Monday, November 27, 2006

Gems in Cambodia

The massive iron gate swung open and we turned off the main street into the dark corridor... T - a local Cambodian greeted us with smiles. Soon we were gathered around the topo map and staring intently... "Here.... is temple...."

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Cambodia Dreams...

Have become a reality. Immediate perceptions -
Very chill place.
In comparison, much less developed than Thailand
People - VERY FRIENDLY - I mean awesome - the smiles make you want to smile yourself

Here in Cambodia - Josh is THE MAN. He speaks Thai - and also Khmer, the Cambodian Language) He has set us up as a sweet guest house in downtown Phnom Penh - $10 a night for air-conditioned, sweet room. Josh proceeds to give us a Khmer lesson over lunch and we get into all the basic travel phrases. Hello (Sua Sadei) Thank You (OkkaHun) Please (Som) What is this? (Ne Gkew Awei) The language sounds beautiful here and we all are aspiring to be conscientious travelers - speaking the language and being culturally aware. Again - PAY ATTENTION.

I am reminded how psyched I am to travel with Ryan. We will but heads occasionally as we are both High D's and often think our ways is the best way... yet Ryan is one of those guys that is just "cool." Some people are, some people aren't - Ryan is. And randomly hilarious.

And John - a pleasant surprise as it is the first time I have met him. In college in Boulder - and living in Chiang Mai at the moment for a while. Intelligent, observant, easy going... and amped to pull down.

This cast of characters should make for some good filming!

The heat is oppressive. Need to find sandals quickly...

Our first meal is incredible - Fried Noodles with Vegetables with some stuffed pork pastry deal on the side. Wow - Changan (Delicious!) a bit pricy though - lunch was 1 US $ :o)

We came out of the guest house this afternoon to begin exploration and the first thing we see is a dead, skinned dog - headless - on the side of the road... ready to be prepared for eating??? A bit disturbing.

We score regional maps to locate the Wall... explore Motorbike and Car Rental info... and the exotic climbing talk begins to elevate the soul...

We travel to the Me Kong River an chill over Iced Coffee. Tomorrow we will learn about Cambodia, go to a museum, and the Killing Fields. Embrace the culture and LEARN about Cambodia - this amazing country.

SOON - we will be off to the country side to climb...

Travel Connections

So there I am in the airport in Kathmandu awaiting the plane to Bangkok. Who do I see? Brian Harder - a fellow Jackson-ite with his fiance, Dana (I think it is Dana...) Classic to see folks from Jackson in the middle of around the world travel. Of course, Brian is one of those guys I would expect to see. Quite the "Hard Guy" in my opinion. They had just finished up 25 days trekking, climbing and power shopping in Nepal.

We spoke about his early days climbing with Jim Collins (Good To Great) and how Jim is still climbing 5.13 in his late 40's. Rock On!

The transfer through Bangkok was interesting as always. Three hour delayed flight and eventually make my way into down town and meet up with Josh, Ryan and John for the first time of the trip. Energy High - Anticipation High - Excitement - High.. and rising!

Time: 11:30 PM We proceed to go out and rip it up in Bangkok for several hours and head out for the airport at 4:00 AM. The next three hours were quite rough....

Friday, November 24, 2006

Seeking True North

Rick "ErickShaw" Erickson and I finally put the finishing touches on Seeking True North. Well, a few very minor updates from our editor, endorsements, etc... and it will be going to print this late winter. Anyway - the book has one prominent model - which in brief includes three P's. Prepare, Practice and Passion. After interviews with multiple people around the world so far about self actualization, I am even more convinced of the efficacy of the model.
By the way- so far I have interviewed people from:

There have been many interesting themes - which I will come back to later. However - I am constantly reminded to Seek True North.

As we round out the new year, remember to Prepare to visualizing desired end results, setting goals and dreaming the life you want to create - to Practice by seeking out those models, methods and tools that will facilitate our success, and to live life with PASSION - every second of every minute of every day.

And remember to drink a few ErickShaws over the holiday season:
One Cup Ice
On shot Lime Juice
Fill glass with Tonic Water
Shake and enjoy with a lime...

Rick - you are the man - and I must tell you - Today - I not only rode in a Rikshaw through Kathmandu today - but I drove one through Kathmandu! I said your praise as I swerved through the streets and nearly ran over a small child - but that is another story...

Don't Drive Angry

I am waiting yet another delayed flight - this time out of Kathmandu en route to Bangkok. I thought I would share a thought about the driving in Nepal. Initially, it all seems like craziness - I mean total chaos. In theory you drive on the left hand side of the road - yet really people use whatever lane is most convenient. It is completely common to have multiple cars across the street facing each other in an oncoming "Chicken Fight" and then to swerve back into the left lane at the last second. And I mean literally second - to continue on within centimeters of other people, cars, cows, buses, rickshaws, you name it. Eventually the chaos seems to make sense and it begins to flow and channel into a living organism that just works.

Add to the system all the sounds - particularly the honking. Now - the magnitude of the honking in every respect cannot be understated. However - the honking is not like the American, "F-U" Honk. It is solely to say, "Hey Man - watch out - I am here, don't want to hit you, and need to move through this space - so work with me." There is no anger - no impatience - no stress to the driving or honking.

So - what's the point? Well - part of PAYING attention to things when you travel involves reflecting on experience and looking at the applications. One very simple lesson I will be bringing home is "Don't Drive Angry." The horn is a friend :o) Now I know for all you city-folk, the traffic in Jackson Hole is pretty much non-existent. Yet I know what it is like and on occasion actually do go to city! :o)
And as chaotic as we think our traffic is in the cities - come to Kathmandu and your paradigm will shift - huge....


Yesterday was Thanksgiving. I was up in Nagarcote last night and this morning I called home to Baltimore where the family had congregated at Brother Todd's residence. It is great to connect and hear voices of those you love. I love you guys!

I spent quite a bit today thinking about GRATITUDE. Traveling to countries like Nepal, unlike nothing else, reinforces how lucky I am. And WE are - as Americans - for that matter. The people that I see here - the ridiculous levels of poverty - the little 5 year olds that come to you with their hands to their mouth and their stomach - and yet nearly all the people that I interact with are happy on many levels.

It reminds me that the barriers of our minds are often the biggest barriers to happiness and self actualization. Find beauty in the simple things. Celebrate life through the laughter and sharing and giving with others. Seek out your passions, and focus on serving with your unique talents so that others may benefit.

I am so thankful for the people that I surround myself with. My friends, my family, and all the people that Grand Dynamics has connected me with. For those that CHOOSE to spend time with me. I am thankful for YOU for reading this.

Life is very short - and we all have limited capacity for our time in life. SO - make the most of it - and help others to do the same.

Make someone's day today - and I mean a totally RANDOM person's day by doing something - anything - that will bring a smile to their face.

Above all - live life with a continuous ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE -



This whole blog concept is new to me - an online journal for all to see - interesting. I am wondering if you are finding this interesting! The categorization concept helps I suppose... SO - the topic of this post is a highlight/summary of my Nepal Trekking Journey.

I had arrived in Kathmandu with very little sleep - body slowing down and my mind was finding it difficult to make any decisions. However, it was Friday and I needed to deal with some logistical issues before the weekend if I was going to optimize the time here. So, I "pulled some triggers" as my good friend Paulo would say. I lined up the guide, booked a bus to Pokhara for Sunday Nov 19, and booked a return flight for Thursday, Nov 23. Pradip - my guide - would turn out to be a huge bonus. English Speaking, always smiling, always positive, and genuinely interested in me and helping me to achieve the goals I had set out for. And - young and strong enough to keep up!

THE GOAL: Poon Hill Circuit out of Pokhara in three days.

I was told that that trek takes 5 or 6 days. I decided that us Jackson Hole folk weren't like those "normal" people and went for it.

The bus ride to Pokhara was about 7 hours long. I slept most of the way as my sleep patterns were crazy and I has only gotten about 2 hours the night before (plus it was Saturday night in Kathmandu!) I made my first (and hopefully the last) major error of the trip. I got out my camera from the top of the bus during lunch and left the wide angle lens on the top of the bus. Yes - I know Stephen - it was your lens to start out with. And yes, I still owe you a wide angle lens! Umm... Geanie? So- I was a bit distraught for about 10 minutes that I would have to film without that - but hey - I made do with the stuff I had. Okay - S*&% happens - and it WILL HAPPEN - so get over it quickly and move on with the resources you have.

Day 1:
45 minute ride to Nayapul
15 K (about 9.5 miles) and an elevation gain of about 5500 feet
My first minor point of conflict came at the Maoist Checkpoint about 10 minutes into the walk. 350 Rupies ($5) "Okay - Great - I wonder how many times this is going to happen" I thought to myself. I purposely didn't bring much cash because in the back of my mind I had thought about getting robbed, as was indicated in the what I had read about this particular trekking stretch.

The trail wove through mountain villages and along a beautiful river.

At one point, I was walking down a narrow cobblestone pathway and a herd of sheep (the small kind that has the horns) came running through. I was filming the shot and as I looked up one of the sheep launched - that is - flew through the air just past my shoulder and I nearly pitched off the trail and down the mountain side. The Sheppard are classic Nepali mountain travelers with the switches - and they have the whistling and herding calls down! (Benak - you would be impressed).

We stopped for a tea break just before a major climb. The tea houses are all over the place. Not obtrusive - quite cool really - and in typically very scenic and convenient spots.

Pradip and I hammered out the ancient stairway - straight up about 1500 feet.

At the summit we chilled out and had lunch - I ate Nepali curry and the view was outrageous - terraced hillsides, sweeping mountain views, snaking river below.
I interviewed a local village Nepali girl there on her perspective on Self Actualization and happiness. "Don't worry, Chicken Curry" was one of her responses. Sweet. Very simple - love life always - be with friends and family. Nice.

The trek continued through Rhododendron forest - i got one other interview with another Nepali local along the way. His big thing was business - "when business good - i am happy." I hear that!

I arrived in Ghorepani about 4:00 - yes - we had dialed the first day in about 7 hours, with an hour lunch break. And it didn't seem as if I was rushing either. Just walking - head up, observing, and stopping and messing around with the camera a bunch as well.

Dinner and the evening was quite fun. i hung out with folks from Holland, Germany, England, France and of course, Nepal. I interviewed them all about trip question.
For dinner I was feeling great and wanted to get into the local Nepali flavor - bad idea. I had garlic soup and Dal Baht. I thought things were fine. I went to bed around 9:30. Around midnight my stomach was making shapes and sounds like something out of Aliens and that happened all night. The shared bathroom facilities were horrible and it was one of the longest nights I have had in a LONG TIME. I slept about 1.5 hours total. Good one.

Day 2
I forced myself out of bed at 5:00 for Sunrise Hike to Poon Hill. I made it through that and saw a clear sunrise with the Himalayas in the distance. Annapurna and many other beautiful mountains made their first major impact on me. I thought to myself - that is doable - I could climb that. I also felt the cold on my hands and said, I don't want to lose my fingers. Anyway, I felt sick again and headed down.

1.5 hour power nap, some medicine from Pradip, and off for the rest of day 2...
The day was long and hard. I felt sick most of the morning and that was the steep climbing. I made it through without eating anything until mid-day, when I had a chocolate pancake. Beautiful trekking - lots of interesting sites - including lots of Mountain Monkeys. The local porters carry everything with straps on their foreheads. I mean huge 200 lb deals where all the weight is on their heads...

Anyway, by the time we got to Ghandruk, I was completely exhausted and slept for and hour, up for dinner, which I was able to keep down - thankfully - then for 11 hours straight.

Day 3 was a very peaceful and amazing trek out through the Nepali landscape. It is nearly impossible to describe, but I am certain I have some amazing photos and video footage....

Trekking in NEPAL is a very cool deal. You can go as slow as you want and take as long as you want. You can go for a week - or go for a month - or whatever. The Annapurna Circuit would be a nice objective over about 2 weeks, give or take. If you want beta on the trekking from my guide - you can email him at .

Okay - wow - that seemed like a lot to write about that!

Peace -


Wednesday, November 22, 2006

PEACE IN NEPAL - Major Historical Landmark

I am in a small internet shop in Pokhara, Nepal - awaiting a delayed flight back to Kathmandu. I just finished my trek yesterday and I will fill you in on that later.

Last night I returned to MARCHES in the STREETS. As many of you have seen, or maybe not, (I am not sure how large this international news is) a major peace treaty was signed today. This ends a decade - old "People's War" with the signing of the Comprehensive National Peace Treaty between the Maoist representative and the Prime Minister of Nepal. A few highlights of the peace Pact;
Ceasefire to be permanent - Armed struggle ends.
The state and the Maoists won't resort to recruitment
Maoists and Nepali Army fighters confined to certain regions or barrack of Nepal
Both sides will tell each other where the land mines are - and remove them with 60 days
Not more extortion or illegal taxation

This is all huge news. There is a very interesting history of Nepal. The Maoists are actually really liked and are know as the Mountain Police. They do tax the tourists (yes I had to fork up a whole $3.50 in taxes when I started my trek) so that they can help the mountain people. (In brief) basically - not very many people like the king here.

Anyway - time is short and I have to go catch my flight. Will write more later...

Saturday, November 18, 2006


I see the god in you. :o)

Kathmandu is a mad house. Sensory overload to the max. Tiny streets with rikshaws, bikes, motorcycles, tons of people, bells, music, incense, horns, sites, dancing, stuff and more stuff, lights, sounds, horns, dogs howling, and more horns. Watch your front, watch your back, stay alert. Pay attention.

I rode my mountain bike all through Kathmandu today - talk about a wild ride! You natural instinct is to swerve right. Bad idea here. To the left, use your bell, take initiative and stay confident.

I am off on an 8 (hopefully) hour bus ride to Pokhara to trek near Annapurna tomorrow. Someone tonight told me it too 16 hrs yesterday because of all the accidents. Good one.

Psyched to be heading into the Mountains. A Sanskrit translator I was talking to on the plane here spoke about mountains being conscious beings. I'll see if I can find the message...

Self Actualization & Maslow

Here are a few quotes from responses I have gotten so far...

"Just to survive"
"Most have to be able to be secure. Most people know about 99% that they can achieve certain things. It is that 1% that get in the way."
"To love yourself"
"Most people are just lazy"
"Travel, man, Travel"
"To live good life"
"To expand the mind"
"To live out good characteristics - everybody has it in them, you just have to cultivate it!"

Throughout my conversations about what it means to be self actualized, many references have, on some level, been made to Maslow's theory, many highlighting that self actualization is part of one of the five stages.

i thought is would be privy to have this model to consider. Maslow- we have all heard it and vaguely know that he has the one with the Self Actualization Model, right?

According to Maslow, here are the five stages, or needs that must be met, that one must progress through to achieve self actualization.






What do YOU think self actualization is??????

Become a Warrior

Travel is a continuous learning experience. One after the next. From figuring out how much to pay rikshaws, to deciding the itinerary, to what and where to eat. Great decisions to be making!

I am continuously doing, reflecting and testing new experiences. All of this requires FULL ATTENTION. A heightened awareness to achieve a higher self.

Thanks Ryan, for the rec on the Way of the Rock Warrior - great read.

In invite you to:

Become a WARRIOR! - an impeccable hunter of personal power.

Power, which is not financial wealth or dominion over others, but our ABILITY to ACT effectively, to venture into the unknown facets of the world, to explore and hunt for meaning. Power manifests itself in clarity or thought and decisiveness of action.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Trans-world Airtime

After the mad dash to make the flight, I sat on the tarmac in Jackson for an hour. The runway was icy and the snow continued. I arrived in SLC at 9:50 AM - the same time my flight was to depart for JFK, NY.

Mark Tuttle, who had the same flight to catch for his trip to Slovakia, was about to explode with his desire to make the flight. We Ran - Sprinted - through the airport to no avail. After some alternative searching, my flight pattern was re-created. "This is going to be interesting..." the agent 'comforted' me. I need to be in Bangkok by 10:00 AM on Thursday morning so i don't miss my flight to Kathmandu.

The result....
  • Jackson to Salt Lake
  • Salt Lake to Houston
  • Houston to Paris, France
  • Paris to Moscow
  • Moscow to Bangkok
  • Day lay-over - and Bangkok to Kathmandu

Because of my return layover in Moscow - I had to go through it on the way. So, all in all, I get to Bangkok in time to make the flight to Kathmandu the next day. I remind myself again to remain open, embrace the process, smile, and live life with gratitude.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Airport Shinanigans

The trip had a classic beginning. Prax had called it the night before... Ya I am sure Tim will be late, running to the airport, or the plane will be held for him or something.... I was determined to prove him wrong. A storm raged all day and night in Jackson and the roads were all ice. I arrived EARLY at the airport. I approached the counter with a big smile, which lasted about 1 minute when the agent asked for my PAPER tickets. A shock went through my body as I vaguley recalled the tickets I had received months ago. Apparantly that wasn't on my detailed packing list. Who uses paper tickets any more? Russian Airlines do - that's who. "The absolute latest you can check in is 8:00." "How am I supposed to achieve self actualization if I can't get on my flight?!" It was 7:30. I dropped my bag, which Tuttle grabbed for me, and I sprinted out the door. "Don't kill yourself!" The agent shoted words of "encouragement."
I made it home in 18 minutes - and miraculously made it back to the airport at 8:01. White knuckles and sweating - I sprinted through the airport for the first time on my trip...

Monday, November 13, 2006

The Process

The Film
Well... I bought a new High Definition Digital Camera! And all the things that go along with it. The purpose is to capture the highlights of this upcoming adventure, and bring home some incredible footage... along with a powerful story line, and universal insights into one of the most important questions we can consider: How does one achieve their potential?

The Search for Self Actualization
Through a series of interviews with people around the world, we will search for the secrets of tapping into one's potential, and achieving self actualization. We will obtain a multitude of perspectives on the topics, what it means to a variety of individuals, and how they go about it. This intent is to discover global applications that we can ponder and apply to our lives.

The Climber's Perspective
The film will follow the journey of American climbers seeking to tap into their potential through rock climbing in an international country. We will interview each other and have a running video journal of the experience. The footage, and the information gained will create the visual appeal and the story line behind the concepts to share with the audience.

The Destinations through January 5th, 2007
This is an aerial view of the trip - more to come later
  • Jackson Hole, WY - Depart Home
  • Through SLC and NY and Moscow to Bangkok
  • Nepal - Kathmandu and surrounding areas
  • Cambodia - Southern (Location for new route on unknown wall)
  • Thailand - Southern - Climbing on Railay and Ton Sai Beach
  • - Deep Water Soloing
  • Northern - Climbing in Chiang Mai
  • Russia - Moscow and St. Petersburg
  • Home through LA

I leave in less than 24 hours....

More later!

Thanks for your interest -