Gone Cruising: Part 3

Roatan was very hilly and beautiful. I took this shot from the bus on the way to the park.

Roatan was very hilly and beautiful. I took this shot from the bus on the way to the park.

“A ship is safe in harbor, but that’s not what ships are built for.” John A. Shedd

The cruise is over and I’m writing this back at my mom’s house. In this post I want to summarize my impressions of cruising. First, let me say that I am delighted to have spent this time with my mom and to have had an opportunity to go on a cruise. But I am quite confident this will be my one-and-only! Cruising is great and has a huge appeal to a lot of people, I just don’t happen to be one of them. The crucial thing to me is to make a distinction between cruising and traveling; as far as I am concerned they are not the same, in fact they are opposites. The bottom line is that cruising is about entertainment and traveling is about experiencing other places, peoples and cultures. To demonstrate what I mean, here is a list of the things that cruising has to offer; in other words, if you love these things, you will love going on a cruise:

  • Sunbathing
  • Drinking at the bar
  • Swimming in the pool
  • Fine dining
  • Eating around the clock
  • Comedy or song and dance shows.
  • The Jacuzzi.
  • Relaxing and doing nothing with family and friends

Being on a cruise offers all these things in abundance, but none of them are about traveling. In fact you can do all of them at home without leaving your home town, they are just greatly magnified on the ship. They are all forms of entertainment that you would go and do after work or on your weekend, they have nothing to do with traveling. Unfortunately, I don’t enjoy any of those things. So the money spent on a cruise is wasted on me. If that was all there was to it, I would have been bored out of my mind and hated it. Fortunately the excursions saved the day.

Cruise-Sunset-lastWe were on a seven day cruise and four of those days we were docked in a foreign port. At each of those ports-of-call we had a large assortment of different tours ashore to choose from. No matter what you were interested in, you could almost certainly find something that you wanted to do. If you wanted more of the same you could spend the day ashore at a beach drinking, swimming and sunbathing. For the adventurous you could swim with the dolphins, stingrays or sea turtles or you could go snorkeling or diving on the reef. There were also jungle adventures where you could raft, tube, ride an ATV, take a Jeep tour and even go on a zip-line. There were gardens, National parks, zoos and many other things to explore. If you were more interested in experiencing new people, places and cultures there were numerous tours for that. So there was no shortage of interesting things to do and see.

The problem is that you are in each port for a very small amount of time. The longest we were in a port was 9 hours and shortest was about 6. So you could go out and see maybe one thing, but just how much are you experiencing of a different culture in that brief a time? Still, it’s better than nothing so I took a tour in each place. Here is a quick summary of what I did but I will mainly have photos at the end of the post showing them.

  • In Cozumel, Mexico I took a bus through the jungle to a Mayan temple. I was fortunate and had a great tour guide. He wasn’t just going through the motions he was thoughtful and gave us some great info. The reason I choose this Mayan temple to visit was because it was on a bluff overlooking the Caribbean which gave me more photo opportunities. It was a hot day so that made it harder, but all in all it was a great tour.
  • In Belize City my mom and I took a horse-drawn carriage ride around the city. Again the tour guide was very good and gave us some good insight into the country. Belize attracts a lot of retired Americans because English is the first language, the crime rate is very, very low and you can live very cheaply. In fact, 23% of the population is retired American ex-patriots. Being in Central America it is close enough to drive to and from the States and fairly easy to do so. For some people it is the perfect retirement destination.
  • At Mahogany Bay, Isle of Roatan, Honduras, I went to a private park: Gumbalina Park. Roatan was by far the most beautiful place we went to and by far my favorite. The population is about 10% retired Americans (Oprah Winfrey has a mansion there). I asked the tour guide if I could retire there with an income of $1500 dollars U.S. as an income and she replied that yes, I could live very comfortably on that. She thought I could live fairly well on $1000 a month but below that it would start to get pretty hard.
  • Our final stop was at Grand Cayman and there I did a tour just for fun! I have always been fascinated by pirates so I took a two hour cruise on a “pirate ship”. I had hoped it would be somewhat educational, but it was all just light-hearted fun. They gathered the kids together and made them swear an oath to the Pirates Creed to eat lots of candy, play every day, sleep late and not listen to their parents. Actually, that all sounds like a pretty good idea to me!! After that was done they asked the kids if their parents were mean to them, and of course they all said, “Yes!” So they tied some of the parents to the mast and “tortured” them by pouring ice water on them. Even though it was a hot day, it looked like it was a mild form of torture! Then we dropped anchor and everyone went swimming in the gorgeous, warm Caribbean Sea.
A big iguana in Tulum, the Mayan Temple.

A big iguana in Tulum, the Mayan Temple.

So it is possible to do some traveling on a cruise, but it is very limited. While I can brag to you that I have been to the Caymans and Belize, to be honest I really haven’t experienced them. Spending 4 hours in a country—and most of that on a bus—can’t seriously be considered traveling to a country. Again, it is better than nothing, but just barely. No, the only way to really consider yourself a traveler is to fly or drive into a country and spend some time there. The more the better but it certainly should be counted in the days and not in the hours. Ideally it should be counted in weeks or months, but for most people that is not realistic.

I have traveled extremely little, so I am in no position to try to tell you how to do it. However, there are many, many blogs and books describing how to travel on extremely little money so the information is out there. If I was to become a world traveler, I would fly into an area, stay at hostels or cheap hotels and travel from a home base. To get out and about I would take a mixture of public transportation, taxis and tours. There is nothing wrong with taking tours; sometimes they are the best bang for your buck.

The original cruise ship! This is the "pirate ship" we 'sailed" on.

The original cruise ship! This is the “pirate ship” we ‘sailed” on.

Like nearly everything in life, the bottom line is it all depends on your tolerance to risk and discomfort. Taking a cruise allows you to travel with zero risk and no discomfort (in fact you are in total luxury) but it rewards you with the minimum of travel experience. However, traveling is not that appealing to me so I am risk and discomfort adverse. Spending time in nature is my primary motivation in life and for that I am willing to take quite a bit of risk and have some discomfort so being a vandwelling boondocker is perfect for me.

What about you? Since you are reading my blog, there must be some part of you that longs to live a mobile life. Unfortunately, there is no gain without some pain. If you want the full rewards of mobile living, you are going to have to put up with some risk and discomfort. The key thing is to be really honest with yourself and decide how much risk and discomfort you are willing to tolerate. Once you have done that, then take a leap of faith and jump out into the deep end for a refreshing swim!

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” Attributed to Mark Twain

 

This is Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville in Grand Cayman. Cruisiing is Margaritaville on a ship!

This is Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville in Grand Cayman. Cruising is Margaritaville on a ship!

The Mayan Temple at Tulum. My tour guided pointed out that the arrival  of the Spanish did not destroy the Mayan civilization, they were merely the final nail in their coffin. They simply overpopulated them selves to death. They are living proof that humans can take from Mother Earth so much faster than she can replenish Herself  that they cause their own doom.

The Mayan Temple at Tulum. My tour guided pointed out that the arrival of the Spanish did not destroy the Mayan civilization, they were merely the final nail in their coffin. They simply overpopulated them selves to death. They are living proof that humans can take from Mother Earth so much faster than she can replenish Herself that they cause their own doom.

The Mayan temple at Tulum. Here you can see it is built on a cliff overlooking the Caribbean Sea.

The Mayan temple at Tulum. Here you can see it is built on a cliff overlooking the Caribbean Sea.

Waves breaking on the Caribbean at Tulum.

Waves breaking on the Caribbean at the Mayan Temple at Tulum.

 

IMG_3056

I've gone to the birds!

I’ve gone to the birds!

IMG_3188

Cruise-Pirate-ship-close

The Pirates "torturing" the parents.

The Pirates “torturing” the parents.

The Pirate Ship sailing past the Cruise Ship.

The Pirate Ship sailing past the Cruise Ship.

Bob
About

I’ve been a full-time VanDweller for 12 years and I love it. I hope to never live in a house again!

48 comments on “Gone Cruising: Part 3
  1. Mike says:

    While overpopulation is one theory, no one actually knows for sure what happened to the original Maya. And they’re not gone. There are many Maya in Mexico and Guatemala.

    Also, US citizens who live in other countries are not ex-patriots. They’re expatriates. They may be as patriotic as anyone else or more so.

  2. Gary Stern says:

    Last summer we took a 14 day tour of Italy. Every day we were up early and had a schedule of places to see and things to do. I saw more of Italy in those two weeks than friends who have been there multiple times. But, it was exhausting and even youngsters in their 30’s sometimes took a nap and slept through dinner. By the end of the tour my whole body hurt and it took weeks for everything to sink in. We saw a lot but it was painful and structured.

    Anthony Bourdain, chef and author says the only way to get to know a country is to show up and hang out. He says don’t worry if you miss the Louvre, spending time with the locals at a bar and walking about is what the experience of travel is about. While I don’t totally by in to his theory, it is closer to my idea od “travel”.

    I’m convinced there is a happy medium. Crusising wouldn’t do it for me, but this year we have booked a trip on a river boat that starts at Nice and goes slowly north, stopping all along the way. I am hoping to find that happy medium where I can experience the country without returning needing a week’s rest. Maybe this concept of travel will suit us more.

    • Bob Bob says:

      Gary, I have been hearing more and more about river cruises, and it all sounds very positive. It does seem like the best of both words. You get a safe place to stay and you move slowly enough to become intimate with the area and not be totally exhausted. Humans have always gathered on waterways so you probably will miss out on very little. I am fascinated by China, it is one of the few foreign countries i would love to see. I just saw where they have a cruise that runs down the Yangtze river, I would give serious thought to do something like that. I agree totally about how exhausting taking the excursions are. That’s the risk of trying to pack everything into such a brief period of time.

      It sounds like you are getting this traveling thing figured out for yourself. That’s all that counts, is that you are enjoying and thriving in it.
      Bob

  3. Naomi says:

    I’ve thoroughly enjoyed your cruising blog posts. Love the photos – especially of the animals. Thanks for taking the time to share your trip. And, don’t worry about contrarians and any grammar/spelling Nazis. You rock!

    ~Naomi

    • Bob Bob says:

      Naomi, I know it is off-my-usual-topic, but it is my life right now, so I am glad you are getting some good out of it. I’m pretty sure that is the last post on cruising.

      I’m afraid that is the story of my life, all the girls are only interested in me because of my animals. I’m sure Homer is much more popular than I am!!
      Bob

      • Naomi says:

        Now, now, I do not believe that is the case!

        And, I forgot to say: to err is human, but to ARRRGGH is pirate. 😉

        ~Naomi

  4. MichaelinOK says:

    Bob,

    Thanks for sharing the impressions and photos. That monkey picture is particularly cute.

    An observation: Whenever I’ve traveled, even if it was only flying to another city for a few days to participate in a family gathering, I’ve found that being away from my habitual surroundings and out of my usual routines helped me think new thoughts…and when I returned, it helped me see (and feel) my familiar life, at least briefly, with a fresh eye.

    Are you finding that true to some degree for you, too?

    Michael

  5. Suzann says:

    I prefer unstructured, unplanned meandering to any organized trip. Even while out for weekly shopping, I’ll often take a different route, just to see something new. Glad you got to spend time with your mom & see new things, but van dwelling obviously suits you best. Thanks for sharing!

    • Bob Bob says:

      Suzann, you’re very right, I have found the thing in life that makes me the happiest. It is always good to try new things but boondocking own my heart. I fly out tomorrow and I can’t wait to get bak to my tiny little trailer in the Prescott national Forest. To me that is heaven on earth!

      It’s good that you have figured out what you like, now you just have to make sure you make it happen in your life.
      Bob

  6. Now either the parrot or the monkey must come back here to camp.
    Charlene Swankie recently posted…Morning Walk, wonders of the desertMy Profile

  7. Al Christensen says:

    Cruising isn’t zero risk. It usually is, but there are many horror stories to be found on the web about diseases spread onboard, being stranded on malfunctioning ships, running aground, bad weather, etc.

    To me, cruise ships are floating resorts that you’re trapped in until you can go ashore. Then it’s a manic rush to clear immigration and get to your activity. Unlike a resort on land, you can’t just leave if you’re not having a good time.

    You took an excursion to Tulum. It’s one of my favorite places. I stayed a week in a one-room cabin right on the beach. There are unspoiled beaches stretching from there to Belize, along with a large nature preserve and nearby freshwater cave diving. I had a rental car I’d driven from Cancun, so I explored the region a bit.

    On my dive trip to Cozumel, I booked lodging in three different places: a hotel in town, a resort with a reputable dive operation, and an all-inclusive resort way out on the southwest end if the island. The in-town hotel was the most fun because I could explore the city on foot and get away from the touristy areas. The resorts were boring as hell unless you wanted to drink all day, have a mediocre buffet meal, then drink some more.

    I’ve been to Grand Cayman twice, both times to dive. But we made a point of getting out of the condo and exploring the island — at our own pace. There would be six to eight cruise ships in the harbor and passengers rushing around trying to have fun before they had to return to their ship.No thanks.

    • Bob Bob says:

      Al, it sounds like you and I have very similar ideas. But you are more adventurous than I am and have broader interests.

      Your right about the zero risk to cruising. I was on a Carnival cruise, and they are the ones who have been so much in the news lately. There was a near constant flow of jokes about having life rafts in our luggage and other things. But it is like most things, the risk is exaggerated and it is unlikely to happen to you–possible but unlikely.

      Keep following your dreams!
      Bob

      • Al Christensen says:

        An ad agency I worked at was pitching the Holland America cruise line. Some agency people took a short cruise to see what the experience was like. Market research, if you will. They came back with video for the rest of us. Rather than the idealized Caribbean cruise, it was overcast and drizzly the entire time. And I particularly remember footage of water in the empty swimming pool sloshing around. That was 25 years ago and cruise ship stabilization technology has advanced considerably, but it sure made it harder to sell the glamour of cruising. 😉

        • Bob Bob says:

          Al, that’s just how I feel about the Alaska cruises. They sound very good, but my experience has been your odds are never better than 50/50 of seeing the sun. I think the Caribbean has a pretty high likely hood of good weather, but nothing is a certainty. But, the weather is just always a chance you take.
          Bob

  8. Lynnzie says:

    In my experience after going on TOURS in other countries I learned many lessons. First forget the guide and go to what area calls to you or peaks your interest. The tour guide will fill your head with history as fast as they can and drag you to many places as fast as possible. Listening to history all day can drain me, I would rather read about it at a pleasurably pace. Getting to know the locals and being with them will expand my knowledge and help me get to know the flavor of the country. I love to explore and to do so at my own pace.

    • Bob Bob says:

      Very good point Lynnzie, it seems much better to do your own research and learn about the country before you go–that is just book learning. Once their you can experience the people and the place which will be greatly enhanced because you did your homework. I’m glad to learn from your experience!
      Bob

  9. Linda Sand says:

    We found river cruising and traveling with a tour group to be a good introduction to foreign lands. It can become a way to feel comfortable going back on your own to explore. Paris scared me until we went there as part of a group tour. Then we bought some Rick Steve’s guides and went back to Europe on our own with much more confidence than we would have if we’d just gone their on our own first. But travel here in the USA is much easier–everyone speaks our language and we understand the cost of things. 🙂
    Linda Sand recently posted…HomeMy Profile

    • Bob Bob says:

      That’s a very good point Linda. Most of us are fascinated by foreign travel but afraid at the same time. If going on a cruise or formal tour makes it easier, I am all in favor of it. I know I am much too timid to go to China on my own, so if it ever happens, it will be on a tour of some kind. I’m glad to hear that doing it the easy way the first time makes it so much easier to do it again. That gives me hope!
      Bob

      • Al Christensen says:

        I spent three weeks in China on business. I’d never felt so alien before. At least when I went to various places in Europe and Central America the alphabet was the same. Fortunately, the company I was working with provided translators. We did a wild and crazy day in Beijing, though, without translators or guides, using just a card the hotel concierge provided with the names of various attractions, and the hotel’s name, printed in English and Chinese. We’d just flag down a taxi and point to the place we wanted to go to. We lived to tell about it.

  10. Bob Bob says:

    Kathi, life is just a big learning/experiencing adventure and if nothing else I have learned and experienced a lot in the last week. It sounds like we have similar ideas of the good life; I wish you the best as you pursue yours!
    Bob

  11. Psp says:

    Your response to Cruising was the same as mine. Glad I did it, but once was enough. Highlights were the off ship tours but all too short. Now, I’m 73 and RVing is getting harder to do as I’m a single woman. But I’ve had some wonderful times! I don’t regret the travels I’ve gotten to do. So – I say ‘go it while ye may”…

    • Bob Bob says:

      Psp, no doubt that RVing and vandwelling is harder than house living, so the day will finally come when it is just too hard for me too. That will be a very sad day. I honestly don’t know what I will do then. I think I will put a small RV in a cheap, remote RV park and grow old in it. Once it’s hooked up it would be no different than living in a house.

      Being here with so many older retired people has made me very aware of the importance of not putting off living until you are older. Tomorrow is never guaranteed and good health is also a very fragile thing. Much better to do your living while you are young!!
      Bob

  12. CAE says:

    Avast ye matey. Might there be buried treasure there?

    Cruising is taking your hotel to all the places you visit.

  13. Joan Connor says:

    The only way I want to visit countries (now that I am living in Mongolia) is to live in them for an extended period of time. With that being said, I am excited to be returning to America and experience some unlimited “trailer time.” I went on one cruise one time and decided the loss of locus of control was not my bag. Glad you went, Bob, and spent the time with Mom. Those memories are what it is all about! Za…..

    • Bob Bob says:

      Joan, you are so right, the longer you are there the more intimate you become!! You are very fortunate to be able to spend so much time in Mongolia, I’m envious! Like you, I am spending some “unlimited ‘trailer time’.” Now that is the good life!!
      Bob

  14. Hi Bob, Loved the pictures, especially you with the bird and monkey. So glad you had the time with your mother. As much as you loved it she loved and appreciated it more. Spending time with your son is precious. Your not far from where I live. I live south of you. North Port, near Sarasota, Venice. If I was home I would come and meet you but I am on a trip. Traveling by myself via car. Can’t wait until I can afford a small rv. I drove from Florida to Virginia, then to N.H. and now I am in Massachusetts. My grandaughter just had my first great grand daughter, that was the reason for the trip. I also have a grandaughter graduating May 30th so I might as well stay until Middle June before I return the long drive home. don’t think I am an old woman! LOL. I am a young senior!! Started early. Love traveling, making believe I am in my rv. As soon as I pay off my car I will be buying one and going full time! Its so frustrating to have to wait! I want to see mountains, wild horses, and cows. lol
    take care, enjoy your visit and I know you will be happy to return home to your fur family.
    Sharon from Florida.

    • Edie says:

      Hi Sharon,
      I love to go to North Port (I live three hours north of it) because it has the Warm Mineral Springs which is spring that has the most minerals in any spring in the US with lots of healing properties. Most people don’t know about this place, it’s like a hidden treasure.
      Edie in Cedar Key

    • Bob Bob says:

      Sharon, I would never think you were an old woman–or at least I would never admit it! But I have to admit that you having a great grand daughter did make me think you were “older.” The time will come when you can finally hit the road and it sounds like you are going to love it!!
      Bob

  15. ILDan says:

    Bob- Your cruisng observations are spot on! A cruise is a good vacation for those who like to drive on “cruise control” or auto-pilot. Real travel requires “shifting gears” in-flight. It may not always be relaxing, but it will be an hands-on experience. Some of my best stories come from plans set asunder. My first cruise experienced hyjackers, hurricane, engine trouble and a lost pair of prescription glasses–no exaggeration! Those who couldn’t roll with the punches had the worst trip of their lives. My cousin and I made the best of the worst and laughed most of the time.

  16. Edie says:

    Hi Bob,
    After all the cruise bashing, I would like to say that I love cruising. To me it’s a great value for your money. I don’t go there to drink, gamble or mingle. I go to rest, relax and be served. I work in a restaurant and cook all day. I love it when someone else is cooking and serving me. At home I still have much to do, so on a cruise I really get to rest.
    In fact we are going on a cruise today, out of Tampa for only 4 days to Cozumel and back. Been there many times and we might not even get off the ship at port. This way we can have the place to ourselves.
    I had been to the Roatan/Belize cruise last December and like you, I loved Roatan and have a picture from that same bus stop spot. We are planning to take that same cruise again in the fall. I would like to visit the Belize zoo.

    Just goes to show how people are different!

    I also love to travel and we have a small trailer and a van similar to yours, Chevy express 2500 extended. I don’t consider a cruise as traveling. It’s more like a short term convalescent home…..lol.
    Edie in Cedar Key, Florida, on the nature coast

    • Bob Bob says:

      Edie, I hadn’t even thought about it from the point of view of a working person. In my really bad old days when I finally got a vacation I was so busy running around that I always came home afterwards exhausted. I needed a vacation to recover from the vacation! So I can see easily see it from your point of view, if you are looking for relaxation, cruising is hard to beat. And you are right, it is a tremendous value, you can’t take a vacation for less.

      Thanks for showing me a different way to look at it!
      Bob

  17. Dan says:

    Thanks for sharing some of the sights, BEAUTIFUL pictures.
    I just got back to Kentucky from 10 week dispatch to Mississippi where I was able to check out some local foods.
    Some really good “catfish nachos” and a “slug burger” from the restaurant where Elvis ate growing up. What local foods did you find?

    • Bob Bob says:

      Dan, I am not a “foodie” If I had to eat hamburgers every dinner for the rest of my life that would be fine with me! My tastes are quite boring! I didn’t eat anything off the ship on the cruise so I didn’t really explore at all. In fact exotic food is a big reason for me to NOT travel.
      Bob

  18. Mary says:

    Hey- this is my first time to visit your blog and have to say I really enjoyed it. Here is our idea of an Alaska “cruise”. My hubby and I traveled from NM to Bellingham, Washington in our pop-top Ford van, got on the Alaska Ferry there, off in Juneau to camp a few days, back down to Sitka and Ketchican and camped several days both places, and back to Washington. We loved our time on the ferry, mostly did meals out of our supplies. The ferries have microwaves to heat up your own food, and you are allowed below to check on animals and restock your supplies every so often. We rolled out our sleeping bags in the lounge area with other travelers (there are cabins for a reasonable cost). Had a great time visiting with natives and tourists. Part of the trip we were joined by a large group of Alaskan teens going to a music festival in Sitka. We had a great time and enjoyed the scenery from the ferries, relaxed, got to know people, watched a few second run movies in the “theatre”. We spent about the same as a cruise would have cost, but spent many days on shore instead of a few hours. As you said, it all depends on what you most enjoy.

    • Bob Bob says:

      Mary, what a wonderful comment, and what a wonderful trip!! Thanks for sharing that great idea with us! Many years ago I took the ferry but at that time they wouldn’t let us go below to our vehicles. Like you, we slept and ate in the lounge. I lived over 40 years in Alaska but never in southeast so I know very little about it. How did you do sleeping in the van, did you have any problems in Juneau, Sitka, and Ketchikan? I’ve never heard of anyone doing it before so I have no idea how tolerant they are. As a rule Alaska is pretty tolerant of alternative lifestyles. Its truly a live-and-let-live state.

      When I did it we were heading south and so we got off at Prince Rupert and drove to Seattle through BC. it was extremely beautiful, as pretty as anywhere I have ever been. But we were on Honda Gold Wing motorcycles and it is just about impossible not to love a trip on a Gold Wing!! You just can’t get rid of the smile on your face.

      That’s why we took the ferry, back in the 70s the Alcan would still really beat you up and so we took the ferry to avoid the Alcan on the bikes. About 10 years later I drove it on a Suzuki 850, but by then it was pretty easy. Other than construction, it was all chip-sealed which is like black-top.

      But I ramble on and on…. Thanks for your great comment, I think you belong here!
      Bob

  19. Mary says:

    We were actually able to stay in campgrounds most of the time, even though it was May and hard to find public parks open. The up side was, we were pretty much lone rangers. We did stay in the ferry parking lot a night or two without problems. My youngest, home-schooled son and I traveled through Canada in 2000 in a 21′ class C, actually from Billings, Montana, where we dropped hubby at an airport, to Fairbanks, Alaska, where we picked him up three weeks later. We traveled the Cassier Hwy the first half (not the best plan in early May) and then met the AlCan in the middle. With Mark (my spouse) traveling all over the world for his job, as long as he could get to an airport, they didn’t care where he was. We put about 35,000 miles on that Class C in 13 months, and my youngest son has seen every state except Hawaii, and a huge part of Canada. Best year of my life, no contest. We have our 14 yr. old granddaughter living with us now, but in a few years we are all set to full-time until we are too old or sick.
    That same son is a major motorcycle road trip guy now. He would be very envious of your trip!
    For those who are interested, if I was doing a trip to Alaska again, and we plan to, I would take the ferry one way, and drive back. When we did our driving trip, we had to miss out on Juneau, Sitka, and Ketchikan, since (as you know) you have to float or fly to get there. With the price of fuel, and wear and tear on your vehicle, it is worth it, plus you get to kick back and relax and watch the view. For tent campers, you can actually pitch your tent (tape it down!) on the upper deck, and camp out up there.
    It seems that Alaska is a little more picky about where you park overnight now, but we always managed to find someplace. I don’t know how the ferry management is about the parking lot if you aren’t riding, but it wasn’t unusual to have to get on the ferry in the middle of the night, so there were usually vehicles in the lot. We were careful not to be obtrusive or messy anytime we parked in a public place overnight. One time my son and I ate at a small diner, and the owner let us stay there overnight since it was late and raining. We just pulled around back and left early the next morning.

    • Bob Bob says:

      Mary, thank you so much for all that great information!! Would you be willing to flesh it out by writing an article and let me post it on the blog? many people are fascinated by a trip to Alaska and I think your experiences and insights would be very helpful!

      Now let me give you an idea that you are very likely to immediately discount, but I am very serious about. You could write a Kindle book on it. Many people are interested in combining home schooling and RVing and you have done it. Granted not for a real long time, but still done it. Honestly, what is to stop you?

      I have told many, many people to write Kindle books, and they all say, “No, I couldn’t do that!” YES YOU CAN!! All you need is a little courage, an interesting story to tell, and lots of friends to edit for you!!
      Bob

      • Mary says:

        I would be happy to write an article about our trip to Alaska, if you think people would be interested and get some useful info from it. Keep in mind, though, that this was 13 yrs ago that we were driving and home-schooling, and 4 yrs. ago that we took the ferry. Let me now what you think and how to proceed with it.
        I’ll have to think about the Kindle book. There are so many good RV/homeschool blogs out there, I’m not sure I have much to contribute that isn’t already being said. I have lots of thoughts and opinions about homeschooling in general, which we did for six years, but didn’t change much while on the trip. Just a lot more fun! I didn’t even know about “blogs” then, but one of my friends kept most of the emails I sent and gave me a stack printed off when we got back. So much fun to read, and I still have them. I might find some good info in there. Haven’t read them lately.

        • Bob Bob says:

          Mary, the thing about blogs is you never get all the info in one spot, it is all piecemeal. If you can put it all together in one spot and combine it with a wonderful story, you will have a unique book that is both very helpful and very enjoyable. That sounds like a sure winner to me.

  20. Emily says:

    Enjoyed your blog posts about cruising. We have never been on a cruise and have no desire to for many of the same reasons you mentioned. But the reason for my comment here is to question where you were told that Belize has a very, very low crime rate. Not so at all. Crime is a big problem in Belize, especially in Belize City, but also on Ambergris Caye and other areas. It’s a real shame, but expats are often victimized as they are seen as “rich”, whether or not that is the case. Most houses have burglar bars on the windows and condo complexes have 24/7 security guards. We lived in Belize for 1.5 years and know many people who were robbed (mostly home break-ins), some multiple times. We were not victimized, but we did live in one of the complexes with a round-the-clock security staff. A lot of the crime is petty crime, but there are many laptops and cell phones stolen, and in Belize City, violent crime (often gang-related) is a real problem. Just wanted to clear that up since you may have been misinformed by your tour guide, wanting to present the country in a unrealistically positive light. There are many wonderful things about Belize, but a low crime rate is not one of them.

    • Bob Bob says:

      Emily, thanks for writing that, I guess my tour guide gilded the Lily because he made it sound like crime was unheard of. Personally I have no desire at all to live ina foreign country, but I like to pass along information. Preferably accurate information!
      Bob

  21. Elaine says:

    Bob,

    Just found this site and am fascinated with your way of life and your acceptance of everyone’s different ideas. Had to comment on your cruise reactions: Although I have traveled extensively, I’ve never had a desire to take a cruise for the same reasons you mentioned. I think I would feel like a prisoner of all those people telling me to have a good time on their schedule and being unable to go where and when I want. My grown daughter and I have been fortunate to enjoy a good bit of foreign travel over the years and are happiest when challenged with all the unknowns in new countries. To stay on a boat for days – even with the best of everything -with only a few hours for each port, sounds boring and frustrating. I’d rather be strolling through a foreign market seeing things I’ve never seen before, tasting things I’ve never tasted and meeting people different from me. It might not suit everybody, but to me it’s wonderful. (Love this site – just bought a small trailer and plan to travel some in the states. Have learned a lot from you aready!)

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