Like most people my age (65+) I feel that time appears to be going faster than ever before. For example, when I look at the calendar it is difficult to believe Thom and I have been back from our three-month trip for over a month now. Of course, we have gone and returned from Tucson twice since then, moved up to a rental cabin in the mountains, visited with friends and caught up on dozens of to-dos that we put off while traveling. But looking back over that month, especially when I admit that I planned (avoided?) writing a blog post (or two) during that time, my excuse is that I just didn’t have time. Does time actually go faster as we age or am I just getting pickier and pickier about how I spend it?
It may have appeared to those who followed along with my recent travels that I was experiencing the trip of a lifetime. Several people even stated that in comments to my posts here on the blog and on Facebook. But honestly, “It wasn’t.” Sure, the trip was great in so many ways, but in my opinion I hope to never experience a trip of a lifetime. That’s because I intend to keep experiencing trips that are amazing and hopefully better. Plus, even though I tried to be honest about a few of the challenges that popped up during our 90 days of travel, lots of things happened along the way that were completely unexpected. Isn’t that how it is in life? What’s the saying, “No matter where you go, there you are.” And I’d add to that, “No matter how well you plan or hope, stuff happens!” So, in reflection I thought I’d mention a few thoughts that could benefit us all (me!) when “stuff happens” in our future—regardless of when or where they happen. And if you have a few practices that work for you, I hope you share them in the comments below.
When Thom and I left home three months ago I never planned to write about our travels. So even though I took my computer with me, I wanted complete freedom to take the summer off from writing if I didn’t feel I had anything to say or share. But if you’ve been following along then you know that several weeks after leaving home, I challenged myself to write a post that included a few photos and thoughts about our travels up to that point. Ten posts later, we finally wrap up our trip spending both a week in Porto and a week in Lisbon, Portugal. Our time in both locations gave us an opportunity to settle into each city and reflect on our trip. And as usual when our travels draw to a close, we began to look forward to returning to our lives back home. [Read more…]
One of the larger reasons Thom and I enjoy traveling in the summer is to escape the heat of our desert home in Southern California. We call ourselves “weather chasers” because we tend to prefer sunny, but temperate, climates. This summer was no exception and we’ve been very fortunate during our travels. Unfortunately, after leaving the Sintra near the coast of Portugal we headed inland to Tomar. And yes it got hot! Not as hot as back home, but hot enough to make us adjust our plans accordingly. Of course, one thing that is an essential item to take along when taking any adventure is flexibility along the remembrance that we are fortunate to be able to travel in the first place. So yes, we’ve still enjoyed our time in spite of soaring temperatures across Europe this July. [Read more…]
Portugal has been on my short list of travel for several years now. I kept reading about and hearing from others about how many people love it and plan to retire here in the future. Not just those from the U.S. either. It is popular with many expats from other parts of Europe as well. Why? The weather, the ocean, the culture, the people and the food. Obviously we had to check it out. We flew from Rome and landed in Lisbon. There we rented a car and headed south to the region known as the Algarve. Thankfully, after the heat in Rome, the weather was clear and cool. [Read more…]
After spending time on the Amalfi Coast it was time to head inland to visit our good friend Cheryl Morgan. Cheryl fell in love with Italy years ago and it was always her dream to buy a home there and do her version of Under The Tuscan Sun. So about four or five years ago, during one of her visits, she bought a house near a lake southeast of Rome in a little town named Posta Fibreno. Not only did she turn her new home into a lovely retreat, two years ago she bought another house nearby. When we heard she was remodeling it and making it available to guests, we figured it was time for us to visit. And it was just the sanctuary we needed for a few days. [Read more…]
Back when Thom and I were deciding where to go on our European Adventure I knew it was time to visit the east coast of Southern Italy. Like most people, I have seen photos of the Amalfi Coast for as far back as I can remember. What I had never really thought or read about was the coast below the Amalfi Peninsula. Plus when I heard that many Italians choose that area of their country to vacation to (and avoid the crowds of Amalfi) I figured it would be somewhere to explore. Plus, because the Amalfi Coast is so popular, it is less expensive to both stay and eat in locations further south. I found a vacation home that looked great and off we went through mountains and tiny Italian villages to the little town of Maratea. [Read more…]
The next step of our adventure takes us to Southern Italy. We loved our previous trip to Northern Italy a number of years ago, but had never ventured south of Rome. So, with a desire to experience somewhere new, I started researching the area and decided there was plenty to see. Ever heard of Puglia? Neither had I. But our first stop was flying into Bari, Italy which lies on the east coast of the region. As soon as we landed, we picked up our rental car and headed out of the city to our farm-stay near Locorotondo. Of course, our plane was late, and picking up a brand-new rental car, navigating an unfamiliar city, and then driving tiny country roads as night drew near to a new destination is just more of the adventure. [Read more…]
Our final destination in Spain is Seville. There is a great deal written about how wonderful the city is in books and on the internet so I decided we should stay here for a week. I found another great apartment in a central location and after visiting Ronda we drove our car into town (only getting lost once or twice) and turned it into the rental agency. All good. Once settled in we headed out to explore. Surprisingly because it doesn’t get dark there until after 10:00 p.m., it seems pretty natural to wait until 7:00-8:00 to eat. That of course is still early for Spaniards who typically wait until 10:00 to eat, but it worked just fine for us. We relaxed the first day in town (did some laundry) and prepared for our tour of the Real Alcazar–The Royal Palace–the following day. [Read more…]
After a great visit in Granada, Spain we rented a car and headed into the countryside. Our destination was a small town named Ronda which is considered one of the “white villages” of Andalucia, Spain. It is a lovely little town. (little compared to the other cities we visited) and a welcome relief from the crowds. As with our other stays, we checked into our vacation rental apartment and walked to dinner. We wanted to get to bed early in order to get a good night’s sleep before tackling our big adventure the next day–El Caminto del Rey.