Five Years On

Five Years On

It is an anniversary of sorts. I retired five years ago today. I had started my blog nine months earlier in anticipation of my retirement, intending to share information on retirement and post-retirement issues, as well as my profound thinking on subjects of my choosing. That goal lasted less than nine months. Once I was actually retired, I discovered I wasn’t interested in retirement anymore. It was just the start of the next phase of my life, and I put the old one behind me. In some ways, I regret my choice of blog name, but I am still into recharging and reconnecting, even if I am past retirement.

Much of the last five years has been spent traveling, both in the US and abroad. I have been to the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, Denmark, Sweden, Spain, Portugal, Cuba, Turkey, Kenya, Tanzania, Zanzibar, Namibia, Sri Lanka, Egypt, and Canada. I may have forgotten one or two. I took photography classes in Venice, Istanbul, Arles, and Cuba. I floated down the Nile.  I saw elephants in the wild. I flew to Paris just to see an art exhibition and added Christmas Markets to the itinerary because I could. I spent Christmas in the shadow of the Matterhorn. I visited friends in Sweden.

I took several road trips through parts of the US, including backroads and byways in the routes when I could. I took a sleeper train from Washington, DC, to Los Angeles, California. I spent time with family and friends across the US in New York, California, Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia, South Dakota, and Minnesota. I attended graduations and weddings, celebrated holidays and birthdays, and enjoyed the company of some of my favorite people. I attended the Women’s March in Washington, DC.

Part of my new approach to life happened when I discovered blogging photo challenges. They opened up a way to share my love of photography and travel and, at the same time, document my post-retirement life. Not only did photo challenges make me look at my images in new ways, they inspired me to improve my photography skills and vision. It could have been a Crayola color or a square or a cosmic challenge.  A big thanks to those bloggers who take the time and energy to host challenges. In a way, my blog posts and photo challenge posts are a chronological record of my last five years. I try to use photos from recent trips or events to respond to new photo challenges. Sometimes I reach back into my archives, but I love going through my latest images to find a good fit for a new challenge.

Obidos, Portugal

What’s on the agenda for the next five years? In the upcoming months I will be visiting Newport, Rhode Island, going to see an art exhibit in Southern California, spending time with family in Alaska, making at least on trip to upstate New York to float in my sister’s pool, and touring southern Italy in September. For the rest, I’m flexible.

Hugh’s 51 Weeks:51 Hits from the Past – Week 44

People Come and Go So Quickly Here

Hugh’s challenge this week was to find a song that connects with blogging and followers. Well, don’t we all want followers. Of course we do. But as Hugh points out, we get a lot of ghost followers, bloggers who follow you in hopes you’ll follow them, then they disappear. I don’t mind them so much, if their blog has good content that I will revisit. What bugs me the most are fake follows by people/sites trying to sell you blogging or internet services. I would like to remove them as followers but I can’t figure out how to do it. Or even worse, blogs that follow you, but when you try to visit them to see what they are about, you get a message that the blog doesn’t exists. I find this especially mysterious when I click on the follow notification within a couple hours of the follow. I’m not sure what the point is. Though I do wonder if some of those strange follows are just a way to steal/borrow your blog address for merchandising/mass marketing purposes. For the post several months, I have received thousands, yes thousands, of comments from two or three IP addresses. Each comment is from someone trying to sell me “something you buy to protect your automobile if you have an accident” (I can’t write the word because I have put it on my automatic reject list) in almost every state and city in the US. Odd, since I live only in one. For a couple of months the comments were clogging my comment box instead of  being redirected to the trash folder. WordPress was finally able to fix that problem, so now I get thousands of comments in my trash folder. Tonight, there are 17,179 comments in my trash. What I find most troubling is that the merchandising comments are supposedly responding to one of my posts (which is referenced in the comment) or on the post of either a blog I follow or the blog of someone who had written me a legitimate comment. This is why I think fake follows might be the problem. I don’t know how to make the merchandising comments stop. I would say that over the last few months, I have deleted or trashed over 40,000 fake comments. Unfortunately, because I can’t check them all, I’m sure I have deleted a few legitimate ones. Maybe Dorothy will lend me her ruby slippers so I can follow the yellow brick road. Perhaps the Wizard would have the answer.


Join Hugh’s 51 Weeks:51 Hits from the Past – Week 44

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