Happiness is Reaching Your Goals

Happiness is Reaching Your Goals

rev kane, slower pace of life, can make you happy

A slower pace of life can make you happy

Es dificil, mas no imposible. ~ Isis, my Spanish teacher

I’ve written her on the site before about how setting and achieving goals can make you happier.  I’m not one of these type A madmen who feels you have to set and achieve it at all costs, hell I’m a well-known quitter.  Why do something that’s killing your spirit, but I diverge.  I think it’s important to have a direction.  In my life, almost every time I’ve set a goal that goal has morphed into something else but that something else was very often in the direction of the original goal.  So this is where tonight’s quote comes in, and for those of you with no Spanish background or access to Google Translate, let me, it is difficult, but not impossible.  She says this a lot, and it’s accurate of learning to speak Spanish as it is with so many other things, we just need the drive, the patience and the time.

The reason all of this goal nonsense is on my mind tonight is because today on the Ministry of Happiness we hit the goal we set for annual page views.  Given that it would be a partial travel year I figured we could make and average of fifty page views a day, or 18,000 page views for the year.  We hit that mark today, forty-seven days before the end of the year.  Yes, my friends, forty-seven days until 2019.  My hope is, given that December is always a strong month on the blog, that we’ll actually make 20,000 page views for the year.  It’s not a big blog, but one I’m proud of and one that nearly 225 people subscribe to.  Never would have I imagined that there were 225 people on Earth remotely interested in all of my wanderings and rantings, but apparently there are and I’m grateful for every single one of them.  Thank you to all of you who read this blog and have made it successful.

It’s also November my friends, a month where we all try a little harder to be more grateful than we usually are the rest of the year.  I’m quite grateful for my life and the people in it.  I’m grateful for open borders in other countries that allow folks like me to come see what things are like in the rest of the world.  Especially grateful for the perspective that provides when I return back to the United States.  My deepest hope is that through this blog I can somehow convince more of you that you’ll be happier if you travel.  This year my annual goals were really built around my 2018 road trip and after a change of plans due to a heart condition, I’ve realized almost everything I wanted to do, including living for a couple of months in Oaxaca from where I sit writing this piece tonight.  Have a happy day friends and thank you again for year readership, comments, thoughts and support. ~ Rev Kane

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Happiness and Learning from Others

Happiness and Learning from Others

I’m already to learn although I don’t always like being taught                             ~ Winston Churchill

learnEverything around us has an opportunity to teach us, sometimes by example of how to live our lives, unfortunately many times by examples of how not to live our lives. The important to thing is to watch, observe and take the appropriate lessons from what we see. One of the people in my life who continually teaches me is my friend Kim. She’s a person I greatly admire for her intelligence. Now admiring someone for their intelligence is not all that surprising except for the fact that I’m quite egotistical about my intelligence. As arrogant as it may be I rarely meet people I would consider to be smarter than myself. My friend Kim though fits this bill by truly illustrating the idea of multiple intelligences. Kim comes at the world from a completely different angle than I do. I’m very much someone who comes at the things from a hard science, hard logic perspective and for that reason people can at times truly perplex me. It is often at these times, or when I ask her to review something I’ve written, that Kim will knock me flat with her perspective. Her social science, humanistic and human centered approach often seems nearly alien to me in everything but its correctness and illumination.

Watching and learning from this example makes me a better and a happier person, I’m always happiest when I’m improving. A great example of Kim’s genius is a graduation speech she delivered, enjoy it. So look around friends, observe, learn and have a happier day ~ Rev Kane

 

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Fear is Killing Your Happiness

Fear is Killing Your Happiness

fearWe can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark, the real tragedy is when men are afraid of the light ~ Plato

One of the biggest problems I see in society these days is fear.  It most often shows itself in the form of worry, people are afraid and so they worry about so many things that could go wrong, or harm them, or might happen.  I’ve written about this problem before in a piece entitled, Worry the enemy of happiness.  But today I want to talk more specifically about fear for two reasons.  First I see people expressing a lot more fear these days than I ever remember hearing and seeing before.  Secondly, most of the things that we fear are irrational.

I often hear people, usually people who want your support in some way, saying how smart people are and I’m not sure I agree.  Now you know you’re smart so of course that statement must be true.  However if it was, I don’t think we would so often see people letting their emotions overwhelm they’re intellect.  You may argue people are smart but they don’t use it.  This is like arguing that Billy is a really fast runner, he just never runs fast.  Possibly true, but not very likely.  What is often said about people that I do agree with is that people fundamentally want to be good and kind and happy.  I have seen this demonstrated, not so much in day-to-day society but in times of deep sorrow and tragedy.  People get caught up in a me first attitude day-to-day, but when confronted with the truly harsh realities of life their better nature usually comes to the fore.

Let me point out, in relation to our fears, exactly why I’m not convinced people are very intellectual.  I know perfectly fine human beings who climb into a car and drive every day without a care.  In the United States, nearly 33,000 people died in car crashes in the United states in 2013, nearly 100 per day!  Those exact same people will not wade more than ankle-deep in the ocean because they are afraid of sharks.  On average in the United States, ONE person per year is killed by a shark, six are killed worldwide.  There are normally less than twenty shark attacks in the US each year.  Our fears about sharks I have a feeling went up significantly in the 1970’s with both the book and the movie Jaws.

01Our fears are driven not by an intellectual evaluation of risk but our emotional reaction to the object of fear.  In the last ten years, less than 100 Americans have been killed in the US by terrorists.  If you want a bigger number you can go back to 9/11 and the total will be somewhere in the neighborhood of 3200 people in the last fifteen years.  In the last ten years, there have been roughly 300,000 deaths due to gun violence in the United States.  Yet I hear much more concern about terrorists coming to the US to kill us than I do about fearing gun violence from other Americans.  Again, this is driven by emotion not rational risk analysis, but I get it, the image of planes flying into towers, massacres in the streets of Paris, news of deaths in San Bernardino cause an emotional reaction.

Having an emotional reaction to something terrible is utterly normal, reading about someone being attacked by a shark or killed by a terrorist at a cafe should elicit a fear response.  That you react emotionally to the event does not impact your happiness.  How you choose to react and act past that initial response is what can damage your happiness.

If your reaction to shark attacks is to spend hours worrying about a shark attack before you go to the beach you’re impacting your happiness.  If you are unable to enjoy yourself in the water because you are very afraid that impacts your happiness negatively.  Worst of all, if you won’t go to the beach at all, or won’t go on a cruise or let your kids swim in the ocean you are letting your fears keep you from doing things that will very likely make you happier.  Some may argue that if you have that fear then staying home is the best option, you’ve escaped your fear and aren’t stressing.  But I’ll give you another way to look at this, you’ve let your fear dictate the way you live your life and have reduced the number of positive experiences you are able to have.  If you begin to avoid everything that harm you pretty soon you’ll be living in a padded room.

I see the same thing with terrorism, yes, there are people in this world who are willing to kill you.  They want to kill you for nothing more than your nationality, religion, color of your skin, sexual orientation or any number of other things that someone has deemed is wrong.  For this reason I see people speaking out in unkind ways about people they have never met.  I see political leaders using this fear as a foundation for bigotry.  Hatred and suspicion will never be a path to kindness, generosity or happiness.  And I would argue that most people see themselves as kind, generous and want to be happy.

When we come back to actual risk however, we see that terrorist truly pose very little risk to our lives.  This does not mean we shouldn’t work to reduce that risk for us and others, but it also doesn’t mean we should act in ways that are counter to our core values.  In particular where refugees are concerned, I believe we should continue to vet refugees the way we do, do a good job of weeding out those who mean to harm others.  We have the data that in fact shows over the last ten years there has been very little risk created from the hundreds of thousands of refugees we’ve admitted to this country.  We typically admit about 70,000 refugees per year into the United States.

04I don’t think we should fantasize that we can ever devise a perfect process, or that people may not change after they are in the United States for years.  We’ve seen this fear before in the United States, fear of Italians, of Jews, the Irish, Mexicans and Communists.  And yes, throughout our history we’ve allowed folks to immigrate to the United States who have turned out to be mafia members, criminals, Communists and others who were not a positive force on our society.  But this number has always been small, we emotionally fear the new, those we see as other, in reality these people have always and will almost certainly always pose a very small risk to each of us.  On the other side think about how these people have enriched our society and culture, it is part of what makes America the envy of the world.

02So let’s get back to being happier in our daily lives.  We need to reduce the fears that we have and hopefully this will lead to reducing worry and the stress that it brings that is so detrimental to your health.  My recommendations are as follows:

  1. Reduce your news intake, particularly your cable news intake.  You don’t need to watch 4 hours of coverage about the latest attack regardless of where it is or how many people have died.  Understand that local news also has a formula that will cause you unnecessary worry.  Whatever tragedy occurs, attack, earthquake, meteor strike, Ebola, local news will always do a story, entitled, <insert horror> can it happen here? Even if the answer is no that story will still make you worry.

2. When you do start to fear and worry about something, do a reality check.  I’m afraid of Ebola, let’s see how many people have ever died of Ebola in America, zero, ok, maybe I shouldn’t be so worried about that.  It may not eliminate the worry but it should put it in proper context.

3.  This will seem counter intuitive, but scare yourself, stretch yourself.  I am a huge proponent of adventure leading to happiness.  I can tell you from personal experience, the more you test and scare yourself and succeed, the more you will begin to realize that your fears aren’t as real as you believed them to be.  And focus on that, if you’re afraid of shark attacks go to the beach and just watch.  Lot’s of people frolicking in the surf and no one is getting voraciously consumed by the epitome of swimming death.  Focus on the reality of your experience instead of the fantasies of your fears.

4. Finally, actively work to stay positive, when you are worrying or afraid, ask yourself is there another way to look at this situation?  Instead of focusing on the 6 shark attacks this year, how about focusing on the hundreds of millions of people who swam in the ocean without being attacked.

I hope these tips can help and I want to make a final comment related to social media.  It’s easy to express your fears behind a computer screen and to dismiss other opinions.  Online we seek out others who echo our opinions, be careful.  If we have a fear about sharks and we post and read posts about shark attacks, the algorithms for sites like Facebook will feed you more posts about shark attacks.  In those posts you see lots of comments for people with the same fears which amplifies and confirms your own fears.  Be smart about how you use social media and don’t respond to others who disagree out of emotion and fear.

03So my friends, try to reduce your fear and worry, try to focus on more kindness and generosity and have a happy day.  I’ll end this piece with one of my favorite quotes from Frank Herbert’s novel Dune, I have always found these words to be profoundly wise and have quoted this to myself at times when I was truly afraid. ~ Rev Kane

I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.          ~ The character Paul from Frank Herbert’s Dune

Other Posts You Might Enjoy!

Remember the Sweet Things The best story you’ll ever hear!

Happiness, Worry & The Dalai Lama’s Thoughts

Why I’m Happy Right Now!

Happiness Resources, Positivity, Kindness & Gratitude

Stories of Kindness

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World’s Best Travel Locations – Part 2

World’s Best Travel Locations – Part 2

rev kane, slower pace of life, relaxing

Rev Kane relaxing in the arctic snow flurries

I see my path, but I don’t know where it leads.  Not knowing where I’m going is what inspires me to travel it. ~ Rosalia de Castro

Follow up post to my post from last night, World’s Best Travel Locations – Part 1

I got asked again today, a question that I frequently get asked, where is the favorite place you’ve ever traveled?   It’s a horrible question, not because it’s being asked, it’s a horrible question to try to and answer.  I’ve traveled a decent amount, more than most, but when you frequently travel and meet other travelers what you often find out is that so many people have done so much more than you have.

The reason the question is so difficult, is that there are so many components to travel.  Some places are not the most beautiful, or don’t  have the greatest weather but the people are spectacular.  Some places are absolutely amazing in so many ways but you may not feel safe or have other problems.  Sometimes your response to a place can be greatly impacted by circumstances, a lost hotel reservation, lost or delayed luggage, hidden costs on a tour, terrible weather or you’re attitude.  If you have a cold, or you’re exhausted or stressed out it may not matter how amazing the people or place are.  So with those caveats I’ve selected five really amazing places that I’ve been to and that I recommend you visit if possible.  I’m using countries at descriptors but will usually be focus on a particular religion, attraction or tour.

Please feel free in the comments to ask questions or post your own recommendations, I’m always looking for new cool places to visit.  So here we go, the second three of the six places in alphabetical order:

Nepal

happiness, everestThe first big international hiking trip I did was to spend 22 days hiking in the high passes of the Himalaya Mountains in Nepal.  The goal of the trip was to visit base camp on Mount Everest.  Two things really stuck out from this trip.  The first was that Himalayas are easily one of the most beautiful places on Earth.  Second, that the Sherpa people may be the single nicest group of humans on Earth.

happiness, nepal, smileThe trip was fantastic, it started in Kathmandu and what a wild and wacky place Kathmandu turned out to be.  From there we took a harrowing flight into Lukla and walked for three weeks amongst the highest mountains in the world.  I’ve been told the Anapurna Loop is also magnificent and Nepal is someplace I absolutely recommend you check out.  I did a tour with Kamzang Travel and they were beyond fantastic and honestly I believe the best tour company in the Himalayan region.  I wrote a 15 part series about the trip and you can read about it at this link.

happiness, everest

At the Everest Rock Bar after the white knuckle flight to Lukla on the trail to Everest

happiness, everest, be happy, hiking

Rev Kane and a hiking friend

Everest

Sunset in the Himalayas

Scotland

happiness scotland

Rev Kane goin native in the Scottish Highlands

I’ve had the pleasure of visiting Scotland a few times including having hiked both the Great Glen and West Highland Ways.  Scotland is a wonderful country and the Scottish people, in my experience, are only rivaled by the Sherpas in Nepal, for being open, welcoming and kind to visitors.  The country is beautiful, the weather not so bad, Edinburgh is a magnificent city and Glasgow houses one of my favorite museums, St. Mungo’s Museum of Religious Art.  Oh, and I think they make whiskey in Scotland.

The one caveat I have to give about Scotland, in general, the food is bland and terrible.  Now, before I start getting hate messages from restaurateurs in Scotland, I’m sure there are many fine restaurants in Scotland.  In fact, I had one of the best meals of my life in Edinburgh at a place I believe was called Cafe Marylane.  However, I’ve spent most of my time in Scotland hiking and eating in small towns, small restaurants and pubs.  This experience has not been pleasant, not that I haven’t had some good meals.  On my last trip I had a quite spectacular Glen Coe Chicken one night and several good haggis dishes, yes I like haggis.  Also, to be fair this criticism applies to lunch and dinner, a full Scottish breakfast is a magnificent thing to behold.  But you’ve been warned.

I’ve written about all of this in my posts on the West Highland Way and the Great Glen Way.

The United States

flowers, super bloom, travel

Rev Kane in the Antelope Poppy Reserve

I think some people may actually be surprised to see the US on my list.  The fact is that I have traveled to all 50 states.  America is a huge and spectacularly beautiful country with every possible environmental variation from the beaches of Hawaii, to the arctic in Alaska, the badlands in South Dakota and the swamps of Louisiana.  There are what I would consider a few must sees for The United States.  I think everyone should see the California redwood trees both the coastal redwoods as well as the huge inland trees.  I think the big island of Hawaii is a must for it’s magnificent beaches and volcano.  The South Dakota Badlands are someplace most people have likely never been but are spectacular in ways that are hard to describe.  Yellowstone and Yosemite are two of the most beautiful and amazing national parks on earth and both, in my humble opinion are not as beautiful as Bryce Canyon, Zion’s slot canyons are worth a look as well.  Finally, a ride through the northeast in New York, Connecticut or Vermont at peak color is something everyone should see at least once.  Below I will drop links to a few of the places I’ve written about in the US.

travel, happiness, bryce

Bryce Canyon NP

Appalachian trail, happiness, hiking

Fall on the AT

happiness happy flowers

Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve

The Sierra Mountains

Bryce Canyon National Park and other places

Anza Borego State Park

The Extraterrestrial Highway

Las Vegas

The Big Island of Hawaii

I hope you’ve enjoyed the list, again, questions, suggestions and additions in the comments are more than welcome, have a happy day. ~ Rev Kane

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The Great Glen Way

The Great Glen Way

happiness, hikingNature is not a place to visit, it is home. ~ Gary Snyder

All of my Great Glen Way posts in one spot,I hope you enjoy and have a happy day my friends. ~ Rev Kane

Day 1 – Fort William to Garlochy

Day 2 – Garlochy to Laggan

Day 3 – Laggan to Invermorsten

Day 4 – Invermorsten to Drumnodrochit

Day 5 – Drumnodrochit to Inverness

Day 5 Alternate –  Bizarro World

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The West Highland Way

The West Highland Way

happiness scotland

Rev Kane goin native in the Scottish Highlands

Everyone wants to live on top of  the mountain, but all of the growth and happiness occurs while you are climbing it. ~ Andy Rooney

All of my 2018 West Highland Way posts in one spot, enjoy and have a happy day my friends. ~ Rev Kane

Day 1 – Hiking the West Highland Way

Day 2 – Drymen to Rowardennen

Day 3 –  Rowardennen to Ardlui

Day 4 – Ardlui to Tyndrum

Day 5 – Tyndrum to Kingshouse

Day 6 – Kingshouse to Kinlochleven

Day 7 – Kinlochleven to Fort William

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World’s Best Travel Locations – Part I

World’s Best Travel Locations – Part 1

rev kane, slower pace of life, relaxing

Rev Kane relaxing in the arctic snow flurries

Wherever you go, go with all of your heart. ~ Confucius

I got asked again today, a question that I frequently get asked, where is the favorite place you’ve ever traveled?   It’s a horrible question, not because it’s being asked, it’s a horrible question to try to and answer.  I’ve traveled a decent amount, more than most, but when you frequently travel and meet other travelers what you often find out is that so many people have done so much more than you have.

The reason the question is so difficult, is that there are so many components to travel.  Some places are not the most beautiful, or don’t  have the greatest weather but the people are spectacular.  Some places are absolutely amazing in so many ways but you may not feel safe or have other problems.  Sometimes your response to a place can be greatly impacted by circumstances, a lost hotel reservation, lost or delayed luggage, hidden costs on a tour, terrible weather or you’re attitude.  If you have a cold, or you’re exhausted or stressed out it may not matter how amazing the people or place are.  So with those caveats I’ve selected five really amazing places that I’ve been to and that I recommend you visit if possible.  I’m using countries at descriptors but will usually be focus on a particular religion, attraction or tour.

Please feel free in the comments to ask questions or post your own recommendations, I’m always looking for new cool places to visit.  So here we go, six places in alphabetical order:

Brazil

brazil, rio, christ

Cliche Brazil shot

First off, here’s the thing, Brazil is a huge country, similar in size to the continental United States.  I’ve spent no time in Rio, very little time in Sao Paulo.  Almost all of the time I’ve spent in Brazil has been in the Amazon and the city of Manaus located in the Amazon.  Unfortunately I haven’t been back to Brazil in almost 20 years so all of my photos related to traveling there are pasted into actual photo albums, so the image above is off of the web.

A bit about the places I haven’t been to in Brazil but would love to visit that aren’t named Rio de Jeneiro.  There are two that I want to mention, Fortaleza and Salvador de Bahia.  Fortaleza is a beautiful beach city in the northeastern part of the country.  Not just beaches but the mouth of the Amazon River and giant sand dunes.  There is also a festival that happens in Brazil that I would love to attend in Fortaleza, the Festival if Iemanja.

carnival, brazil, travelSalvador de Bahia is located on the east coast of Brazil and is one of the more heavily African influenced place in Brazil.  It is a place where the food is spectacular, where you can experience candomble dancers and is the place I have been told by friends in Rio where they go to celebrate carnival.

jaguar, brazil, travelHowever the place I have the most experience is Manaus and the Amazon.  The Amazon Jungle is an incredible place.  Tropical jungle full of incredible plants, trees, birds, animals, rivers and people.  It’s also about as hot and humid as you can possibly imagine.  The first time I arrived in the Amazon we landed at midnight, I was coming from a hot and humid place to start with but leaving that plane, at night was a shock.  It was oppressively humid and the day brought massive heat with it.  Even being careful and drinking lots of water I’ve gotten heat stroke in the Amazon.  I was blessed there to have seen anacondas, caymans and even a jaguar.  I’ve fished for peacock bass and even swam with piranhas.  The food is amazing and the best fish I’ve ever eaten was in the Brazilian Amazon.  Truly a spectacular place.

Canada

photography, travel, adventure

Aurora while photographing Polar Bears in the Arctic

Yes, Canada.  Like Brazil, Canada is a huge country with so many amazing places from the Amazing Winter Carnival in Quebec City, to the Europe-like streets of Montreal, to the wilds of the Arctic and splendor of Vancouver on the West Coast.  In fact, recently Canada has officially designated the Trans-Canadian Hiking Trail known as the The Great Trail, a mere 10,000 miles long.

My most amazing  experience in Canada has been spending a week in Churchill, Manitoba photographing polar bears.  I have a full set of posts embedded in this link, and through those piece you can see tons of polar bear and northern light photos from my trip.

Jordan

This one may be a surprise for a lot of people as most people would consider security concerns in the Middle East as a deal breaker.  So let me first address that, Jordan is the safest country to visit in the Middle East.  It is also a former British protectorate or colony so English is common.  An upside of the perception of lack of security, tourism is down, so prices are great and tours and hotels are available.

petra, jordan, travel

Rev Kane at Petra

My trip to Jordan was absolutely one of the most amazing of my life.  Jordan is the home to three places that you absolutely have to have on your bucket list as they were on mine.  First is a 2000 year-old city, Petra.  Made famous to Americans by a part being featured in an Indiana Jones movie, Petra is utterly spectacular.  It almost didn’t seem real, a huge ancient city suddenly appears at the end of a canyon in the middle of a barren desert, it has to be seen, walked and touched to be believed.  If you go, don’t miss Petra at night that only takes place two nights a week.

The second place in Jordan is the Bedouin desert preserve of Wadi Rum.  This massive natural preserve is spectacularly beautiful and you will likely see more stars in one night there than you have in your entire life.  Additionally, the Bedouin are amazing hosts, hell I even came to have a new appreciation for camels after a couple of days with the Bedouin.

travel adventure happiness

The Milky Way in Wadi Rum

Finally, a stop to the Dead Sea is a must if for no other reason other than to float like a human cork in a way that left me giggling like a child.

My next three countries tomorrow night, have a happy day my friends. ~ Rev Kane

 

 

 

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A normal day in Oaxaca

A normal day in Oaxaca

As you move outside of your comfort zone, what was once the unknown and frightening becomes the new normal. ~ Robin S Sharma

So in many ways a really boring post tonight but one that I really felt like I wanted to write.  Having moved to my new apartment, today life really feels like it’s settled into some sense of a new normal.  So here’s what a typical day in Oaxaca has turned into, with prices because I’m still amazed how affordable this place is.

Woke, got out of bed ran a comb across my head, ok, no that’s the Beatles. Woke up and was a bit lazy, played on the net, did some reading, booked an AirBnB on the beach in Delaware.

Went to the grocery store and bought two big giant bags of groceries for $13.50.  Came home had a snack, pimento stuffed green olives and a Coke.  I’m being really bad on the Coke front here. Then I headed up to the open air market near my old place to buy vegetables including ingredients to make my own salsa.  I just had to stop writing to go have some, it’s the hottest, tastiest salsa I’ve ever made.  The funny thing in is that I expected being in Mexico would mean constantly eating really hot, spicy food.  To my surprise, a lot of the cuisine here has a sweet edge to it.  Not that there isn’t spicy, this white salsa at dinner last night was so hot that you could literally only use drops at a time, but super tasty, the food here is really amazing. While walking to the market, I did encounter some dragons.

While walking up to the market I came to realize today was a big day for weddings in Oaxaca and bumped into two wedding parades.

wedding, mexicowedding, photography, mexicoThere was something really cool about this festive little parade and celebration.

Returning from the market I went through my vegetable ritual.  You see it’s kind of a bad idea for a foreigner to either drink the water here or just go ahead and eat vegetables from the market.  You see they have been likely in the city water or worse.  So you soak your vegetables in a sink full of water with iodine in it, honestly given all of the salmonella in the US in the last few years, I think I might continue this when I return stateside.

After cleaning vegetables I made salsa then set out for my next chore of the day to have my amigo Jesus afeitado mi cabeza.  My new barber Jesus is a really cool old guy.  He’s one of those meticulous quaffed older gentlemen.  He took some joy in me describing my beard as palludo (really hairy), he chuckled at some of my bad Spanish and at some of my jokes he actually understood.  He was impressed that I’m staying in Oaxaca for a full month to study Spanish.  He not only shaved my head with the clippers but did all of the little service things that old school barbers do.  He clipped my ear hair, used the straight razor to do all of the trimming, popped on the aftershave, brushed and blew dry my head.  All for a massive $3.50 so I gave him $5.00 and he was generally grateful and smiling as I left.  It was on of the little experiences in life that made me smile and is making me smile as I write this.  I also found a little surprise walking back from the barber.

skeleton, surpriseI then headed over to pick up my laundry which cost me a whopping $1.85.  After I got it back I realized they had not returned my laundry bag. Ok, I know that sounds silly, it’s just a cotton bag with a drawstring and when it started to take a really long time for her to return I had decided to tell her no big deal.  But happily she returned with it and the reason I was so happy is that this stupid little cotton bag was given to me during my first week of college in 1982, that’s right I have a 36-year-old laundry bag.

Returning home, I made a little dinner, sat down to write this piece and am about to take a shower and watch a movie.  Just another happy day in Oaxaca, hope you had a happy one to my friends. ~ Rev Kane

 

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Living in Oaxaca

Living in Oaxaca

oaxaca, mexico, travelThrow your dreams into space like a kite, and you do not know what it will bring back, a new life, a new friend, a new love a new country. ~ Anais Nin

So the other day I was talking with a classmate after class was over and she said something that I’d be thinking.  After we’d both mentioned we hadn’t been to the zocalo in a couple of days she said, “I’m starting to feel like I live here.”  It really feels like that for me, I’ve been here for three weeks, I have three weeks of language school left.  I’m in my apartment and my days are fairly standard at this point.  I get up, go to school and after school come home make some lunch, run some errands and go for a walk, then do some writing  and watch some Netflix.

Life is pretty standard and good.  Had a great dinner tonight, Tamale with Mole Negro, a margarita all with local ingredients and very traditional.  Really tasty and delicious and with tip, $12, you have to love Oaxaca.

oaxaca, mexico, travelWe talked for a bit today in class about security and how safe people feel in Oaxaca.  In my class are all women, from 28 to 70 and everyone expressed that they felt pretty safe.  I point this out because people have expressed to me more fears about me being in Oaxaca than any other place I’ve ever traveled.  One of the other things I’m really impressed with about my classmates is that almost all of them are traveling alone.  Three women in their late 20’s and early 30’s and most impressively two older women in their 60’s and 70’s, on the road alone and fully living their lives, I really admire all of these women and I hope you do to.  More than that, I hope you’ll use them as inspiration to set out on your own if you’ve been letting that hold you back.

Oaxaca is an interesting place, walking home from dinner tonight the parks were full, people eating at the street food booths.  Kids rollerblading, playing volleyball, a band playing in the middle of the park.  Lot’s of families just having fun.  Hell, even a train rolling down the sidewalk.

It’s a pretty town in a complex way.  It’s an older city, with a history of earthquakes and poverty, there’s a real mix of new modern buildings, kept up historic old buildings and abandoned buildings with razor wire.  But I like it here.

Just a truck full of dugout canoes

Have a happy day my friends from my new temporary home in Oaxaca. ~ Rev Kane

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Day of the Dead Photo Gallery

Day of the Dead Photo Gallery

xo 6 blue white

A very simple post tonight, all of my photos from my visit to a 400 year old cemetery near Oaxaca for the Day of the Dead.  Enjoy ~ Rev Kane

xo jesus sand

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