Grand Canyon Chasm Of Life

“ I just need time in a beautiful place to clear my head” (Ritu Ghatourey)

Can you imagine a more beautiful place to reenergize your love of being alive than the spectacular Grand Canyon? Yes, you might imagine the euphoria we felt upon witnessing this grand spectacle of life once again on day 44 of our road trip. For it seemed right then to forget about the oppressive heat in Northern Arizona as well as the worrisome influx of so many maskless tourists at this park then. Instead we would resolve to experience these amazing canyon environs on Monday morning for the primary purpose of uplifting our human spirit. Thus a casual walk along the canyon’s South Rim corridor would successfully serve our purposes today. The following photographs thus provide a sensory glimpse of several memorable moments that we witnessed that day.

I am feeling more relaxed in the silence of pure nature today because the park does not seem busy today.

I scan this pleasing panorama of geologic layered artistry, feeling a human will that I will change yet survive.

As hardy plants cling to the canyon walls, I sense there is a strong will in life to obtain  peaceful coexistence conditions.

I breathe in more deeply and slowly in response the rustling wind blowing through the dense, Ponderosa Pine forest growing near our picnic table.

I follow the daring path of a black crow who flies freely to “edge of the canyon” environs and wonder about searching for such places of peaceful solitude for my life from up high.

I hear the shrill whistle of an old time, passenger train arriving from the nearby town of Williams and picture living in a much slower time and place.

I search closely for spiritual meanings provided by nearby rock formations that seem so oddly human.

Whether it’s photograph or painting, the Grand Canyon appeals to the celebration  of of the enduring living spirit for us all.

Lazy’s Ok In Lincoln

On day 13 of our road trip, I give myself permission today to slow down and be lazy in Lincoln, Nebraska with our younger friends Paul/Nicole and their two cats, Shadow and Sam. Working at home for both of them seems to have provided a flexible way to smoothly manage the Corona slowdown in the past few months as they seem to understand proper balance of their work/relax schedule for a healthier life. So I’ve taken the lead to follow their example this weekend and let the stillness of each day on their outdoor porch be my guiding principle as needed.

Our Nebraska visit of this road trip also offers the opportunity to take full outdoor advantage of their home location, which lies alongside a popular green belt with inviting bike trail options. At Nicole’s direction, I thus spent Saturday morning pedaling easily along the greenbelt and through a public park for a few miles with her on a brilliantly sunny morning.

Tonight the fireflies may glow in the dusk and I hope to catch a few in a glass jar. I will a savor a fresh blueberry cobbler and I’m sure there will be plenty of time to play with the cats. I might even catch a glimpse on their porch at the setting sun descending in golden grace below the Lincoln Capitol Tower. How’s that for Corona isolation therapy? Enjoy the pictures.

Inner Earthbound Gratitude

“Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influence of the Earth.” (Henry David Thoreau)

How  much do you already know about Earth Day? Click on the quiz links below to find out.

The 50th anniversary of Earth Day happens this week. Yet I sense there lies a greater challenge in my life this year to feel the natural blessings of our land, air, and water on this global wide holiday. For I remain physically confined in our condominium, feeling sensory starved “cabin fever” now as a result of the Corona pandemic. Clearly, it seems sensible for me as this crisis lingers on to reconsider how Earth Day might assist me to stay healthy. It also seems to be an opportune time for honestly assessing the extent to which my current routines at home truly support Earth Day’s life-sustaining values. For I strive to act mindfully EVERY day now to be in sync with protecting our earth’s living environment.

So in observance of my “Inner Earth Day”, this year, I’ve decided to undertake a “walking archive” of each room in our South Florida condominium to determine how much I commit to the Earth Day initiative. The following question in this effort should immediately arise. To what extent do I “buy in” to the idea of reusing and/or recycling what I consume? What objects in my home motivate me to honor our earth’s livability for the future? Do I understand how to make efficient use of light, water, and power energy? Am I fully aware of how much I waste in what I buy? What changes should I make to our our annual “Spring Cleaning” rituals to make “Earth Day” more meaningful this year?

In the remaining sections of this blog, I thus present ten self -observations compiled from my Earth Day Walking Archive. Hopefully you will find this information useful for dealing with your present Corona pandemic challenges.


1. I’m riding my bicycle more around my neighborhood to simply get out of the house and stay safely distant from others. I observe that by doing so, I am saving energy in energy consumption and becoming more more passionate about preserving the natural beauty that surrounds me.

2. Buying bottled water these day means exposing myself to potential virus concerns in supermarkets. So I’ve started to use a refillable water bottle with filters instead for safety reasons. I also realize that I might remind myself to drink water more efficiently by filling up a measured quantity in my filtered bottle.

3. A “white noise” machine and “plug in” waterfall sculpture not only help me sleep sounder in this time of Corona stress but they also reawaken my outdoor sensory perceptions each night to the relaxing effect of free flowing water.

4. Similarly, I am utilizing my “New Age” nature music collection more as a tranquil background setting when I conduct my yoga practice each day for meditative concentration.

5. We may have to live in a condo cocoon all day now, but at least we are comfortably cool. Yet we normally set our air conditioning thermostat to save energy by not running the system continuously all the time. Similarly, we make ample use of our ceiling fans atop each room to recirculate the blowing air.

6. A few years ago, my wife and I decided to replace our shaggy carpet look around our unit with wood-resembling , laminated floors. I realize this design comes in handy now since we do not wish to drag into our house unhealthy dust, bacteria, and viral material now that typically clings to a carpet laden floor.

7. Eating earth friendly, sustainable products makes life healthier as we transition to more of a vegetarian based diet these days. By going organic, we also seem to be doing our part to help conserve vital meat based products for those Corona victims of need.

8. Our economy is in free fall decline with so many store closures now. Thus, this is not the time to indulge in energy sucking devices like digital TVs, music boxes, and the latest laptop computers we don’t really need now. So I am noticing simpler ways to pass the time now like snuggling up in a homemade blanket with a soothing cuppa coffee while indulging in a favored electronic book now for hours at a time.

9. I surely can appreciate the free oxygen emitted from our indoor plants as I combat the virus hazards of those breathing around me. Nurturing plant life in our home also becomes a pleasant mind diversion in these confusing times now.

10. I would be remiss if I did not mention the Earth Day benefits of wearing my face mask throughout the day in this scary time of Corona. For this is not the time for selfishness , as the risk of airborne spread illness critically threatens the survival of our human species in the future. Stay well.

Finding My Inner Shrine

“Within you there is a stillness and a sanctuary to which you can retreat at any time and be yourself.” (Hermann Hesse)

Sanctuary – anywhere a person feels especially safe and serene.

I have no doubts that I have often been motivated in travel situations to find places that directly uplift my spiritual soul. Yet amidst theses current fear mongering times of the Corona pandemic, it seems imperative for me to redirect my wandering spirit to find new sanctuaries of inner peace within the confines of my home. No doubt, the glitzy features of modern electronics might engage my attention as I navigate Zoom, You Tube, and Facebook more. For I definitely value the multi-sensory appeal of these platforms as they add new entertainment options of live virtual concerts, digital learning experiences, and enhanced social media communications. Yet I yearn in this time of interpersonal sacrifice for something more real that I can interact with loving touch at will.

It seems then the best solution to my own current dilemma would be for me to design my own spiritual sanctuary(ies) in the imaginative manner of my childhood. For I was indeed a very curious only-child who frolicked in the enjoyment of free play manner. So I recall my youthful passion for collecting marbles, baseball cards, and seashells and how I arranged them in a visually pleasing way. I reminisce now as well what “turned me on” most when designing those intricate sandcastles along Florida beaches. In addition, when rushing home from school each afternoon to my Northern Ohio basement, how did I usually rearrange the mini-town setting surrounding my Lionel Train rail track. Or on those lonely kid times with only a babysitter present, what designs did I often create when spreading “Lego” and “Lincoln Log” pieces along the living room floor?

No doubt, the magically sensory experience of our recent tour of South India will also play a major role in my latest sanctuary thinking here. For so many sights I photographed there ( eg. see below) appear amazingly sublime. Perhaps then you will join me now to create your own shrine(s) of inner bliss in the face of your current lockdown predicament. Namaste.

While walking from our resort hotel to the serene beach along the Bay of Bengal, I discovered this romantic wedding backdrop of crimson glory.

Beautiful floral designs provided a warm greeting as we entered hotel lobbies throughout our tour.

While along city streets, flower power also resonated as a major symbol of civic pride for promoting a welcoming spirit in tourism

At the Mahatma Gandhi Museum in Madurai, I acquired deep reverence for Gandhi’s resolve to make his simple loincloth clothes from a spinning wheel. Such humility pleads strongly for disdain of materialistic excess and finding inner beauty of the human soul.

Alongside a temple in In Mahabalipuran, an open air” field of sacred sculptures seduced my spiritual attention. I then took a mesmerizing look at local craftsman constructing sandstone Buddhas/ sacred elephant sculptures there.

Along one town street near Kochi, this imaginative setting of garbage composed artwork provided a positive emotional diversion from the surrounding blight of poverty and homelessness despair.

While a colorful object shrine hanging from an aging tree provided a relaxing oasis for me from surrounding urban chaos in front of a local storefront in Madurai.

Graffiti clutter was noticeably absent on this Madurai city wall at the beginning of our tour. Instead, I admired these visually uplifting paintings as a welcoming spirit of the Hindu way

Intricate tower designs of ancient Hindu temples in Tamil Nadu provided spectacular “backdrops” to remind me of the depth of spiritual knowledge we would be gaining on our sixteen day tour.

You might notice that my wife has taken the lead for our home sanctuary effort now full of South India travel inspirations. Certainly this inner shrine will grow in the coming days as I add my own artifacts to this much needed antidote in this uncertain time of Corona confinement.



Matrimandir: A Spiritual Meeting Point

“The Matrimandir is there for those who want to learn to concentrate. No fixed meditations, none of all that, but they should stay there in silence and concentration. A place for trying to find one’s consciousness.”(Sri Aurobindo)

Searching for a spiritual uplift on our second visit to India in late February had become an exhausting task as our “Gate One”tour on day six moved briskly along the urban coast of southeastern Tamil Nadu. Clearly feeling then emotionally unsettled by the noticeable sight of homeless desperation and poverty’s wrath in overcrowded cities, our bus now turned southwest from Pondichierry in mid morning through dense tropical undergrowth toward our next destination, the small town of Auroville. At first glance at this seemingly unremarkable setting of human despair, I thus began to wonder what could possibly interest us here. Yet an early afternoon walk along the peaceful grounds of “Matrimandir” near the center of town would soon dramatically reawaken our spiritual curiosities.

How then could Matrimandi’s futuristic golden orb integrated with a series of soul-filled, nature walks change our world for the better? Why might this unique “Mecca”of spiritual Growth entice you to visit there? I invite you to search for your own answers to these important life questions in observing the following photographic collection.

As our tour entered Matrimandir’s spacious grounds, a colorful line of posters revealed a historic timeline of this spiritual place.

Pausing for a video orientation at the Matrimandir Visitor Center, we learned about the spiritual vision of this place named “Temple of the Mother” inspired by the teachings of India philosopher, Sri Aurobindo.


We began a thirty minute walk through a lush garden area called “peace”, from where a  future planned township of world unity integrated with nature’s harmony would some day radiate  outwards. 

A prominent circular marker at the beginning of the trail enlightened us to twelve qualities of spiritual significance we would be viewing along the way.

Surrounding floral inspirations would enhance our understanding about these twelve self growth attributes in strictly enforced silence.

Beyond a bamboo wall, striking rock formations also focused our attention on the meditative solitude of this special place.

Entering an open green field, we spotted a large golden sphere which seemed to be naturally emerging out of the red earth around.

We would soon learn that the spiritual energy of the orb spacious interior projects from a ray of electronically guided sunlight that falls on pure crystal-glass through an opening at the top of the sphere. Click on the following videos for an interactive view of the orb and surrounding gardens.

At the end of our walk, we opted to “cool off, take some photos, and enjoy a satisfying viewpoint of the orb.

Heading back to the tour bus for our mid afternoon departure, I envisioned with renewed optimism a new world where Matrimandi’s vision matters.


Cruise Therapy Fulfilled

Sailing unties the knots in my mind.”(Al Noble)

“It’s out there at sea that you are really yourself.”(Vito Dumas)

Do you ever intuitively sense how you really need to take a vacation? In our busy urban world, many of us point to the obligatory time off to escape life’s realities. Or perhaps a birthday or anniversary celebration fulfills your travel fantasy at times. Moreover, you might experience recurring visions to indulge in materialistic binges of eating/shopping to occupy your wandering times. You could even feel compelled to work on that personal “ bucket list” of new and exotic places you wish to visit before you die.

Admittedly, the crux of this issue with me stems from a personal struggle to slow my mind chatter enough to obtain full benefit from each of the above travel purposes. Instead of enjoying the present moment, I’m thus easily distracted by the inevitable tedium of work, health, or family matters.Yet I can happily report that during our ten day cruise from Fort Lauderdale in early December, I surprisingly found relief from my self-defeating, introspective nature on several occasions.

For one, the calm aqua appearance of the Caribbean waters surrounding me on deck and from our 1st time cabin balcony undoubtedly did set the stage for me to escape from life’s realities in a more relaxed state of “letting go. “ It would seem accordingly fortuitous that we celebrated our wedding anniversary onboard ship amidst an inviting interior ambience of warm holiday spirit and sleek artistic design. It also seems plausible that my commitment to continue my practice of yoga along with my resolve to read novels each day diverted my attention in positive ways from frivolous souvenir buying and excessive buffet gorging to fill my idle time. As I engaged in friendly conversations with our Non- American servers who seemed eager to practice their English, I discovered new places to add to my travel bucket list for overseas travel as well.

Are you ready to feel some positive energy about the cruising experience? Travel with me then as I relive below some vivid, photographic memories from the Island Princess.

Happy Holidays: USFMAN

As we embarked on our cruise from Fort Lauderdale, I imagined living my life in lavish luxury along this exclusive residential shoreline beyond.

Taking the time to view this spectacular sunset hovering over the South Florida coast set the right tone for relaxed reflection in the ten cruising days that we anticipated ahead.

The open air, contemporary look of the midship atrium became a favorite area for us to roam freely on the Island Princess.

This beautifully decorated Christmas Tree and adjoining poinsettia bush display became a center-point of the warm holiday spirit emanating aboard ship.

“The Sanctuary” seemed the ideal place to peacefully meditate in relative silence around this pleasing pool.

My wife, Ruth presented me with an anniversary gift of a spacious, ocean-side balcony as we first entered our cabin.

Each morning, I woke up to spectacular balcony views of each port of call.

We celebrated our 45th anniversary with a delectable , three course dinner at Sabatini’s Grill.

While on buffet dinner occasions, we joined in for some relaxing fun with our attentive servers.

I can also proudly report that I kept my “monkey mind” under control by reading this 500+ page novel.

While reaffirming that I will never become a savvy tourist shopper.

* Note: In several upcoming blogs, I will address four land excursions we experienced on this exciting seaward journey at Jamaica, Panama, Costa Rica, and the Cayman Islands.



My Travel Shopping Calling

“Anybody can buy. It takes an artist to shop.” (Jennifer Finney Boylan)

I’ve never been particularly accomplished at shopping in our travels. On cruise vacations, for example, I often impulsively ignore bargaining with local merchants at street markets and thus often pay more than seems needed. In addition, during road trip journeys, our CR- V trunk space normally clutters up with sports memorabilia and souvenir trinkets I’ve purchased, making travel essentials we need to access more difficult to find. Furthermore, in the absence of more discretionary shopping habits, my luggage typically carries excessive shopping weight, ultimately burdening our arduous walking treks across Europe. How sad it seems that my well earned reputation of shopping unwisely manifests in my uncomfortable  decision to linger passively outside on a park bench in front of tourist souvenir store while my wife happily browses inside.

I thus strive these days to find effective ways to become a more savvy buyer in the travel shopping moment. It seems, first of all, that I must learn the art of patience in browsing for items and not necessarily feel compelled to purchase them. Furthermore, as I observe more closely how my money-wise wife acts in such travel shopping occasions, I should strive to attain more of a ”minimalist philosophy”of what to bring home. In facing the challenge to maintain my physical/ emotional wellness as a retiree, I can likewise learn more mindful consumerist behavior as a sightseer. How would you evaluate your own shopping habits with respect to some of the most memorable shopping settings from our recent travels?

Amidst the damp chill of Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco, we entered Boudin’s Market to the pleasing smell of fresh sour dough bread and other bakery delicacies.

At the Sunday Bastille Market in the Marais district of Paris, we purchased fresh fruit, baguette, wine and then headed to a neighborhood park for an inviting picnic lunch.

Pikes Place Market in Downtown Seattle provided us a tantalizing variety of fresh seafood displayed on icy racks from Pacific waters.

On a a torrid summer day on a cruise stop in Barcelona, Spain, we discovered this colorful gelato stand along the La Rambla corridor as an ideal dessert choice to cool off from the oppressive heat that day.

The festive carnival atmosphere along Bourbon Street in New Orleans provided an enticing invitation to reinvent ourselves with new masked/costumed identities.

At the Route 66 Museum in Kingman, Arizona , we rediscovered our fondness for living those “happy days” in small town America during the 1960s.

The addictive sights/sounds of delicious candy pervaded our senses as we toured the Chocolate Land Factory in Hershey, Pennsylvania.

Homemade recipes of “Old South” cuisine captured our interest as we walked along the central corridor of the Charleston, South Carolina City Market.

At Old Town Santa Fe, New Mexico, we curiously browsed at local shops displaying a creative array of Native American/Mexican art pieces.

Walking around midtown Manhattan, my wife could not resist looking for hip shopping bargains at the “cosmopolitan department store, “Uniqlo”.

At Shakespeare and Company Bookstore in Paris, I could easily find the right book for me to read in my travels.

At the Center for the New Age in Sedona, Arizona, I discovered the perfect rocks to enhance my spirituality interests.

This month, my wife and I will embark on a Princess Line cruise covering various ports in the Caribbean/Latin America. A major question thus arises about how I might open my spending wallet wisely to celebrate this holiday season?


My Traveling Dilemma

“As you grow older, you become faced with the problem of what to do with your time.” (Sunday Adelaja)

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone:

I immensely enjoy traveling over six months each year. Yet why does the option of staying home sound increasingly more enticing? Why not buy a dog/cat and enjoy my simpler lifestyle as a pensioned retiree in South Florida? Turning more introspective at times in the face of the latest health, financial, or family challenge, my enthusiasm for taking grandiose *trips/ vacations now seems at times to be shrinking. At the moments of lifestyle doubt, some realistic questions thus emerge. Does a nostalgic glance at a past photo album now suffice as a suitable replacement for a journey to Paris? Can reading more travel blogs on Word Press satisfy my wanderlust urges to visit exotic places? What entertainment opportunities am I missing at home by being away so often? Why do I seem more intolerant these days to extreme cold or hot weather?

A past weekend jaunt to Cleveland, Ohio provides a suitable case in point. While I did witness a convincing Cleveland Browns win at First Energy Stadium amidst bitter cold and blustery windy conditions, I could have more healthily enjoyed the Browns win at a local sports bar in Fort Lauderdale. As I likewise paid my dutiful respects to legendary bands inductees at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on Saturday, strong lingering thoughts persist now of missing talented writers speak at this year’s Miami Book Fair. Or in frolicking outside like a kid amidst fallen autumn leaves and festive holiday displays, I might have equally conveyed the changing of seasons spirit in warmer conditions by putting up our living room Christmas tree. As I sit in bed now sniffing with a nagging cold, I thus wonder how the following nostalgic highlights from frigid Cleveland might represent some subtle hints that I will soon experience travel-less, lifestyle times.

While I braved the unaccustomed to cold weather outside, Ruth more sensibly spent time with cousin Jo warmly indoors.

Why does raking up dead leaf piles up north in winter seem so depressing? Wouldn’t I rather relaxingly lounge on my patio at home overlooking our green, tropical paradise?

Why do I see these eerie looking dolls staring at me so menacingly? Are they trying to tell me something?

I embraced the rebellious spirit of student activism as expressed in these concert posters during my “heyday” of “rock and roll” times. To what extent does this restless energy still motivate me these days to travel?

As I ponder the inner meaning of this blog’s wander-less theme, was I experiencing a travel less omen by these flightless seagulls along the Lake Erie shoreline?

Why do I need to travel to Cleveland to buy overpriced Cleveland Browns merchandise at the stadium? I can buy them more inexpensively at home online?

Given my cold weather intolerance, I could have at least been sitting on the sunny side of the field during the game.

I consider myself a “Diehard” Cleveland Browns fan on game day wherever I’m at. So what difference would it make for me to endure the Sunday irritations of this kind of chaotic mob scene to watch the game live?

If so many dedicated Browns fans can gather at Browns Stadium to feel the energy of hometown game fever, then why can’t I similarly be contented at my South Florida home?

Spotting this beautiful Christmas tree downtown with children underneath, I sensed that the “Yuletide” message of giving to others can be best experienced with a warm gathering of family/friends at home.

*In past blog entries, I’ve elaborated about why I experience  vacations and trips differently. While vacations typically allow me to settle into more spontaneous enjoyment of a place over a longer period of time, trips normally relate to short term “getaways” of tightly structured, itinerary nature.

Perplexing Paradox Connections

“Let go of certainty. The opposite isn’t uncertainty. It’s openness, curiosity and a willingness to embrace paradox, rather than choose up sides. “(Tony Schwartz)”

Paradox – A person or thing that combines contradictory features or qualities.

In today’s deeply divided America, the idea of forming compromise manifests today as a seemingly insurmountable problem. It seems to me then that the idea of paradox provides a practical solution to overcome such “I’m Right You’re Wrong” thinking. Consider the following dilemmas.You are driving through a desert in torrid heat and spot a grassy oasis in the distance along the lonely road. It’s true that you’ve envisioned in your mind a potentially restful place to stop ahead. Yet you soon realize that your mind has simply played a “trick” on you in making real this comforting yet false mirage. Or imagine that storm clouds suddenly part to reveal a spectacular rainbow in the distant sky. Yet as you come nearer to this colorful orb, these pleasing visual images vanish into “thin air”.

In both of these paradoxical situations, notice how one’s perceptions of reality can dramatically alter from moment to moment. It follows that the appearance of such contradictory thoughts in the above examples clearly alters any prior assumptions about the presence of deserts/rainbows. Paradoxical discoveries then provide a worthwhile way to open our mind to consider alternate realities of human experience.

I similarly see the power of paradoxical thinking as a creative, decision-making tool with respect to my independent minded travel. For by applying the element of contradictory connections to a paradoxical event encountered , a variety of new lessons about conducting my when, where, and how trip wanderings pop up accordingly. So as I “dig deep” into my sensory capabilities, I thus present ten (10) perplexing paradoxes encountered from my recent journeys in the following photographic collection.

Watching Buddhists methodically build a sacred “Mandala” in San Luis Obispo, California with great skill and effort, I wonder why did they tear it down so soon after completion?

Lesson # 1: Travel with passion now while you can.

Sharp French cheese typically makes a tasty delicacy on our visits to Paris. So why does it have to smell so bad before I taste it?

Lesson #2 : Be mindful of deceptive Air B&B lodging advertising as you never know what you will be getting.

Creationism theories as depicted in this Kentucky Museum Diorama demonstrate that dinosaurs coexisted peacefully with humans in prehistoric times. So why do humans treat animals so inhumanly today?

Lesson #3: Be kind to strangers because you want to not because you feel morally compelled to.

This set of stairs in Jaipur, India might make a beautiful addition to this tower. But what functional sense does it make that its path takes one nowhere?

Lesson #4: Be willing to change your walking path to avoid encountering deceptively enticing dead ends.

Why aren’t these water buffalos fulfilling their basic survival functions as river dwellers in New Delhi, India? Instead they appear forced to walk on the the dusty roads.

Lesson #5: Respect the natural habitats of animals when approaching wildlife areas.

At the beginning of every Miami Dolphins football game at Hard Rock Stadium,a joyous celebration of fans welcomes their hometown team as they enter the field. Yet how many of these spectators are so distracted by such raucous party action that will lose focus on actually watching the game?

Lesson # 6: Don’t get “caught up”in the social agenda hype of guided tours.

American History textbook attribute the beginnings of our Democracy to the “Founding Fathers”. Thus, how many visitors who stare at this Art Museum painting in Cleveland, Ohio are oblivious to the prominent presence of Native American people proudly depicted here? Would they thus interpret our country’s origins from a strictly a “white man’s” point of view?

Lesson #7 : “Lie low”and avoid boasting about “America First” ideals in my overseas travels. Be mindful of the views of other cultures.

The entirety of Yellowstone National Park sits atop a massive underground layer of explosive geothermal activity. However, in walking dangerously along it’s volatile land surface dotted by free flowing geysers, wild running rivers, and deep crevassed snowfields, I often experience the unexpected feeling of inner peace and calm serenity.

Lesson #8: Face hazardous destinations in travel with a positive state of mind.

The lifeless desert expanse of Central Utah suddenly got unexpectedly exciting for me at Goblin State Park as I overlooked this strange field of rock formations resembling  cartoonish conversations of dwarf like gnomes.

Lesson #9 : Be more observant of your natural surroundings for signs of personal growth.

It can be very challenging at times to make your way through the hectic crowds of a busy, American city. Yet I notice that this talking monument at Millennium Park in downtown Chicago provides a pleasing sense of human belonging to counter such impersonal urban madness beyond.

Lesson 10: Allow your visual sense to lead you along walking tours of an unfamiliar city to places of informal human gathering.



Journey From Mind To Soul

“Like a path frequently traveled becomes clear and well-marked in the forest, so too does the path to your soul become more clearly marked in your consciousness.” (Genevieve Gerard)

Have you ever been stuck in a rut of mindless, habit forming routine? Perhaps you might then undertake the following experiment to search for solutions solely within yourself. Choose a desired location you have already visited accompanied by a memorable photograph of that place. Using all of your senses, examine closely the details of that photo presented. Then close your eyes and visualize opening up physical sensations such as warmth/ coolness, tightness/ looseness, or shades of color throughout your body. Pay particular attention to this flow of energy emanating from the tip of your head down to your throat, chest, stomach, and pelvic region.

Thus encased in this relaxing cocoon of evolving self perceptions, you’re ready to make a critical mind/soul connection. What “gut feelings” or new understandings now come to mind about yourself or the ever changing world around you? Witness the following examples of such self-revelations inspired by the following photographic display from my recent travels.

1. Cultural Learning

In examining these two photographs from past European stays, I notice the following: (1) Ordering a simple hot dog can be a confusing ordeal at this German meat market, (2) How strange that young people go wild for oldies swing jazz in this Paris club. Hmm! It seems that my prior assumptions regarding what I am accustomed to expect in travel can be “blown away” by what seems real.

2. Historical Learning

As I observe these cobblestone walking paths/old town walls in Quebec City, I travel back in time and imagine these medieval structures inviting me to slow down to the “horse and buggy”pace of medievalism.”

3. Scientific Learning

Gazing with awe at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, I witness steep canyons slowly sculpted by wind, rain, and the Colorado River below. I thus feel humility that my opportunity to be alive on earth miraculously exists in this mere speck of geologic time.

4. Artistic Learning

How can I make better use of my “right brain” to pursue more imaginative enjoyments of travel? Perhaps an extraordinary array of clouds, flowers and rocks as depicted below might make wonderful settings for stimulating my wandering artistic imagination.

5. Interpersonal (Sociological) Learning

In revisiting this country store in the small town of Jeffersonville, New York, I sense that animals can often be your best companion when you travel.

6. Economic Learning

As this mini car attests in Paris, if I realize that less is better on the road, I might similarly find some wise strategies to “downsize” at home.

7.Psychological Learning

In the desolate, inland tundra of Iceland depicted below, I can appreciate the meditative potential of loneliness experienced in a quiet place.

8. Geographic Learning  

 Ruth and I often traverse the mountainous terrain of America’s National Parks in our road trip travels. Observing the arduous task of ascending to such high ground overlooking this unfolding panorama beyond, I can more easily see how we can conquer any fears of facing the unknown ahead in travel.

9. Religious Learning

As I humbly observe the inner serenity emanating from these beautiful floral surroundings in India, I imagine then that spiritual connections can be felt anywhere in travel.

10. Political Learning

From our recent cruise stop in Barcelona, Spain, angry political protests in favor of Basque political freedom again capture my attention. It seems I must make travel more of a grassroots, protest mission against human injustice. Making more visits to local museums/bookstores and street bars overseas might help me to undertake this activist mission.


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