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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. Both are 24 hour work environments. 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 it...one 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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I have a status meeting with myself every Friday. Today's topic is risk intelligence.Risk appetite governs how much risk you want to take, while risk intelligence involves being aware how much you are actually taking. 


 I  tolerate ambiguity. I play poker and deal with partial information developing  a high level of risk intelligence But this is not poker, this is war.It is the ability to estimate probabilities accurately, it’s about having the right amount of certainty to make educated guesses.come across occasional islands of high risk intelligence in odd places casinos and war zones.


As John Maynard Keynes said: “When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?”.




Before you can take your path you must live it in thought. It is one thing to study war and another to live the warrior life.



My thought makes me travel and create archives of experience and expectation where I incinerate negativity and have a mindfulness of pure attention, without advice, without judgments-When I'm traveling, I am what I am right there and like some Star fleet Commander- I endorse Captain Kirk's recommended policy of non-interference with the internal development of alien civilizations. I must say, some of these places I visit, at least on the surface, look a bit like Mars. 



Freedom is what you do to what has been done to you-even if what has been done is being born in America, the cultural equivalent of the geographically-desirable-places-to-live-on-the-planet lottery. So why squander your inheritance and live in The United States of Unconsciousness.



Wired Verses Tired-Grey Matters


The Earth was made round so that we would not see too far down the road but Neurons That Wire Together Fire Together and the best way to predict the future is to INVENT it. There is no absolute grid  I  live in where things occur independent of my  own thinking about them. In the 70's The ME Generation was Old school selfishness--- I am the center of the world. That's tired. My New Wor(l)d Order says, I create the world...and more importantly my thoughts do too. Change your thoughts, change your world. That's Wired Thinking. 


The 3 P's-Practice.Practice. Practice. 

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.What the bleep? Read more HERE
The Persistence Of Norway

As the brain changes the mind changes, in practical terms  each time you repeat a particular thought or action, and "use your marbles", you strengthen the connection between a set of brain cells or neurons. 

Consequently, neurons that wire apart fire apart, and different thoughts create different pathways-.It has been over 60 days "vacation"  from blue ocean cruising and the urge to sail  remains.   How do I explain this  habit: Use it or lose it.




Traveling = f(dopamine flow); Money= happiness

"Money can't buy happiness, but it can buy travel and new experiences, which is kinda the same thing" 


The need to break free and sail away is ancient, enduring and incessant. Voyages  trigger a concept called   psychological distance: Something about the experience of leaving your place  creates a shock and awe, a pathway  into a new perspective that floods the brain with ideas. For me, this shift in perspective starts as soon as I'm on  a cruise ship . Ships are weirdly the most lucid part of my life. Every cruise I take somehow changes my life in some way.

"The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears or the sea."-Karen Blixen (Out of Africa)


The actual cruise  might be four days or a week, the anticipation of   Norwegian Fjords cruise, for instance was months  and the memory will probably  last for years or forever. So, while I   focus  on the joy of the doing the cruise  there is  joy or anticipation and the joy of  THE memory of it all the time.

Rudyard Kipling wrote "Milford Sound  is the eighth wonder of the world.".  National Geographic Traveler Magazine  selected Norway as  The Top Natural Tourist Attraction in the World. After visiting both, Norway in 2010, and New Zealand in 2011, I didn't need a second chance for 2012 SE Alaska Fjords to make a first impression--It has brought me back  again to a  place I have never been before...



I used to think working on cruise ships was bad, but I stopped thinking- I guess I have ship for brains!

You are HERE. Travel with ME...

The experiences at sea turned my can’t into cans and leveraged my Adventures (which was nothing more than bad planning) into serendipity a thousand unseen helping hands of  allies, synchronicity, and the Michelangelo effect


#8



#9 I am adding:Alaska The Great Land-Action Plan to the list







1. Santorini, Greece

Let The Orinoco Flow




2.Maldives, Islands

Consciousness Is Wireless

3. Bora Bora

Tahiti-Stopover In Paradise

4. The Fjords of Norway
 

Mother Nature and Father Time Are Effin Special


5. The Fjords of New Zealand

Milford Sound-Are We There Yet?

6.Full World Cruise

L.A.To London in 110 Days



7. The Oasis Of The Seas

Game Changer- The Ship IS the destination. Remarkable. This  225,282-ton, 5,400-passenger colossus that cost Royal Caribbean $1.4 billion. 


 It only ends once-anything before that is just progress
Too much cruise ship? Quantity is its own kind of quality.

Go BIG or Go HOME

8. Honorable Mention-The Hawaiian Islands
1994-My First Ship -
A Rust Bucket- SS Constitution(a glorified ferry) with a lot of heart
known  as "American Hawaii Cruises"

The Hawaiian Islands



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H2OMG

"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


Cuteness

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