(Which of these shots “doesn’t go”; but does ’cause it’s on the wall?)
Here is my newly-discovered Costa Rican destination resort, The Fauna Luxury Hostel in San Jose, Costa Rica, just an hour from the airport. It is so easy to meet people in hostels
I have made all of these wonderful friends in just one week! Imagine that!
I’ve extended my stay in the Fauna Luxury Hostel in San Jose, Costa Rica for another two weeks. This hostel puts no limits on one’s timeframe, contrary to most; so, some guests stay for months. Here’s why:
This colorful inner patio contains ping-pong and pool tables and this glorious mural. It’s an outdoor lobby leading to all rooms, the bar and huge dining room/cafe, and our hostel kitchen. My 5-bunk dorm room has the new-fashion cubicle bunks. We each get a comfy, wooden box with a descending curtain for darkness and privacy. I haven’t seen the private rooms yet but maybe I can get some shots of those too. My dorm bed costs $13 a night but the ensuite privates are only $35 to $50. All including breakfast. Such a deal!
After finishing my six-weeks of petsitting in San Isidro de Grecia, I returned to Costa Rica’s capital, San Jose. Fortune certainly smiled on me when I selected the Fauna Luxury Hostel out of a long list on Hostelword.com. This is, by far, the BEST hostel I have ever stayed in! And, I have stayed in hundreds all over the world by now. Here are pictures to prove my point:Lobby and Front Desk
I’ve had a delightful Fall visit with my family in Golden, Colorado, and will fly to Santa Fe, New Mexico, on Wednesday, November 7th. Fortunately for me. International Living Magazine is sponsoring a Conference on “How To Become An Expat anywhere in the world.” Since I’ll head for San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, after my Florida visits; the timing is perfect. I like big meetings where other travel-nuts like myself, gather to trade tips; so I jumped right in.
The word “Expat” surely comes from the word Expatriot, but we don’t turn our backs on our Western citizenship, at all. We merely choose to live overseas for a portion of the year. Many people buy property in attractive world locations and retire to warmer… and much less expensive… places of living. Frequently, they become active in tbose communities or, at least, the weekly lunch gatherings of fellow expats.
My first experience of this type of retired life came in Montevideo, Uruguay, a few years ago, and I will find it again in Mexico. In fact, several speakers at next week’s Bootcamp conference are now living in San Miguel. I have identified this categoty of Senior Citizen as world-minded as I am; even though they are far older than the hostelers, whom I usually hang out with during my frequent around-the-world jaunts
The big question for me will be: “Can I satisfy my wanderlust by becoming an expat somewhere?” And that remains to be seen. I still owe myself a good, long looksee at China, Siberia Russia, North and South Korea, Japan and many Pacific Islands; which I postponed this time by coming back to the States a year early. But, family and friends are important, too; and those countries will always be there.
Here’s the unchanging message that I always find myself sharing with others:
This world really is a wonderfully-welcoming and inviting place and its people are truly nice. If I can get myself around at this age and on a budget; then, so can you! The only thing to fear is fear, itself!
Patricia, The Greatest Hurricane Show That (N)Ever was! Or, Stalking The Elusive Not-Yeti In Central Mexico!
Dateline by Linda J. Brown: San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, the day that Hurricane Patricia didn’t exactly hit much of anything!
Well, that was NOT interesting! I’m still waiting for my date with that Brutal Beaut, so-called Patricia; but she’s a no-show. I arrived in this small, colonial, mountain town, a little over a week ago; never realizing that a brazen, climatological hussy had set her sights on central Mexico, aiming to make it her slave before swaggering on to conquer Texas.
I had me some competition! But, I wanted to conquer this country with love and friendship, not dastardly deadliness. What to do? What to do? Did she plan to wash me out? I prepared for midnight evacuation. She seemed unbeatable and the broken records said so.
This marauder gave no warning, but secretly bellied up to Mexico’s Pacific Coastline sandbars, all swagger and braggadocio; shouting about being the Biggest Hurricane In History! That audacious claim was confirmed by meters and millibars splayed about on CNN and BBC, advising preparation and/or evacuation in less-than-zero hours. This Wayward Woman came barreling onto our radar screens with six-gun shooters spewing record-breaking statistics to bust our balls and anything else she could get her hands on….. roofs, roads, beaches, bridges and muddy mountainsides.
Take no prisoners! Give no surcease! Big Mamma’s here! Bow down in worship and wonder and then, run for your lives!
So, 10,000 coastal tourists and a few lucky locals did just that, busing seven hours inland to Guadalajara, leaving beach honeymoons behind for cold gym floors. At sundown, Friday, Patreeesia staggered ashore, all red and angry orange whirlwinds on underground weather channels.
Oh, such a Bad Asp she was! Gonna give Cleopatra a run for her money in the history books, alright!
Wham, Bam, Thank you, Mam! I wondered when she’d arrive at San Miquel, halfway across the country on her stated agenda. Maybe midnight? Well, she’d surely wake me, so I went to bed. Listening with half an ear, I schlepped to the window a few times in the night to check the sugar cane. Was it bending in the wind? Was rain pelting my hotel yet? At last, the sun came up to uneventfulness. Only clouds, like far-flung scarves; or an old lady’s long, grey hair.
Ah, Patrice, have I sensed your age? Are you all bluster and fancy talk? Can you no longer Get It Up?
What? Category One? This small mountain chain took it out of you so soon? According to your press release, you were “The only Category Five to ever be! And yadda, yadda, yadda. Now, look at you! Well, forget that…..I can’t even SEE you! The sky is blue! The cane is quiet! Come on, show me whatcha’ got!”
So, I left the window, disappointed. Until, I heard the low, slow, rumble of Power approaching. Okay, that’s better! Hey, I’m from Florida. I know my hurricanes! This one hasn’t shown me a thing, so far….. but now, maybe she’ll live up to her reputation and all the press reviews. Those revving rumbles sounded weird. But good! It was time to check them out; open the window and stick my head way, far west, peering in the storm’s direction.
What? Oh no! How super silly a comeuppance! Queen P has lost her crown to a whole batch of motorcycle riders, just launching from my hotel for their daily ride!
That does it! Let’s fire up the electronics in here and get the news again….such as it is! Hardly a mention of the partycrasher, now. Just mop-up remarks like: “Non-catastrophic!” “No deaths reported!” and “Much less damage than anyone expected!”
Patricia is going out like a lamb. She’s made the record books, alright; but maybe… just maybe… that was a swan song; instead of a siren song of things to come.
Possibly, she simply took a shortcut, and was only bringing buckets of water to sun-parched Texas, all along. She was a servant instead of a serpent! Her bark was bigger than her bite! All show and no substance!
“Asp, and ye shall receive!” Right, Cleopatra? Your sister’s gone patrician. She’s a lady, now! She only tiptoes through our occupied territories in her new role as our Rain Goddess. But, not here in San Miquel, well-known for its rainy tendencies. This Saturday is sunny and hot, just like it planned to be.
Hey, maybe she’ll run for President! I wouldn’t put it past her. She’s a windbag, that’s for sure. Just an offshore gas well, blown its top and gone bananas. What else is new? Even at record-breaking proportions! Show’s over, Folks! There’ll be no soggy circus today!
I’d like to think that hurricanes, in general, are So Yesterday! Not like my Florida high school years, when we scheduled happy hurricane parties to ride them out. We sure wouldn’t have liked this Record-Breaker who spent her wad just wading ashore! What’s the fun in that?
But, in my grown-up self, I’m happy that’s the case and that everyone who went to bed last night, will also get up this morning. And home and family will be intact.
Millenniums change things and here’s the evidence:
Weirdly, there’s a cluster of simultaneous, odd weather anomalies today, in different places on the globe. Smaller hurricanes or cyclones, like rabid animals come to say goodbye before dissipating and following in their Leader’s wake. That must have been what Patricia was trying to tell us.
“It’s over Folks! We Aliens won’t be back! Y’all behave now! We were only trying to help with overpopulation and clean up your nest a little bit. But the Big Boss says to let you do it on your own!
Ta Ta, now! I’ll just tiptoe on along, ’cause, I’ve got a thirsty row to hoe in the Lone Star State! Here’s a silver bullet! If anybody asks, just say it’s from the Lone Stargate Stranger! HiYo, Silver! Away!”
MY FIRST TRAVEL VIDEO – A PREVIEW OF THINGS TO COME!
Here’s my traveling video….. a sizzle reel produced by Rock Richardson of Warrior Films, LCC, to entice a Reality TV Series into following my travels around the world when I set out this Fall for my
“Around The World In 80 Years” epic adventure
to travel for two years straight, solo backpacking, until I turn 80 in 2017, and then to keep going for at least two years after that.
My time in Santa Fe has been great, but is coming to a conclusion in mid-September. After a nice long visit with my family, I’ll take off to travel solo throughout the Caribbean Island chain, Central and South America. Throughout that long journey I’ll be filming myself with my new miniature camera and its gadgets.
So, stay tuned.
DOES HOW OLD YOU ARE AND HOW MUCH MONEY YOU HAVE REALLY COUNT? NOT SO MUCH!
Almost a year ago, I published this blog post and it bears repeating…… especially since I have, only recently, become a huge fan of an Entity called Abraham-Hicks, through a DVD that I borrowed from The Celebration, a non-denominational worship service that I’m attending here in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Abraham channels through Esther Hicks and is certainly worth looking up on YouTube and checking out. This collective Entity on The Other Side reminds us of who we really are and what we have come to Earth to accomplish. I urge you to check out this Wisdom, as it is spot on!
Basically, Abraham’s Teachings remind us to always concentrate on The Positive aspects in our life and not to see anything in the negative. Just always being Positive, brings us into a Creational Vortex that’s always longing to reward us with what we need and ask for; but cannot do so if we complain about our current situation. Woops, after listening to this DVD, I realized that I was, in the previous blog, complaining about the beautiful sunlight and the fact that I was finally getting the long-needed eye surgery that will help me to see better. That’s sort of outside of the vortex that I need to be within. So, I’ll leave the evidence in the last post right here for all to see, and then, reprint this attitude about my life, which I think might be on the more positive side of things.
If what is really bugging me is that I am now becoming restless, and am eager to begin traveling again; well why not simply say so, and not fuss about what is currently my excuse for not sticking to business and writing more frequent blogs. Hey, it is what it is! Now, here’s the reprinted blog post. As true today as it was a year ago:
“Age Schmage,….Money Schmoney” was a book title I thought of a long time ago and never used. It doesn’t exactly explain itself, does it? And that’s the beauty of a title. Make it so intriguing that you lure the reader in and make him pick up your slim volume or keep reading on into your article. Or, increasingly in this day and age, your advertisement.
But, the reason I wanted to use that particular attitude in an autobiographical way, was that it does “Say it like it is” in justifying my particular lifestyle. And no, I’m not Jewish, but I love that succinct way of getting the point across with a dismissive flair of the hand or a telling facial expression. And the older I get….. and also, the poorer I get, if that were the case….is even more reason to carry such a happy-go-lucky attitude.
Here I am, less than a month before my 78th birthday, and I feel this truth more than ever. What does age have to do with it? Well, everything and nothing! You see, I’m weird. I’m a constant world-wanderer: always either on a long trip or planning one. I’m also weird because I talk constantly, internally, to The Holy Spirit (actually, I interview Him) and then I write books and blogs about it. See: www.insecretdiffusion.com.
Old Age has always been a universal basket to explain away odd behavior in an elderly person. Wandering away from home is another common appellation, dug up from that accusatory mindset. The thing is, I do wander away from home and then, write about my international adventures in books and blogs. There’s, obviously, no irresponsibility or Little Old Lady Leanings in any of them.
So, AGE is not causing this “Craziness!” Hence, the Age Schmage dismissal! In fact, the very act of constantly getting older, and yet, remaining the same, becomes a more and more rarified quality. I love to watch the eyebrows go up, when I mention that ever-changing factoid about myself.
And what about MONEY? Many people automatically assume that I must be rich, to be able to afford airfare and all my international expenses; to just be able to pack up and go, where and when I wish on the globe. But, that’s not so! I live on my Social Security alone and I live cheap, compared to most people. I’m a hosteller. I own only what fits inside of my two suitcases…..plus, some writing materials stored in the States.
I begin where most people hope they never wind up: HOMELESS! But, this is the true face of freedom!
You can’t have it all and these are choices I have made: No house. No car. No stuff No pets. My accumulation lies within my journal’s memories, filled with reports of adventures and friends collected along the way. I’m happy…..and my regular social security income helps me to stay that way….but is not the cause of it. I watch it carefully and don’t require too much of it…simply regular dole-outs from foreign ATMs. Plus, payments on a credit card used to charge online air purchases. Debit cards don’t work in that case.
And now, with shaky things predicted to be around the corner concerning our national economic future, I’m trying to get ahead of the curve. And, guess what? Lo and behold, I’m already practicing many recommended tactics: Such as:
“Get out of Dodge, while yet you can! Find a nice, inexpensive but beautiful, retirement land where the healthcare is good and the costs are not so high! Apply for a second passport to increase your options!”
Well, I’ve spent this past enjoying life in Uruguay, Peru and Ecuador, all of which fill that bill nicely and are on everyone’s advisory lists. Soon, I’ll check out Central American countries; also excellent candidates for living the good life without some of the homeland downsides; even concerning weather. Right now, I’m housesitting in New Mexico, which is a very win-win situation.
“Move your money into inflationary-free investments! Build a second income stream!”
I’m studying on that right now. And overseas is where the fingers point. All of a sudden, my journalistic, writerly qualities can turn investigative, because I’m on the cutting edge without even trying to be. I’m planning to attend another International Living Conference in Denver in September so that I can experience a global changing scene in a very “waterbugish” way, with Travel Writing and photography. I keep wanting to post my excellent photographs on money-making, perpetual-stream, photostock sites to generate a safety net, just in case social security gets downsized, someday. That’s been a long-term goal of mine. Maybe it will finally go beyond the talking stages.
Because nothing holds me down, it doesn’t harm me or dictate my life. I can shift on a whim and respond to the moment; just like a waterbug can, because it never breaks the surface tension. But, I’m also free to settle down with the right person, or in the right place, if I should choose to. How’s that for having choices? Shady or sunny? Mountains or Beachfront? Perpetual springtime, if I like!
Now do you see how the terms: “Age Schmage! Money Schmoney!” might just say it succinctly? And, a lot more positively than grousing about “too much light in my life!” Both terms have nothing and everything to do with me. That title was probably invented by some ancient Sage……unless, it was me, since I’ve never heard it before.
It’s not referring to your years or to your cash flow. It’s speaking of Freedom!
This photo was taken August 7, 2014, when I was one of the speakers at the monthly Writer’s In Transition public meeting. I read from my movie script for an animated children’s film called The Candlewick Question, about an alternate waxen universe, where the candle population believes that their wick is simply for making hairdos. The movie deals with the existential question: What is the purpose of the soul?
Puerto Lopez is a fishing town and a tourist town on the Pacific Coast of Ecuador. I had a cold on this sunny day, so I only walked about taking pictures. And that was a good thing. Because I got lots of good ones.
And I met a new friend from Lithuania, my dorm roommate, Margarita, and by the time I got on the whale-watching boat, the clouds had come in. The whales didn’t behave like they do in Sea World but they behaved as they do in the sea!
Last night, I went to the regular, Friday night expat meet-up at the fabulous pizza restaurant, Fabiano’s, in the Ciudad Vieja (the Old Town) of Cuenca, Ecuador. There’s always a big crowd there, but who’da thunk that two of us would wind up looking alike enough to be twin sisters? Another woman complained that “She didn’t get the memo!”
That’s Regina L. Potenza of Cuenca, Ecuador (meaning she’s a permanent expat here) and Sarasota Florida, on the left.
All over the world, wherever American retirees living abroad (Expats) are found, they will gather several times a week, and for every excuse….such as a Writer’s In Transition group, which I joined…..just to laugh, eat and have a few beers.
Here’s the tableful, although truly, the whole restaurant was hopping with us.
And, my Ecuadorian friend, Leonardo Echeverria, had never heard of Fabiano’s though he has lived in Cuenca for 35 years. So, he has now become a member of the local Expat Family.
Today, I’m involved in stuffing my stuff into a rolling duffel and a large backpack preparing to get back out on the road and explore the coastal region of Ecuador…. including some exciting whale watching. The Pacific currents here are warm enough for calving, so the whales migrate to this coast from Antarctica between June and October.
Then, on September 14, I will fly from Quito, Ecuador to Panama City, Panama and proceed to design my trip from there; eventually winding up in Denver, Colorado, for my annual family visit.
And so, the sun sets spectacularly on this great adventure, outside of my kitchen window overlooking the Cuencan rooftops….
…..and the Turquoise Twins sashay into the sunset, as any good Western ends!
Men just seem to follow us! Note the three heads in each picture. Different guys, too! You can never have too many bright turtlenecks!
I just went out today and bought more ($10 apiece). Hope I can get them all in my suitcase! But, if that’s the biggest problem I face in my traveling life, I’m pretty darned lucky….and I’m the first to admit it.
Nine months ago, I became an American Expat to Montevideo, Uruguay, and, as spur-of-the-moment as that choice might have been at the time, it’s becoming more and more clear that it was the right one for me. Many retirees soon discover that the important, bottom line choice of which country to retire in, is a very confusing one. Even when a couple has two heads to put together on the subject.
For the past four decades, International Living Magazine has compiled an excellent list of suggested, welcoming countries, where life is good and far less expensive than it has become in The States. Because each recommended possibility is unique and all are very attractive and welcoming, we Gringos frequently stand bewildered before that foreign smorgasbord, wondering which country will be best for us?
Uruguay was much farther from home than the Central or upper South American countries on the list; and it was admitted to be among the more expensive. However, I had visited Colonnia during a trip to Buenos Aires and was very happily impressed. Much more so, than with the vaunted capital of Argentina! Perhaps for that reason alone, I bought my one-way air ticket to Montevideo, the capital of Uruguay. Trust in my own instincts then took over!
Everything that happened to me during my five months in that little-known country, tucked deep down the Atlantic Coastline, between Brazil and Argentina, was simply a delight! I made many new friends among my fellow expats, as well as some family-like relationships with locals. Though I tried a few months of renting my own apartment, I was soon back at
Kurt and Txepi’s beautiful, new hostel, The Hanging Gardens of Babylonia, on the walking boulevard in the Old City and within sight of the waterfront pedestrian Rambla. A stored suitcase now awaits my return to that hostel at the end of this November, so comfortable was I in my tiny private room there
This time around, though, I hope to find a place to rent in upscale Pocitos, where green trees meet across the avenues and the beach is within easy walking distance. Perhaps I can afford an apartment or will find someone to share rent with because this is the section where most of the expat social life takes place. Sunday lunches at Club Banco Republica and weeknight meetups at several great restaurants….which I missed last time due to the necessary evening commute. Of course, my special section of Old Town has a lot of favorite restaurants, too…. El Pallenoul / The Hitching Post, and other cute, outdoor cafes with bright red or yellow umbrellas and strumming musicians.
I wouldn’t have left in April except that the weather turns chilly in a country this low on the southern hemisphere. Many of us snowbirds flew the coop, vowing to reunite when warmth returns in December. I knew that I would miss these New Best Friends, but I wasn’t prepared for just how much. After all, we hadn’t known each other all that long! But, perhaps, being of an international mindset, with the demonstrated will to transplant, put us in a more connected category than we had ever shared with our Stateside neighbors.
All I know is that I can’t wait to hug them hello again! They are now an important part of my family and not forgotten, even though we might not be in touch throughout this long off-season. There’s another reason I had to leave, which will continue to be the case unless I apply for Resident Status, the first step towards attaining a second passport. Without extension paperwork, I may stay in Uruguay for six months a year and then must be out of the country for another six months. That’s the way I’m handling it this time. An extension would be granted if I wish to initiate that Immigration process. When back in the U.S., I plan to obtain the necessary Apostille stamps on my documents in case I wish to do just that. Otherwise, it’s the life of a Snowbird for me.
The Sacred Valley of Peru and now, Cuenca, Ecuador, have been wonderful and are also filled with lovely friends from many countries. In three weeks, I fly for a month to test expat life in Central America, and then will spend a few months with my family in Denver, Colorado for a long-looked-forward-to visit.
But, all the while, this homeless, flittering, ocean-crossing bird awaits her now-annual migration back to Montevideo….a city which has proven that it doesn’t disappoint.
How’s that for an expat decision gone right?