Fun Facts and Figures For 798 Days – CHECK IT OUT

I wish I knew how to create graphs and charts to make things eye-catching, but I don’t.

Formulas on a whiteboard

With the arrival of a New Year and writing about my travels, I figured compiling some facts and figures about my recent mobile lifestyle might be fun.


Days with no fixed address – 798

Keyboard with search button

Homes Slept In  – 29 (see below)

(17 as house sitter, 12 visiting family or friends, 3 a combo of)


7 house sits were found through my profile at House Carers and Mind My House

4 house sits were for teaching friends

2 were for friends of friends

1 house sit was for a couple I met in Ireland

1 came from a chance meeting while cross-country skiing

1 was a family member

1 was a business acquaintance


My friends in Melbourne and New York City I met in Ireland on a walking tour with David Whyte in 2010.

I met my friend from Perth while she was on teaching exchange at Hollyburn Elementary in 1997.

My friend in Switzerland was a homestay student with my sister. She helped paint my house in exchange for dinners.

My friends in Whistler I’ve known since I first came to Canada in 1982.




I visited my daughter in Castlegar 14 times (65 nights in total)…and she still loves me. My sister in North Vancouver put me up 14 times (34 nights in total). Bless her.

Longest stay in one place 64 nights (Llucalcari, Mallorca). I rented the home from a lady in my Zumba class

Number of one-night sleepovers 48 (9 in India), two-nighters, 23 (4 in India)

That’s a lot of packing and unpacking.

OTHER SLEEPING SPOTSOur welcome at Fort Madhogarh Fort Madhogarh

Hotels (24, includes 15 in India)

Planes (8)

Retreat Centres (2)

Luxury Tent (1)

B & B (2)

Homestay (1)

Train (1) – top bunk of three, Pushkar to Delhi, never say never, but never againIndian train


Airlines flown with – 15

Singapore AirlinesThai Airways check-inQuantas flight Launceston to Melbourne

Best service – Singapore Airlines

Best food – Etihad Airways

Longest flight – Melbourne to Manchester, 27 hours (via Abu Dhabi)

Funniest safety briefing – Frontier Airlines (Spokane to Denver). Guy should be a stand-up comic.

Most entertaining – easyJet (Zurich to Luton). Check out this blog if you haven’t already.

Of Note

In the three months at my new apartment (Oct 2 – Dec 31, 2013) I have spent three weeks away, at six different locations. Guess it takes a while to change gears.


Bob’s brain tumour affected his mathematical abilities, tough for a man in carpentry. Today  he would have turned 56. So, this little data fix is a timely one.

Be grateful for all your brain does for you



Homes(29)                                          # of Visits                    Total nights

Castlegar, BC (daughter)                      14                                65

North Vancouver (sister)                        14                                34

Manchester, UK  (sister)                         8                                 19

Langley, Whidbey Is.*~                          7                                 19

Leicester, UK (mother)                           7                                  16

Seattle*~                                                6                                  31

Leicester (father)                                    5                                  10

Nelson, BC*                                           3                                  49

West Vancouver (JR)*                           3                                  39

Melbourne (friend)                                 3                                    7

Berkeley, CA*~                                      2                                  54

Perth, AUS (friend)                                 2                                  44

London (nephew)                                   2                                    2

Mallorca, Spain (rental)                          1                                  64

New York City (friend)                           1                                  40

Tasmania*                                              1                                  54

Duncan, BC*                                          1                                  27

Bunbury, AUS   *                                    1                                  27

Leicester (aunt)*                                     1                                  22

North Vancouver (SS)*                           1                                  19

Nelson (RE)*                                           1                                  18

Edmonds, WA*                                       1                                  17

West End, Vancouver*                           1                                  13

North Vancouver (AH)*                          1                                  13

West Vancouver (SSh)*                          1                                   9

Langley, Whidbey Is. (SD)*                    1                                    7

Biel, Switzerland (friend)                        1                                    6

North Vancouver (SRK)*                         1                                   5

Whistler, BC      (friends)                        1                                    4

*    = housesitting

*~ = combination of house sitting and visiting

6 Budget-Smart Tips to Get the Best of New York City

How would it be to visit New York City without seeing a Broadway show? The view from the Empire State Building? An Opera or Ballet? Would you still go? Would it be worth it?

New York conjures up images of high fashion, live entertainment, famous landmarks and incredible museums. But what about the ‘other’ New York, the one more than eight million people call home?

Thanks to a very generous friend who opened her door to me (fortunately she loved my cooking), my recent visit to New York grew from three weeks to six. Strolling in Central Park shortly before my departure, I was stopped by a French couple waving and pointing in vain, as they tried to make sense of their map.

“Excusez-moi madame, 5th Avenue? Le Guggenheim? You know?”

“Yes, I know,” I smiled, happy to have been considered a local. “Come with me, I’ll show you the way.”

After calling this place ‘home’ for a while, I came up with 6 Tips for getting the most out of your time, and the least from your pocket, while visiting New York City.

1. Walk Everywhere

NYC is a walker’s mecca with parks lining Manhattan’s perimeter: Riverside Park (Upper West Side), Carl Schurz Park (Upper East Side), Battery Park (Lower Manhattan), and the big one, Central Park (see #2)

The Highline is a true gem. ‘An historic freight rail line elevated above the streets on Manhattan’s West Side’,
completed in 2011.

Little Italy and Greenwich Village are well worth a visit. A stroll over Brooklyn Bridge into Brooklyn Heights affords wonderful views of Lower Manhattan.


Take in a neighbourhood walk to see apartment pooches being walked en masse, toddlers with nannies, and street vendors selling fruit and veg for a song.  Walking, you overhear countless languages, and on Sunday afternoons, cheers emanating from bars broadcasting the NFL game.


2. Explore Central Park

Central Park stretches from 59th Street to 110th Street in the heart of Manhattan. With 58 miles of trails it keeps its many runners, walkers, and tourists happily occupied. This vast space of playgrounds, picnic sites, outdoor theatres, fields, baseball diamonds, lakes, a reservoir, a carousel, a castle, and a skating rink, has to be the best park a city could offer its people.

Spend time wandering in Central Park and you’ll be constantly amazed by the variety of entertainment; musicians playing everything
from sax to harp, dancers performing ballet to hip-hop, wedding couples being photographed. There’s even a giant bubble blower and a guy telling jokes for a $1. You start to get an idea of its obvious appeal.

3. Take Advantage of Special Offers

Unless money is no object, do some homework before arriving in New York about where to find deals and offers. Broadway theatres offer stand-by tickets at Here are a couple of others:

* Save yourself the $25 admission to MoMa by visiting on Fridays between 4-8 pm for FREE.

* The Metropolitan Opera House offers $20 tickets ($25 at weekends) two hours prior to show time. (Depending on the opera, regular priced Orchestra tickets run at $150 and up.)

4. Discover Movie Locations

New York may have been featured in more films than any other city in the world! Wandering around you suddenly find yourself in movie locations. It’s kind of fun! Central Park probably tops the list (think Kramer vs Kramer, Marathon Man, The Out-Of-Towners). Scenes from You’ve Got Mail were filmed on the Upper West Side; Sex in the City, on the steps of the New York City Library; Serendipity, at the Rockefeller Centre; Moonstruck, at Lincoln Centre for the Performing Arts. The famous deli, Zabars, at Broadway & 80th is mentioned in numerous TV shows (Will and Grace, The Daily Show, 30 Rock). The list goes on.

Grab a bowl of homemade soup and check out the pictures
of Jerry and friends lining the walls at Tom’s Restaurant at 2880 Broadway, the diner in Seinfeld.

5. Window Shop

This is New York City, not the place for a bargain, unless you head over to Chinatown. But it costs nothing to browse, or try on designer wear in Bloomingdales (59th & Lexington) or for the brazen, in one of the many Madison Avenue boutiques. It only costs money when you BUY.* 

SoHo’s high-end designer stores are housed along lovely narrow cobbled lanes, and the Meatpacking District enjoys a wonderful outdoor market, a beer garden and is home to designer stores the likes of Alexander McQueen and Stella McCartney.

* It’s worth making an exception if you’re looking for shoes. Harry’s Shoes at Broadway & 83rd carries footwear from around the world. The selection is huge, the price range too.

6. Be Entertained off Broadway

New York City is blessed with a constant stream of speakers and presentations. Here are some great options:

  • 92nd Street Y ( for poetry readings and author visits. We lucked out with a night of Mary Oliver. Nick Hornby was scheduled to read a couple of nights later.


If you’re considering a trip to NYC in the near or distant future, I hope you find these tips useful. They certainly allowed me to see the best of this wonderful city…with money left for a plane ticket home.

What would you add to this list? Share your ideas in the Comments for all to see.