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live like a gentleman

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The mysterious moon.  The full moon with rays casting shadows as if it were day.  The illuminated rays stretch from the heavens across the lands below.  I close my eyes, and travel.  The nocturnal vibes invade my body, my heart, my soul.  I hear the mystic, yet soft voice of the wind whisper in my ear, “the night is yours”.

The moon guides me, the stars tell me not to worry, guiding me towards a place unknown by the world, yet so familiar.  I sit in silence in awe of the natural glow as if a comforting night light guides me down the hallway.  Melodic sounds of swaying branches, crashing waves, or blowing leaves tell me the night is alive with beauty.  They scream their joy.  They sing life.  Crickets hiccup their nocturnal sounds, bull frogs bellow in deep harmony and critters scatter under the brush here and there.

The moonlight disperses through my skin, through my bones, through my soul.  I become one with the night.  The sounds and stress of the day are a distant memory.  Calmness sinks into me.  Peace surrounds every bit of my being.  I join the symphony of the night.  I once again become human, I become the night; I feel the pains, and I feel the joys.

At last I feel warmth.  I was a prisoner of the present – surviving through days, weeks, months, and years.  Never knowing that what I missed most was inside my soul.  The drums of the night were my heartbeats, the guitars spoke through my voice, the moonlit night shining in my eyes, and my surroundings revived through my skin.

Now I am back again.  Whole.  Centered.  As One.

I have been photographing idyllic landscapes illuminated by the full moon for over ten years.  A new book project
is on the way.

I have been capturing landscapes under a full moon for over a decade.  From Fredericksburg, Texas, to El Paso to Croatia and Venice and London to the Sahara Desert and Bali – I’ve been there.  It’s been me, a tripod, a remote control and my camera all in the silence of the night. 

Photographing scenes that would normally be pitch dark are illuminated in such a way that some viewers think the landscapes were captured during daytime.  The shadows are different and at times have an ominous feel to them instead of the stark contrast during a full sun day.  The colours and perception are richer, and for me, more meaningful.

I tend to like quiet at any given time.  I also feel quite comfortable being alone.  Don’t get me wrong.  I’m a social sort of fellow but I thoroughly enjoy time and place just for me.  Capturing landscapes and city scenes during a full moon are perfect excuses to excuse myself from the crowd.  And in my mind, you’re never really alone being alone.  I never feel isolated.

As I’ve traveled around the world, I’ve learned the full moon can be an auspicious time for both Hindus and Buddhists.  Purnama is the term used in Bali.  The Balinese believe the gods descend amongst Balinese Hindus to answer prayers and honour wishes.  This is a comforting notion.    I’ve begun researching what the full moon means to various cultures around the world because of my experiences with the Balinese and Bhutanese.  If they believe the full moon has special powers, then others must look to the soft glow in the sky as something remarkable as well.

So, I continue capturing night images during the full moon or super moon with the idea that one day I’ll have a large enough body of work to present in an exhibition or book.  This is a special project for me.  I look forward to one day sharing what I’ve seen and captured with the world.

Time has a way of being a flash before your eyes, and catching you unaware of how quickly time can pass in a metropolis.  One minute you wake up and it seems like the next minute it’s time to turn out the light.   Just yesterday I was younger, embarking on my new life into adulthood, unworldly yet eager to discover.  In fact, I remember being extremely nervous with the responsibility.  It seems like eons ago, and I wonder where each year disappeared.   Like a flash, the years flew by.  I know I lived them all.  I was there.  There are glimpses of how my simple life was back then.  Time seemed to move by so slowly.  My idealistic hopes, and dreams, seemed to be the truth ahead.  Everything, and I mean everything, seemed so clear without muddled sight, or any sort of distortion.  I did not think about options because I wasn’t worldly enough to know much beyond the other side of town.

Here it is, years later, and the speed of time catches me by surprise.   Yesterday was Christmas and now here it is again.  How did that happen?  How did I get here so fast?  Where did the years go, and where did my youth go?   I still feel young in my mind and yet my body tells me something entirely different.   I remember seeing older people through the years, and thinking that they were years away from me.  Man, they were old.  Quite honestly, I never gave it a thought that I’d ever be where they are.   Winter was so far off; I could not fathom this, or imagine, fully, how my body would change.   Someone played a trick and flipped a switch.  I know that’s what happened.  One day I had six pack abs and the next thing I knew my trousers didn’t fit.  My mind matured, and now I am not so sure of many things these days.  I used to be sure about everything until other people’s actions slowly changed my view.   I’m getting grey, move a bit slower, and now my view is untidy; the world seems to bend, and buckle.  Did I miss the memo alerting me to the fact that our values and morals changed?  Why didn’t anyone consult me?  And, why did it take being taken advantage of in obscene ways for me to wake up to the changed world?

I wake up, and before I know it, the time has come to turn in for the night.  Everything seems to move far more quickly than I am able, and time is rarely my good friend like it once was.  Is there a rush for me to keep up, or is time moving so quickly I can’t possibly keep up?

To explain my life and the way I live it would be fruitless quite honestly.  Not many people would understand how I make everything work.  It’s safe to say I live under a proverbial rock.  I’m social and I get out and I travel the world.  So much is foreign to me to say the least.  Have I slowed the cycle of life by living the way I do?  No, life rushes by no matter what.  

Travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.                                                                                                                            

                                                                                                                                                         – Miriam Beard

We never want to believe that there is a magical reality, though there are a myriad of magical places in this world. We all too often choose to ignore the wide-open door leading elsewhere, and instead live vicariously through fictional characters beamed onto our televisions. Perhaps the outskirts of town is a foreign land as one gets tangled up in every day life, or maybe even the thought of hopping on a plane today seems like more hassle that it is worth.

Instead, we want to live uncomplicated, and simple, lives, staying put. We want to swim in reality, and remain in our “safety zones,” but while swimming through it, we can miss out on so many idyllic landscapes, vibrant cultures, and amazingly beautiful architecure waiting for us to discover. Yes, we do get a glimpse of another world without realizing at times, though there is no real substitute for travel. In fact, no matter how much you have learned in a classroom, there is no better education than experiencing a land beyond our borders first-hand.

During my adult life, I have grown tremendously, and have learned to “think internationally” simply by opening my mind while visiting countries foreign to my own. As a travel photographer, I have flown a million miles, trundled step after step, and have clicked the shutter on my camera more times than can be counted.

Throughout this article you will view some rather magical places, and this is my reality. One could say — everything I’ve learned, I’ve learned from traveling around this world, and yet, there are still so many lessons to be learned, and so many more corners of this world to discover. . . .

1. The world is huge. I mean, really, really huge.
It is larger than our minds can ever imagine.

2. The more we see, the more we want to see.
Yes, the list can be never-ending.

3. We are braver, and stronger, than we know.
Stepping out of comfort zone really
is not that scary.

4. Nothing stops traffic quite like a herd of cows
in the middle of a West Ireland road.

5. The cruelty of a few can ruin the lives of many.
But, the vast majority of people are good.

6. Happiness really is a way of travel,
and not a destination.

7. Just around the corner in West Texas could mean
at least a hundred miles.

8. Certain sights may disappear from the mind,
but experiences will stay with
you.

9. You can travel just fine without
a guidebook.

10. Wearing the same clothing week after week
is not so bad unless you don’t wash them.

11. It is entirely possible to take too many
photographs.

12. Even if you aren’t the traveler, or person,
you want to be in your head,
it’s never too late to change.

13. The more you say “tomorrow,”
the less likely tomorrow will arrive.

14. Life is amazing. There’s no reason to worry.
Everything really does work itself out.
Relax and just go with the flow.

15. You can’t change the future – it hasn’t happened yet.
Make the best decisions you can today,
and enjoy the moment.

16. Life is a curious thing. Curiosity never killed
anything except maybe a few hours.

17. If you are determined enough, there are ample
opportunities in life that are totally achievable,
regardless of who you are.

18. The world is much more fun with people
of varying interests and beliefs.

19. Wear sunscreen, even if there is cloud-
cover, when near the equator.

20. Our parents are more awesome, encouraging,
and open-minded than we have ever given
them credit for.

21. Sleep and a good meal can cure an otherwise
horrible day.

22. Our homeland is as unique as those places we
fawn over in travel magazines,
and television.

23. Almost everyone has problems and puts on a
brave face – don’t presume they
have it easy.

24. The fastest way to get from Point A to Point B
is not always as obvious as it seems, and not always the
most interesting.

25. There’s no shame in saying “I don’t know.”
It’s much smarter to be honest.

26. When you spend enough time with people who are
actually living on next to nothing, but having a full life,
then you will truly understand money is not always
the answer.

27. Television is the greatest black hole of time
available to mankind.

28. You really can depend on the kindness of strangers.

29. Gazing at the Milky Way can make you feel both small,
and insignificant.

30. Every person’s lifestyle is equally valid as
long as that person is happy.

31. No matter how geeky we think we are,
there are people so much
geekier than us.

32. There are some great benefits to not knowing
the local language – like miming out
“chicken” to let the waitress know you
want eggs for breakfast.

33. The world that is worth experiencing is not
in books, or on TV, or computer screens.
It’s with other human beings.

34. While doing as the locals do will help
enrich your travels, urinating on the side
of the street is not a necessary
requirement.

35. There is a song for everything.

36. Never ever leave your bag unattended.

37. One word may have three different meanings
in three different countries.

38. Never regret the things you’ve done, only
the things you haven’t.

39. If you want soft toilet paper, it’s best to pack it.

40. The Aurora Borealis is the most amazing light show
anywhere, and might make you believe in
aliens.

41. Journey is an adventure. No matter what happens
on the road, it’s never a mistake. As was once said,
“your choices are half chance, and so are
everybody else’s.”

42. Scare yourself once in a while. It makes life less dull.

43. You are never really alone being alone.

44. Don’t force yourself to say another good-bye
if you don’t have to.

45. Every country in the world is modernizing, but this
does not mean that they are westernizing,
or Americanizing.

46. You might appear “backwards” in a culture you view
as backwards.

60. You can’t please everyone.

47. Thinking too much can stop you from experiencing
an adventure of a lifetime.

48. Comfortable shoes can be a blessing.

49. Wash Your Hands.

50. Living vicariously through someone
else is not the way to live.

51. Deferring your happiness to the
future is a terrible idea.

52. You can relate to everyone in the
world if you look past the
superficial things that
separate you.

53. The world owes you nothing.

54. You owe it to yourself to be the master of
where your life ends up.

55. People are impressed by those who are not trying
to impress them.

56. Spending time exclusively with people who agree
with you about almost everything is not
a challenge, and you learn so much
less.

57. Embrace your individuality. What is “cool” now
will be out of style in a few years.

58. You can be “interesting” by being a good listener.

59. The most important lessons in life
can never be expressed in black and white,
but must be experienced.

60. International calling with mobile phones is great,
until the bill arrives.

El Paso artists paint the town red – and just about every color.  More than a hundred murals dot the city, capturing the region’s cultural pride with depictions of community leaders, religious figures and other symbols.  Segundo Barrio (a neighbourhood along the USA – Mexico border) and downtown bear the lion’s share of these public art pieces; the neighborhoods themselves have become fitting places for art walks.

A 1975 mural in Segundo Barrio, at 513 Father Rahm Ave., is one of the oldest outdoor art pieces in the city.  Artists Arturo Avalos, Gabriel Ortega, Pablo Schaffino and Pascual Ramirez painted the Aztec geometric patterns that adorn the wall.  It’s become a symbol of pride for the area, nodding to El Paso’s close ties to Mexico and indigenous peoples.

Many other murals reflect the city’s cross-border cultural connections, like Animo Sin Fronteras (Spirit Without Borders), which features Melchor Flores flexing his muscles in the hear of downtown at Mills Avenue and Stanton Street.  The mural, by artists David Herrera and El Mac, captures the universal struggle for justice.

Also downtown, Reflection of the Desert, painted by Creative Kids, a nonprofit educational community-based art agency, showcases the desert landscape and the local ethos – a woman gazes across the horizon with determination El Pasoans are known for.  You’ll find this mural along the pedestrian walkway to the El Paso Convention and Performing Arts Centre.

Murals in Union Plaza, a restaurant and nightlife hub next to Southwest University Park, present El Paso iconography, from the Star on the Mountain to “La Equis” in Ciudad Juárez. El Paso Wings, for instance, is a hidden picture hunt.  As you gaze at the work, Mount Cristo Rey, Aztec figures, the UTEP Miners’ pick, and other images reveal themselves – all reflections of the city’s vibrant culture and pride.

 

Being a gentleman in our modern world is more than being polite; more than holding a door; and more than knowing which fork to use.   A gentleman also means more than a dashing wardrobe.  The character of a man and his actions every day, all day throughout the year.  

What’s true is the traits are common sense, though I’ve been fortunate to have wise men in my life.  Some of the men were fathers, teachers, random people I’ve met while travelling and one man in particular.  Mostly, this one man  influenced me in so many ways, and during particular situations I find myself asking “what would Bert do?”  Then, I act accordingly.

Please have a look at my Ultimate List of A Gentleman’s Rules To Live By – a Guide To Being a Modern Gentleman, if you will.  As you read through, keep in mind each of our lives and life experiences is different.  What works for me, and what I think a gentleman may be, could very well be different to you.  Feel free to add to the list or even create your own list that suits your life.  The following 50 Rules for Being a Modern Gentleman are what works for me.

  
1.    Be yourself and yourself only.  Don’t try to be something you think someone else wants you to be.

2.    Don’t do or say anything that makes others feel uncomfortable.   

3.    When someone tells you something in confidence, let that secret stop with you.  Never share anything someone tells you.

4.    Learn the art of conversation.  Be able to talk about almost everything.  If you’re unsure, “I don’t know” is a respectable answer.

5.    I might not like what the truth is, but it is the truth I want to hear.  Truth can be understood and dealt with in a civil manner.

6.    If you are going to impress, be sure to impress in the way you intend.  In other words, be natural and you’re sure to impress.

7.    Never cancel at the last minute unless something drastic happens and you genuinely are unable.  And very importantly, don’t accept an invite then say no with a lame excuse at the last minute.  

8.    Don’t be late unless your tardiness comes with an honest and genuine excuse.

9.    Not every moment is golden (and successful).  Try to get ‘it’ right the first time, and if you don’t, make the second time count.

10.  Remember your good manners at all times even at the most inopportune times.

11.  Be interested and interesting – be the man people want to associate with.

12.  Be a genuinely good listener.

13.  Know your alcohol limits, and respect them.  And sometimes, know when not to drink alcohol at all.

14.  Avoid anger without reason.  Don’t ever ‘fly off’ the proverbial handle in public.  Just don’t do it.

15.  Know when and how much to tip.  A dollar isn’t enough.

16.  There will be times you’re wrong.  Don’t be afraid to admit it.

17.  Don’t give advice unless you’re asked for it.  You’re not an expert in someone else’s life.

18.  Never turn up to a party, friend’s house, or dinner empty-handed.  Always have a host/hostess gift even if it’s simple.

19.  Be loved and liked by those who know you.  It’s ok if everyone doesn’t like you.  Not everyone will.

20.  Practice chivalry and understand that courteous behaviour is not at all dead.  It IS ok to open the door for someone.

21.  No one likes arrogance especially when it is not warranted.  It’s not at all attractive.

22.  Don’t ever be too proud to apologize.

23.  Saying thank you goes a long way.  Say it.  And always send a written thank you note.

24.  Don’t judge based on other people’s judgments.  Give everyone a chance – your chance.

25.  Don’t strive to be the centre of attention.  If it happens, let it be.

26.  Don’t regret the things you’ve done, only the things you haven’t.

27.  Television and the internet are the biggest black holes of our time.  Live and experience life firsthand in real time.

28.  Take risks.   Break out of your comfort zone. 

29.  Learn to go with the flow.  Let ‘it’ be.

30.  Be confident and realistically believe in yourself.

31.  Watch what you eat, take care of what you wear and have pride in how you conduct yourself.

32.  Confront boredom by making a change.

33.  Travel whenever possible.  Follow passions and indulge in guilty pleasures even if you want to run naked on a beach.

34.  Be spontaneous.

35.  Take a compliment as well as you can give one.  

36.  If you invite someone  for dinner or drinks, do not ask, suggest or expect to split the bill.

37.  Allow yourself to be challenged.

38.  Life’s too short to only work, eat and sleep.

39.  Don’t be afraid to ask for help or ask for directions.

40.  Remember that most people do what is inspected and not what is expected.  So true.

41.  Say what you mean and mean what you say.

42.  There are a time and a place to use English slang; otherwise, use the English language properly.
S’up is not acceptable.

43.  Have your own thoughts and beliefs based on your own personal experiences.  There are too many sheep in the world.  Don’t be one.

44.  Be original even if you’re quirky.  And if you are quirky, embrace it.

45.  Wherever you are in the world, be inclusive.  Division by any means gets us nowhere good.

46.  If you think you have the skills, creativity or means to help someone, do it without wanting anything back.

47.  Learn when and how to say no.

48.  Know when to keep your mouth closed and when to be quiet.

49.  When you first meet someone, look them in the eye when you shake their hand.

50.  If you say you’re going to do something, be sure to do it.  Don’t let your words be hollow.

World Book Day is tomorrow as it is every 23 April.  Commit yourself to reach back to the classics, then begin reading.  Some book titles included in this list are expected, though there are a handful of surprises.  And, if you’re thinking what to read during a general free time on the sofa, or by a pool or an ocean, I’ve got you covered.  

A well-read gentleman is also a good conversationalist.  It’s the perfect excuse to get lost in a good book.  

Self-Control: Its Kingship and Majesty by William George Jordan

The turn of the 20th century was the golden age of personal development books. In contrast to the self-help books of today, which are filled with flattering, empty, cliche platitudes, they’re direct, masterfully written, and full of profound and challenging insights that centre on the development of good character. Even in this golden age, one author stands supreme: William George Jordan. His Self-Control is full of beautifully written wisdom on self-reliance, calmness, gratitude, and more.

Self Control It's Kinship and Majesty William Gordge Jordan

 
How to Be A Gentleman: A Timely Guide to Timeless Manners by John Bridges

Being a gentleman isn’t just being a nice guy, or a considerate guy or the type of guy someone might take home to meet their mother.  A gentleman realizes that he has the unique opportunity to distinguish himself from the rest of the crowd. He knows when an email is appropriate, and when nothing less than a handwritten note will do. He knows how to dress on the golf course, in church, and at a party. He knows how to breeze through an airport without the slightest fumble of his carry-on or boarding pass.  And those conversational icebreakers―“Where do I know you from?” A gentleman knows better.  Gentlemanliness is all in the details, and John Bridges is reclaiming the idea that men―gentlemen―can be extraordinary in every facet of their lives.

How To Be A Gentleman A Timely Guide to Timeless Manners John Bridges

 

A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole

A Confederacy of Dunces is one of my favourite books of all time.  This New Orleans-based novel won author John Kennedy Toole the Pulitzer Prize. Its perfect comedy of errors is centred around the character of Ignatius J. Reilly, a lazy and socially ignorant, but very intelligent man, who still lives with his mother at the age of 30. A Confederacy of Dunces serves as a guide for what a man ought not to be while providing sound entertainment all the while.

A Confederacy of Dunces John Kennedy Toole

 

Lord of the Barnyard: Killing the Fatted Calf and Arming the Aware in the Cornbelt by Tristan Egolf

A literary sensation published to outstanding accolades in America and around the world, Lord of the Barnyard was one of the most auspicious fiction debuts of recent years. Now available in paperback, Tristan Egolf’s manic, inventive, and painfully funny debut novel is the story of a town’s dirty laundry — and a garbagemen’s strike that lets it all hang out. Lord of the Barnyard begins with the death of a woolly mammoth in the last Ice Age and concludes with a greased-pig chase at a funeral in the modern-day Midwest. In the interim there are two hydroelectric dam disasters, fourteen tavern brawls, one shoot-out in the hills, three cases of probable arson, a riot in the town hall, and a lone tornado, as well as appearances by a coven of Methodist crones, an encampment of Appalachian crop thieves, six renegade coal-truck operators, an outraged mob of factory rats, a dysfunctional poultry plant, and one autodidact goat-roping farm boy by the name of John Kaltenbrunner. Lord of the Barnyard is a brilliantly comic tapestry of a Middle America still populated by river rats and assembly-line poultry killers, measuring into shot glasses the fruits of years of quiet desperation on the factory floor. Unforgettable and linguistically dizzying, it goes much farther than postal.

Lord of the Barnyard Tristan Egolf

 
Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

I saw the theatre production of Treasure Island at the National Theatre not once, not twice, but three times.  Then, I read the book again with much delight.  Pretty much everything we think of when we think of pirates comes not from the pages of history but from this book: treasure maps with “X” marking the spot, deserted islands, peg legs, parrots, and more. Published as a children’s tale (and a rather adult one at that), American novelist Henry James praised it as “perfect as a well-played boy’s game.”

Treasure Island Robert Louis Stevenson

 
The Federalist Papers by Alexander Hamilton

Read Hamilton’s Federalist Papers, then read the Constitution.  Composed of 85 articles, The Federalist Papers served to explain and encourage the ratification of the U.S. Constitution. The majority of the essays were penned by Alexander Hamilton and originally published in The Independent Journal and The New York Packet. While the Constitution lays out the laws of the land, these essays provide the 18th-century version of the ballot/blue books we get the mail around election time, explaining the laws that are being proposed. It is essential reading for any civically minded American.  Forget the theatre production.

The Federalist Papers Alexander Hamilton

 
Your Car’s Owner’s Manual

Yep, that dusty book in your glove compartment. Come on, bring it out and get to know your car better. So, it’s not exactly “literature” but it’ll teach you something that will come in handy.  Guaranteed.  By the way, I was shocked to learn the battery in my Mercedes is located under the driver’s seat.

The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith

The fundamental work on free-market policies: “It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer or the baker, that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own self-interest. We address ourselves, not to their humanity but to their self-love, and never talk to them of our own necessities but of their advantages.” Want an education in economics?  This book is a great start.

The Wealth of Nations Adam Smith

 
How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

The granddad of books about people skills, the advice found in How to Win Friends and Influence People is still sound and applicable 80 years later. Carnegie writes about skills like making people feel valued and appreciated, ensuring you don’t come across as manipulative (which happens unintentionally more than we think!), and essentially, “winning” people to your viewpoints and ideas. While it can sound a little disingenuous in its description, these are true skills that people use every day, and this book is a great resource for boning up your social game.

How To Win Friends and Influence People Dale Carnegie

 
The Republic by Plato

The Republic is a Socratic dialogue, written by Plato around 380 BC, concerning the definition of justice and how a just city-state should be ordered and characterized. It is the great philosopher’s best-known work and has proven to be one of history’s most influential works of philosophy and political theory. In it, Socrates and other various interlocutors discuss the meaning of justice and examine whether or not the just man is happier than the unjust man, as well as the theory of Forms, the immortality of the soul, and the role of the philosopher in society.

The Republic Plato

 
For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway

Robert Jordan is a young dynamiter in the Spanish Civil War. He’s an American who’s volunteered to fight against Franco’s fascists and is sent behind enemy lines to take out an important bridge to impede enemy forces from advancing. He lives in a rudimentary camp with anti-fascist Spanish guerillas and comes to embrace their hearty way of life and love. And of course, there are some incredible battle scenes, which were informed by Hemingway’s own time as a correspondent in the Spanish Civil War.

For Whom the Bell Tolls Ernest Hemingway

 
On the Road by Jack Kerouac

A defining novel of the Beat generation, On the Road, is fictional, but a semi-autobiographical account of two friends’ road trips across America, against the backdrop of a counter-culture of jazz, poetry, drug use, and the drunken revelry of back-alley bars. Along with their travels, they’re searching for what many young men are: freedom, ambition, hope, and authenticity.  

On the Road Jack Kerouac

 
Travels With Charley In Search of America by John Steinbeck

To hear the speech of the real America, to smell the grass and the trees, to see the colours and the light—these were John Steinbeck’s goals as he set out, at the age of fifty-eight, to rediscover the country he had been writing about for so many years.  With Charley, his French poodle, Steinbeck drives the interstates and the country roads, dines with truckers, encounters bears at Yellowstone and old friends in San Francisco. Along the way, he reflects on the American character, racial hostility, the particular form of American loneliness he finds almost everywhere, and the unexpected kindness of strangers. 

Travels With Charley In Search of America John Steinbeck

 
A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway

Ernest Hemingway’s classic memoir of Paris in the 1920s.  A Moveable Feast brilliantly evokes the exuberant mood of Paris after World War I and the unbridled creativity and unquenchable enthusiasm that Hemingway himself epitomized.

A Moveable Feast Ernest Hemingway

 
Swiss Family Robinson by Johann David Wyss

After a terrible storm, the Swiss family Robinson becomes shipwrecked on a deserted island. With teamwork, ingenuity, and a bit of luck, the group strives to overcome nature’s obstacles and create some semblance of community and civility within their new environs. A truly classic survival and adventure tale.

The Swiss Family Robinson Johann David Wyss

 
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

While there’s plenty of political, moral, and economic philosophy in this book, it’s coated in an action thriller of a story. Set in the near future, our protagonists are Dagny Taggart, heir to a transcontinental railroad empire, and Hank Rearden, the head of a steel company who’s invented a revolutionary new alloy. Together, they battle against evil government bureaucrats and socialists to hold civilization together, while all the while powerful industrialists are mysteriously disappearing, leaving behind only the cryptic phrase “Who is John Galt?” Though this book is associated with passionate libertarianism, the story is an interesting one to ponder no matter one’s political persuasions.

Atlas Shrugged Ayn Rand

 
The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas

The ultimate tale of betrayal and revenge. Edmund Dantes, days before marrying his beloved Mercedes, is brutally betrayed, arrested for treason, and consequently taken to a prison on an island off the French coast. The story goes on to tell of his escape from prison (don’t worry, it’s early in the novel and doesn’t ruin anything) and his becoming wealthy and re-entering society as an educated and sophisticated Count. He plots his revenge, eyes reclaiming his love, and ultimately…well, you’ll just have to read it.

The Count of Monte Cristo Alexandre Dumas

 
Self-Reliance & Other Essays by Ralph Waldo Emerson

Self-Reliance” contains the most prominent of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s philosophies: the need for each individual to avoid conformity and personal inconsistencies, and to follow their own instincts and ideas. You’re to rely on your own self versus going with the ebbs and flows of culture at large. Other essays in the collection focus on friendship, history, experience, and more.  Is it just me, or is this Self Reliance a necessity in today’s world?  I’m anything except a conformist.Self Reliance Ralph Waldo Emerson

 
The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov

There is nothing more manly than a bout with the Devil. Mikhail Bulgakov wrote this entertaining commentary on the social bureaucracy in Moscow during the height of Stalin’s reign. Lucifer himself pays the atheistic city a visit to make light of the people’s scepticism regarding the spiritual realm. The novel also visits ancient Jerusalem under Pontius Pilate’s rule. Even for the non-religious, this book will provide plenty of food for thought.

The Master and Margarita Mikhail Bulgakov

 
Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand

This 1897 play follows French cadet Cyrano de Bergerac. He’s a poet, musician, and expert swordsman — a true Renaissance Man. Unfortunately, Cyrano has a tragically large nose, which hinders his confidence to the point that he’s unable to profess his feelings to Roxane and feels he isn’t worthy of anyone’s love. What is a man to do in such a situation? Read and find out.

Cyrano De Bergerac Edmond Rostand 
Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes

It’s all well and good to be a dreamer, but a man must also be grounded in reality. It’s a lesson that Don Quixote comes to learn in the 17th-century eponymous book, which is widely considered to be the world’s first novel. Quixote, along with his squire Sancho Panza, travels the world in search of grand adventures and heroic deeds which would earn him the title of Knight. He continues against all odds, and in some cases, against all common sense. It’s funny, surprisingly easy to read given the fact that it’s over 400 years old, and can provide a man many lessons on the aspirations of heroism.

Don Quixote Cervantes

 
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

This short, but ever-popular tale is a young woman’s take on humanity and horror. Mary Shelley was just 21 when Frankenstein was first published in 1818, and the book is widely regarded as the first popular science fiction/horror novel. While you surely know the monster and the story of mad scientist Victor Frankenstein bringing him to life, it’s a much darker and more philosophical book than what pop culture has made it out to be. You learn about science, ego, pride, and ultimately, what it means to be human.Frankenstein Mary Shelley

 
A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

Dickens should be a part of every man’s reading life, and A Tale of Two Cities is a good starter. It’s set in London and Paris during the French Revolution and depicts the plight of the French peasantry, their turn to violence towards the aristocrats who marginalized them, and the parallels to London society during the same period.A Tale of Two Cities Charles Dickens

 
The Great Railway Bazaar by Paul Theroux

In this travelogue, Paul Theroux recounts his 4-month journey through Europe, the Middle East, India, and Southeast Asia on the continent’s fabled trains: the Orient Express, the Golden Arrow to Kuala Lumpur, the Mandalay Express and the Trans-Siberian Express. His well-documented and entertaining adventures have come to be considered a classic in the travel literature genre. This journal satisfies the vicarious traveller and inspires the adventurous man.The Great Railway Bazaar Paul Theroux

 
The Iliad & The Odyssey by Homer

These epic poems are some of the world’s oldest pieces of literature. They’ve been read, enjoyed, and studied for thousands of years, and for good reason. They are not only beautiful to the ear, but contain lessons that every man can learn about heroism, courage, and manliness. The Iliad takes place during a few weeks of the final year of the Trojan War and details the heroic deeds of both Achilles and Hector, as well as a variety of other legends and stories. The Odyssey, a sequel of sorts, is about the great warrior Odysseus’ voyage home after the Trojan War. He faces various obstacles in his return to Greece, and we also see how his family back home dealt with his assumed death.The Iliad and The Odyssey Homer

 
The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway

The novel that catapulted Hemingway to worldwide fame and success. The Sun Also Rises follows Jake Barnes and a group of ex-patriot friends through Spain and France, with plenty of wine-drinking and bull-fighting. The novel is a bit semi-autobiographical in that the main character is trying to deal with his war wounds — both physical and emotional — and escape to the supposed romanticism of travelling and eating and drinking to your heart’s content. Does Jake find happiness? You’ll have to read to find out.The Sun Also Rises Ernest Hemingway

 
The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky

While the book’s plot centres on an ageing, disinterested father and his three adult children, the substance found within goes much beyond that. Dostoevsky’s final and greatest novel, this book also involves spiritual and moral dramas and debates regarding God, free will, ethics, morality, judgment, doubt, reason, and more. It’s a philosophical work clothed as a novel — which of course makes Dostoevsky’s weighty ideas easier to digest. The McDuff translation gets rave reviews.The Brothers Karamazov Fyodor Dostoyevsky

 
The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli

Written in the early 1500s, this is the classic guide on how to acquire and maintain political power (even if those methods are sometimes unsavoury) — a so-called “primer for princes.” Its precepts are direct, if not disturbingly cold in their formulaic pragmatism. It asks the classic question: “Do the ends justify the means?” A worthy read for any man wishing to better understand the motivations and actions that tend to rule modern politics.The Prince Niccolo Machiavelli

 
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Set among New York City elites in the roaring ‘20s, this book is considered one of America’s great literary products for a reason. Narrator Nick Carraway is befriended by his mysterious millionaire neighbour, Jay Gatsby, and proves to be a crucial link in Jay’s quixotic obsession with Nick’s cousin, Daisy. The metaphors, the beautiful writing, and the lessons one can garner about reliving the past all make The Great Gatsby worth reading, again and again. Our interview with NPR’s Maureen Corrigan is worth a listen. She is the author of So We Read On: How To Great Gatsby Came To Be and Why It Endures. We discussed her research into why a novel was written about Jazz Age New York that resonates with Americans nearly a century later.The Great Gatsby F Scott Fitzgerald

 
1984 – George Orwell

Read 1984, then go delete your Facebook account.  Perhaps the most essential to re-read today, 1984 sets stage in an oppressive futuristic society monitored by the ever-watching Big Brother. Protagonist Winston Smith goes to work every day at the Ministry of Truth, where he rewrites and distorts history. However, Smith decided to begin a diary — an action punishable by death. Amid modern-day data mining, the fall of Net Neutrality, and lunatic leaders, we cannot forget the toll of tyranny and totalitarianism.1984 George Orwell

 
Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck

Another assigned high school read you probably didn’t appreciate when you were sixteen, it’s time to revisit the ambling of George Milton and Lennie Small, migrant workers who search for jobs throughout California amid The Great Depression. And with all great novels, it’s been banned time and again for its mention of violence, swearing, racism, sexism, the works, but it’s an essential commentary on the nature of The American Dream, the dichotomy of strength and weakness, and the loneliness of isolation.Of Mice and Men John Steinbeck

 
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn – Mark Twain

Often called “the greatest American novel,” The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn proceeds Twain’s The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and is renowned for its use of written vernacular in imitation of southern antebellum society. The story follows teenager Huck Finn and his friend Tom Sawyer as they navigate themes of race and identity. So, yeah, you should re-read that one today, especially given that the original novel has been the subject of censorship in schools for years.The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Mark Twain

 
The Poetry of Pablo Neruda

If you need an “excuse” to read some of the best love poems ever written about oceans and women and the earth, say you’re brushing up on your dating one-liners. But the words by Chilean poet, diplomat, and politician Pablo Neruda are so much more than kindling. They are pure fire and combustion. This book will wake up your soul. It also mends broken hearts.The Poetry of Pablo Neruda

 
The Stranger – Albert Camus

An ordinary man finds himself on trial after committing a murder in one of the greatest novellas of the 20th century. A dissection of morality and the philosophy of the absurd, The Stranger is particularly relevant today as we face a world of heightened sensitivity and, perhaps, a society that makes no sense to us.The Stranger Albert Camus

 
The Call of the Wild – Jack London

Try this: Take the novel on a long, boring, or otherwise dreaded journey. Close the last page a changed man (it’s that phenomenal) with a new outlook on struggle and bonds. Set in Yukon, Canada, during the 1890s Klondike Gold Rush, London writes of Buck, a dog that is abducted and forced into the chaos and brutality of frontier life. In a word: rugged.  Secretly: a tear-jerker.The Call of the Wild Jack London

 
Lord of the Flies – William Golding

A band of British boys are shipwrecked on an island and try to maintain order and normalcy the way governments do. As you might guess, it all goes terribly, terribly wrong. Lord of the Flies, the first novel from Golding, is a perfect glimpse at the nature of savage inclination. It’s a short read but it’s a damn good one.Lord of the Flies William Golding

 
Catcher In The Rye – J.D. Salinger

We’ll bet you first glimpsed the vibrant red cover of Catcher in the Rye some time in high school. But don’t let your memory fool you into thinking it’s a kids book. Possibly the best coming-of-age tale in all of literature, Salinger writes of the young and relatable protagonist Holden Caulfield and his first-person commentary on the world as he struggles between embracing adulthood and hiding in his childhood memories.The Catcher in the Rye J D Salinger

 

How To Be A Gentleman

One of the great lessons while traveling is keeping one’s eyes and senses open to all of the quirky, fun and beautiful things in our world.  It’s often the “small things” that make us smile or laugh.  We might even have our Western sensibilities challenged.  What is normal and acceptable in the destination you’re visiting might be just the opposite in your own home town.

Finding the quirks in the world is one of the great parts about travel.  And when I say quirks, what I really refer to are the things we are not used to.  I talk a lot about how travel is the best education anyone can receive and it’s true.  It is the unexpected moments that we witness, smell, taste, hear and even step over that we will remember long after we’ve left a place.  This is travel and what travel should be.

Have you had these moments?

I’ll never forget going to my first full moon ceremony in Bali.  I had just arrived, turned the corner and saw a pig’s throat slit and watched its blood drain into a bucket.  Sure it was alarming at first, but the act is also a common part of the ritual during the ceremony.  The Balinese are fine with the sacrifice and I shouldn’t be the one to judge their traditions. 

Eid Al-Adha is a ritual in Islam when a sheep, cow or a camel are sacrificed in the memory of Abraham who was stopped from slitting his son’s neck on Mount Arafat by the angel Gabriel.  Abraham was willing to slay his son at Allah’s request as a supreme act of faith.  The angel, Gabriel, prevented Abraham from going through with it, saying he had already demonstrated his love for god.  Instead, a goat was slaughtered.

The traditional ritual continues today.  I’ll never forget the chorus of bah, bah, bah from sheep who were kept in everyone’s home the night before the slaughter.  The King of Morocco is the first to commit the act on live television.  Once the king sacrifices his sheep, the rest of Morocco can follow suit.  After countless slaughters, I was stepping through rivers of sheep blood as I walked through the Old Medina.  Believe you me, I’ll never forget this experience.

Not all travel memories are so dramatic.  I loved the little boy standing next to a British guard at Horseguards Palace for a photo.  Curiously, the boy peered behind the guard then turned back with a huge smile.  In Tokyo I saw a sign outside a barber shop with a menu of prices pinned to the door.  Instead of price list, the sign read “Price Rist.”  I found that charming and couldn’t resist going in to have my hair cut.

I also loved the woman walking down a Tokyo street wearing a Geisha outfit.  We don’t expect to see sights like that in our modern world.

There are a lot of moments waiting for you as you travel – moments that make you go “Hmm…”  So, keep your senses on high alert.  Don’t be offended or startled if something you experience doesn’t meet the criteria of the Western world.   Embrace everything you see, hear, touch, taste and smell as part of your experience.  Be ready to be challenged and grow from your travel.  You might even have a travel experience of a lifetime.

As you travel around the world or even in your own city, you’ll want to take some of the best travel photos you’ve ever taken.  Consider the following iPhone travel photography tips so you can take great photos.

You Can Zoom in the Dark
One of the best upgrades on the iPhone X is its better 2x lens, especially in low light. That means you can use both lenses, regardless of the lighting conditions, without sacrificing image quality.

Try Brightening the Scene With a Flash
We typically think of smartphone flashes as cold, harsh, and [unflattering]. But the iPhone X’s new technology, called Slow Sync, has made it possible for the camera to capture beautiful, warm images while using the device’s cutting-edge Quad-LED True Tone flash.  Give this a try in a dim restaurant or outside, after sunset.

Play With New Live Photo Effects
While capturing live photos — or images with a few seconds of video before, the iPhone X has a trio of effects utilizing this technology.  Now, you can blur the action like a DSLR camera with the Long Exposure setting (for smooth waterfalls), create a continuous Loop, or make a Boomerang-like Bounce that plays the action backward and forward.

Try Portrait Mode on Food
The iPhone X made major advances with the Portrait mode.  In addition to capturing beautiful portraits with blurred backgrounds,  try the setting on food photography.

The iPhone X also has five new lighting modes for Portraits, including natural light, studio light, contour light (for dramatic shadows), stage lights (to illuminate subjects against a black background), and mono (to produce stage light-like photos in black and white).

Experiment With Burst Mode
For your best chance at the perfect shot, use the phone’s Burst Mode to shoot 10 pictures per second. To use this feature, simply hold down the shutter button in your Camera app.

Travel photography is often about capturing a fleeting moment.

Don’t Forget About Video
If you see amazing clouds slowly moving across the sky, for example, you might use time-lapse mode.  But if the scene features super fast motion like birds landing in water, you should try slo-mo.

 

How does a gentleman travel?   The answer is simple.  A gentleman travels the easiest and most convenient way possible.  In the literal sense, a gentleman travels by commercial plane, private plane, his own plane, a friend’s plane, big boat, small boat, privately chartered boat, SUV, chauffeured driven car, Business Class and First Class, over mountains, over oceans, up and down escalators, on foot, subway, train, metro, cable car, and even a camel or a mule.

In a deeper sense, a gentleman travels to discover the world.  The sights, sounds, aromas, tastes and touch of an unfamiliar place expand the knowledge of anyone who travels.  You can travel across your neighbourhood, your city and even around the world.  No matter where you go, you’re sure to receive an education you’ll never find in a classroom or a book.  You can learn a wee bit from television tho’ television really is a black hole that steals your time away from more meaningful things in life.

The cultures and the people we meet along the way teach us that we are all just trying to make it.  We simply try to make it in different ways.  But everyone you meet along the way will teach you something you didn’t know before.  If you’re lucky, you will learn a lot about yourself as well.

Travelling around the world with my camera I am afforded stunningly beautiful opportunities to capture what is before me.  I am often awestruck at man-made structures.  I’m often in complete wonderment being amongst Mother Nature’s magical creations.  But, what moves me most are the genuine souls of varying cultures who unconditionally help to uncover special parts inside of me.

Whether a divining wind sways me, or a guiding hand shifts me, I always find myself in the path of strangers who sequentially become my brothers or sisters.  Perhaps this is sheer luck.  Perhaps I have a sign on my back that says – “Hey!  I’m a nice guy.  Come talk to me.”  Perhaps not knowing why is of no great importance and I accept my good fortune without question.  

There is a peacefulness with this which I hold very close to my heart.  Quite honestly, these are moments never obtained with the click of the shutter.  These moments of building new bonds stay etched in my mind.

Travel is one of the most rewarding and powerful gifts we can give ourselves.  You can obviously give the gift of travel to others.   I’ve said this many times throughout this blog tho’ I’ll say it again.  Travel is one of the best educations you can ever receive.  There is no substitute for travel.

So, how does a gentleman travel?  A gentleman travels with an open heart and an open mind.    He travels with eyes wide open.  He rarely travels with a set agenda.  A gentleman travels with few expectations.  And, he takes each day as it comes.

 

 

A visit to London will undoubtedly feed your mind and soul.   It is impossible to leave London and not be inspired, tired, or challenged.  London’s effect on you are great.  She seeps into every part of your being without you noticing.

A visit to London is like a love affair that never really ends.  The city is always on your mind.  You crave her and everything London offers long after you leave.  You miss the sounds of London, the rumble of the London Underground, and navigating the crowded streets.  Crossing over London Bridges remains in your memory.  Iconic places such as St Paul’s Cathedral or Trafalgar Square stay etched in your mind.  Maybe the views from Waterloo Bridge or the wide spans view of London from Primrose Hill are still in your mind when you close your eyes.

You’ll always remember London.  

My affair with London began more than thirty years ago.  The city has made a huge impact on me.  I often like to say – “Everything I’ve Learned About Life I Learned From London.”

My love of live theatre began in London when I saw “Daisy Pulls It Off” at the Globe Theatre, which is now the Gielguld Theatre.  I saw magic when the curtain went up and I was captivated until the finals bows and the curtain came down.  Even today I attend live theatre performances like most people see movies.   Theatre taught me a bit about being dramatic and I use the lessons I learned in my photography.  Funny that.  Right?  It also taught me how to string together words in a particular way to make a point.  

London is a mecca for art and museums.  If you have an interest in the world’s artifacts, head over to the British Museum.  If you love paintings from Monet, Manet, Seurat, Van Gogh, Michelangelo, Rembrandt, Rubens and a myriad of other masters, go to the National Gallery.  If you love modern art, head over to the Tate Modern Museum.  And what’s more is you’ll find a plethora of independent art galleries throughout the city.  

Studying the masters of art is a fantastic way to improve your photography.  Painters are masters at presenting light which is what photography is all about.  But, also pay attention to the use of textures, leading lines and other composition elements.

Perhaps you love fashion or interior design.  Fine art at any museum could inspire you to redecorate your home or design your next outfit that no one else will have.

A walk past Fortnum and Mason’s window displays will bring a smile to your face, tho’ it’s entirely possible you’re creative energy explodes.  You could be inspired to create your next masterpiece.  Or maybe you’ll get a warm feeling and think of the person who is not with you but you love with all your heart.

The gardens and parks throughout the city offer a sanctuary from the loud noise and madness that is London.  One of my favourite places is St. Dunstan-in-the-East.  The moment I walk into the remnants of the old church all of London’s noises go away.  I feel peace and everything seems to be right in the world.  I’ve sat on the park bench for hours and sometimes with a lunch.  It’s a place where I can actually think without distraction.  Problems are sorted through and even my next project is pieced together while at St. Dunstan’s.  There is no other place of solitude like it anywhere in London.

Soho is a splendid place for understanding and inspiration.  This area of London is one I’ve spent countless hours with my camera.  I’ll typically wander through Soho at night and into the wee hours of the morning.  Great photographs are a dime a dozen in this area of London, but if you stop long enough, you might end up in a conversation with someone you would not normally speak to.

I met a man drunk as could be who wanted me to celebrate the birth of his grandchild with him.  I spoke with a young heroin addict who described what it was like to be homeless and sleeping on the streets.  A prostitute offered me her services.  Although I declined, we had a good jovial chat in Wardour Street and she told me where to capture the best photographs.  She also warned me to keep my camera safe.  

Not everyone in London are like the people I described.  The point in sharing these experiences is that London taught me to keep an open mind and listen.  And trust me, if you listen long enough, you’ll hear everything.  The key is avoid judging anyone or projecting your own life’s beliefs on someone else.

Don’t be surprised to see a woman walking down the street wearing only her bra and a pair of shorts.  You might even see a man jogging in his tiny speedo.  Whatever you see, take it all in and realise that you can be anyone and anything you want to be because London tells you that you can.  Many of my own inhibitions went away because of the sights I’ve seen on London’s streets.  Be who and what you are without worrying what others may think or say.

I especially love Jermyn Street between St James’s Street and Regent Street St James’s.  The street has been gentrified lately but it keeps the authentic gentlemanly traditions it is known for.  The statue of Beau Brummell reminds us that Jermyn Street catered to London’s gentlemen long before we arrived.  Feel civilised and have a shirt tailored for your next special occasion, have a shave or become a connoisseur of cigars and fine art.  Almost everything you need to know about being a gentleman can be found in charming Jermyn Street.

If you’re visiting from the United States, a walk through London should remind you how young your country is.  So many of London’s buildings date back a thousand years.  That’s four times the age of the USA.  It is sort of mind blowing when you think of London that way.  As you walk along London’s streets, know you are walking amongst history.  If you know a bit of London history, take yourself back.  Try to visualise what Piccadilly was like in the 1700’s.  What was Westminster Abbey like when it was on an island in the Thames River?  Or what were the views from London Bridge when it was the original London Bridge?

London has something for everyone no matter what your tastes or interests are.  Your challenge is to be aware.  Be aware of what the city has to offer.  Be aware of what is in front of you because you never know how London will move you to be the person you always wanted to be.  Open your mind and let London shape you.  London is a hard cold city on the outside.  The truth is, however, London will take good care of you.  She will teach you about life and help you understand that you are more.  London will teach you how to love other people, too.

 

 

The year that was in travel is the year that is.  And, it’s the year ahead in 2020.

Every 31 December we ask ourselves – “Where did the year go?  It feels like January was just yesterday”.  Why does time feel like it slips by so fast?  

Is it because technology steals so much time from us?  Our work days find us in front of computer screens and in our spare time we are always tip-tapping on our mobile phones or tablets?  Our meals are delivered to us quickly in restaurants.  And, we better hurry because “this deal” won’t last.  It seems as if we are continuously in a race against time. 

Is time the friend of anyone amongst us?  Time is certainly no friend of mine.  There is never enough time in my days, weeks or months to check off my to-do list.  I’m fairly certain my to-do list grows faster than the things I get done.  Is there anyway to slow time?  Is there any way to make 2020 move slower so we can savour the days?

2019 was a remarkable year in more ways than one.  I use the term remarkable as it can refer to both good and bad.  Everyone’s year is filled with both good and bad so I can’t very well say my circumstances are special.  They are unique to me, however.

People come and go from our lives.  Life becomes fresh as new and interesting people come into our lives.  There is a lesson to learn from every person who crosses our paths.  It is up to us to decide what to do not only with the lessons but the people we meet.  

Richard Bach said it best in his book, “Illusions” – one of my favourites.  Bach said, “Every person, every event in our lives is there because we have drawn them there.  What we choose to do with them is up to us.”  

I read the book and the quote more than twenty years ago.  The words made such an impact on me, I remember and use them today.  The quote refers to the good people in our lives, tho’ unfortunately, the bad people as well.  I won’t go into details but I can say I’ve been betrayed, told I was loved when I wasn’t, used, taken advantage of and  lied to as well.  At one point it got so bad I had to question what is happening in our world.  Where did all the good people go?

I still wonder and sadly I’ve had to become weary and cautious.  I’m a genuine sort of guy who prefers to see the good in people.  I’m kind and I’ll do almost anything to help you, if I can.  I won’t change they way I live and see life.  I’ll simply be smarter in 2020 and beyond.

When you travel like I do, my travel experiences are also my life experiences.  I talk a lot about opening your mind and heart while travelling.  Throughout the blog I talk about the good people I’ve met.  I stay away from talking about the not so good people I meet along the way.  Today I’ve chosen to only refer to the bad seeds.

Instead of harbouring feelings of anger and hurt, I turn to myself.  I’m always comfortable with who and what I am.  I’m also aware I can always be better.  What can I do to improve?  I take stock of myself and take steps to become a better person.  I want to be better not only for myself but for the people in my life as well.

All that said, how can I put a year of travel into one video?  Over 4,000 travel photos – all with an iPhone – in one fast paced video.  Four minutes and thirty seconds.  That’s a lot of time in our fast-paced world.  Thanks for taking the journey with me.  I hope you enjoy.

Best of Luck to Everyone in 2020.