An indigenous woman in
Ecuador, we stood next to this woman while waiting for a parade of children to
pass. Her wealth is displayed by the rows of hand-blown gold glass beads that she wears
around her neck. It's obvious that she takes care of herself, and that she is
quite clean. Wearing no spectacles, her eyes pierce through the distance looking
for her grandchild. Centuries of proud Quechua lineage show on her face.
I see such
dignity and strength there in her personage.
sitting on the curb
Ecuadoriana, we saw this woman on our way back from a short hike through
her town. She was just as intrigued by us strangers in her midst as we were with her
ready emotional warmth. She has the same traditional hand-blown gold beads around her neck,
as well as red coral beads around her wrists. Women collect these over their
lifetimes as a hedge against destitution.
When times get tough, a woman can always sell a strand or two to feed her
Quechuan fedora, white eyelet blouse, woolen poncho and navy wool
do we ever simply sit down on the sidewalk to rest our weary bones?
Billy and "The Rainbow
town, this woman was known as the Rainbow Lady. Anyone local
recognized her zest for living, appreciated her love of wearing many colors at once and
enjoyed her fearless
free-style dancing while waving a long scarf about. Rumor had it that she
was an ex-alcoholic who turned her life around. No wonder she was so happy!
Here, we are
on the Capitola Wharf at a Fourth of July Jazz celebration. How can you look at
her and not smile?
Alleen on a Windjammer barefoot cruise 20 years ago. She asked us to do her the favor of
placing a pitcher of martinis with Santa Barbara jalapeno olives in our
refrigerator to keep cold for Happy Hour! We merrily obliged, and received a
daily martini at sunset for a reward!
previously, she and her husband were traveling through Mexico when he
unexpectedly died. Terrified and alone, she placed her husband's body in the
passenger seat and drove all the way home to California.
Independent, courageous and fun, she has been an inspiration all these years.
Weary and worn woman
I see this woman, I have the same sentiments.
worry and resignation are etched in the series of lines on her face. One can
tell that this was not an occasional experience, but a lifetime of struggle.
Were her battles for survival? Due to illness? Did her children die? Did her
husband abandon her?
all, she has endured and persevered.
Sweet, aged, Thai woman
There is a
sweetness and gentleness about this woman from
Thailand that I enjoy. One cannot
live the amount of years she has and not see sorrow of some sort.
has been good to her. She has her own teeth and I see an acceptance, humor and
openness in her eyes.
from Ha Noi, Vietnam strikes me as though nothing misses her gaze. Observant,
perhaps even calculating, there is a quick intelligence in her eyes. She could be
the family's matriarch. Certainly, she is nobody's fool.
I love this
pictured here reminds me of me when I am engrossed in a project. I'm right in
the middle of it and my "stuff" is all over me! I especially like the whimsical
curl of bamboo hanging from her hair.
very content and focused. Stripping pieces of bamboo, she is preparing them for
Woman street vendor
contented and color-full woman. Preparing her fresh vegetables for sale, she
bundles them with plastic string.
as this one and the one previous, remind me of how having a purpose adds to the
satisfaction we feel in life.
times have I seen my Grandmother or Mother be focused on a project such as this?
Chapala street sweeper
Mexican woman was the street sweeper just down from where we lived in
Chapala, Mexico. When I would go to the morning market, or to catch the bus into the
neighboring town of Ajijic to buy fresh fish, I would pass this woman happily
sweeping the leaves from the sidewalks and street. She took her job very
dias!" I would chirp to her. Being shy, she was surprised for weeks that I, a
Gringo stranger, would speak to her. At first she would only nod her hello, but
eventually she greeted me back in a very high-pitched voice:
we always looked for one another.
Older woman smoking a
We hired a
driver to go to a
market just north of Chiang Mai, Thailand. On the
way out from the market, Billy approached this woman at her home to ask if he
could take her photo. She was quite deaf, but she didn't mind, and Billy took
several. She is selling some sort of seeds and candles while enjoying her
woman's face evokes emotion from me because I see humor, love and wisdom
there. Many hill tribe women smoke these hand-rolled cheroots of native tobacco.
think this woman is "ancient", Billy, being the contrarian that he is, tells me
she is just 19, and that is what smoking will do to us!
Broom vendor (smoking a
vendor takes a smoke break also. I love the personal freedom that these older
women display. Why not wear a shower cap to keep one's hair free from the
pervasive soot of traffic? They have lived too many years to waste time on
handles are made from bamboo, and the sweeping section is built from native
grasses. The two items are woven together at the connection point.
twenty-something when WWII broke out, Jessie recounts how she loved to go
dancing in the evenings and would dance for hours on end. Soldiers went to these
dance halls while on leave, and in fact, that is where Jessie met her husband.
across the dance floor at Jessie, and her soon-to-be husband was smitten with
her. He approached her, asking her to dance, and said "You're the girl I'm going
never wanted to be a War Bride. She had dreams of learning to fly a plane!
funny, and engaged in Life, she will always be a role model for me.
in her late 80's.
we'd see her at our favorite beach in
Florida, bent over collecting
seashells for the flowers she makes from them. This was her morning exercise, as
she would walk the 2 kilometers both ways from the home she and her husband
built long before Naples was chic.
seashells too, placing them in my embroideries and mixed media pieces. So we all
became friends, and Haddie invited us to her home. She told us stories of floods
and hurricanes that she survived over the years.
time she impressed onto us that our attitudes towards life were a choice. She
was warm hearted and open, showing little skepticism or fear.
one astounding woman.
carpet of seashells behind her!)
Concerned or upset
ancient was rushing purposefully with something urgent on her mind.
there is concern on her face, and it is personal.
amazing mass of hair she has swept on top of her head, and her earring which
stretches her lobe. This extending of the ear lobe is quite common in
When I see
this photo, I wonder "What was it that was concerning her?"
o'clock in the morning in Hoi An,
Em, our boat
paddler, to take us out onto the Thu Bon river to see the daybreak action
of fishermen. Em glided us closely to other small boats so she could speak to
the owners and ask of their predawn catch.
decades has this woman accompanied her husband in this way? How many seasons has
she witnessed? I am most impressed by her beautiful pants and lovely headscarf!
Is the color on her lips from some berry she ate?
We met this
vendor while on a beach in Vietnam.
Billy and I
were getting excellent foot massages by a young woman while a second young woman
vendor came up to harass us. This second vendor wanted us to give her money
"since we had so much". Her life was hard she said, and even though she had
items to sell, she wanted our money without us buying one. She cussed at us in
Vietnamese when we balked at her attitude, and shamed the woman who was giving
us the foot massage.
woman here in this photo came up and smiled her warmth knowingly. Wanting to share the shade of our
umbrella for a while, she simply observed the scenario without saying a word.
contrasting personalities in this series of events indelibly marked it in my
Lisu hill tribe woman
selling her wares
early morning market up north in Thailand. We hired a driver to get us there in
time to see the hill tribe wares for sale. This woman is selling her
hand-stitched collars, traditional women's wear of the Lisu tribe.
quite lively and friendly towards us gaping Farangs.
chewing betelnut, a natural stimulant quite commonly used by the natives.
Although in conventional dress, she has made a practical exception in wearing
the large wristwatch on her left hand.
Lao woman giving the
respectful "wai" gesture to us
Billy and I
were taking an early morning walk through the town of
I suddenly had the internal pull to look across the street. Under the trees
shading her front porch was this tiny woman, and I could just barely see her in
between the foliage. Something about this woman struck me, and I whispered to
Billy: "There! Across the street! You must get her photo."
approached shyly, reverently, and gave her the traditional wai greeting, which
she is returning to us, here.
twenty-something granddaughter was making these little finger-imprinted rice
flour rolls that you see in front of her, drying on the woven bamboo rack.
were so respectful, and gave the venerated greeting, there was no suspicion. To
me, this woman represents "Peace In The Heart". There is something staggering
about her simple beauty.
these women I will never see again. Yet their countenances have impressed my psyche. When I see their photos, I am freshly reminded
of their wisdom and brilliant radiance of their personage.
What's Your Number? - How much money do you need to retire?
About the Authors
Billy and Akaisha Kaderli are
recognized retirement experts and internationally published authors on
topics of finance, medical tourism and world travel. With the wealth of
information they share on their award winning website RetireEarlyLifestyle.com,
they have been helping people achieve their own retirement dreams since
1991. They wrote the popular books, The
Adventurer’s Guide to Early Retirement and Your
Retirement Dream IS Possible available on their website
Early Lifestyle appeals to a different
kind of person – the person who prizes their
independence, values their
time, and who doesn’t want to mindlessly
follow the crowd.
Retire Early Lifestyle Blog
About Billy & Akaisha