|what we are going to do more of...stay put for most of the year and travel only 4 months a year!|
Officially on Stage 4 of the cruising lifestyle in Arizona, we have decided not to cover countries outside of North America by cruising in an RV (you may notice I dropped the RV). We concede, we are no longer ‘spring chickens’ and we now prefer more conveniences in traveling. Besides cruising means a pace, not really a specific means of transportation! For instance, renting apartments in central locations in Europe and making them bases for road trips to nearby towns may be the best way to see Europe (maybe, even less expensive). The rest of the world may even be through best hotel/flight deals
For the next 8 years, we will go out of the country a max of 2 months at any time, visit the children and siblings another 2 months (max), and the rest, the other 8 months, snowbird. We are trying Arizona this year (Cottonwood in September 2013, Phoenix from October 2013 to March 2014, and Cottonwood again in April 2014). Then we will be in Europe May and June 2014. This way we may be able to cover Europe in 4 trips, Australasia in 1, Central America and South America, 2, and Africa, 1. This is how we will slow down and cover the rest of the world up to 2022 when we should be able to completely nest!
More importantly, we will now have access to consistent healthcare, what with Bill’s cardiovascular scares and my chronic hives and GERD. We need to stay put to allow a family doctor to take better care of us, to allow him to discover underlying conditions so the treatments are not merely to alleviate symptoms but rather to eradicate root causes. We should become more consistent with what we eat and how we exercise. These were things we took for granted on our 4-year cruise of America.
We have to balance healthfulness, taste, freshness, economy, convenience, and variety, all hallmark values for good nourishment. For healthfulness, we try to reduce salt, fats, and sugar and increase fiber and manage portions. Comfort foods are increasingly becoming our favorites. However, it is quite difficult to achieve this for a couple from two very different parts of the globe! Fried chicken is comfort food for Bill, for me, chicken arroz caldo! For economy, we can now buy bulk foods to get best values. There should also be enough variety for a 4 week menu without repetition! I have a terrible time dealing with monotony (just ask Bill!). We should be able to achieve our objectives better this time
At the same time, we should be able to devote more time to payback efforts. I used to think that being part of the Philippine Institute for the Deaf, the non-profit school teaching the deaf to speak founded by my mother and sister would be enough. The school is in good hands and doing well. I have to find my own cause. Aside from helping my home country, I should also get involved with problems here in the US! Having our own regular parish, we can establish our ministries better, be it a, a Fil-American Association, or a Eucharistic ministry. Bill wants to volunteer as a CASA, a court appointed special advocate who are called upon by judges to watch over children to make sure they don’t get lost in the system or land in inappropriate places while their or their parents’ cases are still in consideration.
Finally, we will be able to develop long-time friends. There are 50 clubs in Viewpoint Resort in Phoenix. I will probably join the poker, karaoke, dancing, bridge, photography, reading, and writing clubs, one for each day of the week! From these clubs and other general activities sponsored by the Resort such as concerts, potlucks, free movies, and holiday celebrations, we will have plenty of time to cultivate friendships with kindred souls. And, by not hopping around so often, we probably will have even better time to strengthen bonds with family and friends elsewhere.
When we nest in Stage 5, we may even choose a condominium complex, with the same amenities and activities as an RV City Resort, over a park model in a campground. We went to the Florida RV Trade Association Show at the State Fairgrounds in 2012 where we found out that a brand new Mountain Aire of about 350 sq. ft. like we have now would cost us about $450K (out of the question) and a modern Net Zero 500 sq. ft. park model with a Florida (or Arizona) Room extension would cost around $100 K, so a condo could be a happy middle ground.
It is certainly exciting new ‘ground’. If we call the 4-year cruise we completed an extended honeymoon, this new 8-year stage in our life is the ‘child’-rearing stage. And our ‘children’ can be a better couple, a book, a photo album, a group of friends, special kids or whatever project we set our hearts on!