Posts Tagged ‘Travel’

Turning Down the Family Business

26/01/2019

Decisions on the Life Path
Felix is from Bavaria. He had a choice to make – Follow in his father’s footsteps, or follow his heart. Learn what he and his fiance decided to do!

 

In Support of Time Out – The Kiwi Way

22/01/2019

In a busy world where taking time off is a difficult thing, it may be the most important thing.

I come from the Northeastern U.S., where there’s a strong “New England work ethic”, where if you’re not busy, you’re not amounting to anything. OK, a slight exaggeration, but there is an expectation of achieving, of going to one of the Ivy League Schools, and getting a respectable career with benefits.  Instead, I became a mountain guide. After graduating from the University of Utah, and an early career in the ski boot business I took a sharp left turn into the mountains and never returned, except for leading corporate team building programs for Outward Bound for a few years.

I’ve been living in New Zealand for over 10 years but a few exchanges on the phone last week really rocked me. I finally got an unexpected peek into Kiwi psyche about healthy priorities, of balancing work and spending quality down-time with family and friends,  taking a time out.

We’re really busy during the summer holiday season here in the Wanaka area. We run an off-the-grid Secluded Sanctuary called Mountain Spirit, which includes a BnB. We’re ramping up to run health and wellness programs on our land, and we run Lake Wanaka Yacht Charters. So the Christmas season is full-on for my wife and I and our 7yr old son as well.

We decided to block off  a couple of days right after Christmas, and take an  overnight on the charter boat to Lake Wanaka’s Paddock Bay to unplug. The inevitable happened when we got a few inquiries during that time for boat charters. When I explained we were taking some much needed time off, despite the holiday season being our busy time, without exception the callers responded with, “Good on ya, you need to pay attention to that family and take that time off. We’ll check in with you later.” (Which they did). Correct me if I’m wrong, (you Americans, from the NorthEast), if you were the caller would you not be surprised that a vendor was taking time off, and wouldn’t you think he was expected to be open and available when you call.? Instead of the “Good on ya”,  if my memory serves, the first response would not be one of support, rather: “Are you sure you can’t be available for tomorrow”? or, “Why are you not open?”

It was an eye opener. Three separate callers actually took it in stride and said “Of course you’re taking time off, have a good one.”

Not to slam Americans or anything, but it’s almost a cliche at this point – And God love Americans for all that we are, but taking a slow long holiday is not one of them. The American system is set up for a two week vacation, max. And that does not do justice to the country in which you’re visiting. It’s a bit of an insult actually. 

Time off during the busy season

Spending time with family on the boat when our To Do list is growing. Damn the torpedoes and head out anyway.

The only way to get more time off from the American workplace is to quit, or set up a longer travel itinerary between jobs, or be a CEO. So we can’t find fault with individual Americans, or can we?  I’m not sure – all I know is I was surprised to finally experience being given permission to take time off. I’ve been conditioned not to take time off.  To have someone say “it’s OK”,  is a eye opener for an American.

For those of us that made recreation our jobs, and travel came with the territory, we were lucky enough to be exposed to different perspectives in the world. It’s not just the Kiwi’s who value taking time off , more than do Americans. Most of the world does.

The Kiwi Vagabond Travelers?

15/02/2011

Kiwis and Aussies Travel Footloose Around the Globe, Right?
Not so fast…

A Surprising Read about NZ's OE

Young Americans on their trip abroad, usually see, in amazement,  the Aussies and Kiwis on their “OE” or Overseas Expedition, as they tick off another year, another country. It’s so different than the Yankee program, where we might take a semester abroad or a summer backpacking  and Eurail trip through Europe. The Australians and Kiwis really have it good. “How do that do that?” we ask ourselves.   The article below by Anna Hart gives a perceptive glimpse into the mindset of the Kiwis and how they value an overseas expedition. This story might surprise you as it did me.
From:
Sunday Star Times Magazine

January 23, 11
By Anna Hart
This time last year, I decided to chuck in my job at a fashion magazine in London and spend a year in New Zealand. I wanted a break from the London Underground, I wanted an adventure and I wanted some sunshine. I chose New Zealand simply because every friend who had ever visited raved about the place. I was hopeful that I’d find freelance writing work over here, but if I didn’t, well, I could still remember how to froth a cappuccino. (more…)

Laugh Dancing in Peru

20/10/2009

Daniel & Maria Sanchez, Huaraz

Daniel & Maria Sanchez, Huaraz, Peru

Bridging Cultures with Laughter in Peru
By Randall Richards
“Laugh Dancing” – I’m not sure if that’s the name, or if there even is a name, but I first saw it at our wedding reception last spring, when someone pulled this out of their bag of tricks. Laugh Dancing is a misnomer. Maybe it should be called “StoneFace Dancing” because while you’re dancing, the object is actually to not laugh, to keep a straight face. He who laughs first, loses the round. The object is to get the other person to crack up before you do – Great fun.
Then, add the international element, in this case, my godchild’s family in Huaraz, Peru, and  instantaneously, you’re breaking culture barriers with laughter.
For those too shy to dance, there’s also Laugh-Sitting, (or StoneFace sitting) where opponents face off, and stare each other down, till one starts smiling, after which it’s a slippery slope from there.

Below, the first clip is of Maria Sanchez Figeroa, my godchild’s grandmother, facing off with Amanda in the kitchen of Restaurant Salud y Vida. Instantly, this laughter, brought us one more step closer together in our 12-year friendship. The second clip is Amanda facing off with Elizabeth, a vegetarian cook in the restaurant.  Next, she finally wins a round against our godchild, Joseph Sanchez. Try it on your next trip.

The American Bedouin

05/07/2009

Reconnecting with a Mentor
By R. Richards, MSI Founder

Screen Shot of "American Bedouin"

Screen Shot of "American Bedouin"

According to an excellent 2007 Aljazeera Feature video, Erga Rehns  has been living the life of a Bedouin in the desert with the Bedouin tribes of Wadi Rum  for seven years. I’m not sure if she still does though. I’ll have to do more research in order to contact her again. The last, (and first) time I saw her in person was in 1981, when we first met at her little art studio and home in Obidos, Portugal.

Some people are lucky enough to be a primed for a turning point in their young lives, and come across just the right person at the right time that poses questions, and challenges one’s view of the world – who plants the seed for a paradigm shift. Most people aren’t’ aware they’re ready for that change, until years later, when they realize the shift was primed by those mentors. (more…)

Inbox: Water Bottle/T-Shirts

18/06/2009

Pristine Water Bottle & Filter/T-Shirts in Peru’s Winter?
Randy,
How effective do you think the water bottle with filter is?   Will it get
warm enough for us to wear T-shirts?  I am trying to
sort out what to bring .
S. Reid

Hi S,
Yes a couple of T-shirts will come in handy, as it will be warm enough, in the sun,…especially when walking or hiking. You can find fun T-shirts  in Peru too, but the cotton is usually of a bit thinner quality. Just don’t forget a good poly-pro or fine-spun wool under layer regardless of the T-shirt decision.

Pristine Water Bottle/Filter

Pristine Water Bottle/Filter

Water Bottle: According to the doctor*, (*see previous post on Travel Essentials) the water bottle is his front line of defense. He has used it daily in India, Peru etc. as has his wife, who I also met at the office. Both he and the water bottle have a good reputation.

The beauty of this device is it frees one up from purchasing tons of bottled water, and thus, reduces the plastic purchased. When we do purchase bottled water, we can also pour that into the bottle/filter, which is really doubling up on protection, however I’ve drunk bottled water for years and never had a problem as long as I check the seal to make sure it’s a new factory sealed bottle.

World Health Organization Travel Advice

02/05/2009

1st May 2009

Is it safe to travel?

WHO is not recommending travel restrictions related to the outbreak of the influenza A(H1N1) virus. Today, international travel moves rapidly, with large numbers of individuals visiting various parts the world. Limiting travel and imposing travel restrictions would have very little effect on stopping the virus from spreading, but would be highly disruptive to the global community.

Influenza A(H1N1) has already been confirmed in many parts of the world. The focus now is on minimizing the impact of the virus through the rapid identification of cases and providing patients with appropriate medical care, rather than on stopping its spread internationally. Furthermore, although identifying the signs and symptoms of influenza in travellers can be an effective monitoring technique, it is not effective in reducing the spread of influenza as the virus can be transmitted from person to person before the onset of symptoms. Scientific research based on mathematical modelling indicates that restricting travel will be of limited or no benefit in stopping the spread of disease.

Historical records of previous influenza pandemics, as well as experience with SARS, have validated this point.

Travellers can protect themselves and others by following simple recommendations related to travel aimed at preventing the spread of infection. Individuals who are ill should delay travel plans and returning travellers who fall ill should seek appropriate medical care. These recommendations are prudent measures which can limit the spread of many communicable diseases and not only Influenza A(H1N1).

Welcome

31/10/2008

Greetings! You’ll find tons of info on this blog which we started in 2008.
It’s a place to find resources, articles, updates and info about Mountain Spirit, the world of healing and outdoor programs, experiential education, sustainable travel, holistic living, service opportunities, and info about our world in which we live. Also leave a comment or feedback.

Here’s what you’ll find:

  • Journal entries from expeditions/programs, and service projects.
  • Updates on Mountain Spirit
  • Articles by Mountain Spirit staff
  • News and articles on Peak Oil, the environment, climate change, and life.
  • Holistic living
  • Resources on sustainable living
  • Travel updates
  • Opinion

You’ll see a range of topics as diverse as Mountain Spirit.
On behalf of everyone at Mountain Spirit,
Be Well, and thanks for stopping by!
Randall Richards, Editor/Writer
Mountain Spirit Blog


IMAGES: All images:  R. or A. Richards, unless otherwise noted with credits, or public domain from Google images.  Cover Video by the Master, Ashley Leung