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Adventure

    Everything Else Fabulous

    Fabulous Travel Wardrobe with Just One Suitcase

    Looking and Feeling Grand on the Grand Adventure

    Location: United States

    After wearing the same clothes over and over on our Grand Adventure I was looking forward to some major shopping once I got back in the USA. I knew I could create a fabulous travel wardrobe that would fit in  just one suitcase.

    I’ve spent a lot of time over the past two months purging my old travel wardrobe and adding fresh new and fabulously fun and comfortable items. ¬†There are only five items from my previous wardrobe (excluding underwear) that make the cut for this next phase of my fabulous travel wardrobe.

    Fabulous Travel Wardrobe

    The white dress five ways. This is from J. Jill. I’m gonna love this dress I think.

    I have a really good understanding now of what works for me as a full-time traveler; what makes me feel good; is comfortable, pretty and easy to care for; what is well constructed and can withstand hand washing, sweat and constant wear; and most importantly what is versatile for many kinds of climates and all kinds of fabulous.

    That’s what I look for in a fabulous travel wardrobe.

    Fabulous Travel Wardrobe

    Black Dress six ways. This is a TravelSmith purchase, wrinkle free fabric. I love it. It made the cut for this next phase. Denim jacket is Levi. ¬†Black and white kimono scarf I bought in Bali. White tie blouse is from Macy’s.

    Granted, most of the clothes I need are for warmer climates.  However on this next phase we will see some cool weather, especially while we are in Spain and Portugal in late October and November.  So I need to take this into consideration.

    I’m basing my fabulous travel wardrobe on some anchor pieces including; one white dress, one black dress, one pink dress and one green dress. ¬†In addition I have added; one black linen drawstring pants, one white linen drawstring pants, one white walking shorts and one black walking shorts.

    With these anchor pieces I have added multiple tank tops and t-shirts and blouses as well as one sweater, two cardigans and my denim jacket. I also have two kimono scarf wraps (one silk, one cotton) and two

    Fabulous Travel Wardrobe

    The green dress four ways. This is another Travel Smith purchase. The silk Kimono scarf and the black leggings are from Sirvana

     

    scarfs.  All of these items together can create an endless array of options for me.  The photos show just some of the ideas I have.

    I also have a couple of fun hats and a small collection of versatile jewelry to mix and match. ¬†Although most of the time we aren’t getting dressed up, it’s nice to have some jewelry options for casual outfits as well.

    My wardrobe includes

    Fabulous Travel Wardrobe

    Pink dress four ways. I got this dress on a clearance rack at J.Jills. It’s linen – my favorite fabric. There is that Sirvana kimono again. ¬†Teal and pink scarf is from Target.

    some handbags and six pairs of shoes. ¬†My shoe choices are flat or low heeled with excellent arch support and lots of comfort. ¬†Anything other than that doesn’t make the cut of a fabulous travel wardrobe.

    In my suitcase you will also find my small collection of mix and match items that serve me for hiking, running and yoga. ¬†These activities are a big part of most every day in My Fab Fifties Life so making sure I am comfortable when I’m working out is a priority. ¬†Our fall hike of the Porto Camino will likely include some rainy days, so I am preparing¬†with a better rain poncho

    Fabulous Travel Wardrobe

    White pants and or shorts six ways. There are endless options here. Linen pants are Caslon from Nordstrom. The white shorts I have had for years. Black lace duster from Sirvana. Blue and white striped tank is DraperJane by Reece Witherspoon. White Lace tank from Travel Smith. Washed denim top from Marshalls and red top from StitchFix.

    than the one I had last year on the Spain Camino.

    I bought two of the same swimsuit but in different colors. ¬†This way I can wear the first one until it starts to fall apart and have a back up ready. ¬†I hated trying to shop for a swimsuit on our travels. And because I wear a suit almost every day, mostly in salt water, they really wear out. ¬†I’m also bringing my older one-piece suit that I found in storage. ¬†I prefer a one piece suit when snorkeling so I want to have it for those times.

    Making the cut from last years wardrobe are my

    Fabulous Travel Wardrobe

    Black pants and or shorts eight ways. Of course black is flattering, but these pants are also comfortable. Linen pants are Caslon from Nordstrom, black shorts I have had for years. Teal button up tank and print tank from J Jill. White top with black embellishment is from Macys. Mustard sweater is Coldwater Creek.

    bold flowered print long sleeve gauze blouse. ¬†I love the color and comfort of this top and even though it’s long sleeved it is perfect in hot weather. ¬†It will come in handy in Muslim countries where I want to cover my arms.

    Fabulous Travel Wardrobe

    My gear for running and yoga. Black shorts and shoes are Brooks. Leggings from Sirvana.

    I’m also bringing my 12-year-old teal linen sundress which is my favorite and is a perfect beach coverup. ¬†I did some hand stitching to it this summer to fix the hem and some fraying. Good as new and ready to go again.

    Fabulous Travel Wardrobe

    I have hiking options for all weather possibilities. And we likely will use them all! Most everything you see here is from REI. Poncho from Magellan. My hiking shoes are from Kuru- specifically designed for plantar fasciaitis.

    In addition I’m throwing in my denim cropped white jeans. ¬†I’ve never had a more comfortable pair of jeans and they work in so many ways. ¬†A keeper for sure. My black shorts are also on the return list.

    And finally, my black dress from Travel Smith I wore over and over on the last phase of our travels I will wear over and over on the next phase.  This dress is a wonderful wrinkle free fabric and feels really good to wear.

    There are a few other minor miscellaneous items I plan to bring, but I feel more pared-down than when we left two years ago.  We both will continue to use our sturdy REI roller bags, now in their fourth year and who knows how many miles and baggage handlers they have endured.  We had to change the wheels on one of them, and are carrying a set of wheels for the other bag just in case.

    Fabulous Travel Wardrobe

    My swim attire – the blue and the green tops are identical except for color. I bought the Sarong in Bali and there is my old trusty teal linen sundress that has been around the world several times.

    In addition Arne has his backpack and I have my new roller carry-on. ¬†I’m confident we will have plenty of room. ¬†Not only for our clothes but for all the other items (did you see the YouTube video we posted about packing non clothing items? ¬†We also posted a time-lapse on Youtube that is fun to watch).

    The thing is, you would basically pack the same if you were going on a month-long vacation. ¬†Granted there are some things you wouldn’t need to pack (back up wheels for your suitcase or 12-months of contact lenses), but it’s essentially the same. ¬†I would most likely bring the same amount of clothes for a month as I am for a year, a fabulous travel wardrobe. ¬†It’s all about planning and knowing how to mix and match to feel and be your fabulous best. ¬†Everyday, every country, everywhere. ¬†Go. Be. Fabulous.

    Launch is in T-minus 25 days!

     

    Fab North America Travel

    Seattle Ride the Ducks For A Quacking Good Time

    Location: Seattle Washington USA

    Full disclosure РI always thought this whole Ride the Ducks thing looked pretty silly.  Even though I love Hop On Hop Off busses and walking tours in cities around the world РI had never done a Ride the Ducks in any of Seattle Ride the Ducks the countries or cities I have visited. Until last week when I joined Seattle Ride the Ducks for a Quacking Good Time.

    Additional full disclosure. ¬†My son was our Ducks Tour Guide (alias Kirk O’Bane).

    Seattle Ride the DucksIf it wasn’t for the fact that my son has joined the Seattle Ride the Ducks team as a tour guide, well, I probably would still be a Ride the Ducks virgin. ¬†But of course we wanted to see our son in action so my husband and I took our two moms to Seattle for a day on the Duck. ¬†So much fun.Seattle Ride the Ducks

    And seriously, my son was a great guide, but now that I have done a Ducks tour I am sure it would be awesome no matter who your guide is. ¬†We didn’t stop smiling the entire time.

    Seattle Ride the DucksThe tour is high-energy and interactive with lot’s of cheering and clapping and singing along. ¬†But of course it’s also interesting and informative. ¬†We learned a lot about Seattle, its history and current rapid growth. ¬†The tour included¬†fun facts and figures, and interesting little known quirky bits about the city.Seattle Ride the Ducks

    It was particularly fun to get out on Lake Union and see the very Seattle lifestyle of living on a houseboat (Remember Sleepless in Seattle?) as well as seeing the Seattle skyline from the lake and watching a Kenmore Air floatplane fly low over us and land on the lake.

    The 90 minute tour is worth every bit of the $35 ticket price.  I highly recommend checking out Ride the Ducks of Seattle if you are a visitor or a local.  You will have a quacking good time.

    Be sure and ask for “Kirk O’Bane”. ¬†Proud Mama. ¬†Fabulous.

    Everything Else Fabulous

    Preparing to Travel Full Time – It’s In The Details

    The Grand Adventure

    Location: United States

    Note Рat the request of one of my friends, I have updated this blog, originally posted in November 2016, with fresh new information.  Enjoy it again.

    “How exactly do you prepare to leave the country and travel full-time?”

    As our departure day to leave the USA again grows near, this is the recurring question.  People we meet often show, interest, surprise, envy, jealousy, horror and confusion. But most of all they are curious. How exactly do you prepare to leave the country and travel full-time?

    How to travel full-time

    The Grand Adventure Thailand

    So over the past couple of weeks I have been pulling together some details to share again. A lot of details. ¬†In fact, I would answer the above question with a simple sentence. ¬†“It’s in the details.”

    Before we embarked on the first phase of the Grand Adventure we spent several years preparing.  A younger person, like my son, can prepare more quickly, in a matter of months.  But for Fab Fifty rock stars like me and my husband, it took more time.

    For us about three years.

    How to travel full-time

    The Grand Adventure Morocco

    When the idea first sprouted, I knew immediately we would do it. ¬†Without a question I knew it was right for us. ¬†All while knowing it isn’t right for everyone.

    In fact, making a major life change like this should take some serious soul¬†searching – are you cut out for a life of travel? What is your tolerance level? ¬†Consider everything from beds to cultural customs when considering your personal tolerance for living outside of the United States. ¬†Do you have phobias? Afraid of bugs? Snakes? Rodents or people not like you? Are you afraid of cultures where everyone isn’t white? ¬†Are you willing to eat new foods, communicate in languages other than English and squat to go to the bathroom? Give it a think because, a life of full-time travel isn’t for sissies or intolerant people. You gotta be open, willing and fairly fearless while being smart, observant and adventurous.

    Once you know your tolerance level that in-turn will help you determine your budget.  Because if you are only willing to stay in upscale American style hotels, then your budget will need to look very different

    How to travel full-time

    The Grand Adventure Vietnam

    from ours. ¬†Our travels have us staying in primarily Airbnb’s that average about $70. ¬†And honestly if you are only willing to stay in American brand hotels with 300 thread count sheets and someone to cater to your every whim – well, you should just stay in the USA. Because you will miss the most rewarding part of travel – getting out of your comfort zone and expanding your world view.

    We have a daily budget of $200 all-inclusive (transportation, lodging, food and misc).  This is plenty for most places and not enough for a few places, but we are frugal and hope it all evens out.  Because the

    How to travel full-time

    The Grand Adventure Spain

    reality is if we can’t stay within our designated budget then the Grand Adventure will be over, sooner rather than later.

    Speaking of timeline – we don’t have one. ¬†This of course would not work for everyone, but for us it fits. ¬†We will continue the vagabond life as long as we are having fun. ¬†As soon as it becomes anything other than fun, we will wrap it up. ¬†But so far, 99% fun.

    So listed below are some “details” on how to prepare to leave the country and travel full-time. ¬†Most of these things we have had to learn on our own – so if this list can alleviate any work for someone else considering traveling abroad full-time in retirement, use it well.

    PURGE – we started our purge process more than two years before we put our house on the¬†market, as we let go of nearly every bit of fluff we owned, including house, cars, boats, trailer, furniture and more. ¬†We have a 10×12 storage unit now that is holding what remains of our stationary lifestyle and life’s memories. During this same period we worked to purge my Dad’s house, remodel his place and get it on the market as well as move him to a smaller place. ¬†It was a big goal to get him out of his large house before we left. It was a huge job but it needed to be done.

    How to travel full-time

    The Grand Adventure Cambodia

    DOCUMENTS Рwe updated our passports even though they were not expired, so we would not have any issues with needing to do that from abroad.  We also updated our Washington State Drivers License.  We will carry a copy of our marriage certificate with us but not our birth certificates because the passport is sufficient.  We have researched every possible country we think we might visit to learn the entry/visa requirements. We are carrying extra passport photos because some countries require obtaining a visa on entry with photo. We also carry International Drivers License, even though we have NEVER been asked for one.

    SPREADSHEET Рwe created a spread sheet, which is evolving constantly and we can access via Google Drive, to track all of our travel including air and ground transportation and lodging.  This spreadsheet includes notes regarding entry rules for countries. It’s also a fun tool for tracking so many things from miles traveled to beds slept in.  The data we have is incredible.

    MAIL – we are using a PO Box that belongs to my Mother-in-law, but we are trying hard not to receive

    How to travel full-time

    The Grand Adventure Croatia

    any mail.  We have notified our friends and family not to snail mail us, we have contacted magazines and catalogs to eliminate junk (not very successful however) and we have changed all of our banking, retirement and property related mail to online only. I canceled my 35 year subscription to Bon Apetit.

    TECHNOLOGY – we have new smart phones, an iPad and my Brand new light weight Mac Book that will travel with us. ¬†In addition we will bring our old flip phone. ¬†For our smartphones (we each have an iPhone) we buy a sim card in each country for one of our phones to enable the phone to have a local phone number and data. ¬†We then also use our iPhones with wifi for things like blogging, Facebook and Instagram. ¬†The flip phone is programmed¬† with our old Verizon phone number from the states. ¬†Although we don’t plan to use that number often, it keeps it active for emergency.

    How to travel full-time

    The Grand Adventure Seychelles

    We also have our Bose noise-canceling headphones and our Bose SoundLink Mini speaker that measures about 6 in x 3 in.  We carry this with us and it allows us to listen to music using Spotify and listen to Audible or other books.

    APPS РWe have a few travel apps we like especially Airbnb, Expedia and Google Maps.  We also have a Google translate which is really cool.  You can point your phone at a sign or menu item in another language and it will show you what it says in English.  Love it.  We use WhatsApp, an app that allows you to make overseas calls via the internet, this is primarily the way we communicate with our kids.  To call our parents, who aren’t on WiFi, we use an app called TextNow which allows free phone calls from anywhere to the USA. We also use Kindle, Yelp, Uber, Get Your Guide and Trip Advisor.

    How to travel full-time

    The Grand Adventure New Zealand

    CORDS AND CHARGERS – I honestly don’t understand why there isn’t a universal cord for all electronics, but alas wishful thinking. ¬†So we have organized and sorted all our cords, charges and adaptors to travel along. We research ahead to make sure we know what adaptors we need in each country. We have one packing cube we use for all of these items.

    CREDIT CARDS – don’t you hate it when your credit card company announces suddenly that you are being mailed a new credit card because your card has been compromised? ¬†Well that would really screw us up if that happens. ¬†So we have FOUR credit cards. ¬†One is our primary and three are backups. ¬†Three cards have no foreign transaction fees (which is a killer). ¬†We also have multiple ATM cards. All credit and debit cards are chipped. ¬†VERY IMPORTANT is that we do not carry all these cards together in one place. ¬†That way, if our wallet or purse is lost or stolen, we will have back up cards available in a different location. ¬†We have contacted all of the card companies for both credit and debit and let them know we will be traveling abroad for an extended period. ¬†We have put a reminder on our calendar to do this again periodically. We carry several hundred US dollar in cash for emergencies.

    How to travel full-time

    The Grand Adventure Portugal

    PRESCRIPTIONS – I take two prescriptions regularly. ¬†It’s been a challenge to get enough of my meds stocked up. ¬†My insurance company will allow, with a special doctor’s note, two 90 day vacation overrides. ¬†I have been stocking up in other ways too, but it’s not going to be enough. ¬†I will need to find access to these meds to fill the rest of the time, because we won’t be back in the US for a visit until next summer. Shipping prescriptions abroad is illegal. We have some people coming to visit us, so I may have them bring me my pills. But I am confident I can find the meds or an equivalent. ¬†I will need to pay cash for those at the time. ¬†I have also 12 months worth of contact lenses and we each have our glasses plus a back up pair.

    DOCTORS – during the three months we have been in the USA we have had a ton of appointments; family physician for full physicals, new prescriptions and precautionary antibiotics; eye doctor for new contacts and glasses; dermatologist for annual check up; dentist for cleaning and some work; gynecologist for check up; and annual mammogram. I had my updated yellow fever, and DPT shot and did a round of typhoid and got a two month supply of malaria meds.

    MEDIVAC INSURANCE – considering our age, we felt there was value in purchasing evacuation insurance. ¬†This insurance covers expenses to transport us back to the USA in case of a medical emergency that can’t be handled locally.

    How to travel full-time

    The Grand Adventure Spain

    EXPEDIA AND AIRBNB – we love how these two
    online websites allow us to keep files of all your bookings.  This eliminates the need for printing and gives us easy access to our bookings.  We use them both frequently.

    DECIDING WHERE TO GO РAfter two years of non-stop travel we feel much more comfortable with our movement around the planet.  It feels natural.  We usually agree on where we want to go and make our decisions based on budget, weather, safety and interest. We love to go new places, but have a few favorites we return to. We take turns planing the itinerary, often taking a country each.

    Although we aren‚Äôt completely booked yet, we have a plan for August 2018 through June 2019 that includes; Denmark (visiting Arne’s cousins), Belgium, Germany, Poland, Romania, Greece, Egypt &Jordan (the only countries currently where we are doing a tour), Portugal & Spain (where we will walk our second Camino de Santiago), Colombia, Panama, Ecuador, Peru & Chile (these five countries on a cruise with Arne’s Mom), Brazil, Costa Rica (joined by our friends from Washington), El Salvador, Belize (joined by our two sons), Guatemala, Honduras, Dominican Republic and Cuba.

    How to travel full-time

    The Grand Adventure Tunisia

    GIRL STUFF – I’ve learned some things about myself over the past two years. Despite how easy it is to have long hair and wear it in a pony tail everyday, I just hate the look on me. ¬†So the budget will need to include more haircuts. ¬†Mostly I do my own nails and wear hardly no makeup, but I still like to have my eyebrows waxed from time to time. I have just a handful of earrings and necklaces I wear and of course the charm bracelet. I‚Äôve just purchased a jewelry case that‚Äôs I hope will help my jewelry not take such a travel beating.

    The Grand Adventure Australia

    PACKING Рthis topic is by far the one most people ask about, and indeed one of the hardest.  We will continue to use two large REI rolling bags.  Arne will continue to use his backpack as a carry on. But this time my backpack will stay home and I just purchased a new rolling carry on. And packing cubes have changed my life.  Organized and categorized I love using packing cubes.

    It helps that we are traveling, for the most part, to warm climates or to areas during their warm season. ¬†We may see cool and rainy in Portugal and Spain in the late fall. Honestly the clothing choice has been easier than the shoes. ¬†And the bulkiest items are not clothes or shoes it’s toiletries and

    The Grand Adventure Namibia

    medicines. I just purchased a flat style toilette bag to replace the larger boxier cube style one we have been carrying. I’m hoping this will free up some space in the suitcase.

    Without a doubt I am bringing twice the clothes as my husband, but I have learned so much this past two years for what works for me and what is comfortable and easy to maintain.

    How to travel full-time

    The Grand Adventure Laos

    I threw out almost all the clothes I used the past two years and have replaced them with fresh, new and comfortable. ¬†Watch for a blog soon all about my new travel wardrobe. I think you’re gonna love it.

    In addition we have our electronics and documents and toiletries, first aid and meds.¬†¬†We have our Scrabble game, our hiking poles, a selfie stick, an REI titanium French press, a can opener,a small knife, collapsible small cooler and colander. ¬†I have a new “butt cushion” to hopefully alleviate sciatic pain on long flights. ¬†I’ve thrown in some pens and pencils, scotch tape and packing tape, a bungee cord, cloths pens, plastic bags (multiple sizes) our headlamps and some extra batteries. ¬†Of course I don’t leave home without my Washington State University¬†flag, my Seattle¬†Seahawks flag and THE MUG.

    So there you have it. ¬†The details. ¬†I’ve probably forgotten something. ¬†We feel more prepared and less anxious than when we left two years ago. ¬†We are looking forward to this next phase.

    Ready to launch year three of the Grand Adventure! T minus 33 days.

    I welcome your questions.

    Fabulous!

     

     

     

    Everything Else Fabulous

    Travel Planning Fatigue

    What’s Ahead for the Grand Adventure

    Location: United States

    Travel Planning Fatigue

    The Mug in the USA

    In the beginning I really enjoyed the planning. Figuring out where to go, where to stay, how to get there and what to do.

    Unfortunately it‚Äôs now a bit of a chore and I am suffering from travel planning fatigue. But it’s a necessary chore for this nomad life we have chosen. Ahhhh first world problems…

    Keeping the details straight, connecting the

    Finding an oasis

    The Mug in Bali

    dots and STAYING WITHIN BUDGET is a monumental effort.  We have fallen into a pattern of having our plans set about six months out at any given time. Sometimes however, like now, we end up with even more advanced plans. For instance, now we are looking at Christmas through February in South and Central America. This is the height of the season there, so we are planning even further in advance.

    Travel Planning Fatigue

    The Mug in Bulgaria

    Because we follow the sun on The Grand Adventure, we often hit high season. But because we also try to focus on less-touristy destinations, it usually works out. But, it still requires managing a lot of information, spending a lot of money on advance travel and lodging reservations, and trying to decide what we want to do and where we want spend our time.

    Travel Planning Fatigue

    The Mug in Thailand

    We often split up these tasks. My husband just finished planning Brazil and Costa Rica for December and January, while I am deep into research of the rest of Central America for late winter and spring 2019.

    Travel Planning Fatigue

    The Mug in Australia

    Our goals remain the same;  see parts of the world we have never seen; revisit some past favorites; and experience cultures and places where few visitors go.  Over the past two years we have had amazing success with this strategy. And until arriving in the USA this past May 14th, we have stayed on budget. Our time in the USA however has blown our budget.

    We will get back on track as soon as we leave the USA again. We have our plans confirmed now from Aug 7 – Feb 15th. During this time we will visit the following places; Denmark, Belgium, Germany, Poland, Romania, Greece, Egypt, Jordan, Portugal, Spain, Gibraltar, Miami, Key West, Panama, Columbia, Peru, Ecuador, Chile, Brazil, Costa Rica, Nicaragua.

    Travel Planning Fatigue

    The Mug in the Seychelles

    We are still researching the following possibilities from March – late May 2019; Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Cuba and Jamaica.

    So we continue to plan – and to suffer from travel planning fatigue. But My Fab Fifties Life requires being organized and so we have become adept at the planning and managing the details.

    A full and fabulous life.

    Watch for more USA blogs coming soon.

    Fab North America Travel

    Nashville For First Timers

    What a Fabulous City

    Location: Nashville Tennessee USA

    Nashville for first timers

    Breakfast at Bisquit Love

    Nashville for first timers. Not what I was expecting. What a wild place – crazy, historic, loud, interesting and delicious. Nashville for first timers can be a bit of a surprise though. At least it was for me!

    Nashville for first timers

    Famous Jacks BBQ on Broadway

    My high school girl friends and I went a bit rogue this time in choosing our destination for our (almost) annual girls get away.  Nashville made the cut and eight of us put on our mud kickers and headed out for a country music weekend.

    We stayed at the Sheraton Grand Hotel. Unfortunately we didn’t realize how spread out this city is. So my first bit of advice is be prepared to need to Uber and cab it all over town. We spent a ton of money on that Рbig surprise there. So if you are a Nashville for first timers virgin be prepared!

    Nashville for first timers

    Visiting Antique Archeology

    The Old Town Hop On Hop Off  Trolley was a good investment though when you are doing Nashville for first timers. We bought the first day ticket for $35 and added the second day for an additional $10.  I really loved the drivers of these trolleys who gave us great history, interesting stories all served up with southern charm and humor.

    One of my favorite things we did from the Hop On Hop Off was visit the famous and historic Ryman Theatre where The Grand Ole Opry performed from for many decades. The theatre is really amazing and the tour was was interesting.

    Nashville for first timers

    Historic Ryman Theatre

    Nashville for first timers

    Nelson Greenbrier Distillery

    Also I loved our visit to the historic Marathon Motor Company building. Today it’s filled with funky shops including the Antique Archeology of American Pickers fame. Also on this same block is the Nelson Greenbrier Whiskey Distillery.  The $11 tour was really fascinating and included a tasting of four different spirits they distill.

    From the Hop on Hop Off we also found Music Row fascinating and surprising how these famous recording studios are mostly in tiny houses and not in huge skyscrapers.

    Blake Shelton’s brand new Ole Red bar on Broadway

    The Honky Tonk scene on Broadway in downtown Nashville is way crazier than I imagined. It was Las Vegas with the volumn turned up to eleven. Wild. Thousands and thousands of people, hundreds and hundreds of bars and restaurants and every single one has live music blasting all day long.

    Apparently Nashville is the number one destination in the USA for bachelorette parties. Young scantily clad brides and bridesmaid groups are whooping it up on the sidewalks, in the back of rented flatbeds and open top busses and on the cycle beer trucks. Loud and ready to party. Wow.

    Nashville for first timers

    With my friends at The Grand Ole Opry Hotel

    We took an Uber 20 minutes out to the Gaylord
    Grand Ole Opry Hotel. This is also the place where the Grand Ole  Opry now has its home. But the 3000 room hotel is a destination in itself. Again I was reminded of Vegas Рornate and over the top with waterfalls, jungles, orchids and a riverboat cruise.

    Nashville for first timers

    Country Music Hall Of Fame

    Nashville knows it’s audience and country music fans are very loyal to this town. Fans can spend hours or days at the Country Music Hall Of Fame as well as many other museums including Johnny Cash, Patsy Cline, George Jones and others. Tennessee was also home to three US Presidents (Jackson, Johnson, Polk)and the area around Nashville is full of history relevant to our country.

    Nashville for first timers

    Corn Cakes at the historic Woolworth’s

    I ate a ton Рeverything from corn cakes to steak, hot chicken, biscuits and macaroni and cheese. Southern comfort food as well as delicious alternatives are in abundance in this town of abundance.

    You can spend a weekend or stay a week and still never see and do everything here.  It’s a great town Рalive! Nashville for first timers or do it again? So much fun!

    Y’all should come now ya hear?

    Everything Else Fabulous

    What’s in My Suitcase? My Travel Favorites

    What I Won’t Leave Home Without

    Location: In My Suitcase

    When we head off again in August for another year of travel our suitcase will not look the same as when we left the first time 18 months ago.  We have learned what works, what doesn’t and what are our favorite things.  So here are some of my travel favorites in my suitcase.

    Battery Power Pack Рpossibly our most used and most valuable item. Mophie is the brand we have and we spent $40 on it. We use it everyday  it fits in a purse or pocket and holds a charge for several days. Definitely one of my travel favorites in my suitcase.

    Packing cubes Рnot sure how I traveled all those years without packing cubes because they are now my best friend.  Especially as a fulltime traveler it’s so great to keep kinds of clothes and other items categorized in my suitcase.

    Cooler Рour collapsible portable lunchbox size Igloo cooler was a gift from our niece and it is just perfect for our travel life, picnics and beach days.   We have even used it to keep things (Mayo, cheese, eggs) cold as we traveled by car from one lodging to the next. A very handy item and portable and one of my travel favorites in my suitcase.

    Ice pack Рpurchased for $2 this ice pack fits perfect in our little cooler and really changed the way we travel.  Such a simple item with a big impact.

    Freezer Bags and trash bags – with endless uses for storage and packing we have used gallon size freezer bags and kitchen size trash bags to keep things dry, to keep things wet, to organize, to protect and to store. From wet shoes to dirty clothes and olive oil to medicines plastic bags make our life easier.

    Notecards and post it notes Рhaving a package of notecards with envelopes and post-it notes has come in handy. I like to leave notes for our Airbnb hosts or tuck notes in a package I’m mailing or a multitude of other uses these small and simple items are one of my travel favorites in my suitcase.

    Packing tape Рour roll of packing tape has done a lot more than wrap up boxes.  We used it to fix a splintered iPhone cord and to make a cardboard sleeve for our butcher knife. We repaired a book binding and even a hat.

    Clothes pens РI initially packed these to use on the Camino but they have come in handy in so many ways.  As hangers when we don’t have any, to secure and close bags, to hold back mosquito netting on beds and to of course hang our laundry.

    Manicure kit Рit’s not always easy to find a place to have a manicure, and I’ve learned over the years I need to care frequently for my nails or they get cracked and nasty.  So I carry a small manicure kit that serves my needs while on the road.  It takes no room at all and is one of my travel favorites in my suitcase.

    Scrabble Рsince leaving the USA in November 2016 we have played more than 400 games of Scrabble. Wow that sounds crazy!  But we love the game and the only problem is we are now both really good at it and we find ourselves occasionally in a bit of a stalemate!

    Noise cancelling headphones Рthis is Arne’s Favorite item on this list.  We both have Bose headphones we use on the plane. Arne also uses his sometimes to listen to music off his iPad or watch movies.  He votes this as his travel favorite in his suitcase.

    French Press Рwe added a French Press about half way and it recently broke BUT we love having one and will be getting another.  Almost all the places we stay have a hot water pot and we love to make French Press each morning instead of drinking the usual Nescafé.  Traveling with a French Press is one of my travel favorites in my suitcase.

    Foldaway daypack – A few months into our journey we added this item and have used it a ton. It folds up into a little square but when open it is perfect for hikes or city walks when we want to carry a sweater, beach towels, water or just about anything for the day.

    There are things we have been carrying that we don’t plan to include any longer. This includes our kitchen knives, chess board, hiking poles, chamois towel and our giant toilette bag.  I plan to buy a smaller toilette bag and force myself to carry less.

    I’ll hold on to a few tried and true clothing items but plan to throw out many things and replace them with new, Comfy, loose-fitting clothes in mix and match colors.  I clearly know what works and what doesn’t now,  and I think I can bring fewer items while feeling like I have more.  It’s a challenge I am looking forward to.

    What’s in my suitcase? My travel favorites, the bare necessities and the tried and true.

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    Everything Else Fabulous

    When Are You Coming Home and Other Hard to Answer Questions of a Travel Nomad

    On The Grand Adventure

    Location: Planet Earth

    We constantly are dealing with hard to answer questions to a travel nomad life. Always well-meaning, but often difficult to respond, we swim around for a truthful answer that will satisfy the queries.

    After 18 months out of the United States our next stop has us spending two and a half months in our birthplace country. ¬†But it’s not our home. ¬†Even though my passport says United States of

    Hard to answer questions to a travel nomad

    Camino

    America, my home is wherever I am today.

    So answering the often asked question “When are you coming home?” is a tricky one for us. ¬†This question and a handful of others like it, often make us pause. ¬†How to explain this nomad life to non-nomads is difficult. ¬†Putting into words why we are mostly content being vagabonds in our fabulous

    Hard to answer questions to a travel nomad

    Maldives

    fifties is a challenge.  We of course are polite, but when you get asked for the one hundredth time one of the hard to answer questions to a travel nomad, you try being clever and witty.  Try.

    When are you coming home?  Someday we will again have a home in the traditional sense of the word.  But home for us is wherever we are each and every day.  Yes our family and most of our friends are back in the great state of Washington, where we will visit and enjoy ourselves this

    Hard to answer questions to a travel nomad

    India

    summer. ¬†But it’s not our home. ¬†Being homeless is not for everyone. ¬†But for now it works for us. My friend Marty recently gave us a wonderful complement. ¬†She observed that many people talk about doing what we do, but few can pull the trigger and make it happen. ¬†A most flattering thing to say to us.

    It’s also difficult to answer the question “what is your favorite place?’. ¬†We get asked this one ALOT! I think it‚Äôs the most often asked question – but most of the time people ask it because they feel a need to ask SOMETHING – even if they really aren‚Äôt interested. And we know many people aren‚Äôt interested. ¬†We are¬†cognizant of the fact a lot of people don’t actually care about our grand adventure. ¬†If they care they are probably following the blog. If they ask we answer. ¬†Otherwise we don‚Äôt share – we understand everyone has their own life.

    When we tell people we don’t have a favorite place we

    Hard to answer questions to a travel nomad

    Vietnam

    often get an eyeball roll. ¬†But we don’t. ¬†We have liked certain places more than others, but there really isn’t anywhere we disliked and everywhere we have been there has been good and bad.

    How can you afford to travel full-time?  We dread this question because the underlying question

    Hard to answer questions to a travel nomad

    Seychelles

    really is “are you rich?”. ¬†No we are not rich. ¬†But what we are is frugal. ¬†Very frugal. ¬†As well as organized and careful and committed to staying within our budget. ¬†Remember we sold everything we own before we left the USA. ¬†We have zero debt, zero bills and live a simple life on a simple budget. ¬†We spend considerably less now than we did living in the USA. ¬†Anyone who is willing to give up their mortgage, car payment, car insurance, boat, house repairs and maintenance, clothing purchases, hair and beauty expenses, gym membership, theatre Hard to answer questions to a travel nomadseason tickets, daily Starbucks visit, clubs and societies, extravagant evenings out and a host of other expenses some American’s often cling to – anyone willing to give that all up, can join us as nomads extremely affordably. ¬†And in our case, be happier than ever before.

    Yet that said, we do get travel fatigue.  I actually avoid mentioning travel fatigue, because there are some people on my Facebook page (masquerading as friends) who are snarky when I mention something like the fact that a life of full-time travel is sometimes, exhausting.  Those are the

    5

    Australia

    Hard to answer questions to a travel nomad

    Sri Lanka

    people who do the eye roll thing and say things like “Oh poor you. ¬†Traveling around the world is so tough”. ¬†You know the type, jealous maybe or unhappy in their own life situation ¬†– I’m sure you have those same people on Facebook. ¬†I don’t want to sound whiney, so I don’t talk about the fatigue very often. But yes it’s¬†tiring. ¬†A few things in particular cause travel fatigue. For instance wishing for a perfect cozy chair to read in. ¬†The constant hunt for ingredients. ¬†Why isn‚Äôt there ever toilet paper? Packing and unpacking. ¬†So when I get the question “what is the most

    Hard to answer questions to a travel nomad

    Koh Samui Thailand

    difficult?” I will always say, living out of a suitcase causes me fatigue.

    People often ask us if Arne and I get tired of spending so much time together.  I think this is a funny question because it could really backfire.  This hard to answer question to a travel nomad

    Hard to answer questions to a travel nomad

    Portugal

    might end up with the answer “Yes! We are sick of each other! We are getting divorced”. ¬†Lol. ¬†Of course the answer is the opposite, we get along better now than we ever have in our 35 years of marriage. And we believe that is partly from lack of stress, lack of financial ¬†burden and lack of RAIN!

    Another question we often get¬†is “Aren’t you afraid?”. ¬†Of what exactly? ¬†Living? ¬†No I am not afraid to live. ¬†I am not afraid to die. ¬†I have never felt in danger anywhere, any more than I do in the USA. ¬†I believe this question comes from people

    Hard to answer questions to a travel nomad

    Angor Wat Cambodia

    who believe, naively, that they are safer in the USA than they are traveling outside of it.  When the reality is the opposite.  Ask any high school teacher in the USA how safe they feel?  Really.

    Several people have asked if I plan to write a book. That is not something I’ve given any thought to.  There are many travel nomads before us who have written books but my blog serves as a journal of sorts and for now that’s enough for me.

    Hard to answer questions to a travel nomad

    The family last Christmas in Thailand

    Even though I’ve written this blog I fully expect the need to answer these questions from family and friends while we are in the USA this summer. ¬†And that’s okay. ¬†We are happy to answer any and all questions, particularly if we can encourage and inspire other people to step out of their comfort zone, stop hiding behind the American flag, and go learn and experience the incredible and amazing cultures of the world. ¬†You will be a better person, and the world will be a

    Hard to answer questions to a travel nomad

    Doha Qatar

    better place if you do.

    So ask me anything Рincluding the hard to answer questions to a travel nomad. I will give you the truth.  Nomad life is amazing.  Absolutely fabulous.  Join us.

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