My Little Sister, Ann, Makes Me Proud For My 79th Birthday!

September 9, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 


by Ann Dickinson Sargent 


My mean big sister told me,

“If you stood sideways and stuck out your tongue,

people would think you were a zipper!’

Well, this morning in my mirror, that too-tall,

crook-toothed kid with washboard chest,

looked in my eyes and vowed to be a spy;

my sister’s got a date tonight.  I’m supposed to stay upstairs.

Later, hidden in the triangle of sofaback and wall….

dust, cobwebs, things that look like chocolate sprinkles

ornament my hair. I can only see

her saddle shoes, his loafers, in my narrow slot of view.

Light from the lamp glows on the scuffed wood floor;

scents of Shalimar and Old Spice

sift through stale old-couch miasma

as I wait for something interesting to happen.

They’re watching I Love Lucy on the tube.

Just as the laugh track soars,

The couch springs groan; maybe he’s going to kiss her….

Eeeeeeeeew! But instead, more dust rains down.

I sneeze! And Oh! Her screech and jumping-up and yelling-at

are worth the penalties.  He sees the way she really is

and even though her chest is so unwashboardlike,

I think I’ve saved him.


Dear Linda, I wrote you a poem!  Well, not exactly, but I was taking a month-long online poetry workshop in August, and one of the assignments was a family memory. This is fictionalized, but I do have a memory of having fantasized about doing such a thing. Last week, I taught a workshop to the Creative Writing Club at Polk State College. When I read this aloud (performed it), I got lots of laughs and big applause.  So I hope you’re not too offended!        


And, here is my reply…..

Dear little sister, Ann,

OH MY GOSH! What a GREAT birthday present!! Thank you, you great poet, you! I’m in touch with some of my high school friends and I’m going to ask them to circulate this! it is so FUNNY and brings us all right back to 1955…… which I’m reveling in now because I’m trying to teach our rock and roll dance, the Jitterbug. over here in Estonia and Russia, so they can complete (and win) in the international Boogie-Woogie contests, nowadays. So, I’m right back in high school, mentally, anyhow. Now, that my 79th birthday is tomorrow!


I do believe that “Revenge” is mostly fictionalized but, it was surely a neato fantasy that you must have indulged in, over and over. through those  years that you had to live with a mean big sister. You did get a reprieve during my sophomore year (your 8th grade) when they sent me to Massachusetts to live with Grandmother Elsie. But then, I was back for my Jr & Sr year again to share a bed & bedroom with you and tease you about being a zipper. I really did say that….. probably more than once! That memory is accurate.


But, I have a string of reasons that occur to me, that probably prove this was only a poetic dream and not a reality.
I don’t remember dating, at all, in high school. I was “popular” but I wasn’t in the Cheerleader/football player group – who were so pretty and handsome, and dated each other, and won Homecoming King & Queen titles . Our whole, large group of friends were the club & student leaders and we were really close buddies and saw a lot of each other, but we were “a crowd” that hung out before the bell rang; and the ones with cars picked the rest of us up for the Thursday night Teen Center, where we jitterbugged our little hearts out to the new Rock & Roll music. Then, driving home, three or four to the car; we would “park” somewhere and have “Unburdening Sessions” about the problems in our lives. We provided excellent counselling services, apparently; where we could be heard and understood by our peers.
I can picture that old sofa and catercorner across from it, the overstuffed (older-stuffed) chair. and an old-fashioned, wooden radio on a stand. We loved to listen to programs which said, “The Shadow Knows!”  I sure did love radio drama! But, ours was not so modern a household as to have a TV set, though your allusion to I Love Lucy is perfect and maybe a television set showed up sometime after I left for university???.
How could I have dated like that, even if I had wanted to? You make it sound so easy to dispatch all my younger sisters to the upstairs by command…..BUT, what would I have done with Grandmother, Matilda, and Mother? Assign them to stay in the kitchen? Ha! It was Matilda’s house! One didn’t tell her what to do, in our family!! And then, how about noisy Kippy and little-kid, Lee? Me, count on all three of you kids to stay upstairs, while I necked on the sofa? Double Ha! I didn’t even know HOW to neck, till I got to college! The front porch swing would have been the only possibility if I’d had such a date as that……but then, you’d have had nowhere to hide and there was no TV or radio out there. And that thing squeaked, didn’t it?
Anyway, the poem is universal and will hit home with everyone and get that great rewarding laugh! Let’s circulate it far and wide and let it win you prizes! I adore it! I think I’ll make a blog post out of it for both my websites!
Lots of love,
Your Big Sis, Linda

Traveling Into Russia Is Filled With Happy Discovery!

September 7, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Aboard the luxury bus between Tallinn, Estonia and St. Petersburg, Russia

Aboard the luxury bus between Tallinn, Estonia and St. Petersburg, Russia

Talk about modern malls and stores!!! Russia has them, in plenty!

Talk about modern malls and stores!!! Russia has them, in plenty!

Here's that same bus from the outside. Absolutely, the best!

Here’s that same bus from the outside. Absolutely, the best!

My Russian Visa started on August 20 and goes until September 18th, so, from Tallinn, Estonia, I came to The Soul Kitchen Hostel in Saint Petersburg. It was an easy six-hour journey aboard a wonderful, luxury bus. I was wowed by that city.




As well as very tasty fish! But can you imagine being the one on the right, staring at his brother on the left? I couldn't resist this shot!

As well as very tasty fish! But can you imagine being the one on the right, staring at his brother on the left? I couldn’t resist this shot!

(These pictures are not laying themselves out in the proper order; but I trust you to figure things out.)

Yet another gourmet meal!

Yet another gourmet meal! Lots of great cooking at great prices!

Even more ghastly-tronomic or would that be traumatic?

Even more
ghastly-tronomic or would that be traumatic?


The distance between the Living and the Dead could be as thin as a plate of glass????

The distance between the Living and the Dead could be as thin as a plate of glass????

Aboard the overnight train between St. Petersburg and Arkhangelsk on the White Sea. deep in the Russian countryside.

Aboard the overnight train between St. Petersburg and Arkhangelsk, on the White Sea, deep in the Russian countryside. Ready to sleep.


The next morning, we are nearing our goal.

I took a 22-hour train ride deeper into Russia, to Archangelsk, on the White Sea, where very few people speak English. But, still many more speak our language, than we Americans speak Russian!!!

The countryside from the train window.

The countryside from the train window.

The Meridian Hotel, where I stayed for five days is on the outskirts of town.

The Meridian Hotel, where I stayed for my first five days is on the outskirts of town. I decided to shift to a hostel in downtown Arkhangelsk for the next week, to be in walking distance of everything.

The hotel is named for the 30th Meridian and is very modern, indeed.

This beautiful hotel is named for the 30th Meridian and is very modern, indeed. It was a great place to rest and catch up with neglected writing.

Very modern and comfortable, indeed, and I caught up on my workload in the quiet privacy.

The Meridian Hotel’s lobby. This non-hostel stay allowed me to catch up on my writing workload in quiet privacy. Everybody was so gracious and welcoming, too. By this time, I’ve fallen behind again because so many, many exciting things keep happening. LIFE ON THE ROAD IS SOOOO EXCITING!


What Do Dead Dogs & At-Risk Elephants Have To Do With Each Other?

August 19, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

I’m transcribing my old journals onto my hard-drive and here’s an entry, written months ago, while I was visiting Sassha Lambert in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, January, 2016. I think I wrote an earlier blog about it, too. Because we’ve had so many requests to contact everyone’s dead pets, we are ending that personal psychic practice since it really isn’t the reason for this website. However, this beautiful testimony by Jack, The Golden Retriever, should set everyone’s mind at ease about how your pet feels now. They all say the same thing. Death feels very good and they are happy! Just rest assured!

Last year, Dakota’s beautiful, champion Golden Retriever, Jack (Sir Jack Maximilian) died of a brain tumor, and she sent a smiling, go-forward, direct eyes portrait of him looking just like my own grand-dog, Soda, in Denver, (below). She didn’t have any specific questions to ask, but hopes I can be a dog-whisperer to him.IMG_6254


Oh my Holy Spirit! With all this mention of Jack’s name, I’ll bet he has bounded up to You and stands, eager to be contacted. My question to him is the one I wish I could ask everyone who has been through Death. “Jack, what does it feel like to die? What’s it like to be where you are right now?” And, did you wait for your Mamma, Dakota, to return from her trip before your final seizure and departure?”

“We are right here with you. Do you feel Us near to you?”

No, I don’t. Sorry!

“I did not know how good it would feel! Ever since I died, I’ve been so happy-glappy, Up Here, that I had forgotten about earth joys. Ever since I have been here, I have been watching over my little family and I can split myself up now and be with each of them.”

“Ever since we go through this cavern – this operation called Death, we don’t exactly come back home, but we can be with them all of the time. It’s nice and clear and pure, Over Here.”

Does Death hurt to go through? None of us, humans, really understand it very well. What can you say to calm us down about it?

“Well, don’t worry in the least! When your body starts to fail, it is not your problem, anymore. There is nothing you can do to change it. It happens overnight. Like going to bed when it gets dark and waking up again when the sun comes up. It’s no more mysterious than that. Maybe, being an animal is actually very helpful, because we are not affected by controlling what happens to us. We just do what comes naturally and it’s all pretty wonderful when viewed from the inside.”

Sassha wonders if you waited for your Mom, Dakota, to return before you left the planet in death?

“It seems that I must have. I wasn’t refusing to go. I just needed to say goodbye, or even more simply, I just wanted to see her. Dogs don’t think about the future. We think about what we want …. “Right now!” And, that’s what we usually get! We did get to see her, and then, things just developed naturally; and before you know it, everything was all taken care of. Death doesn’t hurt, one little bit! Not in the least, and my condition didn’t result in a lot of blood or broken bones, like an automobile accident might have had pain attached.

Brain tumors are a part of the body, once they arrive, and when they do things from the inside of your head, it all feels normal. No matter how different it might look from the outside. I just felt that it was Me, doing natural things. I didn’t mind whatever my body wanted to do with itself.”


So, in your opinion, Jack, do we put too much drama into death?

“Yes, you do, but how would you know? You can’t remember when you went through it before in a former life. Your brain picks and chooses its memories and that’s not so different to when a tumor closes off parts of somebody’s brain but doesn’t kill them immediately.”

How do you feel about Elephants, Jack?

“Ohmigod! You’ve got to help these gals get more and more and more (many repetitions) involved with these African Elephants on Lake Victoria! It’s no accident that you are heading there in less than two years! My Mamma Dakota sponsors so many of these babies and we will all benefit. All on Earth will benefit from her involvement. Please go and visit them together. Oh, brother! I can’t wait to go with you!

Dogs have a shorter life than these massive elephant spirits do! Something has to be done, because African Elephants are mysterious Beings on this Planet Below! So, yes, yes, yes! Tell my Mamma that she’s on the right track and you will be, too! And, so will I when you get there!”

“Excuse Me! This is your Holy Spirit…. and this is The Great Creative Force! Get yourselves in gear! I mean it! We mean it! You are heading towards Africa, Linda Layli, for your 80th birthday, on September 10, 2017, already planned for Lake Victoria, in Kampala, Uganda. Now, your present roommate, Sassha and her sister, Dakota, are involved with saving elephant children, babies orphaned by the slaughter of the big bull elephants for their ivory tusks. Can you see something happening? You might be able to save some elephants too, or zero-in on their plight.”

I’m getting lots of Big Ideas, right now, centered around this large lake in Africa, whose name means “Victory!” to me. Somehow, these conversations, people, dogs, and events, feel connected. Can we actually pull our acts together into one big splurge by joining hands? Kenya = “I can, ken-ya?” (I can! Can you?) Can do Kenya!

Does that mean that Jack is in Public Relations? Is he cooking this Big Event up? How about that, Jack?

“Wonderful news! Dogs are not as old as elephants as a species, but we are very humanized, especially, we Golden Retrievers. I’m telling you something! There is nothing to stop any of you…. especially, when you get an idea like you have cooked up. Why did you chose this place, Linda?”

You mean, the big lake in Africa? I really don’t know. Because I don’t know Africa, at all. Victory = Victoria = Victory! Built-in success. Now, I’ve learned about another cause that I can help with…. preventing deaths of fishermen there,

and now, saving baby elephants, in the same general location.

More causes may show up as we look closer. It feels like something is unfolding here. And, Jack, believe me, I didn’t wangle this pet subject into your interview. I have to say though, that you are a pretty good Retriever! Here’s something you’ll appreciate about your fellow dogs. Huskies, and how they can make great pals with Polar Bears.


Happy Hostel Life In Estonia….. And Worldwide!

August 9, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Wednesday night in the hostel

Wednesday night in the hostel is Open Mic Night.

Me, demonstrating how to dance The Jitterbug; now known as Boogie-Woogie. I'll be teaching it here, before I leave the country. Little did I know it would become my legacy!!!???

Me, demonstrating how to dance The Jitterbug; now known as Boogie-Woogie. I’ll be teaching it here, before I leave the country. Little did I know it would become my legacy!!!?

One of the true joys about staying in hostels is the social life. Hostel Euphoria in Tallinn has a Great Room, open to the public for Wednesday Night Open Mic and Sunday Night Jam Sessions.

The hostel owner, Jonathan Flack, has a band named “The Jingles” and there are musical instruments decorating the room, ready to be used during these evenings. Those who aren’t musical, like me, can tell jokes and stories; give short talks, or teach dance.

Now that Boogie-Woogie has come roaring back in style as an International Dance Craze, everyone is interested in what the original looked like ….way back in 1955, when I was in high school.

I’d never have guessed, back then, that I’d be taking steps learned sixty-one years ago at our weekly Teen Center dance nights, and sharing them to new generations in hostels all around the world. I might just do the same thing at the Soul Kitchen Hostel in St. Petersburg, Russia, later on this month!

Below, are some of our fabulous singers…. Dima, Trevor, and Tadeusch.



Glorious Estonia – Pagan Roots, Soaring Steeples And Soviet Museums!

July 31, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

It’s time to start planning my new itinerary on this long, around-the-world journey of mine. I have now been traveling for ten months out of my four-year (48-month!) plan; so, I still feel as if I’m just getting started. In three weeks, I’ll travel to Murmansk, Russia, above the Arctic Circle; then to Arkhangelsk, St. Petersburg and Moscow. When my 30-day visa expires, I’ll drop down to Poland and other Eastern European countries, to wind up in France in mid-October to lead a workshop during my four-day InterVoice Conference in Paris. Then, to Vatican City in Rome.  As soon as it gets too chilly in Europe, I’ll head to the Holy Land, to follow the desert footsteps of Moses and learn  about the life of Jesus, right where it was lived. Then, on to Jerusalem for the holiest shrines of three of the world’s major religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam; and, finally, to lovely Mt. Carmel, in Haifa, the World Center of the Baha’i Faith.

Perhaps, my visa will allow six months in Israel? Certainly, three months. It’s been over thirty years since I made my last pilgrimage to the Holy Land, but I doubt if it has changed very much, as that land reflects thousands and thousands of years of history,  both secular and religious. It’s where all hearts turn when they pray.

Interestingly, my random choice of Estonia was perfect to kick off this new portion of my world-wanderings because it is so old and yet, so modern. My seven weeks here is more than half over and I’m still loving every minute of it. The people are very friendly, kind, and welcoming. I’ve made some good friends and I will miss them very much when I move on.

So far, exploring the medieval history of Tallinn’s Old Town has kept me busy, though I hope to run around the countryside of this darling country, too; before heading into Russia on August 20. I love to get lost here because I stumble upon so many fantastic museums, such as the new one depicting the Health and Well-being of the  Human Body, devoted to the historical architecture of Ourselves, the occupants of this planet I’m circling.

The evolution of our human family is thoroughly described in a new, award-winning museum.

The evolution of our human family is thoroughly described in a new, award-winning museum.

And I learned so much about Medieval Days on our free walking tour.

I learned so much about Medieval Days on our free, two-hour,  walking tour.

Just like Mankind, this town goes back a looooong way. This was a walled city with ramparts and watchtowers and a general wariness of newcomers with strange ways and ideas. Not now! The whole country is so friendly!

A part of the original wall as seen from within the city.

A part of the original wall as seen from within the city.

An overview with the Baltic Seaport in the background.

An overview, with the Baltic Seaport in the background.

Tallinn's Old Town from the hilltop of its new town. Note the many steeples marking many lovely churches.

Tallinn’s Old Town from the hilltop of its new town. Note the many steeples marking many lovely churches.

Our tour guide said that over the centuries, many foreign Christian  missionaries had hoped to plant their version of that Faith deep in this soil, because the medieval people were Pagans. Thus, the many churches here……which are now serving  as concert and lecture venues. Churches or not, those early proselytizers didn’t get very far in planting their staffs in this soil. Then came those ideological bullies marching under the dreadful leadership of Lenin and Stalin bent upon planting the ideals of Communism with slogans proclaiming power to the people!

This entire Eastern European region was also shrouded for many decades under that Iron Curtain blanket of the Soviet Union, the USSR, which forbade all religions and closed all places of worship. Freedom of speech about  spiritual or religious matters was, not only curtailed, but dangerous.

That repressive history is very hard for any present-day tourist to perceive or identify with. Everything here seems so normal; so Westernized. But, we have never lived under an Iron Curtain rule. We’ve always said whatever we liked, with no backlash, whatsoever. People of Estonia, Eastern Europe, and Russia were killed or sent to the gulag for doing just that.

That is such a hard concept for us to wrap our minds around because, just within these few decades, the USSR has been relegated to sterile museum exhibits. I’ll visit a few of these and post my findings here. Like the prison where tens of thousands died, right on the edge of this town. I was within the borders of the Soviet Union while it was collapsing; but I didn’t witness that horrific behavior, personally, though I heard about it. And yet, I can forget their recent past, when I walk through Tallinn now, during its beautiful recovery from that nightmare.

It was my privilege to plan and lead Citizen Diplomacy Peacekeeping, grassroots group tours to Russia, Ukraine, and Siberia between 1990-1994, when things were still under the pall of the USSR. Though the feared Soviet Union was breaking up at that time, it was, actually, still in effect, and I was inside of the country on the morning that the hated  dictatorship officially ended.

Because there was no tourist infrastructure in those early days, we housed our travelers in homestays, which was so much more personal and fun than staying in hotels, anyway. I watched the excitement that our Soviet hosts felt when they could freely attend our group’s public, open meetings allowing everyone’s free speech during Women’s Forums, Spiritual Exchanges, and Entrepreneurial Business Conferences. They could pose their own opinions and questions and not worry about the KGB overhearing them. It was a very heady time for them.

Trust me, they have some very good philosophies and deeply-held, personal spiritual beliefs that haven’t been strangled out of them by any wanna-be oppressor! I’m sure they’ll never let that sort of bullying repression happen to them again. Estonians today are independent-thinkers, well-educated and intelligent. They’re among the most kindly and spiritual people on the planet, in my opinion.

And, by traveling the world alone for so many years, my radar is wide-open to this rare quality.That’s why I’m looking forward to visiting all the Holy Places of every Faith. I want to find out exactly how their people behave and what kind of spiritual vibrations they have contributed to the earth’s atmosphere. Words are cheap! Actions are the proof of the pudding!

Let deeds, not words, be your adorning!” said Baha’u’llah, Prophet-Founder of The Baha’i Faith.   

They have learned how to combine a powerful and vigorous commerce in excellent art and handicrafts......

Estonians have learned how to combine a powerful and vigorous commerce in excellent art, handcrafts, and tourism……


.....with all of the world's Teachings and Teachers who have come throughout the centuries.

…..with all of the world’s Teachings and Teachers who have come, throughout the centuries. It’s a great and peaceful example. They keep their own council but allow the same for all others! Pretty modern, I’d say!








I Love Tallin, Estonia!

July 1, 2016 by · 1 Comment 

I entered the beautiful city of Tallinn, Estonia, two days ago, after sitting overnight in the Riga, Latvia, airport on my flight from London. My hostel here is named Euphoria and that’s exactly the way we all feel about it. So many interesting people are staying here and there is something going on every evening….. from musical jam sessions to metaphysical conversations. My four-bunk dorm room costs all of $11 per night and I’m about to rent a big private bedroom upstairs for $275 per month. I’ll still be part of the hostel social life but will be able to unpack my suitcase and have a decent work space in my own room.

These pictures are simply the first I have taken in this city. Prepare for more to come.

I look forward to all the eating it is possible to do.

I look forward to all the eating it is possible to do.


The outside entry of my Hostel Euphoria

The outside entry of my Hostel Euphoria

So many leafy courtyards in the Old Town

So many leafy courtyards in the Old Town


Classic Shot

Classic Shot

There are Angels everywhere!

There are Angels everywhere!

A street in Tallinn's Old Town

A street in Tallinn’s Old Town

They are relaying the cobblestones here.  A chance to watch an ancient art.

They are relaying the cobblestones here. A chance to watch an ancient art.

An old European street scene

An old European street scene

Snazzy and colorful cafes

Snazzy and colorful cafes

At the end of the day..... I'm so glad I'm here!

At the end of the day….. I’m so glad I’m here!

Come on over! The city's fine!

Come on over! The city’s fine!

Lots Of Rainbows Over London Today!

June 25, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Tower Bridge on the Themes River in London

Tower Bridge on the Thames River in London

A few days ago, I trouped around the City of London, taking in a lot of famous sights. Like bridges and buildings. It was a bit cool and cloudy but quite normal.

And this is one of the Queen's Residences.... also a bit dull.

This is one of the Queen’s Residences….  a bit modest and dull but she has many homes.

Shakespeare's Globe Theater, the only thatch-roofed building left in London.

Shakespeare’s Globe Theater, the only thatch-roofed building left in London.


Today was a sunny Saturday so I decided to play tourist again and to take my second free walking tour of the area around Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, Parliament and many more famous sites. It takes two hours of very fast walking, following a tour guide with a strawberry-red umbrella and we whisk past the exterior of all these well-known icons but it’s a wonderful way to get your bearings here and to decide whether to line up at the doors and pay admission to examine the insides.

This one is London Bridge. Probably the one in the nursery rhyme fell down! This one is dull and could be anywhere.

This is London Bridge. Probably the one mentioned in the nursery rhyme fell down! This bridge is dull and could be anywhere.

Proof that this unimaginative piece of architecture really IS that fabled one.

Proof that this unimaginative piece of architecture really IS that fabled one. All three bridges are within view of each other.

And here's the Millennium Bridge. It rattled when people walked upon it and took more money to fix than to build.

And here’s the recently-built Millennium Bridge. It rattled when people walked upon it and took more money to fix than to build. WAKE UP LONDON! It’s the New Era!

It’s England, after all, and we’ve had gulley-washer rains recently; so I decided to take my chances today because it looked pretty dry this morning and I leave for Estonia in three days. Now or never! And I’m glad I did.

Another view of the Royal Residence.... one of them, anyway.

Another view of the Royal Residence…. near Buckingham Palace. Come on England, don’t be so dull!

 The colorful crowd.

And then there was …..The colorful crowd.

More horse guards coming on duty.

More horse guards coming on duty. The new guard…..


The Changing of The Guard in front of Buckingham Palace.

The Changing of The Guard in front of Buckingham Palace. And the old guard….

Blue dancing girls gathering for the big parade.

Blue dancing girls gathering for the big parade.

A Rainbow Angel for the Gay Pride Parade, which gathered in a happy, laughing bunch and brightened the day!

A Rainbow Angel for the Gay Pride Parade, which gathered in a happy, laughing bunch and brightened the day!

Royal Lions and Pride Parades. Lots of walking rainbows and luckily, no rain.

Royal Lions and Pride Parades. Lots of walking rainbows and luckily, no rain. No Brexit Worries here, the day after the historic and shocking vote to leave the European Union.

DSCN4265 DSCN4261

And Rainbow Banners...

Today, there was simply celebration with Rainbow Banners… while, because of Thursday’s vote, the UK changes in unexpected ways and no one knows whether Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will stick around.  Woops! A rollercoaster ride ahead, perhaps.

And then, we all took the tube home.

But, at the end of the day, what is there to do, but accept the changes as they come? So, we all took the tube home, bringing our color and our diversity and the new generation along with us.

I’m Transitioning To Another Region of Europe – The Baltic States

June 22, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Suddenly, the time has come to move on in my around-the-world travels. After almost ten weeks in England and most of that, 6.5 weeks, spent in London at the Barmy Badger Hostel in Earl’s Court; I’m booking a flight to Tallinn, Estonia for next week. This decision wasn’t terribly clear-cut and involved consulting with friends and family, looking for good ideas and logic to figure things out. Originally, it seemed like such an obvious choice to simply cross the Irish Sea and run around Ireland for a little while. And after that, I should naturally explore the other countries of Western Europe that I have never been to.

Then, it occurred to me! This is the High Season over here! It’s when the prices go up and mobs of Americans swarm the place! Goodness knows, the UK is expensive and so are all of the European Union (EU) countries. Why should I be here now, when I have to return to Paris in mid-October, anyway, to attend a convention? I can do my sightseeing then.

I’ve always wanted to explore Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania on the Baltic Sea, as well as Belarus, a little bit inland from them. Those countries are somewhat north of here, across the Baltic from Sweden and directly under Finland, so summertime would be the ideal time to go. That thought was confirmed by reading my Lonely Planet guidebook. All of them are steeped in ancient history, with old towns that go back to medieval times, with castles and monuments galore. They are very tourist-friendly and well provided with hotels, hostels, restaurants and parks. Well-stocked with everything that let’s you know you are in Europe, yet sophisticated enough to provide their services in many languages, especially English. And yet, they are off the radar to many Westerners. Just the way I like it!

You don’t need a visa to enter any of them for three months, as is still required for Russia, and the cost is so much lower than it is in England and all of these regular tourist destinations. Plus, history confined  this part of the world underneath the shield of Soviet domination for the greater part of the previous century and that has disappeared only recently, making a bit of a time capsule there. In fact, museums are springing up everywhere to document what life was like in those dismal and restricted days; though the natural exuberance of the native population has returned to its old self.

For me, it will be a revisiting of an exciting part of my life, when I led peace-themed, grassroots tours to Russia, Ukraine and Siberia between 1990 and 1994. In those early years right after the walls fell, Americans and Soviets were so very eager to meet each other and many bonds of love and friendship were forged between our travelers and the locals. I always felt a zing and a zest during all of my time spent there. I feel it now in anticipation of learning more about new and beautiful countries that were so long denied the easy commerce with the rest of the world. Now that the doors have opened, it makes sense to travel through them whenever possible.

Plus, I have an invitation to visit friends in Warsaw, Poland. Two women whom I met here in the hostel last week have invited me to stop in when I pass through and this way, I’ll be able to do that.

This week, I’ll be arranging my airfare and hostel reservations in Tallinn as well as addressing the pesky business of packing up. And then, a week from today, I shall land in my new country-of-the-month! Now, how exciting is that?

In the meantime, I’m discovering how to record and post bits of travel advice on YouTube. Hopefully, these recordings will become more professional as I go, in order to encourage everyone to just pick up and go to all of the wonderful spots this Earth has to offer. Either search YouTube under Linda J. Brown or click on the link below.





Was I On Another Planet… Or In London, England?

June 9, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

I just came across a headline news story on the Huffington Post UK feed…. that London had torrential rains and was being flooded and cars were drowning in the south section of the city two days ago. Perhaps so, but not in my vicinity! I’m in London right now and happened to be sightseeing that day. It wasn’t even raining in my part of the city. Let’s see what my photos show? Don’t believe everything you read in the news!

Churchill Statue in Westminster, London

Churchill Statue in Westminster, London

Ghandi contemplates Big Ben, also in the Westminster District of London.

Ghandi contemplates Big Ben, also in the Westminster District of London.

Words To Live By through all the ages. On Westminster Abbey.

Words To Live By through all the ages. On Westminster Abbey.

St. Margaret's Church

St. Margaret’s Church

Westminster Abbey

Westminster Abbey

And yet, Ya' Gotta Eat!

And yet, Ya’ Gotta Eat!

Or Beat The Retreat! Bleachers set up on parade grounds for the Queen's Mounted Horse Brigade.

Or Beat The Retreat! Bleachers set up on parade grounds for the Queen’s Mounted Horse Brigade.

Do they serve DUCK with High Tea in England?

Do they serve DUCK with High Tea in England?

Well, this Mamma is taking no chances!

Well, this Mamma is taking no chances!

An English Garden Cottage, right in the center of London.

An English Garden Cottage, right in the center of London.

Because..... As the Saying Goes.......

As the Saying Goes…….Where will you spend Eternity? Castle or Cottage? I’ll take the cottage any day!








My Normal Life in London Town These Days

May 29, 2016 by · 2 Comments 


This is my neighborhood in Earl’s Court, London.


The Royal Garden Hotel near Kensington Gardens and William and Kate’s Palace, just a mile or two from my hostel. That doorman really has a top hat and top coat.


Not Hyde Park but just as green.

DSCN4166 DSCN4164 DSCN4160

opening my box of proof books.

In the hostel living room/TV room, opening my box of proof books. Next I must read and approve the final copy.

My fourth published book, "Hearing Inner Voices - The Dead Pet Whisperer." I had ordered five sample copies.

My fourth published book, “Hearing Inner Voices – The Dead Pet Whisperer.” I had ordered five sample copies.

So, now all I need is readers and Amin is my first.

So, now all I need is readers and Amin is my first.

Here's what happens to good authors in London!

Here’s what happens to good authors in London!

And Gregory is my second! Move over Hitchcock!

And Gregory is my second! Move over Hitchcock!

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