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January 22, 2020
Around the World in 131 Days

In April 2018 we celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary. In May 2019 Russell celebrated his 60th birthday. We wanted to do something special to mark both occasions. (Russell tends to do crazy things on his milestone birthdays, such as walking and bicycling halfway across the state.)

Almost 20 years ago, we embarked on a “once-in-a-lifetime” one-year trip around the world with our two sons. Russell asked Gail if she would consider doing this again. Her short answer was “Yes!” Her longer answer was, “Yes, but this time I don’t want to spend a year making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in the back of a station wagon!”

So two years ago, we started investigating world cruises. We found a terrific itinerary with Regent Seven Seas. It is a true “around the world” cruise – it goes all the way back to where it starts. (Many world cruises do not actually go all the way around the world.) It departs from and returns to San Francisco – we don’t have to get on an airplane, and we can bring all the luggage we want. It goes 131 days and travels through both the Suez and Panama Canals.

Unfortunately, it was scheduled for 2020, a year after Russell’s birthday. Fortunately, that would give us an extra year to prepare.

Needless to say, the preparations turned out to be much more complicated than we anticipated. Russell ended up unexpectedly retiring from his day job in March 2019. At the same time, he picked up a second career as an enrichment lecturer aboard cruise ships.

(Had we known this would happen, we probably wouldn’t have booked a world cruise. We had many discussions about whether we should cancel Regent. The worst scenario would be if we cancelled the Regent cruise, then didn’t get any lecture bookings. We decided to keep Regent.)

Enrichment lecturing has completely upended our retirement plans. Since we will be gone for more than half of 2020 and 2021 (between Regent and lecture cruising), we have made the difficult decision to move out of our house. We are not selling it; instead we are renting it to our son and several of his friends. The benefit of this plan is that we don’t need to completely vacate before our world cruise. We only need to have the bedrooms and common areas for the renters. Because they are newly on their own, we can leave most of the furniture and kitchen in place. We can keep some of our things in the attic, garage, laundry room and spare bedroom.

Nevertheless, it has been a physical and emotional exercise getting the house ready for its new tenants. Gail did all of the home repair projects she had been putting off for years. Russell continued researching and writing lectures. At the same time, we were downsizing, packing and preparing for the cruise. And saying good-bye to our home for the past 29 years.

Two weeks before departure, our dryer broke and had to be replaced. One week before departure, our dishwasher broke and had to be replaced.

It is now one day before we begin our adventure. There are half-packed boxes of things everywhere. There are lots of details still to be done. But we will be ready, simply because we have to be.

As usual, we will be blogging about our adventures. As usual, Russell will provide the play-by-play, while Gail will provide the color commentary.

Stay tuned! Our latest adventure is about to begin!

The Regent Seven Seas Mariner. Our cabin is 773 – lowest veranda level, starboard side, near the back of the ship.


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