The stinky long bus ride

It was a day of sharing space with strangers

After five hours on the “garlic” bus and other annoyances, I arrived at Vitoria in the Basque area of Spain. The man sitting next to me must have devoured an entire field of garlic bulbs, as he reeked. I offered him a mint and he said, very politely, “No, gracias.

Then, there was the greasy-headed man who sat in front of me. He had little spiked hairs all over his head, which made me think of a hedgehog.
 Stinky got off the bus after about two hours, and then a big bear sat next to me. He was fat and wore brown and had been drinking. He also reeked. Then, in about two minutes, the big brown bear fell asleep and leaned on me.

When I pushed him away, he snorted, and that made the hedgehog in front of me laugh. The little spikes jumped up and down on his head.

This was just one interaction I experienced in my one-year journey around the world. If you’re lucky, you will see the humor in every situation, and that includes day-to-day life in and around your hometown.

Visiting a fishing village in the Arctic Circle

Visiting a fishing village in the Arctic Circle

I stayed at Thorshovn, a fishing village of 500 people, in the Arctic Circle, and played reporter. I interviewed the mayor, police chief, fishermen, fishing inspectors, roads administrator, neighbors, post office employees, pharmacy manager, manager of the swimming pool and sports hall, the new headmistress, two restaurant owners, a retired commercial pilot, a movie actress and director, and many other good people in the town.

Even I got interviewed for National Icelandic Television when I was spotted walking in the town. People began to notice the white-haired stranger, the lady who walks in town taking photos and asking questions.

I sat knee-to-knee with the townsfolk’s derriere’s in the local hot pot, and was invited to join the town for lunch. I was fortunate to meet a former airline pilot, and, visited him on another day at his ranch. His daughter, son-in-law, and two grand children were visiting, as well. The daughter was introduced as Margaret Vihjalmsdottir, who was in the movie, “Falcons” with Keith Carradine.

The biggest moment of the day, aside from meeting the nice folks in town, is the chance meeting with a group of folks riding Icelandic horses. One guy stopped and asked me if I want a photo. He got his horse and another one turned around for the photo, and spent some time chatting with me.

One way to travel on a dime is evident from the deal I made with Siggi, the hotel owner. I paid part of the rent and helped out a bit for the rest of what it would have cost to stay for five weeks. One of those jobs was to force a birth control pill down the throat of the cat, Smokey, once a week.

“If you forget the pill, I may end up sending you a box of kittens,” warned Siggi.

One day, Siggi told me that I have screw loose, and I accepted that kidding, but this time it really was a screw loose on the French coffee glass coffee maker. Fixing that coffeemaker may be tiny and insignificant, but my future in the house with coffee, depended on that little screw that came loose, and then I had lost it.

I tramped through the snow down to the grocery store and showed the manager what was needed. The manager found the words to tell me where a car repair shop was located, and where I could possibly get some help.

The coffee apparatus worked and life was good again!

One afternoon, I “hot-potted” it and met a man with his two-year-old, adorable son, adorable until he became jealous of the conversation between his dad and myself. He started to throw swim fins and other water toys at my head. His dad tried to divert him, as you would get a dog to go fetch. He would throw something far away, and the little guy would go to get it and he’d throw it back at me. He is finally was subdued a bit when another fisherman got into the hot pot to play with the little tyke.

After a five weeks in Thorshovn, I had a last walk to The Shop, the owner gave me a hug and said it was a pleasure having me in town and in her store.

I made long-term friendships in this little village.

 

Travel hints from lessons learned

Lessons learned about airline travel and luggageHere is a travel hint that came from my experience traveling in four continents, many countries, cities, towns, and islands, not to mention, in planes, buses, trains, trolleys, tuk-tuks, taxi’s, ferries, and on camels and horse and buggies.

Let’s take airline travel, because this might be the hardest to adhere to.

Before planning a trip, consult with the airline company and the country, that will not only be your destination, but for the landings in route, because you’ll need to know the carry-on-luggage and the booked-on luggage rules for the items you want to travel with. This not only applies to containers of liquid, food, medicines, but to nearly all forms of technology.

The rules change often depending on what is going on in the world at this moment in time.

I can give you one example that nearly caused me to miss a plane.

I was late in arrival to the airport in Croatia, because I miss-read the ticket departure time.

When I got to the ticket counter, the boarding lady, I nicknamed Cruella Deville, growled, “You are late. You are going to miss the plane. Put your luggage up here”, she directed.

“You have a battery inside the bag. You must remove it,” Cruella frowned. This was the first time in six months of flying on many airplanes that I faced this particular problem.

So, I tore into the bag, underwear going this way, tops that way, pants over there, and my Kindle fell out, but no clock – that was the culprit, I thought. Or was it the Kindle?

I was frantic.

Out came winter gloves, the Icelandic sweater, wool socks, rocks, seashells, pajamas, and a hot pink towel.

“Oh, come on,” I sighed to myself. I left the Kindle out, thinking that may have been the problem, but couldn’t find the clock.

“Let them look at it again.” She pointed to the men who would give it a second look.

“No, there’s no time, “she quickly changed her mind. “Just close it up, and let’s go.”

I tried shoving my life back into the bag, and now the bag seemed too small to accommodate all the stuff I had just thrown out.

“Can you help me close this up, please?” I pleaded with one of the agents.

He did help me zip it up, and then I was on my way with Cruella’s stiletto heels clipping on the tile, with me in tow.

“Do you have your boarding pass and passport?” She turned with that look again.
“Yes,” trying not to let her bullishness win.

I handed the customs agent my passport, and she and Cruella exchanged words, leaving me out.

“Oh, no, my camera.” Suddenly it was not hanging over my neck.

Well, I’m not going to tell you what she said then. But, the camera was located and I was the last person to board the plane and got the worst seat: the last one in the back.

Lesson: read the boarding time correctly so you’re on time. Find out exactly what you can have in the luggage on board and the carry-on-luggage, as well, for each airline in every country.

This is just one of the many lessons learned while traipsing all over the world.

 

 

 

 

Senior traveling on the cheap

I’m going into the 80th year of my life on earth, and enjoy the benefits of old age. I have noticed many seniors like myself, who are kept busy with hobbies, and going places.

On the other hand, I see folks who assume that once they reach a certain age they need to put theirselves “into” what is expected of those who have been blessed to live a long life.

I tend to break out of that closed up thinking, and did so, first, when I quit my news reporting job at age 74 and left the U.S., for some places I only thought about going while I was already ‘on the road’.

If you find yourself wanting to get off the couch and get out there, it can be done.

There are many opportunities for senior tours, or you can do what I did, and “just wing it”.

I did not own a house, and left an apartment so I could use the funds I would have to pay rent or a mortgage, to be used on the one-year journey. All I had was social security, a bit of savings, a gift from a friend, and had the first three places lined up before I left. The rest was planned by using my computer and available wifi coffee shops to book the next place. I found the cheapest way to get wherever I wanted to explore, and stayed mostly in hostels. Of course, I was more often that not, they oldest person in those hostels, but it was mostly an enjoyable time.

You can go back through this blog and view some of my adventures.

 

Travel Hints

Here are some travel hints to help you get where you want to go with careful attention to your budget.
1. Register for Couch Surfing at www.couchsurfing.com.
2. Check out hostels for stays such as www.hostelworld.com.
3. Travel as light as possible. You can always purchase needed items wherever you are and that’s part of the fun of traveling.
4. Do online research for the best deals in travel and hotels before you leave and while on the road. Good deals pop up all the time.
5. Learn to say please and thank you in every language of the place you visit. You will be treated better.

HOping this works

Hoping this works

Working on getting this up and running

Had a lot of help. Let’s see if this works.

Back online

Okay, I’m back online again, and I’ll be writing about my life experience of an almost 80 year old. Are you ready? I am.

Literary Agents where are you?

I finished my book, “Walking over the Earth” and now I need an agent to take it on and sell to a publisher. It’s all about my yearlong journey from the Arctic Circle  to the Sahara Desert and points in between.

agents

I have four agents who expressed interest in my book called, “Walking over the Earth”. So I’m getting all the requirements ready to send off to the agents. Each one requires something different. “Walking over the Earth.” Watch for it. I was recently interviewed on KSBW regarding my year long travel experience and the book , soon to be published.