I'm writing from a hotel computer somewhere between Denver and Grand Junction, Colorado.
Because early this morning a cup of coffee (not mine, I drink tea) was accidently deposited on my MacBook Air.
I got the kiss of death on the computer screen: a white folder with a black question mark in it.
What does that mean? Au revoir, MacBook Air.
It turned on for a while after it was dried out with a hair dryer.
To say I am frustrated because most of the last 15 years of my life personally and professionally was on that computer, is an understatement.
I hadn't backed it up to the external hard drive for over a year.
I wasn't using it that much, except to cross reference information with my desktop and occasionally write on the road.
SO my BAD for not backing it up with a vengeance every week.
There are no Apple stores for many, many miles from where I am staying.
An authorized store trained to take a look at my computer to see if I can retrieve anything from it is also at least a hundred miles away from where I'm staying.
This trip was purposefully one off the beaten trail.
YES! Shit DOES happen.
First, my Air was not synced with the iCloud like my Desktop, iPhone and iPad.
How I overlooked that, well, OPERATOR ERROR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Needless to say I'm angry but I can't be too angry because it was truly an accident.
It's a good lesson to stay present and the moment you go on autopilot things like this happen.
We start going through our day, often mindlessly executing tasks, we space out and then BAM.
Plus, when you write for a living, or are on the road for business, it's essential to keep files backed up and do your best to make allowances for hiccups.
Or big, ugly burps.
Let my misfortune be your forewarning.
Back it up.
Keep the liquids a mile away from your computers.
MOST importantly, even on holidays and vacations, don't check out.
I love this saying from the 1936 Olympic rowing team: "Keep your mind in the boat."
The biggest lesson?
When both of your hands are full, don't try to do anything else.
Unless you sprout a third arm and hand.
I'll let you know next week if my computer is now a really pretty, shiny paperweight.
As always, thanks for reading.
See you again next week! (Hopefully!)
The above quote is from my sweet next-door neighbor.
She's right. We travel.
We are away from home about as much as we are at home.
As we move forward in life we decided to "get it while the gettin's good."
PLUS, we are REALLY fortunate that we CAN travel.
So WHY am I transitioning into a travel website?
It's not REALLY a travel website.
Travel IS one of the great joys in our lives AND because we travel worldwide we have amassed a TON of information about travel.
All kinds of travel.
AND we have experienced so many facets of travel...
retreats with meditation, water sports, nature, wildlife, soaking in hot mineral water, dealing with health issues while traveling, visiting friends and family, making new friends, cuisine, culture, the arts, history, language, traveling with a service dog, eating right, exercise, and the delays of travel.
This is just the tip of the iceberg. (And by the way I just saw a mind-boggling number of icebergs in Alaska recently. Get yourself to Alaska, if you can!)
I was chatting with another writer friend yesterday and he said the subjects I can write about embodied in travel are practically limitless.
What better to write about than the things you enjoy the most AND the things that affect you the most, coupled with expeditions?
I've taught meditation and Qigong while traveling, had singing gigs, percussion performances, taken care of family, rescued lost, injured and displaced animals and made sure, on many occasions, that families on the street got a decent meal.
We have connected with interesting and unusual people.
Not the least of which, we have benefitted from it all with a world view. We see life beyond the four walls of our little town. THAT helps us to understand others and be more global citizens.
That being said...
You don't have to travel the world to get a bigger view of life.
Start in your town or city, then within your county, state, and region.
The U.S. has a myriad of discoveries waiting for you.
Some cities don't even feel like they are in the U.S. They have wonderful foreign influences. New Orleans is one of those examples.
There is a lifetime of travel in the countries that border the U.S.
It's not difficult or bank-breaking to get to Canada. Unless you are traveling to Vancouver, THEN you may need to break into the piggy bank. Don't get me wrong. I LOVE Vancouver. I lived there for nine years. But it's cheaper for me to spend a month in Thailand than a week in Vancouver. Sorry, Vancouver.
South of the U.S. there's Mexico, Central America, and South America. Gratefully, my limited Spanish goes a LONG way. ("Learn more Spanish" is on my list.)
A flight from where I live in Florida to Costa Rica is cheaper than a flight from Florida to California!
Keeping an eye on airfare has become a hobby and we have reaped the rewards by booking airfare to Europe with a combination of points and lower flash sale prices.
Do you have a credit card? Most of them offer airline miles:
Chase Sapphire, Capital One Venture, Citi AAdvantage (we use this card), and Alaska Airlines Visa (we also use this one) just to name a few. (By the way, NO airline, restaurant, town, or business has paid me to recommend them.)
On the flip side of travel: We have seen unimaginable wealth and unspeakable poverty. We have come face-to-face with a worldwide homelessness issue.
Everything I have been addressing in my topical "human interest" writing I have also experienced through our travels.
We have learned to cut corners when necessary without EVER feeling we have cut corners.
We BOTH are also VERY "go with the flow."
We know so little is in our control that we don't get crazy about challenges that crop up in our travels. (Ok, sometimes maybe a little. And by that, I mean me.) It pays to keep your cool.
We have a family member who travels constantly and it never ceases to amaze me the compensation received for inconveniences, mistakes, bad service, bad attitudes and out and out bad business. There is a way to complain and a million ways not to complain. Freaking out gets you nowhere except with a headache, stomachache, anxiety attack and possibly escorted out of the building or off of the plane, banned for life. (I've seen it!)
We have stayed in lousy to luxury accommodations. We prefer somewhere in between.
It doesn't mean we don't treat ourselves. We do.
However, we don't take advantage of the higher end accommodations in certain extremely expensive cities or countries. It doesn't make sense for us.
I will talk about that in future posts.
I have "intel" on our personal explorations. Some of the information came easily and some required a little blood, sweat and tears. Again, somewhere in the middle works best for us.
We shop deals and do a ton of research AND have the benefit of military perks since my husband is retired Navy.
By military perks I mean being able to stay at some military resorts throughout the world, and staying in incredible lodging on bases. A cottage in your own cove in Hawai'i? YES! Saying "thank you for your service" is nice, however, the perks are even nicer. My husband earned it!
When our schedule is really flexible, we can fly military flights to destinations all over the world. For free. (That's a lot more planning and flexibility and SO worth it!)
Not to mention we are frequent flyers with 4 airlines.
We watch websites like hopper.com , www.airfarewatchdog.com and the airline and cruise line websites.
We monitor them several times a week.
As far as cruise lines we have sailed with three and our favorite HANDS DOWN is Celebrity. www.celebritycruises.com
We highly recommend getting on a repositioning cruise if you can. We took one Transatlantic from Miami to Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain, France and Italy. It was reasonable and a great way to get a taste of several countries. The upside was a beautiful cabin with a veranda, incredible food and peace and quiet. The downside was a freak storm from the Arctic that brought with it 30 foot waves. As dishes crashed in the dining areas the band played. A moment out of Titanic. My husband showed me where the life vest was, gave me a sleeping pill and I slept through it waking to a beautiful, storm-free day. I was a bit anxious, but I'd do it all over again knowing we were on a ship engineered to handle rougher seas. Again, kudos to Celebrity!
In a nutshell, although I'm focusing here on writing about our travels, I will include human interest, holistic health, tips, ideas, feedback, reviews, recommendations, photos, videos, and more.
I hope you enjoy traveling with us and that you, too, can hit the road in some way.
Regardless what I say - go and see it for yourself.
As always, thanks for reading.
I'll be writing next week from Colorado!!
I left Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and here’s what happened:
For personal and ethical reasons I have been working my way towards leaving "the Big Three" for quite a long time.
I have had about 6 Twitter accounts and deleted them all within a week or less of having them. Then against my better judgment and someone's advice I'd make another account, participate for a little while only to delete it again.
I got tired of the drama, the political backbiting, the name calling, fighting, arguing and the seeming lust for 15 minutes of fame.
I also got uncomfortable with reading so many people's deepest, darkest, personal secrets.
My heart goes out to anyone dealing with life challenges. I'm just not sure I want to be privy to all of that information.
I guess they aren't so secret since they are being displayed all over the Internet.
I’m not certain that people understand when you post online to any social media that it’s accessible by anyone, even if you mark it friends only.
The fact that Facebook has over 3 billion users means it is pervasive worldwide. It also means that what you post to your “friends” is not just to your friends. Anyone can read your posts via your friends.
SO it’s to the world.
People have gotten fired from their jobs for posts on the leading social media. People I know! Mostly for their 3 am intoxicated rants about this, that or the other thing. (That reminds me of someone but I can't for the life of me recall who that is.)
People have been caught breaking the law, and cheating on their partners on social media.
They also allow graphic videos of violence, murder and in some instances videos that are just this side of pornographic. (If we want to watch porn it's easy to find. I guess not easy enough if it's all over social media.)
There's lots of sex, sexual Innuendo, profanity, and near nudity Oh, who am I trying to kid? Nudity. Again, isn't there Hamster X for that? I'm just sayin'.
Don’t get me wrong I love the human body. I think nudity is gorgeous, and sex is amazing, but there are some great and not so great ways to express it.
Then there is the ethical issue. The issue of media dominance, and allowing horrible atrocities to be posted. Not to mention election improprieties, bullying, lying and covering up of said lies.
Yep, gonna tell you exactly how I really feel!
Look, this is ME, not anyone else. This is what works and does not work for me.
This may or may not bother or resonate with you.
AND THAT IS FINE!
That’s what bothers me about the three amigos.
Here is what I loved about it:
I made a couple of friends in the 9 years I was on it.
I got several introductions to potential jobs.
I saw wonderful photos, reconnected with friends, classmates, colleagues, and distant family.
I experienced vicariously the adventures, trials, tribulations, successes and failures of the aforementioned people.
I shared, collaborated and commiserated.
I also wasted A LOT of time.
Ok, that may not be a plus...
Here is what happened the couple of times I posted that I was leaving (was I crying wolf? I guess not since the wolf has left the building. Sorry, mixed metaphor.)
I was asked not to go. I was told that what I posted was really appreciated. How was I going to keep up with everyone? How would I know when there are events, parties, births, and reunions? The state of the country? Won't it affect my business, or work? How can I live when "everyone", and the most important news, announcements, connections, etc., are on these particular social medias? Aren't I afraid I will be looked at as an outcast? Or with suspicion? How can I be much of a teacher, writer, artist if I'm not on said social media? Only legitimate businesses and people are on the big social media, especially Facebook. (You can't have a business page without a personal page. Nah, I'll pass.)
Here is what happened when I actually left:
Of the original 3000 people who were my Facebook "friends", I whittled those down to 1800 (this was the beginning of the end), then to 1200, then to 800. I knew each and every one of them. Maybe we weren't pals or close but knew them all personally.
I gathered emails and phone numbers, posted my website, where to find my writing on other websites and my LinkedIn page link.
I downloaded my archive.
I made a commitment to connect in different ways with my connections.
Then one day I just left.
No parting gifts.
Mind you, this was not without Facebook specifically asking me about half a dozen times if I knew what I was doing? They posted photos of my friends telling me who would miss me. (Those who really ARE my friends actually have a life with me outside of Facebook.)
"Are you sure you want to leave? You will miss out on x, y or z..."
In the final stages I could deactivate my account and it would take two weeks for it to be deleted.
Maybe this would lead to second thoughts and in a moment of weakness I would log on and that would start the two week clock ticking again.
This time there was nothing anyone could say that would change my mind.
I had already moved on and broken the addiction(s).
And it WAS an addiction.
I wasn't on the big three every day but I fell into the "check in" trap when I could have been doing so many other things.
LIKE just sitting there and taking a few deep breaths,
getting on a yoga mat and stretching for a few minutes,
picking up the phone, texting, calling or SKYPING with someone,
So what REALLY happened?
NOT A DAMN THING.
People I was already in touch with outside of the triad have stayed in touch with me.
Most people that were not in touch with me outside of the trinity have not communicated with me.
AND THAT'S OK!!
There are plenty of ways to communicate with me if desired.
I haven't eradicated my presence online or through social media. I'm just selective.
It hasn't affected my writing, or travel endeavors whatsoever.
As a matter of fact, I have taken up a few more percussion instruments. I spend a lot more time writing, meditating, AND DANCING!!
I am learning new languages, and strengthening my relationships one-on-one.
Sure, there are those who told me that they only used (fill in the blank), and only messaged and communicated via F, I or T.
That had no effect on me.
That is their choice and this is mine.
I sent a newsletter to 161 people, including many from my F, I and T days. I heard from about 30 of them. Some told me personally, later on, that they had read my newsletter and enjoyed it.
I understand there are those who need the interaction of the biggest social medias, for whatever reason.
I don't judge. Use it as you see fit. (No pun intending.)
These platforms are happy to have as many members as possible.
Members mean money, and lots of it.
It's business. Just business.
For each attrition there are new users.
The triad isn't going anywhere anytime soon.
The sun will still rise regardless of click, comment or swipe.
As always, thanks for reading.
See you next week.
Picture you are teaching a one-on-one class with a student.
In my case, we were working on breath work and energy work in a moving meditation class
We started by sitting in chairs facing each other.
We had closed our eyes and were taking some DEEP breaths to help us relax.
All of a sudden I felt that my student was not sitting across from me anymore.
I opened my eyes and he was standing in the back of the room.
I said, "What's up?"
He said, "I gotta fart."
I tried to be as cool as possible with that statement.
What I mean by that is I tried so hard not to laugh about it.
It was funny and endearing and...
When is anyone so REAL with someone they don't know well; someone they are just beginning to trust?
Mind you, the young men who I taught in juvenile justice took my class after they having their dinner and a shower.
YOU KNOW that gas will sneak up on you after you eat; especially if you are eating a more institutionalized diet.
He said he wanted to be respectful of me and not "stink me out" with the smell. I said that it was perfectly OK and not to be concerned about it at all.
Then he said: “Yea, it's a natural body function."
I was so proud of him for having that attitude.
My students could be so real and genuine, that is why I loved teaching them. They've been through tough times and can still be honest.
Sometimes VERY honest!
So he stood there waving his gym shorts around and actually very discreetly taking a whiff to see if it smelled.
Can you imagine?
All out of respect for me AND so he wasn't holding it in struggling with pain for an entire class.
Maybe we ALL can take a lesson from that.
Then he simply came back to the chair and we finished up the session.
It happened to him again at the end of the class, but by then we were completely relaxed about,
I chuckled because little did I know that it would become an all too regular occurrence in ALL of my classes.
I would be teaching and all of a sudden someone would yell "Oh man, that's disgusting.", then there would be a parting of the Red Sea away from one of the students in the class. There was no hiding who actually committed the "offense".
"Sorry, Ms. KaZ."
"Come on, that's ok. It's natural. I hope you are feeling better."
"Yea, A LOT!"
I would then tell the story about someone I knew who hated when women burped or farted. Women, not men, women.
Or maybe it was just me.
This person said it was gross and unladylike.
He could fart and burp away but for me or another woman to do it - absolutely not!
It makes it difficult being in a relationship with someone and not being able to be yourself. Much less get any kind of relief from holding in the building gases until the "opportune" time to release them.
To this day I'm pretty shy about that.
My student looked at me with a very quizzical expression and said: "well, that sounds stupid".
All I could think of was the quote from the film Forrest Gump about stupidity. It says it all.
That leads me to the timeless and wise saying from the movie Shrek : "better out than in".
Maybe holding in our burps and farts is a metaphor for life.
Sometimes "better out than in".
Words to live by on many levels..
As always thanks for reading.
See you next week.
KaZ has been in many facets of entertainment, plus the co-owner of two restaurants, a fitness center, a television production company and the owner of a cinema. She did a stint in politics, and in veterinary medicine, She now focuses on writing.
In addition to the above, KaZ is an award-winning vocalist, a former dancer, stunt actor, circus artist, & professional water skier. She has worked as a theater artistic director & writer.
KaZ has been a published writer in magazines & books since the age of 15. She has written plays that have been produced in New York, Florida & New Orleans. She has a featured chapter in the book How To Survive A Move. (Up-to-date she has moved 45 times!) She wrote an article for Organic Wine Journal, and also wrote an article featured at the Ground Zero Memorial.
KaZ co-wrote 2 television informational series & 3 television pilots. One of the pilots, a sit-com, was produced as a reality pilot. KaZ has revisited it and it's now a one season cable series.
“(And ) Then This Happened.” based on life, love, and everything in between in the mid-life years. Loosely based on her life and the life of two of her best girlfriends.
KaZ's many high pressure pursuits led her to meditation.
She began studying meditation in '91. Her initial training focused on Kundalini Yoga with Yogi Bhajan and his teachers. She is a certified Master Meditation and Qigong Instructor, having taught
throughout California, Florida, New York & British Columbia, Canada and online worldwide.
Most recently KaZ taught in a juvenile justice facility, and lectured on mental health in juvenile justice.
With writing being her first love, look for KaZ's upcoming children's books:
from the tales of two grandmothers.
Plus, a play based on letters from her two great uncles during the Second World War.