I open one eye… blurry is the world I see.
I open the other… the light is slowly growing.
I slowly turn over and look at the clock… 6am.
The pink hues of the pale morning light add a rosy glow to the parting night sky.
The grey sky turns bright blue and my heart quickens… my senses become alive.
The birds summon the day as the sun summits the mountain peaks and warms the still air.
The life cycle begins again… I rise to embrace it.
I stretch to the sky and offer up myself to it’s bidding.

Walking The Line

My whole life used to be centered around walking one path or another. I often chose the path of least resistance as a child… later I was a follower… then I swung from right to left in wild extremes. Now a days I find the center path is much more enjoyable.

Walking the center allows me to experience more of life’s variances. I’m not stuck in my ways and find it much easier to see others point of view without having to buy in or fight them. I haven’t painted myself into a box… quite the opposite, I have opened myself up to stepping outside the “box”. I don’t swing wildly to the right or left… I stay more neutral and I find this is a much easier path in my life. Not to say I don’t have strong opinions… I just allow myself to speak my mind, my position and then engage in insightful conversations.

While walking the center can be dangerous… say if you are walking on a busy street… but I find it is important when traveling abroad. The moment I start comparing my life with the lives of those around me, I become unable to share in their life experiences. I become self-absorbed and close minded instead of a foreign traveler in someone else’s homeland.

For me the center is a good place to grow and share in all of life’s adventures.

Mr Jiggles… a Childhood Memory

When I was a very young child, I am guessing 4 or 5, we had an old black man who lived in a small little shack situated on the edge of the drainage canal by the truck yard. I remember he seemed quite small compared to other adults I knew, and in Baltimore, in the late 60’s, the fact that he was a black man in a predominately white neighborhood, stood out more than anything.

Mr Jiggles was a kind old man and would sit on his porch swing in the heat and humidity of a summer evening and play his harmonica. The sound of the harmonica would drift over the sound of the traffic from the main street. Beside his house he had an old truck tire full of dirt that he grew tomatoes in. I remember he would wonder up and down the alleyway selling them for 5 cents a piece. Maybe that is how he made a living since I can’t ever remember a time when he wasn’t sitting on his porch swing.

The memories of a child. The tainted memories from an era of hatred and bigotry, instilled on me by the adults I looked up to.

Mr Jiggles… now that I look back… had a very hard life. My memories of him are nothing more that those mentioned above. If I was to meet this kind sole today, I wonder if I would have the same impressions of this gentle little man? Would I pity him? His life was simple… yet incredibly hard… but he always seemed happy.

The last memory I have of Mr Jiggles was a city crew tearing down his little shack and chucking all the items from inside into a garbage truck. Mr Jiggles was gone… his music could still be heard late in the evening, on a humid summer night… if you sat still enough and listened.

Daily Prompt

via Daily Prompt: Jiggle

Stock photo from The West Virginia Gazette

The Short Cut

via Daily Prompt: Arid

We don’t have many friends that can keep up with us. As a matter of fact at this point in our lives those friends are pretty much none existent. Maybe it’s because we have a small streak of bad luck ,that at times, lead the well planned trips into small disasters. This is exactly what happened several years ago on a backpacking trip in Southern Utah.

Our friends, Aaron and Ty, decided they were up to the challenge of a backpacking trip through Coyote Gulch in the Escalante/Grand Staircase National Monument . It was a pretty easy trip… all of 11.5 miles into a slot canyon and at a point about two thirds through the canyon we were to take the “short cut”, a class three scramble up to the rim of the canyon, and then a short one and a half mile hike across the arid desert back to the parking area were we left Aaron’s single cab pickup.

We packed everything carefully, including our water filter since we would be hiking in a slot canyon that a small creek ran through year round. We planned out our meals, divided everything up equally, fitted our packs perfectly and headed out at the trail head at the top of the canyon. It was a short hike across the arid desert at the rim of the canyon then gradually descended into the cool walls of the canyon.

The day was full of conversation and laughter as we covered good ground. At around seven we reached our camp spot… a set of cascading falls in an open area of the canyon. It was a night of sleeping under the stars. The campfire illuminated the red rock in eerie shadows, the silence enhanced the trickle of the water over the rock ledges, laughing at the arid desert surroundings. We finished up our beers and wine and bid each other sweet dreams and off to dreamland.


The next morning came in brilliant pinks and reds and the light slowly crept into the canyon with a wave of hot air that broke the hold of the cool night air. We had a breakfast of re-hydrated eggs and some other food-like substance in a zip lock bag… just add water. The calories were gonna be needed for the day’s hike and scramble up the side of the canyon wall and back to the car.

If you’ve had the pleasure of desert hiking in a slot canyon… you’ll know the peace and solitude it can afford. The dancing colors at the canyon rim high above your head. The occasional screeching of the ravens. The sound of the hot arid breezes as they turn each corner hugging the fluted rock faces. It’s an other worldly experience not soon forgotten.

Around 11 am we came to the “easy scramble” to the rim as described in the guide book. We all looked at each other and our jovial demeanor turn quickly to a surge of panic. The “easy scramble” turned out to be an almost straight up and down 100 foot climb. We had no gear for such a climb, only about fifteen feet of cheap rope, gloves and good hikers. We hurried and filled all our water bottles and sat down to plan our assent to the rim.

Aaron and I had the best chance of getting to a small ledge about 2/3rds the way up where we would haul the packs then turn back to help our friends to the top. The day grew hotter and hotter and the sun climbed to its highest point putting us directly into the sunlight and turned the cool rock face into an oven. We continued our assent and by noon we had achieved our first goal and 2/3rds of our climb.

Finally around one o’clock, we all reached the top of the canyon and were faced with a hike across the arid desert to our takeout. Problem was there were cairns piled in every direction as far as the eye could see, and we had burned through most of our water on our scramble. We regrouped and headed off in the direction we thought the takeout was. It never dawned on us to pull out the compass we carefully packed.

For about an hour we wandered aimlessly from one rise to the next hoping to get a glimpse of the truck in the distance. The air and sun was so hot and dry we were beginning to over heat… it was just then Chris remembered that she had the compass.  Finally, with the aide of the guide book AND the compass we were heading in the right direction.

Another thirty minutes went by… we had been out of water for over an hour… we were becoming panicked and unable to think clearly. The heat from the sun was playing tricks on our eyes as the waves of arid air painted pictures of what looked like bodies of water on the dry desert floor. We even dropped our packs and agreed we’d find the truck then go back for them after hydrating.

Climbing to the top of another rise… there it was! Hiding behind an outcrop… the white Ford truck… our chariot.

Looking Back is Always Fun…

Playa del Carmen, Mexico: Day One 2/21/2016
We decided to take a “tourist” vacation this time to Mexico. Of course it helps to be a traveler when things go not as planned.

The flight went well and we hopped in the bus to head half hour south to Playa. Back packs and day packs we hoofed it a couple of blocks to the hotel.

The street was full of reminders of our tourist destination. Sunburned Europeans walked aimlessly through the streets.

Arriving at our hotel they informed us that we didn’t have a room but had made arrangements at another hotel. Reina Roja Hotel is a cool boutique hotel but it reminds me of the Red Light District in Amsterdam. LOL. Jokes on us.


Liebster Award

liebsterSpecial thanks to Retrato https://retratonz.com/ for the nomination! What an honor…

The Liebster Award 2017 is an award that exists only on the internet, and is given to bloggers by other bloggers. The earliest case of the award goes as far back as 2011. Liebster in German means sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing, and welcome.

And rules if you choose to accept

  1. Post about the award, thank the person who nominated you and link to their blog.
  2. Answer their questions about yourself.
  3. Nominate 5 –10 people with fewer than 1,000 followers, let them know via social media.
  4. Write your own set of questions for your nominees.
  5. Feel good about yourself for winning an award and pass it on.


My questions from : https://retratonz.com/

What inspires you to write a travel blog?

I find myself somewhere in the world where I’ve never been and all these thoughts flood into my head. I started writing them down back in 1991, in a time before laptops, iPhones and iPads… good ole’ pen and paper. The inspiration just comes… again more like a feeling that just comes over my entire being.  I find it an escape. I find it’s a chance to share with others what I am seeing and feeling in the environment I am traveling through. In some instances I feel it is my obligation to be honest about a particular place that is maybe painted as an awesome place to travel and yet has so many things that are never disclosed about the reality of those places. Of course everyone has opinions. My blogs are my personal opinions I guess.


What’s your most unforgettable travel experience?

The Inca Trail, Camino Inka, Peru 2015.  My partner and Inhad trained for 3 months for this epic hike.  It is 27 miles of stairs pretty much up and down all over 10,000 feet.  The experience was amazing, hard, at times hopeless, invigorating, and maybe the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life.  It taught me about patience within my own mind and body. It was humbling. The thing is… one doesn’t get the chance very often to walk on the same path that an ancient society built and used for commerce, spirituality, escape and pilgrimage. On the forth and final day of the trek we arrived at the  Sun Gate overlooking Machu Piccu.  The sight was breath-taking. I had been carrying my “moms” ashes with me the whole trek and it was here that I left her to have an everlasting view of an ancient city hidden high in the Andes.


Have you had any Anthony Bourdain-like food experiences?

Oh yes… The first was in Ethiopia. Warm cows milk out of a decorated gourd and injera.  The second was in Bolivia… there was a group of ladies that was serving us some sort of soup out of wheel barrows. I was told it was made with beef esophagus. Thank goodness I found that out after I had eaten it. In Ecuador… it was Guinea Pig, and something we call “weevil soup”. Unfortunately I have a few stomach issues so I always seem to come home with “something”.


If you were to live somewhere else, which place would that be and why?

I have been to many places that I would love to “live” in the near future.  “Live” in the near future, of course, will be different than what “live” means now. Stress removed, no time limit like a vacation, no excess funds going out to frivolous government over priced insurances. Perhaps Mexico for a year… Belize, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, a year or two in each. We seem to really like Cotacachi and the community there… so maybe that will be our travels end in 20-25 years for a home base.  There is just so many places I really would love to spend a lot of time in the near future. Take a trip around the world on a round the world ticket. I am just entering into the next quarter of my life. As long as we can stay healthy we will travel as much as possible, but as a traveler, not a tourist.


What advice can you give travel bloggers?

Be honest. We have an obligation to tell it like it is, the good with the bad. Our followers may plan a trip based on an advertiser’s rosy picture of a place… if we don’t tell it like it is, we let them believe the fairy-tale. Every rose has a thorn.

We need to boost indigenous villages with our travels and bring others in and educate them on their way of life and their customs. Often times “privileged tourists” travel and stay in chain hotels, eat at common name food establishments (such as McDonald’s), never venture into the reality of a destination, mostly out of fear.  We need to teach them to be travelers and not tourists.

Be informative. We are the National Geographic back door bloggers. The WikiTravel infomercials.  Take photos… lots of them.  Speak your mind and be brilliant.



Thanks again for the nomination!

I now nominate:








My questions to you are:

  1. Why do you blog?
  2. What’s been the scariest thing in your travels?
  3. As a blogger, do you feel a sense of responsibility for blogging “how it is”?
  4. What was your favorite blog?
  5. If you had to describe yourself as an animal… what animal would it be and why?

Aren’t We The Luckiest Laziest Race?

The one thing that has always struck me when traveling abroad is how lucky… lazy we are. I envy the native peoples in the countries I’ve traveled in. They make a party out of gardening, laundry, cooking and playing. They are not glued to TVs. They do not have the luxury of a dish washer, a clothes washer or dryer, sometimes not even a true stove as we know it. For sure they can’t set a timer on their sprinkler system and forget about the garden.

I have traveled to Ethiopia on a humanitarian mission and helped build stoves, drip watering system, water filtration systems. Traveled to Bolivia to help build toilets and teach them about hygiene. Just as a traveler to other Central, South American and Caribbean countries and experienced the joy of neighbors doing laundry, cooking food in wood kindled ovens outside, and gardening together. The sense of community and neighbors is only some fake notion we have in the US

I have noticed over the last few years the youth of these countries have embraced cell phones, computers and eating out. The sense of family seems to be splintering… if only just a bit. It is almost sad.

I live in a country that our kids go to schools with cell phones, the avgerage home has two TVs, every individual in a family has a computer. In my dealership I see teenagers come in with their parents and turn up their nose at a great first car… and the parents give in. What are we doing?

I know that I am not any better than the people described above. My first car was $500 and I bought it myself. I do own a Smart phone and a computer and a tablet. I have four TVs in my house. I own a washer and dryer and a professional gas stove, two fridges and a chest freezer. Yes I am comfortable but when I travel I envy the people I see that have something I don’t… real friends, community and a life that has real meaning instead of just getting ahead, keeping up with the Jones… and intimate relationships with my family and neighbors. Are we not the luckiest laziest race…

The Desert Silence

Here I am sitting on a rock in the middle of the NV desert. A minute ago I was driving and found myself just wanting to “get there”. I thought to myself, “why can’t you just stop?” Surrounded by all this beauty and the grandeur of the desert in all its vastness, emptiness, and its own beauty. Why can’t I stop? I finally pulled over and found this rock and had the desire to write. Writing makes me stop, turn inwards and listen. It tunes out the outside, complicated world and makes me calm down.

I hear the breeze blowing thru the dry brush. I feel the vastness of the blue sky. I feel the warmth of the sun contrasting the coolness of the rock I am sitting on. I hear my inner demons and the battle that I am waging on the inside. I feel the sadness of being alone, but not lonely. I feel the struggle of an inner peace scratching and clawing its way to the surface of my being.

It is a perfect 72 degrees. The sun shining brilliantly in a near cloudless sky. The desert surrounding me shows off billions of years of weathering the turmoils of life. Life of a desert. There are hundreds of colors if you look close enough. Birds sing their songs of the day if you stop and be still. When all stops the silence is deafening. I can hear the tapping of the keyboard, the rush of blood in my ears, my heartbeat and every breath I take. A car passing by breaks my trance and I must move on. A bit calmer and more centered than just a short time ago.

I found a trail that lead to the top of a ridge for some 360 views. Again the silence is broken by the sound of the wind in my ears and the sound of the passing cars below. Winding thru this landscape is a black ribbon that allows even novices into this stark landscape. I take a sip of water and am reminded that is this one element that is lacking here. It is the one thing that brings life and death to the desert. A gentle burst of rain is quenching. A sudden downpour can equal death and destruction as it upsets the tiny microclimate, causing run off, flash floods and great land disturbances that shape the ever changing dynamics of the desert.

The mountains of the desert are like folds in the earth’s ancient crust. Others are like ancient sea reefs. Others are great monoliths of long extinct volcanoes. They all loom high above the desert floor and are haloed by the true blue of the desert sky. They stand like monuments, thrusting out of the flat sandy bottoms to touch heaven itself.
I venture further into the ever changing landscape and come to my favorite, red rock. The red rock is the womb of Mother Nature. The wind and rain carve into this sand stone and give it its unique characteristics of color, carvings and caves. The caverns that are created remind me of a womb. This rock has pushed up from deep inside Mother Earth and survived years of punishing to create these eerie formations that hold a history lesson in fossils and primal composition. The layers reveal stories of years gone by before man and memory. Every sound echoes through its strange formations. I could sit here for hours and pick out faces, shapes and become entranced by is stark beauty.

A small lizard just ran past me and broke me from my daze. The desert has a way of stealing you away. It lulls you into a trance of sun, rock and heat. Transfix your gaze on an object and hours can go by without notice. The desert soothes the mind and rocks the soul into a blissful existence. The shadows grow longer and the sun moves slowly, methodically across the sky. These rocks and sand have seen the same path over and over again, but the visitor to this realm, is transformed with each moment spent in its splendor. Tread lightly and take only pictures and leave only footprints in this land of history and intrigue.