Traveling By Land, Sea and Air Hotel @nyware: August 2019

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Archive for August 2019

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“We haul it all” could be a Chinook unit’s motto.
And nobody ever forgets a ride in one of the US Army's lift-anything-go-anywhere helicopters.
After  more than 18 years of U.S.-backed efforts to stabilize the country, American diplomats and other supporting personnel still rely on privately-operated helicopters just to safely get around Afghanistan’s capital Kabul.

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Documenting these travels with pictures has the added advantage of it being true, and therefore you have to tolerate contradictions and see things from different perspectives.

"You worked on a cruise ship and now you are working in a war zone,huh?" Yep, from cruise ship to cruise missiles. Same thing , "At your service. Yes Maam, Yes Sir"...I am STILL in The Hospitality Industry. The customer this contract is the US Army. I'm here because my LEFT brain got good at telling my RIGHT brain what to do!

It is very important that  expedition history not be distilled to just those great man and woman like Magellan,  Edmund Hillary, Lewis  and Clark et al., but to the regular folk  who  go out to do their own exploring and circumnavigation of the Earth and then blog about it-literature in a hurry.

No matter where I go there I am. I can still look up at the same moon, stars albeit different hemisphere. It innately belongs to all of us, children of this planet.  I'm stricken by, what poet Diane Ackerman calls " the ricochet wonder of it all: the plain everythingness of everything, in cahoots with the everythingness of everything else"- Cosmic Pastoral.  

"People do not decide to become extraordinary. They decide to accomplish extraordinary things".Edmund Hillary

Perseverance - The Long Game

 What good is having a belly if there's no fire in it. Wake up, drink your passion, light a match, and get to work. We rarely see the incremental baby steps taken when looking for enormous outcomes, but deserving enormous outcomes is mostly the result of a series of small steps, and the art and science of achievement of turning the invisible into something visible is the consequence. State it and Create it: I want to travel around the world was the mantra I told myself everyday ad far back as I can remember. How did I do port at a time, mostly by sea..

Enlighten Up- The path lies inward and its:

Direction Over Speed

There are 2 things that determine our life:
the quality of our decisions and luck. You cannot make progress without making decisions, and you will make those decisions over time with uncertainty. I call them bets.

The Earth School kills all of its students

When your future version of you gets involved in the present version of you to get to better decisions...your life takes on a new optimal perspective. You "release your emergency brake" and when you land things start to Take Off. When you truly feel the emotions of the future, add gratitude, and it is as if you have already signed for it.

You have two lives and when you realize that you only have one, the second begins and we create better decisions as other versions of ourselves..

A bet: a decision about an uncertain future. The implications of treating decisions as bets made it possible for me to find learning opportunities in uncertain environments. Treating decisions as bets, I discovered, helped me avoid common decision traps, learn from results in a more rational way, and keep emotions out of the process as much as possible.

In fact, we have no future.But what an awesome present..its useless to make plans.You can get anywhere from here. As long as you are HERE 
I am a time Millionaire with hours of routine and drill, followed by moments of extreme terror.

What an awesome gift- the present I mean.You can get anywhere from here as long as you are HERE
I was an early adaptor, embracing tech and the ipod in all its iterations...and here is an analogy-we spend a lot of time in fast forward worrying about the future, and in rewind ruminating on the past, but we rarely press play and live in the present. 

If you’re pointed in the wrong direction, it doesn’t matter how fast you’re traveling. Inversely, if you’re locked on to your desired destination, all progress is positive, no matter how slow you’re going. You’ll reach your goal eventually.

Still thinking about ships though:

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"To live every day as if it had been stolen from death, that is how I would like to live. To feel the joy of life, as Eve felt the joy of life. To separate oneself from the burden, the angst, the anguish that we all encounter every day. To say I am alive, I am wonderful, I am. I am. That is something to aspire to." Garth Stein

Another 2 days and dazed by the power and majesty of the hydropower of the great Zambezi Victoria Falls, a UNESCO World Heritage site, Victoria Falls, an Uber waterfall on the border of Zimbabwe and Zambia.
Looking out  at The Zambezi Riverfrom TheRoyal Livingstone
Hotel-towards The Smoke That Thunders-Victoria Falls

Also known locally as “Mosi-oa-Tunya” – or the “The Smoke that Thunders” – this isn’t the highest or even the widest waterfall in the world. It is, nevertheless, the largest, based on its width of 5,604 ft and height of 354 ft, making it the world’s largest sheet of falling water.

This is beautiful but oh so noisy-See the videos to hear what I mean

The first known European to gaze upon the spledor, Dr. David Livingstone once said famously of the falls, “Scenes so lovely must have been gazed upon by angels in their flight.”

The Wild Life

Surprise Visitor

Inonge Wina,The Vice President of Zambia was at our hotel The Zambizi Sun and I was able to film her visit up close. The whole fanfare and the tradtional greetings were special. Roll Video
Like any piece of beautiful art, Victoria Falls, also known as The Smoke That Thunders, aka, Mosi-Oa-Tunya-you can look at and admire at different times of the day, light, season, year, angles, and in this case from two countries, and appreciate different virtues and attributes of this incredible world wonder, Victoria Falls offers utterly different splendour, majesty, raw beauty and power. Today was no miraculous exception.
We didn't wake up, we came to-Zebras, Baboons, Monkeys, Impala,Elk nd almost got head butted by a Giraffe the locals call Bob. Despite his characteristic long neck, Bob (Giraffes) actually has  the same number of neck vertebrae as humans—just seven. Each individual vertebra is super-sized, measuring up to ten inches long. Necking is when one male engage in a ritualized display of dominance  that involves head-butting each other's bodies. Had a close call.

Male giraffes will test a female's fertility by tasting her urine. Which is something now I can't un-know

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 "I won the lottery". because as Bruce
 Springsteen says, "I was born in the USA".

We Speak English Or People Die

Underwrote my foreign travels with these blue-chip gigs
Cnn Verses The Alphabet

There are some similiarities between Afghanastan and Myanmar-Drugs, long civil wars and emerging economies... but I digress...actually reminisce, harking back to SE Asia and 3 days in Yangoon:

Yangoon's  analog eyes don’t see our digital world. But does it matter. Internet or InterNOT? Traveling in places with out 

electricity with TCN's, Third Country Nationals, are not voyages of discovery, but  rituals of reassurance- So with,curiosity, vulnerability and vocabulary, I will articulate t.e Myanmar sound bite.
Warrior Ethos
These ppl in Burma, aka Golden land, are so sweet, Yet they are the digital homeless, who couldn’t tell you the difference between google and facebook, a laptop or an ipad. The largest experiment in anarchy that we have ever had is not the internet, it's Mynmar. My conscious, however, permits me to love them.

How To Buy Nothing----DetermiNATION Mynmar.
No TV.  No Logos. No Mc Donalds's. No McDonnell Douglas. Few cell phones. A sim card costs $500 and the phone system is broken. Few  cars. There is no CNN, 24 hour news cycle, no tivoization to time shift your day, no napsterization or digital downloads-­this is the "axis of evil" the millions of ppl who make less than $2 bucks a day. Countries, like ppl however, are loved for their failures. It's a shame I can't spend any money in this place and help the dam economy. I am unable to buy anything for 72 hours.

What Happened to Downtime? Deep Thinking & Sacred Space in the United States of Uncoinsciousness is extinct  verses the real deal--- Living in a quasi  “airplane mode.”For the uninitiated, and digital homeless- setting their lives to “airplane mode” disables phone calls, text messaging, wi-fi, Bluetooth,  and GPS. It is distinct. It's their blisscipline.

Traveling is a  Life Sentence--We yearn for journeys like  prisoners dream of rooms without bars. And we all want time off for good behavior.

Be Brave And Shave! Me No Hair
Raman Noodles 2.0 

Choosing between the digital and the analog is like arguing against the laws of gravity or is it? 

If Ramen noodles are a dish of effortless purity than Yangoon's outdoor market of fresh produce, the egg or tea, gives you oodles and oodles of these ubiquitous states of grace with a marriage of nothing more than hot water. .  

I visited today one of the seven wonders of a shrinking planet-Google, and came up with this  comment,  I wrote on my 1995 trip to Cambodia, where I made the astute comment--Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day-Give him Raman noodles and you don't have to teach him anything! 
The fact that there is no refrigeration and everybody is  hustling to eat someting for the day, Yangoon will stick with you like gum in your hair until you get it out with peanut butter.Or better yet, just shave all your hair off. Hair is ego anyway.

Eat Your Colors


What is the most powerful drug known to mankind? American English. I used to have a "drug" problem but now I make enough money, and found my voice.

Tune in Turn on Drop Out! and Be Here Now.

Freedom is what you do with what has been done to you. As I said, I was born in the USA, and being born there-my life has to be my message-Star-spangled happiness,: because love is a responsibility and I love America, and  its A list language, American.

The messianic metaphor of  the American Dream becomes the lottery and game show mentality – that outside chance that the planets will line up  to liberate us from financial worries once and for all. Yet we were all born(in America) having winning tickets as a mere circumstance of birth – and cashing them in is a simple matter of choice.

Hugs and Drugs

The joke goes, you call a person who speaks 3 languages trilingual, 2, bilingual, 1, American. What is the most powerful drug known to mankind? American English. I used to have a "drug" problem but now I make enough money, and found my voice.

Write? Right.

Blogging is literature in a hurry. People climb mountain because they are there. In blogging there is no there there. Why do bloggers blog ? Because it isn't there. It's always  shifting and changing and the searching that makes it fun.

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Cruise Control- I wrote this in my journal 8 years ago:

"I have been able to use my "relationship" with the sea  to accumulate knowledge and experiences,--- it's self-expansion, a  “Michelangelo effect,” that is sculpting me in  in ways that move me forward to  attain valued goals I have set for myself- like this statement: I haven't been everywhere, but it is on my list."

There is some comfort in the emptiness of the sea, no past, no future. The Last Samurai

Even making smaller story edits to our personal narratives can have a big impact on our life. 

What was days of "boredom" at sea followed by moments of hysteria can be reframed years later as a wild adventure and a kind of redemption story- with the takeaway being an attitude of gratitude for what has been given to me.

By taking the contradictary pieces of my life and placing them together into a narrative, I create a unified whole that allows me  to understand these experiences as relevant, coherent with meaning. This is highlighted in the realization that there is meaningful growth, communion and agency- actions that produce results. 

Yes I have taken the invisible and made it visable. I didnt just parachute on a World Cruise. It was first conceived in thought. I knew what I wanted. And then it somehow, against all odds, came to me. That is "The Secret" made popular years ago. It's about results not process. It works!

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The digital convergence and celestial jukeboxes (Cell Phones, TV's, Computer Screens) are the sound track and sound bytes of our lives- But the content is somebody elses point of view. What is deeply personal is universal yet what gives our lives meaning and gravitas is our own Autobiography.

Telling our own story is not something that we’re taught how to do. If we learn how to mine our own experience, we can find answers to the great questions of life.

We are unique just like everybody else- There is above all, the uniqueness of our own story. That’s what gives us the sense of inhabiting our own lives.

I think that the majority of time we never get inside our own lives. That is the difference between living mythically ( The American Dream) and living autobiographically (The YOUniverse) where your wishbone becomes your backbone.

 "That is what we are supposed to do when we are at our best – make it all up – but make it up so truly that later it will happen" Ernest Hemingway

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The Promised Land Is Right Where You Are

When you are following your bliss- It produces a desire to continue

What good is having a belly if there's no fire in it. Wake up, drink your passion, light a match, and get to work.

We rarely see the incremental baby steps taken when looking for enormous outcomes, but deserving enormous outcomes is mostly the result of a series of small steps, and the art and science of achievement of turning the invisible into something visible is the consequence. State it and Create it: I want to travel around the world was the mantra I told myself everyday ad far back as I can remember. How did I do port at a time, mostly by sea...

My universe is made of stories, not atoms: land, air and sea travel and the power of now and new. If I wanted to be a multinational soul, and leverage  my best asset,me,  I couldn't do it in cities where I lived like New York, Los Angeles, Tokyo or Paris  alone-I needed to get consecrated by sailing on the oceans.letting my  soul & spirit fly, into the mystic.

It's a wonderful thing to get rid of everything and everybody and just go some  place where you don't know anyone; where, as Melville said,"God's one and only voice is Silence."

The sceneries  paint  themselves.  I'm just the middleman.
You can't create experiences like this, you undergo them.

If a man speaks in the forest and there are
 no women around to hear it, is he still wrong?

Living on a ship, might be summed up as monotony tinged with hysteria.

 It's not real life but an alibi. It is like going out of your mind everyday- in order to come to your senses; and a fool who persists in his folly becomes wise.  If your ship doesn't come in, swim out to it, After all, success doesn't come to you, you go to it. It's not easy getting a gig on a ship.The Only Easy Day  on board was Yesterday.

Ship/ Shift Happens

The Greeks invented the idea of nemesis to show how any single virtue, stubbornly maintained gradually changes into a destructive vice. Having a vague and abstract love for everybody and everything has its moments,  but by becoming passionate and vowing fidelity to concrete relationships, persons, institutions, and places are ideas whose time has come.

Fire In The Belly-

“There are two questions a man must ask himself: The first is 'Where am I going?' and the second is 'Who will go with me?' 
If you ever get these questions in the wrong order you are in trouble.” ― Sam Keen, Fire in the Belly: On Being a Man

Steve Jobs said, “Money is life’s report card"; Sam Keen, "Nice gets you a C+ in life"  This is the lesser known, I don't have a dream speech. After all, the first 40 years of "childhood"  are  always the hardest. Growing old isn't optional, growing up is.

Good men and good women have fire in the belly. We are fierce. Don't mess with us if you're looking for someone who will always be 'nice' to you. Nice gets you a C+ in life- Sam Keen

I've seen this kind of "success" as a drug of choice. More than that, success without fulfillment, is failure, yet, this kind of failure is going to get your best material. 

Slow success builds character fast success builds ego.

Choosing experiences and travel adventures over working away your life for material things is what college is all about, right? So why stop there.

I am  STILL happier when I spend money on experiences instead of material goods.

As An Art Director and World Cruise Coordinator, the experiences at sea turned my cant's (no resources) into cans (resourcefulness) and leveraged my dreams (I haven't been everywhere but it is on my list) into serendipity a thousand unseen helping hands. 

As I stated in my Youtube channel bio--No matter how low the budget bar gets, I always manage to limbo my way under it. If you think about it, I am the Wilt Chamberlain of shoe-string travel.putting up #'s so unthinkable, mere normals will never, ever reach them.-300 ports in 38 months...

 Money isn't the root of all evil, boredom is the root of all evil, a spiritual anorexia- the despairing refusal to be oneself.

 The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are, once you let go of the life you have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for youI have  come to love this new self, not by being  a perfect person, but by learning to see an imperfect person perfectly, and renewed with a sense of wonder about this.  It’s only by becoming intimately acquainted with these narratives that we can begin to live consciously and, as the Sufi poet Rumi said, “unfold our own myth.”  

We live  in a storytelling economy, and  gets paid for the stories we tell.

 I too am  constantly writing and re-writing my autobiography in this blog.(but I get paid in attention more than cash.).

Being born in America is like being kidnapped and sold into entrepreneurship

  •  the shared hallucination of running on the treadmill of consumption and materialism. It's a mask that eats up the face.  
  • ...It's also like winning the lottery, a currency, and I wanted to spend it well.Yet, we value material, we ignore emotions. If I wanted to serve my country, I had to betray it. 
JOSEPH CAMPBELL: If you follow your bliss, you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living. Wherever you are -- if you are following your bliss, you are enjoying that refreshment, that life within you, all the time.

What was the blue chip idea worth betraying? What was the lie I told myself? The disease of more in a world of plenty where most of the developing world is starving. The lack of simplicity and the yearn for complexity was, and in many ways still is, my blind spot.The most total opposite of pleasure is not pain but boredom. I was willing to risk pain ( culture shock) to make a boring life interesting and re framing (Home is a feeling not a place) travel as a verb and not a noun. You have to DO it.--- A 1 man National geographic on that everywhere trip.

The good, the bad and the ugly American- Why be difficult when you can be impossible--Hell was about to be other people,other cultures, other languages, and the National Anthem of Hell, was Frank Sinatra's "I did it my way". I had to make the switch from tourist to traveler, and adapt, otherwise this journey would be Karaoke traveling, a cheap imitation of the best yet to come.Without risk, faith is an impossibility. My "leap of faith" to give up all things material was curiosity.

The Power of NEW

The cure for my ennui and boredom was "Any place but here" and "I want to be surprised everyday". There's nothing ethical about the work ethic on ships. I got paid in cash, visited nice places, had a hotel room and six all you can eat meals a day! If the passengers were behaving badly, there was always a new group every 7 or 14 days to keep my interest.Now that I didn't need Power Point to explain my job, how much was I worth now that I was no longer in the w2 world of 9 to 5.

 I  am  a time millionaire. It is  going to be about resourcefulness and not resources.Who does not love the sea? The beach is a place of healing and joy. The salt cleanses us and the sun embraces us in its warmth. The ocean heals the heart, mind, and soul. life is different. Time doesn't move hour to hour but mood to moment.Yet, the sea has never been friendly to me. At most it has been the accomplice of my restlessness.So there is no cure for this curiosity.

TV is an eraser and Youtube and Blogger, a paint brush. My leap of faith to go on ships was recreation and re-creation and re-invention. There are second acts in American lives, and third and fourths.No Man Is An Island, yet after age 40, land is seldom seen and you can count your friends on one hand.I am an expat, yet not every country will do. I don't know why, some countries fill the gaps and others emphasize my expat-ness. In reality those that satisfy me are those who simply allow me to live with my ''idea of them." 

Life’s a beach in an ocean of ennui is the take away from places like Fiji, Tahiti and the Maldives, even Alaska, aka, The Big Alone., It is when laziness finds respectability.

 These "Islands" are extraordinary within their limits, but their limits are extraordinary. Yet if I do the math, an emotional algebra adds up to 1+1=infinity. It's a pristine place.This is no 9 to 5. You live like this, sheltered, in a delicate world, and you believe you are living. It is just a fraction of you. Then you read a book… or you take a trip… and you discover that you are not living, that you are hibernating on a cruise ship, walking the painted line, where everything is nicely arranged--formal nights, shore excursions, shopping, bottled water.

When you’re perpetually cruising , you are what you are right there and then.

 People don’t have your past to hold against you. No yes in yesterdays on the road.I know both sides because I am both sides: a tourist who doesn't know where I've been; a traveller who doesn't know where he's going. I haven't been everywhere, but it's on my list. 

I thought college was the longest vacation I ever took; but this Graduate School seamester is a kind of study abroad in Nomadic Pursuits.

 I meet therefore I am- a multinational soul. I shrink therefore I am part of — and apart from American, European and Asian culture. and the countries I visit(ed) and live(d) in are as eclectic and restless as ports of call I "inhabit" for six hours or at most three daze (days).

 Along with the displacement, and the associated "jet" lag" and culture shock, I am simply a fairly glib product of a movable feast, living and working in a world that is itself increasingly small and increasingly hybrid---a transit lounger, forever heading to the all "aboard" by 6PM gangway.

The cult of the amateur wanderers is growing; global souls who haven't been everywhere but it is on their list; for whom home is a feeling, not a place in the soil but inside yourself. 

I am one of the privileged homeless. Is there a new kind of person being created by a new kind of life?

"I'm not really choosing between experiences,I am choosing  between memories of experiences. Even when I think about  future vacations, I don’t think of my future ports of call normally as experiences. I think of  my future vacations as anticipated memories."

Here it from the Oracle himself, Joseph Campbell:

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People say that what we are all seeking is a meaning for life. I don't think this is what we're really seeking. I think what we're seeking is an experience of being alive.~ The Power of Myth - Joseph Campbell

This recent deployment to Afghanistan has been one of the most rewarding forms of introspection. 

Surely it is the right wish that draws us to the right places. Nothing of importance happens accidentally in our life. 

If I do nothing unexpected, nothing unexpected happens. Yet I’m not  simply seeking  interesting surroundings, but I am  continually interested in whatever surrounds me. This is no miraculous exception.

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Ground School-Learning To Fly

The opening track on Into The Great Wide Open, the eighth studio album by Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, 'Learning To Fly'  goes like this...
Well, I started out down a dirty road / Started out all alone / And the sun went down as I crossed the hill / And the town lit up, the world got still / I'm learning to fly, but I ain't got wings / Coming down is the hardest thing.

This song is about achieving a huge goal. The learning to fly without wings means learning to do something you\'ve never done before and you\'re not sure if you\'re even prepared to do.

Well some say life will beat you down
Break your heart, steal your crown
 So I've started out for God knows where
I guess I'll know when I get there
I'm learning to fly, around the clouds But what goes up must come down

This, I believe, is the great Western truth: that each of us is a completely unique creature and that, if we are ever to give any gift to the world, it will have to come out of our own experience and fulfillment of our own potentialities, not someone else’s.

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