Nepal, Inside the Jungle, Chitwan National Park

Sauraha, Nepal

Sauraha, Nepal

I’m sitting in a lush garden in Sauraha, at a restaurant that was open at 7AM. With wifi and espresso. This. Never. Happens. Here.

So I’m eating my fried eggs with yak cheese (locally made) in this stunning botanical landscape when I hear from one of the servers that rhinos show up here quite often.

We’re talking wild rhinos. Not the kind at Disney Land. In this garden.

The actual location of the photo above is a mere few feet from the edge of the jungle so elephants, tigers and rhinos often roam over that line.

It’s their home not ours.

I was instructed last night by a long time local who was born inside the jungle before it was a national park that if you’re chased by a rhino you have to run away zig zagging as they like to run in a straight line.

Important fact to know. 

Last time I was here I was almost crushed by a few elephants who were fighting. I don’t want to die on my vacation. Sometimes things are too exciting.

Here’s the link to the near crushing. On YouTube.

And more of the twin baby elephants that were born here the last time.

But the most fun thing to do is hang out with the villagers.

First visit to the village of Dharmpor in Nepal

First visit to the village of Dharmpor in Nepal

 

I was sure I didn’t hang out anymore but I discovered that this is what many people do here. Rest, relax, and don’t kill themselves working. This may be just for the men, the women sure look like they’re working non-stop.

We had an amazing day yesterday working on the land that is being developed for Beyond the Four Walls, which many of you know empowers women. Little do most people know, Wolf Price, the founder has been here in Nepal for 10 years and it really takes a team to get anything done. The fact that plumbing and electricity get installed at all is a huge undertaking. The workers don’t always know how to do it even when they say they do. So you have to know people and get help from others in your network.

This is not easy, it is similar to any business, where you have to cultivate a network of people who you really like and want to spend time with. To make your businesses evolve.

I’m learning tons, and yesterday I pulled rusty nails out of recycled bamboo to be used to build a fence, everything gets used here.

I’m also eating things I can’t identify but it sure tastes good.

If you want to know more about this social venture and donate check it out here.
www.b4wnepal.com

www.bartnikowski.com, Nepal, Chitwan Park

www.bartnikowski.com, Nepal, Chitwan Park

www.b4wnepal.com

www.b4wnepal.com

Kauai Private Yoga and Photography Retreat

 

Private Yoga and Photography 3-Day Retreat

Discover the best island in the world. Relax, rejuvenate, and re-set your life.

Escape your jam-packed life and luxuriate in one-on-one private photography instruction with any camera you have.

Breathe pristine air, see astounding emerald green cliffs, swim in silky turquoise water, and experience rainbows almost every day. There’s one in my backyard right now!

Soothe and ignite your spirit with me, a Kauai local, guiding you to discover the potent power places on island.

Yes being in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, the furthest land mass from any other chunk of land, has its secrets.

Kauai is a blended holiness of earth, sea, and sky.

Allerton Garden, www.bartnikowski.com

Allerton Garden, www.bartnikowski.com

What’s Not Included:

1. Crowds of people.

2. Bad food experiences (I know the best places to eat from surprisingly simple locally sourced food to lavish top notch restaurants.)

3. No wasted time doing things you wish you hadn’t done.

You’ll see remarkable vistas.

Anini Beach, www.bartnikowski.com

I guarantee you’ll fall in love with Kauai.

 

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Yoga and Meditation with me on the stunning property of the Islander Resort where your gorgeous studio is located.

What’s Included:

Wake up and do yoga and meditation with me every morning, or sleep in after sweet dreams in your ocean side luxury studio. No driving, I come to you.

Daily private shooting guidance with any camera you have.

Learn how to use the specific camera you bought.

Relax under palm trees on a drop dead gorgeous beach. Read a book, get a massage.

Eat at the best places with guaranteed fresh food, your culinary masterpieces are a foodie’s divine experience. I know where the best restaurants and local dives are that will make you swoon with a satisfied smile on your lips.

3 nights accommodation in a luxury studio on the ocean with your own private lanai. Hear the ocean waves all night long.

Every day, you’ll experience enchanting power places that will open your heart and as Shirley Wu, a recent private retreat participant has said below, “It will change your life.”

Get a new lease on life

Private Retreat Waimea www.bartnikowski.com

Private Retreat Waimea
www.bartnikowski.com

 

Experience the magic of Kauai and see your luxury studio here

Discover Kauai, See Your Luxury Studio

Have the best sleep of your life hearing ocean waves all night from your luxury ocean side studio with private balcony overlooking the turquoise sea.

Your Studio on the Sea www.bartnikowski.com

Your Studio on the Sea
www.bartnikowski.com

Who Am I?

I’m an award-winning photographer, author of 4 books, certified kundalini yoga teacher, and worldwide educator.

After shooting professionally in Palo Alto, the heart of Silicon Valley, for 29 years, raising my family, and leading programs at Stanford, Apple, Intel and in 32 countries my home is now on Kauai.

Yes, I sold my belongings in Palo Alto, California in 2009 after photographing 722 weddings, families, babies, angel investors, and authors. I kickstarted my global life teaching, shooting, and writing.

Meeting saints, sages, the Dalai Lama, and remarkable people worldwide taught me how to change my life and stop worrying.

Yes I teach photography and yoga but the true essence is this, how to have more happiness and peace in a have not world.

I love what I do and strive to empower you to have profound adventures and live life full throttle at the highest octave.

3 Day Retreat for you solo or with your friend/partner, includes all one on one private photography guidance, 3 nights in a luxury oceanside studio with private lanai being lulled to sleep with the soothing sounds of ocean waves, and morning yoga/meditation under magnificent palm trees and a sapphire blue sky.

$2000 includes 3 nights accommodation

Private and exclusive for 1 or 2 people

$4500 includes 5 nights accommodation

Dates Available November 2016 to May 2017

Your retreat is scheduled at the best time for you. What dates are best for you?

Call 808-542-4566 and talk with me.

Or schedule a phone conversation at a time that is convenient for you and I’ll call you, to answer your questions.

Email [email protected]

Obie V. said about his retreat:

“It was the best vacation of our lives! I never would have gotten the photos I captured without you.”

It transforms your soul.”

– Shirley Wu

“I can’t wait to come back, my husband and I loved it!”

– Lynne

See you in Paradise. Book now as these spectacular oceanside units are taken fast!

If you want to learn more, get in touch now before 2016 steam rolls into 2017.

Here’s what you’ll discover here…

Suddenly you’ll be swimming with sea turtles, or simply luxuriating on spectacular Anini Beach on the north shore of Kauai. Here I am enjoying the crystal clear turquoise water with wild and free turtles, below.

bartnikowski.comI swam with sea turtles here yesterday. Don’t wait. Join me on Kauai – you may never want to leave.

Private retreat shooting in Princeville www.bartnikowski.com

Private retreat shooting in Princeville
www.bartnikowski.com

The flora and fauna is off the charts astounding. They don’t call Kauai the Garden Isle for nothing.

www.bartnikowski.com

www.bartnikowski.com

You get 3 days of a customized program:

You decide what you want to do without an ironclad itinerary.

You want to go to the longest beach in Hawaii? No problem, we’ll take the day and go see this world treasure below that the Dalai Lama says is the place where souls leave the planet and you may feel like you’re in heaven here too, I do.

Polihale State Park

Polihale State Park

Or you may want to see what National Geographic says is one of the top 50 tours you have to go on in the world, Allerton Garden, in the National Tropical Botanical Garden. This is where the former Queen of Hawaii personally gardened and where Jacqueline Kennedy retreated after JFK was shot.

This a power place extraordinaire you’ll feel it in every step you take.

Allerton Garden, Poipu www.bartnikowski.com

Allerton Garden, Poipu
www.bartnikowski.com

Aloha and many blessings from Kauai,
Mary

808-542-4566

[email protected]

Mary, Morning Practice www.bartnikowski.com

Mary, Morning Practice
www.bartnikowski.com

Secrets of Kauai

Secrets of Kauai

Learn Yoga and Photography with Any Camera

Dates vary: Apply for your private training October to September

3-Day or 5-Day Intensive

Call me 808-542-4566,

or email, [email protected]

Escape the city, relax and refresh your soul on Kauai, the pristine, sacred, and undeveloped island of Hawaii where no building is taller than a coconut tree.

Learn how to get the best photos you’ve ever taken, shooting from the heart.

Anini Beach, www.bartnikowski.com

Don’t read the dry camera manual, join me and have a spectacular time discovering and shooting power spots on Kauai even if you’ve never picked up a camera before.

Each day will be different starting with Yoga and Meditation under swaying palm trees on a bright green lawn next to your oceanside luxury accommodation.

Or you can sleep in if you like, this is your private retreat for you solo or with a friend/partner.

Poipu Beach www.bartnikowski.com

Poipu Beach
www.bartnikowski.com

We will explore, discover, eat delicious food, and be astounded at the lush landscapes and stunning shores of Kauai.

What Shirley Wu said after her 4 Days of Yoga and Photography Guidance:

Optional Morning Yoga, it’s guaranteed you will recharge and transform doing kundalini yoga and meditation every morning. Even if you’ve never done a pose before. 

This session is not for advanced yogis, it’s for beginners. But if you’ve been doing yoga for a while, I am a certified instructor and can inspire you more deeply with your practice.

Yoga blooms open your heart. You’ll enjoy the day more fully and get that little kid ecstasy feeling.

Yes, you get the benefit of teachings I’ve learned and practiced from saints and meditation masters in Thailand, Nepal, and India.

Private Retreat Waimea www.bartnikowski.com

Private Retreat Waimea
www.bartnikowski.com

This is not only about learning photography and yoga, it’s a kick in the pants for your spirit that will open your world to a new you and change your life.

This is what Kauai did for me and this is why I live here now.

You’ll discover the power places of enchanted Kauai, the most gorgeous island in the world. Yes it will all be revealed to you from a local who loves living here.

Contact me for more information and to schedule your 3 or 5 day retreat at a time that is good for you in the next 6 months:

Phone: 808-542-4566 in Hawaii HST

Email: [email protected]

Who Am I?

I’m an author of 4 books, award-winning photographer for 27 years, and educator in Silicon Valley and worldwide.

I’ve led programs at Stanford University, Apple Computer, Intel, and globally.

You’ll get the benefits of the photography business I founded in Palo Alto, California in 1985 shooting for $500 per hour, down the street from Steve Jobs. I worked with clients from Apple, Intel, Yahoo, Google, and the lawyers, angel investors, doctors, CEO’s and realtors who lead and inspire Silicon Valley.

All my secrets are revealed in my private sessions.

It’s guaranteed you’ll see improved results in your own photos, learning my tips from photographing people and nature in 32 countries. And it’s fun!

What People Are Saying About my Photo Safaris and I am Loving It.

Where will you sleep?

Direct Oceanview Deluxe Studio

Your deluxe room is included in your private retreat. You don’t have to hassle with searching for the perfect spot to stay, this is it!

www.bartnikowski.com

www.bartnikowski.com

Here is the view from your private lanai, above.

In the afternoon/morning we’ll be visiting potent power places on Kauai.

Hanalei Bay,

Secret Beach in Kilauea,

Ke’e Beach on the spectacular North Shore,

Poipu, on the south side…

Does this appeal to your sense of adventure? Join me!

You’ll get the benefits of living life here as a local. But with deluxe accommodations by the ocean in a stunning setting.

After your heart-expanding yoga session, we’ll discover remarkable, secluded places and learn how to mindfully capture the incredible nature here with any camera you have. Angle, Light, Composition and Timing are the focus, not Photoshop or fancy digital trickery. Nope!

You can shoot with a digital or film camera, point and shoot, or DSLR with all the bells and whistles.

It’s guaranteed you will return home with amazing photographs.

You’ll be visiting Ke’e beach, a sacred Hawaiian (Hay-ow) where we’ll swim, snorkel, and enjoy the Bali Hai cliffs around us. And Polihale State Park, the longest pristine beach in Hawaii.
Allerton Garden, www.bartnikowski.com

Allerton Garden, www.bartnikowski.com

 

We are all flowers on this earth and we need open space around us.

You’ll get that here. And smiles are plentiful on this island.

Come with me to catch the seductive effervescence of ocean, sky, and emerald green cliffs. Serene places, stunning nature, waterfalls, and art walks in picture perfect tiny towns, Hanapepe Art Walk, and dinner at Hanapepe Cafe which is only open Friday night.

Yoga and meditation every morning under swaying palm trees on an emerald green lawn.

Or you can sleep in.

Easy photo walks every day and I do mean easy of Kauai’s incredible and stunning power places.

April to October private retreats are available

3-Day or 5 Day personal retreat

Your private retreat on Kauai includes

Oceanside deluxe lodging. 3 nights.

All yoga/meditation, photography, and guidance

Bon Voyage drinks and pupus for a divine sunset at the St. Regis on Kauai photo below 

$2000

5 Day Retreat

$4500

Testimony from the last private retreat I led here on Kauai:

“It was the best vacation we’ve ever had and I never would have gotten the amazing photos I got without you.”

– Obie V.

“It transformed my life.”

– Shirley Wu

www.bartnikowski.com

www.bartnikowski.com

Write me at [email protected] for details.

Or best to call me in Hawaii, 808-542-4566, you’ll get a real live human on the phone, me.

More Praise from private photography sessions with me:

“It made me see in a new way.”
– Satya, Spain
You are a great teacher!”
Kristin Adolf, Germany
“I learned so much today, I’m inspired.”
V. Geronton, France
By clicking the button below you will be brought to the payment gate where you can use your credit card. Or paypal. Happy to see you in paradise! We can also do credit cards over the phone or a check if you prefer. See you next month.Call me 808-542-4566, or email, [email protected]


And you’ll get plenty of time for rest and relaxation too.

North Shore Kauai

North Shore Kauai

Aloha and Blessings,

Mary

PS. Ready to discover your true north? Come to Kauai!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

Wild Dolphins Changed My Life

Vagabond Mag in the itunes store

Learn my tips for the best things to do on the Big Island

You can’t make appointments with wild dolphins. They show up when they want to.

That is the mystery. When they do show up they want to play. But you have to time it right.

I had been waiting and watching for 2 weeks every day going down to Kealakekua Bay and City of Refuge to see if they were frolicking in the Bay at 6:30AM.

They weren’t. I was missing them and their sonar sounds, their playful intoxicating presence that makes your spirit soar.

Cherri came out from Canada for my dolphin retreat and on morning 3 at 6:30AM I vigilantly found myself at the edge of a holy Heaiu – that’s Hawaiian for yes this is a sacred spot – and scanning the water for a flipper or spinner dolphin – any part would do.

Nothing. I looked far out at the horizon. Didn’t see them.

So i turned the car on and started to back away slowly.

Wait. Was there movement out there? 6 to 700 feet away is a little far to tell but I saw something move. Sometimes its just a wave or a snorkeler.

This time it was a tail or a head coming up for air!

Ecstasy!

I bolted to get Cherri down the street.

Driving to her door I could barely contain my excitement. The cars in front of me were crawling.

Don’t you know wild dolphins are in the bay?!

“They’re here!” I shouted to Cherri at her front door.

Her smile lit up the room. We dashed back to the Bay – it was walking distance but driving was faster.

Now we had to fight the waves to get in the Bay. But the waves weren’t so big. I got in first after a biggish wave knocked one of us down. But we were still going – the dolphins were out there.

The trick is to get in the ocean quickly and start swimming before another wave crashes on the rocks under your feet.

We’re in. It’s a long way to swim. I’ve never seen the dolphins that far out. So far out I could barely see them. Were we going to have to swim for a mile?

We kept swimming. After about 200 feet I started getting tired but knew they were out there – we had to keep going. I lifted my head above the water to try and see where they were.

Didn’t see anything.

Suddenly a group of fins were steadily swimming towards us. There was purpose in those fins charging through the turquoise water.

I tried to yell to Cherri but couldn’t be heard since her head was underwater festooned with snorkel gear so I kept on — all of a sudden a group of 12 dolphins surrounded us swimming all around on either side of us, under us, next to us, careening crazy close.

I almost cried i was so happy.

They came to see us!

I felt their aloha all over us – saying hello for 2 minutes – gleefully swimming around us and then…

Suddenly they all were leaving they had somewhere to go.

It was the finest 2 minutes of my recent life.

This is what Cherri said here:

Join us in 2015.

Learn more and apply to come with us here:

vagabondtravelmag.com/2014/05/dolphin-and-photo-safari-hawaii/

marywithcameraPai.croppedforcover

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Led by Mary, the CEO of Fun

And really, isn’t life about having fun and living your dreams? YES!

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.

marywithcameraPai.croppedforcover

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

01maryteachingphotoondeck1

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

01Barbarashooting

Best Beach in the World

lanikai

Lanikai Beach in Kailua, Oahu

How did I get to live on this incredible beach? I googled it.

Where are the most mesmerizing beaches in the world I wondered, 2 months ago, in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Lanikai Beach in Kailua popped right up. It’s official. Its been voted on by global citizens and travel warriors; Lanikai is in the top ten of divine shorelines in the world.

I’ve traveled the planet in 31 countries and this is the best beach, the one I live 2 blocks from right now.

No matter how I wake up in the morning, on the wrong side of the bed, happily, or didn’t get enough sleep; I open my eyes and remember where I am.

I am walking distance to nirvana.

So I literally jump out of bed and get into my bikini, throw a dress over it, and walk or bike down the hill to my personal portal of the divine.

Lanikai means heavenly water in Hawaiian. Boy did they get that right.

kailuaBeachPark.bartnikowski

Now I’m spoiled for life. Nothing compares to it. This morning I could not even wait for my cup of strong coffee I bolted out the front door knowing I could get an Americano at the old style Hawaiian market, the only store within walking to this hallowed and holy spot on earth.

It slips my mind a bit how luscious it is until I round the tennis courts and see the 10 billion dollar view cresting in front of me. A swath of cobalt blue with emerald green lush islands beckoning good morning. I quicken my pace or I slow it down. Depends on the moment.

The salty air calls to me.

I relax into my bones and my spirit is renewed. You can’t look at that view and be blasé.

It’s drop dead gorgeous. Nothing matters now. Only the crisp air warmed by trade winds, and the salty sea for swimming. Our local Lanikai beach with no facilities, no showers, no toilets, no cars, and no loud bad taste music blasting in your ear drums while people blow smoke in your face and yell at each other. No that does not happen here.

So that’s why there are 2 to 4 million dollar homes here. And most people rent out there homes to make a good bit of money. I’m renting a room now in a lovely townhouse overlooking volcanoes, trees and the golf course where Obama golfs for goodness sakes.

People are affected by the gorgeousness. We say good morning to one another. When I’m driving, other drivers let me in the line-up if there is a backlog. Politeness is off the charts here.

It must be because of the heavenly nature of the sea, the fact that turtles like it here and are regularly spotted, paddlboarders, babies and lovers frolic in the turquoise pristine water.

Every morning I swim at Lanikai, after doing yoga and chanting. I feel blessed.

Maybe I did something right in another life to land here.

This place is better than the photographs reveal. But if you can feel the energy in these photos and it tells you to come then you must, you will never be the same person again; this will change and renew your mind and soul.

Don’t think about it just do it.

Check out my perpetual travel of the most astonishing countries in the world here

How to Change Your Life

 

marykidsarnikoRoll002036www.bartnikowski.com 

Living out loud and laughing is the prescription to life’s monsoons. If you don’t laugh every day your enthusiasm gene dries up. It’s that simple. But it took me decades to figure out. What happened?

I got out of my comfort zone, left my leather couch and plump pillows, and started traveling. And not the way I used to travel; spending $500 a day for trips to Maui, staying in luxury resorts, skiing at Squaw Valley sipping cocktails, jetting off to Bora Bora and scuba diving in the Caribbean.

So there I was in the heart of Palo Alto, California, down the street from Steve Jobs, home of all things silicon chipped, 25 years of a successful photography career: great clients, author of a book, what was missing?

I didn’t know the name of it yet but when my 18-year-old son, Wolf, asked me to visit him in Nepal while he was volunteer teaching I said hell, yes!

Kathmandu. It sounded mystical. A dream destination. So I took 2 months off and left California with 50 rolls of film, my Nikon F-3, and a heart full of wonder and awe on Christmas Day 2005.

Suddenly, the unknown snatched me in its jaws.

It was that exact moment after flying over the Himalayas and seeing my son waiting for me in the tiny Kathmandu airport that my heart leaped into overdrive – this was it! The life of being a vagabond I had always wanted but didn’t know what it was called. The air sparkled with possibility and luminescent light. The atmosphere shown with a prism quality that shivered my nerve endings and made me wake up.

Yes, being on the rooftop of the world made me see the light.

Kathmandu felt like 3rd rock from the sun – everything was different – the food, the light, the people, clothes, statuary, and religion. I’d never been in a tuktuk, or eaten Tibetan momos, never seen such gorgeous people before. Nepal was on the US embassy’s unsafe-don’t-visit list but my son was there. I’d walk through fire to see him.

So I was getting my Nepal visa at the airport paying with US dollars not knowing what I was spending until he told me the exchange rate. I could get a hotel room for $12 a night not $200? And it was clean and quiet too.

I was off and running. Drunk on my own freedom.

In Kathmandu, I taught photography to the staff of the Nepal Youth Foundation. Olga Murray, the charismatic and brilliant founder of NYF invited me to teach after I asked her if I could help and it made my trip to Nepal an experiential dream. But it was real and they even gave me taxi money, instant friendship, and wildly delicious meals.

I fell in love with the staff and it fueled me onwards to lead more projects in other countries; many times receiving room and board to do photography, teach, write or all three.

And I discovered it was fun to work without a thought of money; to be liked for doing what I love to do. Taking photographs, teaching, writing, playing with people, babies, elephants, and laughing. And that’s how I became the CEO of fun.

I’m getting rich with experience on seeing how the world lives outside my former bubble of a life devoted to the almighty buck, cashmere, and comfort.

I’ve had an astounding education in life: being a professional photographer, a published author, a hitchhiking hippie, leading programs at major corporations in the USA, photographing the Dalai Lama, riding elephants bareback in Nepal, and learning how to fall off a surfboard, not to mention all the other crazy capers.

But when people tell you you are nuts that usually means you are on to something wonderful.

The thing is…

There’s no better way to learn how the world works than to roll up your sleeves and get filthy with experience like this. I’ve been stupid, smart, lucky, well-off, broke, mocked, and loved and I’ve learned something from every second of it.

People with more money than I have, ask me how I do it. But it doesn’t take a lot of money to do what I do. Doesn’t take much planning either. I just go where my heart calls me to go. And I discovered after teaching photography and yoga in foreign countries worldwide that I could make a living at it. How?

I started teaching travelers and ex-pats in Dharamsala and boom! I had a pocket full of Indian rupees and noticed I didn’t need to visit the ATM.

That’s when it hit me: I don’t have to go back to the USA to earn money. Scotty, beam me up into the ethers of my greatest dream – being free and discovering the world!

So I went back to the USA sold all my stuff and gave the rest away – no more stress, furniture, insurance, car maintenance or rat race. Poof! All gone.

I’m a permanent traveler now on an open-ended worldwide adventure.

Take the leap and do it now before you think about it too much. Grab the time off for yourself and don’t wait until its been 15 years since you had 3 weeks off in a row like I did.

Start with an easy country like Bali or Thailand, you’ll be safe in an exotic world spending very little money if you enjoy homey guesthouses for $10 to $15 a night. You won’t be inside much anyway.

Spread your wings and take off – you know you want to!

Stay in touch, find out where I am now on the planet, and get seriously kick-ass advice on being a location independent entrepreneur. Go to Vagabond Travel Mag now and subscribe in the itunes store.

 

What I’ve Learned After 7 Years of Full-time Travel

 

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How did I get here in Chiang Mai, Thailand drinking smoothies every morning being happy and grateful to be alive?

I didn’t listen to people telling me I was nuts. Who said, “You shouldn’t go to that country because you can’t be sure of being safe.”

30 countries later I’m still going strong!

My eyes have been opened so wide it almost hurts to see the world without sunglasses. The light is so brilliant — its hard for me to see that at one time I didn’t have this life.

 You can have it too. I know what you’re thinking. Actually we think too much. And you can think yourself right out of doing anything if you give it too much of your attention.

1. Attention is a gift.

That’s the first thing I learned. Whatever you set your mind on blossoms and takes off.

Works the same with negativity and voices in your head telling you can’t do something. If you listen then you can’t do it. Put your attention on what you want to happen. Act as if it all ready is happening. 

Say you signed up for a Women’s Only coach on a train in India and you get on the train at 2AM and find out your coach is full of only men. You either leave or accept it.

They didn’t listen when I told them to stop smoking and cut the chatter crap so I could sleep but thats another story.

2. Time is not the hours on the clock face.

Time is your life span from birth to dying. What do you want to do with your time?

I want to travel and see the world. Work and play all over the globe.

Take the first baby step and the universe opens up to you. I didn’t believe this either at first but it miraculously happens when you decide to walk towards your Big Dream.

3. Money is attracted to boldness and magic.

Yes you can be a location independent entrepreneur. You can do your job on the road, you can teach English in almost any country on earth and get paid for it, you can have an online business, and you can teach belly dancing. I teach photography all over the world and write books.

And I have a magazine in the itunes store Vagabond Travel Photography Mag. Discover the world and learn how to take Amazing photographs Go see it here.

4. The Unknown is Your Friend

I used to plan too much. “Honey why can’t you meet me in Colombia in February – how come you don’t know when you’ll be there?” I said to my son who has been to 50 countries. I’ve only been to 30, I gotta catch up.

Now I know why, because I’m not planning either.

Less planning is more fun.

5. You never know what is around the next corner or who you’ll  meet today changing your life instantly. Today you might decide you gotta go to Bali to work on your surfing skills. I don’t stay on the board too long so I need practice.

Or I need to photograph Ladakhi people high in the Himalayas and how they live life, or teach yoga to women in Nepal living in mud huts. Or go live in an igloo, ashram, temple, seaside bungalow, or tent.

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And you can do it!

 

Your mind is malleable. It may be more flexible than your body. Get inspired by people who are living the life you want to live and open the ethers in your soul.

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How do you do that?

 

You stay fresh, eat fruits and veggies, relax and be like a kid. Open to everything but if it feels off you walk away.

 

Being Happy Inside my Skin. This may be the title of my next book.

 

And then being so happy and grateful that you can give things, time, love to others.

That’s the secret to success. It’s not money or big achievements and awards.

I’ve done a lot of things I set out to do, but with many more I want to discover, I expand every day and want to leap into the fresh waters of the unknown; I see that time is this — it’s what our spirit loves doing and being. It could be meditation, travel, teaching but whatever it is the message is live today like you will die today. Because we will die. And it could be today so lets live at a higher exalted octave than we ever have before.

1. Be inspired by the birds singing. I hear them right now off my terrace in Thailand. They know how to fly. So can we.

2. Sleep enough – then your skin looks better and you have energy.

3. Move that amazing body of yours – yoga, walking, surfing, swimming, skateboarding just do it. You don’t have to motorbike across 4 lines of roaring traffic praying today like I did. Go walk around a lake with no cars intruding.

4. Take steps towards your dreams. Don’t give up.

Your new mantra: You can do it, you can do it, and you can do it.

Thank you for your enthusiasm, attention, and beauty, I am grateful to all you darling hearts – you have been there for me, and I couldn’t have done it without you.

Love, Dream, Discover,

Mary

8 Things to Do in India

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You won’t be reading about the Taj Mahal here. Now, I’m not saying don’t go. But I’d like to inspire you to have experiences in India you can’t have anywhere else but in India.

India confounds me, trips me up, shakes me to the core, and blasts my preconceived ideas every time I show up here. It’s a good thing. My heart is drawn to the Himalayas and this is where I have spent all of my 4 visits here; for months at a time in the northern most states of Ladakh, Himachel Pradesh and Sikkim.

This is where I am called to go.

Don’t go to India for less than a month like I did on my first trip. You’ll soon see that you need at least 6 months to dive into this vast country. But don’t see it all – pick any one of these 8 things to do and you could easily stay in that place for many weeks as I’ve done and I never felt it was too much time in one location.

You realize how much India affects you after you leave her. Just like an old lover. You realize how good they are after its over. And once that happens you’ll keep coming back for more.

I still haven’t seen the Taj Mahal… it’s on my list but I never seem to get to it.

Here’s what has inspired me to stay in India and discover her secrets. Enjoy the journey, you don’t know where it will lead you but that’s most of the fun!

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 Tikse Monastery in Ladakh

High in the ethers of the Himalayas is this ancient monastery. Just down the street is Hemis monastery, so old that even Jesus visited it. You can stay here at Tikse (near Leh) for about $6 a night and the view is drop dead incredible. You even get a bed. The monks do their morning chanting and you can join them or not. Food at the monastery isn’t bad either. Go and go now, this place has a celestial feeling that flows through your veins. Your feet just might lift off the ground. See my video here.

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Go to the International Yoga Festival at Parmarth Ashram. Its the first week of March every year and has a full line up of amazing teachers from all over the world. I have gone to the festival twice. It changed my life. You’ll enjoy being on the banks of the Ganges River in the holy section of Rishikesh, in Ram Jula. Saints and sages have walked here. You can too.

Go to the Golden Temple in Amritsar,

Dharamsala to see the Dalai Lama and

Sikkim, a Northern state of India filled with forests, on the backside of Mount Everest.

Check it out.

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The Golden Temple in Amritsar will knock your eyes out. Here it is in all her midnight glory. Yes that is really gold leaf!

Go see a teaching of the Dalai Lama. ImageYou will be blessed by his love radiance and we all need that.

See more photography of the Dalai Lama and get it for your own delicious projects.

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I travel the world shooting, writing, and teaching and you can do it too.

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