powerful motivator.” Maintaining the fear may be responsible for maintaining mindfulness.  Each time either of us steps outsides the bedroom door, we do so with the utmost of care. 

In this photo, the short distance from the two steps necessary to exit the master bedroom is evident which has prompted us both to be extremely careful.

With ten days remaining until we leave Marrakesh, we remind ourselves not to become careless by taking our newfound familiarity with the layout of the riad for granted. 

Another area of concern is when walking in the souks and in restaurants. There are dangerous steps and uneven stairways in almost every restaurant we’ve visited. Here again, we both tend to mention “step” to one another everywhere we may go, continuing to do so as we continue in our worldwide travels.

The final step is in the lower portion of this photo a short distance from the doorway, too close to the short railing.

Having the experience of being injured when the steps collapsed under our feet in Belize on the night of our anniversary on March 7, 2013, no fault of our own, we’ve upped our mindfulness. Please click here for the link to the story and photos from that date.

Please share this post with your family members and friends as a reminder to be mindful wherever they may walk and perhaps together we may prevent an injury or worse. 

Photo from one year ago today, May 5, 2013:
No photos were posted on this particular date.  In this short period as we progress further into our travels, we won’t have many dates without photos taken, as we’ve become more and more diligent in taking new photos for our daily postings. 

Yesterday, we didn’t include a photo from one year ago which we’ve included below when we’d instead posted a tribute to a dear friend that we sadly lost.

Photo from one year ago today, May 5, 2013:

The Palais Longchamp in Marseilles, France which we visited on May 4, 2013.

For the link of the story and more photos when we visited Marseilles, France on May 4, 2013, please click here.

For the link of the story from May 5, 2013, please click here.

The real estate market for vacation homes…How does it impact our travels …A sad horse photo….

This photo was taken after the sun had fully set on Friday night, not shown in yesterday’s post. Witnessing this coloration in the sky was breathtaking.

The riad in which we’re living, Dar Aicha, is for sale. There was a showing yesterday for which we were giving several days advance notice. It was over in 15 minutes and we were only disturbed for a few minutes, none the worse for the wear.

For the link to the real estate listing for Dar Aicha, please click here.

We weren’t surprised since that was also the case for the house we’d rented in Kenya, which had two showings while we were there.

As we’re all aware, economic conditions have resulted in the devaluation of many homes worldwide, prompting many vacation rental owners to decide to liquidate before the market declines further.

Friday, late afternoon, the tourists arrived for the weekend, filling the Medina and the souk.

In some areas property values have begun to rise once again, currently motivating property owners to sell, taking advantage of what may prove to be a temporary rise in value. Who knows how long this will last or when prices will change? I spent 25 years as a broker and company owner and I don’t have a clue nor do any of the predictors out there in the marketplace and on the news.

As we move from vacation home to vacation home, we discover that some of the homes we’re renting may be on the market. In reality, it’s none of our business if they’re for sale except for two following factors:

1  We aren’t inconvenienced with showings.
2. We don’t have to move out early if the property sells and closes escrow prior to our moving out. Of course, we have signed rental agreements in each case protecting our rental period, but, we all know contracts can be broken in desperate times. (In neither of the above two cases have we thought there was any risk of being asked to leave early due to the integrity of the owners, more than the executed document).

The school bus arrives in the Big Square around 6:00 pm, dropping off the children.

For us, the distressed market has made our travels all the more affordable for these reasons:

1.  Many vacation homes were previously listed for sale that didn’t sell, inspiring the owners to rent them as a vacation home, enabling them to use it themselves from time to time between renters.
2.  Many homeowners of more expensive homes have either lost their jobs or retired and can no longer afford to live in their homes. They move to less expensive or senior housing either managing the vacation rental themselves or leaving the management of their homes in the hands of family members or agencies that typically handle vacation homes.
3.  During the better times in the market, enthusiastic investors purchased homes with the hope of a great future investment. Now, unable to rent the homes full time to cover their expenses, they rent the houses at daily or weekly rates with the hope that the house will be rented consistently which is rarely the case, except for in a few markets, such as Hawaii.

Workers and vendors begin setting up their wares to be marketed in the Big Square in the evening as the tourist crowd arrives, prepared to “shop til they drop.”

When property owners find themselves unable to rent their vacation homes for the prices they ask, at times, they are willing to negotiate for better pricing for us due to our long term commitments. You know, a bird in the hand.

Then, of course, there are the prime vacation rentals, managed by whomever the owner so chooses, that rent for premium prices that don’t budge for long term renter such as us. We can spot these in a minute when observing that the nightly rate is comparable to that which we’d be willing to pay monthly. We avoid even making an attempt to negotiate these in most cases, as mostly a waste of their time and ours.

Had we been able to travel the world in 2003, it wouldn’t have been affordable. The travel market was booming (although it’s now on the rebound) and fewer vacation homes were available.  Plus, the vacation home rental sites such as listed here as one of our advertisers, weren’t as prevalent as they are now. We use all of the major players, many of which are owned by the same company as in the case of HomeAway.com who owns four or five websites.

I always feel bad for the horses pulling the buggies. Some flail around seeming uncomfortable with their bit or harnesses.

Over time, the public has become less suspicious of sending prepayments to property owners they don’t know all over the world. With many sites offering insurance to avoid the risk of scams, many vacation renters freely send payments through PayPal and via credit card without giving it a second thought. 

I can’t say we don’t give it a second thought since based on our being constantly on the move, the insurance would become a prohibitive expense. Paying by credit card or PayPal gives us some assurance. 

But, in the long haul, we’ve prepared ourselves and budgeted accordingly that someday we may pull up to an address and no house it there, just an empty lot, or that the photos were all fakes and the house is a dump.  Yep, this could happen.

We were shocked to see this horse’s bloodied neck obviously from wearing the usual bulky harnesses as shown in the above photo. Thank goodness the owner had put on a lighter weight harness. But it still looked as if it must continue to irritate the poor horse. This was heartbreaking to see.

The likelihood is relatively slim that this will happen, especially when we communicate with each owner or manager through dozens of emails, research the owner’s name online and through Facebook, and read every review at our disposal. 

If and when our instincts send up a red flag, we pull away before sending any money. If suspicious, we’ve called the company that hosts the owners listing asking if there have been any issues.

So far all of our experiences have been good except the first house in Belize where we had no regularly running water. We moved out in a week, losing our first month’s rent which the owner refused to refund.
Oddly, this first experience didn’t deter us and we carried on, determined, and full of hope, having had nothing but great experiences since that time.

Another ice cream truck trying to find a good spot to park for attracting the most business. After a few minutes, a policeman told him to move to another location.

With the time from May 15, 2015, yet to be booked as we research the world deciding where we’d like to travel from that point on, we feel comfortable that we won’t have any problem finding desirable homes in fabulous locations.

We continue on, looking forward to leaving this coming Thursday for a three day/two night trip to the Atlas Mountains and the Sahara Desert. Will we ride a camel in the desert? You’ll find out right here!


Photo from one year ago today, April 6, 2013.

This little table and chairs were on our veranda in Belize. We weren’t kidding when we’ve said we were steps to the beach. Waking up to this view every morning was pure pleasure. There were two padded lounge chairs on the veranda where we lounged every afternoon after pool time. It was heavenly. In 39 days, we’ll have views of the ocean from our veranda once again although much further from the water.  For the story and remaining photos from that date, please click here.

How do we decide where to go and holiday homes…Most frequently asked suggestions……

After returning from Kruger on a Sunday, we headed to Amaazing River View, Serene Oasis, to watch the sunset and wildlife on the Crocodile River. This waterbuck was busily grazing on the vegetation as we captured his reflection in the river.

Note: To all of our readers visiting our site via a smartphone, please click the “View web version” tab under the word “Home” at the bottom of the page to access the web version enabling you to access all of our archives on the right side of the page. We’ll be updating our site in a few months, making these extra steps unnecessary. Thank you. 

Today’s photos are from June 12, 2018, while in Marloth Park, South Africa. See the link here for more.

As we reviewed the plethora of comments when we requested input from our readers at this “Foraging for fodder” post” the most common responses we received were, “How do we decide on where we’ll travel next and how do we find holiday homes in those locations?”

Over the years, we’ve posted snippets in various posts about the resources we’ve used to find holiday homes once we’ve decided on a location.  Let’s start with “deciding on a location.”

This elephant with only one tusk was standing at the Verhami Dam in Kruger leisurely tossing dirt over herself. 

Please bear in mind. These responses are based on normal times, not times of Covid-19 when everything is different, especially regarding where we’ll go when that decision isn’t entirely up to us. 

Instead, it will be predicated entirely as to which countries will be opening their borders to US citizens and those coming from India, a double whammy since immigration at airports won’t take the time or effort to review our itinerary over the past several months. 

If US citizens are banned, we won’t be allowed entry. If those coming from India are banned, we won’t be allowed access. That is why we anticipate it being a long time until we can travel to another country.

It was fascinating watching her from our close vantage point.

In normal times, we chose a country based on the following factors in order of preference:

1. Which areas/countries have we yet to visit that piques our interest?
2. When and where will our next cruise sail that a particular country provides us with the best proximity without us having to fly long distances, if possible?
3. What is the cost of living in a particular country, allowing a one or two-month stay or longer, befitting our budget and expectations? What is the cost of potential holiday homes?
4. Where are we most likely to attain a high degree of pleasure due to excellent views, wildlife, or unique and exciting nearby areas to visit?
5. Can we rent a holiday home in a less busy area, away from a big city?
6. Is the location safe based on crime rates, current political unrest, or potential civil unrest?
7. Which properties include the features most important to us such as location, cleanliness, and appeal, including WiFi, air-con, full kitchen with oven, comfortable seating areas and bedroom, dining table, towels, bedding, and utilities included, proximity to grocery shopping, a convenient parking area, and a cleaner either provided by the property owner or one which we can pay?

She devoured some vegetation while we waited patiently for her next move.

As we peruse various holiday/vacation home websites, we search for the above criteria to discover what ultimately will serve us best. There are numerous websites online, many owned by Expedia, which include: 
1. HomeAway
2. Vacation Home Rentals
4. Stayz 
There are numerous holiday rental sites online. To search, type in; holiday rentals and the name of the country you’d like to visit. You’ll find dozens of sites. Please be cautious with smaller areas and with each listing. 

Many listings may be scams. It’s imperative to read reviews and, if possible, speak to the owner before booking and ask for references. Ask as many leading questions as possible. Proceed with caution if it’s a new listing with no reviews.

Suddenly, she lifted the end of her trunk and scratched her right eye.

Many ask us if we use Airbnb. We do not. We’ve found their payment policy of requiring full payment at the time of booking, along with many poor reviews, a deterrent. Also, many of their listings are unsuitable for our needs, including “shared,” rental, hostels, and various forms of group housing, which doesn’t meet our objectives.

Sites such as booking.com and hotels.com, and TripAdvisor.com offer numerous quality listings. Look for guarantees provided by the providers.

Also, keep in mind that property managers, such as our dear friend Louise in Marloth Park, have their site with several listings as indicated here. In this case, we can confidently provide her link, but if the manager is unknown to you, proceed with caution.

What are the risks of encountering a scam holiday home listing?
1. The property address doesn’t exist when you arrive
2. The photos are not as represented in the listing
3. The property belongs to someone other than whom you placed the booking and paid the funds
4. The property is in poor condition, hidden in photos listed

Urgent Note: Do not use a bank transfer of funds directly from your bank account unless you know the party personally or someone who can attest to their integrity and reliability. Verify cancellation policies.

Over several minutes, she reached up, scratching her eye again.

If a credit card is used for payment, you’ll have recourse if you run into difficulties. If you do a direct bank transfer, YOU’LL HAVE NO RECOURSE to recover your funds. 

Most reliable holiday home sites have a money processing app that handles the payment via a credit card. Check online for reviews on these services. For example, we’ll use such sites as PayPal and Google Pay without hesitation. Plus, such sites as HomeAway have their reliable payment processing feature. But still, in doing so, it could be a scam that some arbitrary company has set it up with fraudulent intentions.

Back at the house, Tom’s favorite, Ms. Bushbuck, and her friend were to his right while my favorite, Ms. Kudu, was standing to his left.

Of course, with Covid-19, all of this may be different going forward. As we continue to book locations in the future, we’ll certainly keep you updated on the situations we encounter along the way.

We hope today’s information has provided you with answers to some of your questions. If we’ve missed anything, please don’t hesitate to inquire further.

Have a pleasant day.

Photo from one year ago today, June 12, 2019:

We stopped at the Glinsce pier to check out the boats in Connemara, Ireland. For more photos, please click here.

Part 1…What does it cost to own and maintain a gorgeous vacation villa in Sumbersari, Bali? Photos, pricing and expenses!

The front of the property is located at the end of the road, resulting in no passing traffic. This villa is priced at EU 249,000, US $279,017, IDR 3,616,896,723.

“Sightings on the Beach in Bali”

Local boys playing soccer at the beach use a floating fishing net instead of a balloon.

While living in vacation homes around the world, we are often curious about the cost associated with ownership in the area. No, it’s not that we’re interested in a possible future purchase for ourselves. We’re not. 

This tree in front of the house is called a “palm bottle” based on his bottle as form.

However, from time to time, we hear readers asking if a particular place would be ideal for their eventual retirement and/or vacation/holiday home. With the prospect of renting the property at certain times of the year as an adjunct to their personal use, it’s an appealing concept for many.

This permanent sign posted on the exterior of the villa illustrates the villa is licensed as a vacation/holiday rental.

As we have observed, prices are generally more affordable in the most remote locations such as the scenarios here in Sumbersari, Bali. Buyers can pay up to 40% less for a property in a remote location than for those close to major cities and more populated tourist places. 

View from the veranda to the sea. Gede explained that the unused satellite dish depicted in the photograph will be removed.

On the flip side, holiday/vacation villa renters in remote locations often pay less for their stay than in the more expensive resorts and homes closer to the airports, bigger cities and popular tourist areas. There are always compromises of some kind.

Pristine pool ready for its first swimmer.

We’ve obviously discovered there are many benefits of being “far from the maddening crowd” resulting in more opportunities to blend into the local flavor, shop in their more affordable shops and markets and experience a wider range of cultural experiences which may not necessarily be geared to the average tourist.

Outdoor and indoor furnishings are included in the price.

When we attended the local buffalo races, we didn’t see any tourists. When we’ve shopped in Negara, we’ve yet to encounter a tourist (from what we’re able to determine) while having difficulty finding a single English speaking person who could tell us where to find olives. 

We like these nuances. Some of our readers can’t imagine why we’d live without air con all day in the heat and humidity with insects swarming us at times with sweat pouring down our faces. Many resorts have multiple air conditioned areas for the needs of the resort crowd and have insect control procedures in place.

The villa has 3 1/2 baths (half bath on main floor), one en suite bath in each of its three bedrooms.

This life isn’t for everyone. Knowing we’re able to wander indoors to turn on the air-con in the bedroom for a cooling break or merely jump into the pool, it easily makes the occasional discomfort dissipate.

The bunk beds, bedroom  (with en suite bathroom) is located on the main floor as well as an other larger bedroom which could be used as a master bedroom with en suite bathroom. On the second level there’s a living room, master bedroom and en suite bath.

A few weeks ago we had two wonderful visits with Pia and Thomas, neighbors down the beach, (originally from Germany), it was easy to observe how they’ve adapted to the minor discomforts as we have over these past months and years of world travel.

Dining area on the main floor next to full service kitchen. Note bunk bed bedroom (with en suite bathroom) in rear with additional half bath to the right.

Most likely this would be the case for the majority of travelers who eventually decide to purchase a vacation home in a more remote location. Get over the four or five hour harrowing drive (we’re working on it)! Get over the ants, flies and mozzies at sunrise and sunset!  Get over the relatively slow Wi-Fi (we’re finally there)! 

Then, get down to enjoying Paradise, which in itself supersedes any possible necessity to adapt required to live in a more affordable, more private, peaceful and less crime laden location. We’re loving it. Many others do as well. 

Well appointed granite countertop, kitchen with stainless steel appliances. Dishwashers generally aren’t used in Bali when most villas employ household staff.

After staying in the lovely Puri Bagus Lovina resort last week, we certainly grasp the easier and simple life of a tourist after living in a vacation home. But, the cost is prohibitive over the long haul when one decides to make Bali their “home away from home.”

Main floor laundry/storage room with laundry hookup.

Today, we’re sharing half of the information and photos of a new, never-lived-in villa that Egon and Gede built that is now for sale. Yesterday morning, we walked with Gede down the road in front of our villa to the property which we then accessed via a stone stairway providing the new villa with expansive ocean views.

There’s an easy access road directly to the villa from the highway.

Located directly off the kitchen this ample space is ideal for kitchen and food storage.

The beautiful new villa is not only situated atop a hill with expansive ocean views, it exhibits fine quality workmanship and design befitting even the most particular of holiday home buyers and ultimately, if chosen to accommodate the needs of future renters as a holiday villa.

Quiet lounge area off the kitchen on the main floor.

Tomorrow, we’ll include the remainder of the photos and costs for utilities and property taxes and staff, including cooks/cleaners and groundskeeper/pool man. Please check back for more.

Double sink, bathroom with large shower located on the main floor in the second bedroom.

For more information on this property, contact Gede at his email address at
gedesiska@gmail.com allowing 12 hours for a response to the time differences from most parts of the world.

Main floor bedroom with en suite bathroom as shown above.

At the moment, as I’m preparing today’s post, we’re watching the Minnesota Vikings football game which started at 8:30 am (Tuesday) and is shown in the US at the new Vikings stadium at 7:30 pm on Monday Night Football. Go Vikings!

Photo from one year ago today, October 4, 2015:

Ratnesh, our driver in Bali, took us on a drive to tour some interesting natural scenery in Vanua Levu, Fiji. This area of rock formations was one of the stops. For more photos, please click here.