Our Transportation and Accommodation

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North America, 2018
United States

It is late November, 2018 and we have used our van in California until just recently. Now we have briefly rented a car while we are in New York. We are visiting around parts of the east coast for the Thanksgiving holiday. An early snow fell, followed by a record breaking cold spell in the region on Thanksgiving Day. We will return to California in early-December, 2018 where the van that we call Tenzig, awaits us to offer more of its Sherpa-like service for the foreseeable future.

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From
mid-June to late October, 2018 we returned to California in the United States, which we hope is for a temporary period of time while we presently help with Loren’s mother’s recovery from pneumonia. We rented a car for a month during which time Claire flew to New York to retrieve our van that was being looked after by her brother. The timing was fortuitous in that she was able to attend her younger niece’s high school graduation, and, to help a cousin a little with her move to a new home. En route Claire stopped in with the van to see and very briefly stay with other dear family and friends in addition to one night camping on her own. She took two images as positive omens: a red, white and blue cab tow on the 4th of July, and, a license plate proclaiming GO FORTH.

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Oceania, 2018
New Zealand and Australia

From mid-April to mid-June, 2018 we visited parts of Australia. The country is so large that we rode in planes a few times to get around on our abbreviated itinerary/ As well we hired cars, rode public buses, tour buses, and walked. Our accommodations were mainly with AirBnB’s, or also when we stayed with dear friends in Melbourne, and splurged on a Live Aboard Boat to snorkel along the Great Barrier Reef on the northeast coastline, and, the inexpensive isolated cabin in the woods that felt like a needed retreat.

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From
mid-January to mid-April, 2018 we visited in parts of New Zealand. Here we walked, rode bicycles, paddled kayaks, took public buses, rode on tour buses, boats, ferries, water taxis, and, rented a couple of cars to travel on both the North and South islands, and to the next largest, Stewart Island
. We arranged AirBnB stays or other budget lodgings, while splurging once to stay overnight on a floating backpackers rig, and another overnight cruise in Doubtful Sound. We spent one entire month at an AirBnB in Wellington – New Zealand’s capital city on the North Island.

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Asia, 2017-2018
Bhutan and Nepal – parts of the Indian Subcontinent

For a week-long side-trip in early January, 2018 we took Druk Air return flights between Kathmandu and Paro for a tour of Bhutan. This country values its Gross National Happiness over Gross National Product. On our flight, we had our best views of Mount Everest’s height and girth of our whole visit to the Himalaya. All visitors to Bhutan must have a guide, and we also had a local chauffeur us in his immaculate private tour car.

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From November, 2017 to early-January 2018 we were in Nepal. Here we rode in a helicopter, boats, taxis, private cars for hire, and, we trekked and walked. In Kathmandu we had a pleasant room in an inexpensive hotel that we used as home base to return to after going to other parts of the country or briefly to the next-easternmost country,. Memorable highlights include taking hours-long bus rides in mountainous terrain to visit the city of Pokhara and make the pilgrimage to Lumbini. Also, spending Thanksgiving on the Annapurna Circuit trek, celebrating romantic Christmas and New Years Days with holiday menus at the restaurant downstairs in our hotel in Kathmandu, dining in the home of our new Dutch friends on New Year’s Eve in Kathmandu, and, seeing Mount Everest by helicopter with an engaging young couple and our hotel owner.

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Africa, 2017
Egypt

In early November, 2017, we flew to Africa once more for a brief tour of Egypt by large van, by riverboat, by historic felucca overnight, and, by camel – the two-hump kind, for a short ride to take photos. We stayed in 3 star hotels across our time in Egypt. 

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Europe, 2017
Portugal, Spain, United Kingdom – Gibraltar, Italy

In early August through early November, 2017 we pulled out our backpacks from under the platform bed in our van, and traveled to Western Europe once again by plane to see Portugal, Spain, the UK Territory of Gibraltar, and a short stop again in Italy. We walked – especially on the Camino de Santiago de Compostela, bicycled, used public transport of bus and train, rented a car a couple of times, hired a taxi a couple of times, and, rode in the autos of family and friends. We spent most of our nights staying at AirBnBs, or at budget hotels and motels, and, with some dear family members and friends. Our van was safe in New York, cared for by Claire’s brother.

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North America, 2016-2017
United States

From late June through early August, 2017 we returned to New York in time for Claire’s brother’s 50th birthday celebration, which included dinner and fireworks on a New York Bay cruise ship. We visited with several family members and friends in the northeast, still using our van as our primary means to travel around the area.

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From mid-March to late-June, 2017, we slowly crossed the US from west to east – California to New York, taking less used highways. We stopped to see special family, friends, to take hikes and visit places of interest – like Presidential Libraries, national treasures, select museums, for example. We camped in our van, stayed with precious family members and friends, or with AirBnB hosts or low budget motels along the way. 

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We drove west from New York on the day after Christmas, December 26, 2016 in time to arrive in California for Loren’s Mom’s 91st birthday in mid-January, and stayed to mid-March, 2017. We saw family and friends, still using our van for transport. We stayed a few nights with generous family and friends, then rented a room with a gracious AirBnB host family, in walking distance to Loren’s Mom’s for the rest of the two months. 

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On Christmas day, 2016, we flew back to New York, to spend the day with precious family members, and where we were back to driving around in our van, named Tenzig. 

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Antarctica, 2016; South America, 2016
Argentina
North America, 2016
United States

From early-to-late December, 2016 we took a voyage to the surreal continent at the southernmost continent of the world, Antarctica. The trip was decided spontaneously upon receipt of a 50% off deal that we could not let slip by. It was for a trip coming up within mere weeks and miraculously fit in our schedule. This is one good example of leaving room for spontaneity to let the magic of travel present itself. Our journey there included first a week’s stop in Florida to see family and friends, and, a few days in three different locations in Argentina – Ushuaia, the southernmost city of the world beforehand, and first La Plata then Lujan outside Buenos Aires afterwards. We flew, rented a car, rode a tour bus and cruised on the ship and its durable inflatable motor boats.

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Back in the United States in New York from early November into the beginning of December, 2016 we were once again driving our van – nicknamed Tenzig, around the northeast. We celebrated my one niece’s Sweet 16 birthday, and later on enjoyed Thanksgiving with my brother and his family. With gratitude to beloved family and friends, we stayed warm in their comfy guest rooms during many cold wintry nights.

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Europe, 2016
Greece, Czech Republic, Germany, Iceland
Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Macedonia, Albania
Romania

In early-October and into early November, 2016 we were once again in Western Europe for a two-week celebration in Greece – one of them on the island of Crete, coinciding with the 25th anniversary of our Honeymoon. Then we had a week in Prague, Czech Republic; an overnight in Hamburg and nearly a week in Berlin, Germany; and, several days in Reykjavik, Iceland. We flew, ferried, walked, were driven by an AirBnB host, or used various forms of public transportation systems.

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For late-August through early-October, 2016, we visited by foot, bicycle, boat, bus, day trip tour vehicles, rental car, tram and train, in four of the former Yugoslavian countries – specifically, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Macedonia. We did not, sadly, have time to visit the other(s) – Serbia, or Kosovo – if you recognize the independence of Kosovo from Serbia. We also spent a day traveling in an AirBnB’s host’s car when he toured us to the country of Albania on a day trip.
We stayed in AirBnB’s and a few motels. We were still wearing our daypacks in front, and our backpacks on our backs. In each of these places in Europe we stayed at AirBnB accommodations, except for one night’s stay with generous friends of friends.

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From late-July through late-August, 2016, we visited parts of Central Europe that were formerly considered Eastern European countries, beginning with a month in Romania – most of which time we spent in the region of Transylvania. Here we rented a car – which forced us to dare to compete with what Loren dubbed Ro-maniac drivers; otherwise we walked, or took public transport. We stayed mainly in AirBnB’s, though we spent two nights with the generous home hospitality of Transylvanian Unitarians.

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Africa, 2016
Morocco

In Morocco, Africa for the most part of July, 2016, we were on tour most of the time, where we traveled by foot, taxi, tour van, and, one day by the gentle dromedary – a camel-like creature which has just one hump, for our overnight visit to the Sahara desert. Our tour guide and driver are respectively on the right in the photo. We stayed with the same nice AirBnB host in Marrakech before and after our tour, then we were in 3 and 4 star hotels, except for one night in the desert where we slept on the roof of our hotel (!) on sleeping pads because of the heat. 

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Europe, 2016
Italy

Through parts of Italy from early April to early July, 2016, our transport was by bus, metro, train, a couple of planes, boats, bicycle, our feet, the generosity of our family, friends and hosts, and, two short term car rentals. We stayed mostly with AirBnB hosts, though we enjoyed two agriturismo experiences in Sicily and Sardegna – which meant that we were staying on farms that were set up for tourists to visit, and, we stayed with family and friends, and with friends who joined us to stay at our AirBnBs.

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Africa, 2015-2016
Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania
Malawi, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Zambia,
Botswana, Namibia, South Africa

From mid-February to early April, 2016 Loren and I stayed on in South Africa, where we walked, rode buses, appreciated new friends driving us a couple of times, and, hired a car for a 2 week cross country driving trip. For these 7 weeks, we stayed in AirBnB accommodations for the most part, with a memorable stay at a unique and now totally-community-owned Backpackers Lodge, that endeavor being a Brit’s brainchild.

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From early December, 2015 through February, 2016 we were in southeast Africa where we spent 75 days, visiting 11 countries, on a truck designed for 20 passengers. Our driver joked that we were not to call it a bus! It looks like a mix of a school bus and a tall garbage truck. On the sides it has various storage cubbies for our cooking necessities and camping equipment. Above it has clear, roll-up, plastic tarps for air and viewing, or for rolling down for rain protection and warmth, and bench seats inside. We traveled from Kenya to Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, Malawi, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswama, and Namibia in it. From Namibia to South Africa our group took smaller tour buses. Loren and I “upgraded” from provided tents to beds as often as that option  was available and then only when it was affordable, which was actually most of the time.

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In Kenya, Africa from the last day of November, 2015 to early December, 2016, we were on an an incredible 3 day pre-trip tour of the Maasai Mara in a safari vehicle, that was tough enough to four-wheel through a deep earthen ditch on the one occasion when such  a feat was necessary. With our guide/driver, our cook, and one other passenger, we stayed overnight in a primitive camp’s cabins with an equally primitive outdoor kitchen.

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Europe, 2015
Ireland, United Kingdom – Northern Ireland, England, Scotland, England, Wales, England,
France, Netherlands, Germany,, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, France, Italy

In parts of Europe where we flew to between July and November, 2015 – specifically in Ireland, the United Kingdom which is made up of Northern Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales; then France, the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, and Italy, we had rental cars – one each in Ireland, the UK, France, and Italy. The rest of the time we traveled by train, tram, bus, bicycle, foot, and, as passengers with the help of some dear friends driving us locally. We have stayed with generous friends in Europe, at AirBnB homes, in Camping Barns in the Lakes District of England, and, twice with Servas hosts. We traveled with all of our belongings in on our backs and the front of our bodies.

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North America, 2014-2015
United States, Canada, United States, Canada, United States, Canada, United States

Initially, in the United States and Canada from April, 2014 to July, 2015, we drove our van and used it part of the time for sleeping — on forested back roads, in camping grounds, even at a few public parking lots. It has a storage box on top, the largest we could find at the recommendation of a friend. We also took a two night overnight train ride from Winnipeg to Churchill in Manitoba, and, a short cog train ride to the top of Mt. Washington in New Hampshire. Otherwise driving our own van or being passengers in dear family or friends’ cars or their farm UTVs has been our transportation. Along the way, we have been blessed to stay with gracious family and friends, and even some new friends who we have met on the road, though many nights were spent at AirBnBs or in our van, with just a very few nights spent in a motel.

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“Life is Good, Sleep is Easy!” says Loren while he outfitted his passenger van for our journey. The Happy Carpenter also said, “This is how it was done – take the rear passenger seats out and put a plywood platform in. First the platform…

then the ply decking…

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add a 4″ memory foam mattress
and One Happy Camper!”

 

 

 

Below is our “bedroom” as seen from head to foot both from inside and outside. Our mattress is covered with top and bottom sheets and lightweight blankets, and we brought our pillows along. We have our sleeping bags too for chilly nights. We can sit straight up on the bed with enough space to not even touch our heads to the ceiling. We have mesh strung up above the bed to hold our street clothes overnight, and we hang curtains around all the windows. It is nice and cozy when we are ready to call it a night.

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When we left home we just called it the van, but along the way in Tennessee, a Bikram Yoga Teacher Training Littermate asked its name. We thought about it and came up with Tenzig, as our van is also our Sherpa. 
We stopped sleeping in Tenzig for the winter, once we encountered the first snow of the year in Indiana. We left Tenzig in New York with family for safekeeping while overseas.

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