Sometimes people tell me I am fearless. This is so far from the truth, but I have done things and been places that might make you think I am. We all fear different things. Staying still and settling in fills me with dread. Living in the same place having the same job the same neighbors and the same routine terrify me. But here I am now, living in the same city for 6 years, sedentary in the midst of the pandemic.

This blog used to be about letting go of the predictable and known, and going places — lots of places! And now, some years later, it will be about the settling down in one place. I had thought about how the world felt tentative, unstable and uncertain; like a game of musical chairs, and when the music stopped, you had better be where you want to be. And then, it stopped, at the beginning of 2020 quite literally for many places, and I had already, 3 years before, settled on Oaxaca de Juarez, in Southern Mexico. My wanderings halted. Not just in one city or one country, but in my house in my barrio. 2 1/2 years later, 2.5 years into the pandemic, I have traveled once, to the US. My traveling days may be over, so now this blog will be about the slow life in a small Mexican city in the far south of the country. And, of course, tales of other times. And discussions and reflections on our very strange new world.

I have lived in 9 countries and have traveled in 34 36 40. I’ve worked as a truck driver, a bartender, a candlemaker and a college professor. And a whole lot of other stuff along the way. Now I am retired and and my last real travel consisted of a year in South America, and landing in Oaxaca de Juarez, Mexico.

Here are my stories and observations.

74 thoughts on “About

    1. Thanks, I don’t consider myself so. It takes a kind of fearlessness to stay with your life and not feel the need to constantly move on. I admire the person who chooses to care for a sick loved one or devote themselves to a greater purpose and not quiver at the first hurdle. I appreciate your thought. Camels can be lovely, by the way! I’ll post some more pics one of these days.

      Liked by 2 people

  1. in567

    Thanks for your comment, as I’m glad that I had returned to visit your blog again. You are right there is a great number of suicides in Korea and especially in those who are already visible the public as celebrities, government officials, etc.

    I know what you mean about being in the same place, amongst the same people. I too move around quite a bit (but definitely not as many places as you! nice!) and my last job was the toughest, as I had the least amount of co-workers to mingle with. Although I consider myself an introvert, how much more isolated one can feel being in a small office with the same folks everyday.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the comments. The Korean people can be quite wonderful and sweet, but there is a culture of “face” and responsibility that makes suicide too common. The pressure can also be too much, especially on young people.


  2. Vikram Bishla

    Hello dear velissima!!!
    I have gone through your blog.
    it’s is very interesting and really enjoyed it.
    here I will learn lot’s of things:)
    so I am following you:)
    and you are really fearless:)
    all the best for blogging and life:)


    1. Thank you Vikram. I’ll take a look at your blog. I’m glad you enjoyed mine. I actually have two: joannebretzer.com and birdwithwings.com. I try to maintain both, one being more general, and one being specific to checking out places to settle down. Thanks for the kind comments!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Vikram Bishla

        your welcome vellissima!!!
        I would love to take a look at your other blog too:)
        all the best for blogging and life:)


      1. Wow, Nice, If you have time and opportunity get a visa and hop into Kolkata, its not far from there!
        It would be wonderful to meet you in person if we can someday!


      2. Hi, I had been reading a posting about Tagore on Ranu802, and that is why I responded about him! I’m not in Bangladesh now, I’m in Australia. I hope to get back to India soon, though. Visas are much easier to get these days.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. I think it applies to consumerism in the sense you are thinking also…I believe in a very simplistic type of life…I think that is why I am drawn to your blog also! Great to have met! Looking forwards to getting to know you more!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. “We all fear different things. Staying still and settling in fills me with dread. Living in the same place having the same job the same neighbors and the same routine terrify me.”

    I understand. I have the same fear (among my irrational ones)

    Liked by 1 person

  4. “Staying still and settling in fills me with dread. Living in the same place having the same job the same neighbors and the same routine terrify me.” – Brilliant! That is exactly what I think and feel.
    It is absolutely awesome to see another woman prove her power and independence.
    Wish you good luck on your travels and looking forward for your stories.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thanks for following The Immortal Jukebox. I hope you will enjoy the wide variety of music featured and perhaps make some discoveries. I usually post once a week and your comments are welcomed. Regards and good luck with all your projects. Thom

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi!
    My name is Emma and I have the blog http://www.urbanlifexo.wordpress.com

    I stumbled across your blog and love it!

    I was wondering you would mind voting for my essay on AFS Project Change? If I win this contest, I will be able to go to Turkey to help the Syrian refugee children! You can vote once a day, and if you could it would be awesome if you could share the link with your friends and family! I have a longer post about the subject on my blog, but I need a ton of votes in order to win!
    – Emma
    This is the link to get you to vote! It makes you create an account first though.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Thanks for checking out my site; I look forward to seeing where you end up. While I live in Ecuador, I can’t quite figure out the appeal for retirees – other South American countries seem much less expensive. But I may be biased by living on the Galapagos and having spent my time on the mainland in Quito. Good Luck!


  8. carlalouise89
    1. Thanks. I’ll try when I get a bit more settled. I’m in the midst of travel right now and internet access is problematic.
      It is kind of you to think of me. I can’t wait to get back to work on the blog!


      1. Therese Soleil

        Hey Joanne. This is Therese of Ester Dome fame. If this is truly you, where in the world is this message finding you? I’ve done my fair share of traveling. Is love to catch up and have a chat. Ii am still in the Seattle area trying to figure out how to retire. Anyway please write if you have a moment. Tasoleil@gmail.com. Last name was Henderson. That is a thing of the past. Lol.


      2. Good lord! Amazing! I’m in Chachapoyas, Peru at the moment. I am retired and traveling on a small Social Security pension. I pass through Seattle now and then, as Tiffany lives there. I expect to be back in the late winter, on my way to Asia (my plan as of now). I’ll send you my email address.


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