Good Supplements, Bad Supplements

I get 22 days of Paid Time Off (PTO) per year, which is good for the U.S. (In England I had 35 days.).  I end up using some of those days to spontaneously enjoy a fresh spring day, or just catch up on chores.

As you read this I am sojourning in New Orleans as part of my 11-day road trip.  This will leave me with about 10 days of PTO.

I wish I could live and travel internationally year round, forever, but I haven’t figured out how to do that yet.  I’m not going to sit around moping the other 355 days of the year that I’m not on some fantastic global journey.  That’s why I write about the importance of being able to appreciate every day adventures in your own back yard, or in South Dakota.

Recently there was a development that stepped up the urgency I feel about seeing the world.  I learned that I have osteoporosis.  This is a condition in which the bones become porous and prone to breaking.  This is on top of my lifelong condition of scoliosis, or curvature of the spine.

Since my mother has osteoporosis and I look just like her, I figured it was coming my way.  So I’ve done mostly the right things to prevent osteoporosis, like consuming lots of calcium, doing weight-bearing exercise, and quitting smoking.  But you can’t escape your genetics.

This is my mother on her 80th birthday with my adorable nephew.


She looks good, but she often says, “The doctor tells me if I sneeze too hard I can break a bone.”  That’s got to be awful to live with.  She wears a brace, has had a lot of pain, and worst of all, she can’t travel anymore—it’s just too hard on her.

You build up your bone mass until around age 30, then slowly lose it.  If you have osteoporosis in your family, or if you are even just a small person, you might want to check with your doc and start taking calcium supplements and jumping rope.  It’s more common in women but men get osteoporosis too.

Mine isn’t bad yet.  I’ll keep fighting it and hope there will be a pill to fix it before I get to my mother’s age.

This development has been a push for me to review my international travel long-term plan.  My general idea is to go to the most far away places on my list, like New Zealand and Japan, first.  I would save the easier places, like Santa Fe, for when I’m older.

I started checking out tours to Japan.  My nephews are half Japanese, so Japan is at the top of my list.  I don’t feel confident enough to go on my own.  I’ve watched my brother’s home videos of their many trips there, and they’re like some science fiction movie about overpopulation—wall-to-wall bodies in the canyons of Tokyo.  The tours looked great, but then I ran up against my nemesis—the Single Supplement.

The single supplement is a surcharge tours add to the price of a tour for solo travelers.  They’re not trying to shame or discourage single people—it’s just economics. Tours can’t make it, financially, if they let a single person have the same rate as a couple.  In this New York Times article about single supplements, they cite this example for a cruise: For two adults, it’s $1,539 each.  For a single traveler, the cost is $2,843 — an additional $1,304.

This article advises on how to avoid the single supplement.  But there’s also the “blah” factor of tours.  I went on a tour to Portugal a few years ago through New Market Holidays. Yes, it was dirt cheap, I saw a lot of Portugal, and I never had to make any decisions about anything.  But it was just me and 50 retired English couples.  They were nice but aloof.  Why wouldn’t they be?  I was the odd woman out.

Life is about trade offs, right?  The road trip to New Orleans may not be on my list of far-flung destinations, but it’s with good friends, so I jumped at the chance to do it.  Laissez le bon temps rouler!

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