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Sergeant Major

Members
  • Content Count

    23
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About Sergeant Major

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Full-time Traveler
  • Interests
    RVing, Timesharing, Cruising, Traveling
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    PCL, HAL, CCL, RCL, NCL, CMV, Fred Olsen
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    World Cruises & Grand Adventures
  • If you have a personal or hobby CRUISE or TRAVEL BLOG, include the url here:
    http://ddwt.us

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  1. I grew up in the countryside near several small towns: Greenville, Pocahontas, Sorento, and Woburn. These towns are located in Bond County, IL which is about 47 miles east of the Mississippi River. Carmi, IL is 86 miles (straight line distance) southeast of Greenville, IL.
  2. Jertom, Yes, the 108 campgrounds, included in our membership, are all owned by the same corporation, and are spread around the USA. The more we use the system, the lower our overall, nightly camping cost, since the yearly maintenance fee is the only cost going forward.
  3. jertom, The campground membership has cost us around $20K with all previous upgrades & 9 years of past annual maintenance fees, but now the only cost going forward is the $585.00 per year annual maintenance fee for up to 365 days of pre-paid camping. The campgrounds include everything prepaid (water, electric, sewer, trash, property taxes, maintenance, lawn care, etc. as well as all amenities such as pool, Jacuzzi, gym, other rec facilities, lodges, day rooms, restrooms, etc.), so that is how we save enough money to also do cruises. Got to pay to play, but campground membership(s) can be a big money saver in the long run.
  4. I bring a laptop and use SPEEDIFY (VPN & SIGNAL COMBINER) along with CONNECTIFY (HOT SPOT). This software also works on Android phones. The VPN scrambles & secures the connection with the companion software making the hot spot. This set-up works with WiFi, Mobile Networks, and Hard Wired Lines all at the same time, and even combines the speed of all the sources together. We use this set-up while living in campgrounds, timeshares, and cruising. This will work in our cabin, on our balcony, or up on the decks, as long as we are within close proximity or line of sight. Pushing hotspots through steel does not work well. So far, I haven't found anyplace it doesn't work, including on cruise ships. Connectify Hotspot running through Speedify makes the Internet traffic look like it’s all coming from your computer—even if it’s coming from connected devices, like other computers, gaming consoles, smartphones, or smart TVs. This way, you will be able to connect ALL your devices to the Internet without having to worry about any Internet access restrictions. This is my go to software for cruises, timeshares, hotels, campgrounds, and so much more. Do your own research using the links I provided, this is the best system out there, very inexpensive, and it works much better than Voom.
  5. The earliest I could retire was age 50, so I retired on my 50th birthday. That was 9 years ago. People aren't meant to go to school for 1/3 of their lives, work for 2/3rds of their lives, then have a ten year or less retirement, but that is how so many of my family & friends lives have been working out. "Those that Fail to Plan, Plan to Fail." "Insanity is Doing the Same Thing Over and Over Again and Expecting Different Results." "If You Want Different Results, You Have to Try Different Approaches."
  6. OK, a meet-up will happen sooner or later, we frequent too many of the same hang-outs.
  7. The 2021 World Cruise leaves on Jan. 17th, but we could grab a timeshare in Indio/Palm Springs during the first week of that month. Thanks for the heads up, when the time comes, I will make the reservation(s) and then get back in contact with you guys. Enjoy your two upcoming WCs, and your trip to Hawaii. Nice!
  8. This is enlightening to see these side-by-side 2020 Viking & Princess World Cruise comparisons. Since my wife & I have some different spending habits, and with the 2021 Princess World Cruise Early Booking Benefits being much better in 2021 than it is for 2020, the Viking cruise would still be nearly double the price for us. Thanks for sharing this info, it actually makes me feel better about my upcoming 2021 Princess WC now, but I will also be keeping a closer eye on price comparisons for future WCs. I see you also have an RV & timeshares, so perhaps we will see each other sometime in the future. We are enjoying your blog too. Keep enjoying life to the fullest, and Safe Travels!
  9. Good for you on getting the condo during the real estate crash, and saving the most money possible. We got our RV & added greatly to our timeshares during that crash, and got some great deals. We couldn't sell our real estate at that time, so we did a Lease Option and got rid of our CA real later on while we were already traveling full-time. We took one step back and two steps forward, and kept our Eyes on the Prize. "Be Fearful When Others Are Greedy and Greedy When Others Are Fearful." -- Warren Buffett
  10. Wow, this post has really given me so much insight to ponder. In the future, I will be looking at Viking World Cruises with a new set of eyes now. Thanks Heidi13.
  11. Jan. 2020 is coming up quickly. Congratulations, looks like a trip of a lifetime. Enjoy!
  12. We are like you, we scrimp & save, and live within our means while enjoying life. I am the Frugal One, so my wife has to work on me to get me to free up some extra money so we can also splurge now & then. We sold our CA home at a loss to be able to get on the road traveling while we still are young enough to have quality of life. We have lived without any kind of medical insurance coverage for 9 years now & will not have any until Aug. 2020 (not by choice), we got slammed in 08/09 when the stock market crashed (nothing ventured, nothing gained), we bought our RV when 5 years used (let someone else suffer the 80% depreciation), and we just replaced the engine & transmission in our 2004 Ford Explorer because it was cheaper than buying something else new or used (love living debt free), and so on. We never try "Keeping Up With The Joneses." We see the value, economy, and many other advantages of seeing the world by use of World Cruises. Also, I never get jealous of others, but rather I am truly happy for them. I am envious for your travel accomplishments, and I hope to follow in your footsteps to see the world. I may never do a high-end cruise, but that is just me & my extreme frugality. I will do both quality & quantity to enjoy life as much as possible. I may someday cruise on a high-end cruise ship, but when I do I will have likely grabbed a last minute cancellation on an all cash deal. That is the way my brain works. 🙂 Since our RV is our primary residence & timeshares are our secondary residence, we are always on the move. We slow travel most of the time throughout the USA, Canada & Mexico staying 2 to 4 weeks at each campground or timeshare and then move again. It allows us to thoroughly explore the surrounding areas by SUV while conserving on fuel costs with the RV. We have 108 membership campgrounds were we can camp for free; so even if we stay at each one of them for one month each, it takes 9 years just to visit them all one time. We also have 100s of discounted campgrounds. As far as timeshares go, we have about 150 of them we can now live in with just the yearly maintenance fee costs, as well as 100s of discounted timeshares. We could live 12 months per year in campgrounds, timeshares, or cruise ships, but choose to do varying amounts of time in each. My linked website shows our past, present, & future travel plans under the TRAVEL LOG section. We are currently in the PNW while doing some cruises out of Seattle & Vancouver. We will be down in Southern California by Thanksgiving & Christmas of 2020, and then off on our 2021 World Cruise out of LA in January. Home is where we sleep each night! Thanks again for sharing all of your knowledge. I would love to meet you someday! I am still in search of the BEST TRAVEL AGENT, and I bet you know their name. 🙂
  13. Looks like this post has been quiet since Oct. 2018, so let me revive it. I retired as an Army Sergeant Major/E9 in 2007 after 4 years active duty US Marines, 2 years California Army National Guard, and 22 years US Army Reserves for a total time in service of 28 years. Only one more year remaining of gray area retirement benefits, and then the full retirement benefits kick-in such as a lifetime pension and medical/dental coverage. I currently live in an RV full-time as well as timeshares & cruises. I take advantage of military RV campgrounds and get to see all the bases I never got to visit while still serving. I always take advantage of the Commissary & PX/BX when on any military bases. The United Service Organizations (USO) is available to retirees on a Space Available basis, and that is just about all the time. The USOs make great resources when traveling (including cruising), and can be found on many bases, large airports, and downtown areas in larger cities. I also love it when cruise lines give discounts to veterans, and I "Especially Love" the Princess Military Cruise Benefit Program. If you ever want to take the attention away from the Ship's Captain, simply wear your Dress Blues or Mess Dress Uniform to the formal dinners. I did this on a 15 day cruise to Hawaii with 2 or 3 formal nights, and will not do so again. You will become the center of attention, like it or not. 🙂 I want to say hello to all veterans & their families, and say Thank You For Your Service. May you have safe travels, a long & healthy life, and get to enjoy as many cruises as you possibly can!
  14. Buy an HDMI to RCA jack adapter, and or an HDMI to RCA jack/USB jack splitter. The HDMI ports on the TV are often not accessible, or if they are, then are software blocked from use. However, nearly all TVs have the red, yellow, white RCA jacks, and/or USB ports and they are normally easy to access from the side of the TV. The RCA jacks are often even located in the front of the TV. These are carry overs from the days when people connected video cameras & picture cameras to TVs to look at vacation videos & photos. I have never found RCA jacks to be blocked anywhere I have traveled, and that includes TVs on cruise ships. The adapter will lower the quality of the picture going from HDMI to RCA, but will still look DVD 480P SD quality on the small ship TVs. You can even connect a phone with HDMI to a TV, but I normally do so using my laptop computer. The software I use on my computer and cell phone to play movies or videos is VLC Media Player. To connect a Smart Phone to a regular HDMI cable, you will need a Micro HDMI adapter. These are just a few tried & true methods for watching TV connected to a laptop or smart phone. Don't forget to download movies onto your laptop or a thumb drive while still at home. As a last resort, you can watch them on your laptop, if nothing else works for making a TV connection.
  15. I bring a laptop and use SPEEDIFY (VPN & SIGNAL COMBINER) along with CONNECTIFY (HOT SPOT). The VPN scrambles & secures the connection with the companion software making the hot spot. This set-up works with WiFi, Mobile Networks, and Hard Wired Lines all at the same time, and even combines the speed of all the sources together. We use this set-up while living in campgrounds, timeshares, and cruising. This will work in our cabin, on our balcony, or up on the decks, as long as we are within close proximity or line of sight. Pushing hotspots through steel does not work well. So far, I haven't found anyplace it doesn't work, including on cruise ships, but must say we haven't used Medallion Net so far. Our last cruise was a few years ago, so maybe this method will not work now, but it has in the past. We are looking forward to using Medallion Net in 2020 & 2021 since our future Princess cruises will have it installed by then.
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