June 2019 – So much can change in one year! It’s hard to believe that it was twelve months ago we returned from three-months of travel in Italy, Slovenia and Croatia. We walked Italian cities, hiked the Slovenian countryside, and cruised on the Adriatic along the Croatian coastline aboard a small ship. It was a great year of travel and the fifth year since we embarked on our long-stay adventures.
Over the past five years, whenever we would return to Florida, we began to notice the increasing costs of housing and transportation (among other things). We had only been in our apartment for the past two years, but then our monthly apartment rent and water/sewer services increased, and the monthly cost for renting a car had been increasing steadily and significantly since we began our travels. This triggered another “rent vs purchase” discussion, Chris did his research, Jeannie built a spreadsheet with full analysis, we took a vote and bought a car.
It wasn’t long after we began planning our future travels, that we knew we would need to store the car while we are away for three or more months at a time. Cars don’t fare too well sitting undriven, outside in Florida’s hot, summer climate, so all things considered, it was time to purchase a home base with a garage rather than continuing to rent.
We had done some research and wanted to consider other areas of the southeastern US for a home base. Specifically the Asheville area of North Carolina and the Knoxville and Maryville areas of Tennessee had caught our attention. After delightful visits to each locale we decided to remain in Florida. The thought of living and driving in cold, snowy and icy conditions intimidated Jeannie. And since we are away from friends and colleagues for 3-to-6 months during our travels, we didn’t want to be permanently away from those we’ve known for 40+ years.
Our number one criteria in a new home started with being able to walk to a grocery store. Since this is the way we shop when we travel, we wanted this for our home base as well. Also important was a place with minimal maintenance that we could easily lock-and-leave for our travels.
Proximity to nature was a major factor for us. After a bit of looking, we found a townhouse in the Wekiva area of Longwood Florida, within three miles of the Wekiwa Springs State Park, a favorite place of ours. We have lived close to and enjoyed the Park since 1983, and knew this was still the right place for us.
As we settled in, we discussed when and where our 2019 travels would take us. Our short list contained Argentina, Greece and Portugal, and in the end we decided on Portugal. And since we still wanted more time to put our new home in order, we looked further down the calendar to a departure in August. Wow, so we’ll have an entire year stateside, a first in 6 years!
Once our basic overseas travel plans were set (more on that later), and our new place was feeling like home, it was time to resume wandering, this time stateside. So, we made several trips to visit family and friends in some far ranging parts of the country.
Our travels after our return in June 2018 included:
- September 2018 – A Southern California trip with Barb, a good friend, to visit other friends (Bill and Jane) at their lovely home in Rancho Santa Margarita. This visit set the stage to go whale watching, visit some iconic seaside towns and beaches, and enjoy copious wine and good food!
- November 2018 – Texas (Houston and Austin) was the next destination for a wedding and good times with family visits with nephews and nieces, grand-nephews, grand-nieces and new baby. My brother, Mike and his wife Kathy, on his first travel since his injuries in Italy, joined us.
- April 2019 – Jeannie ventured off to the Big Apple for a girlfriends reunion to see Hamilton!
- May 2019 Sheboygan Wisconsin, Jeannie’s parents’ home town, was the location for a whirlwind visit of cousins and grand-cousins. The region was cold and colder, with only one sunny day. But although spring still had a few weeks before its full appearance, the visit was warmed by the hospitality and good times.
- June 2019 – Our Southern road trip to visit friends, family, and former colleagues in Georgia, North Carolina (including over two weeks of house-sitting at the edge of the Smoky Mountains) and Virginia, was especially delightful. It was a month of renewing friendships, visiting family, hiking mountains, and seeing many waterfalls; oh, and a five-day rain.
Currently, we are home for about a month before we fly to Portugal the first week in August. We’ll begin in the north of the country in Porto. There we’ll have an apartment for almost two months, exploring the city famed for its history, food and its “Port” wines. At the same time, we’ll take trains or buses further afield to some of the vineyards (maybe in their autumn colors), medieval villages, and Roman ruins. For the remaining five weeks, we’ll take time to dwell a couple of nights in Evora before occupying an apartment in Lisbon, exploring this city’s treasures, and the surrounding countryside as well.
At least that’s the plan …
Thanks for following along, your comments, complaints, and corrections are always appreciated.