Photo Safari and Yoga Retreat in Amazing Hawaii

Learning the Secrets

Learning the Secrets

The Easiest Way to Learn How to Get Amazing Photographs

in the Best Place in the World to Relax

April 14, 15, 16

Discover your joy and spirit on the Incredible Island of Oahu

Join me in Hawaii

You’ll learn how to use your camera (any camera) and how to see light, choose the best angle, create kick-ass composition, and practice your timing.

I guarantee you’ll get better photographs after shooting with me. 

Here’s what retreat participants have said:

“It made me see in a new way.”
– Satya, India

“I had an awesome time and learned so much!”
– Kristin, Germany

“You are a great teacher!”
– Michele Darby, Australia

I learned more in 2 days with you than in 20 years of trying to figure it out.

– Becca Hamar, USA

You don’t need a fancy camera. Bring your point and shoot, phone, or DSLR

Small group only. 4 people max.

Linda reveals her thoughts on learning how to take better photographs

lanikai

Suddenly your body and soul will be set free on astoundingly vibrant Oahu,
in Honolulu where I am right now!

It is widely known that Hawaii is one of the most powerful places on earth.

You’ll feel it as soon as you step off the plane.

Soft white sand and the pristine Pacific will infuse you with peace and well-being.

Exhilarating swims in crystalline turquoise water will jumpstart your spirit.

You can do it every day, It’s like swimming in silk.

We’ll be doing yoga every morning in the lush beauty of Kapiolani Park steps from Waikiki Beach with a drop dead view of the turquoise water.

“It is the best practice for finding that most tender, gentlest, softest
part of your self and restoring health.”

– Diana Celeste, Guatemala

“My body feels good, my mind feels good – I feel so empowered!”
– Yoon Leem, Belize

“I feel energized”
– Eva, Spain

After our kundalini yoga session, we’ll be shooting and learning how to see light and get photographs that will astound your friends.

You’ll also get a great shot of your self in our people shooting sessions.

If I was doing a portrait for a client it would be $500.

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You’ll receive expert advice and tips on your work; what you are doing that works in your photographs and exactly how other photographs can be more amazing so you have practical advice on how to shoot better right now.

You will return home knowing how to shoot better to get the results you want.

Heaps of one-on-one private attention in a bird sanctuary setting by the sea.

You’ll have time to relax, swim, walk, shop and spa. It’s easy to get around here in Honolulu, walking from the Queen Kapiolani Hotel will get you to the beach, shopping and park in 5 minutes.

Don’t miss this, you’ll be astonished how just being here

will quiet your mind and inspire your soul

Photography and Yoga Guidance 

April 14, 15, 16

$500 for all yoga and one-on-one photography guidance

My private photo safari sessions are $300 and

$100 a session for private yoga instruction

Yoga is optional if you would rather sleep in!

Soak up the serenity and creative empowerment for a lot less cash.

Escape from what ails you and give yourself new life and energy.

Exclusive and private.

Get recommendations on lodging, transport, activities, spa treatments, paddle boarding, surfing and sightseeing.

You want to extend your stay? Great deals on fun North Shore activities, see the gigantic waves in Pupukea, visit the center of surf culture in Haliewa, and enjoy organic farms, a drop dead amazing coastline and stunning vistas.

You’ll walk away from this trip with renewed purpose and peacefulness. Guaranteed.

Or you may want to travel the world and never go home, I’ll show you how to do it.

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Who am I?

I’m an author, award-winning photographer, mother, yoga instructor, app publisher, and CEO of fun.

I’ve been traveling and teaching for 7 years, after selling my belongings in the heart of Silicon Valley to live my dream and discover the world.

You can read about it on my app in the itunes store for ipads and iphones on how to be a location independent entrepreneur and have an amazing life. 

I’ve had my own business for a quarter of a century in Palo Alto, California, down the street from Steve Jobs.

Yes I’ve been a veteran pro for decades and have the expertise to guide you into taking the best photographs you’ve ever captured.

I’ve led programs at Apple, Intel, Stanford University and worldwide. You’ll benefit from the tips I learned earning $500 an hour shooting in Silicon Valley.

Join us, it’s guaranteed you’ll change your life, be amazed, learn how to take better photographs, feel more healthy, and jumpstart your energy.

Bartnikowski.studentsLakeAitilanGuatemala

Here are the benefits and reasons you can’t miss this:

1. Oahu has the freshest air I’ve inhaled in 31 countries worldwide.
2. The cleanest water I’ve ever floated in, it’s pure salty goodness and astonishingly pristine.
3. The sacred energy of Hawaii is real. There is no place like it on earth.
Come and find out for yourself.
4. The best food ever as I now know the good places to eat, including farms, grocery stores and markets, that meet my zesty standards of remarkable quality.
5. Guidance and inspiration on yoga, meditation, photography and expressing your most creative and amazing self.

Doesn’t matter if you’ve never picked up a camera or done yoga before. 99% of it is showing up. You don’t need a fancy camera either.

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Here’s what you need to bring:

Your enthusiasm
Bathing suit and clothes for yoga
Camera: point and shoot, phone, or DSLR
Charger, cords, cards and case for your camera to protect it
Sandals, flip flops to get wet
Yoga matt if you can

PS It’s guaranteed that you’ll love being here.
Ask me anything about the 3-day retreat and how you can be a part of it.

Queen Kapiolani Hotel in Waikiki is the best deal in town for lodging. And you can walk to eat, swim, shop, surf, and see the sights.

MaryBeccaNorthShorePhotoSafari

More accommodations? Kindly write me

There are 2 spots available.

Suddenly you may find your self in paradise.

Big Love,

Mary
[email protected]

808-542-4566

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10 Things to do in Thailand

DCIM109GOPRO I am back in Thailand after 8 months of traveling in Cambodia, Myanmar, Nepal and India. I am falling in love with the Land of Pad Thai, Dragon Fruit and Orchids. Absence does make the heart grow fonder. Here is what I love to do in Thailand: Motorbiking in the hills of Pai as seen in the above photo. Absolutely jaw – drop gorgeous scenery and no traffic until the tourists arrive in November.

Eating! 

fruitshakes22sushisashimishake22And the best part? You won’t gain weight. No bread or cheese, mostly small portions of noodles or rice with spicy meats/fish and veggies. Barbecued fish is sold on the street for $1 to $1.75 US, what’s not to like? I was looking forward to cooking but since stoves are not standard issue in apartments I just walk out my door, hop on my motorbike and today for lunch I had roast duck with rice and it was crazy delicious. $1.50 US. My neighborhood in Chiang Mai is full of wonder and yumminess. Sap Li! (that’s Thai for very delicious) KhaoSoisoup22Khao Soi soup – my favorite!

Commune with an elephant. VagabondCoverIssue1Read my Thailand issue of Vagabond in the itunes store for your ipad here.

Go see temples in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and in Issan: Wat Suan Dok in Chiang Mai and there is a Vegetarian restaurant in the back. DCIM109GOPROGo to the markets – if you can stand to be shell-shocked by consumerism. But its all in fun and entertaining to watch other shoppers buying bags of loot. And its mostly all cheap too. You can always stop when you are getting overwhelmed. But you never know when the perfect pair of sandals will fall on your head out of the sky or you will just get so hungry you have to eat again – take your pick.

Make Friends. JolieMary22 englishclasswithnong22 Volunteer to speak English with a class – its great fun and you laugh a lot! nongmaryyoga22Do yoga and have a Thai massage.

Enjoy the flora and fauna.

Discover waterfalls and hot springs in Pai.

Write me at [email protected]

Web site: http://bartnikowski.com

See Mary TV

ADDpink flower in paiLove from Thailand!

Vagabond Mary

 

10 Reasons to Quit Your Job Now

My New Backyard in Belize

10 Reasons to Quit Your Job Now

The Dalai Lama said, “Asians don’t know how to worry.”

He must have noticed that people in the USA are about to have heart attacks from thinking too much.

I have the solution. Quit your job and leave the West behind – spread your wings and fly!

Here’s my list to inspire you:

1.You’ll get younger (not older.) Studies have shown, keep learning

and you won’t age. Those brain cells need revitalizing.

2.Stress kills, quit, and find something you love

3.Go live in another country. It costs less than staying in the USA working.

For example:

My rent per month in 2012 in all the countries I lived in this year:

Belize: $450 for a shack – it was on the Caribbean Sea, folks!

Guatemala: $300 for a lovely house with private terrace overlooking Lake Atitlan utilities included.

Tulum, Mexico: renting a clean basic room on the Yucatan a few kilometers from the sea for $20 per night or if you like rustic, $8 per night for a hostel or camping on the beach, same price. I liked the beach until I got rained out.

Half Moon Bay, California $600 for 2 weeks for a small 2-room house walking distance to the glorious beach.

Bangkok, Thailand: fully loaded hotel room – AC, own bathroom, king-size bed, wifi in room, proper air flow, quiet and all for $21 per night.

Loei, Thailand in Issan. Room in guesthouse: use of kitchen, wifi in room, fan only, kind family, shared spotlessly clean bathroom, $6 per night.

Chiang Mai, Thailand: Guesthouse $12 per night; wifi in room, AC, fridge, good bed, Quiet.

Pai, Thailand Best Deal of the Year: $200 per month (incl. utilities) for my own house in Pai with a breathtaking view of the sunset, quiet, mountains, hot springs, and clouds floating by (no wifi in the house, no AC, I loved it!)

So the high cost is no longer an issue.

$200 US dollars per month folks!

$200 US dollars per month folks!

4. Don’t think about it – just dive in. Luangpo my meditation master and spiritual friend in Loei, Thailand says, “You thinking, thinking, you aren’t in Thailand. Look at heart, look at body.” It’s all about the moment.

Anything you have to think about for too long usually doesn’t work.

5. You discover the wonder inside you by slicing off the past.

There is nothing familiar: no anchors to hold on to — you are free floating.

I’m not saying the past is bad. Just that the Past is Over. The Present is where it’s.

6. What do you live on?

You live on your wits.

You can volunteer and receive room and board

You can give massages, cook, teach yoga/meditation, English, you can do it!

I currently, teach photography, yoga and meditation, write and shoot for Vagabond Magazine, and get hired to shoot photographs.

Set up a business for tourists – guiding, teaching.

Run an Internet business

Do the business you are doing now as a consultant from Asia, Belize, or Fez, Morocco.

Teaching yoga on the Caribbean in Belize

7. “I’ll do it next year”never happens.

Once you do it – you will wonder why you didn’t do it sooner.

Teaching Meditation in Pai, Thailand

8. OK you do have to pay back your bills before doing it. So did I.

Now I have one bill: for my storage unit back in California for my photography/art stuff, china dishes from my Mom, glassware and artifacts.

9. Being free is a choice. Choosing to be happy is also a choice. I choose happiness every day even when I’m feeling bratty.

Santa Cruz, Guatemala terrace of my home overlooking Lake Atitlan

10. Invest in your self. Rather than the stock market or a house.

Give your self the option of re-inventing yourself. Only you can do it – no one else will do it for you.

Dharmasala, india View from my bedroom

Jump in! Don’t think about it. Bathe in the sweet waters of wonder and awe.

Write and tell me what you feel and how you will implement your new plans!

Me, teaching yoga in Belize

See my Photography

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Vagabond Travel Photography Mag for your iPad

Kitten Heels in Kathmandu, Adventures of a Female Vagabond

My Life as a Child

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I wondered when I would leave home to explore the world but I was only four years old.

I had to wait until I was at least nine.

So I just kept riding my orange push-pedal fire engine around the block knowing that one day I would fly free.

For fun, I would walk downtown to the city library and get lost in the stalls reading books and smelling the rarified air of literature. There was adventure in those books. Wild wonderful global explorations that called to my heart.

I’d be exploring when I got taller. But for now I could read the book, Mary Poppins and how she floated from cloud-to-cloud and visited worlds I could only imagine.

Someday I would discover the world just like her.

Arrive when and where I wanted to then float off to a new place.

I brought home armloads of books and was determined to read every book I found interesting. I started reading before kindergarden because I wanted to discover the worlds beyond my own boundaries of Canandaigua, an Upstate, New York, Finger Lakes town.

Canandaigua was bursting with colonial houses and wide front porches, full attics and large basements. It was the land of snowflakes freshly falling on every Christmas morning guaranteed. Sleigh rides, snowball fights, and building forts in the heaps of snow.

It was a good place to grow up.

But it was so cold my face froze one winter and I had a large patch of red on my cheeks when I drank alcohol for years. After I moved to the tropics my face returned to normal.

My cheeks had thawed.

I knew I wanted to be an artist but kept it to myself in my medically inclined professional family.

My bestfriend Cherie and I hatched a plan to run away on a motorcycle with one suitcase bungeed to the back – off we would go in to the rarefied air of world exploration.

Today I bungeed my rolling suitcase to the back step of a red truck – a pickup-like affair transporting people in Thailand to their destination for cheap – 50 cents a ride. They did not charge me the inflated tourist price so I gave him more than a 100% tip after he helped me move my luggage in the pouring rain off the truck.

The drivers never do that – I’ve been in Thailand 6 times and that is just not done.

So I have arrived!

I just realized right this minute that my deepest dream I held in my heart as a child has come true.

If you want to see my gallery of photography click here

Me with my sisters - I am on the lower right showcasing the black poodle on my new dress

Me with my sisters – I am on the lower right showcasing the black poodle on my new dress

Creating and the Creatures Who Live Here

I arrived in Thailand and plunged into creating Vagabond, my online magazine about Being Free, and Discovering the World as a Global Nomad.

Apple Computer approved it today!

Thank you Steve Jobs, and all those artistic engineers and creatively powerful people who work at 1 Infinity Loop in Cupertino (Apple headquarters.) Talk about creating!

It’s available in the iTunes store for iPads, Vagabond, a free app under newsstand.

Check it out!

Thailand the land of milk, honey, and mangoes gives me creative goosebumps.

I create my way out of any excuse I come up with here – I just do it.

In this tiny hamlet atop a mountain peak, Pai, sings with expression and communication.

Here’s me in my bamboo and coffee office.

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I’ve been in Thailand 6 months. It’s not that easy to stay here so long. Why?

Here’s what I was required to do:

  • Go on a visa run to Burma by bus ( took the entire day)
  • 2 visa extensions after riding over the highest mountain pass in Thailand (twice) on a puny motorbike. I did not die in that ditch I landed in – a kind truck driver pulled me out.
  • http://youtu.be/CI74Rgu6law Burma/Myanmar Border Crossing

But it was worth it — I moved into my cottage in the woods here in Northern Thailand in Pai, a breathtaking village that sweeps you off your feet with its astoundingly vibrant scenery, tons of hot springs, and sparkling waterfalls to boot.

You can get a Thai massage here for $7 or less, and eat scrumptious food for a few dollars a meal in a restaurant – serious. 2 reasons I love it here.

So what’s it like to create with the creatures who live here in my home?

Last night I heard a scritch-scratching noise near my actual head and turned around to see the underside of a 12-inch gecko 10 inches from my eyeballs on the other side of the screen window. That’s why it sounded so close; he was hanging out with me but I didn’t know it.

I guess we’re getting to be friends.

Just the other day I was wondering where King Kong gecko had gone – he had not shown up in a few days. Last I saw him he was parked behind my refrigerator making a racket trying to catch bugs. He was shaking the Frigidaire!

A pang of hunger arose and I bolted to my hanging bunch of bananas from the ceiling in the kitchen and there was my abominable gecko just inches from my fingertips staring at me with his bugged out eyes.

He didn’t even flinch when I grabbed the banana from its bunch of 8.

He just stayed there clinging to the top of the wall with his rubber-cupped feet.

I marveled at how I don’t scream any more when I see him.

He stays out of my bedroom and has the full run of the kitchen when I am sleeping. I don’t know what he does in there but he has not eaten anything that I know of.

This is all very colorful for the creative process. I may be editing my writing and hear geckos chirping mixed with crickets singing. Yes geckos like to congregate on my screened windows and get close to the light rays coming from inside.

It’s like the Jacob Javits Convention Center in NYC outside my bedroom door when I go to the bathroom at night; they are surrounding the ceiling light pow-wowing.

I like being inside my screened domain as bugs and lizards cannot find me in there and no one slithers across my computer screen either.

So my creative process goes like this:

Wake up in paradise hearing birds singing their hearts out.

Smile.

Turn over and suggest to my body that it sleep longer.

Most of the time get up and turn on the electric teapot.

Chinese or Thai Tea in hand I am delighted by the light show on the treetops while butterflies flitter around.

Meditate and chant then walk to my yoga pavilion down the dirt driveway. There is no asphalt here and I like that. The dirt driveway is between two rows of frangipani trees. Then I get to the yoga pavilion and I am rewarded. I didn’t ditch yoga I am doing it every day oh yes and I feel like an eagle looking out from its nest.

The mountain scape is intoxicating.

Here is the view from my front porch in Pai:

And a sunset view from the same porch.

Then I do my email, as the yoga pavilion is my home office.

What do I do after yoga? I eat a hearty breakfast in my cottage on stilts.

See me in my kitchen cooking here:

http://you.be/outTblup4CeKv0

After showering I jump on my motorbike to go to my real office to “work.”

A plump pillowed coffee and bamboo covered lounge area in the village – that no one seems to know about but me as now the owner is leaving me there solo while she slips out to do errands.

I lay in a hammock and do my writing/ photography editing/ more email /posting.

I am learning a language that I never knew before. And I’m not talking about Thai.

Internet marketing is another language for me – and its not as sexy as Italian but OK the creative process is not comfortable. I learned that from Billy Wilder that crazy wild amazing director from the 40’s and 50’s who wrote and directed intelligent comedy i.e. Some Like it Hot.

I learned how to use the magazine platform that they said was easy but it was not easy.

I am learning and ding-dang it I needed to learn how to use tools I never knew I needed before.

It isn’t comfortable to stretch past pre-conceived notions but somehow doing it here with the geckos and spiders (I forgot to mention them) and birds and butterflies isn’t so bad. In fact its downright invigorating when I consider that afterwards I can go to the hot springs and wallow in sacred spring water from the earth’s crust healing me with heat and effervescence.

So there were a few times I felt apprehensive but I let myself feel that and my acupuncturist from Morocco noticed. She needled me with an infusion of confidence.

She charges me $10 a session – that is far less than what she charged the people she used to treat when she lived in Manhattan and had clients at the World Trade Center.

When all the online language and things that were supposed to be “easy” to do were actually hard I questioned why I jumped into this ocean of new things. But I kept swimming and now the magazine is done. I created an app!!! And Apple Computer is selling it for me! OMG

I do not have an iPad yet and having recently learned just what an app is I feel like I’m thriving in the right direction. Now the momentum is going and I am letting it take me.

So the moral of the story is (remember that cartoon show about Mr Peabody; they always ended it this way?)

Keep going even when it doesn’t feel so hot. Keep going even when you are treading water and this dang program won’t let you delete text or move something simple in your graphic layout.

Just get up and go outside and say hello to all the critters who may be clinging to your house, notice the spider who is weaving a web under your window, say hello to the baby gecko who lives in the tree trunk post holding up the entryway stairs – notice the large winged insects who bash themselves against the lights and end up kicking their insect legs in the air as they can’t turn over again.

http://youtu.be/oWGLt2zuCGA Spider and Bedroom Chat

I pick them up and send them soaring again. I freed a butterfly from a spiders web today and it swiftly flew off happily. I was elated. So what that the spider missed a meal?

Take a minute and be grateful that you have the moments to make this mountain out of – you know that phrase making a mountain out of a molehill?

Yes I see it as making a mountain out of moments in your life that you want to express to the world, the heavens and the ethers so you do it and let the day become what it will. And the rain and the clouds and the sun shining through rainbows lights up your heart and you keep on.

Check out my web site to stay current with me and get a FREE e-book

on Secrets of Stunning Photographs

this is my life’s work in 40 pages.

Love and Peace, Mary

Walking into the Sex Industry

I was in Bangkok staying in the Miami Hotel in the Sukhumvit area thinking; this is the kind of place I usually don’t spring for – it was $15 a night and I wanted them to charge me less but I had my own refrigerator and bathroom so I was happy. I just didn’t know that I was living in the middle of Thailand’s sex industry.

At 5:30AM I was leaving my hotel with my yoga matt going to the city park where Thais congregate to do Tai Chi or walk briskly. Darkness shades the street, dawn has not arrived yet.

And there in front of my hotel is a barrage of tables with big African guys sitting and looking over the livestock. I know they are African because they have that kind of skin that can be seared for years in the sun and it will always be black with those impossibly white eyes and heave-ho musculature I don’t see on white men. I see women in skimpy outfits parading around their tables and realize oh my god they are all hooking up and selling sex while I walk thru the crowd with my yoga matt.

I decided I would not look more deeply at any of the men’s eyes who were now staring at me like who is this new chick? They hadn’t picked out their prostitute yet from the pack so I was fresh meat walking by in my yoga pants.

I felt safe but naked being probed with their eyes. Here in Thailand where people are not running around with guns I never hear about rapes or robberies.

Maybe I am living in a bubble of calm but when I go back to my own country I read about grisly murders in the press or hear about oil spilled over virgin waters and lands. Well, maybe these things are happening here in Thailand but I never hear about them. Does this mean they don’t happen?

Take the red shirts for example – the protesters came from Issan where I was living in the northeast part of Thailand – farmers and the bottom class of people who were not making much money. They were pissed so they set up shop in the middle of Bangkok and peacefully protested. Well that turned into bombs and killings and 2 months later most Thai people were concerned that nothing was being done to stop them.

And I told everyone, “Don’t worry it’s just a bunch of Buddhists.”

Yeah, right.

I’m not sure why the red shirts failed or why they thought they could do a better job than the current bureaucracy but they kept their red shirt city in operation until they were jailed and some of them were shot.

So. I still feel safe in this country. Even with the red shirts and the sex industry I know that what we have here is better than what we have in the USA.

I am slowly evolving into an ex-pat.

Here there is superior medical facilities at an affordable price, clean and reliable transportation, and kind people.

There are no big burly scary men beggars living on the street. There are just peaceful nuns and monks who ask for money or food. If I had a bag of rice I would give it to them. Many people do.

I lived with monks and nuns in a Buddhist temple for 2 months in Loei and they go out at 5:30am and receive food from the town’s people. I was humbled that this was how we got our food to eat every day. Divinity provides.

People were happy to give their food to the monks on the street. I saw it on their faces in the soft glow of dawn as they piled the monks’ begging bowls with rice, fish, sweets, eggs, everything. They did it with love. That does not happen in the USA. It’s every man for himself. How little we have learned from the east.

But then there is the sex industry.

How does that continue here and why is it allowed? I love this country and now it is my favorite. I never expected that Thailand would steal my heart like this. It’s clean, I have friends here, its holy, there is an abundance of fresh fruit and wifi.

All is good.

Being a Global Citizen

I went and did it – I sold everything I own. I am now free of the USA and the Western world. No more furniture, no car to maintain, and no home to rent out. Poof – all gone.

I feel liberated.

My stuff didn’t make me happy. Adventures and exploring make me happy. I don’t need my sofa or bed – I can fall asleep on a plank now.

I live in bungalows on the beach, ashrams in the mountains, temples, tents, hotels and family guesthouses. I teach photography and yoga and stay open to change. I work as I live, moving and staying in a place for two to six months then going somewhere new.

It feels light; like I lost a hundred pounds and can now fly free. I love this feeling of no car insurance, no bookcases, no huge hulking objects, and did I mention no car to take care of? I cashed in the car when I went to South America for 6 months. I feel like I’m floating.

Houston we have lift-off.

Now I can be happy eating a banana. The pear and fresh cheese from Italy help too. I’m rich.

I started to travel and teach five years ago taking 6 to 8 month chunks of time to do it. I discovered a new universe of helping non –profits with photography and writing, conversing with kids in schools, and enjoying my life without having to keep up with California.

With no itinerary, no big budget, and very little electricity I’ve ridden elephants bareback in Nepal, taught yoga in India, photographed the Dalai Lama, meditated in holy caves, taught salsa dancing to babies in Colombia, and surfed in Ecuador and Peru.

While my colleagues were seeing their retirement accounts dwindle and patronizing upscale bars I was hitchhiking in the Himalayas freezing my ass off on the highest motor-able pass in the world in Ladakh and being invited to live in a home for abandoned people in Argentina; feeding them soup with a big dose of love. I discovered that living a simple life was better than buying the latest Italian cashmere sweater, overpriced jeans, or drinking premium red wine from California vineyards every night.

The West has a lot of knowledge but not much wisdom. Wisdom is what I find in Asia; being invited into the homes of people who live in a mud brick dwelling who happily offer their food and friendship, or in a nunnery where the nuns are living 4 to a room but laugh and pray all day and get me to smile just by their presence and freshness.

I don’t have a wealthy family who supports me or a spouse who sends me cash. I’m an artist and writer, with my own photography business. I raised a son and supported my family on the income from my business in one of the priciest places to live on the planet in northern California.

I am grateful.

I took the chance to do what I loved to do and got paid for it. Living life this way without working for a big corporation and lots of perks taught me to leap into the unknown and trust that you will fall in rose petals.

When I first started traveling I would go back to the States every 6 to 8 months to work at my photography business, see my family and friends and then leave again. I’d touch down in the Western world, go into culture shock, get down to business, and a few months later get on a plane and leave.

Now that I am a professional vagabond I don’t have to go back. I will stay here in paradise. Koh Phangan has taken hold of my ankles and held me in this mystical aura of no stress, devastatingly gorgeous nature, barbecued catfish and other delicacies I can’t identify.

I notice I’m still here. I only leave to get a new visa.

I have tried to buy plane tickets to other countries but when the web site asks me to hit the submit payment information my finger will not do it.

I have learned in my round the globe travels when you find a place you love just stay and soak it up. It took 3 years to figure that out. I pushed myself to cross more borders and search other mountains and swim on new seashores. Now I have friends all over the world and the longer I stay in one place the longer I want to stay.

It is starting to feel like home here. Where is home? In my backpack. In my connection to a place, the way I feel in the morning when I see the sun rise on my beach that I share with the sky and the palm trees.

This is where God gets drunk. In Koh Phangan, Thailand.

Rinpoche, my Tibetan Buddhist lama and teacher from Sikkim gave me a fresh perspective on my travels – he said, “It’s all a passing show – everything changes.” And did you know that strokes are caused by stress and worry?

I won’t be dying of stress that is for sure.

My stress involves getting on a plane and taking my Vans sneakers off and asking to have my film hand-inspected. Or running to catch a train in India and almost missing it; the huckster I was buying potato chips from in the station would not give me my 40 rupees change back, the robber. My train was leaving and my luggage was on it. RUN for your life! So I abandoned the huckster and my rupees and ran to catch it as my Macbook thumped on my chest about to get a heart attack – that case is damn heavy.

So it costs more to be working in California than it does to be here in Thailand eating pad thai, swimming in the ocean, exploring, and teaching photo safaris.

Teaching doesn’t feel like work to me. It feels like real life. I like to share in 3 hours what took me 25 years to figure out in photography and encourage my students to shoot the moon with unbridled enthusiasm.

Being a nomad is what I have dreamed of doing for years. I am free to wander the globe and let the universe guide me. After traveling and teaching on 4 continents in 26 countries I feel more than ever that I am just beginning to see how large the world is and how much more I want to see and experience. Wanderlust is now my full time job.

 

 

Pai, Thailand, Life as a Vagabond

 

My home in Pai Thailand

 

My home countries are Thailand and India with side dishes of Nepal, Laos, and Bali.  I feel happy inside my skin in the East.

I like being in the mountains of Thailand now. It’s a blend of primitive, sacred and wifi. Kindness and Buddhism prevails. No one swears or gets angry – no entitlement issues. I’m less and less interested in going back to the States; it doesn’t soothe my soul. But I do have spiritual teachers in California. I could visit them and do some good – maybe I will set some talks up before I return so I can share what I have learned here in Asia with my fellow Americans: meditation, yoga, letting it be, and living in the moment.

Outside the USA there is more chance of letting holiness permeate the soul without all the commerce, playboy porn star standards of beauty and an over reliance on automobiles and pretense. We’ve gotten caught up in stuff and greed and showing off and I include myself in that as when in the States there is very little emphasis on the sacred.

In Bali it’s a full-time job to make offerings and go to temple – my friends in Bali said, “We spend 60% of our income on temple offerings.”

In the States it’s far different – people want to hook up with money and prestige.

When I was 20-nothing I wanted the strange and fascinating. I was looking for what I have now. Freedom to explore. And time. I wanted to roam the universe.  And I needed silence. Silence to hear what I felt; to let my soul and spirit give me its wisdom.

I am letting my sense of wonder and awe guide me without a grand plan. My decisions are made for me – they just happen without me having much to do with it. When I get caught up in planning I’m tense – should I stay or what about this other country should I go there? So now I am practicing no decisions and I like it.

Don’t be in a hurry to decide, just let things happen in the moment.

I had planned to go back to Bali right after I left the island but every time I set up the ticket online to fly there I could not press the submit payment info – my finger wouldn’t let me. OK, lets see what the universe has in mind for me and here I am in Chiang Mai having a great time writing and living in a little white room with an overhead fan and a view over an emerald green expanse of trees outside with birds singing. All for only $6 a day including wifi. I’m happy.

I didn’t have a grand plan to visit Chiang Mai but there I was in Bangkok living the high life for $15 a day in a hotel room with my own refrigerator and bathroom and I thought nope this is too much to pay I am heading out to the country and hopped on a 12 hour train to get to the mountains, here in this hick town blended with temples. It’s not posh or pushy with tons of used bookstores with English books! It would take me forever to get thru them all or at least two weeks so I am staying here and paying this low amount of rent for comfort and cleanliness.

I must be evolving – the last two nights I was woken up by other guests coming home at 3AM and I didn’t get mad or get out of bed to tell them to shut up. I just turned over and wondered if my earplugs were nearby but I never even put them in. I just fell asleep again after they stopped talking.

Then at 5:30 AM I got up to do yoga and meditation – if they heard me I don’t feel badly. We all gotta live and let live.

Maybe I am getting a tiny bit less self-righteous.

So I’m not reading the paper, watching the news, or in any way paying attention to the western world – no media crap – I can let my heart tell me what to do without the overtones of CNN and Hollywood.

I don’t know who those people are on the cover of People magazine.  They all look the same. Same smiles, same sculpted bodies, whitened teeth, and blonde hair.