Words of wisdom

Words of wisdom

Friday, April 26, 2019

I thank each and every one of you for following this blog for so many years. I do hope you’ll decide to follow my adventures in words in pictures on my new website http://www.MyHomeOnTheRoam.com.
To do so, go to my new site and click on the BLOG link at the top of the Home page. You will see at the top right side of this page a little blue widget that says Following My Home on the Roam”. Once you click on this link a small window will pop-up that looks like this -

You need to enter your email address and if you don’t already have a WordPress account, you will need go to Create a New Account. This allows you to not only follow my blog and many of the other wonderful blogs that WordPress hosts.

Thanks and I look forward to your joining me in Paris in just 3 weeks!

Monday, April 22, 2019


   After years of blogging, I have finally made the move to my own domain!!


I will be blogging lots - beginning May 18th - when I fly to Paris and begin wandering throughout Europe, the UK and a bit of Ireland for the entire summer. I hope you will make the move to my new site and continue to travel along with me in words and pictures.

You will need to copy and paste the above link into your browser.  Once you are on the new site, you will find a little widget where you can sign-up with your email address.  Then each time I upload a new blog post, you'll receive it in your mailing box.

Until Paris....


Sunday, February 10, 2019

Where did you go?  
Why haven't you posted in such a long time?  
Are you still traveling? 
Are you ok?

Here are answers to all those questions I received from friends and followers near and far. 

First, I'm fine!  After 5 years of constant travel, my knees made a request that I settle down for a while and give them a rest.  They let me know they didn't like hauling a suitcase and backpack, which seemed to get progressively heavier every week, up and down, over and around hills, stairs, rivers, trains, buses, etc. etc. 

So where did I go?  I returned to Mexico, San Miguel de Allende to be exact.  This beautiful colonial city situated at 6000 ft above sea level, 3 1/2 hours north of Mexico City is blessed with year-round good weather, a warm and welcoming local population and an ever-growing crowd of ex-pats.   I chose to settle down for a little while and a 'little while' has turned into almost 2 years.  

Why haven't I posted for such a long time?  Because I felt that living my daily, ordinary life, though maybe different than yours, wouldn't be as much fun or as interesting as reading about my adventures roaming from country to country.

What I decided to do is give you the past year and seven months in pictures.  You can see what life in Mexico is like,  why I chose it - it's much cheaper than living in the US and minus the political bro-haha!  OH - and then there are the warm winters.....sorry Chicago!

Life here is much more colorful and louder!  There is a different language, different beliefs, customs, foods, and a general friendliness.  Every day I walk out my door and say 'Hola! Buenos Dias' to each and every person I pass on the street and that greeting is always returned - with a smile.  Certainly not what I get when I return to Chicago.  It's a lovely way to begin any day. You are not just a stranger - or gringa -  walking down the street.  You are someone everyone says hello to and wishes a good day,  Nice!


The centerpiece of our town is El Centro, the Jardin or garden, which is anchored by the beautiful sandstone Parrocia.  Church in Mexico is the centerpiece of daily life and churches are numerous in the city and throughout the country. 


The festivals celebrating old heroes, new ones, a birth, wedding, a passing, a parade are all commemorated with fireworks and hours and hours...and hours of cherry bombs exploding day...and night!  

    Day of the Dead Face Painted Art
This is the Locos parade where 1000's dress in costume!

There is are the faces of the people and the children......

 Artist Anado McLaughlin & The Chapel of Jimmy Ray


Children dressed for Day of the Dead and to celebrate the birthday of Allende

    The hands of a taco maker - yes, these are made by the 1000's fresh daily!

There is the food (always a work of art) the vibrant colors,  the flowers, and wall art, the markets and the choice of hot sauce!!!.



There are the friends you make and those that come from afar to visit; the organizations you join; the life you make for yourself in a new place....to make it your home, if only temporarily.

 Janet came from Wilmington, NC
Chef David with Ruth who came from Belfast, Northern Ireland and Barbara P and her 'let's just get the ladies together to talk, eat and sip' for an evening of fun. 

 Christmas Eve dinner in SMA

Michael & Kathy in Patzcuaro

Joyce, Atlanta, and multi-time visitor to SMA!
And fellow traveler - and now best lunch-buddy, Debbie Campbell of The Senior Nomads who gently kicked my back-side and said it was time I started writing again.  Thank you, Debbie, I think!

So what's next?  Just in case you think I've settled for good and have given up roaming the world let me tell you, you were wrong!!  

On May 17th I fly to Paris to celebrate my 73rd birthday!  From there it's off to Portugal to see friends before heading to Eastern Europe, countries I have never explored before - Croatia, Hungry, Slovenia, The Czech Republic, Romania, Austria, and Poland.  I will be doing a little house and pet sitting along the way plus meeting many of the locals with my new membership in SERVAS, the wonderful organization that promotes peace and understanding worldwide through travel and hosting.  

I end my allotted 3-month stay in Europe by once again teaching conversational English in Spain for Diverbo .  Then it's off to housesit once more on the Isle of Mann. 

If you're interested in house and pet sitting, there is no better organization to join than TrustedHousesitters.com who are now offering a 25% discount to new members.  I've totally enjoyed the places and the pets I've sat all over the world.  And though you don't get paid for sitting, you get a free place to call 'home' in an area or town you want to explore.  

Before a quick visit with Ruth in Belfast, I'm treating myself to a 'repositioning Atlantic cruise' which departs from Lisbon with stops in the Azores, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, and Maine before I debark in Boston.   I'm scheduled to have that pesky knee replaced in Wilmington, NC on September 16th before I return to San Miguel in early October. 

Before I sign off I want to thank you all for following my blog and please, if you have questions about what traveling solo around-the-world as a 'senior nomad' or life in Mexico, or house and pet sitting, please feel free to drop me a note. 

Until next time....which I promise won't be nearly as long!

Saturday, August 19, 2017

My Month in Bali Continued - Once Again!

OUCH!  You would think that when you are in the kitchen using sharp objects you would maintain a bit of caution and care. Never gonna happen.

While visiting friends and assisting with the preparation of scalloped potatoes using for the first time an extremely sharp mandoline slicer - without the hand guard - I became more involved with the conversation than the potato slicing and left the entire side of my right thumb in the bowl with the taters!  Yes, it was a mess and took lots of cold water, ice, tissues and over 30 minutes of holding my arm up over my head to stop the flow of blood.

But the excuse I have for not continuing the saga of my time on Bali as promised was the complete inability to type with a huge wad of bandage wrapped around said thumb for almost a month!  And then house sitting and visiting with friends interfered with my writing time.  But today is the day I share with you in words and MANY photos some of the other interesting and wonderful things I saw and did during my time on this small, South Pacific island.

First, the huge market that is located in the middle of Ubud.  It opens at 5 a.m. until 3 p.m. and sells everything from shoes to nuts - as well as veggies and flowers, eggs, fish, meat, knives, spices, kites, clothes - in other words almost anything you need.

Flowers for offerings

Fresh? sardines

Need eggs?


Flattened chicken?
It's colorful, amazing, loud and so dirty and smelly.  I almost landed on my rear several times as the cement floor is covered with decades of dirt and slime and when it rains, which can be daily, it becomes like glass.  I loved going before the sun rose to watch the locals make their daily purchases, try and figure out what exactly the strange fruits were and laugh at the bargaining between sellers and buyers in their LOUDEST voices.  I spent many happy hours wandering through this massive marketplace.

Wandering through Ubud your eye is drawn to the little things that make it so special and different from what we are used to -  like this welcoming statement above spelled out in fresh flowers as you enter a restaurant. 


Or how about 100's of wild monkeys grabbing at you or just sitting on the curb? Ubud has the well-known Monkey Forest almost in the middle of town.  The inhabitants are numerous, curious, nasty, mean, photogenic creatures. The tourists continue to feed them and then are totally surprised when they are attacked.  Their purses, cameras and whatever else the monkeys find interesting are ripped out of their hands while they are scratched and sometimes bitten.  I took a wide path around The Forest whenever possible as I had no desire to get close to these very large (did I mention smelly?) creatures.


Weird stone faces and serene and very green rice paddies were part of my daily scene.  I loved the intricately carved and painted doors and large displays of plastic pink chickens adorning the entryway into this lovely home.  I'm guessing it's Bali's answer to our 'pink flamingo-ing' a yard for birthdays or graduations.


I attended an all-day batik painting class given by a Javanese master.  His work was breathtaking (yes I purchased one of his silk scarves!) and gifted my granddaughter Stella with the elephant I waxed and dyed during my day of creativity!


I also took an all-day photography workshop.  We (myself, a British couple and our guide/instructor) started out at 4:00 a.m. so we could be out in the country to watch the sun rise over the island's highest mountain.  It was misty and oh, so beautiful.  From there we went back to the Purification Temple then to a village market.  The British couple had only signed-up for 1/2 day so I got the wonderful Gusti for the rest of the day. He promised me a 'surprise' after lunch if I were up to 'something different.'  Of course, I said yes, and was treated to getting to attend the wedding of a very wealthy Balinese couple - something most Westerners never get to see!  I took lots photos, learned more about how my camera works and had a wonderful time!


During the month I was in Bali, there were not an inordinate amount of festivals - probably just 15!  It seemed that every day these gentle people were celebrating something or giving praise to another of their Hindu deities.  I was invited once again by my host and his family to attend a celebration, this time held on the beach, which was a blessing for their 'suburb' of Ubud.  They flocked to the seaside in the truck-loads and scooters by the dozens.  They got dressed-up for the celebration, making even bigger offerings to their God.  The same priest officiated (this was the 3rd ceremony I had seen him officiate).  He was one busy man!


One of the strangest and largest celebrations was when the Ogah-Ogah's came to rid the village of all the bad things that had accumulated during the past 6 months.  After a day and night of these massive paper-mache monsters (created by the men) terrorizing the evil out of town, the next day was spent visiting with friends and relatives 'making amends' for anything nasty you might have done, said or thought about them in past 6 months.  I cannot even imagine what a small child might think when seeing an Ogah-Ogah for the first time.  I know my mouth dropped open and I just stared in wonderful disgust!  As you can see, it takes 30-50 persons to parade these monsters through the town.  And yes, they do sometimes tip over as they are incredibly heavy!


One of the 3 places I had on my 'must see' list while on Bali was the John Hardy workshop and showroom.  John Hardy is an American jewelry designer who came to Bali in the early 1980's and taught the locals how to make his designs using silver with touches of gold and gems.

John Hardy Showroom

Design Studio
 I signed up for the tour of the grounds to not only see his work but also view the famous showroom designed by his architect daughter, Elora.  As you can see from the photo above, it's like a strange and magnificent object, not a building, rising out of the rice paddy's

Elora founded Ibuku,  based in Bali, where she designs and constructs structures made entirely out of bamboo.  They are completely eco-friendly and sustainable.  
John and his wife, Cynthia founded, and Elona designed the buildings at The Green School.  This international school  is open for children from around-the-world and offers over 20 scholarships each year so Balinese and Indonesian children can also attend.  With grades from kindergarten through 12, offering a totally open-air education, the opportunity to tour the school and see the architecture was what interested me most. 

Even the chairs, tables and built-ins are made of bamboo.  The children maintain a large garden used for the school's kitchen.  They learn conflict/anger management by having mud-fights in one of the ponds.  They even learn to fish in the river that runs through the property.

From the school, we toured the actual factory where we shown how raw bamboo is harvested, dried, treated for bugs, then prepared to be used in these amazing structures.

Next, it was off to The Green Village - a community of some of the most amazing houses I have ever seen!  These are owned by some very well-know celebrities who visit their Bali houses maybe once-a-year!

Let me start by telling you that there are no windows - or screens.  The houses have these really cool swinging, oval glass doors, but otherwise they are totally open to the air and the elements.

Entry to The Green Village
One of the houses rising over the trees

Love the swing teardrop door!

Living room.  The cone things are storage units.

Lovely bedroom with hammock daybed

Great view out the wide open kitchen window
The pool on the lowest level next to rushing river
Custom toilet paper holder
Wow! ceiling design

A guest house - I would move in immediately!

Several of these house designs can be bought as 'kits' and shipped anywhere in the world.  They not only come with everything you need for a complete house, including furniture and built-ins,  they also come with a crew of workmen who know bamboo and assemble your house for you!

I couldn't figure out where in the US you could put one of these houses.  Not only do you have the problem of bugs flying in the windows and no options for air conditioning or heating, there is the issue of safety!  I did raise that very question to our tour guide who told me The Green Village has a staff of 20 security guards who patrolled on a 24/7 basis.

The  last, really fun and delicious thing I did 2 days before leaving Bali was participate in a cooking class at the  Paon Bali Cooking School.   Our group of 15 (from the US, Britain, Australia and China)  'embarked on a culinary adventure unlocking the secrets of authentic Balinese cooking, utilizing traditional ingredients and preparation methods in a fully-equipped community kitchen.'  

Our hostess and chef, Puspa, for many had been the head chef in several of the island's top restaurants before building a large industrial kitchen on the backside of the family home.  It is here that she and her husband  and a staff of helpers welcome groups of 15-20 for 4-hour classes two times each day.  

Each morning tour begins at the Ubud market where your guide shows you some of the unusual fruits, vegetables and spices you will be using during your class.  


We found when arrived at Puspa's lovely home after our tour of the market a long table was filled with plates of all the ingredients for each of the many dishes we would be preparing that morning.


And yes, we actually did the cooking - with the assistance of Puspa's kitchen helpers!  We ground the spices in a large lava mortar with a huge wooden pestle. Made curry paste (Hot!)  We chopped lots of vegggies. We make small meatballs and cooked them in coconut oil.  We wrapped a shrimp mixture in palm leaves to steam and made skewers of chicken sate'.   

Grinding spices

Sate cooking over charcoal brassier


And then we got to sit down and enjoy our hard work!  We also got a small cookbook with printed copies of the recipes for all the dishes we had made. These will certainly get a lot of use! 

After 31 days, it was time to depart Bali and return to the States to meet my two new grandsons that were born while I was away.

It was a full day and night of long flights.  Bali to Hong Kong, then a 5 hour layover before the even longer flight to Los Angeles.  What made it almost enjoyable was watching 6 first-run movies between the 2 flights (I don't sleep well on planes) and being invited by the young couple, who were sitting next to me from Bali to Hong Kong, to join them in the Premier Lounge during our layover.  They told the staff I was their mother!  How much nicer upholstered chairs, dim lighting, free food and drink, and wifi is than spending those long hours in the middle of the night either wandering the brightly lit concourse or sitting on hard plastic seats!

So after 11 months spent traveling throughout Australia, New Zealand and Indonesia, I'm home.  I will try really hard to do one more post on all the places I have visited and house and pet sat since I returned  - before I leave for Mexico in just 2 weeks!

Unit next time.......