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Archive for 2015

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On the wind swept plains of a green peaceful  Wiltshire field stands an enigma which reaches back in time some five millennia. Who built it, why they built it and how they were even able to build it with their primitive tools of the time remains a mystery to this day. Yet this is what makes Stonehenge one of the most iconic sites in the world. With over a million visitors a year making  the pilgrimage to this wind swept plain Today,  I feel privileged because on The  Winter Solstice, it is 100% open to the public, amd  we get to walk in it and  on sacred ground for the Pagan Yule

Christmas a pagan holiday? Yule be surprised

Druids and pagans are among thousands of people travelling
to Stonehenge on Tuesday morning to witness the sunrise on the shortest
day of the year. Me too. 

The sun rose over Stonehenge at 8:04 am on Tuesday morning. 

The winter solstice is the annual event which marks the point where the North Pole is tilted 23.5 degrees away from the sun. As a result of the north of Earth leaning away from the Sun, Tuesday sees  the fewest hours of sunlight in one day.

Stonehenge in Wiltshire is one of Britain's greatest ancient sacred monuments, dating back more than 4,000 years. The building of it is an astonishing testament to humankind's determination to create sacred space.

 Experts believe that prehistoric people dragged 4-ton stones all the way from Wales, some 300 miles off, to erect this monument, which may have been used to worship the sun. All they had was their hands, rollers, sledges, and, presumably, an enormous conviction to build a special place that would help them understand the world. It took them 500 years, and the site is still used today by druids to celebrate the Summer and today's Winter Solstice.

Here is an interview I gave for the UK ITV News today including the quote "Brits are cool people. They are literally worshiping the ground I walk on today"....

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It is easy to be inspired by the tranquility
 of The Peaceful Cloister
This medieval cathedral city in the southern English county of Wiltshire is  8 miles south of the iconic prehistoric stone circle at Stonehenge, Again, it is easy to get a real sense of history, walking down The Close, One of the four remaining original 1215  Magna Carta's is on display in the church

Magna Carta - crib sheet for the
 Declaration of Independence written here (and remains).
Latin for "The Great Charter" it is one of the most important documents in history as it established the principle that everybody, including the King, was subject to the law and had the right to a fair trial. The Magna Carta is also considered one of the first steps towards establishing parliamentary democracy in England.

So Quintessential British, thatched roofs, all we need
 is some rain and a few sheep, and we are transported back to rural England

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December 6 2013...3 years ago today

People on horses look better than they are.
People  on ships look worse than they are.

I used to bet on them. Now I am riding them. The horses here are fun to swim with. I have had another splendid morning in this  Bahamian Cay and private island for Holland America. 

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The Academy award-winning short film of this year will probably be watched by a few thousand, while an obscure  YouTube clip  of mine shot on a Samsung S5 camera phone might be watched by twenty thousands. I haven't hit the nose bleed millions of viewers on my YOUTUBE channel but I have hit the million viewer mark on this Cruise Ship Travel BLOG. But as of Today Google+ will no longer be tracking the views publicly. They will only track subscribers.

It's been a while  since ABC TV Nightline and Good Morning America used some of my footage but what a thrill to see  one of my videos go nuclear in less than an hour. That was the first time I felt the impact of TV watching me instead of the other way around.My own Ed TV show.

Andy Warhols"Everyone will be famous  FOR 15 minutes" is now amended: Everyone WILL be famous IN 15 minutes...or less.

I can see the future and it works! Point and Shoot

My cellphone is my credential, my ABC Press Corp Pass, My thirty something years in-the- the trenches-experience. Anyone can be a  Professor Emeritus and guest speaker at Columbia' Graduate School Of Journalism next semester, and hosting an upcoming Anderson Cooper Live on CNN to discuss "Let's Make Sausage" your own idiosyncratic  tipping point moment of Citizen Journalism.

You see, you don't have to be a navaho code breaker to use a cell phone. Just post something to Youtube.  Ah, but you all knew that.

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Around The World in 80 Minutes

Belgian Artist René Magritte bowler-hatted Surrealists.

Jai ho जय हो! It is Yoga O'clock.

In Trini, they say, Doh hot yuh head – Don’t worry about it! 

Beauty has a new address-Oman,
 a business - class ticket to cool with complimentary mojo on take off

Winner of WTM's  best designed exhibition, kirei desu na 美しい? 

Belgian Chocolate is a new food group. 
I graduated from Doha Qatar University today; failed the test but passed the class.
Bali, Komodo Island, Jakarta, only 50 more islands to go.

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Staged annually, WTM London is the  leading global event for the travel industry.The UK  is hosting and I took a few laps around the various exhibitors. An international showcase of the best globetrotting has on  offer.

"Strong cups of coffee from around the world and a peer group I'm having a blast".

Instead of bringing back 3000 refrigerator magnets,I return from my trips  with a collection of small but life-enhancing/extending moments.I felt the same way about the show. Met some wonderful people who are passionate about travel, their countries and their brands. In RL (Real Life), you have to (physically)  travel to great lands to get the culture, the people, the sense of place.  An event like the WTM, shatters time and space. It's all front row and center.

When you exhibit at a trade show, you put out a lot of time, effort and money, so it's important to maximize that investment and get your point across. There was definitely a lot of traffic on opening day.

Going down memory lane, visiting the Exhibitors,.... Asian,  European,  South Pacific,and even USA, the Golden State of California--- The fact that I could speak Japanese and French ,Spanish and American English... got me some great hospitality.COLUMBIA:What's so bad about a cup of coffee? Just ask a glass of water.

Ah Columbia, There are 3 things to buy here---2 of them are legal- Coffee and Emeralds. Having a cup of JOE, er I mean John— at Juan Valdez Cafe. From Sofia Vergara who puts the FUN in Dysfunctional Modern Family to Shakira whose hips don`t lie, to the Calli Cartel, who make heads roll, the country has quite a reputation for exporting the good the bad and the caffeinated.

Here is how a typical exchange of networking with the "movers and shakers" at WTM  and spokesmodels and hosts went.

Using  that line "Oh Columbia, there are only 3 things there and two are legal coffee and where is the coffee"....that's when they broke out the Yerba Matte. kinda hippish chamomile ish.


"Tokyo ni sunde imashta"...That's I lived in Tokyo...and the gift giving began, cute kawaii things. erasable pens, little post it note pads, but the best gifts were the Bamboo chop sticks from The Hyatt Regency Hotel--made of bamboo,  the symbol of prosperity and vitality. Bamboo grows  toward the sky and evergreen. I know I will prosper by using these auspicious Hashi. Domo Domo.

DENMARK: Nothing rotten there

In Copenhagen, I went for a bike ride in the center of the city. …In one street lined with uniform apartment buildings, I stopped by a yellow building and felt an intense longing to spend the rest of my life there.

Love cOPENhagen  Always ride a bike when I visit. There are more bikes than people there-seriously. So when I noticed this  quote by Danish Author Karen Blixen,  "The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears or the sea."-from Out of Africa,  what kind of experience did she undergo in Africa to write these beautiful lines. That's what  I want  to find out about The Geography of Bliss.

“Creeping with awe to the verge, I peered down into a large rent which had been made from bank to bank of the broad Zambezi… No one can imagine the beauty of the view from anything witnessed in England. It had never been seen before by European eyes, but scenes so lovely must have been gazed upon by angels in their flight.” David Lingstone Nov 16, 1855
ZAMBIA: "I haven't been everywhere but it is on my list". Nevertheless,  I have to go to a place I have never been before  and that would be Victoria Falls to be mesmerized by  the smoke that thunders.  To reduce this roaring “landmark” to examples of cause and effect and gravity  is to ignore their majesty. I've seen plenty this year in Norway. I'm hooked.

The only Safaris we will go on are photo safaris- Shooting pictures not trophies with  Daan Brink of Livingstone Adventures.

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I stopped by Gem A in  London's historic Hatton Garden last night to have some fun looking at beautiful gemstones. Getting some refresher knowledge from the longest established gemological teaching organization in the world.

Iolite-The Viking Compass was used as the first pair of polarized
 lenses to navigate and determine latitude accurately. The property that made iolite so valuable to the Vikings is its extreme pleochroism.The gem has a Tamzanite-
Sapphire violet blue at one angle, completely clear at a 2nd angle , and hints of yellow at a 3rd angle. 
Using the basic tools of the trade, and following their motto "Do every test you can on every stone you have", Gem Testing with the Spectroscope had me thinking like a proton and staying positive!

Using a London Dichroscope while in London is like
eating a croissant in Paris-delicious, and authentic.
A vibrant royal blue saphire

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It may not be the biggest but it is the oldest...Canterbury Cathedral:in a country full of old cathedral's, this is one of the oldest, going back to 597 AD.

Our (USA) sidewalks are as big as their (UK) roads here, and our doors well, they are HUGE compared to some of these Medieval passageways.

An American,Scott Waters, was in England last week. These are his observations that went viral: Funny but True:

*Almost everyone is very polite
* The food is generally outstanding
* There are no guns
* There are too many narrow stairs
* Everything is just a little bit different
* The pubs close too early
* The reason they drive on the left is because all their cars are built backwards
* Pubs are not bars, they are community living rooms.
* You'd better like peas, potatoes and sausage
* Refrigerators and washing machines are very small
* Everything is generally older, smaller and shorter
* People don't seem to be afraid of their neighbors or the government
* Their paper money makes sense, the coins don't
* Everyone has a washing machine but driers are rare
* Hot and cold water faucets. Remember them?
* Pants are called "trousers", underwear are "pants" and sweaters are "jumpers"
* The bathroom light is a string hanging from the ceiling
* "Fanny" is a naughty word, as is "shag"
* All the signs are well designed with beautiful typography and written in full sentences with proper grammar.
* There's no dress code
* Doors close by themselves, but they don't always open
* They eat with their forks upside down
* The English are as crazy about their gardens as Americans are about cars
* They don't seem to use facecloths or napkins or maybe they’re just less messy than we are
* The wall outlets all have switches, some don't do anything
* There are hardly any cops or police cars
* 5,000 year ago, someone arranged a lot of rocks all over, but no one is sure why
* When you do see police they seem to be in male & female pairs and often smiling
* Black people are just people: they didn't quite do slavery here
* Everything comes with chips, which are French Fries. You put vinegar on them
* Cookies are "biscuits" and potato chips are "crisps"
* HP sauce is better then catsup
* Obama is considered a hero, Bush is considered an idiot.
* After fish and chips, curry is the most popular food
* The water controls in showers need detailed instructions
* They will boil anything
* Folks don't always lock their bikes
* It's not unusual to see people dressed different and speaking different languages
* Your electronic devices will work fine with just a plug adapter
* Nearly everyone is better educated then we are
* If someone buys you a drink you must do the same
* There are no guns
* Look right, walk left. Again; look right, walk left. You're welcome.
* Avoid British wine and French beer
* It's not that hard to eat with the fork in your left hand with a little practice. If you don't, everyone knows you're an American
* Many of the roads are the size of our sidewalks
* There's no AC
* Instead of turning the heat up, you put on a jumper
* Gas is "petrol", it costs about $6 a gallon and is sold by the liter
* If you speed on a motorway, you get a ticket. Period. Always
* You don't have to tip, really!
* Scotland, Wales, Ireland and Cornwall really are different countries
* Only 14% of Americans have a passport, almost everyone in the UK does
* You pay the price marked on products because the taxes (VAT) are built in
* Walking is the national pastime
* Their TV looks and sounds much better then ours
* They took the street signs down during WWII, but haven't put them all back up yet
* Everyone enjoys a good joke
* There are no guns
* Dogs are very well behaved and welcome everywhere
* There are no window screens
* You can get on a bus and end up in Paris
* Everyone knows more about our history then we do
* Radio is still a big deal. The BBC is quite good
* The newspapers can be awful
* Everything costs the same but our money is worth less so you have to add 50% to the price to figure what you're paying
* Beer comes in large, completely filled, actual pint glasses and the closer the brewery the better the beer
* Butter and eggs aren't refrigerated
* The beer isn't warm, each style is served at the proper temperature
* Cider (alcoholic) is quite good.
* Excess cider consumption can be very painful.
* The universal greeting is "Cheers" (pronounced "cheeahz" unless you are from Cornwall, in which case it's "chairz")
* The money is easy to understand: 1-2-5-10-20-50 pence, £1-£2 coins and £5-£10, etc bills. There are no quarters.
* Their cash makes ours look like Monopoly money
* Cars don't have bumper stickers
* Many doorknobs, buildings and tools are older than America
* By law, there are no crappy, old cars
* When the sign says something was built in 456, they didn't lose the "1"
* Cake is is pudding, ice cream is pudding, anything served for desert is pudding, even pudding
* BBC 4 is NPR
* Everything closes by 1800 (6pm)
* Very few people smoke, those who do often roll their own
* You're defined by your accent
* No one in Cornwall knows what the hell a Cornish Game Hen is
* Football is a religion, religion is a sport
* Europeans dress better then the British, we dress worse
* The trains work: a three minute delay is regrettable
* Drinks don't come with ice
* There are far fewer fat English people
* There are a lot of healthy old folks around participating in life instead of hiding at home watching tv
* If you're over 60, you get free tv and bus and rail passes.
* They don't use Bose anything anywhere
* Displaying your political or religious affiliation is considered very bad taste
* Every pub seems to have a pet drunk
* Their healthcare works, but they still bitch about it
* Cake is one of the major food groups
* Their coffee is mediocre but the tea is wonderful
* There are still no guns
* Towel warmers!
* Cheers

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Building a ring in London, Tiffany setting, Hallmarked an Assayed 18K Yellow Gold.The center stone is a stunning white emerald, considered the Mother of Genstones-known as Goshenite, as in Oh My Gosh! Actually a large deposit was discovered in Goshen Massachusetts.  It's pure Beryl. When there is blue traces it's Aquamarine;  pink and peach beryl, Morganite; Yellow Beryl Heliodore, and Red Beryl, well that is called Simply Red.

Notes From The Underground

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Another amazing day-this time overlooking the White Chalky cliffs of  Beachy Head, United Kingdom

The Other side of the cliff- You could easily loose your footing, and the chalk erodes constantly with rainfall-

The Empire Strikes Baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack- November 2013 , in the Middle East
chasing sheep and November 2014
Same Day Different Year Sailing On Board Disney Wonder in 2011
and Holland America Noordam in 2012

The View from the Crystal Serenity after 110 Days at Sea 2011 World Cruise

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Beauty is Unity in Variety

When I rowed on the Charles River (1980), the  state of flow was often triggered.  It's that place where action and awareness merge, and you feel a tremendous amount of self control and focus.  What is even more amazing is the total lack of emotion(s) in this spaciousness You can't create experiences like this, you undergo them. Today, in Henley-On-Thames, I jump into a light single and skull down the river-someday is the longest day of the week, but someday I'm rowing down The Thames!For sure. 

The Secret is about results, flow is about process rather than achievement. The ends  justify the means is about the outcome. Flow  is means without ends-the joy is simply doing it, but doing it optimally is, nonetheless  the consequence.

Travels Chemical Romance- DOPE-amine

20,ooo Leagues Into My Brain, the 3lb Universe  and The Travel Molecule. Our brains aren't computers-they are quantum fields of gold! Belive me 

Flow  is a lose of self but  Peak experience(s)  leave me with a sense of self.  My brain makes me travel. Even thinking about leaving a port of call for some imagiNATION generates a roller coaster ride of  flight and fantasy ---a flood of dopamine that signals to my body that something good has or is about to happen.

Dopamine is a swiss army knife that does a lot of jobs, but the thing Mr. Science notices most is that it regulates reward. When I travel to some far away place, it's a dopamine spike that's responsible for the thrill that follows.  Drugs, legal and illegal-mimic the actions of dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is a chemical which makes us feel elated; crystal meth is so addictive because it releases dopamine. More than that, The brain images of drug addicts who are about to take another hit are indistinguishable from those of  sailors who are at sea (I am making this up).

Peak Experiences  provide water/landmarks of positive experiences that  I can recall and savor throughout the rest of my life or as I have come to know it-the stopover between being and oblivion,  that blissful repose of nothingness. 
York, UK last month

Mysticism and Exaggeration  ---"Holy Cow!" hyperbole go together 

PE's  are those moments, gone in 60 seconds to  a few minutes, where I feel my  highest levels of happiness, synchronicity and  promise.  It's real magic where my consciousness becomes storyteller. The teachable moment being: PE's  insinuate  the recognition that my own powers are far greater than I  imagined them to ever be.

I have had so many of these  PE's  while sailing. It's no stretch---Nature has a way of showing up and producing wonder, awe, or ecstasy. 
The Welsh Countryside this week

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