November 29, 2015 by admin · Leave a Comment
My apologies, friends, if you’ve found the same post on both of my websites and Facebook, as well. Hey, it is what it is! I promise to try to divide my Traveling Self and my Spiritual Self sometime in the future again. But the good news is, that they are beginning to discover each other. Can you imagine that? Actually, the following directly relates to my Travels, but I have posted it on my woo-woo website: http://www.insecretdiffusion.com, too; as it mentions spirituality too. Neato!
I’m certainly not answering these Bootsn’all Around-the-world, Challenge Questions promptly, but I am paying attention to them as they hit my inbox daily. So, here is a collection of a week’s worth of wonderful and thoughtful questions posed to those of us out on the world trail and those who are planning to go pretty soon.
#23 How is Slowing Down The Best Way to Travel? – During each new Around-The-World (RTW) trip…. this is my third…. I have slowed down more and more. The last two amounted to a year apiece, with less and less advance planning. For my first, I bought six-month’s worth of one-way tickets at a time. For the second, and this one, I snag last minute, bargain, one-way, airfare; letting availability determine my departure time and direction. Plus, I forget about all such details until my visa limitation forces me to move across a border.
Within a country, I may stay in one town the whole time, not feeling any inclination to swan about, touristing. That has happened here in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, where I’ve hunkered down for a stretchy-sided, duration, morphing into some sort of permanence, like all my fellow expat Gringos. Leaving doesn’t have to appear on my agenda for another five months.
#24 Do You do Creative Cooking On The Road? – I don’t indulge in the cooking side of things; only the consumption, and that is most extremely delightful. Sassha, my apartment roommate, is a genuine creative artist of a cook and it’s fun to see how the other half lives. It’s also comforting to know that the causes are genetic. There’s a balance between humans and we each need each other to create and consume. Travel provides our ever-changing landscape, full of raw materials for eager cooks and hungry feasters.
#25 Do You Work While Traveling? Do You Make Money On The Road?
No, I don’t. Because I have a dependable Social Security deposit regularly refilling my bank account and because life outside of the U.S. isn’t as expensive, I can manage without finding supplemental income. I’m attracted to the idea of photoshopping and posting my travel photos on the istock sites and selling them in a passive income stream, but I haven’t taken the steps yet to set that up.
#26 What Are Your Tricks For Staying Healthy? Have You Ever Gotten Sick On The Road?
I follow the same routine of eating fresh, organic food whenever possible. I don’t overeat, and certainly, have never smoked. Exercise comes naturally, by walking miles on cobblestones. Plus, I’m a sleeper and napper of the Early-To-Bed variety. Other than a few colds, I’ve escaped any real problems.
#27 – How Does Exploring A New Place Affect You? Physically, Mentally, Spiritually?
You may as well be asking: “How Does Life Feel?” Being in new places comes so naturally to me that this is when I feel in balance. Whenever I become rooted to one place, that’s when things feel “off” to me. Something begins to stir and a restlessness forms within me until I finally take notice of the need to get moving again. My ancestors, on both sides, were sea captains; so this makes perfect sense to me.
I have now worked things out to be in permanent transit, as I own nothing in any particular country. The planet is my home and I feel perfectly natural everywhere. That said, I’m acutely aware of the atmosphere of certain places over others and I stay as long as I can in each one of those good-feeling spots. Then, I move on in search of others like that.
#28 – What Have You Discovered About Yourself In Your Travels? Did You Start For Discovery Or Escape? Have Your Reasons Changed Over Time?
I’ve learned that I must stay on the road in some way or another. Slow travel suits me well and I delight in staying longer in places that grab me. I love the people I meet and I love to find my Gringo Expat counterparts. They are not found at home! They are Out Here! I’m a very social person but I can also take my leave and travel alone, knowing that I’ll bond with others like myself, again, soon enough. We, Road Warriors, are sociable loners and we like each other well.
But, I also carry on a rich, Inner spiritual life, so I never feel lonely, even in the most isolated of circumstances.
Discovery and Escape are twin sisters! Maybe, you can’t have one without the other? They are the two wheels on our bicycles and are all we need to move ourselves about. My reasons feel consistent over time.
Consciously, I’m not looking for a man to share my adventures with. But, subconsciously, I probably am! Perhaps, I can sum this subject up by quoting a conversation at our women-only, Thanksgiving table yesterday. “The men our age are, either already married; or are simply looking for a Nurse With A Purse, while waiting for the Hearse!” That never was my style and surely isn’t now, even more than ever!
I want to travel, even at my very-advanced age of 78, because there is no reason not to! I’m healthy; I can afford it; and I’m adventurous and eager to satisfy my curiosity! So far, I have no alternatives and can’t imagine ever wanting one.
But, I will adjust if one ever discovers me. I view death as merely a passport to enter a country I can’t access otherwise; so I’m always eager to finally access that Far Shore. In the meantime, this planet is plenty for me!
November 21, 2015 by admin · Leave a Comment
Ever since my own Inner Voices began to speak to me in 1980, I have wanted to have a group of like-minded individuals to discuss this phenomenon with. But, I never found one! Only last year, while I was writing my tell-all book on the subject: “Hearing Inner Voices: The Dead Pet Whisperer,” did I learn of the Hearing Voices Network in the United Kingdom. Still, these grassroots groups were few and far between and impossible for me to access.
Why not start one? Well, I move about…..but am planning to stay here in my first stop along the way around the world, for at least three months. Possibly six! That’s time enough to organize a group in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico and to work for its continuation long after I leave town. Maybe, I could do this in many countries? Why not? Here’s my first press release for the meeting to be held here in two weeks:
EXTRA-SENSORY PERCEPTION ROUNDTABLE
A new, weekly discussion group about Extra-Sensory Perception will be initiated next Monday, December 7, at 5 p.m. in the Sala Quetzal Auditorium in the Biblioteca. Topics, such as Inner Hearing or Vision: Clairaudience or Clairvoyance, Sudden Knowings, Prophetic Dreams, Healing Powers, Heightened Senses of Smell or Touch and more, will all be on the table for discussion by those attending.
Open commentary by Experiencers of such metaphysical communication is sought and encouraged for the purpose of greater understanding, sharing and appreciation. Family and friends of people with these talents; as well as professionals, psychiatrists and counselors, who have observed that such phenomenon cannot be dismissed as mental illness, are urged to attend, as well.
This weekly roundtable will become the first chapter of the International Hearing Voices Network, (HVN), in Mexico. Over the past few decades, two-hundred chapters have formed in Europe, as well as seventy chapters in the United States. For more information on the subject, Googling will yield a great many aspects, for which the term, Hearing Voices, is simply a basket description.
San Miquel de Allende will lead the way for Mexico, beginning with this initial gathering. Care will be taken to make this a bi-lingual group through the use of simultaneous translation. Volunteers for group leadership and services are welcomed.
Founder of the local group is Linda J. Brown, author, blogger, and solo around-the-world traveler, who has written extensively about her own history of Inner Voice Hearing in books listed on Amazon.com and her websites. In San Miguel, she appears regularly on Open Mike Night at the Shelter Theater as “The Cosmic Psychic.”
Tickets may be purchased at the Biblioteca for 100 pesos per person.
November 17, 2015 by admin · Leave a Comment
First, a brief explanation about those uncaptioned India and Egypt photographs on the previous blog post. I needed a place to deposit the shots I was fishing around in my photo files for, as I was describing my solo travels through India. Also, Egypt was the only country in which I joined a tour group and that was because one cannot explore the Sacred Valley of the Nile alone.
At least, I did know how to plant pictures here to add them to my blogs……but, obviously, I didn’t know how to add descriptive words to those pages AFTER I had inserted the pictures. So, I created a blog without words! That’s a first! So, these are shots of friends in Udiapur, India, and of my three days on the open deck of a Nile Falluca ( a flat-bottomed river boat) with members of my Intrepid Tour Group, exploring ancient Egypt.
We are halfway through the daily questions of The Indie Challenge, during the month of November sent to me by www.bootsnall.com, interviewing present, or wanna be, around-the-world travelers about our many habits and characteristics. Almost without fail, when I first read every question, I wonder what in the world I might answer to that one?
Today’s question is:
“What small things do you enjoy while traveling? Simple moments and details? What would make me happy today? Prioritize and make it happen.”
Hmmmmm???? Everything is small and understated in my travels. I don’t go to the huge tourist attractions. I just go live in a country and a town and fit right in, getting the feel of a place through my skin, gradually. But, then I figured it out!
Naps! I do love my mid-afternoon lie-downs, even if I’ve slept a full ten hours the night before….which is usually the case. It’s not that hard to arrange…. even in the hostels, as those are often really quiet, day or night. But, especially when I rent an apartment for awhile. I get up early and by 3 p.m., I’m ready for a good old rest, just like I would do at home.
Age is as good an excuse as any, but I think it’s simply a sane way to take care of your body when you’re asking so much of it in the way of adaptation to new locations and new foods.
Yep! I love to take naps! A small thing, but so pleasant!
And also, having the time to read paperback novels. I’ve just finished Wilbur Smith’s “Elephant Song” (519 pages) in just a few days and my eyes needed their rest. This voracious digesting of a good story reminds me why I don’t often pick up those hefty time-taker-upers. Then, I swear not to get involved with another long book and sign away another week to digest it thoroughly. At home, I can stick to my resolve…. but not so easily while on the road, where many hostels and restaurant hangouts have a book exchange rack, so temptingly at hand.
But, indeed, reading good books, also constitutes a Small Pleasure to enjoy while traveling.
November 16, 2015 by admin · Leave a Comment
November 14, 2015 by admin · Leave a Comment
#DoYouIndie Our Indie Challenge #12 is to post favorite photos taken of me in foreign countries. Well, let’s see what I have saved up from previous trips:
On top of the World in Cappadocia, Turkey
Feeling like a Heiroglyphical Queen in the Nile Valley
Just in case it rains….
My Transport To The Valley of The Kings, along the Nile, in Egypt.
I am now an Indian!
Arriving at my hotel in India
I often take taxis instead of camels.
In a Camel Race in Nubia?
In front of the Green Hotel in Mysore, India
In Mysore, India, with my 86-litre backpack
Dancing the Jig with Anna and Sonia in Montevideo, Uruguay
Me in Cusco, Peru, in May, 2014
Joe Khoury and Me at Paz y Luz Yoga Resort in Pisac, Peru, The Sacred Valley
The pig was delicious!
November 13, 2015 by admin · Leave a Comment
#DoYouIndie Days 11 & 12 of Bootsnall’s Indepenent Traveler Challenge actually asks the same question twice:
WHAT’S YOUR NUMBER ONE THING YOU CANNOT TRAVEL WITHOUT? BESIDES YOUR PASSPORT AND MONEY?
My Answer: Besides the legal and financial means, I suppose clothing becomes the next logical answer – simply for comfort and modesty. But, emotionally…..some way to record or share my adventures would be the answer. Sure, paper notebooks can be bought anywhere and computers can be rented by the hour. But, we’ve outgrown those temporary conveniences and need our own internet connections always on our person.
Probably, a camera is the answer! Even better, if it is a combination of phone, computer and camera in one compact unit. These are so personalized, that public rentals don’t suffice and we’re all now addicted to reading our email before breakfast. I remember the old days, but am thoroughly digital by now.
WHAT IS IN YOUR PACK NOW FOR A LONG-TERM TRIP? PACK A PRETEND BAG FOR SIX MONTHS.
This would be a boring exercise, not worth hauling my new, 65-litre backpack out of my Mexican closet for. Less than a month ago, it transported all of the clothes, socks and underwear that had survived my severe, moving-day culling. “Mexico is warm! I won’t ever need winter clothes again! Oh, maybe a sweater and a light jacket…..” I’m in the mountains. I’ve worn both frequently.
The truth is, that if you make a packing mistake, you can rectify it fairly easily. You can buy anything in your new location, so why travel heavy? Strangers can’t tell if you wear the same thing frequently, especially if you hand wash it in the evening. Picking up new tee shirts bearing local place names is half the fun. My “I Love Uruguay” shirt gets comments in Mexico. Conversations follow. So, recycle your old clothes and leave most of them at home.
November 11, 2015 by admin · Leave a Comment
November 10, Bootsnall Indie Travel Challenge Question:
Managing Traveling Money & Tips on RTW Money Matters
Money management is really easy when one has a very fine Social Security income, few personal expenses and simple tastes. That formula works for everyone, everywhere. But, I make things even easier on myself by also carrying a credit card with a high credit limit. My largest expenses are the occasional air flights between countries and that doesn’t happen very often because I’m sometimes traveling overland, going slowly and savoring each country. Besides, life is much cheaper on the road!
Around the world trips would include not locking yourself into flights before leaving home. In other words, book travel as you go. Purchasing a long-term ticket requires thousands of dollars, up front, and freezes your options as to time and place of departure. There are always flights, anywhere. Design as you go! Pay as you go! That’s your very best money plan.
The not-so-surprising truth is that other countries offer so much more for your money than the U.S. does. Plus, for the moment, the dollar is strong against other currencies, so you get more of their pesos, meals and souvenirs now, than usual. It’s a good time to get out there and try this sort of life.
The next responsibility lies squarely upon your shoulders: Don’t act like a tourist! Sure, avail yourselves of everything, right alongside the short-term visitors, but stay out of their hotels, or even the airbnbs. Homestays, maybe, and couchsurfing, for sure, as temporary places to land. I’m hooked on hostels and I often stay for the full two-week limit. Then, I find an apartment in the Old Town, the historic portion, which puts me near restaurants, parks and plenty of sightseeing. Usually, the cost of a lovely, furnished apartment is below $500 per month, which only amounts to the same cost as a hostel dorm bed for the same period of time, though they can’t be had for long-term.
Food is the next item in your budget and the same low cost for high quality ratio will simply shock you…again and again! That’s the real reason that travelers tend to discuss costs on the road. They are either pinching themselves, or bragging!
I no longer have one foot in a house – “at home.” Why should I? I’ll only return to The States to visit family every now and then. When I left the last time, I told them it was their turn to come and visit me, wherever I might be in this beautiful world.
It’s not necessary to force myself to travel around the world just to live this lifestyle. I could settle down as a permanent expat any time I want. I can afford myself while leading a very luxurious life. For instance, I’m currently ensconced within a gated community for my $500 a month, no less. I lead such a rich life on my Social Security, alone and life overseas is broadening and, obviously, very affordable.
November 11, 2015 by admin · Leave a Comment
#DoYouIndie November 8 – Bootsnall’s Indie Question:
WHERE DO YOU WANT TO GO ON YOUR RTW TRIP? CREATE A DREAM JOURNEY, NOT WORRYING ABOUT BUDGET.
On this already-initiated, 3rd RTW trip of mine, I want to go Everywhere! I’m in Mexico now for an unknown number of months. Will I get out of darling San Miguel de Allende long enough to explore the rest of this country? Sure, because all of Mexico is truly beautiful.
Then, I’m heading south, so Guatemala, Belize and all of Central America come next. No need to fly with good buses running. I have already explored most of South America but might return to some of the upper countries, like Colombia and Venezuela. By Summer, 2016, I might fly to Eastern Canada, another U.S. neighbor I haven’t dipped into, and explore Montreal and the Maritimes before flying to London for a long look at Western Europe. Possibly, I’ll even catch a few of my favorite countries of Eastern Europe, too. Letting temperature and visa requirements be my only guide, I’ll eventually drop into Africa…. probably, Morocco, and then wander south from there.
I’ll plan to be in Kampala, Uganda, on the shore of Lake Victoria (Victory) on my 80th birthday in September, 2017. The only significance to being there is to highlight the fact that, at such an advanced age, I’m still capable of such. The next two years will have defined themselves by that time. About the only rule of thumb is to follow the sun and not stray into cold countries out of season.
So, that’s my dream journey and it’s already in progress and I’m loving it. Nothing can go wrong concerning this trip; as nothing that happens is bad. It just becomes absorbed as a part of the embroidery. I was hospitalized for a fall in Sweden once, but it was a pleasant stay. I may wind up in an unpleasant location someday, but my exit plans can always be accelerated. My physical journey symbolizes the one I’m taking though Life. It will amount to many subtle or tremendous discoveries about people and places; and then, will conclude whenever it will. That conclusion, itself, will surely amount to the best adventure of all!
November 9th’s Indie Question:
HOW CAN YOU PRACTICE TRAVEL CAUTION WITHOUT BECOMING PARANOID?
When one sets out upon a long, solo trip, caution should already be a built-in piece of equipment. So, it’s basically the same instinct that any responsible adult should have about their person or their possessions every single day. Statistically, we are in a greater danger of falling into a yawning sidewalk hole, of which there are plenty in this charming little town; than we ever will be of having a bag snatched, a wallet picked or a gun pointed.
Get real with yourself, first and foremost, and take on your own security responsibility so that you don’t panic needlessly, or wind up in a pothole or a stickup.
My simple example is to train my mind by following a habit – at home and abroad: my “purse” is the very same black daypack that I use every day; plus, an ever-present, bellybag around my waist. Money is distributed between the two, with bank cards and some spending cash around my middle. The big pack is either beside me or in transit upon my back. Thus, my mind is always aware of the whereabouts and contents, and it monitors this for me. It’s the same way that I track the flow of my money supply, in and out of my bank. Subliminally!
Anything else concerning safety falls into the realm of avoiding stupidity. I don’t have a nightlife, generally, but taxis cover me if I do. I’m a good judge of people and everybody is my friend or I don’t stick around. Every single human being is equipped with a safety system called The Mind, but it must be activated in order to serve them. Those who substitute their native intelligence with a blanket of paranoia, are “out to lunch!” Meaning, that they will soon serve as somebody else’s lunch! There is still such a thing as Survival of The Fittest!
November 11, 2015 by admin · Leave a Comment
This Indie Challenge posed by bootsnall.com, the website for rough, around-the-world travelers like myself, is keeping me busy thinking and writing during the month of November. It is good to press us to share our philosophy about life in general and how it influences our life on the world travel trail.
WRITE YOUR TOP TEN VALUES FOR LIFE, AND/OR TRAVEL, AND CREATE YOUR OWN MANIFESTO!
So, here’s the second half of that assignment to distill my Life Themes:
6. Have Nothing To Do With Fear! An Earth Life is a curriculum with some very crucial lessons to deliver. We are all, inescapably, students; but we do get a choice of subjects. Perhaps even, our subjects choose us according to how we score on our constant tests. Fear corrodes! It acts as an acid within our system and can weaken and destroy our positive nature. So, its elimination is the prime objective of all education. Face your fears realistically and never give your imagination free range to feed upon them. Instead, use that power to figure things out creatively. Voila! No more ice water in the veins! It’s that simple!
7. Freedom! Even an infant will struggle against restraints. So will the smallest bug. The need to be free is universal. But dangerous! Absolute freedom isn’t possible since all life is only a small part of a whole; but the power to develop and to try out one’s ideas, to contribute to that whole, is very empowering and essential to life. Freedom to take voluntary part in the welfare of the whole makes each small individual identify with its totality. Thus, we have the run of the family mansion, instead of protecting ourselves by cowering in a basement closet.
8. Enough Possessions, But Not Too Much! One needs possessions but to be a serious traveler, don’t take on more than you can manage to bring along with you. I know that’s hardcore and truly, won’t ever become the norm. Nor, should it, as most people’s traveling life is not intended to be as long-term as mine. Homes, pets and valuables have their tyrannies. I happily capitalize on that by house and pet-sitting all over the world; so I have found a way to have the best of all situations and still not feel saddled by STUFF.
9. Don’t Worry! Wait And See! Aside from leaving Final Instructions with your next of kin, it is often much more fun not to dot every i and cross every t. Be in charge of yourself and have a satisfying, general idea of what you are about; but learn how to work creatively with the beautiful dynamics of life, itself. Ask regularly for surprises! You won’t be disappointed.
10. Cultivate Those Smile Lines! You have a space on your face reserved, exclusively, for those. They take years and years to form at the outer edges of eyes and mouth, so start early. Beware of their opposite, which love the forehead and between the brows. Attraction? Repulsion? Which message will your facial muscles broadcast, no matter what your mouth might say?
MY MANIFESTO TO THE WORLD!
Get to Work and get to Play everyone! This is the most-important life you will ever have, so live it to your own artistic and creative design! You are the raw material! You are your own Creator!
As for me? I’m already launched on my longest, (4 years minimum); most-ambitious (between ages 78 – 82), solo, around-the-world journey yet! I’m surrounded by new friends, new wonders, and new applications of old habits …such as writing, interviewing and sharing my conclusions with as many hearts as I can reach. I offer myself as proof of the exception to the rule: Old Age is nothing to fear or to use as an excuse to hold you back! Solo travel is not dangerous or expensive! People are not “out to get you!” You can handle the pace – when you’re the one setting it!
November 8, 2015 by admin · Leave a Comment
I met this man last night! Here’s an article from his hometown newspaper before his epic, fund-raising ride for a San Miguel de Allende children’s society:
When most people envision how they’ll mark their 70th birthday, it usually doesn’t involve biking from Toronto to Mexico on a strenuous journey stretching for weeks.
But most people aren’t John Murtaugh, 69, whose September jaunt is inspired by Ciclo — the story of two brothers who cycled from Mexico City to Toronto in 1956.
Murtagh is following a rush of Canadians who have hit the lake or pavement to attempt cross-country marathons, strenuous bike tours and record-breaking swims.
For many, the finish lines and records go unmet. They’re forced to give up their goals amid dangerous weather, unexpected injuries and the sheer exhaustion that comes with a trek filled with blood, sweat and tears.
So what pushes others to still attempt these journeys?
“The thrill,” said Murtaugh, who compared a cross-continental feat like his to other extreme achievements such as climbing Mount Kilimanjaro.
“I think people like to challenge themselves every once in a while. They dream of doing an adventurous thing, and having accomplished something like that gives you a good feeling.” he said. “In some cases, that good feeling can be tied to conquering the supposed limitations of age.”
I met with John Murtaugh, who was wearing a Biking Through Africa tee shirt, last night in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, on the final night of his triumphant return to this favorite city, where he rode valiantly for 2,500 miles to raise $25,000 for a children’s charity started decades ago, by his late mother-in-law and wife, and is still diligently supported by his Canadian family today.
Riding a road bike along highways stretching from Toronto, across the United States and halfway through Mexico, is, in anyone’s estimation, a long, hard, 44-day slog. But, it was blessed by a stretch of serene and lovely weather.
A week later, that same territory is being soaked by torrential rainfall and flooding. And, we won’t even mention the specter of Category 5, Hurricane Patricia, which dematerialized in the face of Murtaugh’s noble approach. It just went away!
When I asked him “What’s next?”
He modestly said, “To go home and rest for a little while!”
I’ll give him that……but there’s still Mt. Kilimanjaro!
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