Today’s eNewsletter will be the last newsletter (from South America). Next Tuesday, November 14, my partner Greta and I fly from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to Panama City, and then up to Los Angeles. We’ve been gone 48 days—34 days on a cruise around South America and 12 days in the rain forest of Brazil.
The newsletter today features quotes from several Champs on a variety of topics. Some on dating; some on the South America trip.
Tom went surfing in Itamambuca Beach (Atlantic Ocean). Note the ice cream vendor to the right and in the background
Then, the last two days will be in Rio. It was an amazing experience for us.
Many of you responded to last week’s column with questions and comments that I would like to share with all our Champs.
Cheryl said, “I agree with Chuck (the widower who found love on a train) that it would be great to have you feature people in your newsletter! And I am eager to be one of them! I am willing to pay for your time and effort, mainly because it seems that your readers are a cut above men I meet on online dating sites.
“Specifically, the men in your readership seem more sincere and feeling, and don't seem to be users. Please let me know what I have to do to be selected, and, what information you would like about me. I am attaching a recent photo.”
Tom’s response to Cheryl: I will ponder this. Years ago, I tried it, but not enough men responded, and some women got angry. Online dating sites have thousands and thousands of subscribers. We have about 2,500, 75% who are women, leaving about 600 men. That is an estimate.
Also, I could not do this while traveling as I don’t have all my computing tools at my fingertips, as I do at home.
India, “When are you going to feature one of your longtime female champs?”
Tom’s response to India: I write about women Champs often. Perhaps not a full feature, but I quote women on a regular basis. The same thing I said to Cheryl above, regarding the number of men in our ranks, applies here. Let me ponder this more. Most of our women Champs don’t open-up as the men do.
Marilyn, “I hope you know how incredibly lucky you are to have found Greta, such a love, and to be able to travel the way the two of you do. I am so envious of your love of adventure. Go with the flow; there are not many out there like that. Love your column and adventures.”
Tom’s response to Marilyn: Greta and I found each other 20 years ago when she came to my Dana Point, California, deli and ordered a fresh carrot juice. On our first date, we discovered we both had a love for travel. We believe it is important to travel while we are healthy enough to do so. Yes, we are both lucky to have each other and to be able to travel.
Chris, San Clemente, California, “You didn’t tell us what it was like going around Cape Horn. When we last met, you were worried about rough seas. You may recall I went around Cape Horn three times in both directions. The water was like glass. Did you get a photo of the place where the two oceans meet?”
Tom’s response to Chris: The seas around Cape Horn were not like glass, but they were not too bumpy either. The ship was at the Cape Horn rock at 5:00 a.m. I failed to set my alarm and missed the event. I regret that now. But, the ship gave everyone a certificate of proof of going around the Horn.
Terry, “Once again, you put out a great newsletter. Might have missed it in the past, but in your writings, do you ever include info on the cruise lines and packages that you and Greta take? It might be helpful to people just beginning to delve into the cruising world.
“This issue was particularly enjoyable because a few of the locations you featured seemed off the beaten path. That is my kind of travel! Enjoy the rest of your trip. Sounds like you two are having great fun.”
Tom’s respond to Terry: I have a website, TravelAfter55.com where I try to post that kind of information. I don’t do it on the eNewsletter because some Champs aren’t interested in it (see Jackie’s comment below). Also, I’d be happy to answer questions like that via an email if people write to ask.
I did not post this trip on the TravelAfter55.com website because wi-fi on board ship is poor and wi-fi in the rain forest in Brazil required us to go to a great little bakery/café in town. Wifi was not available in the beach house. I did not have time to post to that travel website.
I hope, however, to post this trip to the TravelAfter55.com website before the end of the year and will let our group know.
Jackie, “I'm happy for your travels, but wish you would keep this column devoted to the original intent. Maybe you should start a travel column for older adults?”
Tom’s response to Jackie: One of the reasons I no longer charge for this eNewsletter (I used to charge $15/year) is so that I can write about more than just dating after 50. As we age, other issues, in addition to dating, also become important to us.
The newsletter title is “On Life and Love After 50,” which gives me the freedom to write on whatever I want and whatever I experience.
As I mentioned above, I do have a TravelAfter55.com website blog. I don’t charge for that either.
If there are enough people, at least 100, who want only dating information, I will start a newsletter for that and charge initially $25/year. Let me know Champs.
Bruce, Ohio, “I have truly enjoyed reading about this trip and it makes me want to do the same. How much roughly was it a person?”
Tom’s response to Bruce: Cruise ships charge by type of cabin. Generally, the higher the level (not called floors on ships), the more the money. Because there were two of us, the cost of our stateroom was divided by two. Sometimes cruise ship companies offer a “single supplement” so that singles can travel by themselves and not pay double. There are many other factors that affect the cost as well.
For example, passengers on this cruise each paid $13 per day for crew member tips. That was $884 for both of us. Also, shore excursions arranged by the ship can easily cost $100 or more per person per excursion. Laundry is an added cost. A big cost can be adult beverages such as beer, wine, and liquor that are costly, plus there is a 15% service charge added to the cost of those drinks.
Holland America only allows each passenger to bring on board one bottle of wine at the start of the cruise.
I suggest getting a good travel agent to negotiate with the cruise ship company for you. That does not cost anything extra. If you want more specific trip info, Bruce, email me separately.
Helen, “Sounds like a great trip! Looking forward to your next letter for your experiences at the beach house.”
Tom’s response to Helen: What shocked us most about the beach house, it was nearly a seven-hour drive from Rio. We were thinking four hours. Perhaps I’ll do a small piece on it next week, but that’s enough travel info., at least for now. The people in Brazil are wonderful, although few speak English.
We found a little bakery/deli in Itamambuca Beach, called Padaria Itamambuca. The two owners, Simone and Francisco, were fabulous to us and they spoke English. Plus, they had free wi-fi. That place made our trip extra special. Facebook: /padariaitamambuca
Francisco, Tom and Simone and in Brazil - Padaria Itamambuca Beach Brazil
Wayne, Orange Co., Calif., “What a trip. I’ve never been to South America… I need to go...”
Tom’s response to Wayne: Many South America trips leave from San Diego and Los Angeles. If you take one from either port, you--living in Orange County--would not have to pay an airfare to get to the departure city. If it is a round-trip cruise, no return airfare either. Big savings.
Carmen, (Tom’s high school classmate) “Very nice. Do you think global warming accounted for some of the good weather?”
Tom’s response to Carmen: I am not an authority, but the lectures we heard on board would indicate that global warming is affecting the glaciers rate of melting (or calving is a term used for glaciers breaking off). So possibly global warming, and lots and lots of passengers' fingers crossed, provided us with great weather.
Peggy, “Would love to follow in your and Greta’s footsteps. I’m retiring this month and will add this to my bucket list. What a great adventure- thank you for sharing it with us!”
Tom’s response to Peggy: “Ah Peggy, the fruits of retirement and working so hard. Go for it. Keep us posted.”
Stella, “What fun! Can I go with you two next time?”
Response to Stella: Knowing you personally, Stella, it would be fun to have you along.
Kaitte, “Although I’m not one who loves to travel, probably due to never having the money to do so, for once, I’m envious. Being an animal lover of any kind, I would have loved to experience Glenn Miller and the colony with you and Greta.
“My homestead here in Rocky Ford, Colo, has a new addition, actually 14—ducklings born last Friday. Also, I had a carport put up, and am in the process of closing it in, to create a year-around greenhouse.”
Tom’s response to Kaitte, I’m sure penguin Glenn Miller is very proud and envious of your 14 new ducklings. You may not be traveling, but you are leading an enriching life.