Enrich Your Life By Traveling to Ecuador

May 3, 2010
In this short video, enjoy a visit to Quito, Ecuador, the highest legal capital in the world, with suggestions for making it a memorable trip.

Although I hoped to write for the blog more often last week, I didn’t because I was busy switching articles from the old blog format to this one. That meant a lot of changing fonts and other corrections as I went from one to the other. However, I’ll be through with the transfers soon enough and should have another original post by tomorrow or Wednesday.

In the meantime, if you’d like to see another example of the progress I’m making from my self-taught Vegas Movie Studio program, here is one from the three days we spent in Quito, Ecuador, over Christmas. It’s less than three minutes and may give you ideas for planning a trip for yourself. And if you’ve been to Ecuador, I’ll love to hear of your own experience.

Incidentally, when you come to the end, you will notice that it says “To enrich your life and your relationships, visit Support4Change.com.” I decided to make use of the “billboard” space available in the video to remind family, friends, and others who may see it on YouTube, about the site.

Besides, you may notice that the new subheading for the blog is “Enriching Your Life, Enriching Your Relationships.” This seems to better fit the goal I have for the Support4Change website as well.

Enjoy.

We Were Blue-Footed Boobies in the Galapagos Islands

February 24, 2010
If you visit the Galapagos Islands, you will see many birds you won’t see anywhere else.

Ecuador and Peru Travel Report # 15 and Visual Viewpoint: Pair of Blue-Footed Boobies

Blue-footed Boobies

On the cruise ship through the Galapagos Islands, the ninety passengers were divided into groups that fit nicely into the Zodiac boats that took us on trips to the beaches of individual islands. Each group was given a name like Penguins, Dolphins, Pelicans, etc. We were the Boobies, which meant the blue-footed boobies like those above. I was particularly pleased because when I asked my grandson at Christmas last year what he wanted, he said he wanted a donation in his name to the Wildlife Fund; and he chose the blue-footed boobies as his choice of an endangered species.

I have to admit, these are strange-looking birds who carry out a blue theme throughout their whole bodies. I don’t know if there are other birds whose name reflects the color of their feet, but these do and I like to think that maybe a tiny bit of the money we gave to the Wildlife Fund makes their life a bit easier.

Go to YouTube to see a video of my impressions of the Galapagos Islands.

How Does Guilt Affect Your Relationships?

sun with question markPART ONE

Exploring Your Personality # 11:

Guilt

ASK YOURSELF THESE QUESTIONS:

What do I feel most guilty about in what I do or say? Why?

How do I express my guilt?

What rules of behavior do I most frequently break?

If an objective, kind observer were to watch me while I was doing these things, would he or she judge me as being as guilty as I feel? Why do I think this would be so?

NOTE: To read about guilt, see Five Kinds of GuiltDesigning a Guilt-free Holiday Lightening, and Lightening Your Load of Guilt by Forgiving Yourself.

These questions complement the Better Tomorrows Program for healing strained and broken relationships and are part of the blog’s series of questions for exploring who you are.

To explore other questions, see Ask Yourself Questions and Change Your Life, Healing Relationships is an Inside Job, and the Q-and-A Club.

PART TWO

Travel Report # 12:

Poverty Pulls on the Heart Strings

Quito shoeshine boy

Would your reaction to this shoeshine boy in a plaza in Quito be one of guilt because you have more than he has, for you can afford to stay in high class hotels while his home may be on the street or a shack? Or would you feel pity on him for his need to earn money in such a fashion? Or would it be annoyance that he bothers you with his request for a shine or money?

How would you feel if you didn’t want a shine but offered him fifty cents — they use U S  dollars as currency, which makes it easy to evaluate the relative cost of things — just to take his picture. He wanted more. But our guide said that was generous and indicated more money would encourage other children in the area to assume we were an easy target. There are simply too many in need to be generous to all.

There was so much poverty in both Ecuador and Peru that we couldn’t have done any more than scratch the surface if we had given all our money to even a fraction of those who needed help. In the countryside we saw farmers in the high Andes working their land with crude implements no farmer in a more developed country would consider using, for these farmers had no money for gasoline to fuel standard machinery.

As I began writing this blog and chose this picture to illustrate our travels, I thought about the relationship between guilt and charity, between concern and generosity, between gratitude and compassion.

Do CEOs who take in million-dollar bonuses while laying off workers give to charity because they feel guilty, or because they see the other person as worthy of respect? I suspect more the former or they might resist that bonus in order to keep a few more workers in the plant.

As I examine my feelings about this situation, I didn’t give to the young boy because I felt guilty. Rather, I felt blessed to have resources with which I could travel, which is something this young man may never do unless he’s given a better education. And that’s not likely unless the government puts more of its resources into schools.

In Peru as we were driving across the highway that goes through the high Andes, almost everyone walked, including children, who I was told walk three hours a day to school! However, we did see some bicycles and were told that a couple years ago a group of tourists learned of the situation and collected money for ten bicycles. Now the children pick up their friends on the way to school. It’s a little different than our teenagers who give friends a ride in their new car.

I’ve just finished listening to Carolyn MyssInvisible Acts of Power: Channeling Grace in Your Everyday LIfe, which I heartily recommend. She collected more than a thousand stories of people’s acts of kindness, generosity and compassion and noted that, “Every kind action we do for someone is a reanimation of our own life force–and the other person’s. . . . Each time you reach out to another person, whether you decide to do a small favor or because you feel compelled to help, you perform an invisible act of power that has profound healing effects for you both.”

I’m not sure whether this boy was grateful for what I gave him; He didn’t seem to be, but that doesn’t really matter. If he is able to buy food with it, his stomach wil be grateful. And hopefully my contributions to the Global Fund for Children and their work on behalf of educating and  the children of the world will prevent other children from needing to follow in his footsteps.

How to Clean Your Tennis Shoes in the Galapagos

January 28, 2010
Discover a quick and unusual method for whitening tennis shoes.

Ecuador and Peru Travel Report # 10 and Visual Viewpoint: Island Lake

Dragon Hill

Our first walk on the Galapagos tour was here on Santa Cruz Island, where we saw flamingos and iguanas and heard finches and mocking birds. They said we should bring “good walking shoes, water, sun block, sunglasses, hat, insect repellent.” I had all those plus my walking sticks. But as we began the hike we had to pass through a place where the tide pulled water across our path and we got our shoes wet. This caused my shoes to collect brown dust and by the end of the afternoon my shoes, which had looked so nice when I started out, and which had to last me for three more weeks, were brown.

Oh well, I thought, if I can’t enjoy my vacation because my shoes don’t look fresh, I need to reorder my priorities.

But guess what? By the time we’d gone on another hike, the shoes were clean again, probably better looking than they had been when we began the trip! My theory is that the phosphorous from the guana left by the iguanas and birds were absorbed by my shoes and acted like a strong laundry detergent. My shoes still look relatively good despite the fact I wore them every day.