In my January post, I was writing from Uruguay about settling into a one-bedroom apartment for six months in Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay, on the Rio de la Plata, across from Buenos Aires, Argentina, to do some serious writing. Then, recently, quite without warning, I contacted my daughter, in Golden, Colorado, about a surprising new health symptom and decided to fly back to The States to make sure that this was not an escalating problem. So, I ignored my paid-in-advance-till-June, rent; and bought a one-way flight to Denver.
I had moved into this one-bedroom, half-furnished and half-painted apartment, planning to tough it out during the renovation and kitchen-equipping and even to help the new family owners decorate it to make an attractive, cozy living spot. I had even bought beautiful fabrics for curtains and a sofa coverlet. But, I´m sure that they would not want me to land on their plate with a sudden brain aneurysm if things went any further south for me. Hopefully, they can re-rent it and return my unused portion of the rent which I have paid through June.
That apartment was to be my cloistered workspace for the suitcaseful of culled journal pages that I was planning to compile into my fifth published book. However, just preliminary to this sudden brain change, I had taken my first look at this massive amount of handwritten metaphysical material and decided that I was just too tired to deal with it all. Ever! Plus, that third heavy suitcase had been a literal, real drag, all along. Impulsively, leaving the papers sorted by subject in their ziplock baggies, I stuffed them into black garbage bags. My landlord, Marcelo Monferrato and his grown son, Rocco, interupted my trip to the nearby dumpster.
Rocco, a writer, took an immediate interest in seeing what he could do with such unusual material if I, sincerely, didn´t want it. With a handshake and a recognition of a fellow-author and his true interest, I turned the bags over to him. One day, he might craft them into a book that others can read, just as my previous journals have become. At least, they have lived to see the morrow. Maybe? Which is better than a dumpster affords. It´s all up to Rocco and I may never hear of their survival. Both men speak excellent English and even though wife and mother, Virginia, speaks only Spanish, she was so sweet to me. I will miss them all. None of us were expecting this sudden conclusion. But, maybe I have spared them an even worse experience if I had become incapacitated within their property.
However, I did do the right thing to hurry home. My left brain ¨felt funny¨ and that eye seemed somewhat swollen, after an odd and invisible bump on the head . Was it a psychic ¨thunk¨ I had felt on my eyebrow? Nothing in my physical or metaphysical past had prepared me for that. So, after consulting with my best friend and experienced world traveler, Fawn Germer, in Florida, and my daughter, Jennifer, in Colorado, we all agreed that I should come home to sort my future out. It´s foolhardy to expect that warning signs might just disappear if one ignores them and sometimes the window of opportunity can be very brief. One does what one must!
My symptoms had begun to even out by the time I landed here, but Jen tells me that I was speaking and thinking more slowly than usual. We began to talk of my retirement from this freeform traveling life, however; and she put in her best computer skills to locate an attractive retirement facility for me to settle into. After that clear warning signal on my noggin, I was sincerely ready to hang up my riding boots and retire the beloved, well-worn, world-wandering saddle.
The solution is unexpectedly wonderful! She found a retirement-home dream-come-true for me. In Mexico, no less! It will be like staying permanently on the road in a foreign country and I have already filled their last available reservation which will cost approximately half of my monthly Social Security. Jennifer and I will be traveling together to get me installed in mid-March. In the meantime, we have done much communicating with the expat owners of this beautiful Lake Chapala facility and we all feel as if we´re already dear friends. I will take you with me on this new ¨staying-still stability¨ as it plays out.
Rather than initiate medical exams for this now-self-correcting eye condition, I will wait until I am settled in Mexico for the foreseeable future. Possibly, things will prove to be as simple as a new glasses prescription. I´m enough of a world traveler to realize that medicine outside of the U.S. is just as skilled and much more affordable than here. Plus, I´ll be there for follow-up, not just on-the-fly diagnosis.
Meanwhile, I have an unexpected chance to immerse myself in my own family´s home life, here in freezing cold Denver, Rocky Mountain territory, which was 74 degrees and bare ground when I landed. But has now seen many days filled with constant snowfall and very low temperatures. It was also actual summertime for me in the Southern Hemisphere so recently. But, the family hearth and loving welcome is warm and embracing and we are all sharing in the excitement of the new possibilities which Jennifer has discovered for me…possibly, just at this rare time when they have an available suite to put me in. So, I´m signed, sealed and nearly delivered by this time!
Nothing is by accident!
I’ll admit that I haven’t posted a blog on either website for several months. But that is merely the result of life on the road! So many friends in so many hostels, that any regular computer work goes by the boards. But tomorrow I’ll sign the lease for a one-bedroom apartment in Colonia until June 22, the balance of my visa time in this country.
Thus, I can get serious about finishing the manuscript of my fifth book and writing my blogposts more regularly. All is well from my health and wealth standpoint and I have some good stuff to share.
This is a darling small town, two hours by bus from Montevideo, the capital of Uruguay; and right across the River de La Plata from Buenas Aires, Argentina. It is Florida-style, summer, weather here now. I remembered it fondly from my last visit four years ago.
I already have some translators lined up to convert my existing four books’ PDFs to both Spanish and Potuguese. Wheee!
I´m now staying in the Casa Kiwi Hostel in Medellin. Don’t worry if my emails fall to zero and my blog postings get scarce. I’m as busy as possible, learning how to use my new Lenovo laptop computer, which spoke Spanish when I bought her here. She had to be switched to English, muy pronto. Now, if only somebody will activate my switch to speak Spanish just as easily. Sigh!
My NBF (New Best Friend and fellow-hosteler), Marc Rosenberger of Germany, is teaching me how to recall the computer basics, as well as new software-use technology. So every day we cover a new lesson and then I apply it for hours while he goes to Salsa dancing class and Spanish language lessons.
I’m turning into a serious writer again, as I’m organizing jillions of journal excerpts into future ebooks. My hostel, ensuite, private room on the first floor, even provides a writing desk, so I have a fine, quiet workspace. As the holidays approach, I am feeling right at home with my hostel family…. staff and guests from all over the world.
If you have not tried hostel-traveling for yourself, I urge you to stick your toe into this very welcoming and sustainable alternative to hotel life. Full kitchen and social spaces come with your room or bunk costs.
My single, ensuite room is a splurge and very well-worth it, at $40 per night, as opposed to a dormitory bunk at $12 per night. But, I frequently stay in mixed dorms for shorter stays. Here, we have a full kitchen and social areas, such as both a pool table and a rooftop swimming pool, a large patio filled with long tables for meetings or eating together, even a cinema room for Netflix showings. All are included amenities, which is much more than you would receive at most hotels. Plus,always the everchanging fellowship of like-minded adventure travelers. What´s not to like? Why fit the plasticized mold of normal Western travelers, when you are eligible for this traveling lifestyle?
According to any country´s overall economy, you can often find great housing in the world´s hostels at well under $10 per night. I urge you to research this at www.hostelworld.com to learn your options in any country you might consider traveling in. While you´re at it, check the one-way, and round-trip, airfares at www.cheapoair.com. Then, you will see how I can afford to do this on my social security income alone. I´m 82 years old and counting. If I can do it, so can you!
And I’m feeling right at home.
I arrived in Medellin, Colombia, six weeks ago when I flew here from San Jose, Costa Rica. Luckily, I landed in the gorgeous and leafy-green neighborhood of Poblado and have sampled three lovely hostels, staying two weeks each. Now, I’m in Casa Kiwi, where I stayed ten years ago. Instead of a dorm bed, this time, I have rented a private, ensuite, room so that I can use its lovely desk to work away on my next book. One of my three suitcases is crammed full of pages culled from many of my journals. Now, I’m marking and sorting subject matter to see what this book is going to be about. The past (going back to 2000) is so very interesting and this project will fill a good bit of my future, just massaging it.
Here’s another look at some of my surroundings:
Medellin, Colombia, is a most beautiful and welcoming city! Here are some street shots I took yesterday on a walk through my hostel’s neighborhood of Poblado. It’s a part of Medellin full of green, green parks and international restaurants. I notice that some of these pictures appear sideways. Just tap on them, and the enlargement is straight. Better yet… come on over and see them in.person.
Note the brand-new, condo highrise in the background of the first picture. There are many of these beauties going up.
After three months petsitting in San Jose, Costa Rica I flew to Medellin, Colombia, to begin my long Figure 8 Exploration around the entire coastline of this South American Continent. I hope to document this undertaking with photos and blog posts, especially because, next week, I’ll observe my birthday here in this Garden of Blues Hostel with always-changing hostel buddies. Ever-changing countries! Ever-changing beautiful new friends! I love my traveling life!
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!
I haven’t published any exciting details of my life here in Grecia, Costa Rica, housesitting and petsitting for a lovely and lively young doggie, Cara. My excuse is a good one, however. While I temporarily settle into a quiet, suburban expat life in a modern community; I am finally able to cope with an enormous editing/writing project that I couldn’t have done within my parapatetic traveling life.
I brought about 40 handwritten journals of my recent travels, which also contain details of my most-unusual inner, psychic life. My sister almost threw them in the dump when this journal collection landed on her plate but agreed to hold off until I arrived. I’m sure this is typical of most psychic’s relatives.
Since dogs are not the best conversationalists, we petsitters know to equipe ourselves with time-fillers: paperbacks or online haunts and duties. Or old journals to tear apart according to topic and then to retype for online distribution. That’s where I am now. Cara has my presence fulltime! Though, can you believe? She STILL competes for my attention with my computer!!! An egomaniacal young doggie! I try not to encourage that ego buildup.
Anyway, I’ll have these jounals gutted by the time her owner, Kathy, returns; and maybe I’ll rent a cabin on the beach to type them up? Or I’ll take a break and finish in the next spot I land in? My life is sooo flexible! It’s certainly an advantage to fashion ones’ self as a writer. Because that very designation identifies you as an analyzer who writes about what you discern under the covers: maybe, a dog’s influence upon your life? I hope my input is of a higher quality!!!
So, thanks to this dog, I have set a goal for myself that keeps me on target to keep winnowing my journals. Naturally, I’m creating more diaries as I go; but trying not to be so loquacious.
Can you say that about the animal in your life?
I flew here from San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, to attend Molly’s high school graduation and many gala affairs surrounding that, including a pool party and a theater fundraiser.
As part of my two weeks’ family visit, we attended two fantastic theatrical, performances of the 30th Anniversary Musical of Phamaly (Family) Theater for physically-disabled actors. My grandaughter, who has a very rare genetic chromosome disorder found in only 34 people in the world, has been a dedicated actor for several years. The very talented cast uses wheelchairs, walkers and canes but they are polished and professional. What a show! This is the only such theatrical company in the United States and they have traveled as far as Japan to perform.
On Tuesday, June 4, I fly to Tampa, Florida, to visit my sister and brothet-in-law, Ann and Bill Sargent, and after a week, I’ll fly to San Jose, Costa Rica, for a convention and six weeks of pet sitting. I’m anxious to return to the Land of Pura Vida.
I’ve been in mid-Mexico, in the quaint and still-small town of San Miguel de Allende, since early December. We expats (Americans or Canadians living offshore) have invaded this place because it really still feels authentic and it really is colorfully-beautiful. But, we do crowd the place.
I arrived in the coldest time of the year, here in tbe mountains; and it’s high season, so finding a rental was likely to be tough. However, I’m moving into a very nice, two-bedroom apartment in a great neighborhood for a very reasonable rent in two weeks; all because of a random conversation with another expat. Meantime, I’m renting a bedroom and bathroom over a basket shop very close to the Central Plaza. Tiny, inexpensive, and friendly. But I haven’t even unpacked because I’m trying to settle down and live in real place. I’m getting there!
And the COLOR is just magnificent! But just take my word for it.
And this bust is of Stirling Dickinson, one of the first American Expats in San Miguel de Allende in 1937. I’m claiming him as my long-lost Uncle because my maiden name is Dickinson and he and my father were the same age and had New England in common. So why not?
Stirling Dickinson is honored here with this bust in the Instituto Allende, the highly-aclaimed Art School, one of three which he established; along with the Biblioteca, Library. He also established Baseball Teams, got the stadium built and privately helped many people. One way was through providing college sholarships for many San Miguel youth. He died at the age of 88 in 1998 and is still very lovingly remembered here.
The biography written about him by John Virtue is titled: “Model American Traveler”. Now that’s a good Expat!