Everybody Is Where They Want To Be

I have to give credit for this title to my daughter, Mariah, AKA Lingua Franca, who is presently in her second year of a Ph.D. program for Linguists at the University of Georgia, Athens (UGA).  She is also a rap artist and presently threw her hat in the ring to run for the office of County Commissioner in Athens GA.  Some might argue that everybody is not where they want to be mentally, or in terms of health.  I am referring more to the location in this blog entry.

As Catherine and I run all over the world we have met a lot of people along the way and everyone comments on how we have chosen to live our lives and at the same time all have said for one reason or the other that this lifestyle is not for them.  They are in fact where they want to be.  I  take nothing away with their particular decision since I have not walked a mile in their shoes.

Our home presently is the Windsurf cruise ship.  We will be cruising the Caribbean for the next two weeks and for us this is a perfect place to live.  It really does not matter to us what islands we will be visiting it is the experience that counts.  It is also the people on board that make it special.  Right now there are 1/2 dozen crew members that we have been on a cruise with before.

A beautiful sailing ship that we will often see along our cruise

The Pitons, St. Lucia

There she is again with her sails in full view

Over half the folks on this cruise are repeat customers with Windstar and many are like us that are doing this back to back.  Some of us, this week and next and some others, the prior week and this week.  There are so many repeat cruisers that we did not even make the cut to have dinner with one of the staff members.

We will return to this ship in April when we go from Lisbon to Rome.  I am sure most of the crew members will also still be working on this ship.  My sister, Gwen will be joining us on the second week along with 4 other runningcruise.com couples that we have been on bigger cruise lines in the past.

Our home for two weeks

For the first time, Windstar had a misstep when it came to the airing of the Super Bowl on board.  I have probably been on a cruise ship during the playing of the big game 10 times and this was the first time the cruise line made the decision not to pay the fee for the feed.  Luckily a Philly passenger paid for the unlimited wifi package so some 25 of us huddled around his iPad to watch the game.

In retrospect, their other cruise ship that was to leave San Juan on Saturday was chartered out and did not even leave the port so the passengers could either watch the game on board or nearby bars.  I am sure they will rethink their decision since I did write up a complaint on this issue.  The bar staff was great as they made sure the drinks kept coming during the game.

As we went thru Montserrat the highlight for us there was the local duo came on board to play a full 2-hour set.  By the time they left, they had everyone dancing to familiar Reggae tunes.  We saw them twice when we came thru in December on the Star Pride ship and once again they did not disappoint.

We got some great walks and run/ walks in during the first week of the cruise.  During our stay at our favorite port of St. Kitts we walked to and from the Marriott Resort.  I wrote about the Island at length during my last blog entry, Can we live here.

That is a very hilly 8-mile round trip but well worth it since the spring race season is right around the corner.  It will start off with the Jerusalem Half Marathon on March 9th and the Cyprus Half Marathon the following week.  We finish up with the Began Temple Half Marathon in November.

Loving the hills in St. Kitts

It turns out that we started our adventure with a Windstar cruise also on the Windsurf< back in December 2014.  Little known fact is that this is the largest sailing yacht in the world.  90% of the time we are able to go from port to port on pure wind power.  I wrote about our first experience on Windstar in my blog entry called, Time flies when you are having fun.

Our first cruise with Windstar back in 2014

The second week was epic.  You are never sure how others would like the small ship, family atmosphere of the Windstar Cruise Line but the eleven of us all had a great time on the Windsurf.  Long walks some runs and a lot of laughs during the week.  The big ships do have some advantages in terms of the number of activities during the day but the lack of personal touch is a downside.

The highlight each night was for everybody to dine together and compare notes on what we all did during the day.  None of us are big on organized excursions but we were all managed to keep busy and get some much-needed sun, for some.  I am glad but not surprised that they all enjoyed themselves since I do understand that you do get what you pay for and Windstar is a bit more expensive than the big box ships.

The beach barbeque on Pigeon Island is a highlight of mine

Great views near the Fort in Granada

Had not been to Bequia before but must come back

Our sister ship passing by 

Since we have not had enough of the sun and fun of the Caribbean yet we went back to SJU to catch a big ship for yet another week with some different long time runningcruise.com friends.  Note to self-don’t come to the US via the SJU airport.

We left Barbados on Liat with stops in Dominica and Antigua where we changed planes.  On arrival in SJU, we were selected by Customs for inspection of our bags.  They said they were looking for food and nuts but when they found my bag of Vitamins, their antennas went up.

They did not like the fact that they were in individual zip lock bags with the description written on each since it could have been drugs, instead.  I tried to explain that the bottles would take up a lot of room in my bag but they were not satisfied and continued to give me the riot act on the sheer quantity of pills.

I promised that I would do a better job in the future but they still had to chastise me over the fact that I was only going to be away from home for 25 days and had a supply of vitamins for way more time than that.  I took the tongue lashing like a trooper and packed my stash back in my bag and proceeded to the long taxi line for the hotel.

Looks like SJU is coming back to life, finally and we enjoyed the first-class treatment at the Marriott Resort Hotel in the Condado Beach area.  After a nice run, we were off to join 3000 our closest friends to cruise the Caribbean once again.  I will try my best not to compare the difference in service and just enjoy the time with our friends for the week.

The band is back together

Hard to get to spot but well worth it on Saint Martin

Unlike Windstar, where everybody knows your name, we did, however, run into our Cabin Steward from last year and have enjoyed some laughs during the week.  Since I have been to most of the islands over the last two weeks I conducted, Tony Tours, for our friends with us now, this week.

Welcome drink prior to the Chefs Table meal, six-course, and wine pairing, the best ever

One of the things that I have noticed over the last three weeks is that there are various reasons as to why everybody is presently living.  Some because it is nearby where they work.  That was my case while at UPS.  I started off in Louisville, KY, their Flight Operations hub.  I was transferred to Rockford Il to open up their flight operations hub there for several years and then back to Louisville when I got promoted.  After many years there I was put on special assignment covering Miami which included all of South America, Philadelphia and Germany that included all of Europe.

During that period of time, I lived mostly in hotels and would come back to our home in Indiana on a limited basis.  I guess that really prepared me for the nomadic lifestyle that we have enjoyed for the last 3 years.

Others want to be close to family and I see that a lot of retirees.  They move to be close to their Grandchildren so they can help raise them.  Catherine and I prefer to visit our grown children from time to time.  Some stay nearby where they went to college or never leave where they grew up.  Still, others, known as snowbirds, basically follow warmth of the sun.

Tomorrow is a sea day for our return trip back to SJU for our flight back to ATL for 4 nights.  Probably will get our exercise by walking the deck on the ship.  From there we are off to Europe for a month where an arctic blast is waiting for us next week.  The race season starts in earnest, for us, with a Half Marathon in Jerusalem followed by one in Cyprus the following week.

After a few days in Amsterdam, we are off on another AMA Waterways river cruise called, Tulip Time, on one of their brand new ships named after their Executive Vice President, Kristina, which we met last year on our Vietnam/Cambodia two week trip.  I wrote about that outstanding cruise on my blog entry called, As the World Turns.

As opposed to Catherine and I taking the typical track for someone with Early Onset Alzheimer’s and sticking with the known, the familiar, the routine or nearby family support we have found it beneficial, so far, to embrace as our life: running all over the world.  Everybody is where they want to be and for now, that includes us, one day at a time.


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