Friday, February 9, 2024

my last days of being 69

Saturday (tomorrow) is my 70th birthday... how strange is that???? May not be strange to you but it sure is to me...

Of course that day is in reality the day I complete my 70th year the way we count birthdays in the US... so in many ways it is a non-event since I have actually been in my 70th year for the entire year of 2023-

So I was spending time the last month or so, looking back over the last decade- with its incredible blessings and challenges - the high points and low points.  I started with the trip I took with my friend Georgia for my 60th birthday and then sort of went forward through time - thinking about where I was and what I was doing and who I knew and spent time with along the way... ten years - a long time - lots of things and yet so so fast as well...

This past decade I went to fewer new countries (my list has gotten shorter and the intervention of COVID travel restrictions did not help). I also got three new body parts in the last decade: two fake knees and one fake breast (original parts fell to arthritis and breast cancer). Along the way, we bought and sold two homes in Florida, sold one home in Chicago and several investment properties as well. Basically we were freeing up our lives to create a more flexible lifestyle; to GO and DO what we want and not be tied by ownership.

By the time I reached 60 I had been retired for three plus years, and Phil was also retired by the end of 2014.   By 2016 we lived in “lock and leave” places and had “business’ dealings that could be managed from anywhere with internet. 

But the great news is the decade was still one of exploration and adventure. No surprise there- since my passion for quite some time had been traveling- with or without my husband and with or without friends... there is nothing more exciting than heading off someplace new... 

And that is just what we are doing. As of this week we have taken a long term lease on an apartment in the Casco Antiguo (Old City) Sevilla in Spain. After coming here for nearly two months in early 2023 we decided to move to Spain and began the process of obtaining visa for residency.  That process will be completed in the next ten days when we pick up our residence cards. So many new adventures await once we have moved into a “home base” here. We intend to learn more about all the places in our new country while here.  This spring has already been a whirlwind of activity with guests and apartment hunting and finishing the visa process. Next fall – when we return we intend to start exploring Spain in depth. 

But back to my last decade - the 6-0s of my life/time line... the international trips – as the post would be far too long if I detailed domestic as well.  The list is nowhere near as long as the list for the 50s and both Phil and I were shocked that we had not been to Asia in more than ten years given how much we had traveled there in the prior decade. But there were some new countries and cities (in italics) and always new experiences:

Morocco, February 2014

Burgundy Barging (with Paris & Lyon), May 2014

New Brunswick & Nova Scotia, August 2014

Venice & Trieste, October 2014

Netherlands & Belgium, May 2015

Dublin, July 2015

Bulgaria, Moldova, Romania, Transnistria & Odessa, Ukraine, October 2015

Cuba, December 2015

Victoria & Vancouver, BC Canada, June 2016

Denmark, Sweden, Poland, Latvia, Estonia, Russia & Finland, August 2016

Cartagena, Colombia, December 2016

Uzbekistan, March 2107

Ireland, June 2017

Republic of Georgia, October 2017

East Africa: Kenya & Tanzania, August 2018

England (Durham, York, London) & Denmark (Jutland) & Amsterdam, September 2018

Rome, March 2019

Ireland & Northern Ireland, July 2019

Iceland, July 2019


Ireland, August 2021

Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam, May-June 2022

Scotland, July 2022

Ontario (Lake Huron & Lake Erie) August 2022

Spain (Sevilla, Malaga, Alicante, Valencia) February-April 2023

Montreal, Canada, July 2023

Canada (Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia,) August 2023

Sevilla, Spain, (with Valencia) December 2023-May 2024

So on we go into the next decade and next adventure in life,  I have a husband/adventure partner/"partner-in-crime” by my side, wonderful friends and a blessed life indeed!!!! 

Here are some photos of our trips (all with Phil except Uzbekistan) to new places in the last decade. I have to say that three trips really stand out in my mind. Every one of them was fun filled and provided great memories but the places I really was "wowed" by were Uzbekistan and Romania and Kenya (particularly the Masai Mara)

so I may have a bit of an overload on those photos- sorry, not sorry....LOL - in chronological order- 





Odessa, Ukraine

Uzbekistan- a truly memorable trip in so many ways - I visited during Navruz (the spring festival)

Republic of Georgia

East Africa- too many animal photos that were wonderful but here are my two favorites

Northern Ireland:


So I think by the time I (hopefully) post on my last day of being 79.... I will have traveled to more places, or at minimum a lot more of our adopted home of Spain.... So stay tuned... more to follow.