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!
WELCOME TO SAN MIGUEL DE ALLENDE
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
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.
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!