Personal Journey
About the trip
    I traveled through 22 countries in 10 months
         Trekked through Japan, S.Korea (...
Preserve the
    Things you
    This is Yamdrok Tso, a sacred lake
    south of Lhasa. The turquoise
    almost ...
Our Limitations
    are Self-inflicted
    My friend here is demonstrating
    how we often allow ourselves to
G   be chain...
Answer your
    own Prayers
    Whatever your religious beliefs,
    there is some form of prayer.
    These flags flutter i...
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12 Lessons From 22 Countries


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I started my world trek Oct.25, 2007. I had no idea what was going to happen and certainly didn\'t know it would become my Personal Legend.

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12 Lessons From 22 Countries

  1. 1. Personal Journey About the trip I traveled through 22 countries in 10 months Trekked through Japan, S.Korea (x2), China, Tibet, Nepal, Thailand, Cambodia, Burma, Malaysia, Singapore, Qatar, Turkey, Greece, Cyprus, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Morocco, Mexico, Aruba, and the U.S. I took the pictures here, or one of my travel friends did I took over 8,000 pictures over my travels The trip I took did not start as a Personal Journey About me I was a corporate ladder climber at Kraft, Michigan MBA, P&G marketer I liked things. Getting more, having more was the American dream that I pursued Now I run my own startup marketing agency. And I’m hoping to get rid of half of the stuff I own.
  2. 2. F l o r i d a Preface: Life was Good I was a brand marketer at Procter & Gamble. I could basically write my ticket with the experiences and credentials I had. I was creating campaigns like this Spring Break campaign for the Venus brand razor. Life was good. About the picture: this is the only one picture I didn’t take, but believe me I was on-site ensuring the quality of my campaign! This was the most fun I had at any job. I created a truly integrated campaign with elements woven together from internet, experiential, sampling, mobile phone, print, tv, and entertainment.
  3. 3. B u r m a Who am I? I went to a Buddhist temple in Korea as a tourist thing. As part of a tour, a monk spoke to us about and told us why he became a monk. It was the question “Who am I?” which he could not answer. Neither could I. About the picture: This I took this in Burma in Bagan, a town with more than 3,000 temples! Based on a suggestion I came to this temple to watch the sunset. As the sun was setting, I was treated to this incredible dream-like panorama of temples.
  4. 4. J o r d a n Your Guides in Life may be Unexpected On your personal journey you will find many guides, though maybe not the ones you expected. I learned so much from my Dutch friend that trekked through Nepal with me. A ten year old girl at the Narita airport was another guide. Keep your mind open and you will learn that people have hidden talents and observations to share. About the picture: This girl is a Bedouin guide at Petra. King Abdallah II has decreed that only the Bedouins can sell to tourists here. A way of compensating them for being displaced from their cave homes within Petra in the mid-80’s. We were invited into a man’s home after he saved us from a tight spot on our mountain descent. It was an honor and a wonderful experience, but it was clear that the Bedouin way of life is slowly disappearing. Some day it might disappear like the American Indian culture has.
  5. 5. T i b e t Remove your Vanities Buddhists believe that hair is the number one vanity. By removing it, they are taking a physical and symbolic step in the path to enlightenment. What are your vanities? About the picture: sick as a dog, I still found the energy to join my friends on the tour of the Tashilhunpo monastery in Gyantse, Tibet. We went up some stairs that we probably weren’t supposed to and happened on these young monks. We were just in the right place, right time to get this amazing shot. I almost shaved my head when they offered me the clippers!
  6. 6. T i b e t Be Authentic The two yaks here are in a main traffic roundabout. The incomparable Potala Palace is in the background. Tibetans have named the statues after the two Tibetans stooges the Chinese government use whenever they need to march out the happy Tibetan face. Be authentic because people know if you’re not. And you know, too. About the picture: I wanted to get the juxtaposition of the Chinese and Tibetan culture. The power lines and the TV station are a stark contrast to the beauty of the Potala Palace. The fakeness of the statues vs. the authenticity of the Palace - a theme present throughout Tibet and Burma.
  7. 7. Preserve the Things you Value This is Yamdrok Tso, a sacred lake south of Lhasa. The turquoise almost looks like its painted in. T The white bar is a dam that the Chinese constructed to feed i power to the city. To maintain the b water level they are pumping in water from a muddy brown lake. e The next generation will never see this unbelievable turquoise. t About the picture: I took close to a hundred pictures of this lake! The first moment was truly breath-taking. To think that the Chinese government thinks nothing of raping a sacred natural resource makes my blood boil. It also reminds me of how we did the same thing to America. The parallels are very unsettling.
  8. 8. S y r i a Grow out of your Ignorance These Syrian school teachers asked me “Why do Americans hate us so much?” We both learned so much about each other’s cultures. Before my visit, I only knew of Syria’s sponsorship of terrorism but grew out of my ignorance. About the picture: I was on my way to the Cities of the Dead when I stopped here and lucked upon these five women. It is very difficult for a foreigner to talk to women in Syria and so having an leisurely hour to share thoughts and dreams was one of the best luxuries of my trip.
  9. 9. Our Limitations are Self-inflicted My friend here is demonstrating how we often allow ourselves to G be chained in (or out, depending on perspective). Dreams are put r on hold, Life is only half-lived. The ancient Greeks knew that to e speak your mind and pursue your dreams is what makes us truly e happy. c About the picture: This hillside was where oratory was practiced and debate was born. At e the top was a theater and a church that had a beautiful view of the city. This was just a couple days after the first snowstorm Athens had seen in 50 years.
  10. 10. T a h o e Take Chances Trang has been skiing for awhile but this is her first time on a black run. Her personal risk-taking here is matched by her business risk-taking. She has just started a frozen yogurt shop. I learned from her that risk is good. She learned from me not to go on black runs. About the picture: This is on top of Kirkwood. I have always loved mountains. First because my dad did, but now because the freedom I feel when climbing them. And the rush of looking out over miles of terrain knowing that my hard work brought me to this point.
  11. 11. B u r m a Understand Balance Inle Lake in Burma is a community that spends most its time on the water. Houses, temples, shops, schools, gardens all are on the lake. They have extraordinary balance as can be seen by this fisherman who is paddling the traditional way, with his feet. The Burmese must also balance their life, living within the constraints of the repressive regime. About the picture: I was on my way to the market (on the lake, of course). There, women roll cigarettes and make $2 a week...if they’re good. I wondered what life under the military regime was like but the people seemed to deal with it and even smile. Incredible life balance.
  12. 12. K o r e a Life Brings Surprises This art exhibit in a shopping district of Seoul occasionally rains under the umbrella. A surprise for this woman. Life not only is full of surprises but it’s these surprises that often define us and make us who we are. About the picture: Seoul is a city full of surprises. Even with 11 million people it’s still a clean city. The mountains are easily accessible. Less than 50 years ago South Korea was a Third World nation. In that short time the entire country, not just Seoul, has risen to be the economic power of today.
  13. 13. E g y p t The Greatest Achievements are Made in Steps Life is a progression. The idea of the Egyption pyramid as we know it did not spring fully grown like Athena from Zeus’ brow. It was done in steps. The architect genius, Imhotep, created this step pyramid for King Zoser. About the picture: the pyramids of Giza get all the attention but this pyramid and the smaller ones were the true joy of the visit. A guide offered to help me climb one of the smaller pyramids. I thought this was suspicious but he seemed really eager to show me. I was still flush from the excitement of climbing when I realized that the “guide” was not an official one and that the money I gave him was more of a bribe.
  14. 14. Answer your own Prayers Whatever your religious beliefs, there is some form of prayer. These flags flutter in the wind carrying the prayers written on T them to the heavens. I believe prayer is good but I also know i that you have the greatest power to answer your own prayers. My b friend and I climbed this mountain and it was our own e determination that got us past the harrowing moments. We t answered our own prayers. About the picture: when I first saw this mountain in the distance I knew I was going to climb it. I often felt the siren call of mountains during my travels. This holy peak did not answer my prayers but it was the beginning of my journey that help me answer my own prayers and dreams.