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Ireland Bound-The Wheelchair Wizards

The Wheelers (2)

Ireland, A trip to remember.

At the insistence of our children, my wife and I decided to pack up our home in South Africa and emigrate to Ireland. Given our age and many other vital factors, we decided this would be the wisest thing to do.

It was late 2020 and under severe lock-down conditions that we made our flight reservation. With all our paperwork and forex on the ready, we began the packing of our four suitcases. We sold our apartment, cars, and other possessions and put, what remained of our lives into four bags. This was a remarkable feat on its own, as these contained our lifelong possessions.

Seniors Seats

Understanding that we were leaving on Thursday, we were busy packing early on Wednesday. Our travel agent called to remind us to be at the airport before noon. “You mean today?” My heart skipped a couple of beats! “Yes,” he replied. Pandamonium broke out in my family’s home. How were we going to pack and still make the airport by 12? We all began running around like headless chickens, with me in the lead and yelling, “It’s impossible; how will we make it?” Moments later, the travel agent called again. He apologized profusely saying, that our flight was Thursday, not Wednesday. There we were, six family members, having different expressions of relief. Some were angry at the agent’s error, others, including me, lying on the floor, gasping in relief.

Once all settled down, we reverted to a more leisurely packing process.

Our Daughter-in-law called from Ireland to check all was running to plan and casually asked if we had requested assisted travel, as we were both over seventy, “I thought that was just for minors,” I remarked. She reassured me it was a wiser arrangement to make. I duly called our agent and organized it with him.

When we arrived at the airport, two gentlemen shepherded us to wheelchairs. I was shocked, as I was sure we didn’t need wheelchairs.

Family

It turned out the best arrangement for the two of us. Our carers wheeled us to all the correct checkpoints, ahead of the long queues, and knew which documents were required, helping us select these from the huge pile we were carrying.

On boarding the aircraft, we were seated in a convenient place (near the loo) without another passenger squeezing into our three-seat row.

On landing at our first destination, we enjoyed a similar treatment on both arrival and departure.

What amazed me was, on our arrival in Ireland, we were afforded the same treatment. Our trip was seamless because three different sets of carers in three countries were skilled, compassionate, and understanding.

We arrived, if not a little weary, in our new country, safe and sound. A surprised (at how fast we came through the red tape.) but relieved family welcomed us, and we drove to our new home.

If you feel this article has value, please send this link to others. Writings are meant for people, not for dormant files in our computers. Often, when we share them, it results in positive changes in the lives of individuals and communities.

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Thirst Quenchers Around The World

This is a reblog from Danventure Travels: https://danventuretravels.com/2021/08/07/thirst-quenchers-around-the-world/

Soda. Soft drink. Pop. Whatever you call it, you know what I am referring to – a carbonated, sugary beverage.

I know soft drinks are not healthy at all, but I love them & they might be my biggest guilty pleasure. Different countries have different soft drinks & very often international brands make country specific products. It is super exciting for me to try different soft drinks along my travels. This is a massive topic & could go on for ages so I’ve decided to limit this post to just a handful.

Thums Up

When I was in India with my brother in 2017, I ordered a Pepsi or Coca-Cola in a restaurant & the waiter replied with “Thums up?” and gave a thumbs up. I thought this was an odd response, but I assumed he was just confirming my order so I gave a thumbs up back to him. The drinks arrived & he had brought a Thums Up cola… and the earlier interaction made sense.

Thums Up was launched in the late 1970s when Coca-Cola pulled out of India & it quickly became very popular. Later, when India opened the market, Coca-Cola bought the brand & intended to phase it out & replace it with their own brand. However, it became apparent that consumers would buy Pepsi if Thums Up was not available. Coca-Cola then relaunched the drink. To date, it is the leading cola soda in India.

Rivella

The first Swiss products which come to mind would most likely be chocolates, cheese, watches & Swiss army knives, not a soft drink. Enter Rivella. This beverage has an interesting taste but is actually really good. It is made from milk whey as well as herbal & fruit extracts. The taste is difficult to explain, but it is less sweet than a typical soft drink & has an almost gingery flavor. The drink is very popular in Switzerland & has been on sale since the 1950s.

Fanta

This brand alone is large enough to produce many blog posts – I’m just going to list a few facts here. There are over 150 flavors of Fanta worldwide which means if you are traveling to another country, there is a high chance of you getting to try a new flavor. Orange seems to be the most prevalent flavor worldwide, but the formula differs. It will be sweeter in some countries than in others. The color varies from a neon orange to a light yellow. I grew up in South Africa where the flavors pineapple & grape are produced alongside orange. I now live in Qatar where strawberry & citrus are popular.

Fanta Exotic found in Sweden
Fanta Orange in Ethiopia

L&P

Lemon & Paeroa, or simply L&P, is a soft drink produced in the country which is often left off of world maps, New Zealand. It has been on the market since 1907, but it is very difficult to find outside of New Zealand. Being a lemon drink, it does have a slightly sour taste, but it has a good balance of sweetness. I think this refreshing beverage might be New Zealand’s best-kept secret.

Sparletta Creme Soda

Okay, so cream soda is not an exotic idea since a form of it is available in many countries. The flavors & colors vary greatly from country to country. Sparletta Creme Soda finds itself in this blog post because it is my favorite soft drink. From what I’ve found out, it entered the market in 1953 in South Africa. It is green & the cream soda flavor is not as strong as other cream sodas, but it has been described as having a ‘floral’ taste. It is sometimes called ‘green ambulance’ in South Africa because it is believed to help cure hangovers.

What are some soft drinks you have found to be interesting? Are there any from your country you think I should try?

Use #DanVentureTravels so I can find your posts on Instagram & follow the DanVenture Travels Facebook page for more travel related posts.

Keep traveling, keep safe.

DanVenture Travels

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Even More Kilometers & Kilometres – Across The Globe – DanVenture Travels

Dans Wing (2)

I have just passed my 2 millionth kilometer traveled by air. That distance is just over 50 times around the globe & is equivalent to roughly 118 full days of flying. A pretty long time spent in economy. The flights I’ve taken span 107 airports in 67 different countries. Here’s to another million. I’ve included a map of all the flights I’ve taken for visual reference.

When I hit the 1 million kilometer milestone, I posted an update. A lot has changed with regards to air travel since that post. We saw a global standstill. We saw airlines focus on hygiene and cleanliness. Quarantine & air travel went hand in hand. We saw masks and other face coverings become mandatory for flying. We saw PCR tests/rapid antigen tests become a requirement to enter almost every country. Airport lounges were closed & duty free stores were shuttered. Airlines drastically reduced service on board.

It is safe to say, almost everything changed.

Although there have been numerous negatives to the changes that have taken place, perhaps there are some positives. Going forward towards the next million, I would like to see physical distancing being kept at airports. I would like all airlines to keep hygiene and cleanliness a priority. I would like to see continued use of personal protective equipment by airline & airport employees. I would like to see cheaper PCR/rapid antigen tests. I would like to see duty free stores & airport restaurants open again. Lastly, I would love to see people using aircraft lavatories with shoes on – seriously, that is the last place you want to be barefoot.

Until the next post. Like the DanVenture Travels Facebook page & use #DanVentureTravels on your Instagram posts so I can follow your adventures.

Keep traveling, keep safe.

DanVenture Travels

I was unable to reblog from Dan’s site, if you wish to see the original, follow this link: https://danventuretravels.com/2021/07/23/even-more-kilometers-kilometres-across-the-globe/

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Weekly Words of Wisdom

Trees

Dancing Trees

Along my life journey, I bend very often in confronting issues I face. I do this as the better option to resisting these issues. I learned this from the trees I see every day outside my window. When a storm moves in with all its ferocity, high winds blowing at an alarming, speed, hail and rain pelting down; what do the trees do? They bend with the wind they bow to and fro, looking as if they are clapping their branches and swaying in a rhythmic dance with their companions.

Are they afraid of the lightning strikes, the booming thunder, the howling winds? No of course not, their branches open wide to welcome the storm, this is their brief moment to be swept into a dance with their peers, for, in a short, while the merriment would be over and they will stand rigid once more, having lost a few leaves that flew away in the excitement, raindrops hanging like diamond jewelry from their leaves and boughs. Already they await the next storm to come their way.

The trees have taught me to welcome the storms of my life; bend, sway, dance and clap my hands, lose some old issues in my life, welcome the diamonds of opportunity left behind from the storms; above all to declare my gratitude for the benefits I will gain from welcoming the storms!

Featured Photo by Miguel Constantin Montes. Upsplash.com

If you feel this article has value, please send this link to others. Writings are meant for people, not for dormant files in our computers. Often, when we share them, it results in positive changes in the lives of individuals and communities.

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If you are spiritually inclined see my other site; www.adcrucemchristi.com

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Finding Your Purpose – Hunter S. Thompson

Hunter Thompson

Credit for Article and Feature Picture: On Finding Your Purpose: An Extraordinary Letter by Hunter S. Thompson (tranquilmonkey.com) Published unedited by Sir Peter James Dotcome.

In April of 1958, Hunter S. Thompson was 22 years old when he wrote a letter on the meaning and purpose of life when asked by his friend, Hume Logan, for advice. In just a few paragraphs, Thompson’s letter offers deeply thoughtful ideas, and what makes it all the more profound is the fact that at the time the world had no idea that he was about to become one of the greatest writers of the 20th century.

Thompson was not successful when we wrote this letter, so his beliefs on purpose were just hypothetical, or maybe statements of faith. But if the idea that we become what we fervently believe holds true, then Hunter S. Thompson is perhaps the best example of a man who lived totally reaching his highest potential. Let his words of wisdom inspire you and change your perspective on life:

“I was not proud of what I had learned, but I never doubted that it was worth knowing.” – Hunter S. Thompson


April 22, 1958
57 Perry Street
New York City

Dear Hume,

You ask advice: ah, what a very human and very dangerous thing to do! For to give advice to a man who asks what to do with his life implies something very close to egomania. To presume to point a man to the right and ultimate goal — to point with a trembling finger in the RIGHT direction is something only a fool would take upon himself.

I am not a fool, but I respect your sincerity in asking my advice. I ask you though, in listening to what I say, to remember that all advice can only be a product of the man who gives it. What is truth to one may be disaster to another. I do not see life through your eyes, nor you through mine. If I were to attempt to give you specific advice, it would be too much like the blind leading the blind.

“To be, or not to be: that is the question: Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or to take arms against a sea of troubles … ” (Shakespeare)

And indeed, that IS the question: whether to float with the tide, or to swim for a goal. It is a choice we must all make consciously or unconsciously at one time in our lives. So few people understand this! Think of any decision you’ve ever made which had a bearing on your future: I may be wrong, but I don’t see how it could have been anything but a choice however indirect — between the two things I’ve mentioned: the floating or the swimming.

But why not float if you have no goal? That is another question. It is unquestionably better to enjoy the floating than to swim in uncertainty. So how does a man find a goal? Not a castle in the stars, but a real and tangible thing. How can a man be sure he’s not after the “big rock candy mountain,” the enticing sugar-candy goal that has little taste and no substance?

The answer — and, in a sense, the tragedy of life — is that we seek to understand the goal and not the man. We set up a goal which demands of us certain things: and we do these things. We adjust to the demands of a concept which CANNOT be valid. When you were young, let us say that you wanted to be a fireman. I feel reasonably safe in saying that you no longer want to be a fireman. Why? Because your perspective has changed. It’s not the fireman who has changed, but you. Every man is the sum total of his reactions to experience. As your experiences differ and multiply, you become a different man, and hence your perspective changes. This goes on and on. Every reaction is a learning process; every significant experience alters your perspective.

So it would seem foolish, would it not, to adjust our lives to the demands of a goal we see from a different angle every day? How could we ever hope to accomplish anything other than galloping neurosis?

The answer, then, must not deal with goals at all, or not with tangible goals, anyway. It would take reams of paper to develop this subject to fulfillment. God only knows how many books have been written on “the meaning of man” and that sort of thing, and god only knows how many people have pondered the subject. (I use the term “god only knows” purely as an expression.) There’s very little sense in my trying to give it up to you in the proverbial nutshell, because I’m the first to admit my absolute lack of qualifications for reducing the meaning of life to one or two paragraphs.

I’m going to steer clear of the word “existentialism,” but you might keep it in mind as a key of sorts. You might also try something called “Being and Nothingness” by Jean-Paul Sartre, and another little thing called “Existentialism: From Dostoyevsky to Sartre.” These are merely suggestions. If you’re genuinely satisfied with what you are and what you’re doing, then give those books a wide berth. (Let sleeping dogs lie.) But back to the answer. As I said, to put our faith in tangible goals would seem to be, at best, unwise. So we do not strive to be firemen, we do not strive to be bankers, nor policemen, nor doctors.WE STRIVE TO BE OURSELVES.

But don’t misunderstand me. I don’t mean that we can’t BE firemen, bankers, or doctors — but that we must make the goal conform to the individual, rather than make the individual conform to the goal. In every man, heredity and environment have combined to produce a creature of certain abilities and desires — including a deeply ingrained need to function in such a way that his life will be MEANINGFUL. A man has to BE something; he has to matter.

As I see it then, the formula runs something like this: a man must choose a path which will let his ABILITIES function at maximum efficiency toward the gratification of his DESIRES. In doing this, he is fulfilling a need (giving himself identity by functioning in a set pattern toward a set goal), he avoids frustrating his potential (choosing a path which puts no limit on his self-development), and he avoids the terror of seeing his goal wilt or lose its charm as he draws closer to it (rather than bending himself to meet the demands of that which he seeks, he has bent his goal to conform to his own abilities and desires).

In short, he has not dedicated his life to reaching a pre-defined goal, but he has rather chosen a way of life he KNOWS he will enjoy. The goal is absolutely secondary: it is the functioning toward the goal which is important. And it seems almost ridiculous to say that a man MUST function in a pattern of his own choosing; for to let another man define your own goals is to give up one of the most meaningful aspects of life — the definitive act of will which makes a man an individual.

Let’s assume that you think you have a choice of eight paths to follow (all pre-defined paths, of course). And let’s assume that you can’t see any real purpose in any of the eight. THEN — and here is the essence of all I’ve said — you MUST FIND A NINTH PATH.

Naturally, it isn’t as easy as it sounds. You’ve lived a relatively narrow life, a vertical rather than a horizontal existence. So it isn’t any too difficult to understand why you seem to feel the way you do. But a man who procrastinates in his CHOOSING will inevitably have his choice made for him by circumstance.

So if you now number yourself among the disenchanted, then you have no choice but to accept things as they are, or to seriously seek something else. But beware of looking for goals: look for a way of life. Decide how you want to live and then see what you can do to make a living WITHIN that way of life. But you say, “I don’t know where to look; I don’t know what to look for.”

And there’s the crux. Is it worth giving up what I have to look for something better? I don’t know — is it? Who can make that decision but you? But even by DECIDING TO LOOK, you go a long way toward making the choice.

If I don’t call this to a halt, I’m going to find myself writing a book. I hope it’s not as confusing as it looks at first glance. Keep in mind, of course, that this is MY WAY of looking at things. I happen to think that it’s pretty generally applicable, but you may not. Each of us has to create our own credo — this merely happens to be mine.

If any part of it doesn’t seem to make sense, by all means call it to my attention. I’m not trying to send you out “on the road” in search of Valhalla, but merely pointing out that it is not necessary to accept the choices handed down to you by life as you know it. There is more to it than that — no one HAS to do something he doesn’t want to do for the rest of his life. But then again, if that’s what you wind up doing, by all means convince yourself that you HAD to do it. You’ll have lots of company.

And that’s it for now. Until I hear from you again, I remain,

Your friend,
Hunter

Featured image credit: Curt Livingston
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Weekly Word of Wisdom

Pilots in Cockpit

Enjoy The Ride

It is said that no pilot is ever lost, it’s just at times they are uncertain of where they are! I am a good pilot, I follow along my journey through life with every interest in each moment, often uncertain of where I am, but certain that I’m enjoying the ride.

Photo by Alvaro Reyes on Unsplash

It has been much like this with any projects I have undertaken; my most difficult stage was whether to start or not. Once I decided to go ahead, I put my hard hat on and hung in there as if my life depended on it.

The result was that I felt accomplished once the task was complete, but dreaded taking on the next task. After a time I wizened up and began to undertake tasks without the end in sight, rather enjoying each process as I went along, right up to the end. Now its become a joy looking for, and starting new projects.

Feature Picture Credit: Photo by Oscar Sutton on Unsplash

If you feel this article has value, please send this link to others. Writings are meant for people, not for dormant files in our computers. Often, when we share them, it results in positive changes in the lives of individuals and communities.

All rights reserved sirpeterjamesdotcom©2020-01-20

If you are spiritually inclined see my other site; www.adcrucemchristi.com

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Weekly Word of Wisdom

Cave

Importance of Advice

brown spider on web in close up photography
Photo by Leni Thalin on Upsplash

In my life advice, mostly not asked for, has arrived frequently on my doorstep, and often in the nick of time. All too often it hails from the strangest quarters. I’m not alone in this unusual process; Robert the Bruce of Scotland was licking his wounds in a cave after being defeated by the British Kings six times. A spider, seeing his quandary, offered him some advice. “This is how it works,” said the spider, who then proceeded to climb to the roof of the cave. Six times the spider climbed and fell, on the seventh attempt, she succeeded. “Off you go now.” said the spider waving goodbye. Robert, who was known for being quick on the uptake, rushed out the cave and in his seventh battle with the British Kings, sent them packing. He landed up getting himself a gold crown and ruled Scotland for twenty-three years. By the way, a spider advised me to write this piece. (I’m being serious.)

Feature Photo by Devon Janse van Rensburg on Upsplash

If you feel this article has value, please send this link to others. Writings are meant for people, not for dormant files in our computers. Often, when we share them, it results in positive changes in the lives of individuals and communities.

All rights reserved sirpeterjamesdotcom©2020-01-20

If you are spiritually inclined see my other site; www.adcrucemchristi.com

Please feel free to send in questions (see ‘Contact’) and comments (hit ‘Comments’ Button.)

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Weekly Words of Wisdom

Boy Day-Dreaming

Keep Dreaming

What used to get me into trouble when I was a little person in junior school was my imagination and propensity to dream. Yet, it turned out later to be the trailer to the upcoming blockbuster of my life.

From young I was told by my teachers that I was a dreamer. Well, they’re all passed now and I’m within reaching distance of eighty years, having had a wonderful life.

I’ve never gone hungry, never been without sustenance, always had a roof over my head, fine clothing to wear, cars to drive, airplanes to fly. I am married to a beautiful lady who loves me and I have accomplished many things along the way.

By the way, I have never stopped dreaming, the difference today is, I don’t have to look over my shoulder fearing the onslaught of an angry teacher!

So I say, “John you done well Son – keep dreaming!”

Feature Picture Credit: Photo by Idzard Schiphof on Unsplash

If you feel this article has value, please send this link to others. Writings are meant for people, not for dormant files in our computers. Often, when we share them, it results in positive changes in the lives of individuals and communities.

All rights reserved sirpeterjamesdotcom©2020-01-20

If you are spiritually inclined see my other site; www.adcrucemchristi.com

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Weekly Word of Wisdom

Man With Arms Up

Freedom

My freedom is a matter of my choice, no one else on this planet can give me freedom. I might be released from prison, but that is not the essence of freedom, because there are those who, whilst imprisoned, experienced freedom. There are those who cannot find freedom after being released from prison or without ever having been in a physical prison.

I can be enslaved in multitudes of prisons in this life. Toxic relationships, soul-destroying employment, poverty, fear, anxiety. The list is endless.

By contrast the quintessence of freedom is not found in multitudes of expressions. It is essentially in my state of  mind and it’s a state which understands; water flows in the direction of least resistance until, over  millennia, sometimes, overcomes the resistances in its path.

 I allow my mind to follow the line of least resistance, thus freeing my journey in flowing to my destination. Many times, in pursuing  that approach, I also overcome the resistances in my path.

Through all this, I am the captain of my ship and my decision must be final.

Feature Image by Jason Hogan on Unsplash

If you feel this article has value, please send this link to others. Writings are meant for people, not for dormant files in our computers. Often, when we share them, it results in positive changes in the lives of individuals and communities.

All rights reserved sirpeterjamesdotcom©2020-01-20

If you are spiritually inclined see my other site; www.adcrucemchristi.com

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Meditation Magic

Flying Birds Eye View

I love meditating and indulge myself daily in this liberating experience. This discipline has made a remarkable improvement in the area of my spiritual, mental, and physical strength.

I journey through my body, from the top of my head and on to the soles of my feet, using a homespun mantra of thanksgiving for the perfect health of every component in this precious body of mine.

From here, taking sound advice from my unofficial distance mentor, Eckart Tolle (‘The Power of Now.’) Who says that we should never chase the thoughts coming into our minds, but rather observe them, without becoming involved, I enter my meditative state.

“Meditation is the discovery that the point of life is always arrived at in the immediate moment.” – Alan Watts

My aim, with no pre-planned strategy in mind, is to silently drift, as clouds do ahead of the winds, in a yoga pose seated on the floor. I have no idea if the pose is essential to a deeper meditation or not, but at the very least, it does wonders for my posture.

More recently, in my meditation, I have taken to ‘flying’ in my body, sometimes only thirty or forty meters above the ground. Because I am invisible to the naked eye, I can observe, unnoticed by humans, animals, and birdlife, as they go about their daily activities. At other times I soar above the clouds and see the curvature of the earth below. I am grateful that I have sufficient ‘pictures’ in my mind to achieve all this. It’s so peaceful, relaxing, and above all – calming. I am slowly learning the art of ‘being.’

For me there are no rules, except to gain maximum from Eckart’s teaching, I steer myself into the now moment and discipline myself to remaining there.

Aaah, sweet bliss, I love this time, first thing in my day.

Photo by Nik Ramzi Nik Hassan on Unsplash

If you feel this article has value, please send this link to others. Writings are meant for people, not for dormant files in our computers. Often, when we share them, it results in positive changes in the lives of individuals and communities.

All rights reserved sirpeterjamesdotcom©2020-01-20

If you are spiritually inclined see my other site; www.adcrucemchristi.com

Please feel free to send in questions (see ‘Contact’) and comments (hit ‘Comments’ Button.)