Roaming About

A Life Less Ordinary

Tag: travel (page 1 of 3)

Monthly Expenses – August 2017

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 breaking the bank. The less money you spend, the less you need to make. πŸ™‚ 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, 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, almond milk for Mark and organic 2% 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 non-prescription medicines and Mark's vitamins and supplements; medical contains prescription drugs and doctor's visits. Utilities are always Skype-related, since that is how we make phone calls.Β 

Health insurance and costs are related to my health care. Mark is still eligible for free health care in the state of Massachusetts as of today. If a non-emergency were to happen outside of that state, it will be expensive! Every six months, we have to fly or drive to the East Coast for cancer check-ups. I still pay a small quarterly fee in Belgium for health care (required to keep my citizenship), which I mention in my year report.

August was another expensive month for us, thanks to being new camper van owners. Between fuel (long trips in California and to New Mexico for our current house sit), maintenance to and items bought for our Westy, we spent almost US$1000! At least now we know where our money goes. Once we realized the impact of this, about half-way through the month, we tightened our belts, postponed some planned Amazon purchases to September, and attempted to keep other expenses as low as possible. The result is not too bad, but I can't wait to go out and spoil ourselves one of these months! πŸ™‚

Zesty in New Mexico


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Monthly Expenses – July 2017

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 breaking the bank. The less money you spend, the less you need to make. πŸ™‚ 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, 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, almond milk for Mark and organic 2% 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 non-prescription medicines and Mark's vitamins and supplements; medical contains prescription drugs and doctor's visits. Utilities are always Skype-related, since that is how we make phone calls.Β 

Health insurance and costs are related to my health care. Mark is still eligible for free health care in the state of Massachusetts as of today. If a non-emergency were to happen outside of that state, it will be expensive! Every six months, we have to fly or drive to the East Coast for cancer check-ups. I still pay a small quarterly fee in Belgium for health care (required to keep my citizenship), which I mention in my year report.

July was expensive (over $2000!), because of a big garage bill and long-distance travel from Arkansas to California. We had to buy a lot of diesel, but camped for free every night of that six-day journey. Owning a 12-year-old camper van incurs higher monthly expenses than a Toyota Prius, which we were fully aware of. This month's total hurts, but now Zesty is up to snuff and all the other maintenance, fixes and improvements are done ourselves, over time.

Swapping our Prius for an Airstream Westfalia camper van


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IWSG Writing Update August 2017 – Life Distracts

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. A different question is posed each month, as a writing prompt for IWSG members. Answering it is optional. For August, that question is β€œWhat are your pet peeves when reading/writing/editing?”

This amazing, supportive group of writers was founded by Alex J. Cavanaugh. Today, the inspiring and accomplished co-hosts are Christine Rains, Dolarah @ Book Lover, Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor, Yvonne Ventresca, and LG Keltner. Feel free to swing by their sites and see what they are up to. Don’t be shy.

Scheduled posts or repeat events/meetings/projects, whether they are weekly or monthly, are a sure way to be reminded about how fast time flies. That always happens to me when the first Wednesday of the month rolls around. Again! I am happy to reflect on my (non-)writing in July, but I am sad to see another month disappear.

My pet peeve when writing/editing is using the same words too often. Whenever possible, I find synonyms for verbs and nouns already utilized. Not sure what to do about β€œI”, β€œand”, and β€œto”. 😊 When it comes to reading, I have a big pet peeve called typos or spelling mistakes. Especially in best sellers. Continue reading

Welcome, Westy! – The New Development

The past weeks I have been insinuating a new development in our lives. It is time to reveal what we have been up to! Let me introduce our newest “family member”, Zesty. He is a 2005 Sprinter Airstream Westfalia camper, endearingly called a Westy. Ingeniously built in Germany and known as a Westfalia James Cook in Europe, only 250 of these campers were imported into the US. Airstream did those honors and “Americanized” them by adding an air conditioner and a generator, and swapping the cassette toilet for one with a holding tank. The Mercedes engine was re-branded as a Dodge for the American market. Confusing? The main thing is that Mark and I now own one of these unique, compact and decked-out camper vans! Indirectly, this plan has been brewing for a couple of years.

Second night, in Oklahoma

β€œI think our next adventure should be in a camper again.” I share with Mark something that has been on my mind for a while. It is March 2015 and we are anchored in beautiful Huahine, French Polynesia. Continue reading

Monthly Expenses – June 2017

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, wherever we end up. πŸ™‚

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 2% 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 non-prescription medicines and Mark's vitamins and supplements; medical contains prescription drugs and doctor's visits. Utilities are always Skype-related, since that is how we make phone calls.Β 

Health insurance and costs are related to my health care. Mark is still eligible for free health care in the state of Massachusetts as of today. If a non-emergency were to happen outside of that state, it will be expensive! Every six months, we have to fly or drive to the East Coast for cancer check-ups. I still pay a small quarterly fee in Belgium for health care (required to keep my citizenship), which I mention in my year report.

June was not the most usual month for us either, what with being in Belgium until June 19th, having a quick stop-over in Reykjavik, Iceland and a long journey back to the West Coast of the US, where we picked up this current three-week house sit the evening we arrived. You will not find any expenses from our remaining days in Belgium in this overview, because my wonderful parents took care of all the grocery shopping, fuel and train rides, and, because I sold enough of my belongings (my African drum - sad to see it go - being the biggest provider) to pay for our other, modest, expenses. The cost of our vacation in Budapest is included, but, the hotel was "paid" with miles.Β  The flights were part of last month's report. Our biggest expense category for June 2017 was no doubt travel, followed by a hefty grocery bill when we arrived in Oakland, California.

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Monthly Expenses – May 2017

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, wherever we end up. πŸ™‚

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 2% 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 non-prescription medicines and Mark's vitamins and supplements; medical contains prescription drugs and doctor's visits. Utilities are always Skype-related, since that is how we make phone calls.Β 

Health insurance and costs are related to my health care. Mark is still eligible for free health care in the state of Massachusetts as of today. If a non-emergency were to happen outside of that state, it will be expensive! Every six months, we have to fly or drive to the East Coast for cancer check-ups. I still pay a small quarterly fee in Belgium for health care (required to keep my citizenship), which I mention in my year report.

Everything on the blog is a bit delayed this month, due to our travels and busy schedule. May and June are unusual spending months, partly because of this, and partly because of a new development I will report on later. Here is an overview of our normal expenses in May. Mark and I were located in Massachusetts for three weeks of the month, followed by ten days in Belgium/the Netherlands.Β  We passed the $1000 mark, because of our long weekend in Friesland (or our upcoming travel in the US). Driving an SUV around instead of our economical Prius raised our fuel budget. The price for all the plane tickets have been calculated in the expense reports of previous months.

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Wordless Wednesday – Anticipation

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.Β  Also, I can’t manage “completely wordless”, but I’ll try my best at “almost wordless”. πŸ™‚

With thousands of photos haphazardly archived over the years, I 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 “anticipation“.

Anticipation is an interesting theme. It lifts the spirit, makes your heart jump, creates excitement, and can be fun, unless reality turns out to be nothing like you predicted. Anticipation does not prepare you for what will actually happen, which can be better, or worse. Anticipation can create dread if faced with something you don’t look forward to. When the situation is entered, things might turn out better than expected, leading to relief.

Anticipation’s big brother is expectation. Continue reading

Wordless Wednesday – New Horizon

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.Β  Also, I can’t manage “completely wordless”, but I’ll try my best at “almost wordless”. πŸ™‚

With thousands of photos haphazardly archived over the years, I 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 “new horizon“.

What is to be found across the new horizon?

What is to be found across the new horizon?

Now this is a theme I can resonate with, since one of my mottos is “Expand your horizons!” 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. πŸ™‚ The photos will not be able to make it into the memoir,Β  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

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Wordless Wednesday – Local

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.Β  Also, I can’t manage “completely wordless”, but I’ll try my best at “almost wordless”. πŸ™‚

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 “local“.

Since Mark and I don’t own or rent a house, our location changes with every trip we make or house sit we take. Therefore what’s local to us depends on which place we call home for the time being. For over a decade we have been roaming about, by truck camper, by sailboat and by car. “Local” has been areas in Belgium, Mexico, Central America, Texas, Maryland, the Bahamas, the Caribbean islands, Panama, the Galapagos, most archipelagos of French Polynesia, New England, and now Northern California. Home is, literally, where we are. This website and my older It’s Irie website have an incredible amount of photos of our ever changing backyard. Here are a few of them:

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