Tim Cotroneo - Freelance Writer

Travel Blog II


Art - What do you see?                                 Cabo San Lucas                          March 22, 2013

I always get a kick out of hearing about famous artwork that sells for millions of dollars. Personally, I don't understand what the purchasing audience sees in many of these crazy paintings.

Check out the cactus painting hanging in the front lobby of the RIU Palace in Cabo San Lucas. What do you see? Is this fine art or is it cartoon-like? Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

I do appreciate the pottery, the cabinetry, and the steel ornamental architecture framing the front desk from above. The painting just doesn't work for my untrained eye.

If you zoom in on the expression of the front desk clerk, one gets the impression that she knows exactly what I'm thinking regarding my amateur art assessment. The good news for the artist is - at least his or her painting generated a reaction.

The experts will tell you that art is like public relations. The worst reaction is no reaction at all.

 

Larger Than Life                                           Antigua                                        March 11, 2013

For cruise ship visitors who meander in the direction of Antigua's open air food market, it's hard to ignore the towering statue of Vere Cornwall Bird.

At 7-feet tall, Bird was almost as imposing in real life as the statue representing him in Antigua's capital city of St. John's today. With little more than an elementary school education, Bird would become Antigua's first Prime Minister after helping the island achieve independence from Great Britain in 1967.

As a tourist, seeing Bird's statue could be likened to addressing the Caribbean's answer to Mount Rushmore in the heart of downtown. In this case, one wonders if the statue might be even more impressive if the artist chose not to add color.

Often the finest memory of any new destination is experiencing something that is completely unique. There is no doubt that seeing the massive statue of Antigua's Vere Cornwall Bird is all of that.

Telling Spelling and Wacky Names              St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands   January 30, 2013

Since the advent of the Internet, proper spelling and grammar usage is pretty much yesterday's news. Search engine names, musician names, and email vocabulary might as well be a direct descendant of the planet Neptune.

If I were to guess where all this left-handed spelling comes from, I would have to guess teenage girls. How many teenage girls do you know who reconfigure their given names? Of course how can you really blame this phenomenon on our youth when every name on their I-Pad is concocted from alphabet soup.

Google, YouTube, and Twitter were certainly household words 30 years ago.... if you were born on Uranus. Yes, they are fun. Yes, they are catchy. But OMG, am I really LOL about my BFF?

By comparison, the sign in front of this restaurant in St. Thomas is quite tame. I'm wondering about the story behind the name. Maybe we can make one up.

Perhaps there was this kid, I mean "ked" who strolled around with a candle "wick" on his head. If you or Wikkedpedia has got a better one, I'd like to hear it.  Your comments here. 

Most Romantic Language?                           St. Barths                             January 3, 2013

What is it about the French language that sounds so smooth? To the ear, it's almost like music.

On the Caribbean island of St. Barths, you see evidence of their French heritage everywhere. Street signs, cafes, and their casually chic attire have a distinct south of France flair.

Think about the various languages of the world. Now come up with a single word to describe how this language sounds. It's hard to think of one that compares to the French velvety cadence.

On the sign to the left, it says Reserve Naturelle. How much cooler is that handle than a simple "natural reserve?" It almost makes you wonder if the beach below is inhabited by people sauntering around au naturelle (not true, by the way.)

So the next time you're supposed to meet with a friend you haven't seen in awhile, try rehearsing a line in French first. After they offer a "how are you?" it's your chance to reply, "Ca va tres bien, merci." If you roll your tongue a bit at the end, your friend will have no choice but to pick up the tab for drinks later on.

Can You See the Light?                                   Aruba                                  December 21, 2012

So much of what we see and hear is like a negative buzzsaw. Sometimes it's hard to keep our attitude upbeat. Is there a bright light we can turn to when the negativity gets to be too much?

Wouldn't it be great if we knew the antidote for dealing with one of life's storms? I heard a song on the radio yesterday with lyrics stating that "every storm runs out of rain." That's a reassuring message that can get us through turbulent times.

Lighthouses like this one in Aruba are a dying breed. Technology today is so much more sophisticated than a lighthouse.

What's interesting is that it's still easy to be drawn to what this sturdy and historical symbol represents. During the stormiest times of yesteryear, a lighthouse provided light for newcomers and long-time residents. I think it's human nature to be drawn to light.

As we near 2013, let's make a point of being a source of light and strength to others. The encouragement we provide today could help someone until their storm runs out of rain tomorrow.

Fresh Catch                                                      Anguilla                               December 17, 2012

For those who live on either coast, the idea of ordering or eating fresh fish is no big thing. For someone like me who lives in the Midwest, dining on fish that was caught just hours ago is really a treat.

I'll never forget the verbal exchange that occurred when this fish was caught off of Maunday's Bay in Anguilla. The young guy in the blue shirt ran up and asked the fisherman, "Where did you catch that?" Without blinking an eye, the fisherman replied, "In the ocean."

What's obvious to some is a new world to another. We are usually more attentive to brand new encounters and take for granted the occurrences that happen in our own back yard.

What is something that you see, feel, or hear regularly that an outsider might find extraordinary? Perhaps in this season of giving, we should make a point to acknowledge those people that make our life more pleasant.

We don't always have to catch the big one to come home happy. Sometimes the best things in life are all about enjoying the ride and thanking the company we keep.

Location, location, location                              St. Barths                           November 29, 2012

It's interesting to question the process of where one chooses to live. Beyond the consideration of cost, exactly where you choose to call home can impact several aspects of your life.

In this photo, shot on the island of St. Barths, you'll note homes that are right on the water, others that are high on a hill, and a handful that reside on a boat.

So the question is, "How do these St. Barths' choices compare when considering extreme weather, commuting, maintenance, and neighbors?"

It would be great to have a crystal ball before moving into a new dwelling. Much like hiring a new employee, could you do background checks on neighbors, look at previous maintenance on the home, and basically ask the "strengths and weaknesses" question that is common in job interviews?

Usually our home choices are based on emotion, curb appeal, commute to work, taxes, budget, and accessibility to whatever is important in your life. Do those priorities really reveal our future home happiness? Perhaps a crystal ball could be included in every mortgage closing. 

Dare to Dream             Maui                             November 21, 2012

There is a line in the song "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" that declares "the dreams you dare to dream do come true." How many of us believe this is just a line or that it's actually true?

Dreams... or looking forward to something, are an important part of life. Our future dreams are what get us through the tough days, the setbacks, and the people who may stand in our way.

In nature, a rainbow is the reward after a storm. A rainbow's natural beauty is a phenomenon that makes us appreciate a given moment.

On the eve of Thanksgiving, what are we thankful for? What gives us inspiration for the future?  If you're having trouble coming up with an answer, then make something up. Shoot big. Shoot for the stars.

There can be color in the darkest moments. You can provide the color for others. It's your gift. Make a rainbow for yourself, for someone you're close to, or for a total stranger.

Dare to dream... it may come true.

Footprints in the Sand                           Turks and Caicos           November 15, 2012

When walking on a beach, have you ever stopped to think about who left the footprints in the sand? Have you ever made up a story in your head about this person and wondered what they may be like?

Normally, the word "foot" isn't one that inspires songwriters, movie producers, or great poetry. In truth, over the years there have been several moving tributes to footprints.

Case in point: "Some people come into our lives and quickly go. Some stay for awhile ... leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never, ever the same."

Another involves a person questioning if God is with them. The person inquires about when they are walking on the beach, then why only one set of prints? The comeback is, "During your times of trial and suffering, that is when God carried you."

For a limb that typically doesn't get quite the street cred as our hands or our eyes, "footprints" can stir emotions that are second to none.   Your comments here

 
Sunshine Vitamin                                    Riviera Maya                November 2, 2012

It's amazing how a little sunshine can impact one's personality, especially if you haven't experienced it in awhile. Imagine living in Alaska or the North Pole, where you don't see the sun for months at a time.

In this photo on Maroma Beach, you can almost feel the morning sun wrapping its arms around the recliners and hotel suites. The clear blue sky is like a natural elixir that gives a giant boost to your soul.

When you read about hurricanes, torrential downpours, and overall bad weather, it just reinforces what a blessing sunshine can be.

Have you ever met someone whose first name is Sunny? Doesn't saying the name make you smile?

So this coming July, when your air conditioning goes out and there are no refreshments in sight, try to give Mr. Sun a break. Remember one of Buddha's favorite sayings, "There are three things that can't be hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth." I wonder if Buddha was wearing a visor, Rayban sunglasses, and Coppertone when he said that. 

Working Together                                   St. Thomas                   October 24, 2012

It's been said that if a drop of water is displaced from the ocean, the entire body of water is not quite the same. The same thought process is true about you and me. Every little thing we do impacts someone or something significantly.

In this photo, shot outside the Morning Star Beach Club in St. Thomas, there is a certain synchronisity to how the people and natural elements wondefully mesh together.

Look back on yesterday and think about how your day progressed. Did you get up a little later than normal? How was traffic on your way to work?  With whom did you speak in person, via email, or on the phone? Were those exchanges positive or negative?

Mother Teresa was always one to encourage our small efforts, more so than our outrageous ones. She felt the little things were so important in impacting the lives of others.

Try not to take your environment and people network for granted. Instead, try to end each day in the plus column when it comes to paying it forward.

May the color you share with others be as vibrant as the bouganvilleas you see in this photo. If nothing else, walk up to someone, smile, and simply say, "Bouganvillea." This one word is guaranteed to brighten someone's day.

Rum Rhymes with Fun                            Curacao                      October 17, 2012

Why is it that doing something in a far away location is so much more fun than doing the same thing at home? Case in point, drinking rum in the Caribbean.

There are certain destinations where participating in a trademark activity, food, or drink goes hand-in-hand with why you traveled there in the first place. On the distinctly European-flavored island of Curacao, sipping afternoon tea could be your timely beverage of choice.

Then again, there are some Caribbean bistros that make the calling of rum hard to resist. It's like answering a dark-flavored rite of passage.

In your travels, is there one pub, beach bar, or bartender that made for a treasured memory? Perhaps a second or third beverage helped to stir your fond recollection. Whether your recall is numbered 151 or captained by a pirate named Morgan, don't forget to tip your bartender.

Photos Rock                                             Cabo San Lucas          October 9, 2012

No event goes unnoticed today. With smart phones and digital cameras at our fingertips, if a miracle were to occur in the most obscure destination in the world, we'd see and hear about it.

It wasn't so long ago that developing a photo meant driving to a camera store and waiting several days until your film was developed. The mere thought of taking, developing, and looking over grainy images was enough to discourage one from lugging a bulky camera around.

Today, instant photos and videos are easy as point and shoot. Like every new technology twist, this is a good news- bad news scenario.

Yes, it's great that we can fancy ourselves as the next great photographer. The flip side is that privacy is a thing of the past. It would be wise to think twice about one's behavior at a party, sporting event, or traffic stop. One too many cocktails could find you as the next YouTube headliner.

So the next time you're lining up a shot that could be on the cover of Photography Digest, look over your shoulder.   You may be someone else's digital image.

The Wind's at Your Back                         St. Martin                   October 5, 2012

Humankind has an infinite knack for turning just about anything into a form of play. When it comes to frolicking in the water, the list of  activities and watersports are too long to chronicle.

You have to admire how inventors make the most of our natural elements. Going back generations, we've found a multitude of ways to stay buoyant.

This photo is taken on the island of St. Martin. This island, intertwined with French and Dutch heritage, is universally known as a sailing mecca. Sailing is such the rage in the nearby island of Anguilla, that in August, islanders team up and build boats from scratch. The teams compete in a race that almost the entire population watches from the shoreline.

Can you think of an aspect of the outdoors that is presently looked down upon that you could turn festive? Perhaps that idea is where your fortune lies.

The immortal Mark Twain used a sailing analogy to capture one of his most enduring thoughts. "Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do, than by the things you did.  So throw off the bowlings. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream."

Cemetary with Attitude               Isle Mujeres                October 1, 2012

Compared to the U.S., the Caribbean has a very contrary take on the appearance of their cemetaries. Many south of the border cemetaries have a colorful and upbeat ambiance.

This cemetary, situated on the north end of Isle Mujeres, is drenched in color. An interesting side note is that it's also the resting place for several notorious pirates.

The point is, rather than depositing the remains of a loved one in an environment that is stiff or drab, the Caribbean chooses to honor their dead in a vibrant and joyful way.

This is another example of how we get to choose how we look at events and occurrences. Do we shroud a memory in a somber blanket or do we gift wrap it in a way that brings us up? Same situation, just two different ways to embrace it.

You occasionally hear of post mortem celebrations. They're always about favorite stories, jokes, and hoisting a glass or two. Maybe a new trend can be started in 2012 where we support our deceased friends with a splash of paint and a well-earned smile.

The Real Thing                           Antigua                           September 24, 2012

One of the best parts of traveling is absorbing a slice of a destination's culture. Rather than assimilating into a corporate environment similar to back home, blending into what makes a locale unique is what makes for vintage memories.

Day or night, there is something "real" about taking in a beach bar. Whether it's feeling the sand beneath your feet, gazing at an ocean view, or sampling a beverage, a beach bar is as good as it gets.

At this particular beach bar in Antigua, cruise ships haul people here by the bus load. That kind of volume sort of detracts from a beach bar's quaintness.

When you stumble on to a beach bar by accident, that's usually the best "real island" experience. It's like finding treasure in the middle of paradise.

It would be great to bottle the beach bar experience. Whenever you're a little down, just reach for your best beach bar memory and receive an attitude boost.

A formula of rustic ambiance, cold drink, powder white sand, blue water, and sunshine galore is a "real" tonic for the ages.    Your comments here

Entrepreneurial Spirit                 Harbour Island               September 15, 2012

When packing for the beach, bringing an umbrella seems sort of counter-intuitive. It's like putting on flip flops before heading out to shovel snow.

During a business trip to New York City, on a sunny day I observed sidewalk vendors selling sunglasses. The next day it rained, and I saw the same vendors selling umbrellas.

On the one hand, adjusting to the elements is common sense. For the alert entrepreneur, getting inside the mind of a consumer can also mean reaping a nice payday.

When was the last time you went on a long-awaited vacation, only to find you'd left something at home? Tourists also get caught off guard simply because they are a destination newbie.

Travel blogs, websites, and magazines generate sizable audiences by filling in the blanks for travelers.Of course, half the fun of visiting a place for the first time is the spontaneity of observing, "Where did this come from?"

 One way to make up for the extra spending generated by a vacation trip surprise is to think of how you can apply this experience as an entrepreneur back home. How does your home turf translate into a money making enterprise for those wide-eyed tourists needing assistance coming out from the rain?

Rooftops Reveal                         St. Barths                       September 5, 2012

Caribbean rooftops offer a dizzying array of unique coverings. In the Dominican, the thatched roof palapas rule. In the hurricane belt, where islands like St. Barths are situated, you'll see colorful shades of steel.

Throughout much of the Caribbean, housing colors give neighborhoods a zesty shot in the arm. When flying overhead, it appears you're looking down upon a rainbow.

There are certain U.S. neighborhoods where homeowners are governed by strict covenants dictating what colors are right and wrong. The Caribbean is almost at the opposite end of this color spectrum. An open-minded color pallette approach is part of an island's appeal.

Perhaps 10 years from now, we'll see new U.S. neighborhoods spring up displaying an island theme. For someone who hails from the frosty upper Midwest, the mere thought of residing or driving through a new island-like development makes me feel warm all over.

 Your comments here

Moments That are Golden         Anguilla                            August 30, 2012

We've all had signature or hallmark moments. A time, a place, or a memory that remains so vivid, we've been either changed by it or try to recapture this instance.

For me, a 2006 visit to the Caribbean grabbed me by the throat and hooked me. Hardly a day goes by that I don't think about the combination of white sand and turquoise water.

What is your golden experience? Does it involve an individual, a thing, or an occasion? We're often defined by these experiences. If what comes to mind is negative, it's important to find a way to neutralize this occurance with something equal or better that has good connotations.

Why not project a time in the near future where you can create a new seminole moment. Yes, we need to take advantage of today, but the future can be a carrot that can drive us to great heights.

Here's to hoping your calendar is one you'll color golden.
 

Build on a Hill                             Cabo San Lucas               August 21, 2012

For most travel destinations there are two options for a room featuring an optimum view. One option is to build near the sea, the other is to build high on a mountain or a hill.

In Cabo, there is an Irish-themed hotel that is built high on a hill overlooking the marina and downtown area. I always wonder about the degree of difficulty for builders when attempting construction on a steep incline.

Many of the world's most fantastic sites are built on the backs of people who get little or no credit. The next time you view railroad tracks channeling through a moutain or a church teetering on a moutaintop, think about what it took to haul supplies to this destination.

A "can-do" spirit can be found everywhere around us if you stop to think about it. Today's paradise is a result of a single person's dream and the grit generated by those who made it a reality.

It's All in How You Say It          Turks and Caicos Islands  August 17, 2012

Be careful when emailing someone because the receiver can't hear the tone of your voice or the expression on your face. You could be writing something completely harmless and have it read in a completely unintended way.

The name of this boat is "Day Dreamer." Think about the ways you can shape the word "dreamer" when referring to someone. Dreamer is a term that can be an insult or the ultimate tribute.

Many of the world's best business partnerships include someone who serves as the brains or number cruncher, along with someone who is the dreamer. The dreamer often gets the positive press, is the spokesperson, and keeps the organization growing and relevant.

Then again, if all one does is dream, not a whole lot gets accomplished. So like everything else in life, dreams are great if done in moderation.

What is your grandest dream? Close your eyes and think what you could do if you had no chance of failing. What would be the name on the boat of your dreams?

Path to Possibilities                   St. Thomas, Virgin Islands  August 10, 2012

I just glanced at a book titled, The Art of Possibility. The first few chapters suggested that there is an abundance of opportunity if we adjust our perceptions and the way we speak to ourselves.

We definitely are molded by our history, media, family, associates, and by what we read. How we react to new surroundings and our day-to-day existence can be greatly altered if we ignore the barriers typically placed on ourselves.

The book talks about re-inventing how we approach our day. What is really holding us back from abundance? There is a universe of opportunity out there, limited only by what we self-impose.

Pick an aspect of your life and approach it from a completely fresh dimension. If you've typically done something from the left, try it from the right. It's pretty exciting when you decide to make a new beginning.

For one day, think of yourself as "the world's best something." Watch the reaction of the people you meet if you carry yourself in a numero uno way. Which path will you choose? Make yesterday's impossible something possible today!  

Are You Drifting?                       Punta Cana                       August 6, 2012

Do you ever get the feeling that life is drifting away? It's a wakeup call when your ambition, goals, and values start slipping through your fingers like particles of sand.

There is something to be said about jotting priorities down on paper. It's harder to stray from an issue if it's in writing. If that doesn't work, consider baby steps.

People are often overwhelmed when considering a huge undertaking. The best way to walk a mile is to begin by taking a single step. How would your map read if you needed to get somewhere important?

One of the best ways of achieving a goal is to write it down like it has already happened. Visualize your dream and the best path for getting there. Even if you take a wrong turn along the way, the journey could be fantastic. Columbus will tell you that drifting against the tide isn't so bad. Some of the best discoveries come when you go slightly off course. The excitement is in the journey. 

Travel to Something New           Aruba                               July 30, 2012

One of the best aspects of traveling is being exposed to something completely new. During a recent trip to Aruba, we learned about the sport of beach tennis.

This sport actually originated in Italy about 30 years ago. It's played with something that is comparable to a racquetball racquet, and competition can either be solo or with a partner.

Sometimes we need to go beyond our zip code to discover new or original ways of doing things. This certainly applies to food, to medicine, or industry.

So the next time you take a trip, keep your eyes peeled for ventures that are completely fresh. Who knows?  You might  discover a new racquet that is just right for you. 

Read Between the Lines            Sedona                             July 24, 2012

Hardly a day goes by that you don't read about someone seeing a famous figure's face in a croissant or a cloud that is in the shape of a cartoon character. It's amazing how we connect the dots to our personal liking.

Almost all the rock formations in beautiful Sedona, AZ, have names. Going back to the native American tribes, we visualize present day reality in abstract natural, and not so natural forms.

I think the more famous the face, the more likely it is that people see this individual in every day life. This is especially true for religious figures. Count the days before reading about a donut that somehow looks like Mother Teresa. I think her profile leads the league in "don't you think this looks like" stories.

How long before we view a reality TV show or Internet website that takes advantage of this topic? It's amazing what we experience once the seed has been planted. Excuse me while I go back to sipping from my coffee mug resembling Donald Trump.

Plunge into Luxury                      Antigua                            July 19, 2012

Individual lodging desires and needs are all over the map. What one person considers an extravangance, another might consider a necessity.

In this photo, shot on the island of Antigua, it's not enough to have the Caribbean Sea at your fingertips. Lucky guests staying at the villa in this photo also enjoy a private plunge pool.

It's always fun to hear about the backstage needs of pop and rock stars. Prior to a concert, Britney Spears requires two boxes of Pop Tarts. Madonna asks for, and gets, a new toilet seat. Axel Rose commands the Sue Bee brand of honey and a bottle of Dom Perignon.

What is on your "must have" list when traveling? After booking your next hotel reservation, perhaps you should email your own rock star list of demands. Imagine your surprise if the hotel met these requests. Sometimes when you shoot for the moon, you might just hit the stars.  Your comments here.

Sitting Pretty                                Isla Mujeres                    July 9, 2012

Think about how much time we spend sitting.  In the car, reading a book, eating, or on a plane, the sitting position takes up a good chunk of our lives.

What if we decided to make wherever we sit more pleasant, more stimulating, or more ergonomically correct? How would this effort change your daily life?

An example of a pleasurable sitting scenario would be this environment in Isla Mujeres. Imagine sitting on this bench, under a palm tree, and facing the turquoise sea. This is a sit extravaganza. Back at home or in the office, your sit experiment would have to be more creative.

Perhaps a motivational statement hanging above your office doorway is the first step for sitting up straight. This much we know for sure.... Sit Happens. 


Baby You Can Drive My Car    
St. Barths                        July 3, 2012

How one drives and what one drives says a lot about one's personality. Would you say the car you're presently driving is a decent representation of who you are?

This snappy little number parked on the streets of St. Barths is hard to ignore. Whenever the owner sees something that is attention getting, it ultimately ends up on his or her car. When was the last time you pondered, "I think it's time to place a rooster on my car roof?"

Driving in St. Barths is a subject in which a book could be written. The roads are very narrow and very steep. It takes nerve and concentration to navigate St. Barths' razor thin streets. 

It definitely would be fun to witness the looks of passing motorists when driving this car. The head turns and smiles would be worth the exotic paint job. If your present set of wheels don't quite capture the real you, perhaps the word "rooster" should sit atop your next shopping list.

Vegas Catchphrase                     St. John, Virgin Islands    June 26, 2012

If you started a sentence, "What happens in Vegas," the person you were speaking to could probably finish it up for you. You'll note from the photo below, this catchphrase has meandered into Caribbean jargon as well.

What's delicious about this saying is that you're basically confessing to doing something less than honorable. Does the fact that you're miles from home give someone a free pass?

Has there been an occurrence in your life where distance, or cocktails, meant that you slipped beyond your moral compass? Does residing outside your home zip code help you step outside your personality?

Vegas is a town where anything goes. On board a catamaran along the Caribbean island of St. John, anything goes means having another rum punch during a four hour excursion. Whether you're in Sin City, on the water, or in your own neighborhood, what happens next is entirely up to you.     Your comments here.

What's Missing in this Puzzle?   Anguilla                June 22, 2012

There is so much to absorb when looking at this photo. What are your eyes drawn to? If a piece were missing, would it throw off everything else?

The saying goes that it feels like what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But would the world be less if that drop were missing?

Certainly this photo would be less appealing if the clouds were gone or if it were merely hazy. If there were a single tile missing, it's easy to wonder about the craftsmanship or if the site maintenance was poor. A missing chair means that one would sit alone or perhaps isolation is preferred.

Every life element has its role in our individual and universal puzzle. You make an impact every day. Don't ever forget it.

 

 

Follow the Sun                           Harbour Island        June 12, 2012

Living in a cold weather climate for five months out of the year can really make one  appreciate the sun. Seeing the sun smiling outside one's window can be the ultimate tonic.

When the sun's at its highest point is usually not the best time to shoot photos. The pros will tell you the light is best at sunrise and sunset. Seasoned photographers wait for excruciating periods for that moment when the sun casts its spell on a subject. This is make or break time for the optimum photo.

The photo to the left reveals the sun peeking over the rooftop in the early morning hours. The warming effect can be felt on location and in the photo itself. The sun can be a comforter that any bedding store would tag as priceless.

On those cloudy days, lets do our best to shed our light on others and shine your personality in a way that's like human vitamin C. When was the last time your were described as nutritious?

 

Got the Bends?                          Punta Cana             June 6, 2012

Ever noticed how some people will bend over backwards for you and others are focused on themselves? Pay attention to the traits of the givers.


Some of the busiest people I know are also the ones who don't hesitate to help others. Despite crazy schedules, the givers find time for individuals and causes that are dear to their hearts.

A favorite saying goes like this: "The more you give, the more you get." An interesting question is, "Is the giving trait something you're born with or can the habit be developed?"

Think about someone who could use a helping hand. Bend over backward for someone and you just might earn yourself a whole lot of "get."

 


Life's a Ball                               
Turks and Caicos   June 1, 2012

Are you making the most of everything at your disposal? We often look at what others have as better than us, rather than using the tools that are within arm's reach.

Remember Tom Hanks in the movie "Castaway?" Alone to fend for himself on a deserted island, Hanks befriended a volleyball. The volleyball became Hanks sole confidant and most precious possession.

In the photo to the left, a beachball steals the show amidst the splendor of this Turks and Caicos hotel. Like a circular rainbow, a beachball is the centerpiece to not only hours of fun on the water, but it can even serve as a life preserver in a worst case scenario.

 What's presently at your fingertips that you're not utilizing to its fullest? When we really tap into what we've been blessed with ... life can be a ball.

Phenomenal Nature                   Cabo San Lucas  May 28, 2012

On Memorial Day it's important that we step back and think why this holiday was started in the first place. It's a day to recognize our service people who sacrifice so much in order that we can feel safe and rest easy at night.

Unless we are occasionally tapped on the shoulder to remember, it's easy to take some very important givens in life for granted. The sheer beauty of nature falls into this category.

"El Arco," Cabo's famous stone arch, juts up vertically from the ocean like a moutainscape at sea. The strength, the beauty, and the arch's coexistence with the water, is hard to ignore.

On this Memorial Day, reach out to the service people you know and say "thanks." Also, don't forget to acknowledge what is beautiful in your own backyard. If we alert our senses, there are "El Arco"s" right under our noses.

Soothing Sights                          Antigua              May 22, 2012

I wonder who came up with the saying, "You're a sight for sore eyes." For me, looking at the Caribbean Sea is as soothing a sight as I can imagine.

Spend any amount of time on the island of Antigua and one's eyes tend to relax. I would think that glaucoma disease or even Visine sales would be minimal on a setting like this.

For those of us who spend a large portion of the day in front of a computer, eye strain can be rampant. If there is such a thing as visual ergonomics, then sporadically looking at photographs or videos of the Caribbean Sea should almost be mandatory.

Close your eyes and think of a beautiful image. What comes to mind for you? Do you see what I Sea?

 Island Trademarks                     Aruba                May 15, 2012

When you look back on some of the trips you've taken, what is the lasting memory or symbol that stands out? Is there one image that captures what you think of when contemplating this destination?

On Palm Beach in Aruba, this pelican never strayed too far from his perch on this boat. The colors and his presence were almost magnetic. When I think of Aruba ... a bird and a boat framed by turquoise water pretty much says it all.

This connection process can also apply to the people in your life. Think about someone close and consider the personality, wardrobe, gesture, or trademark ability that lingers when you reflect on this individual. Are your thoughts pleasant, humorous, or possibly quite dark?

The best destinations leave us with a memory that draws us back for more. Here is to hoping that your day, your dreams, and your future journeys are as colorfully invigorating as this pelican brief.    

Lifeguard ... what's next?           Riviera Maya     May 8, 2012

In an era of ever-changing technology, isn't it amazing that the lifeguard profession still exists?

Think about how many years have passed since there have been any changes to this job? The equipment right down to the binoculars, sunglasses, and whistle haven't differed an iota over the past century. One has to believe even the wage has held steadfast.

I suppose there will always be swimmers who get careless, tired, or caught off guard. There will be certain locales where an occasional shark will surface. How long before another Baywatch television show surfaces to glamorize the profession?

It would be interesting to know who has held the job the longest? What kind of stories does he or she reflect on? I guess there is a certain honor to a job that states you are a "guardian of life." I wonder how this gig translates for the next job interview?

Something New in St. Martin   
St. Martin   May 1, 2012

On a trip to St. Martin, we noticed an outdoor restaurant that looked promising out of the corner of our eye. We made a U-turn and entered this eatery with zero expectations on the front-end.

We sat down for lunch at a patio that overlooked the Caribbean Sea. Five minutes later, a two-piece steel drum band started doing their thing. While enjoying the music, I ordered a crab meat sandwich that was absolutely delicious.

This completely spontaneous moment happened because we chose to drive slightly beyond our comfort zone. Curiousity, in this case, generated a terrific reward.

When was the last time you stretched yourself and discovered something fantastic that you didn't know existed the day before? Routine is over-rated. Imagine the possibilities if we regularly made exploring something new part of our new routine?

Day Beds - Sexy Words             Maroma Beach  April 26, 2012

On the pristine beach called Maroma, you'll find something called day beds. I guess the logic connecting these words is that you'll rest during the daytime.

Someone is working pretty hard from a marketing standpoint by adding the word "day." It's almost like you need to be handed a guidebook to figure out that yes, this is a bed, and it's okay to use it during the day.

Now the "day bed" combo isn't quite so contrary as the words "jumbo shrimp," I guess day bed sounds sexier than lounge chair. Packaging, especially with our lightning-quick attention-deficit growth, is half the battle when convincing someone that an experience is special.

I remember a Saturday Night Live skit that mocked the new double tracked razors for men. At the time, the idea of a second blade providing an extra close shave had consumers on the verge of breathless. The skit presented the possibility of a third blade for an extra-extra close shave. Their closing line was, "Why three blades... because you'll believe anything."  

Curacao: A Clash or Mesh of Cultures?   Curacao   April 19, 2012

If one were dropped from the sky on to the streets of Curacao, it would be hard to figure exactly where one was. One might guess several international locales before determining you were in the southern-most section of the Caribbean.

The first thing one notes about Curacao is the bustling commerce connecting every aspect of their downtown area. From the distinct architecture that is the island's hallmark, one could easily believe that you're in the heart of Europe.

Splashes of Curacao's Dutch ancestry are seen everywhere one looks, from the distinct buildings, to their banks, restaurants and narrow roads. Other than their notoriety as a dive spot, you'll find few indicators that Curacao sits amongst the Caribbean cluster that includes Aruba and Bonaire.

Like the family member who seems to be a descendant of someone other than your Mom or Dad, Curacao has a Caribbean gene pool all its own. If you're searching for a Caribbean vacation that has a completely different feel, then Curacao is the island where the only things missing are windmills and wooden shoes.

Importance of Breakfast    Anguilla               April 13, 2012

The importance of eating a good breakfast is a topic that has been discussed since the dawn of time. The reality of the white noise we're exposed to in the morning is enough to give a nutritionist indigestion.

Wouldn't it be nice if we could start our day with a view like the one shown in this photo. A balcony seat overlooking Shoal Beach in Anguilla is all about fresh air and serene calm. This wakeup call is definitely a great energizer for getting started on the right path.

The flip side to this photo is what we really deal with on a day-to-day basis. We wakeup to a stream of negative news on television, radio, newspapers, and the Internet. This is followed by a not-so-healthy dose of rush hour traffic to further grind on our nerves and spirit.

In an era where every computer application imaginable is just a click away on our cell phone, maybe an app titled "Anguilla Breakfast" is the next million dollar idea.  Your comments here

Calm Before the Storm     Turks and Caicos   April 9, 2012

This photo of Grace Bay Beach depicts the Caribbean Sea in its most tranquil state. The ocean is certainly capable of presenting great extremes.

Just like in nature, at any given moment, we can experience massive highs and lows in life.  The good new is, for every down instance, there is an opposite extreme that we can achieve.

The Caribbean Sea can provide picture-perfect moments. The ocean can also claim a tsunami in its range of emotions. It's hard to believe that a life element this beautiful can be as angry as anything imaginable.

I suppose there is nothing truer than the saying, "the calm before the storm." For you and I, we are presented with the option of revealing our stormy or calm side on a daily basis. Choosing to do the right thing leaves the greatest legacy if we work at it. Lets "Sea" what we can do.

Sound of Music?                Saona Island     April 4, 2012

One of the most popular Punta Cana excursions is to take a day-trip to Saona Island. From a distance this looks like the very definition of a secluded paradise.

Upon setting foot on this uninhabited island, it is indeed beautiful. The problem I had was, the site planners felt the need to hookup massive speakers into the palm trees above. On a serene island located in the middle of nowhere, the music sounded like last call at the local disco times three.

Artificial noise is standard fare at many sporting events, as well as more and more restaurants. I'm sure the behind-the-scenes wizards orchestrating this noise feel it adds atmosphere for guests. I believe, in most cases, the exact opposite takes place.

Think about this the next time you're sitting at a restaurant and shouting so the person across the table can hear. Then again, what do I know? I'm sure there are people out there who think every isolated island should come equipped with woofers and tweeters.  

Photoshoot Psychology      St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands  March 28, 2012

One way any retail establishment can draw customers is to set up a photoshoot attraction. Think about the cartoon statues in our major cities and how tourists are drawn to them like bees to honey.

People find it hard to resist having a photo taken near this zany pirate situated on an overlook high above Charlotte Amalie Harbour. When considering photo album possibilities, what is it about being outside our zip code that lowers our inhibition mechanism?

The Minnesota Twins baseball team has a giant catcher's mit on the concourse leading to their stadium entrance. Like Pavlov's dog, fans hop inside this saucer-like glove and preen for photos.

So if your retail business sales are down, perhaps you should start thinking about what you should plant outside your front door? It's a buyers market for pirate skeletons in 2012.

Are you talking to me?                             Anguilla   March 16, 2012

Have you ever observed how people's voices change when they are addressing an animal or a baby? Most automatically switch into this sing-song cutesy routine.

Looking back, when we noticed this goat having his lunch in the front yard of a home in Anguilla, we couldn't help reverting to baby talk voice. Wouldn't it be great to do a goat brain scan when an animal is dealing with a person ...just to see their reaction to these odd close encounters?

When you think about your most recent visits to Walmart, it's hard not to conclude that there is intelligent life beyond our planet. Do you think when ET lands in front of a YouTube camera, Mr. or Mrs. Extra-terrestrial will shift into their version of goat or baby talk when meeting us for the first time? Based on our responses, hopefully ET will find us ahead of Mr. Goat in the overall food chain.

Caribbean Lawn Art                                   Harbour Island   March 12, 2012

On several of the Caribbean islands, you'll see vintage cannons like the one below. Each island has a unique story as to how their military history has fared and how the destination has evolved over the years.

In Antigua, islanders will share how cannons were strategically positioned to ward off maritime intruders. In Curacao, you'll find an imposing cannon aimed at the waterways threading through their bustling downtown market.

I have no idea why this fashionable estate located in Harbour Island (one of the quaint outer islands of the Bahamas) has decided to use a cannon as lawn art. Yes, the home faces the Caribbean Sea. You should know that the water is to the right, rather than the left. So this isn't what you'd call the best in Caribbean home security.

At least this cannon sports a fresh coat of paint. If the editor of Better Homes and Cannons magazine were to show up unannounced, this home is prepared. Perhaps  cannon balls would be appropriate for a rousing game of croquet or bocce.  Your comments here

 Is Seeing Believing?                                   Antigua   March 6, 2012

There are times when our eyes play tricks on us. In the photo below, it looks like the owner of a restaurant in Antigua is much larger than the boat to the right.

There are probably situations in our lives when we wish we could have a "do over." These are the times when it's probably best to keep our thoughts to ourselves or at least ask a few questions before firing off an opinion.

It's common knowledge in the legal profession that eye witnesses usually aren't very accurate in assessing split-second encounters. Some of us just aren't the best when it comes to the powers of observation.

One thing I know for sure. The backdrop imagery of this turquoise water proved stunning when the camera shutter clicked. That's one statement I'm willing to be judged by a jury of my peers.

 Hats Off Hats On                                       Isla Mujeres      March 1, 2012

Have you ever stopped to think about the long history of hats? What was the first hat? What did it look like, who invented it, and what was the motivation?


The statue here on the Island of Isla Mujeres features a headress with a rather hideous looking creature on top. Could this be the fashion of the times or was the model attempting to ward off bad looking dudes?

The headgear of today is all a matter of taste. Personally I'm baffled by the hat on backwards or hat on sideways style. Both styles have had a long run so perhaps I'm in the minority for thinking the person donning this fashion looks silly.

Carmen Miranda somehow decided wearing fruit on top of her head was a fashion statement. At least this hat had duel possiblities as a nutritious snack.

With the way things go in cycles, is it possible we could again see this banana republic-type costume topper in a store near you? If it were to replace the hat on backwards phenomenon, I'm all for it.   

Your comments here

 
 

 

Pirates of the Caribbean                                    Aruba   February 23, 2012

What is it about being a pirate that we find glamorous? When you think about it, is spending months at sea with no showers and engaging in mortal combat that great of a life?

It's sort of crazy some of the professions that are glammed up by the movies. Pirates, cowboys, and The Mob, are a few that come to mind that aren't exactly Ivy League dream professions. Yet they somehow come off as lifestyles that are spun romantically.

Think about some of the Halloween costumes that are annual favorites. Many of the roles have a dark-side appeal to both young and old alike. Whenever one can step outside one's traditional personality, there is a certain dancing with the devil mystique ... at least for a day.

So the next time you come across your eyepatch, three-cornered hat, and favorite parrot in your bottom drawer, think about why you wouldn't include that ensemble in your next job interview. Then again, that's one way to stand out in a crowd. Aargh!

Haunted by what?                                               Jerome, AZ  February 20, 2012

The legend of this hamburger joint is that it's supposed to be haunted. Whether that is true or not, I couldn't tell you. I do know that the place was packed on the day we visited.


The town of Jerome is like something plucked from an old black and white movie. There are lots of antique shops, a handful of bars, and assorted stores that cater to tourists. All are mildly busy. On the other hand, The Haunted Hamburger had a line waiting out the door. What was the draw?

Yes, their hamburgers were good. Yes, the tables along the wall had a nice view. The thing is, if the restaurant were called anything other than "The Haunted Hamburger," I can't believe there would be such a fuss over eating a cheeseburger with a side of fries.

The words "haunted hamburger" could be considered a stroke of marketing genius. Like a clever website, album cover, or catchy nickname, you never know what will intrigue your audience or get someone to go for their wallet.

Everyone loves a good story. The beauty of a good ghost story is... all it takes is for one person to believe it and share it. What's left un-"spook"en is often the best part.
Your comments
 
 
 

The importance of how you describe yourself   Antigua   February 13, 2012

This dwelling located on the oceanfront of Cocobay Resort in Antigua describes itself as a "Wellness Cottage." The sign immediately creates an impression of what you may anticipate or even feel upon entering inside.

How we carry ourselves, introduce ourselves, or what it says on our business card, can impact the first impression we create. If you're not happy with your present situation, changing your outlook can be as simple as how you present yourself from this point forward.

Start making a point of taking steps to achieve your goals and dreams ... and good perceptions will follow. Imagine how fulfilling and exciting it could be to choose a self image that is recognized in a light that earns respect and admiration.

So starting today, change the sign you're carrying around with you. Who knows, you may start your own "cottage industry."

Appreciate the Low-Hanging Fruit   St. Martin  February 1, 2012

Too often we get frustrated with the aspects of our lives that are just out of reach. Worse yet is when we compare ourselves with others and feel short-changed.

Is there some precious part of your day-to-day life that you tend to take for granted? Is there someone you encounter daily (or even once in awhile) that contributes mightily to your quality of life? Have you let that person know in some grand or small way how you appreciate him or her?

The hotel balcony in this photo represents a travel memory that never gets old for me. For you, one of life's little pleasures may be as simple as someone who makes you laugh or an individual who offers a shoulder to lean on.

Sometimes it's the low hanging fruit that tastes the best. Orange you glad when you think about it?

Attitude of Gratitude      Cabo San Lucas         January 24, 2012

Isn't it amazing how some people seemingly have it all, yet treat life or others with a chip on their shoulders? The flip side are individuals who are simply grateful and brighten your day with their presence.

Can you think of someone who always seems to make you feel a little better about your self? People who boost you up or convey positivity are such a pleasure to be around. The more you make this up attitude a part of your sincere persona makes the world a better place. At the very least, be conscious of the traits that go hand-in-hand with generating goodwill.

The next time you encounter someone who lifts your day, why not acknowledge this gift? Better yet, make it your mission to be one of those individuals who touch others in a positive way. In the immortal words of Mr. Eastwood, "Make someone's day."

Dream Big              Sapodilla Bay, Turks and Caicos Islands  January 17, 2012

What is your grandest dream? What is that single, spectacular, life-changing ambition that seems way beyond reach?

Its been said that sometimes we focus on the wrong thing. Rather than honing in on dollar signs or material goods, we should simply believe. That means we should keep the faith that if we do what's right and do right by others, keep moving in the direction of our dreams --- our goals can be achieved.

The house pictured above has a price tag of $30 million. That's a financial number that is tough to conceive, let alone believe. If you have a hard time believing in your personal goal, look no further than this photo to realize that you can do great things. In fact, maybe your dream isn't grand enough!

In the immortal words of Journey, "Don't stop believing. There may be your version of an island paradise out there with your name on it.

 Life's Crossroads                                         St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands  January 11, 2012

Are you at a point in your life where you're not sure where to turn? You're facing one of those decisions where there are no easy answers as to which direction you should head.

One solution is to merely take action. Moving forward, rather than standing still, is always a more positive approach. Too often we get stuck. This immobility can mean watching opportunity pass us by. It can also mean that the bird in the hand goes unappreciated (while we mull which way to go.)

The Caribbean offers many daily situations where a decision must be made. In the above photo, a tourist surveys a bevy of tantalizing options as to where they can stay, eat, or just gaze. The opposite is also true - because Caribbean roads often have no signage or ways to navigate correctly. The good news is that most islands are small enough that it's impossible to get too lost.

If you're facing a decision that weighs heavy on your mind, move boldly in one direction. It's amazing how hidden benefits arise tomorrow that were hardly evident today.  

 Passion Play                                                  Anguilla    January 5, 2012

Wouldn't it be great if the bulk of our time were dedicated to the stuff we really like to do? Wouldn't it be even better if we could figure this out while we're young and make a life doing exactly that?

What is the thing you're most passionate about? Is there a way to turn this passion into a livelihood? Have you ever taken the time to try and monetize this passion?

Whether you're crazy about golf, investing, crafting, Tweeting, painting, or yoga, there could be an audience out there willing to benefit from your enthusiasm. Do an internet search and play with the words connecting to your passion play. Chances are good there are others who are already reaping the rewards generated by your favorite outlet.

In 2012, why not connect with this outlet and get plugged into a year of doing what you love.

Resilience for the New Year                         Harbour Island  December 30, 2011

One of the most often-shot photographs in all the Caribbean is of the tree seen below. The story behind this tree's existence is a balance between fact or fiction.


The legend behind the "lone tree
" is that when Hurricane Andrew hit Harbour Island in 1992, this tree was hurled from a cliff into its present upright position. During high tide, the tree surrounded by the majestic Caribbean Sea is a natural photograph for the ages.

Where do life's occasional storms leave you today? Are you standing tall or do you feel like you're up to your neck in it?

The lesson to take from the story of the "lone tree" is with daily persistence, something beautiful awaits your next sunrise. It's up to us to keep our head up and get through today, knowing tomorrow may provide our own snapshot for the ages.  

   Love to hear your comments 

 
 

 
 

 

 

 

Fruits of Your Labor                                      Curacao        December 26, 2011

A day after Christmas, let's look back on the past year and think about what we're thankful for. As you savor 2011, does it leave a juicy taste in your mouth or has the year been anything but ripe?

At the outdoor food market in Curacao, vendors have a very short window to sell their goods. The weather, the economy, and even the mood of the day, play a part in whether vendors go home with coin in their pocket or watch products spoil.

Hopefully your prospects aren't based on such shakey factors as those impacting an open-air market. Hopefully your foresight, persistence, and sustaining talents allow for a more even-keeled future.

Like a banana- do you bruise easily?Or do you have the thick skin of an orange or even a coconut? Lets hoist our glass and hope the coming year proves to be the most fruitful harvest ever.

Mixing Pleasure with Pleasure                     Punta Cana    December 22, 2011

Imagine the aspect of a vacation you would enjoy most and then ... the second most desirable thing. In the case of the photo seen below, this would involve mixing golf with a scenic beach destination.

This same kind of win-win thought process could apply to choosing a career, a meal, a spouse, or an article of clothing. What would be your first choice in each of these aspects of your life, followed by a choice that is a close second? If we prioritized our decisions in this way on the front end, the chances of being very satisfied jump significantly.

Too often we give a lot of thought to life's minor decisions and yet we're impulsive with the big choices. Perhaps a good way to enhance our chances for success would be to visualize our choices a week or a year from now. How would we judge our selections after we've had a chance to step back and absorb?

Yes, spontaneity provides some of life's best moments. Then again, if we doubled up on the things we find satisfying, maybe we'd look back on our choices as being priceless.


Doing the Wave                                             St. Thomas, U.S Virgin Islands    December 8, 2011

It's one thing to take an excursion on a beautiful yacht, it's another thing to live a significant portion of your life at sea.

For those who have chosen the nautical life, they wouldn't have it any other way. The wind, the spray, the smells and the adventure, run through a sailor's veins like re-energized oxygen.

For the outsider, that initial glimpse seems so mystical. The outsider is unaware of the work that goes into maintaining a boat, let alone earning one's living at sea.

The long-time sailor doesn't just have one or two stories, they have dozens. Ask about the weather and there is a story, ask about romance and there's another story. When one's life is in constant motion, the tales that accompany you are as ready as the next sunrise.

So if you are bored with life on solid ground, perhaps you should pull up anchor. Life could be grand with the wind at your back.   Your comments here

Can't Miss this Truck                                   Curacao              December 1, 2011

The Caribbean island of Curacao places a premium on color. From buildings to vehicles, there is very little that is understated about this island with a rich Dutch heritage.

Color is a major element in what makes Curacao appealing to tourists. I believe if the buildings framing Curacao's waterway were painted gray, the island wouldn't be nearly as popular with those people seeking something altogether different in a Caribbean escape.

For our cities that have been kicked in the pants economically, maybe a fresh coat of paint is the solution. Like the major urban areas where you'll find photo opportunities next to a statue of an animal or cartoon character, maybe we'd find photos in front of a bright yellow or purple building to be magnetic.

A couple decades ago, there was a guy who showed up at every major sporting event crowned with a rainbow hairdo. His hair and trademark biblical message became quite famous. Perhaps a colorful paint job is the next big thing for our Youtube culture.

Vacationers Gone Wild                               Aruba                November 21, 2011

Have you ever looked back at some of the stunts you pulled off while on vacation and wonder what got into you?

In Aruba, you see vacationers trying windsurfing. For you, maybe it's as simple as a maiden karoake song or even splurging for a timeshare property. When you're surrounded in a relaxing environment, it's easier to step out of your comfort zone or take risks. It would be interesting to hear a psychologist analyze the sudden personality changes that occur in vacationers.

So the next time you try cliff jumping, limbo dancing or driving a dune buggy, remember... there's something in the water. Then again, maybe it's the rum, tequila or lack of alarm clocks.   Your comments here

Sand-tastic                                        Anguilla              November 8, 2011

The context in which you deal with something can transform how you perceive it. If  one were asked to walk across the desert, then your image of "sand" would not be pleasurable. Then again, sand in the context of Anguilla's beaches is a thing of beauty.

At least for today, I believe Anguilla has the most beautiful beaches in the world. Grace Bay Beach in Turks and Caicos is a one-of-a-kind superstar, but for sheer volume of beautiful oceanfronts, then Anguilla's 17 beaches are a natural wealth almost beyond description.

If you took Anguilla's turquoise water out of the equation, then their pearl white sand would probably be ho-hum. The combination of the two elements is comparable to Lennon and McCartney's finest writings... definitely extraordinary.

 I'd love to hear if you feel there is another beach location that exceeds Anguilla's famed powder walkways. Share your comments here.

Beach Bar Soothes All                           Riviera Maya     November 2, 2011

Are there two words more relaxing than "beach bar?"

Everyone needs an occasional diversion or release. The idea of drinking a cold one with ocean waves lapping within earshot is the ultimate muscle relaxer.

The beach bar pictured on the shores of Maroma Beach is at the high-end of oceanfront thirst quenching. The type of beverage shop really doesn't matter. The experience is all about letting your hair down and escaping from the bustle of daily life.

So the next time you're feeling stressed, try uttering those two simple words. Unlike  the drug commercials on TV where the list of side effects are longer than the benefits, "beach bar" conjures images delivering fast and soothing relief.

Who is Crowding Who?                          St. Martin                    October 26, 2011

In Minnesota, we have a problem with geese and deer. The geese tend to do their business on golf courses and in parks. Deer often run across our roadways. People get peeved.

When you think about it, who should really be upset? Geese and deer were roaming around a particular habitat long before housing and roadways began laying stakes. Yet once Mr. Gander and Bambi become more than an occasional novelty, we start figuring ways to eliminate the problem.

By comparison, the Caribbean population works seamlessly with their furry and feathered friends. In St. Martin, the donkey taking residence in this field  graciously ignored the wooing of onlookers and photographers.

It's not always easy to shrug off the idosynchracies of our neighbors, but we can try. Even the neighbor child who practices the trumpet in the early hours of Saturday morning has to have some redeeming qualities.

What if? The vision to look forward.      Cabo San Lucas         October 18, 2011

When you first drive from the airport in Cabo San Lucas, it's hard to imagine what the area looked like before evolving into the vacation wonderland we see today.

Similar to Las Vegas, someone had the foresight to turn a blank canvas of desert into an oasis. Today Cabo is all about lavish hotels, pristine golf courses, great fishing and a multitude of restaurants.

How many aspects of our lives could we project into the future? Imagine tweaking your job, your home, your retirement savings,or your relationships? If we projected five or ten years down the road, what steps could we take... to begin building our own Cabo?

It's okay to dream a little or maybe a lot. Which aspect of your life could stand a dose of Cabomagination?  
 

Looking back on the incredible effort.    Vail, Colorado           October 11, 2011

I'm always blown away by roads that were chiseled through the middle of a mountain. I think about the insightful design and back-breaking labor that went into these engineering marvels.

There are so many instances where our lives have been made easier by the sweat equity of a previous generation. This is true when recalling our veterans, technology geniuses, and certainly the individuals who created our roadways.

Travel is a chance to see the landmarks passed on to us, as well as experience new innovations that will be the stuff of legends tomorrow.

Do present-day transportation methods really make life easier or are we in serious overload mode? Flash back to rail travel of yesteryear.  Now compare it to the frenetic roadway and air travel of today. Let's hope there is light at the end of the travel tunnel.

Which way are you leaning?   Harbour Island, Bahamas   October 4, 2011

Once you start leaning in a particular direction, it gets harder and harder to regain your balance.


This is the first (and hopefully last time) I will speak of politics on this breezy travel blog platform. But here goes....

The world seems to be getting more and more polarized. There appears to be no room for middle ground. How are we supposed to get things done if we don't acknowledge or bend toward others point of view?

On Harbour Island you'll find a wealth of nationalities and places of origin. This mix enhances the experience of vacationers as you discover new personalities and listen intently to the stories of others. It certainly helps to be on an oasis where the atmosphere and surroundings are laid back, as well as beautiful.

As Ben Franklin once said, in order to persuade, we must first appeal to the other person's interest ... sometimes above ours. That's the first step toward a win-win and eventually getting our point across.

As the photo above shows, once you start leaning too far, you're a heckuvalot closer to landing on your face than standing tall.   your comments welcomed 
 
 


Pairing Off                              
Saona Island                  September 28, 2011

Isn't it an amazing occurrence when you've met your match? Is pairing a case of freak percentages or destiny?

Out of all the trees in the world, how is it that these two happen to perfectly frame the boat hovering in the distance from Saona Island's shoreline? The same question could apply to your life mate. Imagine the odds or crunch the numbers that you two met and now thrive as a pair.

Some would say that we are capable of determining our destiny. Are you on the side of mind over matter or doesn't it matter? Are we incidental players in a predestined collision course or are we just vital drops in an ocean that wouldn't be the same without us?

Take the time to look at some of the snapshots that make up your day. Each day is like a movie where you can be the director, an actor, or at least an alert ticketholder. Pair popcorn with butter and the real-life feature you witness could be a blockbuster.

What do you see?                    Bavaro Beach                September 19, 2011

No two people interpret a photo, a situation, or a memory exactly the same. When I check out this photo, the palapas seem to look like thatched Hershey kisses.

What's interesting is I've never made that connection before. In past reviews of the same photo, my eyes are usually drawn to the water or the palm trees. We're all wired differently when it comes to the powers of observation.

Photos are like Rorschach inkblot tests, there are no right or identical answers as to what we read into them. Along the same lines, the testimony by eye witnesses to a crime scene can usually be picked apart. Our focus is liquid rather than constant.

An interesting test would be to hand a photo album to a friend and ask them to comment on the first thing they observe. Then ask a second person the same question. The inconsistencies are why marketing and advertising professionals make the big bucks, they are able to draw a desired response.

Maybe I should tip off the Hershey executives on serving up chocolate along the beaches of Punta Cana. Taking off those thatched wrappers may be hard on the fingers though.

A Job with a View                    Playa Del Carmen          September 13, 2011

It's a big deal when an executive gets a corner office with a window. The bartender who patrols the outdoor drink emporium pictured below would have to chuckle at anyone boasting of an even better office view.

One's work environment plays an important part in our daily attitude and demeanor. There are workplaces where the decor, or lack of decor, smacks one right in the face upon entering. Working in a dreary environment for the long-term can take its toll.

Like anything else, a fantastic workplace environment could eventually be taken for granted. Then again, when strangers are constantly reminding a worker how lucky they are to regularly experience something the newcomer finds exceptional, hopefully the light bulb goes on.

It's human nature to become numb to life's blessings. Sometimes we just need to open our eyes to what's in front of us.

Pump Up the Volume              Anguilla                           September 9, 2011

A shot of color can really energize nearly any situation. If you were to look out your window right now, would the colors outside bring you up or bring you down?


New professional sports teams agonize over choosing colors for their jerseys. Certain colors are good or bad depending on your culture. There are people in the fashion industry who earn a living recommending which clothing colors look best based on your skin tone.

If you were to scroll through this Travel Blog, you could guess which colors I'm partial to. I suppose a researcher could study which life factors impact how we individually react to various colors.

The final thought for the day is: Think about how we use colors to describe a person's mood. Are you feeling blue? Are you redfaced with anger? Did that sandwich make you turn green. You're white as a ghost. Orange you glad I'm going to stop right here?

 
  

 


 




Internet is Everywhere          
Turks and Caicos            September 2, 2011

So you're strolling along a fabulous beach and happen to glance left. There sits a beautiful oceanside villa and a nameplate. The nameplate's website reveals how you can rent the villa if you so desire. Even 10 years ago, this kind of marketing barely existed.

The internet has made the world so small. Do you still stop to marvel how you can communicate in seconds with someone who lives several continents away? In the case of this photo, if you had your smartphone, one could discuss renting the villa while standing beside the property.

What's the most obscure place you've ever been where the internet still came into play? Was it on a sand dune in the middle east, on a craggy cliff in eastern Europe, or perhaps the furthest reaches of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Tennessee?

The internet is a good news, bad news breakthrough. The good news is that you're a phone call or email away from connecting with someone. The bad news could be the same thing. Remote should occasionally mean something other than a way to channel surf.     Your comments here

Smart Marketing                     Prickly Pear/Anguilla      August 25, 2011 

Your child has an aversion to water, but you'd like to take a daytrip on a sailboat. An entrepreneur names his boat after a lovable cartoon character (minus a letter or two.) All of a sudden your child's fears slip away. Brilliant!

Domains, movies, books, and businesses can make or break their success based on whether their name makes an impression on a given audience. Sometimes this connection is intended and other times it's mere luck.

There are business people who attribute a significant chunk of their success to his or her ability to remember customer's names. The reverse is also true. Think about those individuals who, for whatever reason, you've been unable to come up with their name, even though you've met numerous times.

Franklin Roosevelt used to imagine someone's name was written across their forehead. That tip alone should have been enough to get him on Mount Rushmore next to cousin Teddy.    

What We Can Learn from Staging?        Harbour Island               August 18, 2011

The photo below just about says it all when you think about the word "relaxation." You have equal elements of water, lounge, and umbrella. The only piece that is missing is the tall blended cocktail.

 Realtors will tell you that staging is all about first impressions. We only have a short window to get our message across. People, environments, and verbage can either be prepared or spontaneous when it comes to delivering one's intended message.

On a daily basis we are selling ourselves. We also convey certain feelings that are interpreted by our audience. So the question is this, "Are people relaxed around you or do you make others feel like diving in the deep end of the pool.?"

The good news is we can re-stage our presentation if we choose to work on it. Here's to hoping that you exude a pina colada kind of personality. Not cold, just smooth and refreshing.

Only the Shadow Knows                        St. Thomas                     August 12, 2011

The shadow in this photo is both artistic and imposing. It adds an extra dimension to the photo that is hard to ignore.

What would you do differently if you knew your shadow interpreted your actions in either an artistic, imposing, or unpredictable way? Over time, would you conduct yourself differently if you had the chance to reassess your behavior?

When an intern "shadows" an employee for a day, that employee probably represents himself or herself in the best possible light. Maybe we should spend a day acting like our shadow plans on writing a report card on how we've conducted ourselves over the course of the day. 

Wouldn't it be great if we could look back on our day's snapshot and say, "My shadow is standing tall with palms up in approval."   your comments

Wing and a Prayer                                  St. Martin                      August 8, 2011

It's always both fun and slightly scarey to fly in a little prop plane. You never know exactly what will happen between takeoff and landing.

My favorite flying story occurred when I boarded a puddle jumper between Honolulu and Maui. This relic of a plane was so old that you could see major gaps in the seams joining the sheet metal of the plane's walls.

I began reading the flight emergency procedure brochure. A petrified woman sitting across from me asked why I was reading this pamphlet. I replied, "If there ever was a plane that was going down, this is it." She immediately began screaming at her husband, "I told you so."

The flight was very uneventful, quite scenic and quite safe. In the immortal words of the Ozark Mountain Daredevils, "If you want to get to heaven, you've got to raise a little hell."

What's in a name?                                  Sedona                           August 1, 2011

Most parents spend a ton of time deciding what to name their new baby. This is important when you consider that this handle will be someone's daily identifier. It's a tag they'll either be proud of or have to defend.

The same repercussions apply when naming streets, lakes, and in this case, a trail. If you were going on vacation based on how a place sounds to your ear, what are the chances anything connected with Cowpie Trail has you reaching for your Visa? Although the name is definitely memorable if that was the initial goal.

In fairness to Cowpie Trail, the name actually references the shape of the mesas or tabletop surfaces that are prevalent throughout Sedona's mountainous terrain. Then again, for those parents who are anticipating that junior will have a fairly flat top to his brim, let's hope that Cowpie doesn't show up on the birth cerificate.

Outdoor Dining - As Good as it Gets     Maroma Beach                 July 20, 2011

If you live in a warm weather climate year-round, then eating outdoors is no big deal. For those of us who enjoy a five-month fair weather window, then a meal without walls is quite a treat.

Normally having a bird checking you out while eating is a little unnerving. Sharing a meal with winged observer is no biggie if done in moderation. Nice to meet you tweetie.

For me, eating or having a beverage outdoors feels like a guilty pleasure. I practically look over my shoulder in anticipation of someone saying, "How long do you think you'll get by with this." It's like ditching school or sneaking into a baseball game. You ask yourself, "Am I going to get caught?" It's just too infrequent, so it's tooooooo good.

If you live in warm weather, you have no idea what I'm carrying on about. If you live in a land where the sun is worshipped, you'll simply say, "Amen."  Comments here

So How's Your Job?                       Cabo San Lucas                        July 12, 2011

Each job has its pros and cons. If you randomly picked 100 people out of a crowd, how many would you change jobs with?


On the one hand, the vendor working on Cabo's Medano Beach is working in a visually wonderful environment. On the other hand, he toils in temperatures that can reach 90 degrees. He's also promoting a product that often generates rejection.

Life is all about making the most of the tools we're presented. Comparatively speaking, how could you make your job better? When you stop to think about it, how does your work environment or the product/service you represent compare to what you see in this photo?

So for today's reality check, "Does your job top this one or is it time to make waves?  

Guess What This Beach is Called? Turks and Caicos Islands           June 26, 2011

Sometimes a name is so fitting. Last week we parked a rental car in an isolated area of Turks and Caicos where a sign read, "Pelican Beach."


As we ventured down into the serene beach area, we couldn't help but notice that we were not alone. Standing sentry on a post was none other than the beach's namesake.

He never moved for almost 45 minutes. When he did take off, it was to dive-bomb small fish near the shoreline. The eyesite and the neck muscles of these powerful birds are a sight to behold.

Signs like the ones that suggest a bump in the highway rarely deliver. On beautiful Grace Bay Beach's Leeward tip, the sign stating, "Pelican Beach," does not disappoint.   If you've experienced a similar situation - comment here.

Get Off My Back                           St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands  June 14, 2011

It's amazing to see how we coexist. We all have limits as to what we'll allow or not allow in terms of infringing upon our space.

During a recent trip to St. Thomas, it seemed like the iguanas were completely at peace when dealing with humans. They would make eye contact and literally pose for photos.

It's kind of a shame to think of situations around the world where just the opposite is true. People with conflicting cultures who just can't seem to tolerate any kind of coexistence without all hell breaking loose.

Like some of our longest standing rivalries, iguanas go back centuries. Today, at least the iguanas in the photo above, have no problem sharing space. It must have something to do with their thick skin.  

Finding Your Calling in 3 Steps      Sedona      June 7, 2011

What if you could find your calling in three easy steps? The person featured in this blog entry took the three things she most loved to do and turned it into a career.

Our driver for a jeep tour in Sedona explained that she arrived in Arizona as a writer from Berlin. She loved the outdoors, rock climbing, and as a journalist, she was already a story teller.

When she heard that she would be paid to drive through the mountains and tell stories of the old west to tourists, she said, "Where do I sign up?" Could it be that finding your life's calling is that easy?

Think about the things that you love best and how you could turn those passions into a career. Shoot for the stars. The worst that could happen is you reach the mountaintops.  Your comments here

 Colorful Symmetry                   Anguilla                   June 2, 2011

Have you ever just stopped and looked at how things are laid out? Some of life's scenes are more vivid than others.

This scene viewed on Anguilla's Maunday's Beach is almost too good to be true. The hobie cat boats, the turquoise water and the standing vertical masts are like a geometry lesson.

Professional photographer's have an eye for this sort of thing. The untrained eye has to search a bit longer. When you do encounter a situation like this, whether it's before, during, or after the fact, it's a chance to look up and say, "Thanks for tapping me on the shoulder."

Having a camera in one's hand can help or sometimes hinder one's awareness. The thought for the day is, "Be alert to the simple and the grand plan that surrounds us each day. "

Where are you from?               Harbour Island        May 23, 2011

When you travel, the universal conversation starter is, "Where are you from?" It's sure to bring down one's defenses and usually steers toward a connection or two.

When I reply, "I'm from Minnesota," there's often a nod of recognition that says, "So that's why you talk the way you do. "

Each area of the world has their own special dialect. This photo was taken in Harbour Island. It's a setting where it seemed like certain words had a musical flavor to them. The word "things" is customized to "tings." After awhile, you make yourself at home and speak as the islanders do.

A favorite memory is, on a Thursday night around 9:30 pm, a parade broke out on Main St. in Harbour Island. Islanders were celebrating the Los Angeles Lakers winning the NBA championship about a month prior. Keep in mind that Los Angeles is located about 2,000 miles from this tiny hamlet. When asked why this celebration was occurring, a resident smiled and said, "Mon, Bahamians don't need a reason when it comes to having a party."   You gotta love simple "tings" like that!

The Proof is in the Roof          Punta Cana              May 18, 2011

Each part of the world has distinctive traits that offers hints to its history, weather, and population. Take a look at the type of roof that is very traditional in the Caribbean and Latin America.

The roof that is prevalent throughout Punta Cana dates back to centuries before. It is a great insulator, a natural weatherproofing component, and a classic decoration to the housing found in many warm weather climates.

 My question is this, "What came first, the palapa roof or the grass skirt?" Do you see the similarities?

Most of the great inventions were ultimately spinoffs of previous products. Many successful innovations were alternative solutions to previous failures. This leads to my assumption for the millenium .."The future spinoff to the grass skirt has to be less scratchy than its predecessor." Not that I'm in the market for the former or the latter.

Who Will You Meet Next?     St. Martin                May 13, 2011

Is this photo an exercise in connectivity? The photo was shot near where the Dutch side of St. Maarten borders the French side of St. Martin. What you're witnessing is a locale where many of the boats, and several of the houses, are owned from people hailing from all over the globe.

One of the most intriguing aspects of traveling is meeting people from distant lands. I love to hear their stories. What's fascinating is being far away and then  bumping into someone who knows someone you know. Another synchronistic fluke is meeting someone who has a link to your hometown.

There is definitely credence to the Kevin Bacon concept that if you peal a layer away from the onion, we're all somehow connected. How is it that all the boats, sailors, and homes owners have found this place at this moment. Is this what you call serendipity?

So the next you've strayed far from your zip code and strike up a conversation with someone who minutes before was a stranger, ask yourself, "How does this moment impact my life?" It's like the saying, "Are we but a drop in the ocean or would the ocean be less without us." Pretty deep stuff eh?

Towel Animals                   Akumal                                        May 10, 2011

If you've ever been to an all-inclusive resort, you know that towel animals have become a staple amenity. My question is, "Who is the greatest towel tangler of all-time?"

Does it say "towel animal trainer" on the business card of the individual who trains other towel animal hotel employees in? What animal is the holy grail of towel achievement? Does American Linen subsidize this industry? So many questions, so few answers.

There is no doubt that towel animals bring moments of surprise and joy. The very first time you witness this, you definitely go for your camera.

Now that there is controversy regarding going back to cloth diapers as opposed to disposables, maybe diaper animals should take center stage. Imagine the joy this would bring to babies around the world. Let's start a diaper animal viral campaign today!

Our Caribbean Cousin      St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands     May 3, 2011

In 1917, the U.S. purchased St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands from Denmark. The purchase price was $25 million in gold. Today, St. Thomas is the only Caribbean island where an American can enter without a passport.

St. Thomas is as much a melting pot as the United States. You'll find people from all over the world calling this 32-square mile island home. American entrepreneurs will tell you that St. Thomas' affiliation with the U.S. is both a blessing and a curse.

There is less of a business learning curve on this bustling island because they operate in much the same way that we do. The down side is that enterprises can be bogged down with our government's documentation and tax heavy way of doing business.

The neighboring islands of St. John and St. Croix are more free wheeling in their business approach. Perhaps that's why Laurence Rockefeller invested his millions in St. John. On St. John, you'll find Honeymoon Beach, a stretch of sand celebrating his daughter's wedding.

So the next time you'd like to get away from it all without leaving the U.S., consider St. Thomas, our Caribbean cousin. It's our best Danish gift since pastry. 

 Good Gates - Bad Gates     Grand Cayman                April 17, 2011

It's sort of sad that we need to have gates. In some cases, gates inhibit the people keeping things out more than they stop those trying to get in.

The gate framing this luxurious home on Grand Cayman's Seven Mile Beach has a barrier detouring its residents from sauntering out on to the very thing that drew them to the site in the first place. Plus, the fence inhibits their view looking out on the ocean.

Even heaven supposedly has a gate to get in. When you stand outside do you need to know the secret combination, handshake, or password before the pearly ones open up?

Wouldn't that truly be heaven? Life without Gates? I think most would agree. That is unless you're the Grand Poobah at Microsoft.  
 

Colorado the Beautiful         Glenwood Springs, CO     April 14, 2011

You can make a good argument that Colorado is America's most beautiful state. The drastic elevation changes make for awe-inspiring views.

Driving Colorado's highways during inclement weather can be a white knuckle affair. When funneling down the extreme inclines it's easy to feel like you're out of control. What's really frustrating is you'd like to be looking left and right at the fantastic mountains. That's not an option until your drive flattens out.

Visiting Colorado in the fall is really impressive. The color changes in the trees is like watching a natural version of Joseph's Technicolor Dreamcoat. I wonder if natives of Colorado take all this for granted?

A lot is said about Colorado's altitude. What's even more impressive is the attitude shift the state exudes. Experiencing the magnificent landscape is like a visual Prozac. Gives new meaning to the words "Rocky Mountain High."

Gardening  Paradise             Maroma Beach       April 10, 2011

For a lot of people, gardening is like therapy. Not only does the gardener give back to our environment in a positive way, the process itself is stimulating or even healing.

I love the burst of color provided by the sombrero situated in the foreground of this garden scene at the Maroma Resort and Spa. The imagination of  a gardener is like a painter using a natural canvas. People who are passionate about gardening will nuture their favorite sites, looking for new growth or simply improving upon what they've done in the past.

I think gardeners really tap into their senses and have a deep appreciation for life's simple things. Keep in mind, I'm not a gardener, but I do tip my hat to the people who bring our dirt to life.

So the next time you see a garden that is rich in flowers, vegetables, or just adds something special to a setting, let the gardener know. I think gardening is a silent hobby that could benefit from an occasional pat on the back.   

Different Tastes                   Cabo San Lucas      April 5, 2011

How do you define art? It's amazing how diverse people's tastes are. I guess that's what makes life interesting.

The fireplace shown here is located inside a quaint hotel room overlooking the marina in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. The outside of this hotel is very charming. The balance of this hotel room is also quite nice. What motivated the owner and builder to transform the fireplace into a cartoon character is beyond me.

I will have to say that this fireplace customization is certainly a conversation piece. It's a room attribute you wouldn't quickly ignore or forget. The only thing missing is an overhead painting of dogs playing poker.

You never know what fire burns inside us. For that matter, a smiling fireplace can't help but stir your inner embers and make you feel warm all over.

Go Fly a Kite                        Turks and Caicos     April 1, 2011

Most Americans think of kite flying originating with Ben Franklin. Actually, this free spirited endeavor dates back to China almost 3000 years ago.

On Grace Bay Beach we see a father passing the kite flying baton on to his daughter. Hopefully this picture perfect setting forms a memory lasting for generations to come.

There was a song back in the 70s that suggested, "hold on loosely, but don't let go." It seems that when we allow the maximum amount of string to be extended, you never know what great things can occur.

Turks and Caicos is such a beautiful locale that it feels like you could do just about anything. If you'd like a great glimpse of Grace Bay Beach, check out this video.

So on this day, April Fool's day, try to do something a little foolish. You never know what you'll achieve if you reach for the sky.

Sedona's Dueling Rocks      Sedona      March 28, 2011

During a jeep tour of Sedona's red rock canyons, we learned that people have taken to naming the rocks over the years. To me, the image of the rocks pictured below resembles two people standing back-to-back prior to a duel at high noon.

What do you see? It's almost like one of those inkblot tests. There is no right answer. How often does the opinion of someone else influence how we perceive someone, some place, or some event?

No one can sway what I think about Sedona's breathtaking landscape. The area is one of the geographic wonders of the world. This place is drenched in western history. It's like taking a step back in time.

Thank goodness that dueling is no longer a way of resolving disputes. Now we can just turn to CNBC or Fox news to settle our conflicts for us. Yuck! Maybe dueling isn't such a bad idea.


The Dilemma- Tell Everyone or Stay Silent?    
Anguilla     March 22, 2011

I believe the photo below frames the most beautiful beach in all the Caribbean. My initial encounter with this beach was the equivalent of what a lottery winner must experience. Does he or she spill the beans to everyone within shouting distance or just stay silent and think this through?

Napoleon Hill, the granddaddy of positive thinking, was a strong proponent of not whispering your business idea until it was firmly off the ground. He felt, rightly or wrongly, that in a competitve business environment a really good idea could be picked off by someone else and you'd be left in the dust.

Now I do feel somewhat selfish by not stating the name of this mother of all beaches. Then again, the private nature of this setting is what makes it so perfect.

The odd thing is that if you go to one of the trip review sites, out of Anguilla's 17 fantastic beaches, this one barely gets a mention. So perhaps I'm alone in my enthrallment with this white sand paradise.

Okay, it's better to give than receive. If you really must know the name of this beach, watch and listen to this video revealing the Caribbean's most beautiful beach.  

First Impressions are Everything        Isla Mujeres      March 18, 2011

They say that you only get one chance to make a first impression. Consider the impression or packaging of this snorkeling boat in the bay of Isla Mujeres.

Without a stellar testimonial about this boat captain, you would definitely think twice about spending hard earned wages on this smaller version of the Titanic.
Obviously the proprietor's revenue isn't going toward stock in Sherwin William's paint.

We live in a competitive and judgemental world. The effort we put into preparation can be time very well spent. That's not to say we don't find it refreshing when someone goes about life with a care less or carefree attitude. Like it or not, this love me or leave me motto can have its pitfalls, especially in business.

So the next time you set sail with an unknown ship captain, ask questions about the half empty caulking gun laying on the floor of the boat. It could be the only thing keeping you from sinking to the bottom of the Sea. 

Sunshine on the Horizon      Grand Cayman     March 14, 2011

This photo shot from the shores of Grand Cayman's Seven Mile Beach made me think of what is currently occuring in Japan. It's hard to imagine what residents are enduring following the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear reactor meltdown.

 A wise person once said that, "we're either moving into a storm, we're in a storm, or coming out of a storm." The silver lining to this statement is that if we search beyond the clouds, there is sunshine awaiting us.

For me, future travel is a childlike anticipation that is just beyond reach. To see and experience new horizons is always fulfilling. The hard part is relishing today's environment and acknowledging the lessons that make us stronger or more well prepared for another day.

I usually like to keep this blog pretty light and breezy. For one day, let's reflect on the people of Japan and have faith that tomorrow will bring sunshine.  Click here for your comments

The Wind at Your Back     Harbour Island      March 11, 2011

The angular contours and shapes of Caribbean palm trees never cease to amaze me. These palm trees, photographed in Harbour Island, seem to being doing an audition for island goalposts if the NFL decides to make the Bahamas their next new franchise.

 

On the island of Aruba, you see Divi trees all leaning in the same direction. This is due to the steady tradewinds flowing from the ocean. Why the palm trees situated in the Runaway Hill hotel courtyard decided to "lean to the left" is a mystery we'll never know.

An observation we can make is that, at some point, it make sense to ride in the direction where the wind is at your back. Opposition is rewarded on occasion, but if we let the wind support us, then we can rise to reach great heights, just like the palm trees seen here.

So does your present situation have you barking up the wrong tree? If so, maybe it's time to turn over a new leaf. (Sometimes cheap flora and fauna humor is hard to resist.)

 

 

  

 


 

 
Le Esplanade Hotel      St. Martin        March 8, 2011

There is something sort of mystical about people's connection to coffee in the morning. My all-time favorite coffee "experience" occurred on this balcony in St. Martin.

The view from our perch at the L'Esplanade hotel made such an impression on me, that I needed to keep the connection. The photo you see here is on my office wall back home. This breakfast memory and awesome view immediately takes me back to a special time and place.

The way we start our morning can trigger how the rest of our day plays out. Imagine starting one's day with this kind of view, surrounded by the frangrance of the bougainvilleas and the easy movement of boats floating on the Caribbean Sea.

The question is this, "Does the place make the coffee or does the coffee make the place? In this case, you win either way.

Caleton Beach Club      Punta Cana      March 5, 2011

What a study in contrasts it was going from Punta Cana's Bavaro Beach to Caleton Beach, which you see in the photo below. Since we last visited Punta Cana three years ago, Bavaro Beach went from being reasonably populated, to nearly overrun by tourists.

 Caleton, by comparison, was absolutely tranquil and inhabited by about five lucky beachcombers. The feeling was so "Caribbean" for lack of a better word. This felt like the perfect place to grab your favorite book and a cold drink while basking in a picture perfect setting.

Unlike in high school, it's not always a good thing to be popular. Whereas Bavaro Beach now has legions of admirers, Caleton makes friends with a fortunate few. In this case I think it's better to be heard than deal with a herd.

Okay, I promise no further "cowspeak" in future blogposts.   Your comments here!