Covid 19 lockdown failure

What can I say, there is no doubt I am a lockdown failure.  I’d originally planned to do heaps of things during this time of being alone in my apartment.  Here are just a few:

  • improve my level of te Reo Maori (the Maori language)
  • visit art galleries and museums around the world
  • write numerous blogs
  • complete a bio of my life – only halfway through it
  • eat well – succeeded but just ate too much
  • catch up on my reading pile – sort of completed (but bought more for my e-reader)

However, what I did do was travel.  Armchair travel via a few of my thousands and thousands of photos and I’ve set aside a few to show you.

So this is the first of my gratitude blogs.  I still cannot believe that someone who had only left New Zealand a couple of times before I was 50 years old (a couple of weeks in Australia, and a month in the USA -mostly the Pacific Northwest.

Looking at my photos I’m amazed at the amazing life I’ve led.  So in no particular order, and chosen for no particular reason, here are a few of my memories – memory lanes I’ve slipped down while I should have been exploring or studying all sorts of things.




bad karma when travelling?

In Buddhist and Hindu philosophy, a person’s destiny in his next incarnation is determined by his actions. Everything he does will influence his future lives or reincarnations. Conscious actions carry more weight than the unconscious ones.

According to Paramhans Swami Maheshwarananda, we create karma in four ways.

  • through thoughts
  • through words
  • through actions that we perform ourselves
  • through actions others do under our instructions

While I don’t know whether incarnations or past lives exist, I do believe in karma. All actions have effects, positive or negative, instant, gradual or delayed. Broadly named the universal law of cause and effect, Karma essentially means that good things will happen to you if you do good things, and bad things will happen to you if you do bad things. Nothing complicated. What you contribute to the world and the lives of others comes back to you in some way.

Words and actions

I have said incredibly mean and hurtful things to people close to me, especially as a teenager, but I’ve learnt as I’ve matured to act more respectful and less selfish. No one’s perfect and I’m pretty sure most of us have said or done things we’re not especially proud of. While I’ve never had any problems with saying exactly what I think, I am incapable of lying. If I realize I’ve said something not entirely true I need to correct myself afterwards.

When it comes to not paying for something, I’ve failed once — in London in 2007. Afterwards I got such bad conscience that I promised myself to return the next time I visited London to pay. If I recall correctly I had spent the day in Chelsea and was heading towards Victoria Station. As I walked along Elizabeth Street in Belgravia I caught sight of The Chocolate Society and couldn’t resist the temptation. After ten minutes and one chocolate smoothie I glanced at the bill in front of me. £3.95. I looked around. Crowded. Almost ten people waiting in line. Only one employee. I can just walk out of here and leave the unpaid bill on the table and no one will notice. And that’s exactly what I did. I don’t know why I did it, but I know two things for sure: I’ll never do it again, and when I next travel to London I won’t leave without having stopped by The Chocolate Society. READ MORE OF THIS ARTICLE HERE

safe travel? planes, bird ‘flu, swine ‘flu, and a bag snatcher

World Trade Centre disaster, bird flu, terrorists,  swine flu a blog on safety – hidden cash, condoms and broad-spectrum antibiotics- seem a little naive and out of place.

Nothing we plan can save us from major disasters. Nevertheless, on the plane, I will continue to count the rows forward and back to exits in case of minor disasters or accidents.

Survival, from events less than the twin towers seem to be hugely assisted by an intention to survive. Recent TV shows have shown us how to plan to survive the mountains or desert. On a smaller scale I am reminded of my daughter’s attitude to a bag-snatching in London.

Off to see London’s most popular stage show, the wonderful The Lion King, we had arranged to meet her husband in a global food store and stayed for what became an uneaten snack.

‘Your bag’s been taken’ a woman called.

We looked around to see who had been so unfortunate. It was my daughter! With a surge of adrenaline she took off -slamming the swing doors open with a dramatic flourish, chasing a male with a red cap- the only information she had. Her husband and I followed, the police joined in and finally, after a run from Charring Cross to Covent Gardens, my son-in-law had him in on the ground in a headlock, awaiting the police and handcuffs. Her bag, with the tickets and money, saved. I bought up the rear.

Why did my daughter chase him? Why did some of her friends say they would not have done the same? Talking with the police afterwards we agreed, you are either a chaser or a not-a-chaser. My daughter is a chaser. A successful chaser who ensured we were still able to see the show – albeit in a more dishevelled state than we had planned!

In emergencies we don’t have time to think about what to do, we react. I wonder if survival is similar: that some of us will wait to be rescued, others will be proactive.

So how can we look after ourselves while travelling? With major events such as hijacking and  air crashes we can’t do a lot, however perhaps we can be more helpful by being more responsible air travellers.

How often do we see greedy, self-centred people (or worse, have done it ourselves!) struggling on board with heavier or more hand-luggage than regulations allow.

Mid-air, it’s your head the heavy bag could hit, our overweight plane that uses more fuel, could be de-stabilised: a thoughtless act that could put all our lives put at risk. Their intentions would not be to endanger lives, but the results could be just the same.

Also, every one of those extra items has to be examined in the x-ray machine, resulting in longer queues, more time, more staff and consequently higher airfares. Will we willingly pay for those added services or nag the airlines to reduce the costs and time until safety is jeopardised?

Returning from that London trip, I travelled through Chicago airport where I needed to change planes. The next plane was ready to receive us, in fact some had boarded, when an announcement was made.

“There is a strong smell of fuel at the rear of the plane and we need to check where it is coming from and clear the fumes before allowing you on board.”

Waiting, I wrote postcards then settled down to read among a clamour of voices.

‘When will we be leaving? This is really inefficient. I wish they’d hurry-up. I have a meeting to get to, people picking me up. That’s the problem with this airline, they’re always late.’ 

On and on and on they went, moaning at any employee or fellow traveller who ventured too close.

I too had people meeting me at the other end – I too had an event to get to, but I, and I hope the majority of the other passengers, had a different mindset.

My thoughts were more in line with – take as long as you need – I’m glad you found out now, not when we are high above the earth – don’t allow me on until you know the plane is perfectly safe.

I value my life, and although sometimes it is a pain to have to wait for security or mechanical checks when you have been flying for hours or have an appointment to reach – when I consider the alternatives – waiting is the best option by far.

What are your tips for safe travel? 

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