Posts tagged ‘panama’

I am the richest person in the world!

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As I sit here looking out the window at the wood duck taking her early morning dip in the pond, the finches grabbing their breakfast from the bird feeder and singing their cheery songs, the antics of the chipmunks and squirrels, all the while the pups snuggled on their blankets taking a snooze I realize what a wonderfully rich life I have.

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I start reflecting on the choices I’ve made in my life.  When I was 15 years old I worked at a little café named the Jolly Boy.  The owner was my mentor and he taught me so much during the time I worked for him.  He always talked about when he retired him and his wife were going to buy a motor home and travel all over the United States.  Just months after he retired his wife had a stroke and they never got to follow his dream of seeing the country.  That always stuck with me.  I just couldn’t imagine waiting my entire life to do what I really wanted to do and then not being able to do it.

Our latest family gathering at my sisters house on Easter

Our latest family gathering at my sister’s house on Easter

I decided that making a huge amount of money was not going to be my motivation in life.  Don’t get me wrong, I have always been a hard worker.  I believe that you do the absolute best job that you can to earn a living, pay your bills, and feed your family.  But spending time with my children and family, traveling, and enjoying life were always my priority and I did just that.  Throughout my life my family went camping, went on vacations, and had many, many family gatherings as we still do.

Working and making new friends in Alaska

Working and making new friends in Alaska

Ten years ago my children were raised and gone from home.  I had a wonderful job but felt that time was ticking away and I needed more time to do the things I enjoyed doing.  So I quit my job, rented out my house and went to Alaska and started my new life of travel and adventure.  I met new friends and had great adventures while I worked there.

Karen and Taty, a couple of girls I met in Alaska who became friends for life

Karen and Taty, a couple of girls I met in Alaska who became friends for life

After working in Alaska for several seasons my path eventually led me to pet sitting.  This was the perfect fit for me.  I absolutely love animals and I get to spend every day loving and caring for them while having the freedom to travel when I want to.

Watching Maddie & Zoey in Maryland

Watching Maddie & Zoey in Maryland

Wally, a cat with a huge presonality

Wally, a cat with a huge personality

I also figured out how to travel inexpensively.  This meant traveling all over Alaska sleeping in a VW van, spending New Year’s Eve in Times Square while staying in a hostel in Harlem, backpacking throughout Panama and Mexico, taking a three-month road trip around the entire United States and parts of Canada in my little 8-year-old Toyota Corolla as well as many, many other trips I have taken on a shoestring throughout the years.  Here are some of the many places I’ve visited over the years.

I swam with dolfins in Jamaica

I swam with dolphins in Jamaica

I swam with Manatees in Florida

I swam with Manatees in Florida

I took an eco tour in Laguna San Icnacio and had a close encounter with a huge but beaurtiful mama and baby grey whale

I took an eco tour in Laguna San Ignacio and had a close encounter with a huge but beautiful mama and baby grey whale

I saw Mt. Rushmore

I saw Mt. Rushmore

And Mt. McKinley

And Mt. McKinley

I've seen moose in Alaska

I’ve seen moose in Alaska

And buffalo in South Dakota

And buffalo in South Dakota

I've share lobster with my sister Kathy in Maine

I’ve shared lobster with my sister Kathy in Maine

And fried sardines in the Algarve, Portugal

And fried sardines with my friend Donna in the Algarve, Portugal

I've seen the Eifel Tower

I’ve seen the Eifel Tower

And the Teotihuacan pyramids in Mexico

And the Teotihuacan pyramids in Mexico with my cousin Bruce

I've had martinis in frozen glasses at Chena Hot Springs with Kathy and Susie

I’ve had martinis in frozen glasses at Chena Hot Springs with Kathy and Susie

Mimosas at Café Lalo in New York to celebrate my daughter and her fiences engagement

Mimosas at Café Lalo in New York City to celebrate my daughter and her fiancés engagement

Sangrias in Lisbon, Portugal with Donna

Sangrias in Lisbon, Portugal with Donna

And green beer in Florida with my friends Karen and Eunice

And green beer in Florida with Karen and Eunice

I've seen black bear in Alaska

I’ve seen black bear in Alaska

And Alligators in Florida

And Alligators in Florida

I've seen world famous productions

I’ve seen world-famous performances

And not so world famous but just as thrilling performances by my grandson LJ

And not so world-famous but just as thrilling performances by my grandson LJ

I have toured DC

I have toured DC

And went kayaking and hiking in Hawaii

And went kayaking and hiking in Hawaii with my friend Susie

I visited the Kuna Indians with their "moon children" on the San Blas Islands of Panama

And I visited the Kuna Indians with their “moon children” on the San Blas Islands of Panama

I've seen the Northern Lights in Alaska

I’ve seen the Northern Lights in Alaska

And Illuminations fireworks at Disney World

And IllumiNations fireworks at Disney World

I've backpacked through Mexico and Panama

I’ve backpacked through Mexico and Panama

And walked along the beaches of Zihuatenejo

And walked along the beaches of Zihuatenejo

Just recently I was fortunate enough to be able to spend a year taking care of my two youngest grandsons.  Being a part of their lives in such an intimate way was such a gift and since I don’t live as a traditional Grandma does, I was able to form a bond with them that I wouldn’t have been able to otherwise.  I will cherish that time with them for the rest of my life.

Happy grandma with LJ and Declan

Happy grandma with LJ and Declan

Kids just wanna have fun

Kids just wanna have fun

Brrr!

Brrr!

My bested boy!

My bestest boy!

Such sweet brothers

Such sweet brothers

I have now returned to pet sitting.  I am so blessed that I get to stay in so many different locations like the home where I’m staying right now, meeting wonderful people who have become an extension of my family and caring for all the different dogs and cats that I have fallen head over heels in love with.  Here are just a few that I get to spend my time with.

Brody and Calla

Brody and Calla

Reilly and Luna

Reilly and Luna

Poppy and Spanky

Poppy and Spanky

Maggie and Gus

Maggie and Gus

Whether venturing out on my own

Whether venturing out on my own

Or traveling with a group of friends...

Or traveling with a group of friends…

Whether having a personal adventure with one of my grandchildren

Whether having a personal adventure with one of my grandchildren

Or a huge party with my wild and crazy friends and family...

Or a huge party with my wild and crazy friends and family…

Or just cuddling up with a sweet pup that I'm pet sitting

Or just cuddling up with a sweet pup that I’m pet sitting

I know I'm the richest woman in the world!

I have enjoyed every step of my life so far!

And I look forward to where the next 10 years are going to take me.

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So as I look out at the pond again and down at the sweet sleeping pups I think about how I, someone who in this society is considered poor, am the richest person in the world!

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May 4, 2015 at 7:00 pm 1 comment

Caribbean Cruise – Panama!

Panama-Canal signSeveral years ago my cousin Bruce and I traveled through Panama.  While we were there we visited the Miraflores Visitor Center, just outside of Panama City.  We watched the ships going through the locks.  It was just fascinating!  From the Pacific Ocean entrance to the Atlantic Ocean exit, the canal is approximately 51 miles and is about a 9 hour journey to complete.  It handles around 13,000 ships a year.

This shows why the locks are necessary going from one sea level to another sea level.

This shows why the locks are necessary going from one sea level to another sea level. A question I always had.

This time coming to Panama I got to actually go through the locks on our cruises ship!  I woke up early (before light) and sat on our verandah in anticipation.  There were lots of ships hanging around just outside the locks.  I assumed that they were waiting for their turn to enter the canal.  We entered on the Atlantic side just north of Colon and went through the Gatun Locks into Gatun Lake.

Approaching the Gatun Locks.  You can see the entrance to the third lock to the left

Approaching the Gatun Locks. You can see the entrance to the third set of locks to the left

The Panama Canal expansion project (also called the Third Set of Locks Project) is intended to double the capacity of the Panama Canal by 2016 by creating a new lane of traffic and allowing more and larger ships to transit.

This photo shows the Third set of locks under construction

This photo shows the third set of locks under construction

Going through the Gatun Locks

Going through the Gatun Locks

While going through the locks all the pilot boats and trains started blowing their horns.  It lasted several minutes.  We later heard that it was in honor of a man who was retiring after working at the canal for 30 years.

A ship passing through on its way to the Atlantic

A ship passing through on its way to the Atlantic

Entering Gatun Lake

Entering Gatun Lake

After hanging out in Gatun Lake for a couple of hours, we passed back through the locks towards Colon.  There really isn’t much at all to see in Colon.  Pretty much a strip mall with restaurants and shops.  But it was still exciting to be on land in Panama again.

Colon, Panama

Colon, Panama

Our next stop was supposed to be Costa Rica.  Unfortunately when we got close to the port, the captain announced that due to the swell conditions he had to make the decision to cancel the port call.  It was just too dangerous.  We were SO disappointed!  We had planned a 5 hour excursion to see a banana plantation & packing house, an animal rescue eco tour where we were to see sloths, howler monkeys, capuchin monkeys and macaws.  A jungle boat tour, and a drive through the city ending at a viewpoint of Puerto Limon.  It would have been so wonderful to see Puerto Limon.  Well, I guess I’ll just have to go back some day!

After we were 5 hours away from Puerto Limon, the captain announced that a passenger had a medical emergency and we had to turn around and go BACK to Puerto Limon since it was the closest port.  So back we went.  By the time we got back to the port the water had calmed and it was thankfully safe to transfer the patient to the ambulance.  We later found out that it was a young woman who was having a miscarriage.

The only glimpse I got of Puerto Limon

The only glimpse I got of Puerto Limon, Costa Rica

Patient being taken away in the ambulance

Patient being taken away in the ambulance

My next post will be of all the fun and activities we had on the Zuiderdam!

 

 

January 29, 2015 at 10:07 am Leave a comment

Backpacking through Panama

I continued my adventure, living and working in Alaska in the summers and traveling all over the world in the winters. It was incredible.

On one of my trips, I went on a cruise to the Caribbean where I swam with dolphins.  This is where I discovered my love of the water and the animals that live in it.  I had always loved the ocean, but I had never been one to play much in the water. I was used to going to places like Ocean Shores where you wear a sweatshirt while walking along the beach.  But after this trip I really became drawn to getting IN it!

Swimming with the dolphins

My very favorite trip, however, was when I went backpacking through Panama and Mexico with my cousin Bruce.  Wow, what a trip that was!

We flew into Panama City and found our hostel.  From there we took trips in funky, brightly painted buses.

We saw the Panama Canal and traveled to villages along the ocean as well as in the mountains, staying in hostels along the way.  We went snorkeling in the Coiba National Park and hiking in a little mountain village named Santa Fe.  We even visited a small coffee plant.

We ate at quaint little cafes and saw people living in grass huts talking on their cell phones.

The greatest adventure in Panama was getting on an old rattley puddle jumper of a plane that took us to a rickety old dock where we were picked up by a man in a canoe.  He took us to one of the San Blas Islands for three days.  I have to tell you I have NEVER experienced anything like that before!  We were the only people on this tiny island besides the family who cooked for us.  We stayed in a little hut where we could feel the breeze of the ocean while we slept.  All I can say is that is was a very rustic experience, but one I will cherish forever.

My cousin Bruce hanging out by our hut

Restroom at San Blas

Men from another island came every day to see if we wanted them to dive and bring us crab or lobster for dinner.  Of course we said yes.  I had the best lobster I have ever had in my entire life on that island.  And I have to say it was a nice change from the meals we were served every day.

One day we had a man take us to one of the inhabited islands where it was so crowded there was hardly room to walk.  The Kuna Indians lived there who, for some reason many, many years ago, moved from the lush mainland to these tiny islands.  There were several albino children.  These children are worshiped by the Kuna Indians and are called “Moon Children”.

Amazing, right?

After reluctantly returning to Panama City, we got back in a plane and flew to Mexico City.

June 26, 2010 at 2:58 pm Leave a comment