Let’s just say it. Sometimes a life of full-time travel or even a short vacation, can just plain suck.
Clinic in Namibia
Despite what everyone tries to make you believe through social media – travel, like everything else in life, can and will involve many less-than-glamorous moments.
Bad hair day in Denmark
You will puke. You will have diarrhea. You will be exhausted. You will snore and or drool on an airplane. You will fall off your paddle board and lose your swim top. You will have horrendous humidity hair. You will not shave your legs for weeks at a time. You will sweat. You will cough so hard you pee. You will fall
Humidity hair in Costa Rica
on your face even though you are sober. You will get caught in a downpour in your only nice shoes. You will get sunburned. You will get a thousand bug bites. You will lose your luggage. You will inevitably need to see a pharmacist, doctor or dentist in a foreign country.
Travel is not always glamorous despite what Instagram says.
Not figure flattering in Chile
Travel is real. And though it is, for the most part, a wonderful and fun adventure, it is not always perfect.
Take yesterday for example. After a year and a half of babying along a bad tooth, I spent six hours in a dentist chair in Costa Rica. They cleaned me, extracted the bad tooth, did a bone graft and gave me an implant. It was a long and painful way to spend Valentines Day. But it was necessary. And much cheaper than doing it in the USA.
Not too glamorous as I sat there with the dentist prodding and poking
Motion sickness in Seychelles
and prying me all day long. I did walk away with some good pain meds. I’m putting those to good use right now.
Cold and wet in Spain
No, travel is not always glamorous, despite what Instagram says. I’ve written blogs before about how frustrating I find so-called “influencers” on Instagram who make it look like travel is perfect every day. Who make every destination look like a magazine cover. Who are young, thin and glamorous in every shot. It is not reality. It is not authentic. It is all fake news.
I am not now, nor will I ever be “thin”. I am, shall we say, endowed. But I am not
Covered with flies in Australia
ashamed. This is me, real in the flesh, not a made up version for Instagram. Glamorous? No. And I sure didn’t feel glamorous in the dentist chair, or when I was sick in the bathroom, or covered with sweat, or drenched from the rain, or laying on the
Not so glamorous swimsuit shot in Costa Rica
sidewalk wondering “how did I get down here?”
Don’t believe everything you see on Social Media. I think most of you know this already. Instead, get out and see the real authentic
Not so glamorous at the dentist in Costa Rica
world yourself – it will be amazing, if not glamorous, and you will be a better person for the experience. Real, authentic and fabulous travel. It’s the best kind.
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
drama, fantasy, comedy, mystery, nature and animation. Enough to last a lifetime.
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.
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
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
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
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).
Best Airbnb for Service – Rio 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 Authenticity –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 Airbnb – Santorini $220 a night (see above)
Best Value Airbnb – Maldives 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
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 Hotel – Singapore. 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.
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.
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/Tour – Brugge 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.
Best Drinks Tour – Port 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
Best Sunset – Guam. 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 Experience – Bangladesh Tour. Who goes to Bangladesh? Well just about no one, and it is exactly the
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.
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
Best Tour – Memphis 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 Driver – Kadek 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.
Best Free Walking Tour – Berlin 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 Guide – Cristian, 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,
informative, interesting and entertaining.
Best Bucket List Historic Site – Winner 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
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 Snorkeling – Maldives. 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
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.
But standing next that incredible natural phenomenon will be something you will never forget.
Best Manmade Site – Panama 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.
Malaga Cathedral, Spain
Best Cathedral – Malaga 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.
7 Ladders, Brasov Romania
Best Day Hike – We 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 Experience – Morning 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!
Expensive but Worth it – Climbing 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.
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.
Most Moving Experience – Auschwitz, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 Spoken – Brazil. 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.
Hottest Day: Ilha Grande Brazil 95 degrees F and 76 degree dew point. We swooned.
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.
30 flights, 8 train rides, lots of small boat rides, one river cruise, two ocean cruises
Smallest Airport – Paros Greece
Worst Flight Experience – Iceland Air lost luggage. It took three days before we saw our luggage again.
Worst Airline – Scoot. Worst flight I can remember in a while from Singapore to Perth. Everything cost extra including baggage, drinks, food and even a blanket.
Best Travel Experience – Europe 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 Airport – Manila 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.
Camino de Santiago Portugal
Best Airport – In contrast and like everything else in Singapore, the airport is new, shiny, efficient and beautiful.
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 Experience – missing 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.
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Book Review The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce.
Pilgrimages come in many packages. Some planned. Some not. For Harold Fry his was unlikely and most unexpected. And most certainly a transformative life-changing event.
Having been on my own life-changing pilgrimage these past few years, I really felt a kinship with Harold. Recently retired, looking for purpose, unable to make his wife happy, Harold’s life takes a major turn the day he receives a letter from a former colleague.
And thus begins the unlikely adventure. Part Forest Gump, part Walter Mitty – Harold’s pilgrim path ebbs and flows and throughout he impacts people’s lives in a sincere and honest way during the more than six month journey- all while learning so much about himself.
I really enjoyed this book and the story of an ordinary man with an extraordinary sense of commitment, humanity and perseverance. You will love Harold Fry and his unorthodox adventure too.
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️Five stars for The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry.
It’s a gigantic place. Huge. Impossible to see it all. But the tiny piece of the Amazon Jungle we experienced was a privilege that will stay with us forever.
First let’s talk numbers in the Amazon Jungle; 5.5 million square kilometers (2.1 million square miles); one fifth of the freshwater flowing into the Earth’s oceans comes from the Amazon River; there are more than 40,000 different kinds of trees and plants; 2.5 millions kinds of insects; 3000 freshwater fish; 427 mammals; 378 reptiles; 400 amphibians; and 1300 kinds of birds. It is the greatest biodiversity area on the earth.
Multiple rivers feed the jungle emptying eventually into the giant Amazon, which can be as wide as 20 miles in some places. The Amazon is the greatest river of South America and the largest drainage system in the world in terms of the volume of its flow and the area of basin. The total length of the river from the headwaters in southern Peru, is at least 4,000 miles (6,400 km), which makes it slightly shorter than the Nile River but still the equivalent of the distance from New York City to Rome (source Britannica.com)
So many birds
The Amazon Jungle Basin can average rainfall of approximately 2300 mm (7.5 feet). In some areas of the northwest portion of the Amazon basin, yearly rainfall can exceed 6000 mm (almost 20′), often flooding the civilizations that make Amazonia their home. In 2012 the highest flood level ever recorded in Manaus reached 29.97 meters (93 feet).
A word about mosquitos. We were prepared to take malaria meds the entire time we were in the Amazon Jungle. We began our meds the day before arrival and immediately I suffered from stomach upset. When we arrived at Manati Lodge we learned that this particular area of Amazonia on the Rio Negro is generally mosquito free. Due to the decomposing material from flora (which also gives the river a coffee color thus the name) the Rio Negro is naturally acidic, with ph ranging 2.4 – 4.9, thus preventing mosquito larvae from developing. Although some people still may want to take the malaria meds, I chose to stop taking them as soon as I learned this information – and me and my tummy were both grateful. Each person should make their own decision and consult with their doctor. I did receive a handful of bug bites – unknown to me from what kind of bugs. They have healed quickly.
Today at least 400 indigenous tribes live in the jungle, much as they have for millennia. The Brazilian government works to protect the rights and traditions of these tribes, all while also trying to help them find diverse ways to earn and survive. Additionally a handful of tribes still live untouched from any interference by the civilized world and they wish to remain so.
For our visit to this fascinating place we chose to spend five days at the Manati Lodge, a simple but comfortable and very well run small lodge about two hours from the city of Manaus.
Manaus (population 1.8 million) is the major city of the state of Amazonas, and the jumping-off point for most visitors to the Amazon. From here you can begin your journey to multiple lodges and resorts inside the protected area. A variety of styles and price ranges are available for lodging. For us Manati was just what we needed. All inclusive (transport, comfortable room, all meals and all tours) for two people for five days cost $1100. We spent an additional $20 on alcohol (we did not drink very much by choice) and $75 on gratuity. For what we got, an absolute bargain.
Manati has 6 rooms that can sleep four each. During our five days, guests on two, three and five-day tours revolved in and out. We met a nice variety of world travelers from Brazil, Canada, England, Italy, France, Croatia and the USA.
Isaac, right, shows me how to weave
Our guide Isaac was wonderfully full of enthusiasm, stories and wisdom about his native region. Some days we had Isaac all to ourselves and other days we shared him with other guests.
New Years Eve
Isaac made sure we saw and did so much. We began with a serene and beautiful tour by boat to enjoy the jungle from the water. There is green, and then there is Amazon jungle green – an indescribable range of hues I never knew existed on the planet. Throw in the remarkable rainbow and it was such a pleasant way to start our adventure.
A special celebration on our first night for New Year’s Eve was totally unexpected and so wonderful. The staff decorated with palms and flowers we ate and toasted with sangria and champagne and even had midnight fireworks. Not at all what I expected in the middle of the jungle. It was wonderful.
So much to see
Over the next four days we had a huge variety of experiences, but also plenty of downtime to relax and read. I had neither WiFi or cell service over the five days which turned out to be a blessing – giving me a news and social media break I didn’t even realize I desperately needed.
Sloth trying to hide
A visit to a local village provided us our first spotting of a sloth in the wild – a lifelong dream for me. Going piranha fishing had never been on my lifelong dream list but it turned out to be very entertaining and fun.
I really enjoyed our three-hour jungle walk, where we were introduced to a fascinating variety of flora, including dozens of plants that are used in medicines we know and use regularly from Vick’s Vapor Rub to Milk of Magnesia. We saw wild acai, Brazil nuts, palms used for roofs, plants the indigenous people used for poison and hunting and other plants used for survival in the Amazon jungle. And some in our group even ate butterfly larvae. I declined the offer.
Later that same day, under thankfully sunny skies we swam with the famous Amazon pink dolphins. The government allows the dolphins to be fed four days a week, this is how the tourists get to see them. The rest of the time they are left alone so they do not grow overly dependent on humans. They are not in a pen. They swim freely and come to the platform when fish is available. They were large and incredibly strong, but also gentle. They enjoy being petted. And they smile.
I swam with dolphins once before, in Zanzibar. But this was different. In Zanzibar we did not touch them. I enjoyed both experiences for different reasons. The dolphin skin is soft like a baby. Their eyes are so tiny. Also known as botos, they are born grey and become pinker with age. As they mature its skin becomes more translucent allowing the blood to show through. When excited, they will flush to a bright pink , like your face might when you get embarrassed or excited.
After saying farewell to our new dolphin friends we took a beautiful boat ride to another part of the river. We parked the boat on the river’s edge and watched as dozens of inquisitive little squirrel monkeys cautiously approached and then, when realizing we had bananas, jumped right on board.
I’ve seen monkeys big and small all over the world, and generally am not a fan. They can be mean and smelly. But the Amazon Jungle squirrel monkey was by far the cutest and sweetest I have met.
Squirrel mo key
We ended this amazing day with a sunset swim in the warm Rio Negro before returning to Manati.
The next morning we woke at 5am to clear skies so we groggily (before coffee!) headed out to watch the sunrise. It was beautiful and worth getting up for.
Water is life
After breakfast we visited a local family home where we learned more about plants used for medicine in the jungle. We also learned all about the staple native food of manioc, a tuber that is the source of tapioca as well as numerous other products. Manioc is part of the daily diet not only of the indigenous people but nearly everyone in Brazil.
One big snake
We ended this day with a visit to another local home. Here an anaconda that was accidentally caught in a fishing net is being nursed before being released back into the wild Amazon jungle. Those who wanted to were allowed to hold the beast. It was about eight feet long. Damp. And strong. Another once in a lifetime experience. I think once is enough.
Our final day dawned stormy so our hour-long boat ride to visit an indigenous village was down right painful as we crossed the giant Rio Negro in a healthy wind and serious chop. But I’m glad we did.
The tribe we visited
The village of the Dessana people accepts visitors as a way to earn money and to share their culture. Originally found in their ancestral home 600 miles (965km) away in the dense remote jungle of northwestern Brazil, they came to the Tupe region for a better life to fish and farm. Dessana began benefiting from tourist who were curious to see their ancient traditions (source theCultureTrip.com.)
The Chief explained in detail (through an interpreter) many of their rituals about boys initiation to manhood, marriage, leadership, food, hunting and celebrations.
Dancing with the Chief
The Chief and about twenty-five people from the tribe including men, women and children then performed for us several ritual dances and songs with handmade instruments. We then were invited to dance with them. The Chief took my hand and he was amazingly strong as he led (well, dragged) me alongside him as I tried to follow the intricate steps of the dance. Arne was also dancing, although I was too busy to see him trying. Luckily Isaac snapped a few photos.
Arne dancing too
Before leaving we purchased a few handmade items from the tribe and thanked them for sharing. It was a great way to end our amazing Amazon visit.
One of my fav photos
After lunch we headed back to Manaus and civilization, forever changed by the experience. Just one more remarkable memory and a spectacular way to begin 2019.
It was a two-hour flight from Rio. An hour city bus ride packed in like sardines was followed by more than an hour in ticket lines and shuttle lines to actually reach the falls.
I began to wonder if it could be worth all this?
Yes. Yes it was. Totally worth the effort to get there. What adjectives to use? Stunning, awesome, powerful, beautiful. It was all that and more.
In fact, once off the bus and on our own, the post-Christmas crowds didn’t seem a big issue, except on the one major platform that takes you out closest to the thundering falls.
A stones throw across the raging river, it was easy to see the Argentinian side was just as crowded. Perhaps even more so. There are those who argue the view is better from Argentina. I can’t say. But the view from the Brazil side was incredible. And definitely worth the effort to get there.
Ten dollar entrance to the National Park provides your park transport. Additional activities require additional fees including guided hikes, boat tours, kayaks and food.
In hindsight the thing I would do differently (other than not come Christmas week) is stay in one of the hotels next to or inside the park. More expensive than our in-town Airbnb (which we really liked) but the convenience would be worth it. Especially since our time here was limited.
A definite “I don’t have a bucketlist” bucket list item. Iguacu Falls Brazil Side. Entirely worth the effort to get there.
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.
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.
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.
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 –
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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