And there might be another reason or two that I’ve been putting this post off, but I’ll get to that in a minute.
Looking back on the past three+ weeks, I have to admit things have gone as smoothly as they possibly could after being gone nearly five months. No, I didn’t get sick- neither one of us did, many of you were concerned about that- and, frankly, that’s kind of remarkable after a 24-hour travel day and the abrupt change to very cold, very dry, very snowy weather.
Our intention, given today’s COVID-19 world was to limit our face to face interactions as much as possible for a couple of weeks after we got home, but it was the end of basketball season, and since I’d missed most of it, I really wanted to watch McGuy play, and so I did, for three JV games, but didn’t let myself stick around for the varsity games. As soon as the bleachers got crowded, I left.
And I did have one stay with my guys, but with their schedules, aside from making breakfast and packing lunches, we didn’t have much face to face time, and hugs are of kind of the side variety right now anyway. We all stayed well...yay!
The first full week home was busy with phone calls to resolve issues that came in the mail, filing medical claims from our cruises and even completing taxes. I abhor doing all those things, but truly kept my nose to the grindstone and plodded through them day after day. We had over $3000 to collect from a variety of sources, and that was rather motivating.
G has been busy doing yard cleanup as soon as the snow would allow him to...over a foot of snow on top of fall leaves is not a good thing. Every few days he was outside mowing right up to the unmelted snow, a little more each time. It feels like spring here now, and the yard looks amazing...except for that one glacier in the shade. That will melt sometime in April.
As soon as basketball season ended, and before track and field season begins (this week), I’ve fit in multiple medical appointments, either the first of the biannual appointments or the annual ones that I wanted to get out of the way early this year. I’m very happy to report that I am fit as a fiddle and ready to travel.
Or not. Believe it or not, even before we knew that there was a thing called the coronavirus, we were already having discussions about whether we’d be cruising for an extended period of time next winter. It’s not that we didn’t enjoy this season- we loved it. Australia and New Zealand are two of our favorite places in the world- but somehow we were both getting a feeling that this season might be our last. As you know, this was a five-year plan that we extended five times, and I had often wondered how we would know when it was time to stop. I needn’t have worried; there was just a slow realization on both our parts, pretty much simultaneously. It’s time.
We really have been living the dream, and wouldn’t change a thing that we’ve done over the past ten years, where we’ve gone or the ships on which we’ve cruised. We don’t spend a lot of time reflecting back on all we’ve seen, but when we do, it really hits us. We’ve seen a lot. Had a huge amount of fun. Learned so much more about this world and how to travel than I can get from a book or even watching Rudy Maxx or Rick Steves. Good times or bad (and there were blessedly few of the latter), we’ve had the time of our lives (play the song here). ;-) If it was 2010 again, we’d do the exact same thing All. Over. Again.
But it hasn’t been without a price. Financial, of course, that one is pretty obvious, but there’s also the price it’s taken in how we live our lives. I’ve mentioned this before, but lately we have been feeling more that we are travelers who are occasionally home than people who are home who occasionally travel. As a friend told me, it’s hard to elicit a lot of sympathy, or even understanding when I say that, but it is a fact. Two of the past three summers I’ve dealt with major medical issues where I’ve felt enormous stress to be ready to travel again in the fall. Too many times, we’d wake up our first morning at home after a season away and G would jokingly say, “240 days until we leave again”. Countdown clocks became less something to look forward to and more a burden on our shoulders. Frankly, I want a break.
It doesn’t help that what we have booked for next season, the Pacific Princess in French Polynesia, which I’ve been hoping for years for a chance to do again, is so expensive that it’s like Monopoly money. I knew it was, of course, and mentioned it multiple times to G, but I finally put together a spreadsheet when we returned home and it’s every bit as bad as I thought it would be. The per diem is more than twice what we shoot for when we plan our seasons. And, as much as we know we would love every moment of those cruises, the Pacific Princess lacks some amenities (like on demand TV, big screen TVs and high speed WiFi) that I’m not certain I want to go without. Sure, we’ve done it in the past, but we have now been spoiled. It’s like we couldn’t camp in a tent any more, and we used to love doing that. We like our creature comforts.
And then there’s COVID-19. As I write this, things are kind of exploding in the cruise industry, and everyone seems to have an opinion about whether the virus will affect their travel. Well, I have one too: I won’t travel- cruise or fly- without getting an annual flu shot, and I won’t cruise until this either subsides considerably or a vaccine is developed. It’s just not worth the risk. Even if we don’t get sick, our vacation could be seriously disrupted. That’s not the experience we pay to enjoy.
However, when I turned 60 in January, I was struck by the realization that there is one more destination on my bucket list, and, if we think it’s safe to travel, this might finally be the year we get there. At least I’ll get there. G remains unconvinced and my friend Sheila, with whom I’ve traveled to South America, Australia and Asia is just as excited as I am about this one.
If I make it there, I will definitely blog about it, but otherwise this could be the final chapter of this blog that’s really become more of a book. Thank you again, so much, for following along. What started as a way to keep family and friends informed has grown to over 10,000 views every day that we’re traveling. I’m actually no longer certain who is reading, and have often wondered if I needed to change the tone or nature of my writing, but this blog was still just my diary. In the end, I was writing it for me. And G. Some day, maybe as soon as next winter, when we‘re not traveling like we used to, we will sit in front of the fireplace and look back at where we’ve been and marvel that two kids who never even flew in an airplane until they were graduating from college managed to see so much of the world.
Thank you God.
Thank you G.
Thank you for following along.
Life is soooooooo good. :-)
Sunsets at home are pretty nice too. :-)