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Of Sunflowers, Blake and California Wildfires

Ah Sunflower! weary of time, Who contests the steps of the Sun: Seeking after that sweet golden clime Where the travelers journey is done. Where the Youth pined away with desire, And the pale Virgin shrouded in snow: Arise from their graves and aspire Where my sunflower wishes to go. William Blake Notice the sky in the background, heavy with smoke from the California wildfires. Over 12,000 lightning strikes caused hundreds of fires, scorching millions of acres in the last week. As dry and hot conditions continue, thousands of firefighters are struggling to contain the fires that are threatening to raze more homes. We need blessed rain. And more people who care about our planet to stem the tide of climate change. Have you heard the story of Apollo and Clytie? According to Greek mythology, Clytie, a nymph, adored Apollo but he fell out of love with her when he met Leucothoe. Overwhelmed by jealousy, Clytie told Leucothoe’s father about her relationship with Apollo and he punished his dau
Recent posts

The Road to 193 with Bengt Enbuske

Bengt Enbuske in the northwestern mountains of Sweden Where and when was your first trip outside of your home country?   My first trip was to Norway in 1965 with my parents. My first solo trip was in 1972 to Gran Canarias. My first far away trip was in 1974 to Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). Actually, Finland was the first country I visited but it’s almost my home country. I live close to the Finnish border.  I have always been curious about the world and always had dreams to visit different places. And some places are “you must see it”. What is it about traveling that appeals to you the most? Experiencing the world, new countries, cultures, nature, peoples, amazing places and finding friendly people who are almost everywhere. Often in underdeveloped countries you find poorer people who are the most hospitable.   How many UN recognized sovereign countries have you visited? How many continents have you been to? I’ve been to all 193 UN countries (as of 2018) and 40 other countries from the Trave

Easter Weekend at Pismo Beach

Pismo Beach Pier After months of staying indoors with only an occasional getaway to the supermarket, it was a huge relief to take a short road trip to the coast. The weather was warm and the sky was clear. Though Pismo Beach was hopping with weekenders, we found parking a short distance from the beach. Most of the people on the pier and on the beach had their masks on.   The wooden pier is 1,200 feet long and extends out into the Pacific Ocean. It was renovated in 2020. There are a couple of vintage Airstream concession stands along its length offering snacks, drinks and souvenirs. The pier is connected to the plaza which has shops, cafés and a children’s playground.    Stairs lead down to the beach from both the north and south sides of the pier. It was fascinating to see the pylons supporting the pier. The pier has the best view of the surfers who, this late in the day, are still waiting patiently to ride the big wave. Sunset is that time of day when everyone stands quietly staring a

The Road to 193 with Hazel Borres Apuhin

Hazel Borres Apuhin skydiving in Dubai What inspired you to travel? I am often told that I got this itch for travel from my grandfather. I haven’t met him but he was once known as “the man with a sea fever” and was featured in a local newspaper in 1970’s when he and my two uncles tried to sail to America in a wooden outrigger. They were unsuccessful and found themselves on Taiwan shores, pretended they were fishermen that were carried out there by a storm. I was always inspired by my grandfather's stories growing up and I know he lived a great life and I thought to myself that I wanted my life to be well lived and different from others too. While in my teens, my mom used to tell us her experiences in the various countries she lived in and how different their culture, their food and people’s mindset in these countries were. This also fueled my curiosity and thought to myself that I will be traveling and seeing the world someday. What is it about traveling that appeals to you the mos

Visita Iglesia in Capiz

Visita Iglesia (church visit) is a Catholic Lenten tradition which is widely practiced in the Philippines. The faithful may choose to visit 7 or 14 churches on Maundy Thursday after the Mass of the Last Supper or on Good Friday and follow the Via Crucis (Way of the Cross). The Via Crucis consists of 14 Stations which traces the journey of Jesus Christ to his crucifixion and death. Here is a pictorial guide to seven churches + one Mission Station for your Visita Iglesia in Capiz.  Metropolitan Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Roxas City The Cathedral sits in the heart of the cultural heritage sites of Roxas City. The current structure is from a reconstruction in 1954. This is a good place to start your Visita Iglesia. Here are the prayers for the Stations of the Cross:  https://www.catholic.org/prayers/station.php?id=15 Santa Monica Church, Pan-ay The original church in Pan-ay was first established in 1774. A typhoon in 1875 devastated the church. It wasn’t until 1884 that it was

The Road to 193 with Odette Aquitania Ricasa

Odette Aquitania Ricasa Odette Aquitania Ricasa is poised to be the first Filipino American to travel to all 193 United Nations recognized sovereign countries. She has visited 189 countries, just four countries shy of 193. These travels have been rigorously validated by NomadMania. She is also a member of the Travelers Century Club (TCC) having visited 295 of 325 countries and territories on the TCC list. Odette is the author of six books*, an accomplished painter, a motivational speaker and a pianist.  Odette Ricasa has received numerous awards including First Prize in an International Speech Contest sponsored by Toastmasters Club and several Best Speaker awards from the Los Angeles Toastmasters Speech Club and the San Clemente Toastmasters Club. Her painting, Doorway to Peace, has been featured in  The Anthropology of Colour - What colour is a culture,  an art tome which was recently published in Russia**. Odette uses her platform to re