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By Tom Blake

Tom Blake
Tom Blake

It’s hard to believe that almost a year has passed since my partner, Greta, and I departed on an 82-day cruise to the Far East. After the trip, people asked questions, such as “How did you two survive as a couple in a 390-square-foot stateroom for so long?”

Now, people—especially those who’ve read about our travels in this newspaper—ask, “Where to next?”

Our reply: “Ireland for 10 days—followed by a 20-day cruise stopping in Iceland, Greenland and Scotland.”

“When?” they’ve asked.

“Aug. 7 to Sept. 7, this year.”

So when you read today’s column, we may be having a Guinness Stout at the brewery in Dublin. As seniors, our philosophy is to travel as often as we can, while we are physically able to do so.

Greta and I are truly blessed in retirement to be able to travel to distant lands. We do not take that for granted. We realize there will come a day when we can’t. And we also realize that not all people aged 50 and older can take a trip like this.

Readers, who either cannot travel or elect not to, have often said they enjoy reading about our trips and travel vicariously, by reading about them.

Greta and I have friends in San Clemente. You’ve likely heard me mention Chris and Tina Anastasio’s names before. He’s 85, and she’s 77. They met 15 years ago, when Chris was a dance host on cruise ships. Tina was from England.

They had the longest, long-distance relationship of which I’ve ever known: 13 years and 5,419 miles. On Feb. 12, 2017, they married at the Dana Point Yacht Club. Greta and I attended their wedding and continue to admire their senior spirit.

Chris emailed this week: “I love that you and Greta travel as much as you do. I tell everyone: ‘Life is short. If you have the time, the money and the health, go see the world. Life is like a book. If you don’t travel, you have only read one page.’

“Tina and I are going to Moscow for a week while we are in England, and we have booked a two-week cruise over Christmas and New Year’s. We will spend New Year’s Eve in Dubai. Travel safely.”

“Why Ireland, Scotland, Iceland and Greenland?” people have asked.

Here’s why: Two years ago, Greta and I were on a Holland America cruise around South America. The future-cruises director made a presentation to a very captive audience (passengers already on board). He talked about a cruise departing Amsterdam Aug. 18, 2019, with stops in Scotland, Iceland and Greenland.

We were interested, because we hadn’t been to those countries.

Because the cruise was two years away, Holland America dangled perks to the audience, enticing them to sign up. For example: a reduced airfare to Europe and back, waiving the daily tips to the crew, and a refundable $100 deposit. We took the bait.

We added the Ireland land tour to our itinerary because we hadn’t been there, either.

It’s amazing how fast those two years went by.

I will do an article or two about the trip in this newspaper.

We will have internet access in Ireland and onboard the ship. So, don’t hesitate to email me. It might take a little longer to respond than normal, but I will.

Wish you were here to help with the luggage. It seems to get heavier every year. But these two late-70s seniors will do just fine, especially if we can locate that Guinness Brewery.

Tom Blake is a Dana Point resident and former business owner who has authored three books on middle-aged dating. For dating information: To comment:




Break-out Box: The next Senior Meet and Greet will be at Tutor and Spunky’s Deli, 34085 Pacific Coast Highway, Dana Point, on Thursday, Aug. 22 from 5 to 7 p.m.

Food complimentary. Beer and wine, $5. For information, 949.248.9008.

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