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Couple retires to live on cruise ships because it's 'cheaper than a nursing home'

It's actually a lot cheaper than assisted living.

cruise ship retirement, living on cruise ship, cruise costs

A couple is spending their retirement stress-free on cruise ships.

The cost of living in the United States has gone up so much in recent years that living on a cruise ship has become a reasonable idea for some retirees. When Nancy and Robert Houchens of Charlottesville, Virginia, retired, they decided to sell almost everything they had and live out their golden years hopping from cruise ship to cruise ship.

"We had a 3,000-square-foot home full of furniture...and everything we own now would fit in the back of a pickup truck," Robert told USA Today.

“We sold all of our estates except for a little condominium we have in Florida, so when we get too old to cruise, we have somewhere to live,” Nancy added. “And we did keep two vehicles, and what we kept is in half of (Robert's mother's storage unit), which is, I don't know, 10x10 or something. We just walked away from everything.”


Life on a cruise ship is stress-free for the couple because their needs are taken care of on the ship. "It's been great. I don't cook. I don't clean," Nancy told the Miami Herald.

The couple has found that living on a cruise ship isn’t as expensive as some may assume. Even though inflation has driven up the cost of travel in the U.S., it hasn’t significantly impacted the cruise industry.

“It's much cheaper than a nursing home or assisted living. It was just a good fit for us. It's a good fit for a lot of people,” Robert told the Miami Herald.

The couple plans their trips differently than someone who is going on vacation. “We look for the best deal, not the destination,” Nancy told Cruise Passenger.

The couple initially planned to spend $4,000 a month living on the ships. “Our original budget was $4,000 a month. This included gratuities. Of course, things are more expensive now, so that budget has had to increase a little. Depending on where we go, we may or may not need the internet,” she told Cruise Passenger.

“Our phone plan covers most everywhere for 25 cents a minute to call with free internet and texting,” Nancy continued. “We have an annual travel insurance plan, and one of our credit cards also has travel insurance.”

For the Houchens, living on board a cruise ship is definitely cheaper than assisted living. According to the 2020 Genworth Cost of Care Survey, the average monthly cost per person to live in assisted living in Virginia is $5,250 a month, which would cost Houchens over $10,000 a month as a couple.

Further, the roughly $4,000 the couple spends a month includes food, and they don’t have to bother paying for a car. They also try to book their cruises consecutively so they don’t waste money paying for expensive hotels when transferring between cruise lines.

Last July, the Houchens celebrated their 1,000th day sailing with Carnival Cruise Line since the 1980s, and they look forward to countless more days at sea with each other and the new friends they’ve made on their never-ending cruise.

“We cruise Carnival because of the people,” Richard told Travel Pulse. “It isn’t the destinations for us anymore, it’s the journey—and the biggest part of the journey is the people.”


This article originally appeared on 7.19.23

Identity

Celebrate International Women's Day with these stunning photos of female leaders changing the world

The portraits, taken by acclaimed photographer Nigel Barker, are part of CARE's "She Leads the World" campaign.

Images provided by CARE

Kadiatu (left), Zainab (right)

True

Women are breaking down barriers every day. They are transforming the world into a more equitable place with every scientific discovery, athletic feat, social justice reform, artistic endeavor, leadership role, and community outreach project.

And while these breakthroughs are happening all the time, International Women’s Day (Mar 8) is when we can all take time to acknowledge the collective progress, and celebrate how “She Leads the World.

This year, CARE, a leading global humanitarian organization dedicated to empowering women and girls, is celebrating International Women’s Day through the power of portraiture. CARE partnered with high-profile photographer Nigel Barker, best known for his work on “America’s Next Top Model,” to capture breathtaking images of seven remarkable women who have prevailed over countless obstacles to become leaders within their communities.

“Mabinty, Isatu, Adama, and Kadiatu represent so many women around the world overcoming incredible obstacles to lead their communities,” said Michelle Nunn, President and CEO of CARE USA.

Barker’s bold portraits, as part of CARE’s “She Leads The World” campaign, not only elevate each woman’s story, but also shine a spotlight on how CARE programs helped them get to where they are today.

About the women:

Mabinty

international womens day, care.org

Mabinty is a businesswoman and a member of a CARE savings circle along with a group of other women. She buys and sells groundnuts, rice, and fuel. She and her husband have created such a successful enterprise that Mabinty volunteers her time as a teacher in the local school. She was the first woman to teach there, prompting a second woman to do so. Her fellow teachers and students look up to Mabinty as the leader and educator she is.

Kadiatu

international womens day, care.org

Kadiatu supports herself through a small business selling food. She also volunteers at a health clinic in the neighboring village where she is a nursing student. She tests for malaria, works with infants, and joins her fellow staff in dancing and singing with the women who visit the clinic. She aspires to become a full-time nurse so she can treat and cure people. Today, she leads by example and with ambition.

Isatu

international womens day, care.org

When Isatu was three months pregnant, her husband left her, seeking his fortune in the gold mines. Now Isatu makes her own way, buying and selling food to support her four children. It is a struggle, but Isatu is determined to be a part of her community and a provider for her kids. A single mother of four is nothing if not a leader.

Zainab

international womens day, care.org

Zainab is the Nurse in Charge at the Maternal Child Health Outpost in her community. She is the only nurse in the surrounding area, and so she is responsible for the pre-natal health of the community’s mothers-to-be and for the safe delivery of their babies. In a country with one of the world’s worst maternal death rates, Zainab has not lost a single mother. The community rallies around Zainab and the work she does. She describes the women who visit the clinic as sisters. That feeling is clearly mutual.

Adama

international womens day, care.org

Adama is something few women are - a kehkeh driver. A kehkeh is a three-wheeled motorcycle taxi, known elsewhere as a tuktuk. Working in the Kissy neighborhood of Freetown, Adama is the primary breadwinner for her family, including her son. She keeps her riders safe in other ways, too, by selling condoms. With HIV threatening to increase its spread, this is a vital service to the community.

Ya Yaebo

international womens day, care.org

“Ya” is a term of respect for older, accomplished women. Ya Yaebo has earned that title as head of her local farmers group. But there is much more than that. She started as a Village Savings and Loan Association member and began putting money into her business. There is the groundnut farm, her team buys and sells rice, and own their own oil processing machine. They even supply seeds to the Ministry of Agriculture. She has used her success to the benefit of people in need in her community and is a vocal advocate for educating girls, not having gone beyond grade seven herself.

On Monday, March 4, CARE will host an exhibition of photography in New York City featuring these portraits, kicking off the multi-day “She Leads the World Campaign.

Learn more, view the portraits, and join CARE’s International Women's Day "She Leads the World" celebration at CARE.org/sheleads.


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Over or under? Surprisingly, there actually is a 'correct' way to hang a toilet paper roll.

Let's settle this silly-but-surprisingly-heated debate once and for all.

Elya/Wikimedia Commons

Should you hang the toilet paper roll over or under?


Humans have debated things large and small over the millennia, from the democracy to breastfeeding in public to how often people ought to wash their sheets.

But perhaps the most silly-yet-surprisingly-heated household debate is the one in which we argue over which way to hang the toilet paper roll.

The "over or under" question has plagued marriages and casual acquaintances alike for over 100 years, with both sides convinced they have the soundest reasoning for putting their toilet paper loose end out or loose end under. Some people feel so strongly about right vs. wrong TP hanging that they will even flip the roll over when they go to the bathroom in the homes of strangers.

Contrary to popular belief, it's not merely an inconsequential preference. There is actually a "correct" way to hang toilet paper, according to health experts as well as the man who invented the toilet paper roll in the first place.

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Categories are great for some things: biology, herbs, and spices, for example.

Image via

But bodies? Well, putting bodies into categories just gets weird. There are around 300 million people in America, but only 12 or so standard sizes for clothing: extra-extra-small through 5x.


That's why designer Mallorie Dunn is onto something with her belief — people have different bodies and sizing isn't catching up.

Dunn has found that the majority of clothing sizes stop at an extra-large, yet the majority of women in America are over that. "And that just doesn't make sense," she says.

All images via Smart Glamor, used with permission.

Human spice rack, only, a LOT more variations of flava. ;)


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Except the keeping on part isn't quite as simple as it sounds. Despite the fact that COVID-19 is still wreaking havoc, we've sort of collectively decided to move on, come what may. This year has been an experiment in normalcy, but one without a testable hypothesis or clear design. And it's taken a toll. So many people are feeling tired, exhausted, worn thin ("like butter scraped over too much bread," as Bilbo Baggins put it) these days.

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Work at it every single day folks.

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One of the best pieces of marriage advice I ever received was, “Buy her a bottle of shampoo from time to time without her asking.” Now, that doesn’t mean to get shampoo specifically, but just pick up something here and there to show you care and are thinking about her.

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Video of husband realizing his wife's stocking went unfilled for 10 years has moms talking

What was meant as a joke felt all too real to moms responsible for creating holiday magic.

@whataboutaub/TikTok

It took ten years for a husband to realize his wife received and empty stocking every year

Back in 2021, wife and mom Aubree Jones posted a video to her TikTok that she thought would provide a relatable chuckle among other moms.

Instead, other moms found it heartbreaking.

In the clip, titled “PSA for husbands everywhere,” Aubree’s husband, Josh, is filming their family unwrapping presents on Christmas morning. He goes around to each of the family members’ stockings, until he comes upon an empty one.

“Whose is this?” Josh asks. “Is this an extra one?”

Aubree answers, “No, that’s mine,” with a smile.

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