My India Spiritual Evolution

“The search for wisdom is a great challenge; to act on wisdom is an even greater challenge.” (Siddhaswarupananda)

Ruth and I have completed an arduous yet exhilarating tour of Kerala and Tamil Nadu regions in South India. During the 20+ hour flights home to Miami, I read an article stating that it’s best for tourists these days to travel conservatively. Following such reasoning, one should be wary of traveling to new places on their own and also limit their visits to well established tourist sites home and abroad. In this era of virus pandemics,religious extremism, and nationalistic fervor, such an argument to minimize travel risk today certainly seems very enticing.

Yet we have no regrets for following our free wandering instincts in South India. For by embracing those “off the “beaten track” moments of unfamiliar culture, food, and religion during the past sixteen days in this strangely sublime country, ten spiritual essentials described below seem clearer to me now.

1. Try meditation for myself not to please others.

2. Embrace the temporary moment of everything that surrounds me. For all must pass.

3.Displaying greater compassion for others will inspire me to find authentic spiritual moments.

4. I cannot seek spirituality. It will find me!

5. Spirituality cannot be bought or sold with my money or physical possessions.

6. Say it, sing it, dance it, or be silent with a spiritual idea. It’s all good.

7. An iPhone or WiFi connection can be a serious impediment to my sustained inner reflection.

8. Divide or unite. I must make that spiritual choice.

9. Be kind to animals to enhance my own soul.

10.Be creative in setting up my own spiritual shrine. I don’t always need a church, mosque, or temple to feed my inner soul.

I want to give special thanks to our Gate 1 tour guide Raj, who encouraged us to be free and daring on our 16 day, South India tour. I invite you to check into more blogging snippets of our South India adventure in the coming days.

How might the following photographs from our South India tour inspire you spiritually?

Breathing Soul Into My World

“Your soul is your ultimate guidance system. You can think of your soul as the compass, map, and destination all in one.” (Aletheia Luna)

As I glanced at the latest “Gate One Travel” brochure advertising a tour called “Spiritual Southern India”, it immediately seemed obvious that a second visit to India seemed very compelling. Understand that Ruth and I had enjoyed a fast paced tour of Northern India a few years ago. Yet we both felt a strong need to obtain a greater connection to this country’s spiritual aura that existed seemingly everywhere on this prior visit. Although we knew very little about the southern part of India, the prospect of booking a small group, “Gate One” Company tour at a reasonable price (including airfare) attracted our India revisit interest as well. With our established yoga practice in full gear now, how exciting it would be to also experience for ourselves, the soulfully uplifting practice of yogic maneuvers, South Indian style.

So what exactly have I been doing to prepare for the unknown travel challenges of South India? Given my love of reading, our latest vacation certainly provides me with an ideal opportunity for “brushing up on my India knowledge through a variety of reading materials. For research reference, I am thus consulting the “Lonely Planet” Guide of South India to obtain a strictly factual perspective of this region. For firsthand opinion observations from actual South India travelers, I have turned to Sheldon Smith’s “ A River Of Life: Travels Through Modern India”and Murzban F. Schroff’s “Breathless in Bombay.” Anticipating sporadic Internet availability for the bulk of our trip, I’ve also downloaded the offline version of Southern India’s maps/tourist information on my I phone travel apps “Triposo” and “” The following map might provide my readers with a suitable overview of the cities/towns in the South India region.

The matter of maintaining physical wellness in South India has also preoccupied my attention during the months preceding our upcoming trip. By “upping” my yin-yoga practice to 4-5 days per week , I now feel primed for a more energizing meditative revival there. Adding probiotics to my daily vitamin regimen in the past month for stomach precautions has in addition better prepared me for the spicy Indian cuisine that I will likely encounter. Carrying a load of energy bars as well will come in handy on those rare dining occasions of extreme food intolerance. Desiring to sample a pre-taste of Indian foods prior to our departure, I have also indulged on a few occasions at Indian lunch buffets nearest my South Florida home in the last few weeks. To avoid any exposure to the feared Corona Virus and other respiratory spread ailments, I’ve resolved to pack a face mask and carry an ample supply of hand sanitizers as well.

With our suitcases/knapsacks compactly packed, our tourist visas in order, and our ground transportation to/from the airport successfully arranged, we are now ready to embark on our sixteen day tour of South India. Along the way, we look forward to experiencing authentic cultural encounters and sacred Hindu ways at stunning historic temples. We also look forward to meditating in the spirit of global unity and soul- filled “Shiva” with a living Indian yogi as well. Furthermore, how exciting it might be to slow down our busy minds as we float along tranquil rivers/ lagoons by houseboat or hike in protected wildlife sanctuaries in search of rare birdlife/animal species. The remarkable life of Mahatma Gandhi should also come vividly alive for us as we search for deeper meanings in the prevailing “caste system” that pervades the everyday life of this region’s bustling cities. In spite of our challenging daytime schedule, at night, we might even find time to nourish ourselves in a soothing massage or a refreshing swim at our accommodating hotels as needed.

So perhaps I can whet your spiritual interest in our latest adventure. What “inner” thoughts do you thus feel from each of the twelve photographs below taken during our previous tour of India in the spring of 2017? Namaste.

Additional References: – “ Thirty Reasons To Love Indian Travel

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.


A Welcoming Travel Decorum

“A spirit of thankfulness attracts others to your cause, ideas, and goals.(Skip Prichard)

It’s cruising vacation time for us again as we embark this weekend on a thirteen day sea adventure north along the Atlantic Eastern seaboard. How exciting it will be to enjoy the welcoming spirit of nine, day trip stopovers from Fort Lauderdale to Quebec City along the way. Hoping to sustain interest with an organized group at times, three relatively inexpensive, tour excursions bookings for the U.S. portion of this journey seem immediately essential. (1) In New York City, a “hop-on, hop off” bus option should provide maximum freedom of choice to cover main Manhattan sights for our full day ashore there. (2) While docked in Boston, a half day excursion to nearby John F.Kennedy / John Adams National Historic sites seem similarly enticing. (3) Exhibiting a taste for seashore seclusion, a morning walking tour of Maine’s Acadia National Park cannot be missed as well.

For our remaining six, shore destinations, we will either simply walk off the boat for a bit of spontaneous sightseeing near downtown or in the case of Quebec City, hook up with our resident Canadian friends there. We thus look forward to a welcoming presence whenever we can in managing our limited free time ashore. Yet I now realize that any expected hospitality in travel contains only half the story. For in fully enjoying these present moments of “hello” travel pleasantries, it seems equally satisfying to openly practice purposeful acts of thankfulness in return. Thus in thinking back to past vacation situations of welcoming potential, the following photographs do inspire me to express thoughts/actions of sincere gratitude.

1. Las Vegas Sign – “The American Dream”

Entering the neon studded strip past this glittering welcoming sign, I suddenly realized that money must be used wisely within restraint according to my budgetary limitations. Thank you.

2. Puget Sound Sign- Wild Nature

The beautiful depiction of Puget Sound in this poster engaged my political interest in preserving the natural beauty of our western U.S. wilderness lands. Thank you.

3. Reggae Beach Bar Billboard – Lifestyle Change

Spotting this sign as I sat lazily on a beach chair in Cozumel, I realized that I could feel free to travel at a much slower pace.      Thank you.

4. Dodger Stadium Road Sign – Baseball’s History

As I entered this picturesque hillside venue, this obscure road sign inspired my personal connection to famed legends of L.A. Dodger baseball. Thank you.

5. Route 66 Ad- U.S. Era Flashbacks

Cruising along “Mainstreet USA” in Kingman, Arizona, this sign introduced an authentic, road trip glimpse of small town” America reminiscent of my happy childhood past. Thank you.

6. Kansas City Vegetable Art Piece – Nutrition

Upon entering the front steps of Kansas City’s Nelson – Atkins Museum Of Art, this creative sculpture aroused my interest in following healthy nutritional practices by eating freshly grown vegetables. Thank you.


7. Freddie Mercury Statue – Power Of Music

As I paused to gaze at this amazing Freddie monument during a boardwalk stroll along Lake Geneva in Montreux, Switzerland, I regained a surge of youthful energy in recalling his magnetic rock musical presence as leader of Queen. Thank you.

8. Pensacola Airfield Statue – Companionship

At the Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola, Florida, this statue demonstrated to me that difficult tasks in life can often be accomplished best by embracing teamwork strategies. Thank you.

9. India Cemetery Statue – Inner Spirit

On a guided tour of New Delhi, India, this friendly sculpture design aroused my curiosity to explore “East Asian ” modes of inner spiritual worship. Thank you.

10. Morro Bay Mural – Diversity

During a monthlong stay at this Central California, beach- town hideaway, a colorful wall mural covering up the divisive presence of a surrounding wall reminded me of the critical need today  to embrace cultural differences at home and travel. Thank you

11. Curaçao Welcome Sign – Travel Mindset

As we disembarked from our cruise ship for an self guided, walking tour of this Dutch Caribbean island, I recall how the cordial appearance of this welcome sign relaxed my mind from burdensome past/future thoughts at home to thus enjoy the present moments at this destination. Thank you.

12. Golden Gate Statue – Patriotism

At the south entrance to this famed bridge along San Francisco Bay, the heroic sailer depicted in this monument impressed me to honor the great sacrifices that our U.S. military has endured to protect our country. Thank you.


If Walls Could Talk

A few weeks ago, I blogged that crossing a bridge offers a unique opportunity to embrace uplifting choice possibilities in the present moment as one transitions from past to future. In the following poem, I thus imagine that if a wall could speak, they might feel a similar need for self enlightening transformation.

Beyond “no man’s” rim, they arrive in desperate squalid

As my concrete slab taunts them in stoic solid

Such illusions of safety but never to heal

For my divisive view of life orders oppressive ordeal

In these zones of split mind, there’s a sickening distrust

In lost chances to engage binding unity’s thrust

When my cold barriers severs “breakaway” hopes in new land

What sense do I serve then, when so many I strand?

Without bricks, berms, nor wire, my walls no longer take side

For in a borderless country, I’ve got nothing to hide

Who comes through my portals, that no one can see.

True gatherings of oneness, who have no reason to flee

As friendless walls crumble in this world full of hate

It’s never in doubt that freedom’s reign spells my ultimate fate

Post Script:

Reflecting further on walls encountered in our world travels I present the following photographic display as a reminder of the critical need to embrace  global unity today. 



You’re Lost: Now Become Inspired

“Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves” (Henry David Thoreau)

The idea of getting lost on a well earned vacation raises immediate fears of a recipe for tourist disaster. Why would you veer off the main highway on your road trip along a unmarked country road to go virtually nowhere? Or what sense would it make on a cruise to adventure on your own into the unknown darkness of a dense, island jungle? What issues might also cross your mind on a downtown visit if you walked back to your hotel at night through unfamiliar surroundings? If you likewise faced indefinite time delays awaiting your air/land connection in passenger terminal “ limbo”, with no place to go, how would you handle the following boredom as well?

In each of the above cases, however, we might look at losing our way from a new paradigm in the following quote of James Redfield, author of the renowned novel, The Celestine Prophecy; “Inspiration is what keeps us well.”Thus instead of habitually pre programming ourselves to avoid/control our adrift wanderings, then why not just “let go” and simply learn to embrace “moment by moment any unfamiliar travel    setting as a self learning lesson? Considering my own transformations from feeling lost to choosing self growth along the way of unknown travel, I thus offer the following examples.

“Utah Canyonland ( Trust Your Senses )

At first glance as we first entered Goblin State Park, in South Central Utah, we noticed the odd presence of gnome twisted, rock formations in the vast, canyon basin below. Descending steeply to this mystical rock field along the poorly marked Carmel Canyon Trail, we soon became directionally disoriented as the path grew progressively narrower and darker. Searching for an exit path uphill in such dire circumstances, we spotted a narrow opening to the terminus of this trail. Yet the urgency of finding firm foot grips and clear visual sightings to the top along this improvised route would immediately became a major concern. Who would have thought that this trail designated as only moderate by the State Park Service would require us to (1) undertake a risky crawl on hands and knees, (2) pull each other up steep canyon sidings, and (3) endure limited sight vision amidst unfamiliar surroundings to complete this arduous effort?


Sedona, Arizona Vortexes (Find Nature’s Energy Flow)

The Celestine Prophecy discusses the need to observe energy fields existing in the environment surrounding us that enhance our inner psyche. Feeling the need to explore the immense power of such vortex energy in sighting Courthouse Rock towering above the harsh desert below, our ensuing walk through such unknown environs provided a much needed meditative calmness as we drew closer to this mystical rock presence.

New York City – Midtown (Being Different is Ok)

A self guided walking of Midtown, New York City on a recent cruise brought welcome relief from the “cattle car” privacy invasions at sea. Enjoying a spontaneous slowdown at Times Square on a busy midweek afternoon, I thus sensed that no one seemed to care who you were or what you were doing amidst such urban frenzy. The unkempt appearance of an old man in the following picture surprisingly did not draw negative crowd attention to his deeply depressing plight in the following photo.

Las Vegas Strip (Cash In On Youthful Identity)

With so many visual reminders of youthful hedonism surrounding me when feeling trapped inside the cavernous corridors of Caesar’s Palace and its indoor pedestrian mall, I really did tend to feel younger there. Yet such “Fountain Of Youth” illusions to stay up later and more playfully indulge typically invoked havoc on my “spending pocket”.

Lost In the Jungle – Dominica (Go Back To Basics )

The critical need for basic, self survival strategies surfaced as we cautiously trekked through the dense island jungles of Dominica on a recent cruise excursion. Some life sustaining thought adaptations immediately surfaced then. A map of iPhone or map seemed useless to strategize a path ahead, so I imagined my ability to handle brush clearing sickle. Predicting that my rising thirst would not be eased by potentially poisonous waters in a nearby stream, I eagerly drank coconut water from an island tree. Admiring oily vine extensions from a practical perspective, I envisioned myself “playing Tarzan” by climbing vines as the most efficient way to escape a charging predator.

Train Station Europe (Cure Time Deadline Obsessions)

European rail stations typically adopt rigorous time schedule standards, yet the reality prevails that a given train can still depart or arrive late for various reasons. So in contrast to those time conscious passengers clearly fretting their impending delays in the following photographs, I chose to engage my idle time in quiet, self meditation.

Italian Riviera, N. Italy (Imagine History As It Really Was)

As a past World History teacher. I enjoy getting lost while meandering through “0ld Town”, paths of medieval Europe to see history from a more intimate, non- textbook perspective. By conducting such aimless walks within the walled confines of five towns in the Cinque Terre region, I thus obtained a close up look at authentic medieval life often centered around the castle, cobblestone, church and open market square.

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