Holiday Season Ends and a New Year Begins!

Being home for the holiday season is a goal for us in this current lifestyle of part time on the mountain/part time Nomad. We have enjoyed time with family and friends. People have been saying to me, “So, where are you vacationing this year?”. Vacationing is not exactly how we look at the cold months. Experimenting with options for living is more the way we see it. We are spreading the wild oats we got married too early in life to sow. Travel for the pure exposure to the world, the education of it. We don’t set our minds on going a certain place. We let value dictate the location. We tossed around many ideas when we first got home from the business road trip, knowing that we were in the window of making a decision and the need for locking in plans. Frugality and value are foremost in our mind. My hubby is the value seeker of all time and takes the booking skills on as a challenge. (His use of points accrued on prior travel from booking sites and credit card sites has covered many portions of this travel window. If I knew how to insert a high five right here I would do it, believe me, #toogoodtobetrue)

We tossed around ideas like Nicaragua, Ecuador, Argentina, Peru, (Machu Picchu is high on our list before we have no chance of mucking up to the challenge of reaching it.), Caribbean Islands, Central and South America in general, a driving trip through the Baja, these all interest us. I mentioned being “homesick” for a cruise as we threw ideas around. BUT, the familiarity of Southeast Asia after traveling there the last two years kept us looking back at it over and over again. It’s nice to know your way around and be comfortable and to really sink into the culture. We have decided on Thailand after weighing all the options back and forth. (such a deal; such good food; such good souls; such good care) We decided to do what we had contemplated last year in our second trip to this Southeast Asian country. We will start and end in Bangkok. A few days on each end in the city is the way to “settle” into this new time zone, prepare to leave it and get some really big city (think NYC on steroids) indulgence as well. This year instead of “bouncing around” as we have done the first two trips, we will instead head to the north and stay there. Chiang Mai will be our home base. We have a condo; studio with full kitchen, washer/dryer, luxurious private bath with a pool and exercise facilities, the complex is located just outside the old city. (BTW, we got this for just about the same price it would cost us to maintain and inhabit our mountain home in the winter.) I can picture the neighborhood in my mind. This is part of what excites us about this decision. Being able to strike out and get to where you want to go, check out what you want to see, the things that slide through the cracks, the people and places you just didn’t get enough of, enjoy the familiarity of the neighborhood. A couple adventures and some extra companionship will await us as well but I’ll chat more about that in another post.

Thailand will comprise the Snowbird Flight part of the Nomadic Period of 2018. It will be buffered on the front end by January travel to San Diego. Staying in the downtown corridor on the bay. Vitamin D is a necessity, we will visit a dear friend and explore our thoughts about this beautiful climate, thinking some day we want to know where we truly want to be for extended periods of time if we don’t travel out of the country. Our goal is to use these days to ease into a walking lifestyle we will embrace for the next few months by going to Balboa Park, Little Italy and just simply cruising the area on foot. We may spend a couple weeks traveling to see family, the Midwest is pulling at both of us, if we do it will be a road trip  dictated by the road/weather conditions. When the road trip is done we will leave our vehicle behind for about three months! Three blissful months of Nomadic International wandering, learning the world, meeting the people, immersing in the cultures.

Reno will be the first stop on this launch to head west. Super Bowl LII in the Sports Books, some of our dear friends, familiar surroundings and haunts that bring us happiness is our plan for the weekend. From there we will fly to LA, simply to get close to LAX. Low end quarters for a quick overnight before flying out to Bangkok. This part you kind of know about already. Now we will circle back around to the return from Bangkok/Chiang Mai/Bangkok (6 weeks) and we land back in the US at the end of March. LAX and the city it resides in will be where we “catch our breath” and set our feet on home territory. But not for long…just a few days later we fly to Ft. Lauderdale, close to the airport and to Port Everglades…the cruise harbor!!!

Spring Fling 2018! Remember I said I was homesick for a cruise somewhere in our discussions about where to escape to for the cold months!?!?!?! Well, after the decision to return to Thailand was solidified my honey came across a “cannot be beat, who knows when it will get this cheap again” kind of deal…and then he took advantage of it. The Spring Fling is bordering on ridiculous. I have decided to just say “yes”. (If you know Dean, you know if I say no, he will just take off on his own!!) Drum roll please…in my wildest dreams I did not think I would be saying “We are going on a 14 day TransAtlantic cruise.” Holland America. Six days at sea before we touch land again. With a balcony room. The first stops will be at two islands of Portugal. With some days at sea again we will make our third and fourth stop on the coast of Spain. All are full day stops…it will be just enough to wander and contemplate our return! (Please note that at this point I need to be familiar enough to be polite in Thai; Chinese; Portuguese and Spanish) Our final day and night at sea take us to Civitavecchia, Italy. We will grab the bus out of the port and then the train to Rome. Yes that is what I said, Rome the eternal city, capital of Italy. We will be blessed enough to spend 8 full nights in Italy with our “base” being Rome. Via Aegean Air, we will fly to the Glorious City, yet another Capital city; Athens, Greece. Yep, that’s what I said…4 nights and 4 days later after taking in as much as we can we will fly to Budapest, Hungary; the Queen of the Danube. 7 nights and 7 days will be ours in this value location of Europe. I can already hear the sound of the Hungarian State Opera and feel the warmth of the thermal baths . Ryanair will take us from there to Paris, France! It’s reputation for filth and rudeness have us staying for only 4 nights. Hahahaha. Paris!! France!! What a whirlwind this will be! How lucky are we to experience this nomadic lifestyle? #cometravelwithme

BTW…that’s learning a few words to be polite in Thai, Chinese (if you count airport layovers),Portuguese, Spanish, Italian, Greek, Hungarian, French and Icelandic (again counting layover). I’m over the moon. Can you imagine the research I have been doing? The places we shall see!

Soon I will bid you adieu, until the Spring, Boise National Forest!

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