One of the many reasons I LOVE Thailand is that life is SO easy here!
This Thai man makes the case so clearly and beautifully:
I am now leading excursions showing people new to Thailand how EASY life can be here, so that whether they want to live here or return again and again for travels and sabbaticals, it is EASY for them!
Here are 3 of the Core Values I have when traveling:
#1 – Going Slow
Often times–especially if we’re Americans–we have just a few short weeks or less for a vacation, and we want to pack as much as fun and excitement as we can into that brief time. So we tend to travel with a feeling of a scarcity of time. This can have us focused in on ourselves and focused on getting–getting as much experiences and as many photos as we can in that short amount of time.
One of the things I am going to show you how to do, if you come and travel with me or if you take my Carpe Diem! World Traveler LINK course, is how to get more time for longer journeys and sabbaticals.
When you come and travel with me, it’s a requirement that we’re not in that scarcity mode. We’re not in that mode of taking and trying to just get as much as possible from the short time that we have.
There’s something that’s really magical that happens as we just trust the journey, take our time to go slow, to connect with what we’re feeling, notice who our heart is calling us to connect with, take the time to build relationships and being open to the invitations that we receive along the way.
This is one of the most miraculous things that’s happened to me on my travels. I don’t plan most of my own travels. Instead, I go slow, stay connected and follow heart-felt invitations. That’s something we’ll be doing if you come and travel with me.
I require that we’re not in that rushed state of mind. Now, it’s OK if we start feeling this scarcity of time as we travel, and I’ll just bring reminders for us to slow down and trust.
So if you’re interested in a change of pace and slowing down, de-stressing and learning to travel and live in this kind of a way, then maybe you’ll want to come and travel with me.
And if not–if you want to cram as much as you can into your short vacation time as possible–then there are probably some better options or tourist packages that are better for you.
#2 – Respect
Many times in American culture, respect is lacking in our interactions. Partly this is from our value of independence and individuality. We want to be self-expressed and speak up for ourselves, but often that comes at the price of respect for other people.
A lot of times when we pay someone money, we feel that “customer is king” and they need to give us what we paid for and if they don’t, maybe we’ll raise hell. That doesn’t go over so well in many parts of the world, especially in places like Thailand. They, as a culture in general, tend to value respect more than we do.
And it’s important to me when I travel to leave my old cultural assumptions behind, leave my expectations of how things should be or shouldn’t be behind. And really get curious about this new culture and this new people. What’s the beauty and the gift in how they live and how they move?
Here in Thailand when you pay someone money for something, the first thing they are going to do before even putting your money away, is bow with their hands in a prayer gesture and say, “Thank you,” in their local language.
There’s a sacredness to exchanging money here, whereas in many Western cultures, money can kind of give us a license to just treat the other person as a part of a transaction or even like an object. We have a lot of expectations and assumptions that go along with that.
These are the kinds of things we’ll be talking about as we travel, so if you’re interested in learning new ways of being with money, new ways of interacting in new cultures, looking for their gift and receiving it, this is something I love to talk about and share about.
So if this is of interest to you, then maybe you’ll want to come travel with me. If it’s not of interest to you, then I’m not the guy to journey with, because this is very important to me.
#3 – A Sense of Humility and Openness
This is related to #1 and #2. It’s about leaving behind our expectations and our need to be in control, and just opening to the gift and the wisdom of other people and other cultures. Trying instead to be in a place of not knowing. A lot of times when we come to another culture, there’s a lot we want to learn. We want to go to museums, we want to learn a language….
And yet one of the most transformational aspects of travel is when we just come to that place of wonder and not knowing and making ourselves humble. That’s when amazing learning and unlearning can happen.
If this is of interest to you, then listen to your heart and consider coming to travel with me. If these are not of interest to you, it’s great that we both know that, and we can choose to travel separately.
I’d love to meet you out here in the unknown. I welcome you to get connected and let’s create some magic together!
It’s Michael Skye.
I have something I’m really excited to share with you!
Traveling the world for the last 7 years has transformed me, my life, my view of humanity, my way of relating to people, my experience of being alive, my self-expression, etc. And I’m so excited to share this with you.
I’ve led some safaris in Africa, designed to be transformational. And I have a new idea for adventures I can take people on, and today I’d like to give you a preview.
I’m here in beautiful Chiang Mai, Thailand, where I am staying with a friend who invited me to come spend some time with him. Much of my travels over the last 7 years have been gifts from people I’ve met along the way..
I talk a lot about the Gift Economy in my Carpe Diem! World Traveler course. …
If you haven’t participated in that yet, I highly recommend you do so… kind of like a revelation.
I have to keep traveling and to show people what I am experiencing, because it’s so beautiful.
So here’s my idea for a journey Thailand (and perhaps later, for other parts of the world as well).
This is an invitation to come and journey with me in Thailand for a few days, 1 week, 2 weeks. It’s designed to be a welcome into this culture that I love, this beautiful land, the beautiful people. It’s designed to be a soft landing and a welcome–not the kind a tourist would receive–but like someone who is coming home to family.
Designed to be gently transformative for you. It opens your heart further, opens your world view, opens you up to new ways of expression, joy, aliveness, compassion…
I am designing this journey to be a transformational AND sustainable.
Alowing you to return here with ease… staying for months or even years at a time, if you like.
Can be a second home for you, if you want it to be.
The idea is you turn your next 2-week vacation into a “Gateway Sabbatical”, where you spend your time in such a way that it opens up a whole new world for you, and makes it easy to return to this place.
While you are here journeying with me,
That’s the main idea. I invite you to send me your ideas and your questions.
You can schedule a time to come with your family or your own group of people. …
Or you can schedule a time to come travel with me, and I’ll invite more people to join us in a bigger group.
If you’re interested, feel free to send me more comments and questions.
Be sure to watch my next video where I talk about how I travel and my Core Values as I travel. I require that you agree to travel with these values. It’s important that we’re both on the same page, and you know what you’re in for.
Thats the view from my hotel room high above Santiago, Chile a few weeks ago. I am here preparing my return to my work. Although I am getting ‘productive’ again after a 5 year sabbatical… I am not going to give up this life of international travel!
Currently my focus is on creating material and programs for men who are not inspired to follow in the footsteps of their elders or “get with the program” and be responsible members of society. I will be doing that largely through initiatives found at a new site www.riseoftheronin.com, including a new autobiographical book series called, The Ronin Diaries, and at least one daring, cross-cultural, transformational, rite-of-passage adventure deep in Brazil.
I currently intend to offer one co-ed iStand in 2016, the first in six years! I would love it to be a gift for the visionaries who have inspired me and given to me over the past several years of my sabbatical and others who desire to carry the work forward. If you are interested in attending or playing a part in some way, please send me an email.
Finally I feel READY. After an epic 5-year globe-trotting sabbatical, I am finally ready to return to the core of my calling and my life’s work, my iStands, this time with a sense of ease and a more aligned, less heroic business plan. I’m grateful for all of my experiences on my journey and all the beautiful people I met, many of whom took me in as one of their own… there are too many to name! I was blessed with the opportunity to lead 2 transformational safaris in Africa; dance Tango in Australia and Argentina, and samba in Brazil; facilitate transformational workshops on 4 continents; swim with elephants in Thailand and a whale in Panama; attend an Ayahuasca ceremony in Brazil and a sweat lodge in California; learn to speak new languages; write (and nearly finish) 3 books and 1 facilitator manual; invest in 2 young African entrepreneurs; celebrate Carnival in Brazil, Song Kran in Thailand and a wedding in Turkey; start an Internet center at a secondary school in rural Uganda; romance very different and beautiful women from many cultures; eat grasshoppers, scorpions and kangaroo; sleep in a Maasai manyatta, a pine bark teepee, an indigenous jungle village in Panama, an African convent and on a sidewalk in Bangkok; fight backyard MMA in Santiago; explore fascinating cities such as Istanbul, Rio de Janeiro, Brussels, Buenos Aires and Berlin; explore traveling through Gifting and living for 3 years with no cell phone; explore my own hidden shame and experience many cultural taboos; kite surf in australia, wind surf in France, sail in in San Francisco and The Netherlands, and jet ski in The Nile and The Persian Gulf; live, break bread and travel with great friends and allies around the world… these were the kinds of things I’d sacrificed for years to get my work off the ground. I’m SO grateful for the wild journey, the deep learnings and the many connections… and now it’s time to get back to doing what I’m here to do. But this time with far less sacrifice… the whole world is my home now.
I remember hearing about a tribe that has a beautiful ritual, and wishing it existed in more cultures:
When someone in the village acts in a way that hurts the himself/herself or the community, they call the person to the center of the village and sing for them their song–the unique song that he or she was given at birth.
In this way they remember the person, not for their destructive act, but for their beauty, their essence. And the person remembers himself/herself in this beautiful way.
Well, I have a good friend and talented musician who actually creates such a song for people–a song that speaks to their soul, and reminds them who they are when they’ve forgotten.
When I speak of forgetting who you are, of course, I’m not talking about amnesia, but about a kind of soul-level amnesia, where you don’t feel connected to your purpose, your vision is not inspiring, and you don’t seem to have the strength or will to keep walking your visionary path.
THIS MAN, Shawn Madden will write and record YOUR song in partnership with you:
A song that reminds you who you are, why you are here, and gets you humming on your life purpose again whenever you forget who you are or why you are here.
I hear this is a transformational experience for people. Check it out people!
Morning coffee in hand, I walked from the convent this morning out into the sprawling hilltop campus here in tropical countryside of Western Uganda. I pass by the young man who makes the chapatis and greet him, “Chipati Man! Ay!”
After conversing I’ve got a new word for the day. “Olira” in the Rotoro language means Have you eaten?
There are many students studying in the morning sunshine all over campus. I greet some of my student friends, and then ask them if they’ve eaten. But for sure they’ve eaten! They wake at 4am here for studies. At 7am they take their porridge made from corn. Same routine Monday through Friday. Saturday and Sunday they sleep in until 6am or so.
Rugimba’s younger brother, also named Rugimba, calls out to me. I go and greet him, and remark how fortunate he is to study in the midst of such stunning nature. I see what he and his friend are reading, a book about Entrepreneurship. “Can I see?”
He hands me the book and I scan through it. It’s full of business terms and their descriptions, and that’s it. I learn their job is to memorize the information to pass the exams, and I feel a fire rising in my chest. This is no way to learn the joy of entrepreneurship! It’s the way to kill any possible passion for it.
I don’t want to criticize the way they are teaching kids here, but I feel I have to say something. I have to do something. I tell Rugimba there’s a much more fun and exciting way to learn entrepreneurship. And that’s by just starting a small service business, and then studying about entrepreneurship. This way everything you learn has the potential to help grow your business.
But talk is cheap. That’s why we’ve been working hard to get computers and Internet here at this school of 600 village kids, and when that happens, they’ll have the world at their fingertips–and they’ll have the opportunity to engage in business through the Internet.
Wait til these kids make their first dollar through a computer! Entrepreneurship will suddenly become exciting. Help us make this happen!
Last week this inspiring young man took his life after Obama announced that we are going back to Iraq for more war. He was a 3-tour Afghanistan veteran turned activist, who was committed to riding his bike cross country until the wars end. He was a soldier for conscience and a visionary peace maker, walking his own path and standing for peace.
And he was a friend of mine.
I’ll never know all that Jacob had witnessed. What he endured. What he faced inside himself every day.
In fact, other than sharing a few emails, I only met him once–at the IVAW (Iraq Veterans Against the War) conference where I was presenting the Honor Window work with Thad Crouch.
Jacob had volunteered to fight after 9-11. I imagine he’d wanted to stand for our safety and freedoms, and to be a protector of his people. He was willing to risk his life to stand for people and values he felt were worth standing for.
But after three tours enduring and witnessing the human toll that war brings, when his younger brother was called up to go to war, he had a change of heart about these wars that wouldn’t end. Maybe it was when he looked into his younger brother’s eyes and saw a life that might be taken that he came face to face with the insanity–not know what we were fighting for any more, not knowing feeling it was worth the life of his brother? From what I understand, that’s when he withdrew from the path honored by the military, and began on a new mission. A mission for peace. A mission for human life. For his brother’s life. For the lives and souls of the men and women being injured on a soul level due to war.
He would ride his bike across the US–until everyone came home. A big commitment, and a bigger one than I was willing to make. I too was disillusioned by the seemingly endless wars. I too was angry that so many soldiers and veterans were turning to suicide or being left forever morally injured.
Jacob had ridden his bike to Austin from Houston, I believe, to be at the IVAW conference with his younger brother. He joined Thad and I at a lunch table and shared his vision, his poetry, his project and his newfound joy at being a kind of missionary for peace. Stopping along the highway to meet strangers, tell them his story and open hearts and minds. He was a missionary called by his heart to walk a path that many of his countrymen shamed. In the eyes of some, maybe he was a traitor, a quitter. In my eyes, there is great honor in leaving something, when staying would require compromising your conscience, your values. I honor his stand to walk free, and ride til the end.
I remember telling him about the iStand that Thad and I wanted to offer to Soldiers of Conscience like him. He was indeed a Soldier of Conscience–a man who took a stand to follow the call of their heart or conscience even when it disagreed with his orders. JFK and Einstein noted that our world has a chance to know peace when the Conscientious Objector becomes honored in society just the same as we honor our soldier.
Thad and I had wanted to fill our iStand with men like Jacob. A few other soldiers had told me this sacred honor ceremony and training had told me saved their lives, and we felt that lives were at stake. But to date we haven’t led one. In fact just prior to that IVAW conference, I’d canceled an iStand for Soldiers of Conscience like Jacob, because of poor decisions I’d made.
I never met Jacob again. I thought of him at times over the next few years, and I wish I still had the chance to give to this man, to honor him, to stand for him and with him. I know he explored many options for healing along his journey. I don’t know that I could have made the difference in his life, but I do wish he was still here in person. And yet, I honor his choice to go, to choose when his ride ends.
One gift I am realizing by the life and death of this young man… is a rekindling of my desire to find more Jacobs and to stand with them. To ride with them.
Please take a moment to honor Jacob by watching his video above, reading his story and/or sharing it. Here’s his web site: http://operationawareness.org/
But where we are in rural Uganda, there is no ice water, let alone ice or clean water. In fact the water we drink and bathe with comes from rain water harvesting and/or is pumped from the ground by hand daily. And even uploading video can be quite a challenge. So…
We got creative (see the video, especially at 1:03 of the video). To see PART TWO of our video, please donate $1 or more to our ‘What If’ Computer Center campaign on September 18th, and help us get good internet here at the school for our 600 students.
Everyone who donates will see Part Two: Michael & Clovis take the plunge! And if we reach our goal, we’ll make the video available to the public as well. THANK YOU!
After the beautiful welcome to Ave Maria secondary school, Clovis showed me the campus and then I entered the convent where the nuns were not sure what to make of this crazy mjungu! I washed up and enjoyed a welcome feast of local Ugandan fare with Sister Rose, Sister Rose Junior, Sister Restatuta, Sister Oliver, Sister Agnes and Sister Mukaka.
The next morning after an early breakfast I joined my young friend, “Master Clovis,” for a discussion about vision and entrepreneurship with students from A-Level (post-secondary, pre-university). See clips in the video above.
These are mostly people from local villages in rural Uganda. Some have never been on the internet and some have never met a Westerner. University is often their greatest hope for achieving their dreams, but very few make it into university and even then a job is a difficult thing to find.
It’s always fun to introduce such folks to people like Bill Gates, Michael Dell and Steve Jobs, who made the computers and software in the computer center where they gathered. They assume all these men must have been great students and finished university, and are always surprised to discover that the were not and did not.
To bring it closer to home, I told the story of my younger brother who never finished secondary school, and the staggering sum of Ugandan schillings he’s likely to make this year–working for himself, using the internet. When they heard many of Clovis’ stories using his VisionForce education and inspiring vision to raise money for entrepreneurial projects over the years.[link], it hit even closer to home.
Still, I imagine that most of these students and faculty see the possibility of leveraging the internet to grow their school and achieve their dreams as a far out fantasy.
After this conversation Clovis shared an idea with me: What if we show the nuns, the faculty and the students that it really IS possible to get their inspiring projects funded through the internet? For them this will be like pulling a rabbit out of a hat, and they will have to consider that far more is possible for them than they may have ever imagined.
In the afternoon we ventured into the nearby town of Kyenjojo to access high speed internet at the cyber cafe… and take on the challenge of creating a miracle! That’s when we uploaded this video: