Elvis Lives, Memphis Tennessee

Elvis Grave Site“In Graceland, in Graceland
I’m going to Graceland
For reasons I cannot explain
There’s some part of me wants to see

But I’ve reason to believe
We all will be received
In Graceland…”  Paul Simon (1986)

Click Continue to see a slide show.

Continue reading

Home Free Travel, Things I Miss Most

Truck Packed up leaving Chicago

Truck Packed up leaving Chicago

Many, if not most, working people would likely jump at the chance to travel where and when they wanted, especially those now sitting in a cubicle with no view and a day of deadlines and meetings.  I did not always plan to travel in retirement, but that is our current plan.  I am no expert yet, as we have not yet started our first big solo trip to Europe and we have only been home free since September 2013.  However, there are certain inconveniences with a life on the road you may want to figure into your dreams or plans.
Continue reading

Retirement Planning…. be prepared…


Stairway to Retirement



I started preparation for retirement from my first job out of collage.  Immediately when I qualified for savings contributions to their 401-K plan I participated to the maximum the company matched, I contributed 6% before taxes and the company contributed an additional 3%.

Continue reading

Mount Tetakawi, San Carlos Mexico

I walked about 50 feet for this sunset photo and the moon behind Mount Tetakawi.  It was basically taken from our deck.  We are staying in San Carlos, Mexico for a couple months.  The term Tetakawi either means hill of stone as most people say “Goat Tit Mountain.”  Either way, there seems to be surprisingly few photo opportunities in this sleepy little town.
Continue reading

Repositioning Cruise London back to Florida

Infinity Cruise Ship

Infinity Cruise Ship

I feel as if we are WAY behind in our reservation efforts. We now have booked a cruise going and returning from Europe, but no car nor a single night’s lodging reservations. Twenty-eight places have been selected, most for a one week stay, but no reservations have been completed. Many people with this home free lifestyle pick one or two places and live there for months at a time, but we are trying to visit many places (28) for a week at a time. Scotland seems to be the least expensive area and not too surprisingly, Venice is by far the most expensive. More about this in the Budget section under the Plan tab.
There was no need to return to the same port as we left from, but that is the way it worked out. We liked the departure date which allowed for more time in Great Britain. Here is the itinerary of the return cruise, booked through http://www.repositioningcruise.com/index.cfm


Mon Oct 13 London (Harwich), England 5:00pm

Tue Oct 14 At Sea

Wed Oct 15 At Sea
Thu Oct 16 Lisbon, Portugal 7:00am 4:00pm
Fri Oct 17 At Sea
Sat Oct 18 At Sea
Sun Oct 19 At Sea
Mon Oct 20 At Sea
Tue Oct 21 At Sea
Wed Oct 22 King’s Wharf, Bermuda 3:00pm
Thu Oct 23 King’s Wharf, Bermuda 4:00pm
Fri Oct 24 At Sea
Sat Oct 25 At Sea
Sun Oct 26 Nassau, Bahamas 7:00am 5:00pm
Mon Oct 27 Fort Lauderdale, FL 6:00am

Home Free and Happy

Acorn Woodpeckers

Acorn Woodpeckers

My Mom moved to Ruidoso, New Mexico in 1995.  She had 15 wonderful years here, enjoying the mountains, friends and working thousands of hours at the local Pink Lady Thrift Shop.  She was known for cleaning up old dolls of all shapes and sizes for resale in the second-hand store, making them available to little girls who may not have otherwise had a nice doll.  The local newspaper ran stories on more than one occasion about the Doll Lady of Ruidoso.  She passed away in September of 2010, and three years later my sister and I have finally sold the house.

Gayle and I are now where we have worked hard to be….. homeless, or home free and able to travel the world where we wish, when we wish.  We do not yet seem to really be into this mode of living.  All we have done is book a one-way cruise from Florida to Rome.  No return cruise and no places to stay during our five months in Europe.  We continue to pursue the re-positioning cruise listings……  Did you know you can cruise from Denmark to Singapore? Who knew?

So good-bye to many good memories, Christmases with my Mom, golfing at the Links, summer BBQ’s and my favorite home-made molasses crinkle cookies.  Our new adventure being homeless begins….

Mom's House

Mom’s House

The photo of the wood peckers was taken off the back balcony at my Mom’s house.

Repositioning Cruise, Florida to Rome

Celebrity Silhouette Ship

Celebrity Silhouette Ship


We took the first big step in our travel adventures by booking a cruise from Fort Lauderdale, Florida to Rome.  This is a repositioning cruise.  In the winter a cruise from Florida to the Bahamas or Aruba is very popular, not so in the summer.  Therefore the boat is repositioned to a better location, in this case the Mediterranean Sea.  We will need to book another cruise back to the States in the fall, likely from London to Boston or New York.  An advantage of a cruise vs. flying is no jet lag, since the boat adjusts the time one hour every day.  Also, since we are homeless, or home free, we have no place to hurry back to, plus we get fine room and board for 15 nights.  There are also rules regarding how long you can be in the mainland of Europe, called the Schengen Agreement (90 days), so the additional time at sea is not taking away from our time in Europe.  We booked a room with a balcony and are hopeful it will be warm enough to use for more than tossing our cookies.


Booked room with Balcony

Booked room with Balcony

You can zoom out on the map to see the ports of call for this cruise.[codepeople-post-map]

The next task is to start booking places to stay in Europe through VRBO.com, which stands for Vacation Rentals by Owner.  One can type VRBO Rome in the Google search bar and find many places available for rent from the owner.  We are doing this since we plan on staying our maximum allowed 90 days in the countries of Italy, Spain, France and Portugal.  We then head to the UK and Ireland for 40 days, as they are not Schengen countries, eventually cruising back to Boston.

This is just a plan so far.  I remember our last cruise 15 years ago, we said never again.  Part of the deal was the rocking boat made one feel a bit queasy for two weeks straight, which is no way to spend a vacation.  We have high hopes of exercising every day and relaxing on the ship.  We will see.  No European accommodations are yet booked.


Here is the itinerary:

Celebrity – Celebrity Silhouette, departs 4/20/14, 15 nights

Day Date Port or Activity Arrive Depart
Sun Apr 20 Fort Lauderdale, FL 5:00pm
Mon Apr 21 At Sea
Tue Apr 22 At Sea
Wed Apr 23 At Sea
Thu Apr 24 At Sea
Fri Apr 25 At Sea
Sat Apr 26 At Sea
Sun Apr 27 At Sea
Mon Apr 28 Funchal, Madeira, Portugal 9:00am 6:00pm
Tue Apr 29 At Sea
Wed Apr 30 Gibraltar, UK Territory 7:00am 4:00pm
Thu May 1 At Sea
Fri May 2 Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy 7:00am 4:00pm
Sat May 3 Messina, Sicily, Italy 10:00am 8:00pm
Sun May 4 Naples / Capri (Sorrento), Italy 7:00am 6:30pm
Mon May 5 Rome (Civitavecchia), Italy 5:00am

Storage Wars

Chicago Living Room

Chicago Living Room of Rented Apartment


We are not the type of people who collect or shop anywhere near the amount most people do.  My wife has never ever gone shopping for entertainment, she hates shopping.  Our houses have always been uncluttered.  We thought we were minimalist, but somehow we now have two storage lockers full of stuff, one in Illinois and one in the Southwest.  We have already had the locker in Illinois for two years, at $114 per month.  Our second locker, big enough to store the truck when necessary, is $100 a month.  If we now travel around for five years, we will have incurred $15,800 in storage fees.  I can assure you that we could come close to replacing our ‘stuff’ for that price, I think.   But we have some pieces of art that mean a lot to us, like Pedro there with the big glass head and basket of blue eggs standing watch over our living room in Chicago.

So if you are contemplating extensive travels, start now to pare down your belongings,

you will still Storage Warsend up with toooooo  much  stuuuufff….

Tourist or Traveler

Sheltering Sky

Sheltering Sky

I was retired for only a couple of weeks, when I saw an interesting statement on a lady’s hand bag while riding the CTA in Chicago.  After memorizing as much of the saying as possible, a search of the Internet informed me it was an excerpt from a novel written by Paul Bowles, “The Sheltering Sky.”

Continue reading