“Albania 🇦🇱 ~True Story”

True Story. A first-hand account from where we are currently at; in Albania 🇦🇱 

Here in Albania, we had the pleasure of staying on a farm with a local family, in the high North: Albanian Alps. The daughter of the family speaks pretty good English, and I was able to ask her questions, about a story her father told us yesterday, while driving us to Theth National Park. His English was broken, but I got the gestures of his story, which must have been triggered after seeing an old bunker in the mountains, left over from the war.

I spoke with his daughter this morning and got permission to share her fathers story. She was able to fill in the missing pieces I could not understand, fully, yesterday, from her father.

When this man was a young 18 year old, he and a friend tried to escape the tyranny communistic rule which had taken over his beloved country, in the NOT so distant past. While hiking through the harsh and rugged Alps, on the run in the Albanian Alps, they were spotted by a women (obvious a rat against her own fellow countrmen) and she reported them to the dictating authorities. During their capture, the young man’s friend was killed, and this man was beat to the point of brain damage leg injuries, and the breaking of his teeth.

This man was then imprisoned for 18 years, and endured more torture than anyone can imagine, till the fall of communism, when he was finally released from the prison camp.

As testimony to this mans strong will and strength, he went on to marry, and build a beautiful family of four children; all hard workers, along with the mother and him. They have created a beautiful Homestay, which they can be and obvious are very proud of. 

We were so honored to spend four nights with this lovely family on their property, eat amazing wholesome farm-grown foods, and observe the life of Boge Village around us.

We will never forget our time here, or the truth of a horrendous story about innocent lives, ruined by socialism and communism.

Flag of Albania 🇦🇱
Flag of Communism

“Greece 🇬🇷 ~Well This Was Unexpected, While in Santorini”

Daryl and I celebrated our anniversary together, a might different than normal this year; not because of where we are, but definitely by what we did!

By 9:30AM, this morning, we were at the Santorini Hospital, where we both got his and hers, outpatient surgeries done, together!

Wha? (DISCLOSURE- Raw Photos)

We will not be leaving Santorini on Saturday, as we had planned. No traveling; this is the Surgeons orders, and we are fine with it. Just like when we got locked down here, due to the pandemic, it’s also a great place to remain, to heal, and be safe from COVID19, while our bodies bounce back. There continues to be no virus on this island, so being in a hospital and/or being cut open, is far less concerning.

Nothing life threatening, but if you have ever dealt with Sebaceous Cysts, you know how annoying, messy and painful they can be. I have had two different ones for a couple of years, and since Daryl met me, he developed one (I call Daryl’s a sympathy cyst, because he loves me so much he did his best to support me with the same pain ).❤️

Strangely enough, the one on my chest flared up this last April, and it finally just got better. (weeks of pain, before they settle down). It’s actually best to remove these cysts when not inflamed. But, they hurt so bad, and the location of mine on my back was right where my bra strap goes across, plus just sitting and leaning on a chair back, or laying in bed, it was impossible to be comfortable; as just the slightest touch is nauseating.

As soon as the cyst on my back got infected and on fire, Daryl’s back cyst also decided to get ugly and angry. Totally in sync, as always. It’s a Soulmates thing ❤️

We made the decision to take care of all three cysts today, once and for all! We had no appointment, but walked in to the Hospital and waited about an hour and a half. We anticipated a consult, but there was no bother with that, and as soon as a surgery room was available, we got right to it! All three excisions took a bit over an hour. Daryl was first, then it was my turn. We got to be in the operating room with each other and even take some pictures. We were in very good hands with two Greek surgeons and Greek nurses. Everybody was so nice.

The cyst on my chest has been sent off to pathology, just as a precaution. We are on an island, so it will be about thirty days to get results.

We are not allowed to travel, until pathology returns it’s findings. This means we have paperwork with the surgeons orders for Immigration Authorities to provide us with at least an extra 30-day extension to our EU Visa, so we can heal, get stitches out, and lab results in.

Cost of walk-in surgeries:

Me: ~$180 and Daryl’s: ~$112. Pharmacy/the two of us: Antibiotic for 10 days, Pain meds, Waterproof bandaids ~$40

Memories: Priceless 

We are not leaving Santorini for Athens on this Saturday, as originally planned. We already re-arranged our Ferry tickets to an open ticket so we won’t lose our money, there. I will need to make some other adjustments in Athens, and can only hope the hotel will kindly move our reservation dates without penalties (we had to prepay).

Obviously, we will be in touch with Syros Police to deal with extending our Visa, and we don’t know what this will looks like at this time, but we will figure it out. We are suppose to attend an interview on Syros Island, in person, with the Syros Police, but the “no travel” order, by the surgeon, means no traveling, but a ferry is certainly more doable than the long-distance and hours, required to depart Greece.

Stay tuned!

Get this out of me!
During the excision on my back
Before photo, on Daryl
Daryl was actually first on the table
Done ✅ Daryl has receptors that cooperate, so he felt no pain
Now, for the front one, on me
During excision. Do you see the heart shape? Awww, on our anniversary and all! 🥰
Done ✅. Oh yay, more scars 🙄
BTW, my body does not respond to the numbing anesthesia meds, which get administered. Unfortunately for me, my pain “receptors” do not cooperate like they should, 🙄, so I feel the scalpel and every stitch to close me up
The cyst is off to pathology

“Our Future Travels”

With everything going on in the world, lately, we especially like to say how glad we are that we have gotten to see as much of the world as we have; over the past 20 years. Over that long period of time, we have seen a few changes come our way in regards to travel i.e. Airport security being the biggest change, since 9/11. For whatever China has planned against other Asian countries; and/or the rest of the world, we are especially glad we got to visit Asia so EXTENSIVELY, when we first started traveling full-time: This includes, but is not limited to China 🇨🇳, (Tibet too), Hong Kong, and Japan 🇯🇵 (including Okinawa), and Taiwan, and we have had zero plans to return.

For now, we will try not to get too far from Europe, since we would like to try to make up for some of the country visits we had to miss, because of the lockdown months; while sheltering in Greece 🇬🇷. This will hopefully include our Rhine River cruise in Amsterdam, Netherlands 🇳🇱 Germany 🇩🇪, France 🇫🇷 and Switzerland 🇨🇭. Then, we hope to make our way to the Baltic region, as well as Iceland 🇮🇸 and Greenland 🇬🇱, as weather permits..

Currently, for June, July, and August, we hope to make it to Albania 🇦🇱, Serbia 🇷🇸, Macedonia 🇲🇰, and Hungary 🇭🇺, as well.

By the fall, we do not have a plan, since what we had planned, before the closed borders has changed up. When we are in Albanian in June (next stop) I will get back in “travel agent” mode and put an itinerary together for the rest of this year. We will also have time to put a tentative itinerary together for our 2021 travels. Travel planning was not easy when the world was “normal,” and just based on my struggles to plan an exit to leave Greece 🇬🇷/Europe, recently, I am a bit unsure how it will all go. BUT, go we will, to as many places still on our list as we can!

We do have a few places, yet, to travel, in different parts of Asia, and we will focus on finishing this region up, while we still can. This includes, but is not limited to: Azerbaijan 🇦🇿, Georgia 🇬🇪 and Armenia 🇦🇲. Also, we are excited about Pakistan🇵🇰. 

We want to visit Russia, but strangely enough, we are unable to get a Visa to go there, from being “out in the world” like we are. When we go back to the USA 🇺🇸 in a year, to visit family and friends, for about a month, we will be able to apply for our Russian Visa from our home country, as required. We would love to return to  Philippines 🇵🇭, and Indonesia 🇮🇩, because of all the different islands, but for now we must focus, more than ever, on where we have yet to visit, and avoid repeat country visits. In the Oceanic region, the priority will be, to get to Tazmania; Australia 🇦🇺 and New Zealand 🇳🇿. There are many places in this region we would like to visit, but time and expense will dictate what we do in the Oceania. Looking at a world map, it would appear the many islands are close together, but they aren’t and this makes it very expensive to travel in; as it’s mostly by plane, due to the great distance, between countries.

In Africa, and near this continent, we still want to go to Madagascar 🇲🇬, Botswana 🇧🇼 or Tanzania 🇹🇿, and Morocco 🇲🇦.

After the above visits, we will move on to South America, where, believe it or not, our goal of seeing the world, will finish up!

Currently, I have been to the following 78 Countries: (Daryl to around 50)

1.  Uganda 🇺🇬

2. Singapore 🇸🇬

3. Indonesia 🇮🇩

4. Sri Lanka 🇱🇰

5. United Arab Emirates 🇦🇪

6. Mongolia 🇲🇳

7. Kazakhstan 🇰🇿

8. Kyrgyzstan 🇰🇬

9. Uzbekistan 🇺🇿

10. Tajikistan 🇹🇯

11. Turkmenistan 🇹🇲

12. South Korea 🇰🇷/DMZ

13. Hong Kong 🇭🇰

14. Taiwan 🇹🇼

15. Papua New Guinea 🇵🇬

16. Brunei 🇧🇳

17.  Philippines 🇵🇭

18. Malaysia ~Peninsula and Borneo

19. Laos 🇱🇦

20. Philippines 🇵🇭

21. Cambodia 🇰🇭

22. Vietnam 🇻🇳

23. China 🇨🇳 ~Mainland and Tibet

24. India 🇮🇳

25. Scotland 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿

26. Wales 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿

27.  Ireland 🇮🇪

28. Puerto Rico 🇵🇷

29. US Virgin Islands 🇻🇮: ~Saint Croix, Saint Thomas, Saint John, and Water Island

30. Cayman Islands 🇰🇾 

31.  Bahamas 🇧🇸

32. Turks and Caicos 🇹🇨

33. Jamaica 🇯🇲

34. Belize 🇧🇿

35. Barbados 🇧🇧

36. Haiti 🇭🇹

37. British Virgin Islands🇻🇬

38. Saint Lucia 🇱🇨

39. Grenada 🇬🇩

40. Antigua/Barbuda 🇦🇬

41. Brazil 🇧🇷

42. Mexico 🇲🇽

43. Japan 🇯🇵 ~Mainland and Okinawa 

44. Egypt 🇪🇬

45. Germany 🇩🇪

46. Belgium 🇧🇪

47. Thailand 🇹🇭

48. United Kingdom 🇬🇧

49. France 🇫🇷

50. Italy 🇮🇹

51.  Holy See🇻🇦

52. Tanzania 🇹🇿

53. South Africa 🇿🇦

54. Kenya 🇰🇪

55. Canada 🇨🇦

56. Peru 🇵🇪

57. Nepal🇳🇵

58. Australia 🇦🇺

59. Romania 🇷🇴

60. Ecuador 🇪🇨

61. Belgium 🇧🇪

62. Dominican Republic 🇩🇴

63. Jordan 🇯🇴

64. Honduras 🇭🇳

65. Israel

66. Denmark 🇩🇰

67.  State of Palestine 🇵🇸

68. Costa Rica 🇨🇷

69. Croatia 🇭🇷

70. Bosnia 🇧🇦

71.  Slovenia 🇸🇮

72. Montenegro 🇲🇪

73. Turkey 🇹🇷 

74.  Ethiopia 🇪🇹 

75.  Greece 🇬🇷 

76.  Mongolia 🇲🇳

77. Bermuda 🇧🇲

78. America 🇺🇸 

When life comes to an end on earth, some believe it’s not what you do in life that becomes the regret; it what we don’t do.

In our case, in regards to traveling to see see the world, and it being a huge priority for us; we know when our time comes to an end, it will not be with regret of what we did not do. We forged a plan, followed our dreams, lived our dreams, and we will always be glad we did. We will continue to carry on for as long as we are allowed to do so!