Our major spring holiday is over and a much overlooked day is upon us, Earth Day. Most people are aware of Earth Day but most think nothing of the meaning behind it.

So before this day passes you by think about what you can do to do your part to celebrate.

 
 
Ignorance is bliss says Thomas Gray and the law states that ignorance is no excuse, but ignorance is also tragedy. On a recent trip to the beach I saw two separate anglers with dead black tip sharks. One angler proudly showed me his 18" shark while the other fisherman carved off the 4 foot shark's flesh and threw the destroyed remains back into the nearby shallow water. That activity in itself eliminated any chance of a beachcomber or sunbather to use the beach due to the smell of decomposing flesh.

I returned to the beach several days later and the decomposing flesh was still present and was continuing to limit the beach use by visitors. Why must we tolerate such ignorance and carelessness?

Black tip sharks, not to be confused with black tip reef sharks are shallow water generally non- threatening sharks. Though they are not one of the endangered sharks species they still perform an important role in maintaining the health and balance of our oceans and marine life.

When I see those essential animals being caught by anglers for sport it burns me to the core. Why do fisherman and people in general not educate themselves before they begin an activity? Why can't they see the harm they are doing?

The fisherman claim that sharks are "fun" to catch and good to eat. But is that worth destroying the health of our oceans in the long term? Sharks prey on weak and sick fish. Do you want the sick fish left in the water to infect the healthy sport fish or fish caught for commercial purposes?

Before you participate in an activity that can eliminate another species please educate yourself on the possible long term effect.


"In the end we will conserve only what we love. We will love only what we understand. We will understand only what we are taught.”
                                    ~Baba Dioum

 
 
I recently made a trip to Tampa's Ybor City to drive my daughter to a job interview. As I sat outside waiting I watched as the chickens and roosters walked down the sidewalk in front of the steps of the sheriff's office and through the parking lot and parked cars. I heard others cock-a-doodling in the surrounding neighborhood! What an odd sight!

The building's architecture with its wrought iron fences and balconies plus the red brick streets made me feel as if I was in another country or at very least not in Tampa! It has a unique "old world feeling." With the surrounding trees thick with foliage there was no evidence of Tampa's modern steel and glass skyscrapers. 

Per the Ybor website the area has been known as Tampa’s Latin Quarter for over a century, it is a mix of Cuban, Spanish and Italian. "Ybor City is an exotic blend of aromas, flavors, sights and sounds. From the scent of roasting Cuban coffee early in the morning to the rhythms of Latin music late into the night, Ybor is a feast for the senses."

The area was quiet while I was there with the exception of the roosters but it seems it certainly deserves a return trip during the evening hours for their nightlife, dining and music.
 
 
You May Have a Travel Compulsion Habit (I hate the word Addiction) if:

1.  You only buy clothes that can be hand washed, dry quickly and are wrinkle resistant.

2.  You always have a bag packed and ready to "grab n' go" at a moments notice.

3.  You know your frequent flyer & passport numbers but don't know your license plate or driver’s license numbers.

4.  You check travel blogs daily or sometimes even multiple times a day.

5.  You only work to finance your travel habit.

6.  You are thinking about your next trip before you have even finished a current trip.

7.  You live out of your bag even when at home.

8.  When people see you they ask "when did you get back and when do you leave next?"

9.  Your “Bucket List” has more places than things on it and it never gets shorter but continues to grow!

10. Staying in one place for more than a few weeks makes you antsy or fidgety.

11. You follow global disasters because chances are you are on your way there soon.

12. You have friends or acquaintances in multiple countries.

13. You can say at least 5 phrases in multiple languages.

14. You take pictures and actually PRINT them.

15. You have music from various nations on your Ipod.

16. You put more miles on a plane in a year than you do in your car.

17. Any trip of less than 5 hours is like going across town for the day.

18. Your world “traveled” wall map looks like it has the measles.

19. You have more key chains than you have keys

20. You have a box of foreign coins, some that are no longer in use

21. You refer to cities by their airport code

22.
Your mobile device has the weather forecast for multiple cities in multiple countries that you are either coming from of headed to shortly.  23. You watch travel programs wishing you were the host but secretly hate them because it is their job & not yours.

 24. When your boss asks you about plans a month out you tell him/her you’ll get back with them.


Okay so maybe I do have "issues!"
 
 
Everyday people around the world take pictures of sunrises and sunsets. Sunrises and sunsets are probably the most photographed items behind people. What is it about a sunrise and sunset that intrigues us? And we all know that the sun doesn't really rise or set, the earth is just moving to allow people everywhere around the world to enjoy its wonders.

The sunrise is a signal of a new day, a new chance and a new beginning. Whereas the sunset gives us the opportunity to ponder and reflect what we have accomplished or it is a time of closure on a good or bad day.

Unlike people and places the sun is the same sun where ever and whenever it is photographed, yet people take hundreds if not thousands of pictures of the sun. 

I think the real reason people take pictures of the sun is due to it's warmth and of the importance it plays in our lives. The sun provides us with so many basic needs. It provides us with light, it provides us with heat, it provides us with vitamin D. It also provides plants with photosynthesis and the opportunity to grow which in turn provides us with both oxygen and food plus materials for building shelter. Essentially the sun also provides us with water; the warmth of the sun causes moisture to evaporate from our oceans, lakes and streams which later returns to us in the form of rain or snow. The sun also provides us with happiness; everyone seems to be in a better mood when the sun is shining bright instead of hidden behind clouds.

So in honor of the magnificent center of our universe I give to you some of my first sunset pictures of my 2014 year.
 
 
Last weekend the majority of United States participated in the practice of springing forward on Daylight Saving Time (DST). However less than half of the world’s countries participate in this activity. So which practice is the better idea?
Years ago, Benjamin Franklin believed that “early to bed early to rise” was the best practice. When he realized that the sun rose before he did during the spring and summer time of the year he thought it would be beneficial to turn the clocks ahead. That belief could possibly be the beginning of the daylight saving time practice.

The “spring ahead” idea is a controversial practice. Many studies find the time change changes the body's biological clock creating a condition similar to being jet-lagged. The condition can make people less healthy because often times they do not feel like participating in physical activities. However, others believe the extra daylight gives people additional time to participate in physical activities.

The original idea was to utilize the extra daylight to save energy and natural resources by decreasing the use of artificial lighting. Here again, some people believe that the extra daylight and sunshine creates a greater need for air-conditioning, thereby negating the potential energy savings.

Regardless of your thoughts or beliefs, it can cause confusion to the traveler. Not only do you need to consider time zones but also if and when a country or state/territory uses DST. So do your research and try to enjoy the daylight.


P.S.
And also enjoy St. Paddy's Day today...what ever time you are in!!

 
 
I recently was made aware that a friend and former coworker only has approximately two months to live; and that another acquaintance in my Tai Chi class is being treated for a brain tumor. Expanding on those situations, if you knew you only had a limited time to live what would you do?

Country musician and songwriter Tim McGraw made a song about what he would do "live like you were dying". He sings that....

I went skydiving
I went rocky mountain climbing
I went two point seven seconds on a bull named Fu Man Chu
And I loved deeper
And I spoke sweeter
And I gave forgiveness I'd been denyin'

He further states

I was finally the husband
That most the time I wasn't
And I became a friend, a friend would like to have
And all of a sudden goin' fishin'
Wasn't such an imposition
And I went three times that year I lost my dad
Well I, I finally read the good book
And I took a good long hard look
At what I'd do if I could do it all again.

Well I always said that I would never go skydiving unless I knew the end was imminent. I never really saw the purpose of jumping out of a perfectly good airplane but maybe I would.

I know I would look seriously at prioritizing the things on my bucket list and I probably would make sure they included my family and friends. What would you do with your remaining time?

Life is precious, do not wasted it with anything that you don't love.
 
 
Anyone and everyone that knows me know that I love to travel. Travel defines me, it makes me happy, it is who I am, and it is part of my core. I think I am happiest when I am living out of a backpack, exploring, and learning.
Everyone also knows that I encourage people to travel as much and as often as possible. I believe travel makes us a better person, by learning and growing through exploration and experience. I think we become more compassionate and tolerant of people difference than ourselves.

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

When you travel you learn a lot about yourself, what you can deal with, what you can't deal with, what you can live with, what you can live without and how to find a happy medium. You in a sense become more balanced. You learn the valuable art of compromise. Travel also helps us to live more simply.

Sometimes we learn what is important in life and what is not; personal issues are put into perspective, problems are relative, few things last forever and few things are fatal. Traveling helps us get out of the daily rut that we often fall into.

Sometimes you even learn about your physical limitations. Beyond that there is plenty of research studies that show that people being active in their senior years stay healthier and live longer than those that do not participate in any type of activity. My Fitbit (activity tracking device) has proved to me that I am always more active when I am traveling.

I think travel makes us a more interesting person and creative person. What is the saying about necessity being the mother of invention? As for interesting, would you rather sit and talk to person that travels or a person that sits home and does nothing; a person that never leaves the safe confines of their own safe space? I know that when I see my nieces and nephews they pick my brain with questions regarding all of my travels, hungry to hear of actual experiences from someone they know instead of reading about it in a book.

“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page”.              ~St. Augustine

“Travel is the only thing we buy that makes us richer”.                                     ~Unknown

And so, go out and explore the world, see what changes for the better are awaiting you!
 

Trapped

02/24/2014

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For most people not having a passport may not be a big issue or of any major importance in their life. It could be easily compared to as not owning a goldfish or not having a dictionary, trivial.

However, to me it is like being trapped or incarcerated in prison, it is a loss of my freedom, my freedom to choose where and when I can travel. Or maybe it can be compared to an overwhelming feeling of claustrophobia. 

And why am I feeling this way you may ask? It is because my passport is in the process of being re-newed! It is not in my possession.

So I guess until my new passport, passport number four, is issued to me I just need to remember to practice patience and to take a few deep breaths. I know this stressful time will pass and my freedom will be restored but until then... I am not happy!

 
 
The games are in full force. Every four years the world comes together for the games that we call The Olympics. It is a time when the world mutually is united for a purpose, sport, and competition. It is a wonderful festive time, and I have an acquaintance participating in the Sochi Olympic Games. And I wish her and her team well, bring home the gold!

There are 88 countries participating in the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games. So why is it that the world can jointly play games but we can't come together to work on the global issues affecting all of us? Extreme weather is happening worldwide possibly from the careless pollution of our air and water. However, we can't come together to work on solutions to save our countries from the devastating effects of our carelessness. These thoughts come just as US Secretary of State John Kerry calls climate change “catastrophic” and asks other countries to work more closely on cutting greenhouse emissions.

We can play world games as one but we can't save our endangered wildlife on a united front. Whales, sharks rhinos, manatees are dying in record numbers but we are not uniting to save them.

Maybe we need to offer gold to the country that comes up with a solution to unite our countries with a workable plan to control air pollution and emissions. Or a gold medal to the country that makes the world unite and realize we need to protect our endangered species.

Maybe one day we will unite the peoples of the world for more than just games and it will be forever and always instead of just every four years. Because …

            “united we stand, divided we fall”.