Roaming About

A Life Less Ordinary

IWSG Writing Update – December 2016

Every first Wednesday of the month, the IWSG (Insecure Writer’s Support Group) encourages writers to share their fears, thoughts, progress, struggles, excitement, encouragement or anything really about their writing.  Since August, the IWSG likes to see a particular question answered in each blog post of their members. This month that question is “In terms of your writing career, where do you see yourself five years from now, and what’s your plan to get there?”

Last month, I hinted at maybe trying to add 50,000 words to my memoir in November. That would mean write, write, write, and don’t look back, don’t edit, don’t improve, don’t polish and don’t criticize. While this is a good way to “get it all out there”, it is not really how I have been working recently, so I chose to maintain my current goal of writing one chapter every week. Continue reading

Monthly Expenses – November 2016

Expenses - image

Every month, I post a report of our expenses to show that it is possible to live a comfortable, exciting and relatively adventurous life without being rich. Or even without owning/earning a lot of money. That being said, Mark and I seem to manage one big expense a month for some reason, whether it is car, plane, travel or computer-related. Luckily, we live totally rent-free and in comfort, wherever we end up. 🙂

This report includes ALL of our expenses, in US$, for the two of us. Under groceries we incorporate all the food, produce and non-alcoholic drinks (100% orange juice, oat milk for Mark and organic 1% milk for me) predominantly bought in supermarkets. Toiletries belong in that category as well. Dining out means eating at a restaurant/event or purchasing take-out food. The health category covers medicines and Mark's vitamins and supplements. Utilities are always Skype-related, now that our internet is free during house sits and our phone costs are business-deductible.  You don't see health care costs, because Mark and I are eligible for free health care in the state of Massachusetts, since our income this year is  in the lowest bracket. If a non-emergency were to happen outside of the state (we are currently in California), it will be expensive! I still pay a small three-monthly fee in Belgium for health care (required to keep my citizenship), which I will report on at the end of the year.

Here is an overview of our expenses in November, again an above average month because of Thanksgiving, my birthday and a bunch of membership fees.

Continue reading

Then and Now – My Birthday

Last week, Donna from Retirement Reflections suggested I do a “Then and Now” post about my birthday. While the thought had crossed my mind, I was hesitant to pursue it, because I thought I could do something bigger with that topic than “just” a blog post. See, a little while back, I played with the brief idea to make my variety of birthdays a thread in the memoir I am writing, or at least incorporate my last decade into an article, “Sailing through My Thirties” or something like that. As always with most of my genius ideas, not much ever happens with them. So, why not turn the thought into a blog? Some parts will still make it into my book, so I can’t reveal any juicy details or you won’t buy it. 🙂 The photos will not be able to make it into the memoir,  so… here are some birthday galleries!

30 – Monterrey, California, USA

My birthday in 2005 was a bit stressful and exciting at the same time, since our sailboat F/Our Choice/s (on which we were living) was getting hauled out of the water in the morning and undergoing an inspection to be sold. Or not… We spent part of the afternoon in the amazing aquarium and went out to dinner. We both love Monterrey, especially the wildlife, like sea otters swimming by the boat.

31 – Belize, Central America

Continue reading

In Memory of Darwin, Our Cute Boy

My Wednesday post this week is a bit different. First, it is even less wordless than usual. Second, the WordPress theme does not resonate with me. “It’s Not This Time of Year Without..” is supposed to be the topic of our photo(s). The one thing without which my holiday season could never be complete is … my husband, Mark. I know this sounds cocky and very unimaginative. And, I am sure he would not appreciate being the center of my blogging attention this week, having his face (or both of ours) splattered all over this page. He already cringes when I take photos of him and, this week, I just happen to create a 2017 calendar for our parents and my oma with a different photo of us livening up every single month. 🙂

Why does the holiday period not resonate with me? Continue reading

Then and Now – Thanksgiving

This blog follows the theme from last week, but with much less color! 🙂

Thanksgiving didn’t mean anything to me as a Belgian, until I started visiting the US over a decade ago. Being married to an American made me appreciate this day of thanks, and I am always happy with an extra day off, of course. Thanksgiving is Mark’s favorite holiday, since it is not commercialized and involves no gifts. Instead, the focus is on good food (lots of it) and being with friends or family. Continue reading

Wordless Wednesday – Magic

I have decided to post photos of past travels in general and our eight year sailing adventure on SV Irie in particular for Wordless Wednesdays.  Also, I can’t manage “completely wordless”, but I’ll try my best at “almost wordless”. 🙂

I have archived thousands of photos over the years and can’t easily pick what to post, so I use the weekly prompt of the Daily Post to inspire my Wordless Wednesdays. This week’s Daily Post photography theme is “magic“.

During all the years we lived and sailed on our boat, Mark and I have experienced a lot of magical moments. Amazing sunsets, wildlife encounters and residing in blissful pieces of paradise are part of those. But, since I have been posting quite a few photographs of those topics in the past, I figured I’d share another magical part of nature: rainbows.

I have a hard time capturing a full, end-to-end rainbow in one photo, so here you have two sets of one of those magical paintings in the sky.

Full rainbow in the Caribbean Islands Continue reading

Are We Lost?

I have mentioned before how Mark and I love our current lifestyle of house and pet sitting… The variety it offers, the different areas we experience, the wonderful pets we get to adore and take care of, the low cost, the comfort and conveniences of living in a house, the adventurous aspect of packing up and moving every few weeks or months. Yet, there is one, big, not to be underestimated negative aspect when committing yourself to full-time house sitting. One we only slightly realized while in New England, but that has bubbled up since we have been in California. Every day, it appears to become stronger: we are feeling lost! Not so much in a literal way as in “we don’t have our own place to live in and don’t feel like we belong anywhere”, which is true as well, but we knew this ahead of time when choosing this lifestyle. No, I mean socially lost. Mark and I don’t know anyone wherever we temporarily live and that does not seem to change for the better. We are isolated. Continue reading

Then and Now – Fall

Now that Mark and I have been house and pet sitting throughout the US for over a year, we often think back about then, when we were still full-time cruisers on Irie. I am hoping to post a few photos about the difference in lifestyle, views and perspective the coming months. For this one, I was inspired by Terri’s blog link-up Seasonal Sensations – Autumn Leaves.

Autumn in St. Vincent and the Grenadines (2009)

Autumn in Venezuela (2011) Continue reading

Wordless Wednesday – Tiny

I have decided to post photos of past travels in general and our eight year sailing adventure on SV Irie in particular for Wordless Wednesdays.  Also, I can’t manage “completely wordless”, but I’ll try my best at “almost wordless”. 🙂

I have archived thousands of photos over the years and can’t easily pick what to post, so I use the weekly prompt of the Daily Post to inspire my Wordless Wednesdays. This week’s Daily Post photography theme is “tiny“.

Bahamian sloop against a giant cruise ship in Nassau

Bahamian sloop against a giant cruise ship in Nassau

When you compare local boats to cruise ships, they look tiny. When you climb to the top of a hill or mountain, things down below are tiny. Continue reading

Sunny Sacramento

Horse and carriage with "new Sacramento" in the background

Horse and carriage with “new Sacramento” in the background

Mark and I drove across the country and temporarily moved to California to enjoy a warmer winter than last year in New England. So far, we cannot complain. It is not as hot here as in Southern California or Florida (or French Polynesia :-)), but the 70 degree daytime temperatures (20s Celsius) have been very pleasant.

Because it will get colder and rainier soon, we take advantage of the sunny days by going on long walks and hikes with Herk (the cute rescue dog we are currently caring for), even during the week. Continue reading

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