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Nordic Heritage Day

Yesterday Mike and I attended the very first Nordic Heritage Day here in Olympia, WA. Mike and I love attending ethnic fairs and festivals and earlier in the week I had connected with the President of the local Sons of Norway chapter to learn more about this festival.

As is usually the case we met some awfully nice people who are very proud of their heritage and simply wish to share it with others. Mike and I are only too glad to learn more about other cultures and their way of life while we are here in the US and deciding on what countries to explore next.

Going to festivals and fairs is therefore research for when we grab our passports and head off again to live among and with the locals.

I therefore created the video, using original Norwegian music, to highlight some of the sights we saw yesterday at the very first Nordic Heritage Day.

Florence Lince
http://about.me/florencelince

An Expat In My Own Backyard

We have now been back in the US for two months. This is our first full month in the Olympia, WA area and only our second week in our apartment. We have transitioned pretty well to life here in the US and we now have a little bit of furniture to make our lives more comfy.

We have a bed, a dresser, a sofa and two chairs with an end table and a lamp. That’s it, and that’s how it will stay. It cost us a little over $1000 for all these pieces.

Our kitchen did much better because Mike and I both love to cook. Because we have transitioned to a much healthier lifestyle (Mike as a vegetarian and me a vegan) we splurged and bought a refurbished vitamix machine. We also bought a rice cooker / steamer and a coffee pot. Where we really splurged was in getting a large stock pot so that I could make large pots of soups and spaghetti sauce. Our freezer is already bursting with frozen veggie soup and sauce.

Mike and I are however walking around still looking shell shocked over the high cost of food, utilities, and in general just everyday items. We realize more than ever that we had it really good while living in Panama, Mexico, Croatia and even Spain. The cost of food was not nearly as high as it is here and we always had fresh produce. It is hard to reconcile paying the higher costs with being here. Why does it have to cost so much more to live here in the US?

Why is our rent so high ($775 a month) and we are still paying for the utilities?

Why is the cost of food so much higher here? At the local farmers market a pound of apples is $2.79 a pound. I mean these apples are not being imported they are being grown here so why is the cost so high?

What on earth is the reason that taxes on a utility bill such as our internet and phone service are $20 a month? The TAXES are $20 a month. The bill for service is already almost $70. Who else feels like they are being ripped off and why can’t we make it stop? While living outside of the US internet was $20 a month and phone cards were $5 for about 60 minutes of talking time. There is no rational explanation why these costs are so high.

I find it funny that so many people talk about moving to the US because it’s the land of opportunity. What we honestly have that other countries do not have is the luxury of having electricity or gas. We also have a wealth of options when it comes to grocery shopping since all of our stores look like big box stores. What all these people coming into the US do not realize is that they honestly have it really good in their own countries. They have fresh fruit and vegetable markets, they have a fresh bread bakery in every neighborhood, they have smaller options and selections in their much smaller mom and pop grocery stores but they have everything they need. Less is more. Really!

I guess once an expat, always an expat. I’ll think of my time living back here in the US as just another stop on our travel adventure. I’m already looking forward to living someplace where the costs for everything aren’t so high. We are after all paying for all these freedoms we have here.

But $20 in taxes on landlines and internet every month? The old saying is that you can’t go home again. They are right, especially once you learn that living at home is a rip off.

Florence Lince

http://about.me/florencelince

 You might also enjoy Mike’s post – The Fleecing of America.

The City of Murals

Having traveled to four continents and over 28 countries thus far I have to say I don’t think I have ever lived in a city with more murals than can be found here in Olympia, Washington.

A mural is defined as any piece of artwork painted or applied directly on a wall, ceiling or other large permanent surface. It is most common in a mural for the architectural elements of the given space to be harmoniously incorporated into the picture.

Olympia is home to the world’s largest solidarity mural. This 4000 square foot mural begins with a giant olive tree with branches and leaves. These leaves are called talking leaves with each one representing an organization from around the world which represents solidarity, activism or community service. The mural was erected in honor of Rachel Corrie who was born here in Olympia but killed in Gaza. The artists who participated in creating this mural were local, national and international artists and activists.

This mural is 4000 square feet.  It is the largest solidarity mural in the world.  © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

This mural is 4000 square feet. It is the largest solidarity mural in the world. © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

It was created in memory of Rachel Corre who was born in Olympia but died in Gaza.  © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

It was created in memory of Rachel Corrie who was born in Olympia but died in Gaza. © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This website, for the Olympia Rafah Solidarity Mural Project, has a wonderful interactive aspect which tells you which organization painted and supported the mural ‘leaves’.  It will also allow you to see the leaves close-up.  Rachel Corrie was a young activist who was crushed to death by an Israeli bulldozer while defending the home of a Palestinian family in Gaza. The mural is located on the corner of State Street and Capital Way.

Not all murals are political in nature.  This one is for a local Italian restaurant - called, you guessed it, Trinacria.  © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

Not all murals are political in nature. This one is for a local Italian restaurant – called, you guessed it, Trinacria. © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

Trinacria is a Sicilian restaurant located on Capital Way.  It is open only for dinner and doors open at 5:00pm. I can personally attest to the fact that the cannoli’s are made fresh when ordered and the owner, who is from Sicily, uses good rigotta cheese.

This mural is located near a local Thai restaurant.  © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

This mural is located near a local Thai restaurant. © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

In almost every alley in between buildings you can find a mural.  They are literally everywhere in this city.  You just need to keep your eyes peeled.  This one is located near a local Thai restaurant.

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Some murals are two murals in one. This building is so large they put first one mural here and then used the second half of the building for the other. © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

One of the other famous murals in Olympia.  This one is found on the side of The Old School Pizzeria.  © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

One of the other famous murals in Olympia. This one is found on the side of The Old School Pizzeria. © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The mural depicting all of the Marvel Comic Book Hero’s was copied from a 300 piece puzzle entitled the Marvel Super Heroes Fantasy Jigsaw Puzzle.  Can you name all the super hero’s?

Some art is frustration art.  It can be beautiful however.  © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

Some art is frustration art. It can be beautiful however. © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

This mural is located on the same stone wall as the mural for Trinacria.

Participating in the painting of murals is a big deal here in Olympia.  This past August 24th was the 4th Annual Community Mural Painting Project.  Residents and painting enthusiasts meet and help to paint a new mural every year.  This year the mural was located at the Olympia Little Theater.  I will have to make it over to the site to take photos of the finished project and I’ll share them in an upcoming post.

I could not find a website to tell me how many murals there are in Olympia.  As I see and find more I will record them in snapshots and then share them from time to time.

Florence Lince

http://about.me/florencelince

Are You A Copycat?

I take and use my own pictures on all three of my blogs. I have tried to stress the importance to my husband as to why we should not use photos found either on the web or from any of those supposedly free to use photo sites on our website or blogs. Recently a forum issue came to light on a travel site that I monitor and I thought I would share it here.

A long-standing travel agency contracted with a social media company to create their media presence (Facebook company page; website, etc.) back in 2011. This social media company went to the internet and without thinking downloaded photos that they found on a photo sharing site believing that any photo on the internet is free to use.

In May of this year the travel agency received a letter from a lawyer telling them that they were being sued by the original photographer for $25,000 for each picture they had pirated. This was not a joke. This was a real legal firm and the legal action is valid.

The travel agency owner proceeded to call a copyright attorney to get clarification. What he learned was a real shocker and an eye opener. It seems that a large number of artists (both photographers and drawing) and some unscrupulous law firms have created a whole new industry and the almost perfect scam with copyright laws.  The legal firm the travel agency contacted (Quarels and Brady) told them that this particular photographer has sued various people over 23 times for copyright violations in using his pictures which they downloaded from one of those free sites. The issue, the artist is claiming, is that he suffered a financial loss from people who download his photos but do not purchase them and your company benefited from using his photos (most of the people being sued are business owners), and they have you.

As you read this you might be thinking that you must be safe because you posted someone else’s photo two years ago and no one reads that post any more? Statute of limitations on suing someone for copyright infringement is three years. What these artists are doing is allowing people to download their photos from these sites, they wait for about 2 – 2 1/2 years and then they sue the person using the photo.  One of the ways they do this is they put their copyrighted pictures on free wall paper sites and people will download them to their computer and then use the picture on their website or Facebook, thus violating copyright laws and here comes the lawsuits. The key here is that the artist holds the copyright on the photos. He is downloading them so that you can see them, not to use them. That is the largest key factor here.

According to the legal firm of Quarels and Brady it is the perfect scam because there is absolutely no risk to the artist and the law firms that are involved in these scams take these cases from artists on a contingency basis so the only cost to the artist is the $300 lawsuit filing fee.

Those unsuspecting folks who download these photos and who are getting these letters demanding payment in the mail are suspicious when it does not come certified but regular mail. The agency owner was told that these law firms are doing mass mailings of these lawsuits so they are trying to keep costs down.  Their theory is they send out 500 of these lawsuit threats and they will collect on about 150 of them with just the letter but it is enough for them to make money on this. The travel agent who was being sued is still negotiating and the photo in question he had on Facebook he has since taken it down and every other photo he did not take personally has been removed from all of his social media. The other thing the agency owner was told was that by law we are responsible for any photo someone else posts to our Facebook page because you, as the owner of that page, are the one that is liable.

You are now wondering how the photographer found out that someone downloaded his photo, right? According to the research done by Quarel’s and Brady the artists have created web crawler alerts so that every time someone uploads their photo they receive a notification which they tuck away for future reference. There are hundreds of artists doing this because they have found an easy way to make money.

Bottom line, to be completely free of this, make sure you know the owner and where any picture came from that is placed on your website or on your business Facebook page. Or better yet, don’t use anyone’s photos but your own and copyright your photos when you put them on your website or blog.

Florence Lince

http://about.me/florencelince

 

Hey America, What’s Your Hurry?

Three years ago Mike and I embarked on our travel adventure. We left the US with two suitcases each and a camera to take pictures of the places we traveled too. We also took our American mindset with us.

Where this mindset really got an awakening was in every café and restaurant we visited on every other continent and in countries around the world. When we first began to travel we would sit down in a restaurant and huff if we didn’t get our menu and our water within two minutes. We would wonder if the waiter was on strike if they didn’t return to take our order in five minutes and heaven forbid if the food wasn’t served within 15 minutes we wondered if they forgot about us all together.

Then life and living outside of the US took hold. We learned to enjoy our time out and we learned that other cultures actually spend more time socializing with each other than stressing about making the next big meeting or being somewhere on time. Other people in other cultures actually learn more about each other and communicate with each other without using text messaging and email because they sit and talk to one another face to face over a cup of coffee or a meal.

These are the times I will remember most, good times with family.  How about you?  © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

These are the times I will remember most, good times with family. How about you? © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

We also learned that no restaurant would hurry us or expect us to pay within an hour’s time of sitting down. Most cultures would wonder what our hurry was if we asked for the check within a two hour time frame. In some countries we literally had to beg to get the check so that we could be on our way. We learned in all these other countries to relax and enjoy our food, our surroundings and the company of those with us.

Recently, after returning to the US, I made lunch dates with several people I hadn’t seen in a very long time so that we could sit, chat and catch up. I chose the restaurant and we proceeded to talk, for 3 hours. Because of our recent travel lifestyle I was so comfortable in being in a restaurant for hours on end that I had forgotten that in the US people expect us to eat and be gone within an hour of entering their establishment. It was after we had been chatting for an hour and a half that I realized that the waitress was coming by more often to see if we needed anything and she would take away an item or two. Around two hours in she stopped bringing us water to drink thinking that perhaps if our throats were dry we might just go away. It was around 2.5 hours in that I realized that all the tables in the place had been full, then emptied and then full again but never once was there anyone standing around waiting for a table. At 3 hours we got up to leave and the place was mostly empty. The waitress didn’t even say goodbye.

Having lunch with one of my favorite people, my cousin Phil.  My living harder idea has already begun.  © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

Having lunch with one of my favorite people, my cousin Phil. We talked for 3 hours. We had many new memories to share with one another. © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

Years and years ago in my family Sunday was family day. We would visit with family and be together all day eating and talking and playing games. I still remember those days fondly and I’m glad we did them. What other cultures have that many Americans have lost is the art and mindset that sitting and chatting with other people on a daily basis is more important than making a fortune for your employer or that rushing to get things done is productive and worthwhile.

In Croatia they say that work is something you do in between drinking coffee.  They have the right idea.  © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

In Croatia they say that work is something you do in between drinking coffee. They have the right idea. © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

I have to wonder that at the end of our life are we going to recount how fast we ran our errands and how quickly we did all our chores so we could make the next big meeting or make a deadline? Or will we think back to the good times we had with family and friends? Will we remember the picnics and the dinner parties and the birthday’s we went too and the sound of a child’s laugh?

As I said I will also love harder.  We were out to dinner last night with my brother Paul and his family.  This is my niece Natalia.  Spending quality time with her means more to me than just about anything.  © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

This is my niece Natalia. Spending quality time with her means more to me than just about anything. © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

Yes traveling and living in others countries is something that I won’t soon forget. I also won’t forget that taking the time to eat and socialize with others is just as important as working. I won’t be in a hurry to leave a restaurant when I’m bonding with the person I’m with because that relationship I’m building means more than speeding to get to my next appointment. In our short time living outside the US and learning how other cultures live I have to wonder, America, what’s our hurry?

 

Florence Lince

http://about.me/florencelince

The “In’s and Out’s” of Spain

I love decorated doorways, courtyards and windows.  For some reason I tend to take a lot of pictures of these things.   In the country of Spain I had a wealth of them to choose from.  In every city we toured and in every region of Spain everyone seemed to like flowers in their window boxes and doorways or entrance courtyards with intricate carvings or decorations.  My last video on Spain is therefore a retrospective of the many decorated windows and intricate doorways and entranceways I found during our time there.

Mostly what I wanted was to create something using music with a Spanish guitar as the main instrument.  While Flamenco may by the most famous dance associated with Spain to me it is the playing of a Spanish guitar that invokes movement and rhythm and that which sets my heart racing.  The song Pure Paradise performed by Armik therefore does this slide show justice.  Enjoy.

Florence Lince

about.me/florencelince

Let Me Introduce You to Troglodite City

The stories of our time in Spain continue to invade my writing list. It would be hard to live in a country and not walk away with a treasure trove of stories to write about. For me sometimes it is in the taking of the pictures that helps me to formulate and create my stories.

On the day we traveled to Seville and Cordoba we stopped first in a little town called Purullena. Purullena is known for two things. 1. It is known for its cave homes. Roughly half of the population of the town (about 2300 people) actually live in cave dwellings which explains why it is also called Troglodite City and 2. They make and sell a lot of pottery here.

The town of Purullena dates back to 1800 B.C. The cave dwellings appear to originate from the Arab occupation of the town. The Moors were in control of the town from the 9th century until 1489, when it was reconquered by the Catholic monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella, they of Christopher Columbus fame.

Agriculture, pottery and tourism all contribute to the economy of the town which is known for its fertile soil and for growing peaches.  On this day however we were in pursuit of pottery.

The pottery in this region of Spain is world famous.  These large platters with the bright colors make great gifts.  © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

The pottery in this region of Spain is world famous. These large platters with the bright colors make great gifts. © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

Patatas means potato and these would also make great hiding places for homemade cookies!  © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

Patatas means potato.  I think these would make a great place to hide homemade cookies from little fingers.  No child is going to want to open the lid of a potato jar!  © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

They made vases and plates and paella serving dishes.  Anything you can think of for the home they can make.  © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

They make vases and plates and paella serving dishes. Anything you can think of for the home they can make. © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

This man posing with Mike made all of the ceramics we found in this store.  He has been making pottery for over 50 years.  His work is beautiful.  © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

This man posing with Mike made all of the ceramics we found in this store. He has been making pottery for over 50 years.  When we told him how beautiful his pieces were he smiled for the camera.  © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

These are real working lamps.  © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

These are real working lamps. © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

I love all of the bright colors on some of the pottery.  © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

I love all of the bright colors on some of the pottery. © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

These plates and other ceramic works really make me think of Spain.  They can ship anywhere in the world.  © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

These plates and other ceramic works really make me think of Spain. They can ship anywhere in the world. © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

Florence Lince

http://about.me/florencelince

Pilar de la Horadada

Some cities are automatically on our travel radar; Madrid, Barcelona, Seville.  Some cities are added as we learn more about an area, and a small city like Pilar de la Horadada which might not otherwise have made it on our travel wish list we were drawn to visit after meeting a couple of fellow expats who call this city home.  New friends Ruth and Mick came from the UK 12 years ago and settled on life here in Pilar.

Pilar is the southernmost city in the Valencia region of Spain.  It was less than a two hour bus ride from our base here in Torrevieja.

During Roman times Pilar was called “Thiar’s Mansion” and was a trading post situated at the foot of the Via Augusta, one of the oldest and most important Roman roads in Hispania.  It is believed that this was the main route between Illici (Elche) and Carthago Nova (Cartagena).

Pilar was settled by the Moors in the 8th Century and remained under Muslim control until the 13th Century.  Between the 13th and the 17th Centuries this region saw many attacks by pirates.  The Watchtower of the nearby village of Torre de la Horadada was built in the 15th Century to protect the inhabitants from pirate attacks.

© Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

The Watchtower was built in the 15th Century. Today it is a private home. © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

The beach along this area of Spain stretch’s for over 4 kilometers and the crystal clear blue waters and the good visibility the sea offers provides a great location for scuba diving.  For their added pleasure off the coast is a sunken wreck which can be explored by the most experienced of divers.

© Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

Tourism hasn’t invaded this area of Spain as of yet. Most of the visitors are vacationers. There are plenty of apartments to rent for short stays scattered throughout the area. © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

In the main town square stands the Our Lady of the Virgin of Pilar Roman Catholic Church.  The present church stands on the site of a chapel built in 1616.  That chapel was demolished in 1745 but rebuilt in 1752.  That church stood until 1975 when it too needed to be demolished.  The present church seen today was built in 1982. The bell tower was built in 1899 and stands at a height of 24 meters.  The bell tower houses four large and several smaller bells.

© Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

Our Lady of the Virgin of Pilar. The bell tower was built in 1899. © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

Pilar is a very expat friendly city with the majority of expats coming from the UK, Germany, Norway and Canada and the population of the area is around 25,000.  Most of the region is holiday housing so on the day we visited we were the only people in the complex where Ruth and Mick live.

© Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

Our new friends Ruth and Mick who have lived in Pilar for 12 years. They are originally from the UK. We met them while on our excursion to Seville and Cordoba and they invited us to explore their little part of Spain. © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

Every Friday the city hosts a Farmer’s Market and we timed our visit to coincide with market day.  There was a wonderful selection of fresh fruits, vegetables, dry goods, clothing, cooked meats, candies and baked goods.  Mike loved the fresh cherries he bought and I love the new house dress I got.

© Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

© Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

 

© Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

© Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

Pilar is on the famous Camino de Santiago.  Rough translation of the photo says, ‘from this point in the city of Pilar de la Horadada is the beginning of the southern route of the Camino de Santiago of the southeast.  Its distance is 1240 kilometers (740 miles) to Santiago de Compostela’ (the location of St. James Church in Santiago, Spain).

© Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

© Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

Pilar has a laid back and quiet vibe, beautiful beaches, plenty of restaurants to choose from, easy to walk streets and good public transportation.  They even have a senior center where seniors gather to get a hot noon day meal.

Our time spent with Ruth and Mick always seems to fly by and we never seem to run out of things to talk about, so when they suggested we come to Pilar so they could show us around their little town we jumped at the chance. On this day we spent 8 hours walking, talking, exploring, and taking pictures, lots and lots of pictures of this small coastal town. While Pilar does have tourist attractions and would make a worthwhile stop for other travelers what made our time in Pilar so special was the time we got to spend with new friends, and that is something that you won’t find in any guide book.

Florence Lince

http://about.me/florencelince

The Call of the Mar Menor

From our home base here in Spain we are less than an hour’s drive from the ancient city of Cartagena.

Cartagena is a port city located in the southeasterly coastal area of Spain.  It has been inhabited since 227 BC.  Being a most advantageous Mediterranean seaport helped to grow Cartagena’s importance to the local economy of the region and also helped to make it the epicenter of the Spanish Navy.  Even present day this is still an important naval seaport, the main military haven of Spain, and home to a naval shipyard.

© Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

© Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

With such a long history and being such an important port Cartagena was conquered by many people such as the Romans, the Phoenicians, the Byzantines even the Moors.

© Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

The Roman Theater built near the end of the 2nd Century BC in Cartagena. © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

 

© Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

Roman Baths © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

 

© Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

Roman Amphitheater found near Concepcion Castle. © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

Cartagena was limited in its boundaries by five small hills which also acted to protect the city from attack. So important was Cartagena to Roman expansion that Julius Caesar gave the town Latin Rights and the city was central to the Carthaginian and the Roman conquest of the Iberian Peninsula.

© Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

© Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

 

© Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

© Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

In 298 AD Diocletian (famed for Diocletian’s Palace in Split, Croatia) constituted a new Roman province in Hispania called Carthaginensis and made Cartagena the capital.

During the turbulent years to come this region of Spain was ruled by many factions.  In 1245 King Alfonso X of Castile (Alfonso the Wise) conquered Cartagena.  In 1270 he created the Order of Santa Maria de Espania for naval defense of the Crown of Castile and established its headquarters here which is where it still remains. Cartagena is also a cruise ship port. One to three ships dock here every week from March until about November. Cartagena also has 10 beaches, the most of any Spanish city.

© Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

© Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

For the princely sum of 12.50 Euros a person, a tourist can get a three for one all day tourism ticket.  Included in the price is a visit to the Roman Theatre, a ride on the Cartagena tourism bus (a 40 minute ride around the city with recorded commentary on the city’s history) and entrance to Concepcion Castle, which is today the Centre for Interpretation of the History of Cartagena. If you have one day to spend in the city and you don’t mind walking a bit this inclusive tourism ticket is well worth the expense.

Not included in the ticket is entrance to the Naval Museum and other items of note around the city but all of the main attractions of the city are located within a few minutes walk of each other.  You can literally see all of old Cartagena in a day’s time.

© Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

Today this is an office building, it used to be the main entrance to the Palace of Cartagena. © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

 

© Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

© Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

Before returning home we stopped in the tiny town of Los Nietos and walked the short distance to the Mar Menor beach front. The Mar Menor is a salty lagoon separated from the Mediterranean by a sand bar. It has warm and clear waters with high salinity, and incredibly high winds perfect for wind surfing.  This inlet has been sanctioned by the United Nations as a protected area and along its coast line you can see the five volcanic islands (Perdiguera, Mayor or del Barón, del Ciervo, Redonda and del Sujeto).

© Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

© Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

 

© Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

© Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

The Mar Menor is Europes largest salt water lake.  It has been inhabited since the Palaeolithic Era.  Today the Mar Menor is a major tourism center and many of the hotels found along the inlet are first class resorts.

Florence Lince

http://about.me/florencelince

 

 

 

Winging It

As you read this blog entry Mike and I should be on a plane, headed from Alicante, Spain to Oslo, Norway on the first leg of our journey.  It is time for us to move on once again.

We have now been traveling internationally for three years with very little downtime.  We have been traveling and sightseeing and overall meeting some extraordinary people. It has been an amazing time.  It has however produced what Mike and I are calling ‘travel fatigue’.

We are weary of packing and repacking our bags; we are tired of trying to find a new place to live and spending hours in researching and exploring options; we are struck with surprise at how unfriendly some folks are when faced with a real expat and lastly we feel isolated from family and friends.  Traveling is therefore no longer fun and exciting; it is hard work and a chore to keep moving on.

Before we began this adventure and before I met my husband Mike I had been traveling internationally for years.  I would plan, investigate and organize my vacations well before I departed US shores.  It was fun and exciting to go places I had never been before.  These vacations were a chance to use my passport; a break from my 9 to 5 job and from daily household chores, a break from the weather, a change of scenery; in general a much-needed respite from every day life.  Mostly however these vacations gave me something to look forward too.

Then I turned travel into a job and created The 6 Monthers.  We began to build a brand and to try to monetize our blogs and our names.  We searched for sponsors for our travels and for those who wanted to share our story.  We built a reputation for solid reviewing and sharing of information, and we lost our passion for travel along the way.  No longer is traveling someplace new exciting or fun; travel has been relegated to being work and we spend far too much time worrying about how will we pay for all the excursions we would like to do and looking so far ahead in our travels that we have lost focus on having fun in the place that we are in.  Because we are always looking for the next assignment or the next web series or the next sponsor we are not enjoying the here and now.

One of the major downsides to this travel lifestyle is that we now both feel unfit.  We have both gained weight as we have traveled because we have not been able to have a stable exercise routine, and a stable diet.  The foods and the way of cooking we are used too (nothing fried; oven baked foods only) are not possible in many countries because ovens are not always available to cook in.  Because we have to spend so much time in looking for the next assignment we also tend to spend a lot of time sitting and working instead of walking and exploring.

We are therefore taking this next year to lose some of the weight we have gained while traveling and get fit once again.  And to do that we are going home; home to Olympia, WA.  We have to find that home of course but as usual I’m already working on it and we have some great leads.

During our year off we will be retooling ourselves.  I will most likely be looking for a job to keep me busy and Mike will spend his time exercising, volunteering, and developing and outlining our next adventure.

We are exploring a couple of new ideas that will all include travel in our lives but from completely new and different angles. We know we have proven that you really can live well all over the world on very little money and so we have nothing more to prove as The 6 Monthers.

My newest venture hopefully launched earlier this month; well the blog should be up and running and my first video will be up shortly. I am calling my newest adventure Lean, Mean and Vegan. Mike will be working on another aspect of travel for us which we are tentatively calling; The Lince’s, At Home on the Road.

And yes, we will also be looking for sponsors.

This is however not my last Reflection, far from it.  I have much to remember and reflect upon and many more stories to share about the wonderful places we have traveled too over the years.  Thank you to everyone for reading, following and commenting on my blog stories when the spirit moves you.

I had Mike come up with a toast that I will use at the end of all my videos going forward. It seems appropriate here to end this entry with it.

“A toast…, to new friends, to a healthier way of living, and safe travels for one and all. Cheers!”

Florence Lince

http://about.me/florencelince