Monday, May 29, 2023



Monday, May 29, 2023

The last few days have been busier than before, but less stressful. Getting ready for a 3-year cruise, and not having needed information was hard. Everything else seems far easier, even moving. My original plan was to cruise the world for three years, then move to Portugal. Having the rug pulled out from under my feet (although not literally, of course, it sure feels like it), made me reevaluate my timeline.

One possibility was to push up moving to Portugal. I could go sooner rather than later, but why? Sure, it’s safer there and gorgeous. The weather is about the same as SoCal, but the prices are much lower. Do I really want to be somewhere I don’t know, and where I know no one? I did that once before, when I moved to Cape Town, South Africa for two years. I loved every minute of it. But that was then. I was twenty-five years younger. I didn’t have osteoporosis, or the pain that comes with it.

So, this weekend I investigated another option. I could move somewhere closer to home. I opened my iPad and scrolled through rentals in Laguna Woods Village. It’s a huge retirement community not far from where I live now, in Laguna Niguel. I lived in the Village before moving here. It was very easy living there. But as a renter, you’re always subject to the whims of the owner. My landlords were a lovely couple, very thoughtful and kind. But when the husband died, the son pressured his mother to sell the condo. He had plans for her money.

I found a two bedroom, two bath condo that is clean and bright and flooded with light. Being smaller than where I live now means it will be easier to manage. My present home should have been undemanding and was before the pandemic. I had a handy man I trusted and a house cleaning company I had used for years. The owners had even become friends. But when everything shut down, it was all on me. This has become oppressive, which made the cruise seem like a great option. No housework, no shopping, no taking care of potted plants, just fun.

Of the three options, I decided to move forward with the lovely condo in Laguna Woods Village. I contacted the Realtor Friday, saw the condo Saturday, and filled out an application the same day. After sending heaps of documentation to the Realtor, the owners picked me from a group of applicants.

Sunday, I emailed my present landlord to notify him I will be moving out by the end of June. He called shortly thereafter. We had a pleasant conversation. He wished me well, and I wished the same for him. The rest of the day was spent tackling my bedroom closet. Finished early enough in the day to start on the master bathroom. There’s a closet there too. I piled up lots of clothing to take to Goodwill Tuesday. Life lesson. Get rid of stuff on a regular basis, so this won't happen to you. 

Today I filled out more legal documents online and will meet with the Realtor to give her checks tomorrow. I’m back to decluttering prior to packing. I was doing this anyway because of the cruise. It's less complicated now, however, because I don’t have to figure out what to take, what to store and what to donate. I just decide what I want to keep and what to give away. There are a also few things that should be sold. I’ll let the movers take them to my new home and sell them later.

My next blog post will be back to discussing how to get ready for a big trip. I still have my lists of monthly tasks. Although I’m no longer hopping on a ship for an around-the-world cruise, the information is still valid for anyone getting ready for a big trip. Little notebooks make this simple. I found these work well, CLICK HERE (ad).

Organization is really “my thing”. It started when I took language students to Europe to use the French or German they were learning. It was all on me then too. I did all the planning and organizing, with some input from my students. These trips prepared me for my big move to Cape Town, South Africa in 1997. That in turn made the decision to go on the lengthy cruise less daunting.

Remember to subscribe, to learn more about how to travel, even solo. I have. You can too.


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Friday, May 26, 2023

Allergic to Chaos

My normal routine since signing up for a three-year round-the-world cruise is to start my day by opening my iPad and reading any new posts in our resident portal. This past Sunday, May 20,2023, I saw a message from another passenger which read, “We’re still going to Istanbul”. Uh-ho. What does that mean?

It didn’t take long for someone to comment back, echoing my sense of dread. The response came quickly. We were directed to the cruise Facebook page, to read a letter from the Managing Director of our cruise.

The worst had happened. He announced he cancelled the cruise and gave his reasons for doing so. Rather than try to rehash the contents of the letter, and give the “other side” of the issue coming from the cruise company, which had been working in collaboration with the management team, here’s an article from CNN which explains what happened, CNN Article.

It took me all week to process this, but as stated in the article, deciding whether to continue with the cruise was an easy, although very sad, decision. I’m allergic to chaos. Life lesson. This felt far too risky for me. I’m out.

Now, what to do about my blog? My plan was to share my adventures on this three-year cruise with family, friends, my Twitter followers, and especially single people who have been reluctant to travel alone. About the middle of the week, I realized that I could achieve my goal, without going on this specific cruise.

After all, I’ve been single for over three decades, and I haven’t stayed home much. I can still encourage people to hang up their hats, get in a car, plane or ship and go somewhere. I will show how to do it by blogging about trips I have taken in the past, and those I take in the future. Yes. I made a list. So far, it has twenty places I intend to visit.

As I stated at the top of my blog, I encourage you to join me on my adventures. Just subscribe to this blog so you will be notified when I post something new.

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Sunday, May 21, 2023

Information Overload

 Saturday, April 8, 2023

Something exciting happened this morning. Life at Sea Cruising put up their resident portal. We’re able to get information and communicate with each other easily. I’ve already been in contact with others going on the trip. This is not only a helpful time saver, but also fun.

Saturdays are usually delegated to housework, and I did some, but I also worked on my blog. I’ve been journaling on my iPad each evening, keeping track of what I’m doing to prepare for my trip. It can act as a road map for those who want to do something similar themselves. It’s also a way to let those who know me, either in real life or on social media (@elizawallace27, #enjoytheviewtouring), come along with me vicariously.

I did, in fact, do housework today, but I also planned some more. I’ve decided to add tote bags to my (ad) shop Mondays through Wednesdays and add wall art Thursdays and Fridays. Saturday, I’ll set up social media including my blog, and Sunday design bags or wall art for the week and post on my blog again. Since I do these things before lunch, it gives me the afternoons to work on clearing out my house, room by room.

The contract came for my cruise. Life lesson. I need to print it, study it and sign. I’m sure this will take quite some time. It’s very long, and detailed. I guess Sunday will be busy.

Sunday, April 9, 2023 – Sunday, April 16, 2022

This week has been far more hectic than anticipated. The contract and posts about it on our resident portal have taken up far too much time to journal in the evening. I haven’t even been able to concentrate on deciding what else, if anything, I need to order for my cruise.

I found it best to work on clearing the house of unwanted clothing and other objects. None of this involved using my mind, so my lack of focus was not a problem. Once things settle down on the portal, I’ll get back to journaling for this blog.

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Wednesday, May 17, 2023

Lots of Deliveries

 Tuesday, April 4, 2023

Today was about deliveries. Several packages arrived from orders I placed in the last few days. One is a small “backpack” on wheels. I needed something convenient to carry my laptop for me whenever I want to work somewhere on the ship. I ordered the smallest I could find. It’s intended or kids in school, very fitting considering I was in school in one role or another for most of my life. It’s very cute, with lots of soft pastel colors. CLICK HERE (ad) Just right for a cruise.

I attacked several household chores at midday, watered potted plants on my patio and in my courtyard. All my plants will be sold or given away before my trip. I scheduled doctor appointments and negotiated with DirecTV. I also finished sorting out my nightstands. I’ll drop off the books I’m donating next week.

Another delivery was a cane with a seat attached. It’ll come in handy on excursions. In the past, I found there isn’t always a place to sit down when you need one. With my injured spinal vertebrae, I sometimes need to sit. CLICK HERE (ad) I bought a blue one. Now I can, pretty much anywhere.

Finally, I did some research to find an appropriate price of medical treatments I know I will need while cruising. The exact amount won’t be known until details of my cruise are finalized. However, I found a site that gave approximate costs for both the medication I need, and the infusion to deliver it. Fingers crossed my costs will be this low, medication was under $15.00 and the infusion just over $100.00.

It doesn’t seem like much to have accomplished, but there were also things to do in my shop, and on social media. I again took a little nap in the late afternoon. I could get used to those! 

Wednesday, April 5, 2023

I took it easy today just I worked in my shop. I designed and listed a French zodiac symbol bag with the symbol in green, the power color for Taurus. Otherwise, just did a few things around the house, engaged in social media and watched some television. I needed this break, as the last twelve days have been intense. EnjoytheViewTotes (ad)

Thursday, April 6, 2023

I spent some of the morning enjoying our glorious weather. It’s been rare lately. In addition, I did household chores, including cleaning out the top shelf of my kitchen pantry. I intend to continue attacking one shelf every trash day. Both the recycling and regular trash bins will fill up as I prepare for my cruise. No food items will go into storage. Three years is just too long.

Later I picked up prescription medication at my HMO’s pharmacy and drove to the Toyota service center in the same area. I had them do the usual routine maintenance, but also check everything. I was pleased to hear the car is in great shape, including the tires. After I have it detailed this fall, it will sell for high Kelly Blue Book value. Super. This will mean I can take more excursions on my cruise.

When I returned, I enjoyed a late lunch and designed another Zodiac tote bag for my shop. My goal is to design and list three tote bags each week, and use my original photography to create wall art, also for my shop. Used my Flowbee to give myself a haircut. Took out the trash bins and gave social media a little attention. Then I had dinner and watched some television.

Friday, April 7, 2023

If it’s Friday, it’s time for Zooming with my friends, Debbie and Connie. We discussed what’s going on with each of us, and in our country. We solved many political and social problems. Too bad no one in a position of power was listening in on us.

We also discussed my upcoming cruise, of course. I brought up an issue I had yet to resolve. Since I’m giving up my rental, I will stay in a hotel when the cruise ends, three years from now. I’ll look for a place to rent, probably in Laguna Woods Village. I’ve lived there before. It’s an easier life than living in a single-family home elsewhere. I don’t know how long it will take for the pod with my belongings to arrive in California from Istanbul. I’m hoping to have it shipped to my new address. If it comes too soon, I didn’t know where to send it.

Life lesson. Three heads are better than one. I’ll either have it sent to my storage unit, if there’s room, or to the hotel where I will be staying. They can store it for me, until I find a place to live. Movers can move it when they pick up my things from storage. However, all of this will change if I decide to move to Nevada or Lagos, Portugal. It’s looking more and more likely that Portugal will be my final retirement destination.

We also discussed whether I should open a TicTok account. I’m going to make short videos to post on Twitter and Instagram during my cruise. They both agreed, I should add TicTok. Debbie also reminded me these videos need to be funny or quirky. Using my travel companion, Bob, should make this easy to do. He has a goofy face, and if I put him in awkward positions, it should do the trick.

We discussed getting props for Bob, small objects he can handle while posing. CLICK HERE (ad) Any suggestions would be appreciated. Just post them on Twitter, @elizawallace27. Thanks.  

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Saturday, May 13, 2023

I Can't Believe My Luck


Saturday, April 1, 2023

Good news. Fell asleep right away, slept all night, and woke up refreshed. But there was a bonus. During the night my subconscious came up with something fun, and perhaps profitable, to do while on my 3-year cruise. I’m going to take painting lessons to learn how to paint pretty patterns, botanicals and abstracts. I’ll use the best ones on tote bags for my shop.

Additionally, friends in real life, and dozens on Twitter have asked me to share my 3-year adventure with them. They want to see photographs and hear stories. So, I’m taking this journal I started nine days ago, and turning it into a blog.

I can’t believe my luck. A new friend on Twitter shared an article with me about two sisters who took around a world cruise 100 years ago. They kept a journal, like I’m doing. At the end of the article readers were asked by the publisher, CNN, to share one of their travel stories. Lightbulb moment. I gave them an elevator speech. If something comes of this, terrific. If not, it was fun, and very kind of my new friend to share the article with me.

I worked on starting this blog for the rest of the day. It was frustrating as the site I use has made many changes since I used it last. The biggest obstacle was linking my URL. Way too much techie stuff for me. I decided to leave it until tomorrow.

Sunday, April 2, 2023

Slept well again. I guess my overwhelming enthusiasm is leveling off. That would be delightful. Worked on this blog in the morning. I found a work around for linking my URL. It’s not yet the way I want it, but it works fine.

Then I took my first journal entry, polished it a bit, and put it up. I added a picture from my library of travel shots and posted it. Of course, nothing goes right the first time. The first paragraph was in one font, the rest in another. No idea how that happened. After fussing with it for a few minutes, I was able to fix it. I hope you like it.

I’m writing in my own voice. It’s how I talk, and much like I write my posts on social media. Although I’m usually a rather formal person, my writing is not. I guess it was influenced by teaching and communicating with teenagers for forty years.

After this, I received an email from a friend with a link to Travel Smith. I don’t need clothing, so I looked at their accessories and electronics. Bingo. I ordered a wonderful device that acts like a flash drive, but with a difference. It will scour my computer, find and save all my photos. The next time I use it, it will just save the new ones I’ve taken.

I ordered one that will hold up to 32,000 photos. Although that’s a big number, it gives me confidence I won’t run into a problem with storage. The first time I took students to France, for 15 days, I brought forty rolls of thirty-six exposure slide film, and used them all. This cruise will last three years.

I stopped looking at the catalogue. Although I might need to do more shopping just before the trip, I need to watch my spending. Any money I don’t spend now can go towards excursions in faraway places later.

Monday, April 3, 2023

This morning I received a message from a friend telling me passport renewals now take months instead of weeks. She suggested I start mine sooner than where I had it on my to-do list. Since it’s going to be warm and sunny this week, I’m going to have my passport photos taken Wednesday. I’ll buy extra sets to bring along, just in case they’re needed. The post office is nearby, and by taking the envelope and paperwork already prepared, I can drop it there, after I add the photos.

I had several chores to do around the house today, watering inside plants, taking out the trash, and vacuuming. After they were finished, I began the process of reducing the amount of “stuff” in one area of my house. I’m handling one space each month, and one area in the space each week. Going slowly acknowledges that I’m no longer in my 20s, 30s, or even 40s. You get the picture. Sheesh. 

April’s my main bedroom. This week I’m tackling the nightstands and dresser. I keep books in the nightstands. Most will be donated to my local library. I can drop them off after taking the passport pictures and mailing the renewal. This is a simple loop, down the hill, around the corner, and back up the hill home.

After lunch, I worked in my shop. I designed three tote bags for Taurus and listed one in my shop. I decided this series of bags will contain Zodiac symbols in their “power colors”. I’m making them in three languages. I’ll list the others tomorrow and Wednesday.

I took care of some banking today too. I’m moving money from my high interest online savings account to my local financial institution, so it will be there when the next (big) payment for my trip is due.

Finally, I cleaned up the clutter that trip planning has created in my living room. I laid down on the couch and took a nap. When I woke up, it was time to have dinner, close the drapes, and settle down to watch some mindless TV. Life lesson. By being organized, I’m still able to accomplish what needs to be done and enjoy simple pleasures while not stressing out.

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Monday, May 1, 2023

Hectic Times


Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Surprise. My swim gear has shipped! That was super-fast. Glad I ordered immediately and didn’t wait. Life lesson. Summer items always go fast. Speaking of which… did an online search for comfortable pants for travel. Found something I have been looking for years, loose fitting cargo pants. Nice big pockets that are functional, because the pants are not skintight. The green they had was lovely, but the black pair I wanted was sold out. So, I ordered a neutral golden khaki color as well as the green.

Did research on my health insurance. Turns out they cover emergency and urgent care treatment when we travel, even internationally. Super. Moved money from my online bank to my local bank today, so it will be there when my next (balloon) payment is due. Will move more in April, since the money isn’t due until late May. This will be a wire transfer from my bank.

The last few days have been hectic. I felt the need to do some household chores to catch up on what I have been skipping. Laundry was on the top of my list. Finished two loads in time for lunch, followed by another webinar. Irina, the director of sales welcomed us, and gave us some updated information. The most exciting, new renderings of our cabins are available to see online. There will also be an online portal for passengers. This will make asking questions and staying up to date a lot easier.

Mike, the Managing Director, came next. For those interested, about 40% of the cabins are still available. This is much lower than expected at the time. But hurry, prices are going up! Mike introduced the owner of Miray Cruises. He radiates experience, confidence, and excitement. Then they went to answer questions from the audience.

After hearing one of them, I realized I needed to investigate the cost of flying to Istanbul, to start the cruise on November 1, versus waiting to the board in Miami 16 days later.

Much to both my surprise and delight, I will come out a few thousand ahead by starting in Istanbul. Why? I pay rent where I live. Leaving early means I won’t have to pay for November. As a side benefit, it will be autumn in both L.A. and Istanbul, so packing will be easier. This simplifies things. Nice.

Thursday, March 30, 2023

I had hoped the excitement was waning, and I would have a good night’s sleep. No such luck. Fell asleep quickly but woke up only three hours later. Don’t think I slept after that. Up at 7:00 not rested at all.

Did my morning routine and was ready for my regular Friday Zoom meeting with two local friends. As a joke, I set Bob on a cushion by my iPad camera, so they could see him instead of me. We chatted about politics, health, family members, our Etsy stores, and my trip.

They made a very good suggestion. After we ended our call, I looked up walking canes with seats. I damaged two spinal vertebrae a few years ago and the pain hasn’t left. It’s not bad when I sit, and not even terrible when I walk. However, if I must stand in line, the pain increases. I ordered this, CLICK HERE (ad), so I’ll be able to sit when needed.

Friday, March 31, 2023

UPS arrived with the swimming gear I ordered from Coolibar. The swim shirt and swim pants fit great. The top, on the other hand, didn’t. A pleasant phone call with a very nice lady solved my problem. The correct size is on the way.

After lunch I worked in my Etsy shop, Enjoy the View Totes, (ad). I added a new French shoulder bag for Aries. Using one of the languages I taught for decades is always fun. Then my friends and I exchanged messages to discuss topics that need to be addressed before my trip. Their first question was about dental insurance. The ship provides a dentist on board for routine matters. They will also help with dental emergencies.

Went to bed early, hoping my excitement level will have dropped sufficiently to allow me sleep. The last few nights have been brutal. Too much planning going on in my mind to sleep well.

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Sur le Pont d'Avignon