Weekly Photo Challenge: Ometepe Island is a Good Match for Us


The Weekly Photo Challenge is: A Good Match

Ometepe Island has been a good match for us to retire abroad because…

Our island and volcanoes go hand in hand

img_1365Charco Verde lagoon is in harmony with nature.
img_0787 Continue reading

Responsibilities of U.S. Embassy Wardens


“Lets have faith that right makes might; and in that faith let us, to the end, dare to do our duty as we understand it.” ― Abraham Lincoln

Five years ago, the U.S. Embassy warden for Ometepe Island moved back to the states. She asked me if I would be willing to take on the duties of the warden for the island and of course, I said I would.

My primary responsibility as a warden for the U.S. Embassy is to aid in communicating with my fellow U.S. citizens living and visiting Ometepe Island in the event of an emergency. So, I’d like to describe my volunteer position to you.

  1. My main responsibility as a volunteer is to assist consular sections in disaster preparedness, welfare & whereabouts, and alerting fellow Americans to emergency situations. Mainly, I am a messenger. We have a Google group and a Facebook page where I can send messages I receive to the community of expats on Ometepe Island.
  2.  I facilitate distribution of routine administrative information (changes in section work  hours, procedures, embassy closures, voting information) of interest to the U.S. private community. I also provide important, timely safety and security information, which might include the times and locations of upcoming local demonstrations, areas of potential unrest due to local celebrations or elections, or information about a specific medical issue.
  3. The U.S. Embassy sends me email messages and provides me with a contact list of all the U.S. Embassy wardens in Nicaragua. I am invited to July 4th celebrations at the Embassy. Although, I have yet to attend because it is a long trip to Managua, and I have to spend the night because I can’t get a ferry back to Ometepe Island after 5:30 pm.

Continue reading

Weekly Photo Challenge: Ambience with Prisma


The Weekly Photo Challenge is Ambience.

“For, through the twilight sounds of crickets and sighing trees, a faint, surprising wisp of music came floating to them and all three turned toward it, toward the wood.” ― Natalie Babbitt, Tuck Everlasting

I am fascinated with the app Prisma. I can create different moods and ambience with my photos.

I found this old man in a park in Taupo, New Zealand. He gives me the suggestion that he is all dressed up with no place to go! Either that, or he just returned from a fiesta with lots of confetti.
ambience Continue reading

Weekly Photo Challenge: Earthquake Resilience


The Weekly Photo Challenge is Resilient

“Resilience is accepting your new reality, even if it’s less good than the one you had before. You can fight it, you can do nothing but scream about what you’ve lost, or you can accept that and try to put together something that’s good.”
― Elizabeth Edwards

On February 11, 2011 the people in Christchurch, New Zealand were eating lunch when their world started to shake. A 6.3 magnitude earthquake destroyed their beautiful city.
img_3919

Continue reading

Weekly Photo Challenge: The Path of Least Resistance


The Weekly Photo Challenge is Path.

“If you limit your choice to only what seems possible or reasonable, you disconnect yourself from what you truly want, and all that is left is a compromise.”
― Robert Fritz

I have never followed the path of least resistance. Yet, as I grow older and wiser with an accumulation of life experiences, I sometimes find myself choosing the path of least resistance, simply because it is smoother, easier, and less stressful.

It certainly doesn’t mean that I have fewer choices. My choices are still endless. But, I do believe that compromise is a valuable asset depending on the situation.
img_2906 Continue reading

Weekly Photo Challenge: Zealously Riding the TranzAlpine Train


The Weekly Photo Challenge is Anticipation.

We were looking forward to our TranzAlpine Train trip across the Southern Alps in New Zealand.  It was an overcast and rainy day,  but it didn’t stop our enthusiasm for the world’s most scenic train ride.
img_2359

Continue reading

What Makes Housesitters Extraordinary?


“We leave something of ourselves behind when we leave a place, we stay there, even though we go away. And there are things in us that we can find again only by going back there.” ― Pascal Mercier

Our housesitters left fresh flowers, homemade chocolate banana bread, and a mesh covering over our shower drain because we thought the cane toads were hiding in the shower drain during the day and hopping around the bathroom at night. Two weeks after returning from Fiji and New Zealand, I still find little remembrances of them.

Meet Doug and Johanne our housesitters extraordinaire.

15302416_10153995342846560_1053890956_o

Continue reading

How to Afford to Travel


“Desires dictate our priorities, priorities shape our choices, and choices determine our actions.” ― Dallin H. Oaks

I love reading travel essays, but before we started traveling I was disappointed when the essays never explained how one affords to travel. I received a comment on my blog the other day asking me how we afford to travel six months of the year and live abroad.

I never gave that question much thought after we started traveling because we just did it, but it is a great question and one that I think deserves a thoughtful answer.

Let me break down the quote above because it explains our process perfectly.

arthurs-pass

Arthur’s Pass in the New Zealand Southern Alps.

 

Continue reading

Weekly Photo Challenge: Relaxing with the New Zealand Fur Seals


The Weekly Photo Challenge is Relax.

We just returned from a month’s long vacation through New Zealand. Vacations are seldom relaxing, but the fur seals of New Zealand know how to unwind.

Tonga Island in Abel Tasman National Park is home to the second largest of three fur seal breeding colonies in New Zealand. We took a lazy boat to Tonga Island to view the fur seals in Abel Tasman National Park. Can you see them basking on the rocks? img_2804

The shore birds sunbathe on the colorful rocks.
img_2794

Continue reading

There is a Crack in Everything


….that’s how the light gets in. ~Leonard Cohen

Perhaps “Anthem” by Leonard Cohen, which took him a decade to write, is the most meaningful message for our troubled world today. In honor of the life of Leonard Cohen, my photos of New Zealand bring me comfort and solace along with his lyrics.

There is a crack…a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.

Craters of the Moon

Craters of the Moon

The birds they sang at the break of day…start again…I seem to hear them say…do not dwell on what has passed away…or what is yet to be.

Rotorua hot springs

Rotorua hot springs

I can’t run no more with that lawless crowd…ah, but they’ve summoned, they’ve summoned up a thundercloud…and they’re going to hear from me.

South of Auckland

South of Auckland

There’s a crack…a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.

Rotorua

Rotorua

Every heart,  every heart to love will come but like a refugee

Redwood Forest, Rotorua, New Zealand

Redwood Forest, Rotorua, New Zealand

Ring the bells that still can ring. Forget your perfect offering. There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in. That’s how the light gets in.

Huka Falls, near Taupo.

Huka Falls, near Taupo.