LIVE FROM the Norwegian Sky - 5/30 - 6/3/16

So, it's summer vacation!  Tomorrow i'll be heading to Florida to take a little 4 day cruise with the keikes.  We have us a suite on the Sky.  I've never been on a short cruise from Florida, nor been on the Sky.  So, something new.

First, though, a day in Fort Lauderdale at the Hilton FLL Marina.  Because this time of year, it's always best to fly in a day early.  I've been watching "possible tropical storm Bonnie" all week and keeping my fingers crossed.  As of this writing it's almost sure to be a Tropical Storm by Sunday, but also almost sure to hit way north of us, in the Carolinas.  So that's cool.

As I said, I got us a suite, and a dining package (the kids are foodies, too), and Atlantis passes.  Pulling out all the stops for this short week.  Because we deserve it.  All three kids made honor roll, two had perfect attendance last year, and E just finished his first actual job, getting paid to umpire Little League games.  All of which is deserving a reward.  And I deserve one, because I had to drive all of them to all that stuff. (along with cooking, cleaning, laundry, etc).

We are headed out on a redeye at 10 tomorrow night, get to Miami at Odark30.  Then renting a car and taking a little tour before heading to the hotel.  Then the 4 day cruise going to Freeport, Nassau and Great Stirrup Cay.  And since we have 10 hours or so before our flight home Friday, a little driving tour of the Everglades to see if we can't find an alligator or two. 

I'll be posting a "Live From..." of course...so stay tuned!


Kicking off the TRAVEL WITH PURPOSE mobile app!

I am incredibly excited to announce my latest venture - an app that will help travelers connect with volunteer opportunities.

You can read all about it on the Kickstarter page - and if you feel it worthwhile, make a pledge!  You'd be doing good work, AND maybe getting some cool stuff!




fathom Journey - Day 5 - Dominican Republic

Okay, so...up early again, wolf down a couple bites of breakfast and jump on the bus.

THIS is what I came here for. Yesterday was spent pouring concrete floors. Talk about Impact! All of the activities have been good. But, just the way I'm wired I guess, the nebulous and entirely intellectual understanding of how increasing production in a paper recycling operation, or the clear but future and global (rather than personal to any one person) benefits of restoring the decimated forests are all well and good but they don't really grab me by the gut and the heart.

But meeting this family - mom, 14 year old daughter and two boys 10 and 7 if I recall correctly - and putting in a floor so these lovely children don't have to live in dirt and mud...that's real, that's now, that's (pardon the pun) CONCRETE. And here's the thing: I understand poverty has many causes. Some imposed on people by outside powers. Some boil down to bad life choices. But in no case is a kid responsible for their circumstances of their birth. Whether their parents are victims of volunteers, no one asked them. So, in my mind, it's just never not a good idea to help a child. And these three kids were just incredibly sweet.

So it was really a life changing (as well as a leg cramping back aching) day. I've poured plenty of concrete in my life, but where I'm from we have mixing machines. and work at ground level and/our make ramps so the concrete can be brought in by the wheelbarrow full. Or, on a job this big, you call in the Red E Mix truck and he just pumps in the product. Where we were, trucks can't get. and the houses are 10 feet apart. and the dirt floors are built up several feet. So, it's all about mixing small batches on the ground and making a bucket brigade to carry the concrete in a one gallon bucket at a time. Like the folks at the reforestating project, I think the IDDI facilitators were really surprised how many of us showed up to work. They kept talking and hinting around at what we were going to do. Finally some of us just grabbed a wheelbarrow and some shovels and started shoveling. And mixing. and filling buckets. and dumping them in. and in about 3 hours we were done.

And then the most amazing thing:

So, yeah...I came back to the ship tired, sore and joyful. Because I really KNOW I helped some random family improve their lives. Also really grateful - to be able to do something for others. to be blessed by being born in better circumstances than a large part of humanity. and to fathom for the opportunity to flex my gratitude muscles.

Then...back to the ship and another wonderful dinner at Ocean Grill, etc. I could go in to detail about the dinner and the party I stumbled in to later, but honestly...I want to just leave it here, and bask in the glow.

I'm not even going to hustle you to book a journey. But I do believe if you try to live any kind of other-centered life - fathom journeys might be exactly the trip you've been looking for.

So...manana we'll be heading back to Miami.