Ellen has a doll from every country they’ve visited—a sizable collection that has Michael wishing for more wall space at home. She has also become an expert packer. When they were in Italy, Ellen spotted a beautiful inlaid table and remarked how nice it looked. “Well, if she says that’s really nice, that means I’m going to get it for her,” Michael says. He took it apart and Ellen squeezed it into their suitcase.
For his part, Michael has come back with stories, like when they were in Nepal for his birthday and Ellen arranged to have an elephant deliver his birthday cake.
And then there’s the story about the curious Komodo dragons. Michael was taking pictures of the giant lizards when suddenly their guide stepped in front of him. “Apparently, I had draped something over my arm that was swinging when I was trying to take the pictures,” he says. “It attracted the attention of the Komodo dragons, so they were coming for me.”
Life of adventure
Their next cruise is a “little” one to Hawaii—just two or three weeks. The longest cruise they’ve taken was seven weeks. They plan their cruises a year or two out, but when they used to take road trips, they could be spontaneous.
Once, they were driving across the United States and had gotten as far as Arizona when Michael asked, “Where would you like to go?” “Take a right,” Ellen replied. “The next thing I knew,” Michael says, “we were in Jasper [Alberta], Canada.”
“Every day with her is a different adventure,” he says. “If we go out of state, I take our passports. I never know with her.”