“Two- Way Street” In Life Balance

List the people you admire and look to for advice…

JetPack Prompt 5/7/23

When it comes to a list of people I currently admire and trust in their advice, those daily acts of giving that I receive from each of them must be correspondingly balanced with a degree of positive reciprocity from my side that I must wisely return. In the following unranked list then, I can also say that the names described below resonate most strongly according to my present life circumstances.

1. My yoga teachers teach me time tested movements to improve my strength, flexibility, and balance followed by periods of silent meditation where I direct positive energy toward each of them from my inner soul.

2. My massage therapist follows up this yoga routine with some skillful adjustment for areas of physical tightness as we converse in mutually beneficial conversation about how to lead our lives productively in the present moment.

3. Shared common interest about sports, music, travel, and past career experiences motivate me to allot quality time talks with two  wisely minded  ex- teacher  friends throughout my week.

4. My elderly mother’s best friend gives up so much of her free time to be with her for some leisurely fun. As I often coordinate the timing of my own visits to mother with those of this female companion, I’m elated that I’ve worked successfully with her as a team to provide greater comfort for my mother in this time of dire medical need. 

5. The independent spirit of travel counts strongly at this moment as a major source of giving admiration for my loving wife.  For during this current crisis of family illness, I trust her uncanny ability to foresee the right adventures that we will most economically afford to  enjoy abroad when the opportunities to do so arise again. In turn, I will surround her in due time with destination based maps/apps, practical tourist research information as well as some travel friendly human contacts to consult as needed. 


Democracy’s Dilemma

Do you vote in political elections?

JetPack Prompt 5/6/23

When duty calls, I always choose to vote. As it’s one of my responsibilities as an American citizen to stay informed about issues that may critically affect me, the act of voting seems to be a practical way to perform this task.

Yet what difference does it make if I vote Democrat or Republican these days? For we are all Americans and I need to consider what’s best for the common good rather than bend to the will of the party. On the other hand, a wasted vote means nothing so it would not be advisable for me to vote as an Independent or other less recognized third party.

So if the day comes that my right to vote has been taken away from me, it’s definitely time to rethink my proud allegiance to this country. What would you do under those dire circumstances?

Who’s In Control?

What gives you direction in life?

JetPack Prompt 5/5/23

You might notice every so often that some “heavy” event happens that makes you think of a new direction that your life must take. In my case, whether such self epiphany is caused by luck, fate, or coincidence, I respect what changes my intuition is telling me.

So it seems I have come to a crossroads in my retired lifestyle with some lingering medical crises in my family preventing me from upcoming travel. So this ever present “tug of war” between Yin and Yang in my mind caused by sick loved ones now tells me to stop obsessing about going somewhere in person to write and publish blogs. In lieu of such self imposed pressure, I feel greater need to prioritize now just finding more ease in the company of family, friends, and even new strangers I meet. Know that my restless traveling mind will will no doubt return to me, however, when the right time comes with Japan, Antarctica, Nepal, and Ireland journeys on my “bucket list” for sure.

“Snippets Of A Traveling Mind” Matters

Hi Readers:

Due to some pressing medical matters in my immediate family, our travels within and outside South Florida are indefinitely on hold. So in the absence any of new travel postings , I hope to (1) substitute shorter written reflections about daily prompts displayed on JetPack and (2) commit myself to selective commenting above blogs of personal interests when I can. USFMAN

Blossoms, Beach Boys & Baseball

“Spring won’t let me stay in this house any longer! I must get out and breathe the air deeply again.”( Gustav Mahler)

It’s no coincidence that Ruth and I normally begin our road trips during the burgeoning optimism of spring. For it makes good sense for us then to drive mindfully into those vast expanses of western lands of America that offer so many opportunities to feel free and easy amid less populated conditions. So 2023 would be no exception as an early flight to Anaheim, California would mark the the beginning point of our latest road trip itinerary in a long distance circular fashion.

So you might wish to know what kinds of spring inspirations would most interest us in this suburban Orange County locale somewhat distant from traffic congested downtown Los Angeles. While there’s of course nearby Disneyland mania which hordes of tourists enjoy from this Anaheim location each day, some alternative sites of spring optimistic interest would take precedence over Mickey Mouse and friends amusement during this three day stay.

Some of you might have read in the news recently about the unusually colorful spring flower blooms in California caused by heavy rains that’s happened in the region recently. So we’d been fortunate in this regard to take a short drive to Chino Hills State Park with its heavy concentrations of poppy field blooms and other flora along quiet walking trails located a relatively short distance from our Anaheim motel.

Then of course we looked forward to the first weeks of Major League Baseball now to occupy our interest in this region with Los Angeles Angels games in town. For taking in a game or two could slow down our normal pace  and allow us to settle into the informal friendliness of “America’s Past Time” at an affordable ticket price with a free parking pass to go with it. Most definitely, a smile would also register on my face on any such chosen baseball night while watching marquee players like Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani perform hitting with notable brilliance and ease.

With Spring’s arrival in Southern California, there also seemed to be a pleasant anticipation of those casual summer beach days we once enjoyed as a teenagers. So my wife, in particular, longed to feel the iconic musical legacy of The Beach Boys when visiting Southern California on this occasion. But we did not actually need to take that long drive east to the Pacific beachfront to feel their 1960s historic vibe when we discovered that the historic statue landmark marking the home site where they grew up and formed their band lie a mere thirty minute drive away from us in more suburban Hawthorne city limit environs.

We’ll be heading north of Los Angeles next to the serene hills of Thousand Oaks, California. As the NFL Draft take place this weekend. So I’ll be pausing my writing for a few days to find out who my two favorite teams, the Cleveland Browns and Miami Dolphins select to further each of these teams chances for a Super Bowl run. Enjoy my latest photos.

Bountiful Road Trip Beginning

“The only way forward if we are going to improve the quality of our environment is to get everyone involved.” (Richard Rogers)

To begin this entry, I’d like to thank our close friends Nicole and Paul for graciously hosting us again at their home in Lincoln, Nebraska. We loved playing with their two cats and new baby and wish them “bon voyage” on their upcoming adventure ahead.

The way I see it, the best role I can play on Earth Day as a world traveler would be to enjoy the miraculous givings of our living earth to the full extent wherever I am at. That means of course taking time beyond amusement to educate myself about the best practices of sustainability in our land, water, and air resources present in human habitats visited during our extensive road tripping times. So we’ve discovered two sites of environmental interest to begin our latest cross country adventure on Earth Day weekend in Lincoln, Nebraska amidst the heartland of the American prairie. Yet to do so, these two South Floridians would need to endure late winter weather conditions with bitter cold and wicked winds likely present at any natural outdoor sites we chose to visit.

So a two day visit with our Nebraska friends enabled us to pursue such Earth Day immersion near Omaha to begin this latest vacation. Traveling first a few hours west on Interstate 80, we first considered the preservation of endangered species in the animal kingdom while taking some time to tour the Crane Trust Nature and Visitor Center near Grand Island, Nebraska. Imagine for a moment then such a fascinating natural scene where hordes of Sandhill Hill cranes migrate thousands of miles from February to April each year to find abundant feeding, nesting and breeding grounds in the same or similar spot amid these cornfield strewn flatlands nearby the North Platte River. Unfortunately, upon discovering at the Visitor Center that the cranes would already be gone, we nonetheless obtained some wonderful views of these rare, protected lands on a short walk along an adjoining nature trail. For we would then take our time to appreciate how these magnificent birds as well as other waterfowl species and wild bison could roam freely there in undisturbed fashion for future generations to come.

Next following this wave of Earth Day interest inside the borders of Omaha, we decided on the second day of this roadtrip leg to attend an Earth Day Celebration at Elmwood Park with our Nebraska friends. The afternoon plan then centered around listening to some live music of a country folk nature along with taking a leisurely stroll amid local exhibits demonstrating reduction of waste, conservation of energy, preservation of natural resources and conversion to all electric vehicles. Unfortunately with snow flurries forecasted on this frigid morning, our scheduled time allotted to spend there turned out to be noticeably brief. Looking now for a bit of a warmup, thankfully we will be flying out to Anaheim, California tomorrow to begin our Far West portion of this road trip. Enjoy the photos.

My Rainy Day Creed

“Let us keep the dance of rain our fathers kept and tread our dreams beneath the jungle sky.” (Arna Bontemps)

It’s been raining non- stop in South Florida for several days. So I’ve been awakened in such soggy “downtime” to compose this timely poem. For those who are interested, a major inspiration for this blog came directly from various  novel insights learned in “The Celestine Prophecy” written by James Redfield.

A Steady Smack of Psychic Wet

Can Ease My Mind Of Futile Fret

For In Drop By Drop I Stay With Now

As Ego Filled Mask Takes No Bow

Amid such sudden deluge new energy must flow

For there’s fertile grounds now for bold intuitions to grow

So today I choose to give stormy silence a chance 

To open myself to more song, laugh or dance

So enjoy each raindrop that softly splatters 

While pondering how life coincidence truly matters

A Miraculous Road Trip Procession

“ It is greater than the stars – that moving procession of human energy; greater than the palpitating earth and the things growing thereon.” (Kate Chopin)

I’m happy to announce that Ruth and I will soon depart on our latest U.S. road trip from Fort Lauderdale to the “Far West” regions of the country. Beginning with a Southwest Airlines “hop” to Omaha, Nebraska for a short visit with friends followed by a longer flight to begin our drive in Anaheim California, we thus anticipate more efficient use of our time on this latest fly/car vacation. For we can then prioritize spending longer time out west at several of our most nostalgic destinations. The general scope of this clockwise itinerary can be examined in the title photo of this blog above.

For this entry, I thus let my fictional imagination flow freely as I envision below in “light hearted” fashion, some unusual welcomes that might happen at each of these revisited places.

Omaha, Nebraska

We inhale the pungent smell of dung as a herd of black cows encircle a giant float composed of ripened stalks of corn outside the main terminal at Omaha’s International Airport . From a seated throne on the float, Miss Nebraska, the state’s 2023 Beauty Queen friendlily tosses us fresh cobs to greet our arrival.

Anaheim, California

Upon being greeted by a friendly Mickey Mouse in full costume character at Orange County’s Disneyland, he joins arms with us and informs us that he knows how to beat Florida governor Ron DeSantis at his own power game to control the affairs of Orlando’s Disney World.

Los Angeles, California

Our rental car booked at LAX Airport is preprogrammed to stream only old Beach Boys surfer hits at voice command for a nominal fee.

Morro Bay, California.

A procession of older guys in late 1960s Ford, Pontiac, and Chevy roadsters circle around massive Morro Rock to scurry away thousands of hungry sea gulls who fly frantically above our heads to welcome us back to town.

Santa Cruz,California

Opportunistic beggars assume we are ex hippies and panhandle us for spare change as we’re invited to bond with them at a free concert at the beach on the day of our arrival.

San Rafael,California

No motel rooms are available in this very liberal municipality for the weekend. But a prison supervisor at a local climate change protest offers us a free stay for three nights at San Quentin if we’re willing to volunteer weed clearing in the prisoner garden.

Portland, Oregon

We are given for free some heavy duty rain gear and umbrellas at the State Border Visitor Center in anticipation that it will be pouring in the Portland vicinity at all times of our upcoming visit. We’re also advised then that if we venture to the more conservative inland areas of Oregon, it might be more practical to carry a gun.

Jackson Hole, Wyoming

For photographing at least five wildlife sightings during our next hike at nearby Grand Teton National Park on this visit, we’re offered a free paint set and easel from the Jackson Chamber of Commerce to demonstrate our naturalistic art talents.Yet while we are flattered by the opportunity to create and possibly sell each of these animal self depictions on canvas at the famed main square of town, we soon realize frigid temperature this time of year will consequently render our outdoor experience intolerably miserable that day.

Steamboat Springs, Colorado

It’s mud season in Steamboat on the popular ski slopes and walking trails. But there’s no problem taking care of those filthy shirt, boots and trousers. For we can just ask for the deluxe treatment at an automatic car wash facility in town where we can stand alongside our vehicle after our hike as it’s being washed, rinsed, and waxed during its five minute cycle.

Panguitch Utah ( Bruce National Park)

It’s important we take advantage of the free trail map reading and flare usage sessions at the local library. For our I phone or other practical guidance devices will be basically useless for finding our way in those tortuous canyons, blind alleys and other geographically confusing natural areas in this region of the state.

Las Vegas, Nevada

Opportunity knocks along the Vegas “time share” scene as I’m cajoled by slick promoters an offer to indulge with my wife in a memorable evening on the famed “strip” involving extravagant dining and entertainment “on the house.” Yet I painfully realize later that I’ve actually agreed to purchase two weeks vacation time each upcoming year in the deathly desolate environs of the Mojave Desert.

Williams, Arizona

Nostalgic remembrances of youth call forth as we consider joining a friendly group of rebellious motorcycle riders who invite us to cruise Route 66 for possibly the last time in our lives. As a suitable followup activity nearby, we might extend our drive with similar courage by taking a long look at our spiritual fate in the afterlife as we gaze wondrously over the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.

Ecuador’s Inch Filled Manner

“ Every inch a person’s body travels on the road of separation seems like miles to the heart.” (Naguib Mahfouz)

Ordinarily on most of our vacations, I envision distant miles of land that I must traverse to reach a certain destination. Such long term planning, however, often distorts my awareness of those smaller units involving lower speed of movement that come into play when facing such obstacles as elevation change, weather anomalies and the slow crawl of city traffic. So in the case of our recent Ecuador vacation, I noted with interest the obvious effect on my mind and body of slower paced travel through treacherous terrain by bus for up for eight to twelve hours each day.

Consider for instance the uncertainty I felt crawling along those rock strewn roads sometimes unpaved from the lowland coastal environs of Guayaquil at sea level into the foggy cloud forests of the high Andes ranges at over 13,000 feet and then abruptly descending down to vista obscuring tree cover of the vast equatorial jungle. For at such uncertain distance measurement, time seemed to pass slowly for me then resulting in more moment to moment awareness of my immediate  surroundings along the way. So during our steady crawl upward into to this foggy unknown, I might have taken notice of a protruding cliffside tree strand, an indigenous family hovel, or a stranded passenger vehicle along the road, passing by my bus window inch by inch so to speak.

Another notable example in Ecuador of my shrunken perception of distance on this vacation happened during our last stop in Quito, Ecuador. For as we first arrived in Quito, I quickly observed a distinct compressed feel of physical space amidst this densely populated capitol city surrounded on all sides by its steep volcanic bowl setting. How unfortunate it seemed then to me that there existed such lack of usable flat land to develop in the central business district. For such  challenging growth restraints downtown necessitated a haphazard pattern of inaccessible housing units in surrounding suburbs tenuously clinging to the sides of cliffs making commuter traffic flow to and from the city a slow moving chore.

Fortunately, however, I discovered an excellent way for adapting well to the “snail pace” manner of movement during our tour group’s morning walking tour of Quito’s old colonial quarter. Stepping gingerly foot by foot along cobblestone streets, I could take more detailed notice of unusual images on street murals, ornate designs inside and outside of Catholic Cathedrals , traditional Spanish courtyard furnishings and of course the complex array of human activity present that day.

Undoubtedly the most vivid example of my enhanced awareness of small distance on our Ecuador journey took place during a fascinating side trip to the Middle of the World Monument a few miles south of Quito. For with detailed precision in mind, imagine our tour operator guiding us to find zero degrees latitude and furthermore us to step on the very line marking the exact point of hemispheric equator division on earth between north and south. With my prior geographic knowledge in mind, I could then conduct a long sought scientific test of the  “Coriolis Effect”  to prove that taking a few steps north of the line meant counterclockwise rotation while conversely trodding to the south of the line induced clockwise revolution.

So I say goodbye to Ecuador where time resembles more the tortoise than the hare. For I now realize that during the many arduous miles I have traveled in these conditions, I’ve gained more patience to slow down a bit and thus show more capability to hone in inch by inch to study more meticulously my immediate surroundings. Incidentally, my next travel blog series begins at the end of this month as Ruth and I pursue our latest U.S. road trip to California and other favorite spots in the western states Enjoy my latest photos.

Ecuador Rainforest Mission

“ The rainforests hold answers to questions we have yet to ask.”
(Mark Plotkin)

I suppose it’s easy to generalize that the earth’s rainforests exist as an inaccessible jungle experience of interest only to Jane Goodall type, wild animal experts or thrill seeking adventurers. But after spending a good portion of our time in these river swollen wilds on our Ecuador trip, I realize that the great mysteries of life’s sustainment there benefit in so many ways all of animal and humankind.

Certainly we observed on many occasions in Ecuador the obvious interdependence of tropical plant and animal species in this equatorial zone experience. Witness for instance emerging butterflies massing together on a banana leaf in drunken like pleasure. Or picture those tiny hummingbirds fluttering around in frantic fashion to find plentiful nectar from a blossoming tree branch.

But looking beyond the obvious biological force of the rainforest, I now realize that the rainforest presence mimics a desired transition humans might consider now to go about their lives each day. Consider then what happened to me when I took time to sit on the open veranda of our room at “La Casa del Suizo” each morning watching raindrops gently fall on the Napo River amid otherwise desolate tropical silence. For such powerful sensory observations seemed to be telling me the futility of dwelling about past and future and instead just observe each present moment fully each day. Enjoy the new set of photos.

To close this blog , I would like to interest my readers in some vital questions that arise in my mind as a result of this Ecuador Rainforest travel experience.

1.How can we utilize rainforests to better maintain human health?
2.How can use rainforests more to help clean our water and air?
3. How do we better preserve wildlife threatened by rainforest destruction?
4.How can we give back to those indigenous people who survive in the rainforest?
5. What secrets of human history are most important to know in the rainforest?
6. What spiritual signals does the rainforest suggest to fulfill unity of humankind?

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑