Wanna Get Away?

“Airplane travel is nature’s way of making you look like your passport photo.” — Al Gore

Isn’t that the truth? Purchasing airline tickets is a complicated digital-aged process. Adding the hours I search for the best routes and the lowest prices for airline tickets online, it totals 200 hours a year. That is over 8 days of searching for airline tickets!

Yes, we travel a lot! So, I thought I would give you some helpful ideas of where and how I buy our round-trip tickets from Nicaragua. I love Google Flights because it gives me more information than other travel search sites.

1. Find the cheapest months to fly. 

In Google Flights, it is a breeze. Choose your location and destination and then select “flexible dates.”

Below is a flight from Managua to Los Angeles using a random date.
Screen Shot 2016-08-01 at 8.15.29 PMAnd flexible dates from Liberia, Costa Rica to Los Angeles.
Screen Shot 2016-08-01 at 8.16.16 PMSo far, it looks like Managua has the cheaper flights to Los Angeles than from Liberia, Costa Rica. But, wait!

2. Choose an outbound flight to check the best flights according to the time of departure and the length of the flight. 
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Weekly Photo Challenge: Dem Broken Bones

The Weekly Photo Challenge is broken.

We are passionate about travel…always have been…always will be. I’m back in the states digitizing my photos and I found the perfect photos to represent broken. While roaming through Portugal, we discovered the Capela dos Ossos ( Chapel of Bones) in Évora.

This small chapel was built in the 16th century by a Franciscan monk, who wanted to send the message that life is transitory. A broken skeleton dangles near the entrance, reminding all who enter that “Better is the day of death, than the day of birth.”

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The Gypsytoes Gene

“To travel is to live.”
― Hans Christian Andersen, The Fairy Tale of My Life: An Autobiography 


IMG_7542I am consumed by wanderlust, nourished by voyages and treks regarded as less than desirable in popular tourist guides, and gorged with peregrination. Traveling is my life. I am lucky in love to have found a partner who shares my enthusiasm and passion for the roads less traveled.

Yet, I often wonder, “Why us?” Neither sets of our parents or grandparents, had the urge to jump into an exotic new life, even temporarily. They were content to stay on their farms, or the small towns in which they lived. They reacted to our gypsytoes with nervous, worried, and dismayed comments. My mother insisted on telling her church companions that we were missionaries in Nicaragua. Ron’s father scratched his head with puzzlement, “Why would anyone ever want to leave home?”

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Night Lights

We just returned to Ometepe Island from a marathon of airports…18 to be exact. In two weeks! I enjoy taking night photos, and I had plenty of time riding red eye flights across the U.S. to snap a few good shots. Let’s light up the night sky together.

Leaving Los Angeles at midnight, the lights in the city of angels were mesmerizing.
IMG_4774IMG_4788 More Night Lights ahead.

Weekly Photo Challenge: True Grit

Our visit to Yosemite, Lake Tahoe, and Reno has been a vacation of  endurance.
Arriving in Yosemite National Park to visit our son and his fiancé, firefighters used natural barriers of granite walls to help contain 4,500 fire affected acres. Yosemite has backbone!

IMG_4315 We will endure.Read more.

From Volcanoes to Granite Mountains

Upon entering the employee housing in Yosemite National Park, there are signs in the windows stating, “Don’t take Yosemite for Granite.” From our land of volcanoes to the land of granite peaks and mountains, we bask in the wonder of it all. Our son, Cory, is an interpretive naturalist in Yosemite.

Every time we visit this amazing park, we are so very grateful that our family lives in truly awe inspiring places where the world greets us at our doorsteps. Join me in some jaw dropping scenes from Yosemite.
Wait, don’t leave yet! Photos ahead.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Abandoned on Corn Island

“Do we not each dream of dreams? Do we not dance on the notes of lost
memories? Then are we not each dreamers of tomorrow and yesterday, since dreams
play when time is askew? Are we not all adrift in the constant sea of trial and when all is done, do we not all yearn for ships to carry us home?”
― Nathan Reese Maher

I spent the weekend abandoned on Corn Island, Nicaragua. Adrift in my dreams…cast away upon the sea…unrestrained…uninhibited…empty of all thoughts except for…ONE LOVE…
More abandoned.Keep reading.

If I Were a Butterfly for a Day

“Life is short. If you doubt me, ask a butterfly. Their average life span is a mere five to fourteen days.” ~ Ellen DeGeneres

I made my bucket list when I was 21 years old. I had a Nothing Journal ( if you are a Baby Boomer, you may remember the Nothing Journals) where I would sketch my longings and desires. Included in my sketches:
1.   A cabin in the woods….check
2.   A loving heart…check
3.   A marriage certificate…check (We’ve been married 37 38 years)
4.   A backpacking trip and travel, travel, travel…check
5.   An advanced degree…check
6.   Children…check
7.   A peace sign…still working on that one
8.   A tropical island…check
9.   A Datsun Z…never got that car
10. A St. Bernard…never got a St.Bernard either, but I’ve had numerous pets

My bucket list included living without regrets, always taking a second chance, and learning to forgive. Now that I’m officially retired, my bucket list is shorter, and so is life.
Below are two highlights I crossed off my bucket list.

Olive Ridley Turtle Arribada  This Olive Ridley is burying her eggs in a downpour.

Monarch butterfly sanctuary near Ocampo, Mexico.

If you were a butterfly for a day, what would you put on your bucket list?


Weekly Photo Challenge: Behind the Masterpiece

“Make your lives a masterpiece, you only get one canvas.”
― E.A. Bucchianeri, Brushstrokes of a Gadfly

My life’s masterpiece is a colorful mixture of paints and a work in progress.

IMG_3787My heart is my paintbrush. The entire universe is my canvas.
IMG_3786I am learning to let go…to defy gravity…to dare ecstasy…to fly by the seat of my paint covered pants.
IMG_3796I want to blaze my own trail… to transcend what people tell me is impossible…to learn from my failures.
IMG_3798Each of us creates a unique signature of our lives.
IMG_3907 One small part of the masterpiece of my life hangs above my kitchen wall, created with radical curiosities, a loving friend, laughter, contemplation, and tranquility in our troubled world.
IMG_3277What does the masterpiece of your life look like behind the scenes?

Weekly Photo Challenge: Contents of My Constant Companion

I’ve carried a purse since I was five year’s old. Although the contents change, they symbolize where I am in my life. Since I have a constant companion, I thought I’d share the contents of my traveling purse and explain my purse psyche.

IMG_3162I am a frequent international traveler. Presently, I’m in the states and the contents of my purse are spread out on my mother’s dining room table. I’m baring it all in this post, hopefully enabling you to understand my traveling philosophy and delve into my purse psyche.

1. First, I carry everything in a shoulder bag given to me by a friend who frequents the Salvation Army stores. It’s free…it’s purple ( one of my favorite colors)..and it’s compact.
Notice the little Canadian duck pin on the front? I prefer to let foreigners think I’m Canadian. I won’t go into it here, but let’s just say, that little pin has opened doors for me in some Latin American countries.

2. Salvation Army tissues fit neatly into the front mesh pocket. They came with the purse and are ever so handy. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been without toilet paper when I’m traveling.

3. My used 3S/3G iPhone. I just bought an Otterbox Defender for it in the states because Nicaragua and the tropics are hard on phones. It is like a mini-computer and I have lots of cool traveling apps on it.

4. Just a little money. I never carry too much money in my purse when I travel. I have a few dollars for tips, and I have a little stash of my cordobas for my return trip to Nicaragua.

5. Of course, I need my passport and my Nicaraguan residency card ( When I return, I don’t have to pay the entrance fee of $10 in customs.)

6. My wallet has a few things in it, but my one credit card is hidden in another place in my purse. I won’t say where, but I can get very creative. The wallet is over 10 years old. I bought it at the Unclaimed Baggage Center in Alabama. That place is incredible.

7. I always carry a toothbrush. I couldn’t find travel size toothpaste in Nicaragua, and it’s a hassle to carry any liquids regardless of the size on a plane.

8. Under my toothbrush, I have two very important papers. One is a tracing of Julio’s foot. He wanted me to buy him some running shoes, but he didn’t know his size. I started compiling the other list months before my trip to the states. It contains all of the things I want to buy, or things my friends want me to buy while I’m in the states. Hard or nearly impossible to find things such as; pickling spices, cheap solar lights, a hummingbird feeder, raw peanuts, horseradish, pretzels ( I have a lot of food items on my list), and an assortment of little tools from Lowes.

9. My cheap knock-off sunglasses, and prescription glasses’ carrying case. I usually wear my glasses because it is easier than digging around for them when I have to read something (the only reason I need glasses, but when traveling, there is always something to read). I also discovered that my empty carrying case can hold little things that most airlines don’t want you to take. My little secret, but they are never detected when they run my purse through the x-ray machine. Nothing dangerous, of course.

10. My mother always told me to either wear clean underwear, or take a clean pair along with me and I’ve never broken the habit. 🙂

11. I can’t forget the pen. I confess, I am a pen stealer. This pen came from the director of House Hunter’s International when they came to film us for 5 days in May. No wait! I’m wrong. He kept reminding me to return his pen. I thought he would forget about it, but NO, so I begrudgingly returned it. Hmmm…I must have stolen this one from the airline personnel at the check-in counter.

So, there you have it…the contents of my constant companion. I think my purse psyche would show that I lead a simple, cheap life and I’m not very fashion conscious.

Now, when I get my travel vest loaded with 40 pounds of children’s books, and my zebra print backpack stuffed with my MacBook, Kindle, and other electronics…I am a sight to behold as I waddle through the airports. What’s in your purse today?