Doubt

There is no bigger obstacle than doubt. If the mighty explorers of the past ever listened when their peers doubted them… we might all be living on a very small and overcrowded continent. Planes would not streak across our skies everyday. The moon might still be made of green cheese. We might all still be using oil lamps and yelling from mountain tops to get our messages out.

When I was young, people including myself had doubts I’d make it to my 21st birthday… say hello now to 54! My life has been full of doubts, mostly from those around me, and like those explorers, I took on those doubts as a personal challenge.

In my present life we are starting to sell off everything we own and planning our getaway. Doubt?! OMG our minds are full of doubt… and on some days we have to pinch ourselves and slap ourselves out of the funk surrounding this doubt. We have planned carefully. Never in 25 years together has anything that challenged us, not been surmounted, conquered and accomplished with a little faith and hard work. We live for our dreams… as dreams are our stepping stones into our futures.

Doubt can be healthy or a huge detriment. It depends on how you approach it. We all have a grand purpose in our lives… it’s in our DNAs. We can choose to let doubt run our life or we can choose to take it in stride and take little steps forward around it. Doubt is a thought, an opinion, but don’t let it become a lack of action or something so powerful that you’re life stops

Rise-n-Shine

I open one eye… blurry is the world I see.
I open the other… the light is slowly growing.
I slowly turn over and look at the clock… 6am.
The pink hues of the pale morning light add a rosy glow to the parting night sky.
The grey sky turns bright blue and my heart quickens… my senses become alive.
The birds summon the day as the sun summits the mountain peaks and warms the still air.
The life cycle begins again… I rise to embrace it.
I stretch to the sky and offer up myself to it’s bidding.

Liebster Award

liebsterSpecial thanks to Retrato https://retratonz.com/ for the nomination! What an honor…

The Liebster Award 2017 is an award that exists only on the internet, and is given to bloggers by other bloggers. The earliest case of the award goes as far back as 2011. Liebster in German means sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing, and welcome.

And rules if you choose to accept

  1. Post about the award, thank the person who nominated you and link to their blog.
  2. Answer their questions about yourself.
  3. Nominate 5 –10 people with fewer than 1,000 followers, let them know via social media.
  4. Write your own set of questions for your nominees.
  5. Feel good about yourself for winning an award and pass it on.

________________________________________

My questions from : https://retratonz.com/

What inspires you to write a travel blog?

I find myself somewhere in the world where I’ve never been and all these thoughts flood into my head. I started writing them down back in 1991, in a time before laptops, iPhones and iPads… good ole’ pen and paper. The inspiration just comes… again more like a feeling that just comes over my entire being.  I find it an escape. I find it’s a chance to share with others what I am seeing and feeling in the environment I am traveling through. In some instances I feel it is my obligation to be honest about a particular place that is maybe painted as an awesome place to travel and yet has so many things that are never disclosed about the reality of those places. Of course everyone has opinions. My blogs are my personal opinions I guess.

 

What’s your most unforgettable travel experience?

The Inca Trail, Camino Inka, Peru 2015.  My partner and Inhad trained for 3 months for this epic hike.  It is 27 miles of stairs pretty much up and down all over 10,000 feet.  The experience was amazing, hard, at times hopeless, invigorating, and maybe the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life.  It taught me about patience within my own mind and body. It was humbling. The thing is… one doesn’t get the chance very often to walk on the same path that an ancient society built and used for commerce, spirituality, escape and pilgrimage. On the forth and final day of the trek we arrived at the  Sun Gate overlooking Machu Piccu.  The sight was breath-taking. I had been carrying my “moms” ashes with me the whole trek and it was here that I left her to have an everlasting view of an ancient city hidden high in the Andes.

 

Have you had any Anthony Bourdain-like food experiences?

Oh yes… The first was in Ethiopia. Warm cows milk out of a decorated gourd and injera.  The second was in Bolivia… there was a group of ladies that was serving us some sort of soup out of wheel barrows. I was told it was made with beef esophagus. Thank goodness I found that out after I had eaten it. In Ecuador… it was Guinea Pig, and something we call “weevil soup”. Unfortunately I have a few stomach issues so I always seem to come home with “something”.

 

If you were to live somewhere else, which place would that be and why?

I have been to many places that I would love to “live” in the near future.  “Live” in the near future, of course, will be different than what “live” means now. Stress removed, no time limit like a vacation, no excess funds going out to frivolous government over priced insurances. Perhaps Mexico for a year… Belize, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, a year or two in each. We seem to really like Cotacachi and the community there… so maybe that will be our travels end in 20-25 years for a home base.  There is just so many places I really would love to spend a lot of time in the near future. Take a trip around the world on a round the world ticket. I am just entering into the next quarter of my life. As long as we can stay healthy we will travel as much as possible, but as a traveler, not a tourist.

 

What advice can you give travel bloggers?

Be honest. We have an obligation to tell it like it is, the good with the bad. Our followers may plan a trip based on an advertiser’s rosy picture of a place… if we don’t tell it like it is, we let them believe the fairy-tale. Every rose has a thorn.

We need to boost indigenous villages with our travels and bring others in and educate them on their way of life and their customs. Often times “privileged tourists” travel and stay in chain hotels, eat at common name food establishments (such as McDonald’s), never venture into the reality of a destination, mostly out of fear.  We need to teach them to be travelers and not tourists.

Be informative. We are the National Geographic back door bloggers. The WikiTravel infomercials.  Take photos… lots of them.  Speak your mind and be brilliant.

 

___________________________________________________

Thanks again for the nomination!

I now nominate:

http://www.janzjourney.wordpress.com

http://www.mysurfblog.com

http://www.missxooley.wordpress.com

www.frantraveltales.com

http://www.retiredrambling.com

http://www.swedeinbarca.wordpress.com

_____________________________________________

My questions to you are:

  1. Why do you blog?
  2. What’s been the scariest thing in your travels?
  3. As a blogger, do you feel a sense of responsibility for blogging “how it is”?
  4. What was your favorite blog?
  5. If you had to describe yourself as an animal… what animal would it be and why?

Aren’t We The Luckiest Laziest Race?

The one thing that has always struck me when traveling abroad is how lucky… lazy we are. I envy the native peoples in the countries I’ve traveled in. They make a party out of gardening, laundry, cooking and playing. They are not glued to TVs. They do not have the luxury of a dish washer, a clothes washer or dryer, sometimes not even a true stove as we know it. For sure they can’t set a timer on their sprinkler system and forget about the garden.

I have traveled to Ethiopia on a humanitarian mission and helped build stoves, drip watering system, water filtration systems. Traveled to Bolivia to help build toilets and teach them about hygiene. Just as a traveler to other Central, South American and Caribbean countries and experienced the joy of neighbors doing laundry, cooking food in wood kindled ovens outside, and gardening together. The sense of community and neighbors is only some fake notion we have in the US

I have noticed over the last few years the youth of these countries have embraced cell phones, computers and eating out. The sense of family seems to be splintering… if only just a bit. It is almost sad.

I live in a country that our kids go to schools with cell phones, the avgerage home has two TVs, every individual in a family has a computer. In my dealership I see teenagers come in with their parents and turn up their nose at a great first car… and the parents give in. What are we doing?

I know that I am not any better than the people described above. My first car was $500 and I bought it myself. I do own a Smart phone and a computer and a tablet. I have four TVs in my house. I own a washer and dryer and a professional gas stove, two fridges and a chest freezer. Yes I am comfortable but when I travel I envy the people I see that have something I don’t… real friends, community and a life that has real meaning instead of just getting ahead, keeping up with the Jones… and intimate relationships with my family and neighbors. Are we not the luckiest laziest race…

The Desert Silence

Here I am sitting on a rock in the middle of the NV desert. A minute ago I was driving and found myself just wanting to “get there”. I thought to myself, “why can’t you just stop?” Surrounded by all this beauty and the grandeur of the desert in all its vastness, emptiness, and its own beauty. Why can’t I stop? I finally pulled over and found this rock and had the desire to write. Writing makes me stop, turn inwards and listen. It tunes out the outside, complicated world and makes me calm down.

I hear the breeze blowing thru the dry brush. I feel the vastness of the blue sky. I feel the warmth of the sun contrasting the coolness of the rock I am sitting on. I hear my inner demons and the battle that I am waging on the inside. I feel the sadness of being alone, but not lonely. I feel the struggle of an inner peace scratching and clawing its way to the surface of my being.

It is a perfect 72 degrees. The sun shining brilliantly in a near cloudless sky. The desert surrounding me shows off billions of years of weathering the turmoils of life. Life of a desert. There are hundreds of colors if you look close enough. Birds sing their songs of the day if you stop and be still. When all stops the silence is deafening. I can hear the tapping of the keyboard, the rush of blood in my ears, my heartbeat and every breath I take. A car passing by breaks my trance and I must move on. A bit calmer and more centered than just a short time ago.

I found a trail that lead to the top of a ridge for some 360 views. Again the silence is broken by the sound of the wind in my ears and the sound of the passing cars below. Winding thru this landscape is a black ribbon that allows even novices into this stark landscape. I take a sip of water and am reminded that is this one element that is lacking here. It is the one thing that brings life and death to the desert. A gentle burst of rain is quenching. A sudden downpour can equal death and destruction as it upsets the tiny microclimate, causing run off, flash floods and great land disturbances that shape the ever changing dynamics of the desert.

The mountains of the desert are like folds in the earth’s ancient crust. Others are like ancient sea reefs. Others are great monoliths of long extinct volcanoes. They all loom high above the desert floor and are haloed by the true blue of the desert sky. They stand like monuments, thrusting out of the flat sandy bottoms to touch heaven itself.
I venture further into the ever changing landscape and come to my favorite, red rock. The red rock is the womb of Mother Nature. The wind and rain carve into this sand stone and give it its unique characteristics of color, carvings and caves. The caverns that are created remind me of a womb. This rock has pushed up from deep inside Mother Earth and survived years of punishing to create these eerie formations that hold a history lesson in fossils and primal composition. The layers reveal stories of years gone by before man and memory. Every sound echoes through its strange formations. I could sit here for hours and pick out faces, shapes and become entranced by is stark beauty.

A small lizard just ran past me and broke me from my daze. The desert has a way of stealing you away. It lulls you into a trance of sun, rock and heat. Transfix your gaze on an object and hours can go by without notice. The desert soothes the mind and rocks the soul into a blissful existence. The shadows grow longer and the sun moves slowly, methodically across the sky. These rocks and sand have seen the same path over and over again, but the visitor to this realm, is transformed with each moment spent in its splendor. Tread lightly and take only pictures and leave only footprints in this land of history and intrigue.

As The World Turns

We’ve been back now from our vacation to Bocas del Toro Panama for a week.  We are still moving forward with our plans to liquidate and become minimalists travelers. Our business has a for sale sign in front of it now. It doesn’t seem to deter the customers. 

The list has been compiled for the reconditioning of the house to get it ready to sell.  Items of little or lost worth are piled in our basement waiting for the weather to break so we can get some yard sales in. 

I find this preparation very exciting, and as things go away, freeing!  Our goal is still August. If things come together before that… well that would be ok too. 

The fun part is the planning and investigating where to go, how to get there, and whether or not to camp, drive from hostel to hostel, house sit?  Fly?  The cool thing is we have at least 15-20 years to accomplish it. The excitement of the future drives me forward through the present. 

Gandaulf the Red

Over the last 25 years, we have always traveled with a dog.  Mercy “Bucket”… a 75 pound German shepherd was an awesome travel companion and member of our little family.  She passed on Mother’s Day in 2008 at 15 years old.  After a short grieving period we got Gandaulf.  We were looking for another Adventure Dog that could keep up with our travels but this time without the size and hairiness of a shepherd.  The Corgis are a working breed just like the shepherds, with a lot of the same mannerisms, easy to train and always out to please.

Gandaulf came to us as a rescue at 10 weeks old. How could a dog with such short legs keep up with our hiking, climbing, rafting and travel abroad?  He would get high centered on the Sunday papers in driveways on our walks, high centered on tennis balls… but boy could he jump! It wasn’t long before his first 2 mile hike, camping trips and rafting/fishing trips. He was a natural in the outdoors.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Gandaulf is now 7 years old and shows no sign of slowing down.  He has been to more countries than most humans.  Every year he has his own calendar showcasing his travels… he’s a natural in front of the camera.  This adventure will be a test of his patience and travel savvy.

We have never entered another country via driving across the border.  There is a bit of trepidation on our part.  We see blogs and FB posts of people traveling with their dogs. Traveling by airplanes is such a hassle with the red tape and vaccinations he has to go through. Poor guy… but he is a trooper.  We hope crossing a border is no big deal…

We would love to hear from anyone out there with such experience for some pointers.  Dos and don’ts, etc…

The Fear Factor

If anyone our age tells you that they are not afraid to do something new, give up everything they have, quit their job, sell their homes, cash out their retirement accounts and leave whatever family and friends they have, I’d say they are not centered in reality.

As human beings we resist change. People cling to religion because it is a constant in their lives. They stay in their homes till they die or they can no longer live alone.

We are at a jumping off point that is like jumping off a 700 foot cliff with a wing suit as safety equipment. Oh… and with no prior training. Do not hesitate. Yes websites, blogs, Facebook and many other publications exist that make this journey a bit more manageable… but the actual “doing” is scary as hell!

Twenty years ago even thinking about doing this would have been a daunting undertaking. Where do you start? Where is it safe to cross a border? Where is it safe to spend the night? What do you need to cross a border? The world was a huge unknown for the most part. The US state department made you so afraid to venture into other countries. As a visual learner, I find the task at hand much easier to comprehend. The how to exists out there. YouTube, Blog sites, Facebook pages for expats, AIRBNB, VRBO, where to go and how to manuals are everywhere.

When we were younger this would’ve been an absolute thrilling notion, like when we hit the road back in 1993/4. Cell phones were new on the market and very expensive (for what they were). IPads were a futuristic concept. Hell a portable laptop computer was even just a glimmer in someone’s imagination. We were kids… we threw caution to the wind and just did it. Ahhhh… for the innocence of youth…

This time we have so many options… some more fraught with danger than others. Could we be happy settling down in some mountain town in Ecuador, Columbia, Peru? Become beach bums in Nicaragua, Honduras, Belize, and Thailand? Travel the world from ‘point A to point B’ with no time limits? Will our vagabonding lifestyle be possible as planned? Best made plans are often laid to waist when put into action… still we continue to put one foot in front of the other. I continue to wake with butterflies in my stomach, that’s the “more mature age” jitters… The Fear Factor

dscn4020

Introducing “Lucky”

When Chris and I decided to “hit the road”… we vacillated between flying to one destination, settling in for a short while… getting healthy and traveling out from a home-base. In October 2016, we bought a 1998 Toyota Land Cruiser and a light went off. Why not go Overlanding?  Drive down into Mexico and through all of Central America, west coast and back up the East Coast… and wherever the road takes us.

Some modifications needed to be done in order for this stock Land Cruiser to be road worthy in Central America. We started out with an ARB Sahara front bumper. Next came upgrading the headlights to a set of LEDs… don’t want to hit a cow in the middle of the night… Next came beefing up the suspension, not too radical after all we are a couple middle aged women and a short legged Corgi. We put on a full set of “KYB Excel-G Shocks”, beefed up the tie rod ends to “Proforged Chassis Parts Tie Rod Ends” and upgraded the tires to “Yokohama Geolander A/Ts” for a nice deep tread and strong sidewalls for off-roading… but not a noisy road tire.

How did she get her name?  She’s copper penny color… pennies are LUCKY…

Lucky will become our Adventure Cruzer. Still to come… a “Geo Adventure GT-180” fold out roof top tent with annex, interior build for storage… solar panel and backup deep cycle battery with an 800 watt power inverter for charging laptops, phones and running our “Edgestar 43 quart fridge“. A mounted lock box for securing personal items during travel. Off-road lights and an 8,000 lb winch. Two middle aged gals and a Corgi as the icing on the cake.

Dreaming BIG!!!

Running Away from Winter Blues

It is something we all put up with every year if we live in a place that the snow flies and the sun hides its warm, shinning face for days and weeks on end. The cold winter blues. The longing for that sun and warmth, longer days and for old man winter to quit dumping ton and tons of snow on us.

One of the reasons we chose Central and South America as our destination is to run away from the grey winter days which seem to go on forever. It’s funny how even our skin looses the life glow like the trees loose their leaves. It is only the second week of January and I am done with winter… but it’s not done with me.

I dream of warm beaches, colorful trees blooming in bright orange and yellows and green grass. Tropical breezes and an abundance of critters hootin’ and a hollerin’ swinging through the trees and flying in colorful waves through the sky.

The older I get the more my mind and body crave this warm stimulation. Freedom from the stress of white knuckle driving on snow and ice packed roads. Freedom from the back breaking shovels of cold wet slop on top of the old black frozen slop from a few days before. My very soul longs to feel the sun on my body.

Soon enough…