A Whole New World

facebook end 2015
A whole new world. A dazzling place I never knew
But when I’m way up here, it’s crystal clear
That now I’m in a whole new world with you
Aladdin – A Whole New World Lyrics

A thousand apologies for dropping the blog.  It’s been a year since I published and, though we have continued to travel: USA, Mauritius, Namibia and the bush in South Africa, life between trips has been uneventful.  Steve continued to work at the bank and I completed my book(s): From Vision to Decision: a Self-Coaching Guide to Starting a New Business.  There is also a companion workbook and an on-line course, not yet available on Amazon.  For more information, check out the information page on my website.  Also, if you haven’t already, please like my Facebook page.  (Becoming an author has forced me to also become a marketer – don’t hate me.)

I should mention that during my time of silence, not only did I write these two books but I taught myself to build the website too: a very steep learning curve indeed.  I mention all this by way of excuses for giving up on the blog.

But All That is About to Change!


Steve is definitely retiring on Dec 31, 2015.  His last day of work is Dec 11, the start of what they call the “silly season” here.  That is the time when school gets out for the summer and people take off to the beach and Steve’s bank closes until January. 

This definite date is an important milestone for us because up until October of this year we were uncertain about our future.  We did not know what we would do next.  We did not know when Steve would actually quit work. Possibilities ranged from last September to next July. We did not know where we would choose to go when Steve finally did stop working or even if we would choose to leave this country we’ve called home for almost four years. 

Then Fate Stepped In.

In September we took a weekend trip to Namibia and along the way someone stole Steve’s carry-on bag with his passport inside – his passport containing his two year South African visa.  When we returned to SA, Steve was forced to re-enter on a 90 day tourist visa.  We are told that to replace his 2 year visa he must hand carry his passport to the South African Consulate in Washington DC. 

After some debate, we decided to view our circumstances as destiny. Fate, in the form of a thief, has decreed that we leave SA in December.  

So our decisions were made. We leave South Africa in just a few weeks.  When we do, we will fly to Malaga, Spain to wait out the American winter.  We plan to study Spanish, explore Spain and Europe, and write blog posts until mid-March. 

In March we return to the USA to deal with passport issues, and visit family and friends.  We won’t stay couch surfing on the East Coast for very long.  We have a place to stay in my home town of Seattle (where my son lives) and we will be headed there April 1.

We have eight weeks to regroup in our “home country” and then Steve will – finally – get to visit Ecuador.  Something he’s been wanting to do for a very long time.

This sounds like a busy travel schedule, and it is. This schedule is based on 90 day tourist visas in both Europe and Ecuador.  Our time in the USA is dictated by health insurance rules. (For me since I am not eligible for Medicare)

For those interested: Over 35 days in America requires one to purchase ‘compliant” medical insurance through the exchange or pay a penalty. I will be covered by an international policy but it is not “compliant” (they have restrictions on pre-existing conditions for one thing). Since I just found out about this penalty requirement, we may just have to pay the fine this year.  But we will factor this new information into our plans going forward.

We have learned that living internationally subjects one to many complicated and obscure rules. 

This travel schedule keeps us on the road until August when we have a return ticket to Seattle from Ecuador.  From there we will review what we have learned and make a new plan.

Moving On

We have many regrets about leaving SA.  The tribe of people who came here to work the same project as Steve have grown from a group of wild, expat, professional young men to settle down with local woman. (Ah life!)  In the next year there will be at least one wedding, (possibly two weddings), and a baby.  But also many departures, including us.

I have learned that moving on is part of this expat life. 

So, in the fullness of time, Steve and I are moving on to a whole new world.  And a whole new life.  I will keep you posted.


 Dana's Signature

  collage 2 w text end 2015




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7 Responses to A Whole New World

  1. Toni says:

    Ah, Dana, I can speak to your circumstances. Life brings change, in promenades and in acrobatic leaps with occasional tumbles. You and Steve consistently choose to make a beautiful and adventurous dance out of your life’s story.
    I look forward to reading more about it as you journey. Enjoy!

  2. As always, I enjoy reading what you write. Congratulations on the books and to you both for navigating the expat life. I love the contrast between your choices and ours.
    The very best of luck and caring coming to you and Steve from Zacatecas. Stop by any time. And who knows we may see you in Washington or Ecuador. Abrazos fuertes.

  3. Georgia Leckie says:

    I am so ashamed to say this is the first of have read you blog. And what a wonder it is.
    Your adventures have not only been cultural but such an awakening of the human spirit.
    We have been blessed to travel but the complete immersion you have had is so unique.
    Andrew and Ciara would have continued on with the American International School I am certain until life took a personal turn. Health took them on dramatic turn and they have learned things about who they are and where they come from in another form.

    There will be difficult goodbyes I am sure. You have many who love you back here in the states. That will be eager to greet with hugs and welcomes. Count us in on that!

    God be with you! The planet is changing and I so pray the next change is the miracle of
    PEACE. “On earth as it is in heaven…”

    Safe travels and a big hug,

    P.S. Blair’s Mom who is now 100 has a care giver from Nambia- We adore him, he just got married. And Andrew’s wife Ciara went for a 3 week trip to Zambia to teach summer of 2013.

    • Dana says:

      I missed you when we were home in April this year. I did not know Ciara was “in the neighborhood” in 2013. Small world.

  4. Mark Dunn says:

    Was it Mark Twain who said to the effect, “I like progress, but not the change”? It seems change is one of life’s constants along with death and taxes.

  5. Jeanette says:

    What a wonderful job you have done encapsulating so many changes into this one blog post. Best wishes for your next set of adventures! And we’d love to see you when you are in this area. We are now in Lake Ridge, VA but can meet up with you wherever, if we are around. Great to read your wonderful writing again and congrats on your book(s).

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