“There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy”. So said William Shakespeare, through Hamlet, but I prefer another of the Bard’s quotes: “Boldness, be my friend”.
And so my life as a retired “senior nomad” began in September 2019. As you can see from the posts here, I’m no stranger to travel and have lived abroad before. I admire and embrace many things about foreign cultures and traditions. If there’s beer involved, so much the better.
I thank you, friend, for reading my scribblings with patience and, hopefully, amusement.
On September 9, 2019 I disconnected from a 34-year career in computers and software by starting a 500-mile hike from southern France to western Spain, along the 13th Century pilgrimage trail known as the Camino de Santiago. You can make the hike, too, vicariously through my posts here.
After my successful Camino walk, I moved to Barcelona in late October for six weeks, to recuperate and enjoy the city. See my Letters from Barcelona posts to share in my experiences there.
All of that was overshadowed by the arrival of the pandemic. Nonetheless, my Barcelona stay was followed by six weeks back in the U.S. and my 2020 travels started with a six-week stay in Dublin, Republic of Ireland, blissfully ignorant of what was to come. My subsequent planned stays in Lyon, France and Bristol, U.K. were interrupted by the Coronavirus and I spent nearly three months with a friend in our first Paris lockdown.
My Schengen area (27 European and adjacent countries) visa expired at the end of May and I had no choice but to return to the U.S. in June 2020, which was interesting, given the pandemic-related chaos going on at airports.
After a summer in hot, humid Northern Virginia, I returned to Canterbury in the U.K. in September and after a few months returned to Paris just as the second Paris lockdown started. I stayed again until my Schengen visa ran out and returned to the U.S. in late January 2021.
In mid-September 2021, Schengen visa revitalized, I flew back to Paris. My New French Girl Friend and I traveled through the vineyards and antiquities sites in southern France for a few weeks by car with another couple, and then she and I visited friends in Barcelona in October. The weather was great and the food and wine were outstanding. We returned to the U.S. for the Christmas holidays.
I kicked off 2022 by spending six weeks in Larnaca, Cyprus, then joined my girlfriend for a month in Greece, visiting Crete, Athens, and Spetses. As time went by, the pandemic restrictions were relaxed but we remained vigilant and “went with the flow” when it came to the patchwork of official pandemic travel requirements. So far, so good.
I’m writing in June 2022 from Canterbury, U.K. where I’ve returned to take advantage of cooler summer weather to train for another hike on the Camino de Santiago in the fall. Let’s see how that works out. As my sainted mother used to say, “Life is what happens when you’ve already made plans”. Thanks for coming along!