WLM Spotlight Sunday – Karen McCann




Victoria Twead:

Today we welcome a very well travelled and interesting lady, Karen McCann, to our WLM Sunday Spotlight hotseat. She’s the author of Dancing in the Fountain and is in California at the moment so will be along later. Do post your questions and she’ll join us as soon as she wakes up.

Alan Parks:  Hi Karen. How fancy are the stairs in your house?

Janet Hughes:  Hi there Karen, I loved your book. So are you still dancing between Seville and California?

Judith Benson:  Haven’t read your book yet but will do at some time!

Sharon Carter Figueiredo:  Hi Karen McCann I really like your book (I have read both of them). I also enjoyed your travel blog and your packing tips. How long before you are back in Spain?

Karen McCann:  Alan Parks, the stairs in my house are very simple – or, as I like to think of them, a blank canvas. One of these days I’ll transform them, but I’m not sure just how yet!

— Janet Hughes Yes, I’m still dancing between Seville and CA. I’m in California at the moment; a brief visit got longer due to Rich needing some complicated dental work (poor guy) but all’s well now and we head back to Spain in a few days.

–Judith Benson Thanks, let me know how you like it!

–Hi Sharon, so glad you’re joining me on the journey! I’ll be back in Seville by Friday, after a brief stopover in Cambridge, England.

–One of the things I get asked about a lot is travel with pets. I brought my dog, Eskimo Pie, with me to Spain. It was quite an adventure, starting with her being lost by the airlines in Madrid. Anyone else ever traveled with a pet?



Laurie A. Grundner:  Hi Karen, Do you ever get use to the airports (missed connections, late or cancelled flights)? Years ago I travelled with a cockatiel and I had to buy a special travel cage that fit under my seat. He was quiet in the plane but loud in the airports.

Janet Givens:  I’ve never traveled with a pet. I’m waiting until I can do it like Lassie’s owner did: its own seat in First Class.  Karen, how long was your dog lost?

Karen McCann:  Laurie A. Grundner, I’ve spent far too much of my life in airports! Never traveled with a squawking cockatiel, though; sounds like quite and experience! Could you take him in the main cabin with you? Hardest thing for me was sending Pie into the hold with the luggage…

–Janet Givens, she was lost for four hours. No one in the Madrid airport could even guess where we should start looking for her. We finally rented a car and started going to all the outlying cargo hangars, and eventually we found her.

Janet Givens:  Karen, you must have been frantic.

Karen McCann:  Yes, we were frantic!

Anne Wine O’clock Durrant:  Hi Karen Your book is on my Kindle ready for my trip. We have just come back from Spain, having just sold our apartment. We are heading off at the end of the month in our campervan to Greece for 3 months, we are taking our dog Poppy with us. The reason we bought the camper was so we could have Poppy with us – besides the airlines wanted £750 each way for her. So we decided that was an awful lot of diesel for the van.

Laurie A. Grundner:  He was able to fit under my seat. That was in 1983 from CA to NY so I bet things have changed.

Karen McCann: Anne Wine O’clock Durrant Sounds like a great trip! And I’m sure Poppy appreciates not being stuck in a cargo hold with the suitcases. Let me know how she likes Greece.

–Laurie A. Grundner People still carry smaller pets with them in the main cabin. I’ve seen cats and dogs, but never a bird, so far.

Laurie A. Grundner:  Thanks Karen. I’m not much of a traveler so I don’t know too much about things like that.

Karen McCann:  Traveling with pets is something nobody knows much about until you have to to do it. And it’s full of surprises. The customer service rep at Iberia Air told me, “You should just leave your dog at home. They are cold and miserable, they get out on the runway, they get killed.” Yikes! I certainly wasn’t going to transport my dog with their airline!

Laurie A. Grundner:  I don’t blame you. What a great person to represent Iberia Air.

Anne Wine O’clock Durrant:  We are so looking forward to having Poppy with us – long walks on the beach everyday. When I read the trailer for Dancing in the fountain it did make me chuckle. That is the sort of crazy thing we get up to. When we first got our apartment our friend went skinny dipping in it at midnight. Mind you Phil and I have been known to do the same in Gran Canaria we were with a Norwegian couple – after a long meal and several bottles of vino we were last in the bar in the complex we were staying in. The staff went home and told us to close the door and turn the lights off – we all ended up skinny dipping at 3 in the morning!

Karen McCann: Yes, for a customer service representative, she wasn’t exactly showing us the best side of the company. Or maybe that was the best side?

–Anne Wine O’clock Durrant I love your skinny dipping story! It’s the best way to recover from overindulgence. Did Poppy swim too?

Laurie A. Grundner:  Anne Wine O’clock Durrant- Were you horrified the next morning?

Anne Wine O’clock Durrant:  Poppy wasn’t with us that time – she would have joined us if she was. Laurie – not at all – all part of growing up. I may get there one day lol.

Karen McCann:  Not long after Dancing in the Fountain came out, Rich and I were at a late party in Spain and wound up dancing in another fountain. The hotel staff was horrified, but we thought it was great fun…cooled our feet off beautifully!

Photo#2-Dancing Fountain


Anne Wine O’clock Durrant:  Way to go Karen – love it!

Karen McCann: Thanks, Anne Wine O’clock Durrant! One of the things I love about living abroad is that you get to do things you’d never think of at home. Let me ask everyone – have you ever done something abroad that you wouldn’t have considered doing in your home town?

Anne Wine O’clock Durrant:  I will start then – tried a Nudist beach – and liked it

Karen McCann:  You are a brave one Anne Wine O’clock Durrant!

–I was on a nudist beach many years ago, and thought it good fun. However, I do believe my nudist days are behind me now…

Anne Wine O’clock Durrant:  It was fantastic – swimming felt so good – and no wet cossys to worry about, I am quite discrete and dont flaunt up and down the beach though!

Karen McCann:  One thing I like to do when I’m abroad is try strange cuisine. To celebrate our 10th anniversary, we had a party featuring food from around the world, including this alligator.



Laurie A. Grundner:  Wow! Anne Wine O’clock Durrant what country were you in?

Karen McCann: No, it didn’t taste like chicken, it tasted like pork. It was actually quite delicious. But somehow all our guests preferred the curried chicken. One of the great things about living in Spain is that the food is simple and sold in small portions (tapas) so you can sample all sorts of stuff during an evening out. I’m wondering – who out there has tried Spanish food?



Laurie A. Grundner:  I just finished watching a Rick Steves program on Spain. I never thought I would want to visit there but he changed my mind.

Karen McCann:  Good to hear it Laurie A. Grundner! Spain is a great place to visit. Wonderful food, the architecture is lovely, and the climate is delightful – as long as you avoid southern Spain in the summer. Then it is staggeringly hot, you can’t go out in the afternoon, you just have to take a siesta!

— Laurie A. Grundner what was it that Rick Steves said that changed your mind?

Anne Wine O’clock Durrant:  Laurie A. Grundner the country was Greece. Karen one of my all time favourite Spanish foods is Patatas Bravas!

Karen McCann:  I love Patatas Bravas! Sort of like thicker chips (what we Americans call French fries) with a wonderful sauce. Yummy! And did you try the wine Anne Wine O’clock Durrant?

Anne Wine O’clock Durrant:  Is the pope a catholic? Litres and litres also discovered Vino de Serrano for lunchtime drinking.

Karen McCann:  Yes, one of the great things about Spain is that everyone drinks wine or beer with lunch. Here in let’s-be-healthy California, if I order a second glass of white wine with lunch, everyone around me looks as if they can’t decide whether to give the phone number of the Betty Ford Clinic or call my family to stage an intervention.

Anne Wine O’clock Durrant:  I also tried Fish baked in a salt crust – I had never seen that done before. I loved the way the waiter served it cracking the salt, then peeling every bit off to expose the white flesh.

Karen McCann:  Yes, Anne Wine O’clock Durrant, the salt cod is wonderful. The first time I tried it, I was afraid, from the description, that it would be horribly salty but it’s not at all. Did you try the ham while you were there?

Anne Wine O’clock Durrant:  Yes – there are so many different ones though – and the prices vary so much – you can pay what you like for it can’t you. I also found a lovely cheese that I have not seen anywhere else with a Black rind/skin on it.

Susan Joyce:  Hola from Uruguay Karen. Haven’t read your book yet. Just received it and look forward to reading it soon. Love hearing about the things people do when away from the constraints of their home environments. Anne, I agree on swimming nude. Very liberating! My most daring was to flash at a surprise birthday party my friends threw for me in Germany. And in Greece I ordered bull’s balls (not knowing). They were grilled and delicious.

Karen McCann I know the cheese you mean, Anne Wine O’clock Durrant, I buy it often but have no idea what it’s called. I usually just point to it in the market.

Anne Wine O’clock Durrant:  This is the one – I point too lol



Sue Clamp:  Hi Karen! Apart from the obvious thing that Seville must be one of loveliest cities in the world, what made you choose it as a place to live?

Karen McCann:  Susan Joyce, my hat’s off to you for trying – and liking – bull’s balls. And for flashing your friends. You are definitely living life to the fullest!

Anne Wine O’clock Durrant:  Susan I was offered Bulls testicles in a restaurant in Greece – I declined. No way could I eat that

Sue Clamp:  Oh and yes, I know Spanish food very well – I’m half Andalusian!

–You’re going to be in Cambridge this week? I live about 12 miles away!

Karen McCann:  Sue Clamp, I love the people of Andalucia, and the lifestyle… People have more time for each other, and value friends and family over work. Once we made friends there, it seemed a logical choice…

–Sue Clamp, I’d love your suggestions of things to see and do. We’ll only have one full day, plus a bit, but I’ve heard of Cambridge all my life and can’t wait to begin exploring!

Karen McCann:  Everybody, I’m taking a quick break for breakfast. You lot carry on talking among yourselves, I’ll be back shortly!

Susan Joyce:  Anne, I didn’t know what I was ordering. The chef recommended it. After commenting on the tenderness and taste, the chef showed me a chart of the different cuts and pointed to the delicacy I had just raved about.

Susan Jackson:  I love Cambridge–we lived a couple hours away for 3 years!! Mildenhall

Sue Clamp:  If you can get into any of the colleges (I don’t know if the tourist season is “open” yet, then do have a look. St Johns College is one of my favourites. Kings College Chapel is an obvious tourist destination and, at this time of year, a walk along the backs is just a delight. Look out for the beautiful spring flowers! Get yourself a chauffeur punt and be taken along the river. The chauffeur will give you a running commentary about what you’re seeing. Go for a drink at The Eagle pub or, less touristy, go and enjoy a cappuccino and a bite to eat at my favourite cafe, Clowns in King Street.

–I love Cambridge too, Susan! I love pretending I’m a tourist and take my camera for a walk there regularly.

Susan Joyce:  Thanks Sue Clamp for your recommendations. Visited Cambridge years ago and I also loved it. If I go again, I’ll definitely check out your recommendations.

Susan Jackson:  I actually got lost one time trying to drive out of there–stopped at a store–looked for the sun and said to my friend–if I just keep it to my back we will get to the highway–we did and she was amazed–it was just girl scout stuff!!

Karen McCann:  OK, I’m back! Sorry to desert you. My plan was to have breakfast before I started, but last night there was A) the time change forward, and B) entirely too much wine. However, now I’m refueled and ready to go.

Susan Jackson:  Where do you live?

Karen McCann:  I live in Seville, Spain, most of the year, but spend about 4 months in California. I’m in CA during the summers, which are ungodly hot in Seville, and for a month in the winter. And you, Susan Jackson, where do you live?

Susan Jackson:  I live in Tampa Fl, just wondered where you were that the time changed as i thought Europe did it on a different schedule

Karen McCann:  Lucky you, Susan Jackson. I guess this winter has been a real bear in most of the US. Friends in Cleveland say they’re calling it an “arctic vortex.” I prefer states with lots of sunshine!

Susan Jackson:  Our gas bill just came in–for heat–and it was $98–I didn’t tell the hubby or he would start wearing sweaters–that is for the only cold time we have–it is hot out right now and I am going to the pool in a couple hours.

Karen McCann:  I love it, Susan Jackson; pool weather in March. Here in CA it’s been pretty warm the last few days, but not pool weather yet.

Susan Jackson:  How easy was it to move to Seville–you have lived there for quite a while–do you live in the city or the country

–Did you husband get a job over there–sorry I haven’t read your book yet although i do have it.

Karen McCann:  I live in the city, in the heart of old Seville, Susan Jackson. Moving anywhere is never easy, but we did it in stages, first going to Seville on vacations, which got longer and longer until we realized we wanted to live there. No, Rich is’t working; he took early retirement. So we have the flexibility to live anywhere.

Susan Joyce:  Good questions, Susan Jackson. It’s much easier for Europeans to move to Spain than Americans.

Susan Jackson:  WE have a heated pool and the wind isn’t blowing today so it is quite warm

–Great–I spent 20 years in the USAF and spent about 14 of them overseas–England, Germany, and Turkey. I would love to live overseas, it is such a different culture from ours but my husband who is 75 wants to live in the states due to medical concerns–we just moved back from Germany two years ago.

Karen McCann:  It is easier to move within Europe than from the US. The logistics are much simpler and it’s easier, and cheaper, to go back and visit more often. But when we fell in love with Seville, we decided to live there for a year – and haven’t left all these years later.

Susan Jackson:  Why is that Susan Joyce?

–Some day after I retire (4 years) I would like to travel and spend 3 months in one place and then move to another.

Karen McCann:  Susan Jackson, My husband is turning 70 this year, and we have medical issues to deal with, luckily minor ones. It’s one of the reasons we come to the US twice a year. We get all our medical checkups, etc. done while we’re in CA. The best part of that is that when we’re in Spain, we’re out of the endless loop of doctor’s appointments that plague our lives as we get older.

Susan Jackson:  My husband had cancer–the man one–and has had a lot of problems since.

Janet Hughes:  The Man-one can have devastating effects on the nervous system, bones, muscles and cartilage to name just a few.

Karen McCann:  I’m sorry to hear that, Susan. Then it’s probably wise to stay in the US with familiar doctors. We speak pretty good Spanish, and their health care system is good, but for anything major, it’s often deal with it in your own language and culture.

–One of the things I love about the Spanish health care system is that they still make house calls. It’s routine! You call your insurance company or social security and they send out a doctor to take care of you right in your own bed. Now that’s service we cannot get in the US. Don’t know about other countries…

Susan Jackson:  Yep, I figure he followed me around for years–even after he first had his surgery and chemotherapy do for cancer-we left for Turkey just a couple months later–he had to go to the hospital in Turkey and I think that is probably where most of his problems started.

Karen McCann:  He sounds like a really good sport, Susan Jackson, and it’s a shame he had a bad experience in Turkey, with long-term repercussions. How’s he doing now?

Susan Joyce:  Susan Jackson, living as an American while working for the US government is easy. As a civilian, living abroad, one has to prove income in order to get permission to reside in most countries. After you retire and have a proved income it’s much easier living in other countries, but each country has their own set of rules for residency.

Susan Jackson:  Anyway–back to you. What is the temperature like in Seville if Ca is cooler?

Karen McCann:  Susan Jackson In the summer it’s in the upper 40s, occasionally over 50.

Susan Jackson:  Ouch!! Yep too hot–nice you have someplace else to go then.

Karen McCann:  Yes, it’s so hot in Seville that you really can’t go out from lunch time (2:00 pm) until 10:00 pm. Everyone takes siestas, you just have to.



Susan Jackson:  Love the picture–looks like Turkey–a guy we all called Charlie used to take us home with our groceries

Karen McCann:  In Seville, the carriages are really just for touring the city, they’re much too expensive for grocery transport. Luckily, there’s a market on just about every corner, so hauling food home isn’t a problem for people like me, who don’t have a car.

Susan Jackson:  We didn’t have a car in Turkey either–but everything was cheap–the last time–5 years ago–prices where really going up–a baker’s rack I bought about 10 years ago for $125 cost $350 5 years later. Glad I bought what I did in the good years in the three countries I lived in

Karen McCann:  Prices are going up everywhere. Or almost everywhere. In Seville, where the economic crisis hit hard, they’ve dropped the price of beer to 40 centimos a glass in some bars. They are so popular you can hardly get in the door!



Susan Jackson:  Yes, but hopefully they are making some money or that just keeps perpetuating the problem. If i come to Seville will you show me around?–it won’t be this year–we are doing France in May.

Karen McCann:  Susan Jackson I’d be delighted to show you around Seville. There are 3000 tapas bars, and I am diligently trying to visit them all. And yes, the cheap beer places are thriving, due to food sales. So everyone is happy there…

Susan Jackson:  What qualifications did you and your husband have for the volunteer work you did–like when you went to Georgia?

Karen McCann:  Rich had a business background; he ran hospital systems for many years in California and Cleveland, and was responsible for overseeing numerous subsidiary businesses, such as home health care. I had run several small businesses, plus I was a health writer with a strong marketing background. So all those skills were handy. Plus we like people and travel, which helped enormously.

Susan Jackson:  Wow, and you went to so many places!! How is your Spanish now and how long have you lived there?

Karen McCann:  My Spanish is pretty good. We’ve lived there about 10 years, and I still get tangled up in more complicated verbs but I can always communicate, even after entirely too much vino.

Susan Jackson:  When living in Germany the German’s we lived with and worked with commented that English was a much better language than their own. That really surprised me in a nice was. When you were volunteering in the other countries did they speak English or did you have a translator?

–Prostate–that is what my husband had a problem with–gosh, took me long enough to think of it

Karen McCann:  Some of both. In Spanish-speaking countries (Mexico, El Salvador) we were fine. In most others we needed a translator. In Georgia our clients spoke English, which was great. Somehow we always manage.

–I often get questions about packing, ever since my post on spending 3 months on the road with just one small suitcase. I’m wondering if you all like to travel light or prefer to carry a more complete wardrobe when you travel?



Anne Wine O’clock Durrant:  We find in Greece we can talk to them for ages over a glass of vino or ouzo but haven’t a clue what has been said

Karen McCann: That happens to me too. Sometimes in English.

Susan Jackson:  Travel light–unfortunately my mom doesn’t and she always wants me to help lug her stuff–she carries too many shoes and books–even though she has two kindles–I am hoping this trip in May will be different!!

Anne Wine O’clock Durrant:  I travel very light after reading your blog – hubby is impressed. We have very limited space in the camper van so everything is going to be dual/triple purpose – I will have to re read you again x

Karen McCann:  Yes, it’s hard when your travel companion doesn’t share your packing philosophy! We have gone on trips with friends and had to spend an hour each morning trying to fit everyone’s suitcases in the boot!

Susan Jackson:  Where is your blog?

Karen McCann:  It’s on my website:


–The post I always get the most questions and comments on is the one about packing:


Susan Joyce:  Karen McCann, I know of your fist book and your blog. How often do you blog and do you feel it’s helpful in selling your books? The site looks great!

Susan Jackson:  Thanks–I added it to my favorites–so much to read about!! They tested driverless cars in Tampa also.

Linda Kovic-Skow:  Hi Karen McCann. Wow, what an interesting thread. I too have your book on my Kindle and I’m looking forward to reading it. Where did you grow up? How many in your family? Do you have children of your own? Where do they live? It’s always interesting to hear the background story:)

Anne Wine O’clock Durrant:  I have just started a blog – hope it ends up looking half as good as yours.

Susan Jackson:  OK–off to the pool–see you later and thanks for the conversation!!

Karen McCann:  Susan Joyce I blog weekly, and yes, it I believe it does help sell books.

Susan Jackson:  OMG Anne Wine O’clock Durrant–where is your blog?

Karen McCann:  Bye Susan Jackson, thanks for joining in! Have a good swim!

Susan Joyce:  Susan Jackson, Lucky you and your husband for having supportive mates. Enjoy your swim.

Anne Wine O’clock Durrant: :  http://annewineoclock.blogspot.co.uk/

Karen McCann: Linda Kovic-Skow I am a fourth-generation Californian; my great-grandmother came across by covered wagon. I don’t have kids, but I am one of six kids and have relatives all over the West Coast and elsewhere.

–Anne Wine O’clock Durrant your blog is great! Full of personality and information, the two things I always look for in a blog. Can’t wait to follow your adventures on the journey!

–And congrats on 34 days without a cigarette Anne Wine O’clock Durrant! I remember how that felt…

Linda Kovic-Skow:  Wow Karen McCann. Have you ever thought about writing your great-grandmother’s story? My mother was born in the US, but grew up in Croatia during WWII and I’ve always thought it would make a great book!

Anne Wine O’clock Durrant:  Thanks so much Karen – that means a lot to me – am nervous about publishing it. I will update it tomorrow – have a few more bits to add. x

— 47 days today – I feel so proud of myself after smoking for 52 years x

Karen McCann:  I’d love to write her story someday, Linda Kovic-Skow. And my grandmother’s, too. She was a silent film star back around 1914, a real wild woman.

Anne Wine O’clock Durrant:  Just popping out for a while to take Poppy for ‘the W word’ will pop back later x

Karen McCann:  I recently scanned this pic of my grandmother. She was a force to be reckoned with, even at 90.


Karen McCann:  See you later, Anne Wine O’clock Durrant!

— Linda Kovic-Skow I think it would be great if you wrote about your mother’s experiences in Croatia. I was there this fall and it has changed so much since I was there back in the 70s. I can only imagine what perspective your mother would bring.

Linda Kovic-Skow:  Great picture Karen McCann. A book project for the future for sure! Off to grab a late breakfast. Thanks so much for a great interview!

Karen McCann:  Thanks for being part of it, Linda Kovic-Skow. Enjoy your breakfast!

Susan Joyce:  Anne Wine O’Clock Durrant: Just looked at your blog. Congratulations! Look forward to reading your book.

–Karen McCann, love the photo of your grandmother. Definitely a grand one.

Karen McCann:   Yes, Susan Joyce, I can’t wait to read more from Anne Wine O’clock Durrant too.

–Thanks, Susan Joyce. Yes, my grandmother was a real character. Just the right kind of bad influence during my childhood..

–Anybody going to be in Spain for Semana Santa (Holy Week) this year? Seville goes completely nuts, with 50-odd processions paralyzing the city day and night.



Janet Hughes:  Me, well we arrive back home in Catalonia on the 19th.

Sue Clamp:  Maybe next year…

Karen McCann:  Janet Hughes you’ll be back for Easter. Don’t know what that’s like in Catalonia, but in Seville they do one small parade, but nothing like the big ones the rest of the week.

Susan Joyce:  Karen, did you live in Mexico? If so, where? Are you working on a new book now?

Karen McCann:  Susan Joyce I have been to Mexico several times and worked there briefly but never lived there. I am working on a new book now, based on this summer’s 3 month train trip through Central and Eastern Europe. It talks a lot about how and why we travel, what we’re really seeking on the road.

–Of all the places I loved during our 3 month train trip, Romania was the most romantic and photogenic. Here’s a shot I took one day while riding in a horse cart in Transylvania.


Susan Joyce:  I look forward to reading it. Enjoyed your tips on packing. When I first left the States in 1968, I had so many suitcases with me … I must have looked like a Zsa Zsa Gabor flying to Paris for a weekend with all my diamonds in tow. It’s fun to look back and realize that travel, like everything, takes practice.

Karen McCann:   Yes, luckily your packing skills are among those things that actually improve with age!

Susan Joyce:  Very true!

Terry Bryan:  Wow, you’ve been to some neat places…the majority of my travels have been in the U.S. and Canada. However, I did learn to pack light when our friend lost her luggage in Peru several years ago…she had to live out of her carry-on for four days…and did well. After that, none of us carry a lot of stuff. I like reading about your adventures!

Karen McCann:  Thanks, Terry Bryan! Glad you like the stories. I so agree; packing light is actually quite easy once you decide to do it. It’s amazing how much stuff you don’t need! All those extra shoes!

Susan Joyce:  OK Karen, fess up, how many pair of shoes do you take? Describe them.

Karen McCann:  Well, on the 3-month trip I took a good pair of walking shoes, a lightweight pair of black flats, sandals, and waterproof pair of flip flops. And I could have skipped the black flats; I barely wore them.

Terry Bryan:  Heavens, folks, if you haven’t been to Karen’s blog…go…enjoy!

Karen McCann:  Thanks, Terry Bryan. You are so kind!

Susan Joyce:  I’m in good company then. The shoes take up so much space. Comfortable walking shoes of course are a MUST.

Karen McCann:  Absolutely! Rich usually travels with just one good pair of walking shoes. I’m not that disciplined! But less is definitely more when it comes to travel footwear.

— Gotta run out for a few minutes, folks. Please feel free to leave me questions or comments and I’ll respond when I get back.


Julie Haigh:  Sorry if the question has already been asked but what is one of your most favourite books you have read. Have you read any books more than once because you enjoyed so much?

Janet Hughes:  Hi Karen, I don’t really do Easter. I assume that they have procession s though.

Joy Hughes:  8.30 Monday morning here in NZ and it has taken a while to read this complete thread. Enjoyed the comments about packing. I always pack at the last minute in a small hold-all whereas my husband spends a fortnight trying to pack into a large expanding suitcase. Guess who ends up posting things home?

–I’m curious to know Karen, what interests you have in reading and music . . . both things that always accompany me on travels.

Karen McCann:  Julie Haigh I do read books more than once if I particularly like them. One of my favorites is To Kill a Mockingbird; I never tire of the story, and re-read it not long ago when I found out the odd little boy next door was based on the author’s childhood friend, Truman Capote.


–Janet Hughes I don’t know about other parts of Spain, but in Seville, Semana Santa is like a force of nature that you have to reckon with, even if Easter is not part of your tradition. With processions day and night for a week, it’s like a tsunami hitting the city; everything gets swept aside until its over. I now understand why so many of my Spanish friends just up and leave town that week.

Susan Jackson:  All right, you are still on! I have been to the pool–hot, sunburned and out to lunch with my son.

— Obviously enough stay around to conduct the procession for a week. Must be fun for the kids.

Karen McCann:  It’s funny you say that about your husband, Joy Hughes, because my husband likes to do a half dozen test packs before every major trip, where I think about it a lot, but only pack once. I take lots of books on my Kindle, especially things related to places we’ll be seeing. We travel with a laptop that has some music, but it isn’t as critical to me as the books. They are like food and water; I wouldn’t get far without them.

Joy Hughes:  So your music tastes are . . . ?

Karen McCann:  Old rock ‘n’roll, opera, a bit of country western now and then, Spanish guitar and flamenco, ballads, Frank Sinatra … a bit of everything, really.

Joy Hughes:  A very eclectic mix.

Susan Joyce:  Nice!

Karen McCann:  Yes, I can’t seem to settle into one group. I should also add that two of my three brothers are musicians, so I listen to their stuff a lot. One is sort of pop music, the other does classic jazz.

— I really love flamenco, and the Sevillanas, a similar kind of dance music specific to Seville’s Feria de Abril (April Fair). Everybody dresses up for the event; here’s me shopping for a dress last year.



Susan Joyce:  Oh-la-la! Beautiful!

–Karen, it’s dog walk time here. Lovely getting to know you better. I look forward to reading and reviewing your book. Thanks for your time today! Great interview!

Joy Hughes:  My iPod tends to have a little bit of easy listening such as Robbie Williams, Louis Armstrong, Swingle Singers, Manhattan Transfer but mostly opera, classical music, jazz and rhythm & blues. Would be lost without my classical music as that is my training.

Karen McCann:  Thanks for being part of the conversation Susan Joyce. Enjoy your walk!

— I envy your classical music training, Joy Hughes. I abandoned piano lessons when I was 12 in pursuit of other interests. As for my husband, he’s the least musical person I know, but he bought a ukelele out of the blue this week and has announced he’s learning to play. Look out world!

Joy Hughes:  Your husband sounds a bit like a friend of mine. She decided at 60 years of age, to learn to play the bagpipes! We are never too old to try anything.

Karen McCann:  I think it’s great to take up an instrument at any age. I’m excited for my husband and your friend, exploring a whole new world!

–As I was typing that, I looked down at the next post here on WLM which reads: “I am still learning.” – Michelangelo, age 87. That’s what I’m talking about!

Joy Hughes:  Yes, I added a comment to that post re learning is for a lifetime and beyond!

Karen McCann:  Everybody, I’ll be away from this thread a short while, but please leave comments and I’ll get back to you soon. I leave the country day after tomorrow, and I’ve got a few things to juggle into my schedule today.

Joy Hughes:  Thanks Karen for being so available. Enjoyed reading the thread and hearing about your life. Safe travels.

Valerie Robson:  Hi there from Zim… xxx

Victoria Twead:  What a fantastic Fred! Karen, I’ll leave it up until the morning for more questions, and thanks a million for being our Sunday Superstar.

Karen McCann:  It’s been a pleasure! Thanks to everyone for their questions, comments and kind words.

Anne Wine O’clock Durrant:  Just got back and read up from where I left off. You are such a lovely person – and feel so pleased to have chatted to you today. Good luck with your future plans – I promise I will read Dancing while I am away. Thanks and goodnight x

Terry Bryan:  Thanks from me too…very interesting. have a good journey!

Sandra Staas:  Hi, I’m enjoying immensely reading these posts! You lead a very interesting life. I have a question about your mail when you’re travelling. How do you deal with mail delivery? The post office only keeps it for one month. I know it can be forwarded, but if you’re at different addresses, then how does that work? Thank you. Going to go back and read some more posts!

Terry Bryan:  I’m interested to see what Karen says…we have our mail forwarded to a friend. Now we’ve joined a camping club that keeps your mail until you tell them where to send it…for a fee, of course.

Sandra Staas:  We were just gone one month in February. The mail was to be held at the post office. On our return, nobody at the post office knew where our mail was! In the end, days later, it did turn up. When we’ve been away longer our son has checked the house and mailbox. But, it’d still be interesting to find out what people do if they’re away for maybe three months. Thing is – most of the mail is JUNK! Lol.


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