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Archive for April 2015

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Three Queens, one magnificent city-This  Sunday, May 3rd, The Cunard fleet are ALL back from their World Cruises. This gathering of Queen Mary 2, Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria at Cunard’s home port for almost 100 years- QM2 will take center stage in the celebration.

Exactly 175 years ago Britannia left British waters bound for America. Since then ,The Queen Mary 2 currently remains the ONLY  regularly scheduled ocean liner on the high seas that makes the transatlantic crossing- AND  is dubbed  the shortest bridge between New York and Europe.

Working Onboard the QM2 was awesome!

The QM2 allows dogs onboard-cute!

QM2 Last July in Hamburg

This photo pretty much sums up the crowds enthusiastic response as the flagship sails away down The Elbe River to open waters in the North
This was last July, In Hamburg, for the 10th Anniversary of QM2 in Germany.

New York Harbor

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TV was my babysitter, but the Internet is a drunk librarian
 who won't shut up-It's nice to go on a digital diet-rural, primitive and circadian

When the going was good...
...and you could leave no stone unturned
If you smell something burning, it is my future as a travel writer  going up in smoke-  the future of Voyage Journaling  just ain't what it used to be. Sure, shock and awe omnivore revelations that everything is edible somewhere. Dogs, cats and rats come to mind. I certainly visited enough inhospitable  and  exotic locations, also known as "Human Petri Dishes"(Think GERMS)  from Angkor Wat (What?), The  Philippines to India and Dakar; but they're all STUNTS compared to the elevated sense of otherworldliness---a Travel By Proxy---  given  by Melville, Hemingway, Conrad, Kipling and  of course,  Basho's nomadic pursuits, which I emulate(d) in my own Scandinavian  version of Narrow Road to The Interior, where I had The One Taste ecstatic experience---the  definition of Norway's ecstasy is that I was not doing my ordinary everyday routine....essentially stepping into an alternative reality of waterfalls,misty  fjords and VIKINGS---GeirangerfjordStavinger, even sailing into urban

Oslo,  had a mini- epiphany:"I'm past the point of no return. I'll just concern myself with the best way of moving forward."...knowing there is no absolute grid we live in where things occur independent of our own thinking about it. At the beginning of the day, it's all about possibility, at the end of the day, results.

Carma Cafe-No Menus 

You Get Served What You Deserve

@Sea,I practice(d) my own private religion where the bulk of my soul and spirit has been invested-Call it introspective, narcissistic but certainly NEURO. Nevertheless, Travel bring power and Love back into the quotidian life. 

On land, the ANTS come-automatic Nervous Thoughts... In Los Angry Cars and TODAY at a local Garage, the  subject matter  is just too pedestrian, just a round-trip ticket and  a convenient 24 hours away from "civilization".The napsterization of cutting out the middleman, the tivoization time shifting of on-demand entertainment, the CNN Effect -of a 24 hour news cycle---still I believe in the USER FRIENDLY universe- Chance favors the connected mind. I am not looking forward to a power grid electronic pulse meltdown- it would have the same effect as a brain stroke on my thought process.

 I like writing about my travels, but I don’t like the paperwork. So I blog It's digital narcissism.  Literature in a hurry, right?

The THIRD world's analog eyes don’t see our digital world. But does it matter. Internet or InterNOT? Traveling in places with out "switch" in rural poverty are not voyages of discovery, but rituals of reassurance- I won the lottery! It may be karaoke capitalism but I can still belt out a few notes from Bruce Springsteen hit song, "I was born in the USA"

I do not believe in the church of Hello and BUY, the shared superstition of in-your-face consumerism and the treadmill of consumption that says you MUST purchase freedom in a two week vacation. 

If that makes me a heretic, than don't leave out healthy hedonism. Yet “The more you know, the less you need” is an Australian Aboriginal Proverb some spray paint-solvents-sniffing-dude from Darwin ACTUALLY had that  T-Shirt Slogan on! Shucks, with that kind of thinking, you don't need drugs-you ARE drugs.

Although I write  about these places like a news story, In fact, I am less surprised than I  care to admit when I see "faraway" up close. There is nothing more American than visiting a place and then bitching about it in that UGLY way.
How inappropriate to call this place Planet Earth
 because it is surely all ocean

My touch and go, hit it and quit it ports of call, are  actually more spiritual and mental moments than physical events. The  conclusion: No Noose is good news. The sailing life comes down to three things -- everything changes; everything is connected; pay attention. Furthermore, there are ONLY 3 types of people-those alive, those dead, and those at sea. In fact, the cure for  ANYTHING is SALT-Tears, Sweat and The Sea.The place that I would most like to go? Nowhere-which like the sea, offers a respite from movement and distraction. It is stillness.
Arundel, U.K. And I thought...English – Who needs that? 
I'm never going to England!

Some day I will look back at  posting  to Facebook and Blogger, feel uncomfortable and change the subject. Like drunk dialing friends, blogging  often leaves  me in a vegetative stupor--a  mouse potato in suspended animation-because social media  is somewhere else — the click and mortar-in the cloud, in the ether, worlds apart from the bricks and mortar-RL Real Life.

For sure, but, more than that, the obligation to come back with something new, to report back on landscape, people, cultures, languages, foods, we'd never heard of—is getting harder each time.

 I inhale a whiff of the post mortem...shucks, Alexander the Great was said to have wept when he realized he had no more worlds to conquer. The world is flat.April  is the start of Spring, but as I look out into the cool waters of the English channel, there's no way I am going swimming today  It's 4 seasons in 1day. You don't get climate here, you get weather, and you there's no such thing as  bad weather just bad clothing.

Brighton Beach

A lot of places claim to be unique. 

This one really is. Reminds me of Coney Island,USA  and New York New York---but Brighton Beach is nothing like its sandy counterpart.

Here, you crunch along the seaside instead of walking on it—it’s pebbles all the way.

1+1= Infinity

The hardest arithmetic I've had to master is the one which enables me to count my blessings. It requires a long apprenticeship (Think Gladwell's 10,000 Hours of practice rule or 10 years).

 Cruising around the world, provides a legitimate short cut for taking things with gratitude instead of for granted. Despite the spectacular sceneries and itineraries:The universe is in our head,and not out there separate from us. In actuality, a world of our own making. We are co-creators of our world, and we can effect that world and the world of others, even at a distance. Read MORE
VENICE,CA-Any man over the age of 26 riding a bike should consider
himself a failure--unless of course he is me.It's Failing Better!
Failing Cheaper And Failing Often.

That bike in the window  today reminds me....

As long as I am riding a bike, I know I am the luckiest guy in the world. Don.'t buy upgrades, ride up grades!  

The Metal Cowboys-Fooled By Randomness 

Think of bicycles as rideable art that can just about save the world. It is anarchy without malice It gets you there and more.... And there is always the thin edge of danger to keep you alert and comfortably apprehensive.It is not so much a way of getting somewhere as it is a backdrop for randomness; it makes every trip an unorganized tour Read MORE

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You'll forget the sun in his jealous sky as we walk in fields of gold

All You Need Is Sting

This English countryside reminds me of his 1993 hit; and the most amazing song I ever heard-Fields Of Gold- of enduring love and neither time nor death can change that.

You'll remember me when the west wind moves upon the fields of barley....

Roll Video...

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Every time I walk into this port town, HMS Warrior- the first armor-plated, iron-hulled warship(1859) is right in the harbor standing tall and proud, a constant reminder of the age of naval dominance and the legacy  of  empire and seapower.  It  is in the misty salt water air too.
Smells like Victory, Admiral Horatio Nelson's  namesake ship docked at
 Portsmouth Historic Dockyard-the Royal Navy's most famous warship,
 hard to believe that you can fit 800 sailors on deck.

And here are some working boats back from a run on the open water
Shot this image, "Just For The Hull of It!".

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Running On the chalk headlands in Southern England, in November. England has such amazing Coastline.

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

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Visiting Arundel Castle, AGAIN!

 It's never too late to have a good  childhood imagination, with Rapunzel's long blond hair flowing from one of Arundel's towers down to her love..I can hear the blacksmiths making weapons, and the townspeople cheering the knights jousting.

The Grass is Greener where the water is!

Windows 2015

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The cloistered/monastic life- Every day, monks had to go out of their mind in order to come to their senses; time millionaires who choose to "spend" this commodity in contemplation-That's an adventure---the joy in the freedom of having nothing but being everything-To live in this vastness is to bathe in the ocean that mystics call one taste.

Coming into a cathedral, whether it is St Pat's or here in England at Chichester--slows down time, and you can reflect-It's about optimism, love and hope and it inspires all of us to creatively dream, imagine and enjoy what is.

Marc Chagall.
Dear Abbey

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At The Epicenter of Catholicism,
St Pat's. to pay my respects.

 The doors to St. Patrick’s Cathedral swept open in 1879
and since then the gothic-style Church has seen its share of renovation.

The Basilica, today, Under  Another Construction- is a bit less pious, but the Landmark prevails.

I haven't visited here since January 2013:

We made the trip to Manhattan for my Mother's funeral at Saint Patrick's Cathedral. She didn't want a big service but we chose the largest decorated gothic-style Catholic Cathedral in the United States, recognized throughout its history as the  center of American  Catholic life, because we loved her so much.

A Few Good Reifs' 
.The accumulation of birthdays is the leading cause of death in the USA, although she lived only 84 years, she had a great run. The last time the whole family got together at The Cathedral was at my Dad's Service. RIP Mom-And Dad.

When I find myself in times of trouble, Mother Mary comes to me, Speaking words of wisdom, Let it be. And in the hour of darkness, She is standing right in front of me, Speaking words of wisdom,Let It Be...

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One day my life will flash before my eyes. I am making sure it’s worth watching. My life hasn't gotten better by chance; it’s gotten better by change.

By changing nothing, nothing changes. When in doubt, I always have chosen change. All these changes, however, were preceded by chaos, and the bridges I burned, have lit the way.Yet, at what point is choice--the watermark  of individual freedom and self-determination that we so cherish--becomes a point of diminishing returns, a "problem" instead of a solution---That is the paradox of choice.

There is no YES, in yesterday, and when you are sailing, you are what you are right there and then.  My  bizarre travel plans have been dancing lessons from God. As soon as anyone starts telling me to be realistic, I cross that person off my  invitation list. We are still friendly but no longer friends because they don’t get  IT that if you are not living on the edge, you are taking up too much space.
There is wise and other wise--When my left brain is too  good at telling my right brain what to do, I am a normal man, adapting  to the world; otherwise I am  trying to adapt the world to myself.  So all my progress depends on being  a paranormal man. 
After all, “normal” is the setting on a washing machine-you know the spin cycle-same old, been there done that.Para normal, on the other hand,is an art rather than a science and can't be easily explained or measured.
The test to find whether my Hero’s Journey on earth is finished is simple--If  I’m  alive, it isn't.  Remembering this is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking I have something to lose.. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

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Sailing Into NYC Harbor at the mouth of the Hudson River, was Spectacular---  I remember it a lot more than my uneventful return today by ordinary means....Our smokestack just cleared the Verranzano Narrows Bridge by a few feet!
After six sea days at sea, it was great to see first land, on this special July crossing of The Atlantic with Sarah E Kennedy On Cunard's Queen Mary 2 Oceanliner.

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