Category Archives: Travel

It’s the weather that made me do this.

Today is an incredible day. It has been snowing for most of the day. I am sitting looking out my window from the kitchen. I am looking at the deer as they make their way through the snow. It is days like this that make me happy I am not working. It is great to have days off when the weather needs to be enjoyed not experienced as something that will cause me to feel cold all day.

It is the first month of the new year 2017. I have plans. Lots of plans. I am looking forward to creating exciting changes in my life. I enjoy traveling and enjoy writing. I have not written anything for almost a year.

I took time out due to so many changes in my life. It has been a great time of reflection. I pulled myself off of most of the social media due to the intense overload of other peoples opinion. It is not that other people should not have an opinion. That is not the point. The reflection has to do with communication. What is it that I want to communicate? What is it that I have to share? What will I put out that that instills a sense of growth and appreciation.

Words are so powerful. Once you put out your statement to others it is there. It hangs like a beautiful painting or something toxic you want to get away from. My hope for this year is to create an atmosphere of support to all I encounter.

It is one thing to be able to be supportive of people who share your concepts or beliefs. It is another thing to be open and non-judgmental of others who do not share your concepts or beliefs. That is the quest I have set myself on not just for the year but my life.

When I started out studying  metaphysical beliefs it was easy to be peaceful. I only associated with people who shared my beliefs. Now, I am with so many different types of individuals who have an unique perspective to life. I do not always agree with their concepts however, it is not up to me to change anyone. I think living life by example is the best way for me to be.

With that being said, I wonder if anyone out there is up to the challenge of being mindful and kind to others. I do not mean being a door mat. I mean standing up to your convictions and not selling yourself short.

We are at a tremendous period in humanity. My humble opinion is that we either come together and celebrate our differences or we will continue to erode the basic concepts of being human.To me being human also means being humane.

I encounter so many people who are afraid of where this world is headed. They hold onto the fear like a talisman. I really like the acronym for FEAR. False Evidence Appearing Real. Letting go of the fear of change is a good thing. For me it meant I was able to jump onto a zip line and go over a chasm in Hawaii. It’s seems like a perfect metaphor for what we are going through around the world today.Just let go and see where life takes you.

What takes my breath away these days. Everyone wants to be right. Everyone’s feelings are so important that  people forget to live and let live. If I do not agree with you it does not make me anything other than I do not agree. When did we start labeling people who do not agree with our opinions. The fine art of debate needs to be reintroduced to our world.

My biggest challenge these days with myself continue to be: “Whose thoughts and opinions am I experiencing anyway?” In the words of so many wonderful teachers and philosophers we are living in the world of illusion. We may believe we are original or have a belief that is unique. However, it it?

I sat down with myself the other day and wondered if what I believe really is my core. I had to sit and look deep into myself to find the truth about where I am in life. The bottom line for me is to be kind. I know that there are so many conflicts out there. I know you cannot imagine life away. That is not realistic. So the question is how do I become a part of the solution? I do my bit and do my best. I am definitely not always successful.

My question to you is the following: Are you really following your heart or what others tell you your heart is? What are your dreams for your future? What will you do to change to world that you live in?

When I ask these questions to myself. The world I live in includes my family, friends and neighbors. It also means anywhere I am. Well, I am about to turn up the music. Take the spaghetti squash that I have been waiting to cool and take time to just enjoy the rest of the day.

My wish for you is a very healthy, happy , prosperous and insightful new year.

Peace to you all,


Whats Does it Mean to Have a Burning Passion?


What is more important in life than the sun? What is more important in life than water? What is more important in life than being hungry? I was reading an article by Tony Robbins and thought about all the times in my life that passion has motivated me to do things that I would not normally do. My passion for deeper spiritual understanding drove me to study metaphysics at an early age. I was all of 15. That passion at times concerned my parents. When I was just eighteen years old and attending college. I made the command decision it was time to go to India on my vacation break and attend Darshan in Meherabad. I was working in a factory and at a music store part time. I saved my money bought my ticket. Received the most painful shots to travel to India. Secured my passport. To my surprise my parents asked me how much money did I actually have? I thought wow this is great. They will help me. I had $15 dollars. My father and mother then said,” Well have a good time. ” Surprised but not discouraged. I made my way to the airport and met up with my fellow travelers and made my way across the globe. We stopped in London, Frankfort, Kuwait, Cairo and then Bombay. (Not named Mumbai when I visted). I had the best time. One of the group leaders heard about my plight and I ended up with the Mayor and his wife who treated me like royalty. It was the best time of my life. They bought me gifts. I was even able to bring home a present for my father. A small brass animal.


A small trinket but all the same I brought my parents back some other tapestries. I collect small rocks where ever I go. The shot includes some of the precious stones I brought home.


Years ago, my mother explained how angry she was I was leaving. She made my father promise not to give me spending money. She said she was sorry. I never even gave it a second thought. When you believe in something things just work out.

My passion also allowed me to travel to England and follow my dream as a young woman in my twenties. My passion drove me to work in the music industry and become a road manager and audio engineer. My passion for being creative pushed me to work for Zoetrope Studios in San Francisco. Below is the link to my credit on the film. Well you will see.

Passion does not stop  there. Passion included love. Love means risk and even though the risk was present it did not stop me from exploring relationships. Some that were enriching and others that were great lessons in truth.

Passion means trusting your heart and being driven to accomplish things that would make someone else run away because having passion for what you are meant to accomplish sometimes does not turn out the way you dreamed. When you have passion for life you squeeze every drop from the day and make that drop feel as if it was the most refreshing glass of cool water you ever had after a hot day working outside. Passion means creating dynamic changes that your receive no credit for. You do these things because you know it is the right thing to do. Others may receive the credit but you know what you did.

This has happened to me with some of my writings and the contract I had with my dear publisher. It happened with a major music project with a very well known concert venue. Even though these glitches in life happen it does not deter me from the driving relentlessly towards my goal. My goal now is to create that community of others who have that same passion. I have a gift and it is time I share it again with others. My son just said to me today. “Mom, why aren’t you running your own workshops like you did in the past?”

Photo on 2013-07-31 at 09.10 #2

This brings me to the there for today! I will be running a workshop on that very topic and sharing when and where in the up and coming weeks. I feel compelled to share with others how to find that burning passion in yourself and set your world on fire. It does not mean burning down the house. It does mean firing up the rocket in your heart to make your life soar!

Time To Enjoy Your Bliss! Simple Ways To Increase Your Happiness.

Welcome to another one of my posts. I wanted to share something I am certain everyone might be able to relate to. Have you been running so fast you forgot to take care of yourself, lately? Have you been piling on the stress and forgot to just take the time to notice your life. Not just your life but honestly, how have you been living?  Listen to this in the background. If I could get rid of the commercials on the video I would. Please come back and leave it as the background track to this post. I wish life had background music then I would know what was going on instead of trying to figure it out. That is for another day.  

Don’t Worry Be Happy. Bob Marley shares the love

So, there you are just enjoying life in general. Or are you? I know I have been working a little too much lately. At times, I just work and forget to take the time to just be. It is my own doing. There are times I am feeling just too &%^$#@ tired to take up the offers from friends to go out.  I ran into that situation over the weekend. I was so very tired that I was unable to gather up the energy to go out and just be.

It took a lot of encouragement from within to make a decision on what to do with my day. I woke up very late for a overcast Saturday afternoon. I had the opportunity to just take a moment and have an enjoyable cup of  tea.

Enjoying tea in Chinatown, San Francisco

Enjoying tea in Chinatown, San Francisco, 7/14

What was missing from my energy level for the week? It came to me in a flash while I was enjoying my morning. I needed to let it go. There were so many things on my mind. ( Sound familiar?). I had to wait on medical reports for my son. It took a lot out of me. I decided I need to just pay attention to my body and rest. 

I have to reverse my thinking. I was not reflecting on things. I was in perpetual motion on auto-pilot. It was draining me and I was not even doing the normal running around that I enjoy on a day to day basis. It hit me like a ton of bricks last night when I realized I had not been up walking and doing what I would normally do in a day.

Then it came to me like a bolt of lightning. ( without the pain usually associated with being struck by lightning). I figured it out! What I needed to do was as simple as reminding myself of what I had control over. No one else can do it for me. It was just acknowledging I had so much to be grateful for. I decided to share this with all of you.

Moving to fast to enjoy the moment

Increasing your bliss can be as simple as staying in your pj’s. It is staying home and saying I don’t have to do a thing. I just need to care of myself.

It can be as simple as standing on the scale and finding out you lost 5 pounds in a week!

It also is finding out your son’s tests result. He does not have cancer. It has been a long month of waiting. Really big smile now.

It is also knowing you are  loved. It is also knowing that friends want to share their time with you over the weekend.

It is waking up in the morning and that alone is good enough.

Other ways include deciding to save money a little at a time and over the course of the year you also realized you decreased your debt more than you planned.

It also is taking the time to breath while you are reading, walking, standing, cooking, cleaning, working or just being.

It is in the breath. When you take the time to notice you increase your bliss. Take if from Jack Kerouac he followed his bliss. Well, Ok, maybe he had the habit of overdoing it just a little bit! But you get the point.

Taking the time to observe your breath will help you slow down.Literally, observing your rate of breathing. Do you take in deep breaths? Like right now are you holding your breath or just shallow breathing. Hey, let’s get some oxygen into those lungs. 

Breathing in.

So first, allow yourself to get into a comfortable position. If you are sitting in a chair then sit up straight! Do your body a favor. Be kind to your body.Move the shoulders back and put yourself into a comfortable position. Good posture goes a long way. (Reminds herself) If you are laying down then stretch out. What ever you are doing just make your body comfortable and just breath. It is that simple. Breath! Focus on your breathing.

Say to your self out loud or from within. ” As I Breath in I notice my breath.” ( Inhale with a slow deep breath).  “As I breath out, I am releasing stress.”  ( Taking the time to really exhale slowly).  “As I breath in, I breath in peacefulness.” ( Deep breath again) . “Out breath, I release stress.”(Exhale) “In breath, peace.” “Exhale, stress.” As they say repeat until finished. Once you start the process, continue along those lines until you feel the peace you were seeking. It is that simple. It is not complicated. Give it a try. You might find it helpful sometime. Just another tool in your toolbox of life to pull out when needed.

So, that is how I increased my bliss today. I was able to share with you my joy for the moment. Have a wonderful rest of your week. Write down all you have to be thankful for. I am sure the list is longer than you know.

Don’t worry be happy! Like Bob says put a smile on your face. It will pass what ever it is.


This is something that I discuss with people all the time. This brings me to share the reason I love travel so much. I had worked in an industry that allowed me luxury of travel and living in and out of hotels I had traveled to many places around the world.

Once upon a time, I  worked in the music industry on the road. My life lessons were learned while I worked in various aspects on the road. They included skills such as an audio engineer,stage hand (Winterland), road manager and a roadie. I quickly learned how travel comfortably in various modes of travel from sleeping in a non-temperature controlled truck, tour bus ( that may or not have a temporary infestation), and or on the airlines. I had the pleasure of sharing time working with the most quick witted people you ever had the pleasure of traveling with.

Our schedule on the road meant either a 6 week to 8 week tour or longer. Every town began to look and hall looked the same. Our itinerary was designed by someone at William Morris Agency putting a string on a dart. Aiming the dart across the United States and that is where we would go. Blasting from  one town to another. Usually never in anything that resembled order. It was the old saying,” if its Tuesday it must be Odessa, Texas.”

I developed a pattern of road-mode for laundry and just staying sane. When we would tour on the bus all types of things would occur that I am not at liberty to discuss as it is a matter of well breaking the honorable code of see no evil, say no evil, and well you know the rest.

There would be times that we would enter into the venue  without seeing the light of day. More than once the tour bus was right by the loading dock.The semi-trucks would roll up. The gate lift would go down and like a big rubix cube we would unload the truck. Unlatching the road boxes and setting up on the stage. Only to do it all again at the end of the night but in reverse pattern.

It was a usual slow down in most of the arenas where there were union crews. No offense to the union crews but, each person could only do one job. There were the riggers for setting up the rigging points for the trusses. The union electrician which  you had to explain at times what was being set up. The stage hands helping (or not )setting up the equipment and then there were the union breaks. No one was allowed to touch any equipment if it was break time. Hurry up and wait. Then load out if the show went over it was Golden Time for the union and they did not like that one bit.

Setting up the equipment did take time. Storing the road cases was another thing. I usually worked in audio so I was one of many setting up the sound system. The sound towers needed to be stacked. At the time we still had the  usual set up with the monitors, house console,mic stands, various collection of Sennheisers, Shure and wireless mics to set up besides the band equipment.

On occasion there would an accident or 2 during the tour. The crew included some of the most talented unsung heroes.. Peter Price was a wonderful man from England who graced our tour. Taco Madrid was the audio guy with David Carroll as the monitor engineer. Mark Brown was the guitar roadie and so many people we remember and some we forget. One tour I was on with the Doobie Brothers was literally call the “Tour of the Walking Wounded.”  We printed up T-Shirts with the logo and all. Showco was the sound company and all kinds of gremlins followed us along the way. One of the lighting truces fell over and injured one of our tour mates. All I remember is his name was JD. I remember he was from Texas and worked for Showco.

Then after all the tweaking and set up the band would come in for a sound check. Check one, two, check, check one, two. They would prance away to either their hotel room or some interview and we would be the workers left behind. We would play “Beast of Burden” Rolling Stones version to remind ourselves what we were doing.

Break for lunch or dinner. The food would be provided by the promoter and at times it was not too shabby. Of course the back stage access became a zoo when the show was on. Everyone who wanted to believe they were someone did show up. The show was on and we were on point. The band played. The audience roared and we rested while watching for anything that went wrong. You had to work quickly. Live shows are live after all and you needed to know your equipment and where everything was incase of a mishap. Such as when Radar kicked out the electric from Golden Earring in Denver stadium. Now that was really wonderful

I recall on one instance while acting as a road manager having to move everyone along from a record company due to the fact I was working some other band. The band did not want anyone back near their dressing room. Ah, good times.

I will share one more story that is my all time favorite. I was in LA working for TASCO Sound. I worked for an English sound company. I worked with a brilliant electronics maven his name is  Steve Dove. Steve was a self declared boffen. He had just come off the AC/DC tours. Great stories. Davey Kirkwood the Scotsman from Glascow. He was their top audio engineer. He knew it as well. Sometimes he was well he is a Scot and proud of it. There was also  Brian Kelly another Scottsman. Great people. I wonder what happened to them???

Anyway, Andy Truman was from London. He was my boss at the time. We were located in the Paramount Lot in Hollyweird, California.. Fleetwood Mac had their office near by. Mick Fleetwood would show up at rehearsal in the sound stage with an oxygen tank at times. Steve Nicks was well Stevie. There were so many people who moved thru the sound stage. Some of the best shows were in rehearsal. Robin Trower just to name a few.

See Factor Lighting had Tony Mazzuchi ( I am sorry if I spelled the name wrong) working with us at TASCO from time to time. He had just came back from a tour. Tony told the story to me like this. Insert heavy New York City accent and use a lot of hand gestures while you imagine this story.

“So, here I was in Tucson,  Arizona. We were doing a college gig. I needed to drop a cable from the roof.I needed to hang the lights. I think to myself I need a strong kid to work with. I look around and see this kid who is helping the crew. I say to him, “Hey kid, take this cable carry it up the ladder walk across the cat walk and then drop it down to me.” So, the kid does this I shout up to him ‘Drop the cable.” What does the college boy do? He dropped the whole #$@%&*^ cable at me feet. 30 feet in the air he he drops the whole thing! I yelled up at him. Hey genius if I wanted the &*^%@#$ cable at my feet I would not have had you go up the rafters go across the cat walk to just drop it.”

I still smile on when I think of that story. Well that is it. That is what I think of when I travel. I remember some of the good times and the places it has taken me to. I have just come back from California, the Bay area to be exact where I made sure I saw friends that I used to travel on the road with from back in the day. I even stopped to see Bruce Cohen’s Vineyard in Napa. He is still the Doobie Brothers manager. It brought back a lot of memories. Some I am able to share and some well are better left for another day.



No Time Like the Present to Enjoy Life

There are days when I am not sure what is going on in life. There are times when I turn on the news and I wonder where are we headed. Then I do one important thing. I turn off the news. I walk away from my computer and I do something that is really very retro.

I decide to live in the present moment. That is right. I walk away from it all and make the command decision to sit outside and listen to the birds on the trees. I sit and watch the clouds and day dream. That is really where all living begins.

We need to just take the time to walk away and hit that reset button. I listen to all types of music. Speaking of retro enjoy this song for a moment and get up and dance. I understand that if you stand while you are on the internet or doing anything it helps increase your health. So take a minute and listen to the music.

I hope you took a minute to just put it in the background and just relax or get up and dance. I am very excited about the future. I have lots of travel plans up ahead. I will be sharing with you my thoughts and dreams. I hope you are enjoying the start of the summer and plan on enjoying the more important things in life.

Take a vacation from everything that is on your …it annoys me list. Life is too short to keep all that noise in your head. Relax, laugh and remake your life. Remember only you can make the life you deserve your own.

Peace to you Denise



So Your Credit Card Has Been Hacked! Now What!

This actually happened to me. What I am writing about could happen to anyone. Here are the steps I took to clear up this situation  This story will make you smile and cringe at the same time. It was a bright sunny day..


It was around 11 am on Monday. I had just finished working with my clients and getting ready to enjoy my morning cup of coffee. I was a bit late on getting  my caffeine levels balanced. I reached in the cupboard and was getting ready to grind my The Blue Mountain coffee beans. It has an aroma that is out of this world. The water came to a boil and I poured the coffee into my French Press. I carefully pour the steaming hot black gold into my favorite cup from Barcelona. I place the cup on the counter top and get ready to pour in half and half. The first sip is always the best. Life is too short to drink cheap coffee. I think to myself, “Ah this is going to be a great morning.”Image

Today there is nothing on my plate after my clients and all is well with the world. You have nothing left to do but go outside, work out, go to a Buddhist meditation or do what ever I feel like doing today. So, I decided to  sit down in the dining room looking outside and listening to the birds chirping outside. The cicadas rhythmic beat completes the backdrop to the morning symphony.

I open up my computer to check my emails. I been ignoring my emails for the last 2 days just because. As I open up my emails I see this….

“Chase fraud alert to credit card 1234 5678 9101 1213 has been compromised. Check yes if you made these charges check hell no if someone compromised your card.”

Camera close up to face dropping on happy person who is now not so happy but making lots of faces and noises that look sort of like the person below.ImageMy coffee was no longer on the radar. Quickly, grabbing my wallet I dig out my credit card. “Who did this?” That is what went through my mind. I was honestly really ….well. angry comes to mind.

I followed all the logical steps. I called my credit card company only to discover there were fraudulent charges on my account to multiple airlines. Charges were in excess of $9500.00 on various airlines and on various websites. Remind me to never use Travelocity and I will tell you why later. I found a charge to ARC. I had never heard of them before. When I did an internet search I discovered it  is a large corporation that travel agencies and various airlines use to route their charges through. The other charges were made to Expedia as well as Delta and United airlines. Here is what I saw when I went online and looked up my activity.

Temporary Authorizations  Link to more information in a new browser window.
Trans Date Type Description Amount
08/05/2013 Pending ARC $1,499.00
08/04/2013 Pending UNITED $961.40
08/04/2013 Pending UNITED $239.00
08/04/2013 Pending EXP*EXPEDIA TRAVEL $1,504.99
08/04/2013 Pending EXP*EXPEDIA TRAVEL $1.00

The Delta charges were denied immediately. The conversation with the agent from my credit card representative was quite entertaining actually. “These Delta charges drew a flag. We know that primarily you have a certain spending pattern and the pattern did not match up.” I answered” So the Delta flights that drew the red flag?” He was quite sincere when he said simply,”Yes, and it’s your spending pattern.”

There was a lot of hmmm going on in my head. It was August 5, 2013 when I had the initial conversation with the Chase fraud alert team. I found out over 200 customers were victims of fraud. I was curious how was this going to be handled. I knew that I was not responsible for the charges. Most importantly you need to know this :

YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR CALLING THE CREDIT CARD COMPANY.  I spoke to the fraud department at Mastercard and spoke to a representative who described in detail what would happen to my card. I was issued a new card and it was sent immediately to my address. I am waiting for it right now.

He explained that the fraud department would contact the various vendors. It was not going to be held against me and that they notify the big 3 credit card companies that you are being issued a new card.

I looked online again today and see the charges are still pending. I called the credit card fraud alert team again. How you get to them is just to call customer service and give them your information. Let the representative know that you are requesting to speak to the fraud alert team and they will reroute your call.

While I was speaking to a team member I asked what actually transpires. Will I ever know who or where this person was going. I wanted to know what person thinks I am just a number. Like the quote from the 1970’s TV show THE PRISONER, ” I am not a number. I am a woman.” I just need to know the process.  This is where my curiosity got the best of me.

I wanted to know what happens to the person who uses your card in the first place. How did they get away with charging my account? Did they have the security code and the expiration date? Did they have my address?How could this happen? What type of person would do this? Where are they operating out of? Some place really hidden?ImageToday when I viewed my  online account I noticed  the charges were still there. I called again only to find it takes their fraud team 3-5 business days to reach out to the various merchants. This is what made me wonder what would happen if I called myself.

I looked up ARC online and found their fraud support team phone number on the bottom of their webpage. It states that only travel agents and other authorized users could call. That did not stop me. I called the 800 number and I spoke to Craig. I explained what happened to me and I wanted to know what is the procedure. Should I wait for the fraud team or would they help me? He took down my information and informed me that this would be handled immediately. That they will notify the travel agent or the organization that has been involved in this incident. (I am now an incident) I was also told company would ” be able to stop the sale or wait to receive the information from the credit card company to report the loss of revenue.” I asked if the person ever is prosecuted for this. There was silence at the other end of the phone. The answer was, ” Only if we are able to track down the person.” Interesting to know.

I then called United Airlines I explained to the agent what had transpired. She asked me , ” Have you authorized Dominick Okonma with the email address of to charge from Lagos, Nigeria to Houston a flight on 8/5/2013 and another flight to Frankfort, Germany leaving on 9/7/2013?” My answer was,”No who is this person? He does not have authorization this is why I am calling!Image

I found out much to my surprise that she  freely gave out not only his name, email address, recorder number of the flight but also gave me the phone number 888-709-5983 where he made the purchase. She said to me ,”call and let the vendor know.” I stated I will allow fraud team to work it out. I was still curious how the process worked. I continued to ask questions about these purchases.

I was informed that the 3 digit security number sometimes does go through even if it is wrong. The person who used my card used a totally different billing address than is registered with  the card. Multiple flights were booked and to my surprise the person actually used the card to successfully arrive from Nigeria to Houston.  That to me is amazing.

He not only had the wrong security pin and expiration date but none of the information he provided matched up to my account. I decided to write about this to inform all of you and ask that you share this story with as many people as possible.

It does get better however, I called the 888 number and was directed to Travelocity who denied that they issued the ticket. I had this information number complete with the recorder number from the airlines. The representative from Travelocity just blurted out  Dominc Okonma’s complete itinerary and other credit card numbers he used to book flights from Detroit to Los Angeles for various people. She stated to me that she “could not do anything about this” because she could not find his transaction with my card. However, (scary thought) she gave me his complete Visa Credit card numbers that he made transactions with. Dominic is a busy guy after all. She kept saying” it was an issue with the airlines not this company. IF THE FLIGHT WAS MADE ON THEIR WEBSITE THERE WAS NOTHING I COULD DO. The recorder number you gave me does not match-up on our computer system “

This was Travelocity. I will never use their website as it is not really secure.The individuals who are taking your personal and private information had no issue with revealing information to (anyone )me without any proof that I am who I say I am. Just saying folks I find that a little unsettling.

 If they are authorizing tickets and really have no way of checking that your credit card is issued to who it says it is issued to then there is a serious issue with their program as well.I was then sent to their fraud department and this person was not helpful at all.

What I decided to do was follow up with the credit card company and share with them the information I have discovered. It is my credit card and I was very grateful to know that my home address and information that is important to me was not compromised. I suggest highly that you constantly monitor your credit card activity just as you would your financial transactions that you make with the bank.

You also have the capability of having your credit card company putting an alert for 7 years with the big 3 credit companies (Equifax, TranUnion, etc.) for free. Press the fraud team hard otherwise you will end up paying money for an alert for a year.The reason for this is to prevent any fraud coming through your social security number.

I did hear from one of the fraud alert representatives stated that the person who used my card may have kept playing with numbers until he found a winning combination. That was his story. That softens the story they told me that their system was compromised. My story is take care of yourself.

Remember when traveling it is extremely important to monitor your activity. Point to remember if you are in a foreign country you will have to ability to receive a card replacement. Each credit card company handles each situation differently. Find out before you go what you need to do in order to replace your card.

When you travel always have 2 cards and cash. Keep your second card in a safe place. Many times when I travel they are in my shoes, boots or special hiding place know as in my hand in my pocket which I do not take out. Men never put things in your back pocket or think cargo pants will not be pick pocketed. They are and they do.

To date traveling has never been an issue for me or my son. I know one thing is for certain. When it comes to your own safety and money issues only you can do what you can do.

I hope you have learned a little something from this post.

1.Monitor your credit card activity , closely.

2. Know you need to call back to make sure they are aware of your situation.

3. Most credit card fraud cases the individual does not have your address or security code information.

4. Relax and enjoy your day anyway.

5. Make sure you have a great cup of coffee in hand, breath and smile.

That is what I did  I decided that there was nothing I could do to change the fact my card was used. I did what I could. I learned much more about the situation. The most perplexing thing is wondering if that the person who is doing this will do this again and knows they will not be caught…well maybe not this time but I am sure Karma works in mysterious ways.

Peace to you as always. Enjoy your travels and enjoy your life.


Life Is What You Make It


Life is a series of lessons. It is not unlike the picture I added above. Using some fancy changes I made this block image from my phone. This is not unlike travel. You start out with the image of what you think will be a trip or an adventure and by the end of the journey it is very different from what you imagined.
I know that in planning for my excursions I have to ask myself what is important while I travel. Since lately I have been a solo traveler going to either visit friends around the world I have the opportunity to shop around and find the best seats I can find at the least expensive price.
When looking around at airlines I have a tendency to use the Star Alliance Program. I use my miles wisely and many times fly for free. One of the best deals I have found is using the two credit cards I applied for recently and had an instant 50 thousand mile placed into my account. I recently have found that for my area flying on US Airways has been very painless.
Even though, the lions share of my miles approximately 150,000 are with United. I have a modest 60,000 miles with US Airways. I range from Silver to Gold status depending on the year. I do not regularly fly for business. I fly mostly for pleasure. That makes my world a happy place.
So how does this woman do it? Well in various posts I have spoken about the value of flying the best way possible for the least amount of money. I do this all the time. It does take dedication. If you are a college student you can do this very same thing. It is about the journey not the destination. If you focus on how, what, when and where you will lose the process of enjoying that life is a game. It is knowing how to play the game that makes it a breeze.
Let’s get to basics. How much money do you have now! I mean right now! Not tomorrow. Not next week but, right now. Sit down and grab a piece of paper or add it on your notebook. Write down your assests. I mean everything you own that has value. Once you do that I want you to focus in on where you want your finances to be in 3 months, 6 months, and a year from now. Simple I know but believe me it does work.
Then write down your monthly expenses it is really important that you do this. Write down next to the credit card, college loan, rent, phone, electric, cable, internet what ever bill you have the amount you must pay. Add it all up. Now take a breath and multiple that times 12…ok bills for a year. Now put in your monthly salary, income, allowance, stipend, interest on accounts…where ever you have income. Write that number down. Multiple it by 12 and that is your yearly income. Now subtract your income from your out-go (debt) that will give  you an idea of how much money you have for the year. Now subtract  $2,500 from that amount. That is any emergency funds. Believe me it will be ok. Now take that amount you have left and divide by 12 that is actually how much money you have extra to spend a month.
Monthly Income X 12= Yearly Income
Monthly Bills X 12 = Yearly Debt
Total Yearly Income – Total Yearly Bills = Money for the year- $2500= Actual disposable cash for the year
Actual cash available divide by 12= Monthly cash to invest and use for travel
ImageThat is right I said save. If you are not saving and only spending then you are not going to enjoy living life on the beach, mountains or your underwater vacation. You will be coming home to a mountain of pain. I have all my trips paid for before I leave. I work a regular job ..well sort of …and work for myself. I spend many hours ( as I like to call it my planning before the trip time) working, saving, and enjoying all that is free in my local area.
This is what is known as working it to make it happen. I am really very happy to say that my bucket list was started way before the term bucket list became popular. I was traveling to India, England and many places beyond my home at the age of 18. My parents were so unhappy with me at the time. There grew to appreciate that they started it by taking me all over the US. I have shared this with my son.
Back to the plan at hand. You are here on Earth to explore yourself and enjoy all the world has to offer. There are times that life is not fair. I believe that is the way is.

The Travel Bug—No cure


The Travel Bug

I was reading an incredible blog by another fellow traveler. Check her out. Tell her I sent you.

That is what blogging is all about. Meeting people online who share the same wanderlust that you do. It is an amazing feeling to know that the earth really is your playground. I say that to myself all the time.

It is strange that sometimes when I am home I spend countless hours day dreaming about where I will travel next. I know that in a couple of weeks I will be in Chicago enjoying attending Date With Destiny for the second time. Its my Tony Robbins experience for the year. It is part of my journey in self discovery.

I have been forced to travel since I was a young child. I hated going on those long trips at the time. Now they are great memories. Funny how that works. My parents( George and Odilia) like clock work would pack the car with countless sandwiches, fruit, and water.My brother and I would torture each other and my parents had to intervene more than once on the “no you said” ” no you said” conversations.

We would head off on the highway from New Jersey to Del Rio, Texas to visit my grandmother.We would travel down through New Jersey thru Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia and through the Southern States until we reached Texas. That is a planet unto itself. Do you know that Spain is roughly the same size as Texas. That is a fact.


Love this airport.

We would ride in at night and the bugs would be splashing on the windshield. My father would call them elephant bugs. When you are little you actually believe everything your parents say. It took many years to realize there was no such thing.  As we drove down Highway 90 past Ulvalde and entered close to Del Rio it was flat and desert. You would see the deer rush up. The Milky Way was the night show.

We would roll up on West Garza Street in Del Rio and my granmother was at the door to greet us. She had chickens in the coop and as soon as we walked up her wooden steps and into the kitchen she had food to great us. She was beautiful. She had silver hair braided against her dark skin she looked amazing.She could not speak English but love has no language barrier. I grew up on tortillas and Spanish music.

Growing up in New Jersey was really interesting at the time since in northern Bergen County there were not many Spanish speaking families at the time. I remember being corrected by my teacher saying that I was mispronouncing the word Tortilla. I needed to pronounce the “l’s” geez.

Well back to the travel bug…My parents started it and I continued with wanting to travel where ever there was a place to visit. I still have my target places that I have not visited yet but I am on the way.

This November I will be in Kona, Hawaii thanks to my great friends Sue and her husband Jim. December 26 I will be back in Madrid to visit my son. He was offered a job! He graduates from his Masters Program in August. I am so proud of him.

Soon after that I will be developing a 12 Step Program for those who are infected with the travel bug. I tell you there is no cure. You need to first admit you have a problem. Then you need to embrace it.

I honestly believe we are born here to explore. We are so fortunate that we are able to explore the world and see the plight of others. I believe that is why I changed careers and chose a life that assists others grow through their life’s challenges.


Greenwood Lake. You are viewing the Mountains in New Jersey. Beautiful!

Our world is so beautiful. Why not go out and enjoy it. I will throw down the gauntlet and ask you to share about your town. Travel begins at home. I know there are families out there and people who are unable to take the time off like I am. How to fill the void. There are so many beautiful places here in walking or driving distances. I recently went to Greenwood Lake, NY. Every Friday night in the summer they have free concerts on the shore. It is so beautiful I am in awe.

Yes, this is maybe 20 minutes from my home. What other amazing places are near your home. So while I may be writing about some fantastic places I am ready to visit. There are plenty of beautiful places right outside your door.

How about this for a thought. You have heard of vision boards! If not they are simple I have used them for years. Focus on where you want to go and what you want to do. Cut out pictures of places you want to visit and the style in which you want to travel. Put it somewhere you can look at on a daily basis. Spend time at night focusing on what you want out of life. Where you want to travel. How you want your bills paid. Find your partner. Get the picture…just do it. It has worked well for me.

You will find that as you think so does your world go. So think large. Be happy. Enjoy the moment and live well. Take care my fellow travelers..I welcome your thoughts. Have a great time looking around at your world. Denise

Traveling, Eating and Working Out- Your Joking!

So here you are. You are on the vacation of a lifetime. You have always wanted to visit- Paris, New York, Rio, St. Kitts, or San Francisco. You are where you want to be. Even if the city or destination is not what I have written you are on your way visiting the city or the country side.

Just because you are on vacation my fellow travelers and dreamers you have not entered into the world of all you can eat. The world does not become an endless table of consumption. So how do you balance enjoying the local treats and still come home in even better shape than you left?

Stay active! While visiting Barcelona, Spain my son and I enjoyed all the treats the city had to offer. We had the fixed price lunch meals, pastries, amazing coffee with cream (cafe con leche), and so much more.

When I came home from that visit I noticed that I had lost 6 pounds. We walked all over the city and did not use the metro for short stops. We clocked an amazing amount of miles and enjoyed ourselves in the process.

It is simple math as far as I am concerned. Calories in versus calories used will always do one thing. Weight loss or weight gain. No matter what plan you use that is how it is calculated. No matter how techno advanced we become one thing is for certain our body is as how it was made since we first entered on the this planet.

Vacation is just that. A time to relax, enjoy and explore or for some just sit by the beach, pool or lake. What is your definition of vacation. Mine is for exploration and seeing new places. To embrace different cultures, meet new people, and broaden my knowledge.

When I am home it is a vacation. Sure I have chores and home repairs. This past week I was using pre-mixed cement to fix the foundation around the house. Repair the cracks on the steps and other places that needed mortar. Dragged bags of mulch in the hot sun to places around the yard. Lifted heavy bags of marble chips and placed then in between the concrete patio. The earthquake last year shifted part of my back yard and the steps shifted. I use my push mower to do the yard. I work hard at home.

However, I also have made a small oasis to enjoy the moments I am at home after working with clients and being at the hospital taking care of patients. Home for me extends itself when I go on vacation. I have shifted the way I look at travel and how I see myself when I am visiting new places.

I have stumbled upon a website called Loseit! The name of the site is exactly what it is for. Weight loss. This is a handy tool for those of you who are traveling through out the US or Canada. You can track what you are eating and put in your exercise for the day. It is not for a guilt trip. It is there to help you track every delicious morsel that you put in your mouth.

It seems to work. I have lost 4 pounds the first week. I have a goal It is me vs. me. I am no longer that hard on myself about life.

So why the discussion on travel and taking care of yourself? Quite frankly, from conversations I have had with people on how they feel after a vacation. There have been more times than not that I see the joy in someones face when they relay their amazing vacation and then they cast their eyes downward and say they have put on more pounds. One person grabbed their belly and laughed. Then quietly said ,”I guess I will have to work out harder to lose it.”

Vacation is designed to renew the soul. Give yourself the time to relax and enjoy life. Vacation is not designed from my humble opinion to create more guilt. We have the ability to enjoy the simple pleasures of life. We have the capacity to work and grow. We have the capacity to know what we want out of life.

In the book,”The Path of Least Resistance” the author speaks about “knowing what you want,” That is a simple phrase. What do you want out of life? I want to be able to enjoy life. I want to remain healthy. I want to have enough to always pay my bills, travel and save. I want to share my joy with others.

So far what I want seems to be on track. Enjoy your travel. Make plans. Find creative ways to stay healthy while you are enjoying all the food and drink of where you are. That was my thought for the day. It is just what I wanted to share. Check out that website and let me know what you think.  Continue reading