What we pack for six months in Europe

We are leaving in a couple of days to get on the transatlantic cruise to Amsterdam.  We have a balcony on the cruise and plan to use it a lot.  So all the packing and things to do before we leave are being done.

Our sons are moved in.  The dogs are doing well.

We are packing ( oh no).  We take one rolling suitcase and one backpack each for the six months we will be away.  That means that I take very few clothes and they all are black and can be worn together.  For color and variety I pack scarves.  I pack in packing bags; the shirts, the pants, the underwear, the jacket all can be pulled out and used as needed.  I bring 2 pairs of shoes and a pair of saddles. It is not much but it leaves some room to pick up something irresistible .

 

There are some things that we bring from home because they are difficult to get in Ireland and England.   These are the special ear plugs I use, I love my husband but I still need to sleep.  Our vitamins and medications ( luckily we take only a few meds so that is easy).  My prepared journal and my journal tools.  We take a laptop computer, our phones, an ipad and a Magic Jack phone.  It is all very lightweight.  When you are getting on trains and buses in Europe there are no porters to help.  You must lug your bags up the train stairs very quickly as they only stop for a few minutes and there are lots of other people getting on.

 

The worst part of the trip is the flight to Fort Lauder dale.  I hate flying, it is so cramped.  That is the reason we will take a cruise over and a cruise back.  If you want to follow our adventures pet and house sitting please click the “follow” button and put in your email addy.  You will then get an email only when I post ( no one wants more emails than needed).  There will be very few posts on the 14 day cruise since the internet is difficult and expensive to use in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.  Bon Voyage!

Free tutorial; How to prepare a travel journal

One thing that I do now since going to Europe the last 2 years is to prepare my travel journal before I go.2017 travel journal2017 travel journal 1 I keep tickets, train stubs, receipts and other ephemera as we travel and there is not time to make special pages to keep this loose stuff.  2017 travel journal 4So I put in pretty envelops in my journal at home.   I also paint and add decorative paper to my journal pages as it is difficult to find the time and carry all the supplies to do that on the road.2017 travel journal 3  I make pages with fold outs to put secret or just private thoughts into.  2017 travel journal 6 I also stamp and color pages like this. 2017 travel journal 2 or this2017 travel journal 7  I take along a zip lock plastic bag with scissors, double sided tape, tape, color pencils ( water color ones), colored pens,  a small spray bottle, glue sticks and a small stapler.  Now I am ready to add papers and pages as I go along.  Hope this helps you prepare for your next big trip or even a little one.

Pet and house sitting across Ireland and England 2017

Our itinerary is almost complete for the Spring and Summer in Europe.   We will be leaving on a trans Atlantic cruise from Fort Lauder dale at the end of April and will arrive in Amsterdam on May 7.  This will be the beginning of six pet and house sits in Ireland and England that will last  until the end of September.  We are so excited that we get to spend 101 days taking care of sweet pets and meeting wonderful people. We will be taking care of all different kinds of animals from hamsters to kitty cats to dogs to chickens.  What a wonderful set of animals to love and give cuddles too ( well not the chickens).

Many people are intrigued about our pet and house sitting adventures and wonder how we do it.  We joined a website called Trustedhousesitters.  It costs sitters $110 a year and you get 2 daily emails with the newest listings for people who are looking for a pet and house sitter.  You contact the people you are interested in and wait to see if they choose you to talk to about their vacation plans.  We have excellent references from the six house sits we did last summer and of course this blog to let prospective families know who we are and that we are pet lovers.  Plus we are good people who take care of their home as if it was our own.  It is hard for someone to let a complete stranger into their home to take care of their precious pets so we try to make this selection as easy as possible for the people we sit for.

They normally choose two or more people to talk too on Skype and then make up their minds.  When we are chosen we add their dates to our calendar.

If you are interested in this and want to sign up for trusted housesitters, just use my name as a referral (Linda Donnelly) and you will get 25% off the sign up fee and we will get 2 extra months of service.  Here is their link;  trusted housesitters.Jody and David small    Street David & dogs smallErnie Eric dance smallcat eye small_DSC0052

Home from Maui; off to Europe

We flew home from Maui.  So sad to leave.  Just like this turtle who is going back out to sea in this photo I took. We said Aloha to the wonderful island and came home to 91 degree temperatures.DSCN4261  DSCN4271  When we got home we decided to go back to Europe this May.  It would be easy to just slip back into living at home and doing everyday things that keep you busy.  But we are not getting any younger and so we need to push ourselves to travel again this year.  Our son will be staying in the house with his spouse and they will take care of our sweet doggie, Mac.

So we have booked a trans Atlantic cruise for the end of April and will be in Europe in the beginning of May.  We are working on lining up some pet and house sitting gigs in England and Ireland for the first months.  We met such nice people last year and took care of some wonderful pets that we are looking forward to doing it again.  I will be posting as we get ready, so if you want to follow along just hit the “follow ” button on top of the blog and add your email addy and you will be notified only when I post. I am so excited to experience more adventures.  Now to pack…..

Stars and whales in Maui

We have been having so many adventures on this trip. We went up to the top of the crater of the volcano which made part of the island of Maui.haleakala-maui-linda-and-davidHaleakala ( 10,000 feet high).  It is on top of the clouds and feels like the top of the world.  It is windy and cold hence the snow gear.haleakala-maui-clouds-5x7-net  We got to watch the sun set and to see the planets and the stars with an astronomer who educated us about the Maui night sky. www.mauistargazing.comhaleakala-maui-sunset-5x7-nethaleakala-maui-dave-telescope

Then yesterday we went on a whale watching trip at sunset.  We saw lots of whales. One of them even touched our raft.  They are very gentle and it was very exciting to be that close to such an enormous animal.  Here are some photos of a whale breaching.maui-whale-breach-5x7-closer-netmaui whale out of water 5x7 net.jpg  Thought you might like to see the size of the raft we were on and a whale’s back.   maui whale and boat 5x7Maui is a wonderland and we are having so much fun.

Stunning sunset and a party at Hale Kai

Hale Kai is the small , intimate group of condos from the 70’s that has been rennovated.  It is right on the ocean and is only 2 stories high.  This type of small condos are quite unique for this part of Maui.  The northwestern part of Maui is dominated by large ritzy developments by big companies like Marriot, Ritz Carlton, and Hyatt etc.  The people who come to Hale Kai come every year on the same weeks.  They book their condos a year in advance and have made friends over the years.

One of their traditions is that every night at sunset people gather around the pool and have drinks and celebrate another day in paradise.  They blow conch shells like the old Hawaiians to announce the sunset, a birthday or a new comer to the group.  It is quite charming. maui-2-26-17-hale-kai-blowers-5x7

Here is the sunset that we were celebrating tonight. maui-2-26-17-sunset-5x7-closer-net-1maui-2-26-17-cloud-sunset-5x7-net  Since it was Sunday night we all got invitations to bring pupus ( little munchies) and make it a party with food. maui-2-26-17-hale-kai-party  The pupus were excellent and everyone is crowding around the snack table to try the tempting morsels. Ladies were asking for recipes and talking about their sea adventures here on the island.

We have met several really nice people.   What I really like are the moms and daughters that come back together every year.  Here are some photos I took of two of them.

maui-17-steph-and-patty-5x7maui-patty-and-steph-17

How lucky these women are that they can spend special time with their moms, I wish my mom could have done this with me.

Well, it is off to bed as a new adventure is calling us tomorrow. Aloha!

We are in Maui to see whales and turtles

It has been easy to fall into the rhythm of everyday life at home.  Time slips away without our noticing it.  The goal of doing the senior gap year was to use as many minutes as possible while we are still physically able to climb, walk and enjoy the surprises of the earth.  So we decided to go to Maui to see the whales.  They come here every year from Alaska to have their babies from December to March.  A dear friend of ours was lamenting that she could not go this year.  Linda said to David, ” This is a bucket list item, let’s go.”  So dear David planned it all and here we are in heaven.  And on Monday before we left on Friday David tore the meniscus  in his knee.  But luckily it is not bad and we went anyway even if David has a cane.

We flew Virgin American from LAX to Maui.  Here is a logo from the side on one of their planes.  maui-2-17-virgin-air I thought it was funny.

We are staying in a small apartment in the northwest of Maui.  It is small and on the ocean with a small beach on the side.maui-2-17-little-beach-5x7-net  This is where turtles come ashore to eat and rest. maui-2-17-turtle-5x7-closer-net  They need to rest as the surf can get quite rough , like it did today.maui-2-17-splash-5x7-net   There are beautiful flowers everywhere so I thought I would share this lovely orchid with you.  maui-2-17-purple-orchid-5x7-net

I got to see a whale breach on the sea horizon ( I did have binoculars) and one whale lift his big fin up in the air and splash it down 3 times.  Unfortunately, I did not have my camera with me when I saw them.  Whale pictures will be coming as we are going to take a whale watching trip sometime this week.

Needless to say,  this has been an exciting trip already.