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Inspire

    Inspire

    Second Annual My Fab Fifties Life World Travel Awards

    And the Winner is…

    Location: Around the World

    And the Winner Is…

    If you’ve been following My Fab Fifties Life for awhile you will remember our 2017 World Travel Awards from last January.  I definitely feel with all of our travels in 2018 (covering 57,000 miles and 26 countries) we are well positioned to bestow the World Travel Awards – our version of the Oscar or the Razzy – on many people, places and travel experiences that have touched us this past year.  Just like the famous movie awards, we have seen a world of real life

    Word Travel Awards

    Australia

    drama, fantasy, comedy, mystery, nature and animation.  Enough to last a lifetime.

    Word Travel Awards

    Berlin Germany

    This is a long blog. But I believe it offers some valuable travel insight to the world. I hope you will find it informative and entertaining. So in keeping with the time of year for awards,  I give to you our picks for World Travel Awards, Best and Worst of 2018 – My Fab Fifties Life.

    (For reference – our 2018 countries visited were; India, Bangladesh, Maldives, Singapore, Guam, Australia, Indonesia, Fiji, New Caledonia, Vanuatu, USA, Denmark, Belgium, Germany, Poland, Romania, Greece, Egypt, Jordan, Portugal, Spain, Colombia, Panama, Ecuador, Chile, Brazil.

    DESTINATIONS

    26 Countries

    Word Travel Awards

    Australia

    Favorite Overall Country – Australia

    Australia takes the top award this year edging out a few others (Greece, Poland) but we both agreed.  Australia is the best.  The only negative about Australia is it’s expensive.  But we believe the beauty, culture, nature and environmental awareness helped us choose it as our favorite destination of 2018.  We plan to return in 2019.

    Favorite City – Sydney and Krakow

    Well there it is again – Australia.  Sydney Australia and Krakow Poland take our award this year for favorite city, and basically for the same reason.  Both offer a variety of cultural, historic and scenic options for visitors.  Sydney also has beaches while Krakow has great food.

    Most Beautiful City – Singapore

    Word Travel Awards

    Singapore

    Everything you ever heard about Singapore is true – sparkling clean, stunningly beautiful (especially at night), easy to maneuver and very pedestrian friendly, Singapore was our favorite beautiful city of the year.

    Cutest Town – Brugge

    Word Travel Awards

    Brugge Belgium

    Singapore might take the big city award but we are more small town folks, and Brugge was a perfect little package of history, beauty, beer, delicious food and very friendly people.  We spent four days and could easily have stayed on even longer.

    Most Expensive Country – Australia

    Australia has so much to offer, but inexpensive it is not.

    Least Expensive Country – Indonesia

    Finding an oasis

    Mount Batur Bali

    With some of the nicest people and most beautiful scenery Indonesia is a bargain, and we loved our time there.

    Most Disappointing City – Ubud (Bali Indonesia) Ubud is no longer the sweet little artists/yoga village we all imagine from Eat Pray Love.  When I saw the American brand chain stores I was so disappointed (Ralph Lauren, Starbucks, Nike).

     

    ACCOMMODATIONS

    29 Airbnbs, 42 hotels, 5 boats

    Word Travel Awards

    Airbnb Antiparos

    Best Airbnb OverallAntiparos, Greece. We loved our relaxing three weeks in this gorgeous, private, and big airbnb with a stunning view and wonderful host.  I hope to return someday. https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/20657689

    Best Airbnb for ServiceRio de Janeiro.  Our short visit to Rio (we really should have stayed longer) was extra special due to the hospitable and generous host at our sweet Airbnb.  She was one of the most thoughtful hosts we have ever had. https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/1149627 

    Best Airbnb for AuthenticitySantorini

    Santorini short and sweet

    Santorini

    Greece. Hands down the most expensive Airbnb we have ever stayed in, and yet it was also incredibly authentic Greek cliffside dwelling with a stunning crater view. https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/15926564

    Most Expensive AirbnbSantorini $220 a night (see above)

    Word Travel Awards

    Maldives

    Best Value AirbnbMaldives our tiny room

    in a tiny resort on the tiny island of Huraa was $90 a night but included three meals a day for both of us. We loved our relaxing three weeks here. https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/4490934

    Word Travel Awards

    Lombok

    Most Rustic AirbnbLombok, Indonesia. spending a week in a traditional Javenese cottage far from civilization was a favorite experience. https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/15991971

    Least Expensive AirbnbLombok at only $52 was a bargain and so relaxing (see above)

    Most Unique AirbnbKey West, USA I thought spending four days onboard a 30 foot sailboat would be fun.  Not so much.  It was definitely unique. And cute.  But also uncomfortable.

    Favorite HotelPuri Lumbung Cottage, Bali this beautiful hotel complex made out of

    Word Travel Awards

    Puri Lumbung Cottage Bali

    traditional rice barns was not only beautiful, but it offered so many activities as part of our package and an incredible view at a bargain price.  We loved our time here with our friends John and Carol

    Worst HotelSingapore.  Because Singapore is so expensive we booked this inexpensive $117 hotel and our room was literally a closet in the attic with no windows.  It felt like a jail cell.

    Friendliest Airbnb FamilyExmouth, Western Australia.  We spent ten days in the

    Word Travel Awards

    Exmouth Australia

    tiny Western Australia town of Exmouth and we loved our little Airbnb and the darling family that lived next door.  We would love to go back. https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/18258544

    Worst Hotel Experience – Bucharest Romania. Arriving at our booked and paid-for hotel near the Bucharest Airport, we learned there was a “septic” problem.  No room at the inn.  Nearly five hours later we finally laid our heads on a FUTON, in a teeny apartment of some guy who wasn’t using it, well away from the airport but grateful to just go to sleep.  We had a very early flight and it was not a great way to end our three weeks in Romania.

     

    FOOD

    Favorite Country Cuisine Poland, rich and

    The Foods of Poland

    Poland

    hearty comfort foods make Poland our fav in 2018. But Greece comes in a close second.

    Word Travel Awards

    Spanish Tapas

    Best MealTapas Tour in Sevilla Spain our self guided Tapas Tour in Sevilla’s Triana neighborhood was so delicious and fun. A perfect Spanish memory.

    Best Cooking ClassKrakow Poland I really enjoyed learning to make handmade Pierogi in the tiny communist era apartment of our sweet cooking instructor.

    Best BeerBrugge runs away with this

    Word Travel Awards

    Brugge beer

    award, nowhere else even in the running.  Brugge is a beer lovers town and we are beer lovers.  Our visit to Brugge was memorable for many reasons including the wonderful selection of really outstanding beer.

    Best Food Experience/TourBrugge wins this one too! We really enjoyed having dinner in the home of a lovely Brugge couple who through the website With Locals offered a home cooked Belgian meal in a typical Belgian home.  What a lovely treat.

    Word Travel Awards

    Port Wine

    Best Drinks TourPort Tour Porto Portugal.  I wasn’t sure I was going to like this tour but it ended up being so wonderful, educational, delicious and fun.  I highly recommend this if you are in the beautiful Portuguese city of Porto.

     

    CULTURAL AND NATURAL EXPERIENCES

    Word Travel Awards

    Guam

    Best SunsetGuam. With Gin and Tonic in hand and enjoying some family time while visiting my niece Bekah and her husband Davy, we enjoyed our favorite sunset of the year on the little Dungcas beach in Guam.

    Most Authentic Cultural ExperienceBangladesh Tour. Who goes to Bangladesh?  Well just about no one, and it is exactly the

    Word Travel Awards

    Bangladesh

    reason we enjoyed our time there so very much.  By far the most authentic and least touristy country we have been to in a long time. The people were so interested and amazed by us and they treated us like celebrities.  We loved our time there.

    Word Travel Awards

    Antiparos

    Best Beach – It’s a tie!  Antiparos, Greece and Ilha Grande, Brazil both deserve to be winners, even though they were quit different.  Antiparos was amazing for the solitude, beauty and spectacular turquoise water.  Ilha Grande had such warm water and the beaches were clean and beautiful despite being challenging to get to, we loved exploring the Ilha Grande beaches

    Word Travel Awards

    Egypt

    Best TourMemphis Tours Egypt was one of the best tour companies we have ever dealt with providing us incredible detail prior to arriving, and being present and on top of every detail throughout our ten-day visit to Egypt and Jordan.  Our guides, drivers, accommodations and everything else were flawless.

    Best DriverKadek in Bali. I found Kadek on Trip Advisor and he served as our driver for our entire three weeks on the island of Bali.  He was a very good driver, spoke great English and in addition to picking us and dropping us at our destination he made sure we saw lots of interesting things along the way.  I hope to meet Kadek again some day.

    Word Travel Awards

    Berlin Germany

    Best Free Walking TourBerlin Germany. We have done so many free walking tours over the past several years and only once did we NOT like our guide.  But the young lady we had in Berlin was hands down one of the most charming, interesting, factual, fun and entertaining humans I have ever met.  It made for a most memorable experience and a big tip for her.

    Best Tour GuideCristian, Santiago Chile.  Cristian was our guide on a bus tour we took the day we left our cruise ship and headed to Santiago for our flight.  We spent the day touring the wine region of Chile as well as seeing a small authentic rodeo and dancing. Cristian was patient,

    Hard to answer questions to a travel nomad

    India

    informative, interesting and entertaining.

    Best Bucket List Historic SiteWinner Taj Mahal.  Runner-ups The Great Pyramids and Petra. I cried the day I stood in front of the Taj Mahal.  It was even more beautiful than I imagined.  And lucky for us, we hit it on an unusually clear blue sunny day with hardly any people.  Magnificent site to

    The Magical History Tour

    Cairo

    behold.  Totally worth it.  Of course the Pyramids and Petra are a close second.  After seeing these sites your whole life in pictures, it’s surreal to finally see, touch and feel such awesome history and beauty first hand.

    Best SnorkelingMaldives. You might be surprised we aren’t giving this award to The Great Barrier Reef in Australia.  Yes that was amazing.  But our best one day snorkeling actually took place in the crystal clear

    Word Travel Awards

    Maldives

    blue waters of the Maldives, on a tiny sand island of only about 20 yards wide and 75 yards long. Here we witnessed the most beautiful coral reef I’ve ever seen, and the most amazing variety of fish and sealife.

    Best Natural Site Uluru Australia.  It’s a trek to get to Uluru.  And like everything in Australia it will be expensive.

    Word Travel Awards

    Uluru

    But standing next that incredible natural phenomenon will be something you will never forget.

    Best Manmade SitePanama Canal Panama.  I had no idea how much I was going to enjoy our eleven hour crossing of the amazing Panama Canal.  Truly a modern day wonder of the world.

    Word Travel Awards

    Malaga Cathedral, Spain

    Best CathedralMalaga Spain.  We see a lot of cathedrals.  Sometimes individual ones are difficult to remember. Malaga is not one of those. A distinctively beautiful design inside makes it my favorite and most memorable cathedral in 2018.

    Word Travel Awards

    7 Ladders, Brasov Romania

    Best Day HikeWe have a three way tie for this one with 1. Canyon of the Seven Ladders, Brasov Romania 2. Campuhan trail in the rice fields outside of Ubud, Bali. 3. Coogee to Bondi Beach ocean trail Australia. All providing us wonderful days outdoors in three very distinctively different natural settings.

    Best Multi-Day Hike – Well, the Camino Portuguese of course!

    Most Exhilarating Outdoor ExperienceMorning swim Denmark.  Even though it was August, jumping into the North Sea before breakfast was an eye-popping way to start your day – and a very Danish thing to do!

    Word Travel Awards

    Australia

    Expensive but Worth itClimbing the Harbor Bridge Sydney Australia $467. I had to really convince Arne to do this because it was outrageously expensive.  But in the end he agreed it was worth it.   An impressively well done and safe operation with a spectacular view to boot.

    Word Travel Awards

    Platypus Australia

    Best Wildlife Experience  1. Platypus spotting Australia 2. Aligator Spotting Florida. We love it when we can see wildlife in its natural habitat, untouched by humans.  Seeing a wild platypus in Australia was so incredible.  I still can hardly believe our luck and timing to spot the elusive and shy creature.  On the other hand, seeing literally dozens and dozens of alligators within just a few feet of us as we rode bikes on the Shark Valley trail in the Florida Everglades was one of the strangest experiences of my life.

    Word Travel Awards

    Auschwitz

    Most Moving ExperienceAuschwitz, Poland Hands down – seeing and learning about the extermination of Jews in Auschwitz and in Krakow was the most astonishing and moving experience in all of our travels.  I tried to put it into perspective in a blog.  It was difficult.  Some people choose not to visit.  For us it was the reason for going to Poland and I believe EVERYONE should go.

    Word Travel Awards

    Performance, Ubud Bali

    Best Performance 1. Bali 2. Sydney 3. Krakow  It’s one of our favorite things to do when traveling, attending a local performance.  And this past year we saw several remarkable shows including two fascinating and authentic indigenous dance shows in Ubud Bali, a circus/dance show at the Sydney Opera House as well as an outdoor spectacle of La Boheme on Sydney Harbor.  In Krakow we enjoyed a piano solo performance of Krakow’s favorite son Chopin and LOVED a string quartet concert inside the tiniest historic chapel.

    Best Museum Skagen Denmark A surprising find in this tiny historic seaside town in Northern Denmark, Skagens Museum featured the remarkable art of the amazing talents of the area’s 1800’s artist colony.

    Word Travel Awards

    Ecuador

    Best Cultural Art Experience Ecuador Panama Hat Making in the tiny mountain town of Monticristi a tradition endures where skilled artists produce these works of beauty known as Panama Hats.

    Word Travel Awards

    Berlin Wall

    Best Historical Art Experience Berlin Wall  The reason we came to Berlin was to see the iconic wall, which did not disappoint, and the rest of this amazing city made it one of our favorite stops on European adventure.

    Word Travel Awards

    Count Dracula Romania

    Kitsch Award – we make an effort to avoid tourist kitsch, but sometimes we fall for it, as we did in Sighisoara Romania.  Touted as the birthplace of Vlad the Impaler (Count Dracula), we paid a couple of dollars to walk into a dark and spooky room where an open coffin waited with the Count himself asleep.  Well until he jumped up and scared me to death.  LOL.

    Least English SpokenBrazil.  Portuguese is the official language of Brazil and we found through out the country even in high tourist areas English is rare.  Much like in Portugal and in Spain, there are few fluent English speakers.  Even in the airport and on the flights English is unusual.

     

    WEATHER

    Hottest Day: Ilha Grande Brazil 95 degrees F and 76 degree dew point.  We swooned.

    Word Travel Awards

    Muxia Spain

    Coldest Day: Pontevedra Spain 39 degrees F on our Camino de Santiago we froze and this was the start of my chest cold that lasted 8 weeks.

    Wettest Day: Muxia Spain a four day monsoon kept us indoors, stuffing paper towels into the frames of the windows to keep the water from pouring in.

    Windiest Day: Antiparos Greece – a rare October cyclone closed down shops, the ferry, and toppled trees.

     

     

    TRAVEL

    30 flights, 8 train rides, lots of small boat rides, one river cruise, two ocean cruises

    Smallest AirportParos Greece

    Worst Flight ExperienceIceland Air lost luggage. It took three days before we saw our luggage again.

    Word Travel Awards

    Worst AirlineScoot. Worst flight I can remember in a while from Singapore to Perth.  Everything cost extra including baggage, drinks, food and even a blanket.

    Word Travel Awards

    Train Travel

    Best Travel ExperienceEurope Train Travel. We had a wonderful experience using the trains from Belgium to Germany to Poland and throughout Andalucia and I would do that again in a minute.

    Worst AirportManila We had a long layover here and there was nowhere to sit.  There was no ATM to get local currency and none of the concessionaires took credit cards.  The part of the airport we saw was old and dirty.

    Word Travel Awards

    Camino de Santiago Portugal

    Best Airport – In contrast and like everything else in Singapore, the airport is new, shiny, efficient and beautiful.

    Word Travel Awards

    Dead Sea Jordan

    Worst Security Line – Seattle WA USA.  Way to go USA.  My flight from Seattle to Nashville was a near disaster when I arrived more than two hours ahead of schedule to find a more than two-hour security line.  Seattle’s inability to separate out domestic and international travelers and offer expanded security lanes has made it one of my least favorite airports in the entire world.

    Worst Travel Experiencemissing our flight in Perth.  Expedia took the blame and even gave us a $200 credit for this flight debacle, but it didn’t help our situation as we had to stay an additional day in Perth and did not get to see the town of Alice Springs before heading on to visit Uluru.  Hope to see you again someday Alice Springs.

    So there you have it.  The winner of the Fab Fifties version of the Oscars for 2018.  But you do know, the real winner is me.  Me and my husband.  The luckiest people on the planet. Who needs a little gold statue when you have a Fab Fifties Life?

    What a fabulous life it is.

    Please comment and share.  We appreciate your love.

     

    Inspire

    Honored to Accept The Liebster Award Nomination

    My Fab Fifties Life

    I was so excited and honored to learn while I was on the cruise that  A Trip With a View had nominated me for the Liebster Award!  If you are not already familiar with A Trip With a View I encourage you to head over and check out her amazing travel blog.  Nicole is a travel blogger with a vision to inspire affordable travel for all.  She offers honest reviews of real-life places and wonderful tips and insights into how to travel affordably and happily! Isn’t that what we all want to do?

    It’s always nice to get recognition, and I work hard on my blog so it’s a nice warm fuzzy for me in the New Year.  So without further ado let me fill you in on the details of this award.

    About the Liebster Award

    The Liebster Award is an award for bloggers by bloggers. It recognizes new blogs with great content. It brings attention to blogs that have presented a fresh perspective on travel blogging. It’s bloggers supporting other bloggers. 

    Rules

    1. Thank the blogger who nominated your blog and include a link back to their blog in a post.
    2. Answer 10 questions asked by the nominator.
    3. Nominate other blogs with a fresh outlook and great content, then ask them 10 questions.
    4. Display the award logo in your post and list the rules associated with the award.

    10 Questions from Undercover Travel Agent:

    1.) What is one piece of advice you would pass down to other new bloggers? 

    Content is King.  Don’t write for the sake of writing.  Write quality over quantity.  Find a niche and stick to it, with really good writing, even if it means taking an online writing course.  I’ve seen too many poorly written blogs, I’m sure you don’t aspire to that group!

    2.) What was the first foreign country you visited and why did you choose it?

    Well I am ALOT older than many bloggers out there so my first foreign country was Canada when I was a little girl in the 1960’s. I went there several times with my family for vacations from our home state of Washington.  I still love Canada, even after traveling now to 91 countries, Canada is still one of the prettiest, kindest and most interesting places. 

    3.) What is your favorite destination that you have traveled to?

    This is a hard one, as I said above I have been to 91 countries.  But I would narrow it down to two surprising countries; Bulgaria (cheap, delicious, beautiful and friendly) and Namibia (fascinating!)

    4.) Do you ever run out of ideas for blog posts and if so how do you break through that writer’s block?

    As a full-time traveler I have a lot of material to choose from, but sometimes I want to write something a little different.  I always have several ideas floating around in my head, often based on other things I’ve read.  My blog is personal, and I make a point of keeping it that way, so I might drop a personal piece about family or health into the travel blog from time to time.  Just to mix things up. I also do a weekly book review, since travel provides lots of opportunity to read.

    5.) What inspired you to start a blog?

    Before I became a full-time traveler (2.5 years ago) I was using the blog to inspire middle-aged woman to feel confident and the best they can. When I retired from my career in marketing I wanted to reach out to other women my age and encourage them to look at retirement and being in our fifties as the greatest time in our life, unburdened by the things that caused us stress in our younger years.  So that is how My Fab Fifties Life began.

    6.) Share your favorite travel photo that you have taken and explain why it is your favorite. 

    I took this photo in Namibia just as the sun was setting and we were hurrying back to camp in Etosha National Park because you aren’t allowed outside of camp after sunset.  This beautiful beast almost looks unreal – like a statue.  Covered with grey mud to keep cool, he is just one of my favs.

    I love this photo of a bull elephant I took in Etosha National Park, Namibia

    7.) Are there any places that you visited that you would never want to go back?

    Hmmmmm.  Well, this is also a hard question.  There are pro’s and con’s to every destination.  But if I have to choose I would say Santorini.  I’ve been there twice, eleven years apart.  On my second visit (this past October) I was so very disappointed at how much it had changed – and not at all for the better.  It’s still pretty, but overcrowded, overbuilt and ridiculously expensive.  There are so many other Greek Islands that are beautiful and much less expensive.

    8.) Have you ever visited a destination that really surprised you?  For instance, a place that either far outweighed your expectations or a place that really disappointed you?

    I could list several but I will say Bangladesh far outweighed my expectations.  Bangladesh is NOT a tourist destination and I was actually a bit afraid to go there.  But we went to visit someone we know who is a teacher, and then we took a three-day tour.  The tour was amazing.  Nothing fancy or first class but it was so incredibly authentic.  The people were so kind and interested in us.  Even the poorest people we met invited us to have tea.  It was just a remarkable time.  I loved it and I am so glad I went.  

    9.) What is a destination that you have never been to but want to go and why?

    Israel, Madagascar, Malta, Zimbabwe, Bhutan, Myanmar are all on our list for 2019-2020.  Israel for the history, Madagascar for the nature, Malta for the beaches, Zimbabwe for the falls, Bhutan for its unique approach to tourism, Myanmar for EVERYTHING.

    10.) What is one thing that you must have in your carry on?

    You might be surprised to learn that a full-time traveler suffers from extreme motion sickness.  So I always carry Meclazine.  This little pill has become a life-saver for me.  I don’t know if it’s available in all countries (I’m from the USA), but it’s similar to Dramamine but it does not put you to sleep.  Me and my Meclazine are very good friends.

     

    My Nominations

    travelingdiva.life 

    wanderingwithadromomaniac.com 

    barehotelier.com 

    thesanetravel.com

    backpacknexplore.com

    My 10 Questions for the Nominees are…

    1. How many sleeps until your next trip and where are you going?
    2. How old are you and what age were you when you realized travel was a fabulous way to live?
    3. Thinking about your writing experience, what advice would you give to someone considering blogging as either a hobby or a career?
    4. Shoes – oh girl how do you decide what shoes to pack?
    5. Do you have any travel horror stories or near misses you would like to share to help others avoid the worst case scenario?
    6. Travel fatigue is a real thing (I know!), how do you deal with it and how do you explain it?
    7. Favorite travel destination and why?  
    8. Solo travel – do you? could you? would you? Why?
    9. Do you collect anything when you travel? (magnets, mugs, art, jewelry, shoes 🙂
    10. Finally, what is one piece of advice you can share for successful travel and successful travel blogging?

    Thank you again Nicole for giving me this honor!

     

    Inspire

    A Blog about Blogging

    Remaining Authentic to My Vision

    I’ve had this topic on my mind for a while – but my thoughts are seriously all over the map and I haven’t really been able to cull them into something presentable for you my readers.  But here I am finally trying to express it.  I might fail but let’s give it a try.  It’s time to Blog about Blogging.

    History

    I had no preconceived notions when I started this blog almost SEVEN YEARS AGO.  What?  Where has the time gone?  I knew absolutely nothing about blogging.  And for many years I didn’t even try to learn.  I just wrote what I wanted when I wanted to with absolutely no expectations.  It was in the beginning, and still is, a journal of sorts. My Fab Fifties Life.  Pretty much says it all.

    Then Travel Happened

    But then of course we set out on the Grand Adventure and I suddenly became a ‘Travel Blogger’ without really intending to.  And then people started to notice.  Who are all these strangers who are reading and commenting on my blog? And then I suddenly felt compelled to succeed at what I was doing, and I began to take it more seriously and learn and study and work hard to learn a little about things like search engine optimization, algorithms, domain authority.  Then I met other bloggers and blogging communities and I learned more from all of them.  My eyes were opened.

    Everyone Thinks They Can Write

    And though I have met so many amazingly talented bloggers, my eyes have also been opened to something else.   There are many bloggers out there who have no writing experience or background.  It’s kinda weird to me.  Sometimes I run across a blog and I’m astonished at how poorly written it is.  For hobby blogging that is just fine.  But if they are trying to make a living, they need to become better writers. They may be really good at traveling, but have zero experience at writing.

    I myself am never going to win the Pulitzer Prize for my writing but I am a trained journalist and I’ve spent a career writing in many different formats.  I can write.  And when I started blogging it was because I was looking for the creative outlet of writing I so enjoy. It became about travel much later. It’s not a career for me, but I want my blog interesting and well presented.  I use my years of experience in the writing fields to make that happen.

    Because here is the most important thing about blogging.  Content.  Good well written content will make you succeed – first and foremost.

    Influencers – Not a fan of this title

    The term influencers is a title many bloggers and instagramers self-proclaim for generating income by writing and photographing destinations around the world and creating a buzz about those places.  And in return either getting paid or receive free travel.

    I have an internal struggle with my blogging because, as the blog has grown I find myself often hesitant to talk about wonderful places we find, or unique destinations or restaurants we stumble upon.  Because, will these places be so wonderful if everyone finds out about them?  I don’t want to be an influencer that sends thousands of people to that cute little villa or that secluded little beach.  I have no desire to influence anyone and make a unknown place the next “thing”.  I struggle with the question if my niche is too wide, and should I pare my work down to focus solely on traveling with low impact and expectations?  It’s a tough question. I haven’t yet figured out the answer.

    The Most Instagrammable Spots

    I  will never write a blog with this title nor will I ever read a blog with this title.  It just makes me so damn mad.  As I have mentioned in previous blogs I believe the advent of the selfie and Instagram has ruined a number of locations (ie Santorini) and as we know it has also caused some untimely deaths of people trying to get the best selfie (most recently in Yosemite).

    I will say this again – Yes, I take selfies.  Yes, I love to put my photography on Instagram, but I will NEVER, trespass, put myself in danger or cause other’s to feel uncomfortable JUST TO GET THAT MONEY SHOT.  I think I’ll puke the next pretty girl in long flowing gown I see posing for a shot and trying to make it look spontaneous.  It’s a big loss to authentic travel and an unfortunate side effect of our social media crazed world (and amazing photo editing tools at our fingertips).

    Money

    I earn a small amount of money for the stories I publish six times a year in a magazine back home.  It does not pay for our travels. That thought is laughable.  It does almost cover the costs I incur having my blog professionally hosted.  But as for the hours of work I put into my blog – I make no money.  Nada.

    I tried for a while to sell books on my book reviews through Amazon’s affiliate program.  But I didn’t make the cut for minimal sales and Amazon dropped me.  I have not attempted, so far, to get involved in any other affiliate programs to monetize my blog. But honestly I don’t need to make money.  I am not doing it for the money.  I’m doing it because I like to write, I love photography and I enjoy sharing these two passions.  I’m not looking for payment in return for talking about a specific destination or experience I have had.

    I lived that life in my career and I don’t want that in My Fab Fifties Life. I want to remain authentic to my original vision for this blog; write about happy things that inspire women in mid-life to seek adventure, be authentic, brave and fearless, while sharing my story of my own personal Fab Fifties journey.

    That is all

    That is all I want for the blog.  If you are inspired to find your own grand adventure, or inspired to read a book, or inspired to let your hair go grey, or inspired to try a new cuisine, or inspired to walk 100 miles, or inspired to purge and minimize, or inspired to get on an airplane to somewhere you always dreamed of – then this blog has served its purpose.

    And it has done it authentically.

    Fabulous.

     

     

    Inspire

    The Suitcase Nomad Life

    Two Plus Years and Counting

    Location: Everglades Florida

    It’s been two years today since we took our shiny new REI bags and got on a plane to Thailand.  Although it’s actually been more than two years since we became suitcase nomads when we left our little condo rental and headed to Hawaii on June 12, 2016 (exactly two years, five months, 17 days, 12 hours, 45 minutes and 49 seconds ago).

    We have been living out of those (no longer shiny) REI bags now for 900 days.  In the beginning Arne said we would know after six months whether or not we could live this lifestyle.

    Suitcase nomad

    Our bags the day we left November 2016

    Apparently we can.

    65 Flights and 48 countries later here we are in Florida.  Florida?  How did we get here?

    We are on our way from Florida next week to five more months in South and Central America, seeing many countries we have wanted to visit for a very long time.  Expecting the suitcase nomad life to continue – full of adventure and fun.

    This week marked two years since we headed to Thailand as well as 36 years since we got married.  Our anniversary also

    Packing (again) after three weeks in Greece

    marked the closing day for the condo we have purchased (sight unseen) back in our home state of Washington.

    We plan to continue the suitcase nomad life, but we also look forward to having a “home” once again…a place we can unpack and kick back and call our own when we are in the USA.

    Suitcase nomad

    Leaving again August 2018

    But, that won’t happen until May.  Meanwhile my niece and her family will housesit in our new condo – while we continue gallivanting around…suitcase nomad life on a roll.

    It’s fun.  It’s exhausting.  It’s exciting. It’s hard.  It’s exhilarating. It’s monotonous. It’s not for everyone.  It’s our life.  This is our suitcase nomad life.

    I wouldn’t change it.  What we have seen.  What we have learned.  How we have grown.  What more could anyone ask for? My Fab Fifties Life.

     

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    Where The Hell Was That?

    Travel Amnesia – Yes it’s a Thing

    I have talked a little in the past about travel fatigue – a real ailment that afflicts most full-time travelers, but I’ve never mentioned travel amnesia. Yes, it’s a thing. Not a day goes by where one of us doesn’t have a total brain meltdown and say “Where the hell was that?”

    Let me give you an example. Walking around Malaga Spain my husband says “this reminds me of that place where there were all those sailboats.”

    Me “We’ve been lots of places with sailboats”.

    Him “You know it was real busy and there was a soccer match and we waited forever for the Uber because there was so much traffic”.

    Me “Oh and we had that terrible meal at that restaurant. That was Sydney”.

    Him “Was it? I don’t think so. Where the hell was that?”

    Me “I’m sure it was Sydney and we went to that new art museum in the industrial area.”

    Him “That doesn’t seem quite right but I guess it was”.

    We go round and round like this daily. Sometimes more than once a day. Travel amnesia. Sometimes we pull out my phone to look up a photo to remember where we were.

    Sometimes this “where the hell was that” moment creates a disagreement, but usually it resolves itself quickly, when one or both of us remember a detail that jogs the other’s memory.

    But sometimes it doesn’t. Going back to the conversation above, the next morning I was waking up from a good night’s sleep when my travel amnesia floodgates opened. I turned my head to see if Arne’s eye were open. They were so I said –

    “Cape Town”.

    It took him only a split second.

    “That’s it. I knew Sydney didn’t seem quite right.” We laughed about it the rest of the day.

    Problem solved. Until travel amnesia rears it’s ugly head once again.

    It’s actually become a game for us. Part “too much travel” and part “I’m getting old” – keeping the internal database clicking along without any glitches is a challenge. Thank goodness we have each other, it’s the only way to solve our daily travel amnesia question “where the hell was that?”.

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    Adventure Travel  --  Inspire

    Camino de Santiago Final Thoughts

    Enjoy our Fun Video

    Location: Camino de Santiago Spain


    We say farewell to the Camino de Santiago with this fun video we put together while walking the Camino Portuguese.  We hope you enjoy it.

    And we share with you some final thoughts.   If our blog, our travels and our Caminos inspire you in any way, to go do things you never imagined you could do, then we are fulfilled.  Because life is short, the world is amazing, and each one of us has a spark inside that, with a little bit of oxygen, is ready to flame.

    Don’t wait to find what makes you happy.  Go be Fabulous today.

     

    Our journey now continues with two more weeks in Spain and then on to Florida, Colombia, Panama, Ecuador, Chile, Brazil and much more.

    Thanks for following.  Go. Be. Fabulous.

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    Everything Else Fabulous  --  Inspire

    Farewell USA, Our Grand Adventure Continues

    Off We Go Again

    Location: Planet Earth

    Our visit to the USA comes to an end.  We have enjoyed our ten weeks in our native country, but we are also ready now to go.

    As hard as it might be for some people to understand, we don’t consider the USA our home right now, we enjoy being on the move and we are ready to say Farewell USA, our Grand Adventure continues.

    I had a lot of things I wanted to do while in the USA.  I didn’t get them all done, but we enjoyed family and friends, hiking and cycling, and quick trips to Nashville and Utah.

    And it was enough.

    So now we go.  We are relaxed and unstressed about departing, unlike the first time we headed out.  We know the ropes now.  We are confident and secure in our ability to navigate the world.  And we can’t wait to get back out there and enjoy this amazing planet.

    The next chapter begins. Unlike our last segment, this time we will spend more time in Europe. We will spend August and

    A route looks roughy like this. LOL.

    September in Europe; Denmark, Belgium, Germany, Poland, Romania and Greece.  Then we have ten days in Egypt and Jordan.  Following that we hike another Camino de Santiago, this time from Porto Portugal to Finisterra Spain (250 miles).  We then end our time in Europe with visits to Sevilla, Malaga and Cádiz Spain as well as Gibraltar.

    In November we will fly to Miami and visit Key West and the Everglades before boarding a cruise ship that will take us to Columbia, Panama, Ecuador and Chili.  Followed by a month in Brazil (Christmas and New Years) followed by Costa Rica, El Salvador, Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, Dominican Republican and possibly Cuba before returning again to Washington State next June for another summer visit.

    Time with our sons

    We have worked hard on this itinerary and we are excited about the adventures ahead.  We hope you will continue to follow us, comment and share.  Thank you for being a part of the growing My Fab Fifties Life Family. Stay tuned for news from Denmark! We look forward to our second visit to Denmark and exploring more than just Copenhagen this time.  A beautiful and friendly country where we have family!

    It’s time to fly! Farewell USA, our Grand Adventure continues. T minus ONE!

    Fabulous!

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