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Plenty of Peace in Exuma, Bahamas

We finally had that desperately needed getaway to the Bahamas. We haven’t really gone anywhere for the last 2 years and the chance to finally flee was a blessing. We chose to runaway to George Town in the Exumas. The long island chain only 50 miles from the Tropic of Cancer is the perfect isolated place to disconnect. We only had a short stay but the slow pace, the clear water, and the chance to rest was just what was needed.

We stayed at the Peace and Plenty Resort right in George Town.

The early history of the Peace and Plenty isn’t without its dark spots, as it is thought to have once been the location of a small slave market during the mid 1700’s.

The 1780’s brought Lord Denys Rolle to Exuma on board an English trading vessel named the Peace and Plenty. The lord established a cotton plantation that he called the Peace and Plenty. We can now fast forward to 1958 where Lawrence Lewis opened the Peace and Plenty Hotel on the site of the former plantation and using some of the buildings. The cookhouse became the clubs bar and the hotels main lobby was a sponge warehouse. The Peace and Plenty as we know it today began in 2017 when an experienced hotel group purchased the property with the aims of turning it into the peaceful boutique vacation we visited.

The visit to the hotel wasn’t perfect. We had a few hickups with ther airconditioning in the room but due to it being located right on the water we were able to open the windows at night and listen to the water lap against the shore.

You also need to be prepared to gear down. You will spend a minimum of an hour and a half in the restaurant. The food is made to order and the staff is in no hurry to give you a bill.

But if you want go to a place that lives up to its name the you should try the Peace and Plenty.

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Kenjutsu

We’ve mentioned before my affinity for Japanese culture and this past Saturday I was given the chance to take part in a seminar and practice session for Kenjiutsu.

Kenjutsu (剣術) originated with the samurai class of feudal Japan and roughly translates directly to Sword Art. You may have heard of Kendo. The sport where you wear armor and swing a bamboo sword in order to score points.

I will admit that even the stretching took a bit of effort for me given that it has been a long time since physical activity was even a minor goal in my life. The lesson was great. We, the students, were each given a bokken or wooden training sword and then showed the proper technique for swinging it. We were told that despite them being wood you need to pretend it is a lethal weapon so when you up grade to a real one you don’t have any bad habits.

The point of Kenjutsu is about quickly and efficiently defeating an opponent and quickly engaging with another if needed. The term defeat in this instance means kill since you are learning just the ways to kill. I’m not looking to go on a shogun area rampage but learning something new is always fascinating. I had a lot of fun and can’t wait for my next opportunity to learn more.

Stock Photo from Wiki

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Bahamas Bound

We are both all vaccinated and ready to get out into the world again. We do have a trip planned with family at the end of summer but we’ve been home bound to long. We’ve done our research and found a place that we can get to quick. The Exuma’s in the Bahamas.

The Exuma’s consist of over 365 islands. The largest is Great Exuma which is also the home of the island hub George Town. We plan to fly from Tampa to Miami to George Town and stay at a small resort just outside of town. We are really looking forward to getting the chance to explore the town, swim in the crystal clear water, and just unplug for a while. The year has been well its just been what it was and we want a calming break.

The island chain is known as a cruiser (long-term sailors) playground and we hope to find one or two to talk to about the lifestyle as they sail the islands. I also hope to find a boat rental place that will let us rent a powerboat or small sail craft so we can get out there and explore some of the small Cays (small islands).

We will of course report back on our experience and supply lots and lots of pictures.

The Exuma island chain is in red. The east coast of Florida is in the upper left of the map.

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An Open Letter and a Goodbye

The very first post for this blog by would-be jet-setters was “Can you feed the cat?” all the way back in 2012. We talk about our girl Storm and how her independence’s facilitated our love of travel. She tolerated us leaving and forgave us when we returned. She is, was, our girl. She got sick about 3 years ago at the age of 17 and needed nightly care and special food and drugs to maintain her quality of life. We didn’t really travel much during that time because she needed us. We needed her. We never begrudged the nightly I-V’s or transdermal medications or bi-monthly vet visits. She was our girl and we wanted her to feel happy, loved, and comfortable. We were able to manage her condition up until 2 weeks ago. She took a turn for the worse and we made one last visit to the vet where we held her as they pushed the syringe that ended her pain. We don’t regret doing it. It was time. The people at the vet were so kind. We wanted to share the thank you note we wrote them.

Dear Dr. Smart, Dr. Moreira, and the Staff at North Bay Animal Hospital,


We want to thank you all so much for your kindness and compassion over the last 2 years. When Storm was initially diagnosed with renal failure we didn’t know how long she would be with us. We couldn’t have even hoped for the three wonderful years we got. You seem to truly understand that to us, she is our child, and we only wanted more time than our already 19 years with her. You helped us do that. You helped us provide her with a comfortable stress-free retirement napping in the Florida sun. You help us get 730 more days of her resting in our laps. You helped her give us a bright spot every day working at home during the pandemic. 
You also helped up understand when it was time to say goodbye. 
We feel you understand the whole in our hearts her absence makes. 
The empathy you showed means the world to us in this most difficult time.

Thank you.

Sincerely,

Amanda and Zeke Changuris

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365 Days and a Haircut

I like a lot of people put off getting a haircut after the pandemic started. I could have safely gotten it cut months ago but wanted to make a point to my students. I told them at the beginning of the year that you will know when the second vaccine goes in my arm when the ponytail comes off. I wanted to make a point about delayed rewards. I could have gotten it cut, but didn’t because waiting until I couldn’t infect others was just as important as they not infecting me. Well, I am fully vaccinated.

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The Chance to Reconnect

The past week has been nice. The school system is off for spring break which means no classes and no place to be. We also found this occasion to play host to my parents. The now 70-year-old couple (shots in the arm) boarded a plane in Maryland and flew down here to spend time with the son and daughter-in-law they haven’t seen in almost 2 years. The visit entailed me playing chauffeur (despite being offered a car to drive) to my parents. You see, unlike the imaginary world of House Hunters International where people want an extra bedroom so they can have family stay with them, my parents sanely chose a hotel nearby.

We were able to spend the days together having brunch one day (prepared by Amanda) before spending the afternoon at the ballpark in Sarasota watching the O’s. We got up early one day to head out to Clearwater Beach and spend the day by the water… in the water if you’re Amanda in her new wetsuit. My father and I even did our favorite beach activity – play catch – something we’ve been doing since I could hold a ball. We even had time to spend the day by the pool just doing nothing but talking and reading.

We didn’t need to do much. We didn’t need to rush all over the state to stay entertained. We simply needed to spend time face to face catching up. We hope that this visit is just the beginning of more visits – both ways.

 

 

 

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A Shot in the Arm and Closer to Normal

We don’t have much to report this week but will have plenty next week. The parents have come to town since they have their vaccines. We plan to hit the beach and watch the hits at the ballpark. We’ll tell you how things feel in the closest we’re coming to normal yet.

I also got my first shot the other day. I go back in about 2.5 weeks for the second. Amanda, unfortunately, isn’t part of a priority group so she has to wait until probably closer to May before she gets her shots.

I also find it amazing that the president said in the first 100 days a 100,000,000 vaccines would be in peoples arms… its only been 50 days since he took office, so Good Job.

I’ll check in more next week, stay safe everyone.

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Looking to Escape

I know many of you have been looking for a way to escape from lockdown or that confinement made you reevaluate your priorities and you want to feel freer. You know us by now and know that travel is how we here at No Kids feel free and one of the ways we love to travel is by sail. I’ve compiled a list, with links, to some of the best sailing youtube channels to help introduce you to the sailing way of life.

6. Sailing Uma

The story of two twenty something architects that decided that the sailing life suited them more than the office life and did a complete refit of a small boat and began sailing the world from the Caribbean to Scandinavia.

5. Sailing Delos

It is a story about sailing and travel and adventure. Capt. Brian was raised in the small land locked city of Flagstaff, Arizona. He went to school in Seattle and got and electrical engineering degree and started a small software company. He realised soon after that the steady landlocked office life wasn’t for him. He got a boat and set sail for something new. We watch him go from wanderer to dad all aboard SV Delos.

4. Lady K Sailing

I’ve really grown to love Lady K Sailing. A channel that is very nuts and bolts about the sailing lifestyle and sailing in general. The idea is go simple and go now. Tim is a sailor from Ontario who sails during the sailing seasons and returns to Ontario when the season is done. He like most sailors sails on a older boat from 70’s that might not look like much but is very practical and very affordable. He’s no frills approach is refreshing if you watch a lot of sailing channels.

3. Ruby Rose

The sailing adventures of Ruby Rose have been one of my mainstays for sailing escapism. Nick and Terysa currently are sailing the north coast of France giving us a uncommon look at France and sailing as they weather the COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions while still trying to explore the unique ports of the old world.

2. Distant Shores

You could say this is the grandaddy of all the sailing channels. The adventures started back in the nineties and were broadcast on television they still are and AWE. “… Paul and Sheryl Shard, a Canadian couple who set sail from Lake Ontario with a dream of sailing south when we were in our early 30’s. We have sailed and lived aboard since 1989. We’ve learned a lot sailing to “distant shores” on 5 continents over 30 years of international cruising, putting 110,000 miles under the keel and doing 9 ocean crossings during that time.” You want to learn about sailing from experts the Shard’s are it.

  1. Gone with the Wynn’s

I love Nikki and Jason Wynn. I am even one of their patrons. The young couple started by sharing their nomadic life as they journeyed across America in their motorhome. A few years ago with no sailing experience mind you they bought a 38ft Leopard Catamaran and moved aboard. The Wynns have been showing us how to sail, visiting beautiful places, and doing some amazing journalism along the way. The visuals are stunning. I’ve donated many times to the organizations they’ve highlighted that are doing good in remote places. I most recently donated money to buy Ukulele for a library music program in Tonga. Jasons and Nikki absolutely charming and let you know what boat life is really like if you are a long term cruiser.

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Vaccine Passport?

The I.A.T.A. (International Air Transport Association) is currently lobbying governments to adopt a digital vaccine passport that can be presented at the border to prove you have the appropriate vaccines, and yes, that includes the COVID-19 vaccine. The hope is to get air travel moving again, especially international travel, not only for the sagging airline industry but the tourism industries of many countries that rely on tourism for a big part of their economy. The concept is a bit complicated so it’s best to have the I.A.T.A. explain it. I hope the idea catches on soon and we, once we are vaccinated, can take to the sky and cross those boarders once again.

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A Side Project… A Passion Project

I have for the better part of the past year been not only writing this blog, working for Honey’s Anime, and teaching full time, but have been running a podcast. The podcast is called WLNM (the Web Light Novel and Manga Podcast.) I wanted to talk to authors and share experiences, learn from them, and help them promote their books. We generally talk about the writing process and the projects they are working on. I love it. I love having the chance to explore the worlds others created. I love and support the very hard-working community of writers and artists that don’t have big contracts or agents is a simple way for me to give back.  If you like hearing how individual authors each deal with the writing process and get their ideas this is the podcast for you. I hope you have a chance to give it a chance.