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Burgos, Spain…today!

That's how I'm ending my long travel day and 10kms walking all around Burgos. Simple dining alfresco from my hotel room now…

Buen Camino and goodnight!

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Getting to ONE’s next Camino…

1 day away…then here!

Love those relaxing Saturday mornings at home.

This Saturday was special.

Coffee. Cool weather. Cereal. No humidity. Yogurt with honey, blueberries, strawberries, and granola. More coffee. No TV. Chocolate chip pancakes. NYTimes. A sweet morning for 4, 2 boys and 2 parents. Mom goes for a run. Dad goes to Kinko's too anally retentively copy his passport, credit cards, and other id documents.

Sweet last hour of lunch on our patio and customizing messages on stones.

Prayers too. Then, we load up for the airport.

We are there 2 hours before my fight. One hour less than recommended. It was fine.

Hugs. Kisses. Love you's. Texts of well wishes and Love. All good. Really. Great.

Breeze through security and I'm roaming around my gate and concourse.

Then, my Camino officially began. Tap. Tap. And, two nice gents, long-time pals, just stopped me in international concourse to ask about my Camino out of the blue. They noticed my backpack shell. It begins here, it seems. Unbridled friendliness, curiosity, and quick fellowship, before we all 3 take on our Camino's (theirs from St. Jean in France). That wonderful tap on my shoulder ended with handshakes and, of course, "Buen Camino!"

I can almost taste Spain after that.

Suffice it to say, this flight is not Air France. Delta is fine. Just enough. Adequate. Our last trip to Spain went through Paris and it showed. This one went through Atlanta and it shows. Even sleeping on this flight lacks in potential for recharge, relative to the French. C'est la vie.

On our plane, a lovely college girl named Jessica plops down beside me. She's heading to Madrid to intern with disabled kids. Good for her. Plans to graduate on a six year plan after changing majors. She's young. Plenty of time to figure that out. She reminds me of our
girls, especially when she curls up on the two seats reserved for both of us , as I gave up mine to cross the aisle for more room for both of us. Much to the displeasure of a young man who thought that he could make a sofa out of three mid-plane seats. Sorry, Charlie. You might just have to sleep upright or leaning into the middle seat like a grown-up flying to Spain. FYI. It's not even 6pm, my friend.

Even after cocktails, I'm jazzed, finished a Doc about stand-up comedians, and I'm blogging. And dinner is on it's way. Smells good, but we shall see.

Before and after the big reveal….

Okay. Delta veg lasagna tastes good. The rest. Ick. Cheesy lasagna is just fine.

Back to #MyComfyCamino …it's here. Nighttime over the Atlantic. Delta folks just killed the cabin lights. I guess mom said that we are all supposed to sleep now. Hmmmmm… nope. Not me. Watching or listening to another stand-up comedian and I'm fine. Just sayin'. Okay. Okay. Mom, I'm just blogging again!!!! And falling asleep. Never was good at all-nighters.

Made it to Burgos…next post will just let my pictures and videos do the talking, from walking into Burgos from the nearby bus station to my AC Hotel by Marriott, to my walking tour and 3 tapas & wine stops for under €15 combined. Pulpo (€3), seafood combo (€2), and 3-course (€7)…all three with vino tinto.

Can't you just taste Spain????

Ultreia!!

Escape. We all need it. #VacationMovie looks hilarious!

We’ve yet to see it. But, I’m guessing that “Vacation” will be our must-see 20th anniversary film after some fondue dinner.  Right up there with our first movie date, “Dumb & Dumber”.  Funny, yet to the point.  

We shall see if we even escape to dinner and a movie, after the wanderlust/abandonment of July.  Our boys have laid the guilt on thick. 

But, we all need to escape. No matter your age. No matter your socio-economic standing. Just, no matter. We all need & crave to escape the normal, unless one already enjoys his or her abnormal life somewhere special with very special people. 

As kids, we learn to get away. For my generation, that getaway was a bike, a backyard, maybe a pool, one beach trip a year, a sport, a weekend preoccupation, and/or a nightly television show on one of only 3 network channels. There were no gadgets, smartphones, nor Internet. Imagine that, kids out there. 

Today, kids, including ours, have a ridiculous number of cable channels, handheld gadgets, DVDs, and almost limitless internet bandwidth (maxed out our 30GB this month. Ridiculous)  All from our collective couches and recliners. They need to get away from all of that media clutter more than we ever did. 

And, that’s what we are doing right now. Off to the pool. Most kids around the world have no such thing. I know that. Our kids loathe my reminding them. But, it’s true. Appreciate the small escapes, especially those with modest exercise. 

Adults, as we age through good and bad times, really appreciate the all-to-brief escapes.  Yeah, I’m talkin’ to you, pool dad. “Hey, I’ve gotta go back to work” he says to his young son, before his boy climbs up the pool slide. I’ve never had the misfortune of saying those words before…when I actually had a career. Either I was “working “, if one could call it that, or I was not. You know, back when Blackberry phones were cutting edge and drove the business world . (Just saw one on the plane three days ago. He’s Canadian. Loyal to BBs dying day). Nice. Anyway…

  
That’s our escape from our Wii , DVD, and snack-filled sleepover time this morning. Whatever it takes, you know. 

For me, it’s fun times away from the usual and anytime where our collective “Blue Mind” is active…even at our pool. If you haven’t read the book, please do…

  
Blogged about this book and related state-of-mind one year ago today @ https://justbecausetwit.wordpress.com/2014/07/30/heart-healthy-thats-a-blue-mind/  .  No heart monitor this summer. “Celebrate good times, come on!  Let’s celebrate!”

Just one year can make a big difference. Sure, we’re all a year older. Our kids are grown and two are growing up faster than we can comprehend. My Love and I are less relevant…until we leave town and life is less predictable. You know. Normal. 

Escape with ones you love is very good. Even great!  Going it alone might be fine for some to escape. But, my dream of this month came true with three loved ones. Next escape includes another three. 

We head to Chicago for our nephew ‘s wedding this weekend, but I’m already looking into international travel for our next escape to Europe for 4-6 of us next year. Airfare is the largest investment/barrier to wanderlust. We shall conquer that. One way or another.  Preferably round-trip for now. 

Someday. One way for two, please  Others can just meet us there. Wherever there is. 

Really looking forward to that. Selling and giving it all away is the plan. 

Finding our places to not only land, but thrive with others…especially our loved ones and those yet to be born….is our next decade’s plan. By then, we should have two girls with their own families and two boys ready to soar on their own or I’ll be happy to launch them. 

Just saying. 

Ciao, for now. And, salute’, fb amigos. 

  

Today’s 3’s. A geriatric trifecta.

Hard to believe that I can be inspired by Hugh Hefner.  (insert many jokes here)

However, I am today. Hef is 88 today. Old, wrinkly, and seemingly happy. That should be enough. Throw in his gift of entrepreneurship, the backbone of capitalism & truly free nations, and I’m inspired. No moral high-horse required. He took his broken heart at 16 and reinvented himself over and over again. More than just one carnal magazine. Hef created television content with, god forbid, mixed races. Betcha never thought of Hef as a civil rights leader. He was. Thanks to the most intelligent & fun morning show, the CBS Morning show, I’m a little more enlightened. Love that show.

Hef was 1 of 3.

On my morning wog, I passed number 2. Think of Hef decked out in 70’s era workout clothes. Olivia’s “Let’s get physical” garb. Bless his heart. He always waves. Very nice.

Trifecta rounds out with a similar aged chap in his sunblock garb and pith helmet. No melanoma potential there.  Dr Livingston, I’ll presume.

I don’t know any of these chaps. But, I do know this. They are all friendly, as far as I can tell. All 3 are old, but won’t submit to that. All 3 are out there, with or without young women. All 3 look very fit, as opposed to the general U.S. population. Good for them. Longevity is highly overrated without fitness & perspective.

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Taking a short break from my wog, kinda jog-walk combo, and this view is nice. Not as nice as any coast, but sunny & 60ish works about anywhere. Even here.

Kudos to today’s geriatric trifecta.

Appreciate growing older …with good health, grear people, and beautiful places….

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….cheers, all.

Growing up vs. Giving up

(Here’s my 2nd attempt to publish this post. My first was lost, in spite of drafts auto-saving. Thanks, WordPress! )

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You gotta love a great sunset. The metaphors abound in my mind.

At our middle age, sunsets take on very different meanings. Our parents sunsets. Our kids’ childhood sunsets. Our professional & personal friendship sunsets. If you’re as reflective as I am, you see sunsets as our new normal.

Every month, it seems, we experience one or more personal sunsets of friends marriages. It’s a generational thing. Our folks persevered. Same careers. Same home. Same friends. Same vacations. Same & predictable. But, they made it through decades of triumphs & maybe tragedy.

Our GenX is different. The 7 year itch seems to be stretched a bit to a decade or two. Careers get stagnant. Organized religion loses its luster. Healthy relationships grow fewer. And love is shared more sparingly with those who matter the most. I know. I’m a poster boy for all of the above.

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Hemingway was spot-on. I do find most people far less interesting though a sober filter. There, I said it…but, I digress.

Fortunately, at my age, I’m more than a little obsessed about where we are & where we are going as a family over the next few decades. It seems that my success & struggles of my 20’s & very lucrative & excessive 30’s & leaner, meaner, and healthier 40’s have tee’d me and our family up for a killer 50’s and beyond. That forward obsession is my largest time & energy ROI for the time I have remaining in this realm.

My Love, Ginny Lee, is healthy. Our four kids are relatively healthy. Two are globe-trotters and two will be someday. And, I’m literally collecting volumes of research about cultures & destinations for our family to visit, play, work, & live someday. Think about a triangle between St. Pete, Florida & Tortola, BVI & Lake Champlain, Vermont. That’s how & where we need to grow up as a family. That’s The Plan.

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Keep the good fire burning.

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Surround yourself with beauty.

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Stay weird.

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Hug those you love…a lot.

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And share the many journeys, from sunrise to sunset, with all of those who matter most.

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Above, our 9yr old daughter’s vision for me…in 2001. No joke.

Family love & very close friends.

All that really matters, while we sail this big, blue wet thing.

Cheers & happy sailing, all.

Brad

Best 20 options ~ The Plan cont.

Paradise found…times 20. Adventure. Family. Exploration. Living. http://www.liveandinvestoverseas.com/kits/how-to-retire-overseas-kit-2/

How about never retiring? Sounds good to me.

Listening to NPR on a Saturday morning and the chat is about 401k’s, “your number”, investment advisors, etc….and then there’s this modern family story in my inbox:

“The Roussel children are no strangers to adventure. Perhaps that’s because Jonah, 11, and Elijah, 18 months, have traveled rather more than your average Canadian youths.

Mom and Dad—Susan, 37, and Denis, 35—are self-confessed globetrotters. It helps that Denis is able to work from anywhere; he’s in marketing and online advertising. And Susan is a certified teacher who loves to teach and travel—a combo that works well, as teaching young kids (in English) is a job that’s easy to find nearly anywhere in the world.

Last year, they decided to do more than simply take a vacation. ”We just decided that we were going to make a move somewhere other than Canada,” says Susan. “We wanted to get away and experience a tropical hot climate for a year.”

The Roussels visited Costa Rica but didn’t find an area that “spoke” to them and their needs. When a family member insisted they check out Panama, Susan balked: “Isn’t Panama dangerous?We had no idea,” she laughs. “We had heard a lot about Costa Rica but it seemed no one talked as much about Panama.”

It seems Panama was meant to be. On the plane back home from Costa Rica, they found an article in the glossy airline magazine. They pored over color photos and read about Panama’s modern infrastructure and excellent residency programs. Though Panama was unknown to them, it seemed incredibly safe and stable.

Denis and Susan started to read about Panama in earnest in the pages of International Living. The Pacific coast beach communities near Panama City sounded ideal, especially the beach town of Gorgona. Adjacent to the growing town center of Coronado, Gorgona is convenient and very affordable.

“We’ve been in Gorgona for about four months,” says Denis. “We are planning on staying until June.” After that, the Roussels plan to go back to Alberta and decide whether to move to Panama permanently.

Even with the tuition fee for a private school… and $1,200 a month in rent for an ocean-view condo that is literally on the beach (the Roussels can step into the sand from the building’s pool area)…the Roussels are saving a lot of money. Their cost of living, says Denis, is about half what it was back home.

Jonah has taken time to adjust. But, says Susan, he is now starting to really enjoy it. “He’s so active here, he has lost weight and met other kids…half the time we look up to find him gone to visit some friend in the building.”

Susan says the locals in Gorgona have been very friendly and welcoming, attempting to teach her Spanish a little at a time. “We’ve also been able to spend more time as a family together,” she says. “We can have fun and not worry it’s costing a fortune.”

In addition, the excellent health care gives them peace of mind, as Jonah has a neuromuscular condition that could require medical attention at any time. “But most of all, we’re happy,” says Susan, smiling at baby Elijah as he attempts to climb everything in sight. “That’s all that counts.”

Crazy? Out of the box thinking? Just not normal?  Yes, please.

We’ll never retire. We’ll just keep on living here and eventually way over there too. Love this plan.

The PLAN : PART 2

MAUI.  Nuff said.

Ginny and I have spent two fantastic getaways there. First one thanks to Kim and her frequent flyer miles and my b&b savvy search. Free airfare and $59 per night on our honeymoon….hold your applause, please. Blessed were these two. Five years later, still blessed, but able to fly, stay, and play in style. Loved both getaways. But, the first came with all 1st’s, including blowing our 1st night budget at Momma’s Fish House, the stinky cheese incident, amazing drives, beach discoveries, the timeshare tour during the week’s only rain, and the free luau @ the Marriott for our time…where I pretended to be Austrailian for the dining crowd….rum is a funny thing. But, I really digress.

Hawaii is wonderful. And worth the trip. And…it’s expensive too.

As of today, my long gone plan to live there is really long gone.  An old chap who lived there over the last 30 years just sealed this deal. As passed on by http://www.liveandinvestoverseas.com email to thier followers, this fellow is now living for a small fraction of what his Hawaiian life cost before the move. 

Belize. Panama. Ecuador. All are very attractive, proven safe in ex-pats havens, and offer a remarkable quality of life for families and couples after the coop is empty.  Why wait until your too old, responsible, safe, or settled to try something out of the American box?  Answer: We won’t.

It’s no fun watching most of your parents waste away. It’s no fun watching healthy friends waste away in consumption of material goods, spoiling thier children in oblivious ways, and planning “thier number” for retiring someday. Ick. And, btw, the social security trust fund is officially projected to be bankrupt 5 years before my IOU comes due. Hmmm. How about living lean, having fun, and staying so active that retiring is never a thought…just living.  Really living.

Fun facilitator (uber-concierge), Realtor networker, SCUBA shop marketer, even a bartender….all chatty challenges that beat any desk job or corporate ladder. And I plan to do them all…maybe some at the same time. Wherever we land will be packaged, marketed, and sold to a worldwide market of GenX and Baby Boomers, then comes GenY too, who are stumped about thier future life…one to enjoy much sooner than America allows over the next few decades.

This America is led by fiscal fools. It’s time to look, research, plan, and go where today’s real “hope and change” really exists.

Think about an ideal place to live, the ideal budget, and what you REALLY need. Get out of the American box mindset and take control of what lies ahead. It’s liberating even before we ever get started.

THE PLAN continues…..

http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/On-Retirement/2012/07/31/how-to-choose-where-to-retire-overseas ….timely info via #KathleenPeddicord of #InternationalLiving

https://orders.internationalliving.com/ILVROSW/WILVN122

http://liveandinvestoverseas.com/v/orl/

Paradise in Panama…

htt http://www.liveandinvestoverseas.com/panama/los-islotes.html?sc=ool-8-1-12

p://m.youtube.com/#/watch?desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DoSKRazKCB4k%26list%3DUU9UG7Q4PvOI9WvbW5Mm7jjg%26index%3D1%26feature%3Dplcp&index=1&list=UU9UG7Q4PvOI9WvbW5Mm7jjg&feature=plcp&v=oSKRazKCB4k&gl=US

It’s halftime of this life…I hope.

As a red-blooded, middle-age guy, I can interpret anything in life as a sports metaphor. Usually, baseball fits best, with curve balls, homers, foul balls, strikes, outs, wins, losses, fellow players, coaches, owners, egos, old and new fields of play…the epidimy of the human condition. However, there’s no halftime in baseball…just a 7th inning stretch.

I feel like my halftime, Lord willing, is here. No actuary, astrologer, or scientist required. Just a hunch. Mid to late 80’s is the guesstimate between my mom and Dad’s bloodlines. This weekend reaffirmed my guess a bit.

We watched our youngest girl graduate from high school yesterday. Her journey so far has been a loving, intelligent, funny, adventuresome, and even relaxed one. Just like her sister, she is brilliant and “dares to be different”, as I have challenged them over the years. Never settle. Never assume that you will be cared for by another. And just enjoy what you do have, instead of the proverbial “grass is always greener on the other side” lifestyle. Strong, independent, thoughtful, and open-minded young ladies are these two. Very, very positive role models too for other kids of divorce…not to mention killer prep for picking their mate someday and making a lifelong marriage work.

Funny thing is…my lifelong love of 17+ years, so far, and I have two very different, little guys who are just beginning their journeys. One is the pleaser and over-achiever (just finished a 300+ page math workbook in 4 days) and the other is a bit more relaxed about such things. Deja vu, all over again. Our second half will be another interesting and adventurous time for all of us. However, we are older parent-players now. Wiser? Maybe so. Experienced? Certainly. In need and living a much simpler life? Absolutely.

Simple living. Much less “stuff”. Fewer bills to pay. Many more simple pleasures. Simple. We camp in Cades Cove (Great Smokey Mtns National Park) as a family for the first time this week. Hiking. Cooking. Reading. Hammock lounging. Just being together.

Our halftime is about over, as we watch our oldest two kids take flight, with full academic scholarships to college in the bank. Who knows where they go from here…but I promise that each will make it interesting. Same for these little guys. Same for the best woman I’ve ever known, loved, and allowed to influence me more than any other, Ginny Lee.

Love. Get outside. Cook. Eat well. Imbibe. Laugh a lot. Cry a little. Just live. It’s just that not-so simple…Lord willing.

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