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And All the Rest

    And All the Rest  --  Travel Around the World

    Smoke on the Water

    Chapter Nine – Split Fired Up

    We have been in Split Croatia now for four days and it is a very beautiful city.  I’ll write more about the city itself soon, but today I want to briefly mention the heat.  The heat is definitely on in Split, and all through out Croatia and the result is some devastating wildfires.

    Split sits on a beautiful harbor and the city itself is low.  But on three sides rise beautiful mountains and it reminds me very much of Eastern Washington.  And today it reminded me very much of summer fires in Eastern Washington.

    We first spotted the smoke

    We first noticed the smoke yesterday, very subtle.   We had noticed a similar situation when we were in Dubrovnik but it never amounted to much.  But yesterday it did.  In the morning it was just a little smoke.  By late afternoon it was a firestorm, that unfortunately resulted in loss of life, loss of property and loss of homes.

    The locals seemed shaken.  Even though summer forest fires in the pine forests and dry scrub are common.  But this fire was close.  Too close for

    Late yesterday

    comfort.  Several villages in the surrounding hills lost buildings, schools and homes and one man was said to have died from a heart attack while watching his olive grove burn.

    By the early morning hours today the fires were said

    Fire plane in the distance ready to dip in the sea

    to be under control, although throughout the day we could see smoke and watched the firefighting airplanes dip into the sea to fill their tanks and head back up to the mountains.

    We are safe, and the part of the city we are in is also safe.  We will see how the rest of the time in Croatia plays out – and the rest of our time throughout

    Another fire in the distance today

    Europe.  Portugal, where we arrive on August 1st has had its share of fires since June.  We may see more there.

    Tomorrow we take a ferry to the island of Brac for the day and like everywhere else, the forests and villages there are like a tinder box.

    Cautiously we go.  The heat is on.

    And All the Rest  --  Travel Around the World

    The Care Package

    Chapter Nine

    I’m getting used to not having access to the things I use regularly back in the USA from deodorant to peanut butter.  But with the arrival of my mother-in-law we took possession of a whole lot of items we’ve been missing. It was like Christmas when she dumped out her bag.  In fact, her suitcase was full of our things – more than her own!

    In the past couple of months we have ordered things online and shipped them to my sister who delivered them to my mom in law. She has also done some shopping for us. And my friend Sonja went and bought me a collapsible colander!  What a treat!

    The things we wanted included –

    • Powdered Gatorade
    • solid stick Deodorant
    • Giant bottle of Ibuprofen
    • Tylenol Sinus Medicine
    • Hiking socks
    • Crossword puzzle books
    • One lightweight sleeping bag (for the Camino)
    • Can Opener
    • Collapsible Colander
    • Contact lenses
    • Prescriptions
    • Refill for Gillette woman’s razor
    • New heads for our battery operated toothbrushes
    • Travel books (Australia and Bali)
    • Camino passport
    • Bed bug spray for Camino
    • Updated credit cards
    • Camera lens for the iPhone
    • Freezer bags
    • One cardigan sweater (that I regretted sending home in February)

    When Lynn leaves we plan to ship some things home with her as well. Even though we already shipped a box home, the longer we are gone the more we have honed down the clothes, shoes and miscellaneous other items we don’t need or want on the Grand Adventure.  So she will take home some long pants and long sleeves shirts and a few other clothing items, my green Chucks, our water bladders that go in our backpacks,  a few gifts and cookbooks we have purchased and a few miscellaneous other things.

    Simplify.

    Despite taking possession of all the items mentioned above, we still believe we will be lighter and more sharply appointed for our minimal needs.

    A big thank you to Everyone who helped get us these goodies!  Our comrades!

    The journey continues!

     

    And All the Rest  --  Travel Around the World

    It’s My Life, Not My Vacation

    Some things just gotta get done.

    Some things just need doing, even on the Grand Adventure. We can’t ignore certain things. It’s a reminder that this is our life, not our vacation.

    Back home I had a manicure and eyebrow wax every three weeks and a pedicure every two months.  As we move around the world it’s been a valuable lesson for me to learn to do these things on my own, both saving time and money. Although I hate plucking my eyebrows – but I try.

    But every three or so months I pay to have a professional get me waxed, buffed and polished and it is so very nice. Here in Croatia I even had a facial, my first in over a year.

    This week we also had our teeth cleaned.  It had been 8 months since I saw my dentist in Gig Harbor and I was ready! I found a dentist close to our house and we paid $60 cash.  It was way more painful than any cleaning I’ve ever had in the states. She used a grinding tool which probably isn’t approved in the US. Hurt like hell! Bright shiny smile!

    Next week Arne will need to find somewhere to have his final tetanus shot, six months after the dog bite in Thailand.  We feel lucky that experience wasn’t worse and that we have as yet had no other visits to the emergency room.

    Laundry is always needing to be washed and groceries need to be purchased and meals made.  Just like home.  We still gotta sweep, clean the toilet and wash the dishes.  We still need to manage our finances and pay our few bills. Always a good reminder this is not a vacation.

    Planning “where to next” is a constant – and not always as fun as it may sound.  Details as we move about the world need to be coordinated, arranged and confirmed.  This is often more time consuming than you might think and can be frustrating.  A part of the life we have chosen and we have developed a system. Currently we are planning our January and February detinatona – a very busy time of year for travel so prices are higher and lots of consideration goes in to our decisions.  Needs to be done though or things fill up and we are out of luck.

    Today we went shopping for new swimsuits.  I bought a suit last June and another in January but when you wear your swimsuit more than any other thing you own they fall apart fast.  So I got a new one today, and so did Arne.  I try not to shop for much, but there are just some things we need to buy from time to time – to keep the Grand Adventure grand. Shopping is not my thing, but hey – I need a swimsuit so…

    It’s an interesting way to live, a constant learning experience.  We are making it work, taking care of the details.   Most days are more about fun and less about work and we try to just go with the flow.   It’s just my life, not my vacation.

    And All the Rest

    Oh Beautiful

    My first time being out of the USA on the 4th of July. It’s just another day here in Croatia. And like all the other holidays that have passed since we left the country seven months ago, we mark it with a mention but no fanfare.

    The thing I am thinking about today however is my divided country. So very divided.  And I wonder if it will ever be united again? I think about how united we were after September 11th. I think about how much we as a nation have changed since then.

    No matter where I lay my head I am and always will be an American.  I did not embark on the Grand Adventure to get away from America. I’m sad when I hear people abroad making jokes about my country, which they do.  Not to me directly but in conversations I overhear. Sigh.

    America, America God shed his grace on thee.

    Be proud America. Crown thy good with brotherhood. 🇺🇸

     

    And All the Rest

    A Beginners Guide to Tropical Living

    Or Tropical Living for Dummies

    A Beginners Guide to Tropical Living

    • Any food left out will be consumed by ants
    • Don’t freak out when there is a lizard in the sink (or in your shoe)
    • Bugs too small to see with the human eye will bite you – everywhere
    • When the forecast says 80% chance of rain that means there is an 80% chance it will rain for 15 minutes
    • The roosters are confused
    • There will be sand in every crevice and orafice and in your bed and purse and…
    • Beer in a can will reach boiling point in about 30 minutes
    • Deodorant is useless
    • The chirping in the bedroom is not a bird, it’s a gecko
    • Falling coconuts give no warning
    • Turn the bathroom light on at night so you can see the giant spider
    • Tropical fruit will make you regular
    • Topless sunbathing requires extra sunscreen
    • Time moves at a slower pace than elsewhere in the world
    • Get used to people, including yourself, changing clothes on the beach
    • Only tourists and school children wear shorts
    • Your hair will be frizzy.  Period.  Don’t fight it.

    Just chill brah.

    And All the Rest

    Can You hear Me Now?

    Chapter Seven – No wifi

    Can You Hear Me Now?

    We haven’t had wifi in the Seychelles and as a result we have been spending a small fortune on data.  It’s currently our only way to connect.  I’ve been typing my blogs in text edit so as not to use data while developing the blog, then when I’m ready I cut and paste.  But it still uses data as does every time I check Facebook.  Talking to my kids who are both still abroad also requires data – Dane is in Germany and Erik in Burkina Faso.  We started a four-way chat on WhatsApp – using data.

    Arne used FaceTime to have a video chat with all of his pledge class brothers at their five-year Sigma Chi MIT reunion the other day.  That was well worth the money.  I used WhatsApp to check in with my wonderful book club while we were in New Zealand and Thailand too.

    Up until the Seychelles we were calling the United States frequently, using the Text Now app.  With wifi it gave us free-calling to the United States.  So we have been able to call family and check in, call friends on their birthdays and I even got to call in to the Martini Mamas.  But this only works for calls to the US – and here in the Seychelles it devours our data.

    Of course we will call our Moms on Mothers Day.  Even if that uses data.  It’s just one of the unexpected expenses of our Grand Adventure.  But keeping in touch is important to us.

    Can you hear me now?

    And All the Rest

    Living Climate Change

    Chapter Seven

    A pattern has emerged.  I’m not sure why I am surprised but I am.  A pattern of climate change has emerged in our travels.

    I am not a scientist, a climatologist, or a meteorologist.  Just a travel girl who observes.

    And the observation is, everywhere we have traveled in the past five and half months the locals have lamented on the unusual weather.  Including here in sunny Seychelles.

    In Thailand we saw some incredible and unseasonal floods.  In Vietnam it was rain and unusual chill.  In New Zealand they bemoaned the fact that they never got a summer.  Well, I guess they did for one week.  And here in the Seychelles, the rainy season has arrived earlier than is normal.

    What is normal?  Is there a normal when we speak of the weather anymore?  I know my friends back home have experienced one of the snowiest winters followed by one of the wettest springs on record.  That’s not normal.  Or is it the new normal?

    Even those who used to dispel climate change as fact are coming around to the reality.  Even though they still don’t believe it’s human caused.  It’s hard for me, as a travel observer, to look at a glacier in New Zealand that has receded ten miles in the past century, (since the industrial revolution and the burning of fossil fuels began) and not connect the two.  That seems pretty easy to see – for normal people anyway.

    So our travels continue.  The world continues to spin.  The naysayers continue to argue.  And I continue to observe.  It will be interesting to see how the summer develops.