Transformative Travel in Nepal

Transformative Travel in NepalMy book Transformative Travel in Nepal was a real labor of love for me. Kathmandu! Nepal! The Himalayas These are places that seemed so exotic and out of reach that I never really thought I’d manage to get there. But I did.

This book describes the life altering experiences that I had on that trekking adventure in the Himalayas back in 1998. The words ‘life altering’ sound a bit melodramatic, but the adventure very definitely did make many changes in me.

Not only did my accomplishments during that time enhance my natural self-confidence, but they also paved the way for a work experience that I would have 10 years down the road in South America – an experience that might not have been successful without my prior experience at high altitude in the Himalayas.

When I now look back and see the connection between what I did in the Himalayas and what I was able to do in South America because of my Himalayan adventure, I am struck by how events in my life have tied together to bring me to my current state.

I hope you will be motivated to pick up my book at Amazon and follow along as I fulfilled my lifelong dream of trekking in the Himalayas. Maybe you will come away inspired to fulfill a dream as well.

Evacuated! Living on Indonesia’s Most Active Volcano

Evacuated! Living on Indonesia's Most Active VolcanoIn October 2010, Mt. Merapi was inching toward the performance of a lifetime! And I was there to witness the whole thing. The result of my experience is the book Evacuated! Living on Indonesia’s Most Active Volcano.

Mt. Merapi sits about 20 miles north of Yogyakarta in Central Java. It has the distinction of being the most active volcano in Indonesia, which has the most volcanoes in the Ring of Fire. It is also one of the most active volcanoes in the world. I happen to live on the slope of that volcano – but in a safe zone, of course. Because of its continuous activity, it is also one of the most studied volcanoes in the world. Scientists have set up a warning system for nearby residents so that they know when danger is getting too close for comfort.

Mt. Merapi from nearby golf course

Mt. Merapi from nearby golf course

Those of us who live in the safe zone don’t usually pay too much attention to that warning system. Lava has never flowed in the direction of my house. And the mystics of Java say that it never will flow toward Yogyakarta. I live about halfway between Yogyakarta and the crater of Merapi – the safe direction. It doesn’t take a mystic to see why the lava never flows in this direction. All you have to do is look at the shape of the crater and the crevices in the rim of the crater on the west and southeast sides. Those depressions give the lava an easy exit from the interior toward the west and southeast.

Merapi Erupting

Merapi Erupting

In late October and early November 2010, villages in the dangerous zone were being evacuated – first, the villages just 2 miles from the crater. But the area needing to evacuate enlarged faster and faster.

On the night of November 5, I was getting a lot of ash at my home. And a little after midnight, I heard something falling on my roof that sounded like small stones. I’d just received a phone call that my neighborhood was being ordered to evacuate, and the noise on the roof confirmed that it was definitely time to leave.

Basirun and son

Basirun and son

Lava Covers Basirun's House

Lava Covers Basirun’s House

My staff, my dogs, and I were out of our home for 18 days. Evacuated! Living on Indonesia’s Most Active Volcano  is the dramatic story of my evacuation and the problems of leaving at the same time as everyone else, finding a place for all of us (including my four Dalmatians) to stay for an indefinite time, and much much more. It’s also the story of some families who lost everything when their villages were totally covered by lava and how the government handled aid for those in desperate need.

Transformative Travel in Nepal

Yes, I published my 2nd book Transformative Travel in Nepal: Fulfilling A Dream In The Himalayas in July 2012. It’s all about the challenges that I faced when trekking at high altitude in the Himalayas and how meeting those challenges affected me and my future. It was such a personal book because it was all about fulfilling my lifelong dream of trekking in the Himalayas.

Because it was so personal, I found myself waking up in the middle of the night with ideas of a better way so express my thoughts. Luckily, I keep a small digital recorder on my bedside table for just those occasions.Victory

You might be wondering about the word ‘trekking.’ Why not just say hiking?

Well, the word trekking indicates that it’s really, really, really difficult hiking. At least, that’s my definition. I had previously done a bit of hiking, but there was just no comparison.

During that adventure, I kept a very detailed journal. And I’m so glad that I did that I kept that journal because otherwise I might think that I’m now exaggerating the problems I had in breathing in the thin air at altitude. No, luckily, I had the foresight to write about every little thing that we experienced every day.

Buddha Eyes Kathmandu

Buddha Eyes in Kathmandu

I hope that you’ll pick up Transformative Travel in Nepal and follow along as I fulfill my lifelong dream of trekking in the Himalayas. And perhaps you will find yourself inspired to fulfill a dream as well.

After publishing comes the task of working on promoting both How To Find The Heart Of Bali and Transformative Travel in Nepal. Unlike regular publishing, self-publishing on Amazon requires the author to do most of the promotional work. So now I’m trying to learn exactly what I need to do in order to ensure that my books don’t end up in the equivalent of a dead letter file.

One thing that I’ve done is that I’ve re-formatted both books and designed back covers for both of them so that they can be made available as paperback books. I’ve submitted them to CreateSpace, a subsidiary of amazon, and they should be available as paperbacks at amazon by July 13.

So if you prefer reading physical books, you’ll soon be able to pick these up online at

How To Find The Heart Of Bali

In April 2012, I published my first ebook How To Find The Heart Of Bali. It’s an introduction to a wonderful part of the world that Westerners seem to become enchanted with.

BaliIn How To Find The Heart Of Bali, you will discover for yourself the passion that Bali has inspired in Western visitors for more than a hundred years. I have been living in Indonesia for more than 30 years and I know the island as few other outsiders do.

I wrote this book because I wanted to make available to Westerners a book that would help them decide whether this was a destination that they wanted to visit. Recent books and movies like Eat, Pray, Love have made Bali better known, but they have also sometimes given descriptions that didn’t reflect the actual reality. I wanted travelers to better understand what Bali really is so that they could make an informed decision.

Bali Ricefield

Bali Ricefield

This book is available on You can read it on just about any pc, mac, or smartphone. Amazon has been very clever to make software and apps so that their books can be read on just about any device.

If you already have a kindle, then you know how to get new books. If you don’t, you can download the free software called Kindle for PC or Kindle for Mac – or you can download the free app for whichever smartphone you have or iPod Touch.


50th Reunion from York High

I can’t believe that so many years have passed by and that my 50th reunion from high school is happening in August.

I just submitted the summary of what I’ve been doing over the past 50 years to the committee that is putting together the program for the event.  Who would have thought that I’d be able to summarize 50 years on one page??  Of course, I left out all the juicy parts!!  I suppose that I’ll tell all in a book at some point in the future.  Of course, I’ll have to make that a fiction book and change names to protect friends and family.  But I better not wait too long or I’ll have forgotten it all!

Anyhow, I’m really anxious to see everyone and find out what they have all been doing over the years.