Before Anne Rice and Twilight made them sexy, vampires were creatures that you did not want around your city. When London's Highgate Cemetary became a hotspot for undead activity, two rival vampire hunters jumped hard into the case. The results of their efforts, however, left officials with a taste in their mouths like raw garlic.
Alien Spacecraft have undeniably struck the earth. You could call these dumb attacks, I suppose, as there was most likely no agency behind them (unless there is a cosmic Donkey Kong just out of our telescope range). Recently, we shored up our vulnerability here with the DART program.
But, what about the little green men and intelligent spacecraft? I traveled to Arizona to speak with the UFO group MUFON about this subject. Later, I met with the world's most famous alien abductee: Travis Walton.
As you'll see in the clip, there is a very terrestrial explanation for most of the UFO sightings over the decades. As for Travis, he told his story with rock-solid conviction and an air of humility, while looking me straight in the eyes. He had me pretty sold until I later read excerpts from his book and took a gander at Micheal Shermer's opinion.
I don't believe, now, that Travis was abducted. I do think, however, that this is a remarkable example of totally inhabiting your own story... to the point where you eventually forget that you created it. Here is the thing: We all do it! We are all having an experience of life and then narrating a story to ourselves (often unconsciously) about that experience. To take control of that story, and bend it into something that empowers you and your community, is an admirable thing.
On the overall subject of UFOs, recent news has moved me into a zone of not knowing. I tend to believe that when/if the aliens arrive, it will be as undeniable as the day Gengis Khan rolled into China or the moment Colombus landed in the Caribbean. But, who knows. There is much we don't understand.
What do you think about UFOs?
When I lived in Japan, I recorded a few commercials, television shows, and movies with famous actors and celebrities (including members of the boy band SMAP). I didn't have any connection to their material, so I approached them without the awe, elation, and bewilderment that a Japanese person would bring. I could tell these stars often vacilated between feeling relieved and unnerved that I addressed them like a regular Joe or Jane.
If you've had an experience like this, as a traveler, it offers a chance to reflect on the nature of fame. It's like a strong forcefield to which the disconnected are totally immune.
During the 5th season of Road Less Traveled, I hooked up with the Ducati motorcycle club in Manila. One of the riders in the group happened to be something like the Brad Pitt of the Philippines. He was just one of the dudes to me, but gradually, over the day, I noticed locals fawning and tripping over themselves in his presence.
What an interesting life experience this guy must be having. In a way, this is the ideal way to be a celebrity. When Brad Pitt travels, he can't just walk into a public space without creating a commotion, but Richard Gutierrez could potentially travel to places where few would recognize him. I think it could provide a lot of insight to dip in and out of your sphere of celebrity.
I'll do another post on my thoughts about celebrity and power. What do you think about celebrity in general? If you had it, how would you like to wield that power?
Every mountain range has a unique vibe. In the US, the Sierra Mountains have my heart. In Europe, it's the Dolomites.
There is a unique activity to explore here, a step beyond traditional hiking. Maybe you'd like to do something more adventurous, but you're not quite ready for the gear requirements and learning curve of rock climbing. Well, as often happens in history, one person's misery becomes another's boon.
There are heaps of metal cables strewn throughout this mountain range that were laid back when the Italians and Austro-Hungarians met in high altitude battle. Today, you can take a small amount of gear and use those cables to traverse routes that would be way too dangerous without the saftely of being hooked in. This is via ferrata (The "iron way")
Have you tried this? What's your favorite route?
Tonight, you can view the full Sturgeon Moon, one of two full moons this August.
Option #1: Look up at the sky and mutter, "cool."
Option #2: Sieze this cosmic opportunity and use it as a bookmark in your life. When was the last time you really checked in with yourself using a wide-angle lens?
On this point, here is an excerpt from my book, The 7 AHA's Every Traveler Should Have:
"There are universals that have been recognized since the dawn of Homo sapien. The cycle of the moon is probably the oldest of these. Long before our species spread out from the motherland of Africa and into the latitudes of four seasons, the changing moonlight went hand in hand with activities and traditions. It is the original marker of time. Why not harness this celestial clock to bookmark and reflect upon your life?
What if, on every full moon, you dedicated just 30 minutes to thinking about your situation and to write something in a journal? Note what kind of progress you’ve made on the things you’d like to achieve. Write down the high moments from the previous cycle in order to cultivate gratitude, and the low points in order to find the lessons. Reaffirm the story of who you are, what you stand for, and where you intend to go."
Here in Los Angeles, where i currently sit, most folks who espouse reincarnation might speculate that they were once Cleopatra, Alexander the Great, or a high priestess to Athena. However, if reincarnation were true in this very literal view, wouldn't it be more likely that this person was once a medieval surf who farmed potatoes all day long? Nobody seems to recall this scenario.
In the north of India, there is a place with it's own twist on reincarnation. Sickly looking rats are fed sweets and milk because of the strong belief that these were once, and will be again, human beings.
One thing you can say for India: It is the most fertile soil on the earth for a diversity of spiritual stories. There is a fascinating one around every corner. Exposure to them not only gives the traveler some unique ideas about the nature of life, but also makes him/her look at their own stories in a new light. This could lead to a big "Aha!" moment.
In a future post, I'll share my personal thoughts on the idea of reincarnation. What are yours?
A walk through Kolkata's maze-like neighborhood of Kali-Ghat reminded me of an old Alan Watt's talk about the image of God. What do you think God looks like?
In November of 2019, we started season 5 of Road Less Traveled in Vietnam and Bali. You know what happened next. The team managed to squeeze one Caribbean episode in during Covid, but mostly things ground to a halt. I'm sure all your endeavors and lives were also drastically altered. The good news, if you are reading this, is that we both made it through this pandemic alive. Road Less Traveled has begun filming again with new episodes coming from India, Thailand, and the Philippines. As usually, I'm hunting content that is both entertaining and thought-provoking, and always keeping it real. Thanks for coming along for the journey. When I speak to the camera, I'm trying to look through it and meet you right where you sit. Hugs and kisses from Asia. More content coming soon!