this is a blog…about life. my life. and about my art and adventure.
Welcome To My World....
thank you for coming to experience my site.
hopefully these photos and short films inspire you to actively explore our planet and actively protect those with no voice.
i’ve had the privilege to explore the world. wander amongst predators and penguins…and engage with cultures that one usually only learns about through books or television.
the common thread of it all…is that our planet is glorious. and absolutely epic in its beauty and harmony. yet wildlife and nature is under threat. from us.
we have the responsibility to protect this world, so future generations can experience the splendor that came before us…is struggling to stay with us…so that these future generations can live amongst the natural world which helps make this planet…our lives…our joy…help have meaningful purpose.
so while many people think camping in antarctica in -40 degree weather with 40 mph winds is crazy…maybe even stupid. and many of my friends think rolling around in penguin poo or elephant dung is less then appetizing…to say the least. or living with an inuit and going out in a motorized kayak amongst truly epic glaciers. IT IS ALL WONDERFUL. INSPIRING. AND GLORIOUS.
Getting out of our own world. our own head. and wandering amongst the symphony of nature…is truly pure joy.
so go ahead. get uncomfortable. somewhere. somehow. someway.
and pursue your dream. NOW.
for the real risk in life, is not taking one.
"The Risk In Life Is Not Taking One"
this journal is about exploring our planet, our relationships and ourselves. it is about getting comfortable with being uncomfortable. it is about seeking the new and unknown. and about getting more uncomfortable in life. which, by its mere nature, makes us more comfortable. in many things we do.
this is a cycle which is reassuring as we are creating and seeking this style of living. and the uncomfortable becomes the new norm. a way to wander and wonder and gain wisdom.
"Welcome To Planet Office"
planet office is where we all live. work. and play. and the more time we take to be outside both our comfort zone and outside in nature…the more we become closer to our true selves. for being amongst wildlife. out in nature. the more easily we can become more connected to our history. soaring mountain tops. clouds that create ever changing art galleries. rushing glacial rivers that ring the bells of beauty. this, and much much more…is our planet office.
it is our office to play in. to protect. to help grow.
so go get outside. or at least look up and all around when you are outside. and witness planet office.
Wandering. Wondering. And Wisdom.
wandering through life is often considered a waste of time. a lack of direction. and focus.
and wondering is sometimes considered counter productive. just day dreaming. aimless in purpose.
yet for me, being able to wander and wonder leads to new experiences. new observations. new friendships. and new wisdom.
and wandering and wondering leads to exploring our glorious planet earth….or as i sometimes call it….Planet Office.
because it is our office…to live in. work in. play in. and learn from.
so never underestimate or ignore the power of just wandering and wondering.
it is often the source of our inspiration and wisdom.
My Doctor's A Veterinarian...
so there i was. in the democratic republic of congo. ready to photograph bonobos.
but ending up as sick as sick can be. a bloated 4 day old stomach virus. the type of virus that started in the pit of my stomach. and literally seemed to slowly crimp and crawl its way up my stomach. toward my chest. while turning my slightly overweight waist (ok, a really overweight waist) into a super large exercise ball.
i also found myself limping. and then bedridden. for my back was experiencing excruciating spasms . such extreme pain that i wanted to scream or cry most of the time.
what probably caused this pain was bending my 6’2″ in frame into a gumby position in order to sit in coach seat. and be on the tarmac for 5 hours and then fly 8 more hours. so 13 hours in total without barely moving.
oh yeah, then i also had to carry 2 massive duffel bags of about 100 plus pounds of clothes. i had brought these clothes to give away to the local community.
so there i was. in pain. just starting my trip. and i could barely move.
then i finally limped outside my room. and i spoke with one young french doctor that was there.
actually he was a veterinarian.
and he had an idea for me. he would give me a pill. that could possibly alleviate some of my back pain.
i asked him what the pill was…and he told me it was a cousin of morphine.
so i obviously asked him if it was a close cousin or distant cousin.
then before he could answer, i took the pill from his hand and swallowed it.
to this day i have no idea what the pill actually was named. or if it even worked.
but i can say with certainty, that being in the DRC. in what seemed like the middle of nowhere. and having massive pain. will make one try anything to get some medical relief.
even if the doctor providing the medicine. is a veterinarian.
A Gift From My Friend.
a dear friend of mine sometimes sends me gems….that make me think, feel and pay attention in a different way.
this is one gift that he sent to me…and one of many that are worth sharing.
“What is it, in the end, that induces a man to go his own way and to rise
out of unconscious identity with the mass as out of a swathing mist? Not
necessity, for necessity comes to many, and they all take refuge in
convention. Not moral decision, for nine times out of ten we decide for
convention likewise. What is it, then, that inexorably tips the scales in
favor of the extra-ordinary?
It is what is commonly called vocation; an irrational factor that destines a
man to emancipate himself from the herd and from its well-worn paths. True
personality is always a vocation and puts its trust in it as in God, despite
it’s being, as the ordinary man would say, only a personal feeling.
But vocation acts like a law of God from which there is no escape. The fact
that many a man who goes his own way ends in ruin means nothing to one who
has a vocation. He must obey his own law, as if it were a daemon whispering
to him of new and wonderful paths. Anyone with a vocation hears the voice of
the inner man: he is called. “
Carl Jung, “The Development of Personality” The Development of Personality
Collected Works of Carl Jung, 17, pars. 299
One Toothbrush. And King Penguin And Goose Poo. A True Tale Not For The Faint Of Heart
my first visit to the falkland islands was one full of preparation, inspiration and perspiration.
or so i thought.
the inspiration was the dramatic beauty and isolation of the land. the kindness of the people. and all the wildlife…which seemed to be everywhere.
the perspiration was the extensive walking, hiking and climbing over miles long empty beaches, steep green grass and tussock grass, diddle dee (yes, there is a shrub called diddle dee…which by itself makes it worthwhile to visit the falklands) and rock cliffs.
the preparation was almost perfect…except one small thing.
which brings us back to the one toothbrush reference above.
i brought one toothbrush with me…to of course brush my teeth.
and one day on this trip, i found my clothes and my boots and my camera gear fairly well covered in penguin and goose poo. for those who are not literally hands on familiar with these excrements….let me share some fun facts.
fresh penguin and goose poo can be quite wet, squishy and smelly. and really super fresh stuff is disgustingly disastrous and dangerous to one’s olfactory senses.
plus fresh poo does not come out of fleece. let me repeat. it does not come out of fleece.
and for me, i really, really prefer to photograph wildlife while laying down and rolling around on the ground….so i can get a better perspective on the wildlife…and in some cases make the penguins look like super heroes.
which they are to me.
that said, when you roll around on the ground. you are bound to get covered in this poo. yes it it’s true that one can avoid fresh poo by either standing up to move around or by moving super slowly on the ground. but neither one of these options work for me. because then i would miss a lot of magical moments.
and letting something as unimportant as poo get in my way of getting the shot.
so with this crucial context…here is what happened to me.
on my first day at volunteer point….my boots and clothes got covered in this fine, fresh poo. and my olfactory senses went into a fight or flight mode. so when i got back to my room… i absolutely knew that i must clean out all the packed in poo from my boot treads.
the question was how to best do this surgery? first i tried washing the outside of my waterproof boots with scalding hot water.
that really did not work.
then i look for some tool of some sort to scrape the stuff out…and in a way that i could do so quickly as my nasal passage way would stop burning from the pain of the poo.
then i realized that i could scrape it all out under the running water if i used one of my toothbrushes.
read that last sentence again. one of my toothbrushes. as in a “plural” amount.
i thought to myself…that is a genius idea. this way i can really get into all of the treads and make this pair of disaster zone boots into a pair of relatively pristine, pure and poo free boots.
so i started scraping. and digging. and brushing like crazy. and THE PLAN WORKED!
hooray for me and my boots. and my nose.
then…i decided to shower. and then i decided to brush my teeth with my “other” toothbrush.
then i found out that my preparation for this trip DID NOT INCLUDE A SECOND TOOTH BRUSH.
yeah. you can re-read that again. or just read this…
I DID NOT PACK A SECOND TOOTHBRUSH.
and the nearest store was a flight away.
so….i turned on the hot water in the shower. and hoped it would turned to scalding hot water. i wanted the water so hot that it could have boiled warts off a frog. assuming this would get rid of the warts and not hurt the frog.
anyhow, you get the point.
then…after softening the ubiquitous poo– i had to use my fingernails to scrape and dig into my one and only toothbrush–that was encrusted with king penguin and goose poo–until almost all of “it” came out.
yeah. that was little fun.
what was even less fun…but dramatically more funny…was that i then had to brush my teeth with the same toothbrush.
yup. imagine that.
so now. i always pack a second toothbrush. and for good measure, i even leave it in the original packaging…so i always know which is the new and unused toothbrush. just in case i run into another self made crisis.
The Falkland Islands...Go Visit And Create Planet Joy In Your Heart
so i absolutely love love love the falkland islands.
did i say love three times?
well. i did. and i have been there three times for a total of 6 weeks.
the falkland islands for me, are a perfect hybrid combination of scotland and the galapogos islands. why do i say that? because scotland is beautiful. just glorious. parts are wide open and wind swept. and it can be rainy and give you a whirlpool massage (or battering) of wildly wind. with skies that can ever change and are as wide open as the heart can imagine. there are clouds that form poetry in the sky and can instill love, create fear and cause one to cry for joy just of their sheer existence. the galapogos islands are a wildlife heaven. a dream on earth. animals. birds. sea life. galore. everywhere. and i do mean everywhere. and fortunately the ecuadorian government has done an excellent job protecting this rare and inspiring environment.
the falklands are an equal part mix, stirred and shaken of these two environments. and the total land mass…which i believe is slightly smaller then the state of connecticut (4710 square miles vs 5543 square miles) has an approximate population of 2,000 people of which approxiamtely 75 percent live in the capital of stanley. while connecticut has a population of about 3.6 million people.
the falkland islands history is rich….simple and or complicated depending upon whom you ask. and whom ever you ask on the falkland islands….know that you will always be treated kindly with a smile. for these folks are some of the most wonderful you will ever meet.
and the wildlife and birdlife is so magnificent that your eyes and brain will bulge and burst with the magnificent wildlife smorgasbord. you like birds…go. you like birds that are penguins…go. you like walking on empty beaches with penguins….go. you like sea lions and elephant seals…go. you heard of albatross but don’t know what they are or look like….then go and find out. you like hiking on cliffs overlooking the ocean…then go. you like quiet time to reflect, read, write, think or simply feel life in a stirring and calming environment….go.
the falkland islands are pure love for your senses and for your soul. and for finding your way back to your heart and soul.
trust me. you will go for the scenery and wildlife and the people. and you will find that during and after visiting, you will be in touch with a part of yourself that created a new place of serenity, a new location of joy in your heart that i call Planet Joy.
Top 10 Rules For Adventure Travel....That Increase Your Odds Of Coming Home In One Piece.
stupid mistakes happen.
however you can avoid or minimize them. if you plan properly.
so the purpose of this journal entry is not to share my stupid mistakes. that’s too self deprecating.
rather the real purpose is to help you plan ahead so you can minimize bad decisions while on your adventure.
so let’s start with the most important part of the trip. thinking about what can go wrong that would ruin your trip.
that’s right. think negative. think horrific. think life ending.
ok. i am joking.
when you plan, it’s important to think ahead. and learn from all those that have tried stuff before you. so here’s my top 10 rules for adventure travel.
rule #1-SICK.don’t get stupid sick. like don’t drink cow’s blood just because you can. and i mean that..because i tried to do so.
rule#2-POTABLE WATER.don’t drink water from a tap, river, lake or puddle. especially the puddle.
rule#3-ROAD KILL.don’t eat road kill. fresh or stale. just don’t do it.
rule #4-PREDATORS.don’t be close to predators when they are hungry. unless you are an olympic sprinter that can also climb trees.
rule #5-MOM AND CUB.never get between a cub and its mom. trust me. sometimes this happens to me when i get between my wife and our son..and it never ends well for me.
rule #6-PHONE.leave your phone at home. you’re on an adventure holiday. and if you can face time while you are away, just know that you are not having an adventure. you’re having a vacation.
rule#7-HIPPOS. yes i am giving you hippo advice. always give a hippo the right of way and get out of its way out. never crowd it. NEVER. remember…two tons…meaning 4,000 thousand pounds of hippo…will outrun you and will knock your silly little mocoro over every single time.
rule#8-CROCODILES. yes i am now giving you crocodile related advice. should the hippo knock your mocoro over. and you are now freaking out while in the water….don’t worry. the crocs will finish you off.
rule#9-LISTEN. to everything your guide says about safety. and ignore 100 percent of what they tell you about what an animal is thinking. i don’t even know what i am thinking most of the time. how the dickens would any human being know what an animal is “definitely” going to do.
rule #10-DUNG/POO/SHIT. sometimes you have to roll around in it to get a fantastic shot. and it is always worth it. so go ahead. roll around and have some fun!
"He Looks Just Like My Dad..."
a few years ago, i was in homer alaska and i was on my way to go camping with grizzly bears at the mcneil river game sanctuary.
i was staying above a bakery…thinking that it would be a great place to wake up to smell fresh baked goods…and that morning time would be quiet time.
however i seemed to have missed a few cues… from the 20 something year old women working at the Two Sisters Bakery here in Homer, Alaska.
i mean…they were all kind. helpful. some had super cool piercings and tattoos. plus the place had a really special vibe. and i felt like i fit right in…yeah right.
well the place does smell great early in the morning. and they do start early. 4 am early. and they also enjoyed their music turned on and turned up…to create some energy for themselves.
yet for me, that blaring 70’s and 80’s music just served to wake me up early….so while my nose was happy, my head and ears were much less so.
so….i eventually came downstairs. and ordered some breakfast food. and the baked goods were literally right out of the oven.everything was so warm and tasty… that this culinary heaven made me feel like the early morning 70’s and 80’s music wake up call was well…worth it afterall. especially as i was the first and only customer at that time.
then i turned to leave. and as i began to exit the bakery to go back to my room I heard one young female employee say to another….
“He looks just like my dad”.
a brain tickle is what happens when an elephant mock charges you for the very first time.
it is the feeling you get when you first see the a momma polar bear come out of its den with its cubs.
a brain tickle is what happens when you pull 100 pounds of gear on a sled across in white conditions in antarctica all in order to see emperor penguins and their chicks.
it is the feeling you have when you crawl toward a family of cheetah…and they walk toward you to check your vulnerable sorry butt out.
a brain tickle (maybe a brain freak out) is what happens when you are in the water with a lot of grizzly bears as they hunt for their fresh salmon sushi.
it is a feeling of knowing that you are a small–even a tiny sliver–of the universe and therefore a blessed sliver to be able to bear witness to all this glory.
so go ahead.
get your brain tickled.
somewhere. somehow. someway.
because now is the moment. to have some fun.
Pretty, Pretty Pictures.....Action. Action. Action.
that’s exactly right.
that’s exactly what this site is not about.
it’s not about pretty, pretty pictures.
IT IS ABOUT ACTION.
to take these photographs took lots of action.
before i even took them.
it took me decades of focus. of 80 hour work weeks. of lots of business travel. way too many long and wasteful status update meetings. and of course, office politics.
it took saving a lot of what i earned. investing and practically speaking, hoping for solid returns. all in order to have freedom to choose to do what i want.
WHICH IS WHAT I CALL FREEDOM.
that’s right. the ability to choose and own one’s life is freedom. and sometimes things work out. and many times they do not.
but it was action that helped get me here.
and action to me means doing the right things to help those with no voice and no SUPER PAC or lobbyist…on their side.
NOW IS THE TIME FOR THE CALL TO ACTION.
that’s right. i am calling you…literally asking you…to act to help protect wildlife. wildlife has no voice. no way to protect themselves from us humans.
only humans can help these voiceless exquisite animals.
and there are lots of ways to do that.
one. buy one of my photos and know that 10 percent of each photo is given to two amazing organizations….the sheldrick trust and sea legacy.
two. give time and or money to organizations on the ground that have a proven background in making the planet a better place for those that live on the planet or in the ocean. you are encouraged to feel free to give directly to the sheldrick trust or sea legacy. or any organization that makes a positive difference.
three. support political candidates that care about the environment. here in the USA and around the world.
four. support legislation to ban all imports and or selling of ivory.
five. while many of us love zoos….they are damaging to wildlife. it is not their natural habitat. they need to roam freely and widely. which they can not do at zoos. animals are designed to be out on the savannah or arctic or in the ocean…living their lives. naturally.
so don’t visit zoos. don’t support zoos. because you know for certain….that you would not like to be forced to live in a zoo.
so why should an african elephant, an arctic polar bear, an antarctica emperor penguin want to be captured and put into a permanent prison sentence…it is just not natural. or fair.
and they are not designed for our entertainment.
so give them the freedom we have.
6,000 Pounds. 6 Feet Away.
2014. kenya. africa.
this is a letter i wrote to a friend after a life changing experience with an exquisite 6,000 pound elephant.
three days ago I was laying flat out on a dried out lake bed.
Yes. I was laying belly down to the ground while underneath the middle of our safari car.
Why was I laying down in 104 degree weather on a dried out lake bed?
So I could hide from the oncoming 6,ooo pound elephant that was ambling directly toward us.
And photograph him along his journey.
He was MASSIVE in every way imaginable.
And looking up at Ethan (that is his name) I felt like a skyscraper….that was as wide as the universe…was about to arrive.
That moment with Ethan was as if an extraterrestrial superhero came noiselessly into my universe to put me in my place.
Ethan came directly to our car…and I was staring directly into his dangling trunk and two massive front legs.
Ethan was so close I could have pedicured his toenails.
After a bit, Ethan went around the car to continue his journey.
And as he walked, I turned myself to face the other way.
So that I could see this majestic prehistoric mammal walk away.
One unexpected thing happened.
Ethan turned slightly back to the car as he passed it.
Then he saw me below.
a great thing on one level. not a good thing. on another level.
and in reality.
There was literally no place to hide (I mean I was already laying on a dried out lake bed under a car…where else would I hide at this stage).
And no time or place to run.
This 6,000 pound elephant saw me.
Looked down at me.
And lowered his head with his massive tusks. Which from my perspective looked like giant spears that you stick through a chicken when you make a kebab.
And I was that chicken.
Except these “sticks” were some 12-15 feet long and possibly approaching me because he wanted rotisserie roger as a souvenir.
Gentle Ethan then shook his head. And his tusks. From side to side.
And did so ever so gently.
Then he turned and walked off.
That moment made me cry with joy for the glory, smarts, kindness of Ethan and all elephants.
And a sadness also came over me for the destruction and unspeakable acts of crime against elephants that humans have done to these truly epic and special animals. all for our sake of wanting tusks–their lives and their tusks–just as another show off toy for us.
I can share that such a moment…is at its core….something you feel at the inner essence of your DNA…of where we fit in the universe.
I feel so blessed to have my family.
and i ask all of you to give to the sheldrick trust…https://www.sheldrickwildlifetrust.org….to support their amazing work to help rescue, raise and release orphaned elephants.
and i also ask each of you to not buy any elephant ivory. for any reason. for with no demand….there is no supply.
Diary-Going To Antarctica For The 1st Time
november 2015. punta arenas, chile
Today ALE came to my hotel to do an equipment check.
In preparation to this check, I laid out all my gear starting from head to neck to body to crotch to legs to toes.
Nadia and Linda entered my room and took out their check list and pen and asked me for what I packed.
While I was going through my gear…all packed, sealed in separate glad zip bags, labeled and numbered…they took out their point and shoot camera and took pictures of my super duper organised system. And they pronounced that I was the most organised client they have ever had.
They then walked me to their offices on O’Higgins Avenue (yes, seems the Irish have made headway coming south along with the Spanish…albeit in a minor fashion).
Here I met the owners who shared that in their almost 15 years of business that I was the first and thus only client whom ever asked to stay extra long on a trip to antarctica…
That said they were super kind to make it happen for me.
I then went to visit Dave …the expert gear guy that proceeded to fit me with size 14 Baffin Boots which are rated to keep you warm down to -90 degrees.
Which we both agreed was complete bullshit marketing.
Then I tried on my super warm super insulated black overalls and super warm and also super insulated red South Pole jacket.
All this clothing is of course to keep you warm.
But it’s real job is to keep you alive and all your digits from turning black from frost bite.
It’s when you wear this clothing…and think about all the other clothing gear you have…that you are reminded in a way that makes your head feels like a Chevy Yukon just drove staring into your face…
This is super ultra out of control nuts experience.
And while I will always be incredibly respectful of the environment and the unknown…this is exceptionally extreme.
Getting to antarctica will take 4 1/2 hours on a Russian plane flown by 5 Russian pilots and attendants.
Then you spend one day/night at Union glacier camp.
The next day we fly 2 1/2 hours to the emperors camp where we get briefed.
Here is the super good news.
The emperor colony is only 1 1/5 miles from camp.
Which means it will take about 2 hours of walking and pulling my gear in a sled…just to get to the colony.
So a key part of this trip is body temperature management.
You do not want to sweat on this trip.
Because sweating means being wet and getting frozen. From the inside out.
That would suck.
So pulling the sled means stripping down to the minimal clothing possible to stay cool and not sweat.
Yes. Staying cool enough is a goal.
And then when you get to the colony…you slowly add layers.
This layering dance is not my background in practice…but it is understood in theory.
And as this is my first time literally pulling (aka dragging) 70 pounds of gear on a sled anywhere let alone antarctica…I will be testing and learning along the way.
There are so many unknowns…the weather…the wind…the sweating and layering…the penguins behaviour…my equipments behaviour…and of course…my behaviour.
For one other Unknown is the emotional, psychological and physical impact of being this truly remote…this level of sensory deprivation…this level of isolation…and coming off a massive back problem of not being able to walk…are all welcomed, real and new challenges.
I take all of this adventure seriously.
And I also am full of excitement and optimism.
For to explore this world…this way…is a spiritual and brain rush.
A rush that I am going full force into.
And one that I hope to return as healthy and hopefully more fulfilled then ever before.
The risk in life is not taking one.
Diary-Going To Antarctica: Day 2
Today is gear weighing day.
Today they weigh my gear.
Normally being weighed is not an issue…personally or professionally.
I am always trying to stay on the lean machine side.
This time…however…it’s not so easy.
The limit for this trip is 55 pounds.
And for every pound you are over this limit…they charge $30 USD/pound.
Now understand, this is the weight limit if you are only staying for 5 days/nights.
I am staying for 14 days/nights.
And when your camera gear weight 50 pounds and every pound over that limit cost $30/pound..now you can guess that I will have an overage weight problem.
For example, my hand and foot warmers weigh 7.5 pounds by themselves.
Add therma care and wet wipes and you add another 5 pounds.
Plus just my camera bag and north face bag weigh 6 pounds.
So I am already at 68.5 pounds.
I need to have clothes too.
So add 15 pounds more so as not to freeze to death.
Now I am at 83.5 pounds.
That said…it is what it is.
Diary-Going To Antarctica: Day 3
What also weighs on me is the unknown of the UN-experienced.
Antarctica is the 5th largest continent in terms of land mass.
It is 14, 250,000 square kilometers…(or 5,500,00 square miles)
And it ranks as the 1st continent with the lowest population. Meaning no permanent residents. And only 4,000 summer residents. And 1,000 winter residents.
One apartment building in Manhattan has more people then all of ANTARCTICA does.
All that said, this trip is about preparation, no perspiration and ultimately about duration.
A key question for me is the weather…how wet is the air is critical.
And as we are close to the ocean, moisture is an issue.
Wind is the next unknown. Wind changes everything.
Especially wet wind.
The next item is weather.
Specifically ultra cold weather.
Like -20 or -50.
This type of cold makes it dramatically more difficult to manage gear, take photos and video, deal with clothing system and simply stay warm and alive…with no frostbite.
As I have had frostbite once before…I know the pain associated with this topic.
So keeping extremities warm is KEY.
This means head, neck, nose, toes and fingertips.
Almost all body parts.
However it is these extremities that freeze first. And sometimes without knowing.
First my head.
I have a light and tight skull cap. Then a thicker skull cap. This is then covered by a fox covered hat with ear flaps. Eventually my down jacket hood will then cover me up.
Now my face.
Here I will have my glasses. And my goggles. And a balaclava. My face should be completely covered.
Onto my hands.
I have silk liners. Then slightly thicker liners. Which go into a glove and mitten system. Which then go into an Alti Mitt designed for this type of weather.
And of course I will have hand warmers…
For my feet.
I have socks. And sock liners. Plus mega Baffin boots.
And of course toe warmers. Let’s hope they work.
For my body I have two base layer wool shirts.
Then a fleece jacket.
Then a light weight down jacket.
Add a wind breakers shell.
Plus a storm system jacket.
All covered up by a massive synthetic overcoat.
For my legs.
I have two liners.
One trail hiking pants.
Then ultra massive synthetic overall pants.
Just 4 layers.
That’s 27. Yes 27 items to plan for. Put on. Lee track of.
And even then frostbite or worse can happen.
That list does not even include my camera gear…gopro gear…sat phone or Inreach.
So while it is all logical and organized…it is mind boggling at some core and basic level.
And yet…this is what it takes to try and experience and capture special moments with emperor penguins.
The 10 Percent Rule
over the years, i’ve created different ways to think about life. and how i can make a positive difference during my time on this planet.
so i created the 10 percent rule. the premise is simple. relative…not absolute. which is that we can do many things 10 percent better or different with nominal effort. and get a high return on these efforts that feed our soul. here are my examples.
- tell my wife and son that i love them 10 percent more times per day (which, actually, may be impossible or just too irritating for them to hear)
- eat 10 percent less crappy calories (this one is easier then you’d think….as it actually means eating just 3 less M&M’s in a package or having one less fork full of triple berry cake)
- work at least 10 percent more effectively and in a more focused fashion (which means less news reading)
- tell my friends that i love them 10 percent more times then i do right now
- save 10 percent more money/spend 10 percent less money (bye bye some outdoor gear)
- use 10 percent less water when i shower
- be 10 percent kinder (more opening doors, letting cars get infront of me, buying coffee for a stranger)
- give 10 percent more time, money to those in need through charities or volunteering (or do 10 percent more pro-bono work then last year)
- enjoy life 10 percent more every day…by simply doing and worrying less of the less important stuff. and appreciating more of the obvious good stuff.
- give 10 percent of each sale of each photograph to animal related non-profits. yes. that’s what i do.
of course these 10 percent rules can be and should be customized to your goals. so go ahead. make your list. keep it focused on priorities. and see how much fun and how easy it is…to be successful living the 10 percent rule
recently a good friend used this term….and i learned two things.
one is that it was the title of a jack london book written over 100 years ago.
two is that the urban dictionary definition of “Wasting time, hesitating when something should be done quickly. Literally, letting the day go by while you are waiting to get started.”
burning daylight is literally wasting our time on things that don’t matter. that aren’t important. that don’t move us forward.
burning daylight is literally lighting our time and thus our lives on fire. and wasting them.
so whenever an urge comes over me to do just that….i think of my friend. who almost never burns daylight.
though he might burn the candle on both ends.
sorry. could not resist.
and i always remember to get on with getting on…to what matters most and to my goals.
so here’s to not burning daylight.
but rather to illuminating ourselves and our souls…to get closer to our truths and to our dreams…and to live them.
It Is Not Enough
To take care of oneself.
It is not enough.
To take care of one’s immediate family
It is not enough.
To voice frustration about the world we live in.
It is not enough to complain about politicians, corporations and natural human instincts.
It is enough to believe and practice active human kindness and active caring.
It is enough to keep facing into the wind. When our backs are better suited to block the storm of indifference and anger.
It is enough to get outside ourselves. And our lives. To know that truly understanding and helping others is the genuine path for us and all living species.
And is in our own self interest.
It is not enough or rather.
It is both.
As we should be.
The risk in life is not taking one.
what is it..and what am i writing about it?
good and fair questions. so let me try and explain.
as we grow older…we tend to gain validation from external resources. and compare ourselves. not toward the progress we have made toward our life’s goals and dreams…. but how we compare against our peers, our neighbors, our families expectations.
and stuff becomes more important as a surrogate and distraction from what matters most to each of us.
life 180 is about turning toward yourself. and taking the time to breathe. and focus on what is important to ourselves…and that makes our life feel like it is worth living. a life that has purpose. a path that demonstrates progress. that puts relationships….family…friends…community…nature…at the centre of our lives. does that mean other things are not important? of course not. it just means that deep, loving, caring relationships are what centers us…what keeps us safe and inspired…what brings us joy and laughter…what makes the journey worthwhile.
why am i writing about it?
because our society encourages us to work long hours. to always be on. and always be available. and to drive us to consume more. spend more. be judged by having more. if it is new. it is better.
yet more is never enough. because more is never the answer.
what we want is to be loved for who we are. what we have been through. scars. wounds. and tears.
what we want is to be vulnerable with those that love us. safe. protected. loved. and part of something bigger then just ourselves.
what we want is to be known.heard. respected. and embraced especially when we are vulnerable.
what we want to do is try and live the best version of ourselves. and to be kind to ourselves when we don’t make our own grade.
what we want is to explore our dreams. or at least try and make progress toward our dreams.
we want a better tomorrow. or at least a tomorrow that is as good as today.
so turn inside. do a life 180. so you can rediscover. rekindle. and actually reignite…what you want to be. how you want to live. and then turn outside and live your best self. with truth. self honor. and kindness and purpose to the world we live in.
we all want to walk in our own truth. live our own truth. and ultimately know we are true to ourselves. and the relationships that are important to us.
and ultimately we want to know that our limited time on this planet, is time well spent for ourselves and for those whom we touch both.
My Three Bets In Life. What Are Your Bets?
there are only a few bets in life truly worth making. that are game changing.
this is where you bet on yourself. simply put, if you don’t believe enough to bet on yourself…no one else will either.
your odds of achieving your goals increase as you invest time, effort and smarts into your goals. as they say, the harder and smarter i work, the luckier i get.
this is the partner you marry and or commit too. this is when you bet on each other.
this is your truth serum. the loved one that is on your side and who tells you the real truth about your efforts and ideas–not the truth you want to hear– in a way that you are open minded and open hearted to this loving input.
this is practicing caring and kindness to others. this means getting outside of your own head and desires to help others. whether it is simple stuff or big stuff…reach out…share kindness…share caring…be genuinely interested in others…express gratitude…and help make other people…people you do and do not know…have a better day.
"Silver / Gold #1"
A harmony of color.
A contrast as well.
Lines that look like fossils.
And the history of our planet.
Where did all this natural beauty come from?
And are our eyes and hearts open to see what exists?
Exploring what is…
can be as powerful as exploring what can be.
Simply because exploration is about knowledge, about learning and about wisdom gained.
From living with an interested heart, an open mind and a desire to revel in the glory of this planet.
A piece from the “Water as Art” collection.
"Platinum / Grey #1"
There is a center.
And there is balance and harmony.
There is a difference on both sides.
And a commonality as well.
The more we are open and accepting to the differences within ourselves and of others.
The more harmony and kindness there will be in the world.
“Platinum / Grey #1”
A piece from the “Water as Art” collection.
"Blue / Green #1"
Explore a real-life dreamland.
Swim in brilliant colors of cold water.
Hike on moss as the carpet to your feet.
Wonder with amazement at this natural gift we’ve been given.
Time is ours to choose how to use.
Yet, how much time is not ours to ultimately decide?
Open our hearts and our kind spirits to what is.
To what can be.
And choose to have gratitude for the glory we call planet earth.
A special thanks to Iceland…its kind and open-hearted people…and of course, its exquisite beauty.
“Blue / Green #1”
A piece from the “Water as Art” collection.
"Charcoal / Green #2"
There is the center.
Which is seen by the harmony and balance that is created by what surrounds it.
We surround our hearts with those we love.
We center ourselves with connection to what is important to our souls and our lives.
We stay connected to those people, places and activities that give us harmony and balance.
Let’s be sure to have gratitude for Nature that surrounds us with beauty and love.
That connects with creation and life itself.
“Charcoal / Green #2”
A piece from the “Water as Art” collection.
"Charcoal / Green #1"
Contrasts and colors.
Side by side.
Our differences are noticeable when we stand next to what’s seemingly different.
Yet, upon reflection. We see that we need each other. That charcoal is even more beautiful when next to green.
And that green is more magnificent when next to charcoal.
Our differences can be the source of our harmony.
And harmony is a source of kindness to our souls and to each other.
So let’s hug our differences.
Let’s hug each other.
And let’s live together in the contrast.
“Charcoal / Green #1”
A piece from the “Water as Art” collection.