Monthly Archives: July 2008

Zentraveler International travel and packing list!

Just like anything the more planning you do the easier it is!  My challenge is to pack one bag with a combined weight not to exceed 50 lbs.  My packing list starts with one good pair of walking shoes, one pair of shower clogs, three t-shirts, three underwear, two sets of walking shorts, two pair of socks, one swim suit, two drip dry sport shirts, one pair of long trousers, one sweater, one dollar store rain poncho, one light set of pajamas, one pillowcase and one small fitted sheet, one plastic shaver, one toothbrush, one travel size toothpaste, one travel size deodorant, one travel size shampoo and conditioner, one tiny flashlight, one brass lock with two keys, one plastic whistle, one language converter from radio shack, one digital camera with one extra battery, plus two extra memory cards(capable of storing 1000 images),one battery charger and one small case, one wrist watch, one current passport, one International Certificate of Vaccination , one small notebook that contains your important passwords for the internet, all of your bank numbers and all of your credit card numbers plus the phone numbers of each and one set of reading glasses.  In addition you should copy all of your passport info, drivers license info, credit cards, bank accounts and have someone file that info in case you lose everything and have to start from scratch.

As a reminder you can always purchase something that you need in your travels.  So if you want peace of mind re check your travel bag before you leave and put all of your important passports, papers and airline tickets in your zippered waist pack, which you can secure around your waist or you can get one which you can hang around your neck.

To recap you will have one carry on travel bag ( I PREFER RED SO IT STANDS OUT) and at least tie some bright color around the handles for easy identification and of course your wallet safely buttoned in your back pocket, plus your waist pack for important papers. That´s it of course I must have forgotten something. But, as the Buddha might say —a little inconvenience is good for you.

I am packed and heading to the airport and will soon be in Venezuela. I will report on the economics, the weather, the food, the culture, the people and my travels to off the beaten path areas through the mountains and the beaches of Venezuela. 

P.S. Don´t forget to pack a small container of mosquito repellant which has deets as the main ingredient.  I almost forgot the mosquitos, sand flies, and no-seemums can almost eat you alive.  

QUOTE: “When you come to the fork in the road take it.”  Yoga Berra

THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW:  There is a psychiatrist office which has seven  college degrees mounted on the back wall and the main sign reads:”It´s amazing what I don´t know?”

THINGS YOU MAY WANT TO SAVE:  The jet trails that are emitting toxic materials.  You may need to research the toxic effect of jet trails and help save our planet. If we don´t become proactive who will?

ZENTRAVELER SAYS:  It´s all in zee packing!

From here to Infinity is a relatively short ride! The next leg takes eons and eons as you fly through the Barycentric Dynamical Time Zone! and on and on and on.

Follow the Zentraveler Blog often for Travel, Health and Zen-like stories and such. Where else can you get a three in one blog for the price of free?

Leave a comment

Filed under Blogging, travel, Uncategorized

Zentraveler on spacing it out!

Maybe the hippies had it right—at least in theory that is. My Dentist friend in Steamboat Springs was being driven crazy when his appointments turned into no-shows. His Dental clients would drift in a few days later and my Dentist friend would inquire: “Did you forget about your Dentist’s appointment last week”? “No Doc —I simply spaced it out.”

The entire culture was spaced out. Time didn’t seem to have much value and neither did much else as the age of experimental drugs, free sex, sporting activities, and just hanging out came about. Everything revolved around “The ME Generation.”

Warp speed ahead as we fly through the information age at nano-speed. We are constantly being bombarded by every form of electronic gadgets and devices known to man. People are busy multi-tasking as an extension of their perceived selves. (A recent study concluded that the more you multi-task the lower your IQ .) A good question might be —What’s the point?

The best example I can think of is our minds are being Tommy-gunned— machine-gun style non-stop. I challenge you to listen to just one conversation without your monkey mind acting up and taken over the conversation or simply interjecting your thoughts.

Society may have it’s biggest challenge ever in order to make some sense of this madness.The first thing you can do is to slow down by concentrating 100 per cent on whatever task you are performing. This is the secret from Zen Buddhist traditions. Due one task and concentrate on it fully—-even if it is just setting the table for the evenings meal. One Buddhist monk I heard about delighted in his precision table setting abilities—he completely got involved with every detail and it must have been a wonderful thing to experience.

The next task seems extremely easy, but it is an ancient Buddhist technique of creating space between your thoughts— just like there is space between the clouds. I point this out because we are all a part of the same cosmos. If you were ever called a space-cadet or are currently called a space-cadet you can go to the head of the class. It’s a good thing to be a space-cadet.

As you perfect the space between your thoughts— you are becoming centered and aligned with the Universe. You can now use the spacing technique, which spins with the earth and not against it. The exact opposite is to be bombarded with monkey like chatter thoughts that can completely dominate your life.

It’s a great relief to realize that you can have an immediate impact on how your thoughts come to you and what you can do about it. First of all they are really not your thoughts anyway —they are a combination of past memories, recent data and the history of your perceived self.

This idea of space is everywhere. Atoms are made of space, genes are made of space, you are approximately 95% space and all of the galaxies plus cosmos are made of space. So If you could ask for just one thing from life it would be: How do I get more space between my thoughts? And once you have that figured out you can get a jump-start on the path of enlightenment.

The secret is out! Start spacing out thoughts as they bombard into your monkey mind. By continued daily practice you can control your own enlightenment path simply by adding space—what’s not to like? Now that’s what I call a space miracle. mind-mind—mind——mind——! Don’t you just love those spaces!

QUOTE: The wise find pleasure in water;
The virtuous find pleasure in hills.
The wise are active; the virtuous are tranquil
The wise are joyful; the virtuous are long lived.

– Confucius (551-479) ——

THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW: How much food will you eat in your lifetime? (If you are not a vegetarian—maybe after reading this you will want to become a vegetarian.)

It may seem difficult to believe but the average American adult eats 525 pounds of food each year of his life.

Taking a life span of 70 years, that person will eat:

35 turkeys
23 hogs
14 head of cattle 2 calves
12 sheep
880 chickens
770 pounds of fish.

By now, you’re probably not too hungry!—–



From here to Infinity is a relatively short ride! The next leg takes eons and eons as you fly through the Barycentric Dynamical Time Zone! and on and on and on.

Follow the Zentraveler Blog often for Travel, Health and Zen-like stories and such. Where else can you get a three in one blog for the price of free?

Leave a comment

Filed under Blogging, Uncategorized, Zen fables

Zentraveler on the responsibility of your health!

Who’s health is it anyway? Is it your doctor’s job to keep you healthy? Don’t laugh —there was a time in China that every family paid the doctor a very small monthly amount to keep them free from disease. If they got sick the Doctor waived his fee until you got well.

Can you afford to get sick or even worse have to go through a long battle with cancer, diabetes, heart problems, and a myriad of diseases that not only wear you down, but destroy your bank account and well being? Medical expenses are the main reason for personal bankruptcy in the United States.

Warp speed ahead —my friend was in the hospital for three days in the states and his total bill was only 150,000 large compared to my Candadian friend who’s medical bills are taken care of. In fact he won’t even travel to the US even for a day without getting medical travel insurance.

They have completed a study that the poorer you are in a poor country like some in Africa, Mexico, China, and folks living in rural areas, who are living mostly off the land, and eating a lot of unprocessed foods —have the least amount of our lifestle Western diseases.

The good news is you can take control of your own health by educating yourself on the many healthy choices that are out there. To cut thru the volumes of information Zentraveler lists a few simple inexpensive things you could do on your own—-allowing you the freedom to know you are in charge of your own personalized health program.

1. drink plenty of fluids (mostly water with a lemon wedge)
2. eat small portion healthy meals using the rainbow diet(bright foods)
3. exercise daily (walking is a great exercise)
4. eliminate stress by realizing the now is your nirvanna
5. develop good sleep patterns
6. extend your social contacts
7. keep learning
8. avoid medical problems by eating proper foods
9. select a homeopathic natural doctor for medical issues
10. cut out negative tv and learn to laugh at life itself

TIP: Just like in sports who doesn’t want to know the score? Purchase a small notebook and keep track of your daily health issues— including your daily exercise: ie. walked 1 mile, have a very bad headache, slept five hours, took a muli-vitamin. With this daily health log you can gain control of your health by watching your own progress and dealing directly with pains and health issues.

Whether you are dealing with depression, anxiety or a mulitude of painful diseases you and the Universe’s infinite ability to heal can beat most diseases —if you educate yourself and get expert advice.

QUOTE: Perfection is everyhere if we only chose to recognize it.
—–Okakura Kakuzo

THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW: You are the Universe—-a part of it.

THINGS YOU MAY WANT TO SAVE: A four leaf clover! Who doesn’t want a good luck symbol? I know I do!

ZENTRAVELER SAYS: You can take charge of your own health plan!

From here to Infinity is a relatively short ride! The next leg takes eons and eons as you fly through the Barycentric Dynamical Time Zone!

Follow the Zentraveler Blog often for Travel, Health and Zen-like stories and such. Where else can you get a three in one blog for the price of free?

Leave a comment

Filed under Blogging, health, Uncategorized

Zentraveler visits Bhutan via the Washington mall.

Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under Blogging, travel, Uncategorized

Zentraveler and the floating Buddah!

Floating down the river on a bamboo raft the Buddha floated effortlessly as he passed by my meditation rock.  Dragonflies spun off the water as if in celebration.  Squirrels appeared everywhere, flocks of birds filled the sky and you could hear a whoosh, whoosh, sound as if a jet airplane was taking off.  Moments later the Buddha appeared mysteriously in the sky.  And then it happened—- the sky burst forth like never before showering every color of the rainbow and just before falling back to earth— the colors aligned themelves in Google fashion and spelled out the following message.  HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY!




QUOTE:  Only when faced with the activity of enemies can you learn real inner strength.  From this viewpoint, even enemies are teachers of inner strength, courage, and determination.

                                                                                           —–The Dali Lama

THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW: Interstingly enough, Mitch Kapor, computer programmer and developer of the Lotus 1-2-3 program, is a practicing Buddhist.  Where did you think the name Lotus cme from?

THINGS YOU MAY  WANT TO SAVE: Moose!  Aside from the fact that they are way cool they are most important to the entire ecology of the North West.

ZENTRAVELER SAYS: The Chinese invented firecrackers so it is very fitting to see fireworks everywhere—–just wait until the Chinese Olympics.  You aint’t seen nothing yet!

From here to Infinity is a relatively short ride! The next leg takes eons and eons as you fly through the Barycentric Dynamical Time Zone!


Follow the Zentraveler Blog often for Travel, Health and Zen-like stories and such. Where else can you get a three in one blog for the price of free?

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Zentraveler on the benefits of Sauerkraut!

I can remember as a kid going down in the basement and grabbing a handful of sauerkraut from the large crock in the winter storage area.  It was cold and brimy and really tasted good. I could only eat a small amount and was very careful to re-arrange the sauerkraut so that I wouldn’t be caught pinching my granderfathers pride and joy—his homemade sauerkraut.   I might also add he was Pennsylvania Dutch (actually German) and if he caught you— you received a swipe on your hinny with his razor strap.

Of course as the sauerkraut cured it got better and better and you hoped and prayed Grandfather was taking a long snooze. Now folks eat sauerkraut on hot dogs, have sauerkraut and pork to celebrate New Years and as a goodluck meal throughout the year.  In Spruce Creek, Pennsylvania they serve sauerkraut on Goose Day which is supposed to bring you good luck for the rest of the year.

Isn’t it amazing how foods our parents and granparents took right from the garden and put up in the fruit cellar are still maybe the answer to some of our ills.  Over the years the Germans have always incororated saurkraut into one of their main food sources and the Polish even have their own sauerkraut polka. Sauerkraut was carried on fighting vesells to ward off disease and has played an important role in China, Korean, and world history.


Recent studies indicate sauerkraut as a powerful immune booster and has ingredients that are known to fight cancer.  With all of the scares of the avian flu (bird flu and viral diseases like sars floatng around it might be a good idea to have some fresh home-made sauerkraut on hand. It could be your first defense against a nasty disease.  To get the most health benefits look for fresh sauerkraut in the refigerated sections of natural food stores and barrells in delicatessens.

“Sauerkraut is one of the most famous, and most popular, German foods. It’s finely shredded, fermented (or pickled) white cabbage, and its tangy flavor is used alongside sandwiches, meat and cheeses, and in warm salads and soups.

Health Benefits: Sauerkraut’s benefits are two-fold. First, it’s made of cabbage, which is known to fight cancer, treat peptic ulcers and provides vitamin C, fiber, manganese, vitamin B6 and folate. However, because sauerkraut is fermented, it has added benefits over regular cabbage.

Fermenting produces good bacteria known as probiotics, which produce beneficial enzymes, aid digestion and promote healthy flora in the digestive tract. Fermentation also produces isothiocyanates, compounds that have been shown to prevent cancer growth in test tubes and animals.”—

QUOTE:”Mindfulness is the miracle that can call back in a flash our dispersed mind and restore it to wholeness so that we can live each minute of life.”       

                                                                              ——Thich Nhat Hanh

THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW: The Orgin of Sauerkraut!  “The origins of sauerkraut appear to lie with the building of the Great Wall of China. Cabbage fermented in wine was a staple part of the diet of Chinese laborers working on the wall and they, in turn, passed on the recipe to Mongolian warriors (who, by the way, they were trying to keep out). The Mongolians then took the pickled cabbage with them to Europe. At some point, perhaps after an enterprising German peasant bought the recipe from a marauding Mongol warrior as both sat in an apple orchard and discussed the benefits of trade over warfare, sauerkraut – or sour cabbage – took root in Europe. ”

THINGS YOU MAY WANT TO SAVE: Large sauerkraut crocks! If the economy tanks anymore you can feed the entire neighborhood sauerkraut—and at least have a health advantage. 

ZENTRAVELER SAYS: Don’t be a krout eat your sauerkraut.  You want excellent health don’t you! Auf Wiedersehen!

From here to Infinity is a relatively short ride! The next leg takes eons and eons as you fly through the Barycentric Dynamical Time Zone and on and on and on.


Follow the Zentraveler Blog often for Travel, Health and Zen-like stories and such. Where else can you get a three in one blog for the price of free?

1 Comment

Filed under Blogging, health, Uncategorized

Zentraveler tours Merida, Mexico!

When the big jet lands in Cancun, Mexico you can take a direct air-conditioned bus to Merida and discover for yourself: “The Real Mexico.” Heavily steeped in history, the all White City is both majestic and magical and is laid out as a  Colonial city. It is called the White City because so much of the early construction used limestone and they sweep the streets twice daily— making everything shine bright white in the brilliant sunshine.  Merida is the capital of the Yucatan state and has a population of nearly a million people.

History of Merida
The Spaniard Francisco de Montejo founded Merida on January 6, 1542. When the Spaniards arrived, Merida was a large Mayan city known as T’ho, situated on what is now the Main Plaza. It was conquered by the Spaniards, who dismantled all the pyramids and used the huge stones as the foundation for the Cathedral of San Idelfonso (1556-1599), the oldest cathedral on the American continent.

A good place to get oriented is at the central square. Pick up some freshly baked bread at the local bakery and head for a park bench in the square.  It’s a great way to learn about a city from just people watching in the park. 

Over in one corner of the central park are some older men playing a variety of  instruments.  Cutting through the park are uniformed school children singing and chatting as they hurry about their business.  A few x-pats are seated on the park benches taking in the sights.  A nun dressed in white finery asked me for a donation.  It’s the least you could do is reach in your pocket and give something toward helping the needy.  In the distant you could see some elder folks dressed in colorful costumes and just then to remind yourself that you were in a park, a flock of pigeons descended right next to your bench.  Maybe it was a sign!

Merida became a very important trading center because of the plant called sisal (for the port city of Sisal). This plant became known as “green gold” or verde oro for the wealth it lavished upon the haciendados or hacienda owners in this area.  In the early 20th Century, as a result of the henequenor sisal trade, Merida was the home for numerous millionaires who built their lavish homes on Paseo Montejo, and their impressive haciendas throughout the jungle surrounding Merida.

Steeped in history with the influence of the Conquistadors a walking tour will allow you to witness first hand some of the mansion showplaces along the treed promenade. As you walk down Paseo Montejo you place yourself back in history and have a wonderful experience of viewing some of these magnificent edifices—many of which are completely restored. 

 Sorrounding the central square you have a choice of many craft shops, restaurants, and different priced lodging for evey price range. No tour of Merida would be complete without visiting the oldest Cathedral in the Americas (The Cathederal of San Delfonso) situated on the East side of the plaza. It demonstrates what excellent craftsmanship, humanity, and devine intervention can do to raise the level of consciousness of an entire community.  As a kid might say: “It’s awsome”!

I stayed in a colonial hotel a few blocks from the central square and had a terrific experience as I ate outdoors in a cafe setting and watched a kaleidoscope of people stroll through the streets in a carnival like setting.  The restaurant choices were expansive including: fine Mexican food, Italian food and local cusine.

The wealth of Merida was built on the production of sisal-hemp which was used to manufacture all types of ropes and handicrafts and shipped all over the world.  At one point Merida had more millionaires than any city in the Americas.

From Merida you can chose to fly to Cuba or bus to almost any destination in the Yucatan Peninsula.   Merida is such a wonderful mix of Mexican culture— you could spend a lifetime in a city heavily steeped in culture and history and would still be learning about a warm and friendly city that opens it doors enthusiastically to tourists.

Merida lends itself as a jumping off point for many sidetrips.  Within a few hours you can be eating fresh seafood from the Gulf of Mexico, head into one of the many caves or spend the day re-inventing yourself into an Indiana Jones character and explore the many ruins in the nearby area. No trip would be complete without visiting Chichen Itza Mayan Ruins where you can hire a walking native tour guide or explore on your own.

While in Merida I wittnesed a coming out ceremony for a young Mexican girl celebrated at the local church several bocks from the central square.  It was explained to me that this very ceremony was one of the most important days in the life of a Mexican Family. You could see the prideofthe hosting family as the beautiful Mexican Girl dressed in a white, handmade intricately woven lace gown, poured into the street and was greeted enthusiastically by the local neighborhood.

Merida has a wonderful climate is very safe and would make a great city for retirement. The cost of living is relatively low and you can still find a fix me upper restoration house for the price of a car. So there you have it!  If you want to escape some of the tourist traps and learn about the Real Mexico why not book a trip to the White City of Merida? 

QUOTE: “Moderate effort over along time is important, no matter what you are trying to do.  One brings failure on oneself by working extremely hard at the beginning,  attempting to do too much, and then giving it all up after a short time.”

        _____The Dali Lami

THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW:  The Buddha died after eating spoiled meat given to him by a well wisher.  The Buddha didn’t say anything to the well wisher so his Karma would’t be effected.

THINGS YOU MAY WANT TO SAVE:The madness of the world!  At least the new reincarnates might have a more level playing field.

ZENTRAVLER SAYS: If I am nothing—who am I?  “EVERYTHING”!

From here to Infinity is a relatively short ride! The next leg takes eons and eons as you fly through the Barycentric Dynamical Time Zone and on and on and on.


Follow the Zentraveler Blog often for Travel, Health and Zen-like stories and such. Where else can you get a three in one blog for the price of free?

Leave a comment

Filed under Blogging, travel, Uncategorized