Our Upcoming Trip To Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Montenegro


Our Upcoming Trip To Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Montenegro

I often hear people say things like: “I am a country boy, I love the smell of horses, the wild outdoors, and I hate city lights,” or “I am a simple person, I have no big needs” or “I am a blue collar traveler, I only stay in budget places and avoid crowded cities,” etc.

These are just a few small examples of how we “box ourselves” into fixed categories.

Life is dynamic, and when people define themselves too narrowly, situations will unavoidably end up making them unhappy.

It is best to be flexible and dynamic, and not to lock ourselves into a rigid mindset of likes and dislikes.
We can be adaptable and enjoy a wide array of experiences.

Of course you can make choices based on your predominant preferences, and spend most of your time and money doing the things that you think you enjoy most, but it is also good to try new experiences.
Who knows, maybe you will discover new things about yourself…

You see, we are not two dimensional beings.
Nobody is a one-trick pony with preferences that never change.
We are multidimensional beings, with a complex array of needs and wants, things that make us happy, as well as a need to be challenged, excited and inspired.

We need to laugh, we need to care, to love, to give, to play, to create, to dream, to communicate, to rest, to dance, to be solitary and so much more….
We do have many needs, but we simply do not often cater to them.

Perhaps a person who earns minimum wage decides to take a music class, or tries to sing at a cafe’s open mic night, or tries selling home baked blueberry scones at a local farmers market….

What self-image can prevent a farmer who spends most of his days on the farm, from taking a city trip in Europe or swimming on the beaches of Thailand?

The only thing that stops us from doing new and exciting things, are our own images, ideas and self imposed limitations.

We are only limited by how we see ourselves and by what we can envision or imagine.

Take me, for example – after living in big cities for many years, I wanted to live in remote rural places where I can only hear birds and the wind in the trees.
Spending time with my eyes closed in meditation, is my favorite thing.

Later, after getting my fill of quiet and peace, I noticed that I missed dressing up in nice fashionable clothing and going to a good concert, learning new skills, eating in  nice restaurants or sitting in city cafes watching people and admiring the river of life flowing by.

So, instead of traveling to only quiet rural places, we have started to add time in cities, and discovered that it rounded out many of our needs.

In other words, I realized that I needed to drop all ideas that I held about what I need, want and prefer, and allow myself to be fluid.

Our plans for the Autumn were to go on a long pilgrimage, when the heat of the summer had finally subsided.

I have been dreaming of walking the Camino or walking the Nakasando or another long pilgrimage in Japan.

I love being outdoors and I love the hardship and challenges of walking long distances.

I love the insights that I get while putting myself to the test, love the suffering and the joy, love establishing new limits of what I can do.

But as the summer in the Colorado mountains is gradually coming to an end, (we just had our first hail storm with large white frozen pellets of rain) I became aware that I am not so excited about walking a pilgrimage right now…..

Instead of walking by car dealerships, bus depots and stretches of strip malls in between forest hiking, I want to immerse myself in beauty and to be in picturesque old towns.

I want to feel the breeze on my face and in my hair, as we drive a rental car down the Dalmatian Coast….

In other words, something inside of me had overruled the hardship of a pilgrimage, and a whole new trip was brewing in the air…

And I am so excited!

At the end of the month, we are flying to Eastern Europe.

Our plan is to travel through whatever parts of Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Montenegro we can see in the short six weeks we have allotted for this trip.

We allotted only a short time, because we want to return to New Zealand and attend to our property after the long winter in the Southern Hemisphere.

Our journey starts in Frankfurt.
From there we will take a short flight to Zagreb, Croatia.
We plan to stay in Zagreb for a few days, and then rent a car and drive to Ljubljana, the capital city of Slovenia.

Ljubljana (pronounced Lubliana) is an ancient city that was established by the Romans in 34BC.
I am so looking forward to seeing this ancient town.

We have designed a loose itinerary of visiting the Slovenian Alps, lakes, caves, castles and beaches, before entering back into Croatia.

Croatia is dotted with world heritage sites and we plan to visit them all, along with some additional destinations as time will permit.

We will drive south from the Istria Peninsula down the Dalmatian Coast along the Adriatic Sea.

From southern Croatia we will enter Montenegro in the Balkans, and from there head back towards Zagreb, via Bosnia and Herzegovina.

I cannot tell you how excited I feel.

In my mind’s eye, I see old towns with cobbled stone streets, hip new cafes and old churches, beautiful beaches and seaside restaurants, national parks and ancient caves filled with stalactites and stalagmites, old castles and hopefully some contemporary art….

The hardest part was making the itinerary, trying to decide on a route that will combine mountain hiking, long days of walking, exciting rural sites and lively cities.
We consulted many travelers suggestions online and decided on a loose itinerary.

I will post our actual itinerary for those who might also be looking for ideas about how to explore this fascinating region on their own.

As for packing, I plan to pack light, but keeping in mind my multidimensional nature, I am aware that I will need a variety of items, from beachwear to hiking clothes, practical daywear to evening dresses, as well as a warm jacket for cool evenings in the Alps.

I will need walking shoes, sandals and a variety of toiletries, a camera, iPad, chargers, you get the point.
It will not be a small backpack, but I will try to make it as light and as small as I can.

Meantime, I am enjoying summer in the Rocky Mountains.
Upon our return from Japan, we planted flowers and herbs all around the front entrance to our house, in five large wine oak barrels.
They have attracted colorful butterflies and an array of hummingbirds.

We also get occasional visits from mountain birds and fishing birds, who dine on the fish that they catch in our Sweetwater Creek, which runs right down our land to join the mighty Colorado River.

We are finally getting into shape, loosing weight and toning our muscles and I am enjoying the farmers market’s fresh vegetable and fruits.
They taste like the open fields, spring sunshine and fresh summer rains…..

This week the New Zealand Herald wrote an article about the house we are selling.
To our greatest compliment, the feature did not appear in the real estate section of the paper, but in the actual news.
(I guess the whole country needs to know that we are moving…)

We feel humbled and grateful to the journalist Corazon Miller for the attention our unique house got.
You can see it here:




What Does It Mean To Be A Human- Being

You are, and will forever be, a divine, innocent, invulnerable, loved and eternal spiritual being.

Here on this earth, you are having a human experience.

It might seem hard at times to be a human, to see everywhere around you the injustices and wars and all the cruelty, and to feel helpless, small and earth bound, but it is NOT true!

Those feelings all originated from your ego, which has no real perception of whom you TRULY are, and of your divine potential.

Your ego is the one who is small, fearful and limited in every way.
But you are NOT your ego.

What you see around you, all the injustices, cruelty, limitations, poverty and struggles, are all dreams of guilt and karma that each person has to work through to become liberated.

Your journey on this earth was not meant to be a struggle, but a journey of joy, fun, laughter and creative possibilities.

You are not earth-bound, but FREE!!!!!

Wouldn’t you be delighted to hear that you were wrong?

You believed that this is reality.
That you had no choice.
That you came here and found this place already pretty messed up, a big jungle jumble.

Why would you not be joyful to hear that all this “reality,” in which you view yourself bound by cruel earthly “laws,” in which you see yourself subject to the passing of time, the restrictions of space, rapidly aging, vulnerable to sickness, decay and death, all this is nothing but a dream, a nightmare, an illusion….

You ARE a Divine unlimited, eternal Spiritual Being.
You are NOT a body!

Change your mind and it will change your reality for the better.

If you are not yet ready to awaken, because you fear discovering your true godly powers, and realizing how you have been misusing those powers all these years, at least dream a gentler dream….

Dream instead that you are a divine HUMAN BEING….

To be a “Human” means that you are a “Sacred Earth Man or Woman.”

The very definition of what it means to be a “human,” to be “humane,” to behave “humanely,” is to be graceful, considerate, compassionate, philanthropic, kind, gentle, polite, learned, refined and civilized.
Embody all these qualities.

Forget about all the small definitions of your identity.

Do not think of yourself as a woman or a man, or an Indian or a Chinese or a Bhutanese, a German or a Jew, a Muslim or a Christian, a wealthy person or a poor man, someone highly educated or a high school dropout.
Drop all those labels.

Think instead:
“I am a Human Being.
I am graceful, considerate, compassionate, giving, kind, gentle, polite, helpful, refined, joyful, light-filled and civilized.

I am here to do much good, to find my beautiful inner Voice and to spread joy, blessings and Light!
I can do it!
I am a Human Being.
I am Divine!”

Anyways… I am sure you get the point….
Nobody is here to struggle, obsess over diet, food, fitness, age, careers, and fake powers.

But everyone who is here, is on a spiritual journey to discover who they REALLY are….. only some of us still do not know it….

Sending you millions of blessings,

Tokyo to Denver, and then Home to the Rocky Mountains, plus Some Thoughts About Emotional Maturity  

Tokyo to Denver, and then Home to the Rocky Mountains, plus Some Thoughts About Emotional Maturity

Sorry that I have taken a long time since I last wrote.
Coming home after a long trip is always a bit of a mission.
It takes time to adjust to the different patterns of the weather, the high altitude of the Rockies, the different time zone and to new ways to spend my days.

There are many pluses to being home.
They include having lots of time to lounge on the sofa and read books, painting in my studio, daydreaming while looking at the clouds in the big blue sky, and having more control over my food, including weekly visits to our local organic farmers’ markets.

Here in the mountains of Colorado, summer is the ideal time to enjoy the best peaches I have ever eaten, big and delicious red and orange cherries, and varieties of garden vegetables that you never find in supermarkets.

I love the variegated striped long cucumbers available in the farmers’ markets.
They are curvy and swirly and taste so good.
I also love the heirloom tomatoes, the small tender peppers, the mixes of wild greens and edible flowers and the bouquets of colorful baby beets.
Summer is really the best time to enjoy all the flavors in fresh garden salads.

I enjoy our outdoor space every day.
Instead of an outdoor dining table and chairs, we have sectional sofas, armchairs and love seats, with big umbrellas for shade.
This makes eating and reading outdoors so much more enjoyable.

Our outdoor patio is located between our house and my studio, so when I feel inspired, I jump into the studio and make a drawing, and then come back out to lay on one of the sofas, read and sip my tea.
I spend hours and hours laying in the shade, looking at the sky, reading, contemplating the nature of the illusory world and daydreaming ideas.

Just to recap the end of our Japan trip:
From Fukuoka we flew via Peach Air to Tokyo.
Japanese discount airlines like Peach are a real bargain, and instead of spending hours on the train, we landed at Narita in no time.

Narita airport is far from Tokyo, and the best way to get to the city is by taking one of the limousine buses.
There are many different buses (operated by one company) that service the many neighborhoods of Tokyo.
You purchase the tickets right at the arrival terminal.

The bus took us straight to the Chinzanso hotel, where our luggage, which we had shipped a few days before via “Yamato Freight”, had already been delivered to our room.

We spent a fun week in Tokyo, mostly looking at art.
We visited several art museums, and felt especially lucky to be in the city at the same time as a fabulous Asian art exhibition called “Sun Showers.”

The exhibition was spread over two big art museums, and it took us two full days to enjoy both.

We also found many wonderful places to eat delicious vegetarian food spread out all over the city.
Especially in Roppongi Hills, where most expats live, we saw many salad bars, places selling fresh juices and smoothies, kale-soy lattes and vegan burgers.

We also spent some time buying all the items on my long list of things I wanted to buy and bring home from Japan.

We bought all sorts of seaweed that you never even see in the West, like Tengusa, used to make Tokoroten noodles, Shiratama powder, Konyaku, a good organic miso, gourmet soba noodles, new Yukatas (summer kimonos), nail art stickers, Ink brushes for writing kanji, art supplies and art books, sets of very thin ink pens and paper used for Manga, and more.

Flying back to the USA on American Airlines was pleasant.
The plane was new and I was able to watch Japanese movies.

Once we had landed in San Francisco and waited for our flight to Denver, I felt a heavy sadness, realizing that I was no longer in Japan….

The biggest thing was seeing how badly behaved most people were.
Children were screaming and throwing food and toys all around the airport, without their parents making the slightest attempt to educate them.

I saw loud people speaking at a volume of near screaming, calling attention to themselves as if they were the only ones who mattered in the room, commanding attention, as if being quiet and humble were akin to death.
They sounded like unruly grown children who had not been taught to be considerate of others.

But the most shocking thing was seeing people crying big tears of desperation and falling to pieces, over trivial and insignificant things.

Within moments of walking into the airport, I was surprised to see quite a few people crying.
Some cried hysterically out loud, while others cried long sobbing tears.

I did not think of it before, but in the months we’d spent in Japan, with millions of people around us in busy cities, I saw nobody crying nor falling to pieces.

The chaos continued as we sat waiting for our plane to Denver.
I saw women crying in the toilet, people crying at the customer service, trying to rebook flights that had been cancelled, and I saw many tears of frustration from teenage kids.

This led me to think and reflect that Americans are in real need of learning emotional maturity.

One should learn to be in control of his or her thinking, and choose to entertain and hold thoughts that are productive and helpful, and never hold on to thoughts that bring rage, anger, sadness and despair.

From learning to select our thoughts, we can move on to choosing what feelings to experience, and make an inner commitment to never abandon ourselves to violent moods.

Why let yourself fall to pieces?
Why allow waves of desperation or anger to take over your being?
It is much harder to recover from an emotional storm, than it would be to simply not allow it to take you over.

More than learning to be successful in business, or to manifest our desires, one must learn emotional maturity.
It is SO important to one’s well being and sense of self worth, happiness, joy and harmony.

The ego, which is your mistaken sense of individual separate identity, always wants to be right.

In its righteousness, the ego sees no problem with guiding you into fluctuating emotions and allowing anger to bubble up.
If one is not watchful, anger can rise up over simple human errors that could easily be overlooked, or from the regular course of life on an overpopulated planet.

It could be over something inconsiderate that someone has done, someone who acts aggressively, someone who criticizes or contradicts you, or someone who lives by different behavioral and moral codes than you do.

The important thing is to develop emotional maturity, and control over your emotions, and then to CHOOSE to experience the feelings that leave you calm, happy, joyful and in a state of bliss.

Isn’t it better to laugh than to cry over anger or frustrations?
It is much harder to see the humor in situations, or to laugh, for those who frequently allow their stormy emotions to take control over their consciousness.

In other words, it is harder to “recover” yourself and return to balance, than to not go there in the first place.

Anyway, this is just an update so I can now start sharing some of the ideas that I have been daydreaming about, while contemplating life on my outdoor sofa.

Wishing you lots of smiles and laughs,