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    At Home

    Home and Other Adventures

    Flying During Covid-19 Pandemic

    What a ride it’s been. But here we are. Home. That word feels so good in my mouth. Sweet and full. But with it comes a bitter taste – it’s not what was supposed to happen. Home and other adventures is a story of acceptance of our fate. Despite all our planning; despite all our hopes; despite all our efforts – our travel life has come to an abrupt stop.

    Heathrow Airport
    Eeriely quiet London Heathreow

    Home and other adventures took me several weeks to wrap my head around. As each day passed, each week passed I kept adjusting my thinking. Believing we could pick up our itinerary at some point and continue. Eventually we came to the realization it wasn’t going to happen and if we are going to be sitting somewhere we might as well be sitting at home. At least it’s free and we could be working on projects and helping our family. And so we took the first flight that came available out of Cyprus.

    Cyprus Airport
    Empty Cyprus airport

    Getting here was nothing less than grueling. It took about 50 hours from bed to bed. Three flights, one hotel, lots of cold sandwiches. Airports have few services. Planes have few services. I brought food with us, as best I could. It wasn’t good but it was something.

    Aegean Airlines
    Onboard Aegean Air to London

    Leaving Cyprus

    Departing Cyprus we drove on a bus to the plane – seriously about 15 minutes. To an entirely different airport where the planes seem to be staging. I think it was the old airport. I have no idea why. Upon boarding the flight crew was dressed like they were assisting in surgery…disposable gowns, face masks, rubber gloves and eye protection. We were given rubber gloves and told we had to wear them the entire flight. Everyone on board was wearing a mask. We were given a bottle of water and nothing else on the five hour flight. All middle seats were empty. Even couples who wanted to sit side by side were told they could not. Without flight attendants going up and down the aisle the plane was so quiet. With everyone wearing masks no one was chatting and the plane was absolutely silent. Ghostly.

    London Tube
    Heathrow baggage claim

    We arrived in London to a eerily quiet Heathrow. No temperature checks -we breezed right through, got our bags, walked to our hotel in the adjoining terminal. Crashed on the bed in the itty bitty room.

    Heathrow Train
    Empty train in London

    Leaving London

    Early Wednesday off we went again. Empty tube ride to the terminal. Almost empty terminal. Signs everywhere to distance. But staff not wearing masks or any protection. We asked why and were told it’s not allowed. It’s astonishing to me how inconsistent the rules are between countries.

    Heathrow Airport
    Having Heathrow all to ourselves…weird.

    Security checks at Heathrow were normal and well carried out. There was no health screening on departure. It was strange the wide variety of preparedness in the handful of travelers. Some did not have anything. Most had masks, a few had gloves as well. And then some dressed head to toe in complete “contagion” outfits. It reminded me of Willy Wonka in the Wonkavison room.

    Willy Wonka
    Wonka Vision
    Heathrow Airport
    Heathrow social distancing

    I was pulled aside for additional security screening at the gate…that was just random, not due to Covid. Mostly swabbing for chemicals and explosives. On board the British Airways 787 there were 13 people and nine crew. Wow. Nine people in economy (including us), no one in Business and four in First Class. We were able to spread out and get comfortable. In fact, we were required to each have a full row and to sit next to the window in an effort to “distance” It actually was a nice flight…I love British Airways. We had a half a sandwich served early with some chocolates and later a pizza like thing. That with the food we brought was plenty. No alcohol available.

    One striking thing about all three of our flights was how when we pulled away from the gate, the plane headed to the runway and just took off! No waiting for the plane in front of you.

    British Airways
    Lots of legroom

    Hello USA

    Arriving in the USA was interesting. First we were met on the gangway by health screeners. No temperature taking, but they asked us questions dressed in full contagion gear. The LAX airport has way more activity than in London. Several shops open and kiosks with cold food and even Starbucks open. There was none of that in London. There seems to be more staff around as well. Most are wearing masks. We breezed through both passport control and border patrol. I wanted someone to say welcome home…geeze I’ve been gone for seven months. But they hardly batted an eye. Sigh….

    Los Angeles International Airport
    Waiting for our third and final flight

    Our flight to Seattle left late but other than that was uneventful. Arriving in Seattle we got our bags and changed into clean clothes before meeting our boys – just an effort to try to not spread anything we may have picked up. SeaTac was quiet with very few people. Most staff wearing masks. Starbucks was open but I didn’t see any restaurants open, but we were only in one terminal so possibly in departures there was more. I’m not sure.

    Home and Other Adventures

    Waking up in my bed, opening my eyes and knowing where I was. Nice but surreal. I can’t tell you how many times over the past four years I’ve had to let my brain take a moment to know where I was upon waking…so many hotels, Airbnb’s and beds. But waking up here, I knew. I am so grateful we made the decision to buy this house…it was a leap of faith to buy something sight unseen. But life in a pandemic without a home to come to would have been pretty rotten. But here we are.

    The Lund Family

    I’ll be in self-quarantine here now for two weeks. Only seeing my boys, who met us at the airport. It’s good. Our youngest has been working from our house and will continue to do so until his office reopens, which may be awhile.

    So what’s next? We don’t know… we will figure it out just like everyone else. We still have flights for the wedding in France in June…it’s unlikely to happen but we haven’t completely given up on it. We have a trip to Hawaii planned in October. We have a trip to Boston and New York planned in December. Will that happen? I don’t know. I do know eventually we will get out there again…just how long it will take remains to be seen.

    Home and Other Adventures. Unexpected but satisfying. Be safe. Be well. Stay tuned. The adventure continues just with a sharp right turn and a few bumps in the road… Home, sweet home.

    At Home  --  North America Travel

    Hello USA – Back Once Again

    Visiting the United States for Four Months

    Location: United States of America

    Our round two of the Grand Adventure has come to an end and we are returning to our home country of the United States for four months.  We head back out for round three in September.

    Meanwhile, dropping back in to the hectic and crazy USA is causing us some anxiety.  Living in the USA is

    My hometown of Gig Harbor

    fast-paced and a bit maniacal, and last summer we found our visit after 18 months away, a bit of a blow.  After living in places with no cars, no grocery stores, no English and sometimes no sanitary systems…arriving in the USA is both deja vu and a culture shock.

    We have grown accustomed to our travel way of life, amongst people who are different, cultures that are

    Our new Condo

    different, food that is different and language that is different. So adjusting back takes some effort when the USA seems a bit weird.  But I’m sure we will adjust.  It will be a relief to have Safeway, Target and a few other things like good gas prices, my hair dresser and my manicurist, a washer and dryer -things that seem such a luxury to us now.

    All that said we are looking forward to seeing our family.  And we are very excited to finally see the condo we bought last fall sight unseen.  This condo will serve as our home when we are in the USA for the foreseeable future as we continue to travel.  We are

    Seeing friends

    hopeful that it was a wise investment and are really looking forward to unpacking our things that have been in storage, some of them for nearly four years.

    We hope to have a bit slower pace this summer than last summer, when we tried to do and see too much.  Our priorities this summer are family, and working on the new condo.  Of course we hope to see some friends too and finding time to work out and get in shape is a goal.  Two short trips are in the works; Scottsdale Arizona and Big Fork Montana.  But other than that, we will stay close to Gig Harbor, family and our new condo.

    While in the USA we will still have a travel blog every Friday and a book review every Wednesday and I hope to post some blogs about the remodel of the condo.  We hope you will continue to follow and enjoy My Fab Fifties Life. We are so grateful to our faithful followers of our blog and our journey.

    Hanging out with family

    We depart the USA again on September 11th and you are invited to follow our round three as we head out for ten months with destinations that include China, Malaysia, Myanmar, Oman, Kenya, Mauritius, Zambia, Uganda, Israel, Cypress, Malta, Albania, Macedonia, Serbia, Slovakia, Czek Republic, Belarus, Lativia, Lithuania, Estonia, Finland and Greenland.  Big plans.  We hope you follow along.

    Hey USA!  You look Fabulous!

     

     

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    Inspire

    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’s 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’t interested. And we know many people aren’t 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’t 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’t 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 – including 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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