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Something Special For DW
Old 05-31-2019, 10:00 AM   #1
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Something Special For DW

In October of last year, I had a health setback that is yet to come to a final conclusion. Nothing life-threatening (as far as I know), but one that has the potential to create a "new normal" for me. I've had to adapt to a new normal once before, I can do so again. I'm very fortunate to have the enormous love and support of DW. She's been incredibly great throughout this ordeal. She put up with a lot and made sacrifices - all without complaining and with so much love.

I'd like to do something very special for her, but I'm afraid I'm completely devoid of original ideas. She's very much into birds and bird photography (her work is quite good). We were in Peru last year and in the second week of our trip - the week when we headed to remote locations and where the birding was supposedly outstanding - my health issues arose and we sadly had to cut our trip short, as healthcare in that remote part of the world is not very sophisticated. I'd surprise her with another trip somewhere renowned as a birder's paradise but it probably would require us traveling to other remote locations. I'm not sure how or when my health issue will be resolved, so that's out.

Anyone have any suggestions? Preferably related to birding, but not necessarily. She's not into expensive jewelry or material things in general. It's more about experiences for her.
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Old 05-31-2019, 10:20 AM   #2
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Google "Paradise in Portugal" - run by Frank McClintock ... long story , which I won't go into here. Somewhere different , great home cooked food , small , but not too small ... web will tell the story. I have stayed there ... and will visit again this year.
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Old 05-31-2019, 10:28 AM   #3
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Does she have a great pair of binoculars? Great camera & zoom lens? If so, the other idea is a birding trip to a fabulous destination when you’re able to go. My best friend and her husband are avid birders. They just went to Columbia for 3 weeks and loved it.
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Old 05-31-2019, 12:53 PM   #4
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How about a nearby / State-side birding trip (so you're not too far from medical care) to a location she has not visited yet? Might not be renowned or remote, but it could be special time together and new bird sightings for her.

(And you could pair this with some new gear, as Scuba suggested.)
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Old 05-31-2019, 02:04 PM   #5
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How about a spa experience for DW and her best friend? Massage, hot tub, spend the night, nice meal.

On birding, how about an offshore trip to view seabirds. One of my best birding trips has been to an island to view puffins, what great birds. The one I went to was in Newfoundland but i am sure there are closer places to see puffins.
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Old 05-31-2019, 03:17 PM   #6
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Set aside a month of weekends, and go on shorter trips. Wining, dining and birding...
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Old 05-31-2019, 03:56 PM   #7
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A really good pair of Swarovski or Leica binoculars?
A new telephoto lens?
A tripod?
A new DSLR?
A trip to Costa Rica?
A trip to New Zealand?
A really great 4K monitor for photo editing?
So many options!
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Old 05-31-2019, 04:03 PM   #8
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I think some combination of new gear and a trip to somewhere where access to healthcare wouldn't be an issue (US/Canada was my thought) would be perfect. Found these to start your thinking:
15 Favorite Birding Destinations in US and Canada

and

Audubon What you Need (they have different price ranges for gear).

Whatever you decide on, I'm sure she will appreciate both the gift and the thought.
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Old 05-31-2019, 04:19 PM   #9
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Have you already birded southern Portugal? If you travel there, it’s popular for birders.

We love our Swarovski 8.5 x 42 EL bins. So fantastic for watching birds in all lighting conditions. Super sharp and clear.

Sounds like a trip to the Galapagos might be in order. Less strenuous perhaps for you traveling by boat?

Or an UnCruise.
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Old 05-31-2019, 08:31 PM   #10
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Does she have a friend that she could go on a trip with given that you’re not able to go? If she’s in good health and you’re not, it’s a selfless act to give the person the space and blessing to go without you. Not sure your restrictions, but something to consider.
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Old 05-31-2019, 08:42 PM   #11
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I ws thinking the same thing.... give her a birding trip. You stay at home and she, or she and a friend, take that birding trip to the boonedocks. Or perhaps you go part way but stay in the city while she, or she and a friend, or perhaps a birding group go out to the hitherlands in search of that rare bird.
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Old 05-31-2019, 08:43 PM   #12
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How about a trip to a US birding location such as Arizona combined with a stopover at a nice spa/resort in the area for a few days?
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Old 06-01-2019, 08:17 AM   #13
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Thanks for all the suggestions.

I've asked her, in passing, what camera equipment she lusts for. She tells me she's perfectly happy with what she has - she doesn't want anything. I suggested a mirrorless camera thinking that she'd appreciate the reduction in weight. But she told me mirrorless cameras have shortcomings that would impact her photography so she's not interested until the technology improves.

We have Swarovski bins (which I love), but she isn't so much into just looking at birds - she wants to photograph them. Every time we go someplace to appreciate nature, I'm always offering them to her, and she refuses - she prefers to look through her camera's zoom (which works out for me because I get to appreciate the birds as well through the bins).

So I think equipment is out - for now at least.

Portugal sounds interesting - I'll check that out. Also, the suggestion of going on a number of short, weekend trips that consist of wining, dining and birding sounds great. She doesn't have any birding friends that she would consider going on a birding vacation with, but she did say - while not ideal - she'd be open to going with a group tour, so that's an option.

Thanks for the ideas.
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