Abundant Michael: Adventure

How I got over my scuba diving fears

I went on my first scuba diving experience today in Belize. I was feeling afraid of going so deep underwater and did some clearing on that and reframing FEAR=Feeling Excited And Ready. I studied a video on safety and what to do then had a dock side lesson which was fine. Then I went out over the reef for an accompanied dive with an instructor. I had some problems equalizing my ear pressure but got that worked out. I saw a lot of tropical fish and coral - it was like being in an enormous aquarium! I also saw a small sea turtle with 3 legs swimming very relaxed for a long time. I guess they must come up to breath sometime but he was swimming for at least five minutes that I saw.

We when down to 50 feet. The sun light was a bright blue and I could see for about 100 feet. I still felt kinda anxious and got cold even though I was wearing a half wet suit and the water is in the 80s. I also felt nauseous and we slowly went back up. Fortunately I didn't puke in my aqua lung because then you keep breathing through the vomit. However once on the surface I did throw up climbing into the boat. The sea was about 8 foot swell. I went back to the yoga retreat place I am staying at (Ak'Bol ) and took a nap in my warm room. I still feel a bit shaky and not sure when I will go diving again and I am glad I tried it out and didn't let fear get in my way. Sometimes I notice I am avoiding change and my comfort zone is shrinking and adventures like this are good for expanding again! On a logical level the scuba course was safely organized and the training covered what to do if something went wrong. It reminded me in many ways of skydiving training. There is some risk and they are careful to minimize it and train you to know what to do on an automatic level through practice.

--- Update ---
BTW that scuba I did last month that was so afraid of only had about 5 Micromorts risk of dying (1 Micromort = 1 in a million risk). That is the same risk as canoeing for half an hour, walking 20 hours, smoking 8 cigarettes, drinking a few bottles of wine, breathing the air in NYC for 10 days, or flying to Peru and back. Perhaps not as risky as I had thought.


How to travel with a family of four around the world for a year

This is a family with two children who are traveling around the world for a year that stayed in the same building as me for two months in Cusco Peru. Might give you some inspiration and ideas.

map of their world travel plans


They have hiked the Four-Day Inca Jungle Trail Trek to Machu Picchu mountain biking, white water rafting, ziplining across valleys ready for a 5am start to Machu Picchu. Attended Spanish rock concerts, volunteered at a Peruvian after school place and learned Spanish as a family. And generally learned that happiness does not come from working long hours at a job, paying a large mortgage and owning multiple new cars and other consumer stuff. And even if the shower doesn't always work, or buses arive late that doesn't mean you can't have fun!

The van Loens at Machu Picchu

When they were planning this trip this is what they said was their vision

We are calling this [web]site “The Journey is the Reward” because that pretty much sums up our family philosophy; both for this adventure and for our life in general. Even preparing for the trip seems a journey in itself. (see the map above for our currently planned itinerary)


We’ve been talking about this trip for a number of years, and our vision is for a sustained perspective-shifting family experience. We hope to meet new people, experience different cultures, face challenges, serve others, learn, grow, try, and have some adventures along the way.


We are building the trip around two long-term volunteering opportunities (one in South America, and one in Southeast Asia), with a number of other stops along the way. The general goal is to spend time together as a family, learning and growing together, and expanding our horizons beyond our comfort zone (especially for the kids).


The four of us have been living happily in the Pacific Northwest for the past 12 years. Our two kids are Alex (11) and Leah (9). Noah works in IT program management, and Anne is a teacher (part-time) at Alex and Leah’s school. We also have three dogs Zillah (black dog), Kona (Australian Shepherd), and Lucas (Mom's poodle) -- and what to do with them is one of our many challenges.

During the 18 months of trip preparation they invited family and friend to meet up with them for mini vacations along the way, social networked for connections in the places their were going and spent a few months giving away stuff and preventing more paper coming into their home while they were gone (which then rented out for 12 months). They planned a "career break" from their jobs as a contract software project manger and part time teacher, plan home schooling on the go for their kids and organized four long term Voluntourism gigs for the trip. They also chose to get used to shaking up their home life and learn some Spanish by having a home stay student from Chile stay with them for a year!


And if you want to travel but are using your "family", "job","pets", "other" as an excuse not to travel then it provides some food for thought. (And they chose to overcome plenty of resistance to traveling not only from themselves, but from family, friends and I believe bosses too.). More on their adventures at http://anvl.travellerspoint.com/ andon their Facebook fan page


(quote from Randy Komisar's book "The Monk and the Riddle")

What is Healing House Cusco and how can you help them?

This is a healing community called Healing House that I work with about 2 blocks from where I am living in Cusco Peru. I have taught yoga, meditation and other workshops there. It is a great place. It is actually not so far from NFNC or Sandbox I think

Short video about Healing House (I appear briefly in it) from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mB0zVFihH5o

Healing House is a non-profit creative center based in Cusco, Peru—gateway to Machu Picchu and capital city of the Incas. We are a group made up of people from all over the world, who come together to learn, grow and create. To heal means to make whole. At Healing House, we help people realize their wholeness through creativity. To us, creative healing means yoga, Reiki, and meditation; it means art, movement, music and writing; it means gardening and cooking. It means inspiring people to embrace their talents and realize their potential.

Our mission is to inspire and support the creative aspirations and overall wellbeing of the people who work, study and play with us—travelers and locals alike. We encourage people to develop their gifts, and help them offer those gifts to the world. Through this, they learn to create fulfilling lives for themselves. The local Peruvian people we serve don't normally have access to the creative healing services we offer. By offering free classes, therapies and workshop space, we aim to encourage and empower local people to make positive and innovative changes for themselves, their families and their communities.


We founded the house in March 2010, and since then we have restored our space, put in a flourishing herb and vegetable garden, and implemented some amazing community service programs. We host weekly art and music workshops for local children, we help local women sell their handmade artisanal goods, and we offer free yoga, meditation and treatments to local people in need. (For more details about our programs, please see "Healing House Programs.")

WE NEED YOUR HELP: With all of the work we have been doing to help other people manifest their dreams, we now need your help. Our beautiful space in Cusco is up for sale, and the landlord needs to sell quickly. If we aren't able to buy this inspiring space, we have to move out.


More at http://healinghouse.tumblr.com/

How to pay for traveling indefinitely

It has been a while since my last email on my adventures. I will give some catch up emails another time, meanwhile one question I have been asked is: How can you travel indefinitely (if you are not Bill Gates)? One way is to save money by visiting low cost countries, cooking your own food and using buses rather than planes. I have done this when I lived in Bolivia and had a good time on less than $500 per month.


Image from www.escapenormal.comLooking at the other side of the income-expense equation of traveling there are many ways to make income while you travel. I make more than I spend per day by running my business remotely via skype and email. I have met other travelers who can cover their travel costs indefinitely by travel writing, selling photos, teaching English, doing import-export of local handy crafts or working in local tourism businesses. Once I have paid off all my old business debts and credit cards I will be making more money than I spend. Yay!


Even if you don't make enough to completely cover all your expenses it can let you travel for longer than you could just on savings. Some of the travelers I have met work 8-16 hours per week to cover the week's expenses because they are paying expenses in a low cost country like Peru and earning money remotely in a high pay/high expense country like the US or Europe.

Another approach is the "4 hour work week" (Tim Ferris) one of working for a few months then taking a 3 month mini-retirement of traveling. Rinse and repeat indefinitely. His book and website also have lots of info on starting your own online business or negotiating to work remotely.  I have met some Australian miners who earn enough in a year to travel for two years without working. I have also read of some miners in Australia who work 14 days straight and then take off 14 days living in Bali and traveling in SE Asia - again they do this indefinitely.

More ideas and travel tips at Travel Stack Exchange - a great place to ask and answer travel questions by the way! And other ideas on travel and money from  Benny Lewis, the fluenent in any language in 3 months guy.

What are you long term travel tips?

25 Tips on How to Travel and work Abroad more easily.

I spent a month in March 1989 driving along the Mediterranean coast of Spain, staying at small hotels along the way. I didn't have plan - if I liked a place I would stay there a few days. Then I had to quit my job to get travel time, now with remote internet working "from home" you can work while you travel. Here are some travel tips for longer term travel doing remote internet based work based on both that trip and many I have made around the world since then.


While I mention Spain a few times below, most of this advice applies to all countries.


At the time it was not aways easy to find a working ATM, especially in small towns. Not sure if that has changed. So I recommend you have some Euros and dollars as back up when traveling. Also recommend you have several ATM and credit cards because sometimes your bank will cancel your card due to "suspicious activity" which is really just you spending money abroad. They will do this even if you tell them by phone ahead of time of your travel plans. So some back up cards come in handy while you wait for you bank to either reinstate your card or FedEx you a replacement. I have read that some automated ticket machines in Europe don't like US credit cards (except for Amex) because they want to see a chip on the card. More on that here 


I recommend you scan all your passports, IDs, cards, tickets etc and put in a secure, password protected place such as Evernote so you can access them if you loose any originals. And put a backup card and cash in a separate place in case your main stash is stolen. Keep an eye on bags at all times. Do not assume that a hotel room is 100% safe. 99% of the time all is fine and people are honest but it makes sense to be safe.


I would recommend figuring out your backup strategy in case your laptop is stolen. I use a USB external drive plus an internet backup solution. And I encrypt my data using TrueCrypt. I also bring a laptop cable lock to prevent casual walk in thieves from walking away with my laptop. With 25% unemployment in Spain I would not recommend flashing expensive computers, cameras or jewelry around. And in the event you see any riots or protests I recommend walking the other way no matter how interesting they appear.

Computers and phones

I think you will find wifi in most places. I imagine it is free but not sure. I have found my Boingo account useful at airports and other places where I would otherwise have to pay for wifi (about $10 per month). Your computer power adapter will work with the 220 V electricity in Europe but you might check any other electronics that you bring with you - sometimes they are 110 V only and plugging them in will short them out and smell bad! A mini US power strip can be handy if you have several items to charge and then you only need one power adapter to plug the power strip into the wall.

It is a lot cheaper to get a local SIM chip for your (unlocked quad-band) phone or buy a local phone rather than using roaming which can easily add up to thousands of dollars in voice and data fees. Skype is great too and they have a flat rate plan for calls in US and many other countries.

Costs and housing

I have read that it is pretty expensive in Madrid with high prices and 20% VAT (sales tax), so you might want to get out in the countryside. If you are going to stay in one place for a month or more it will be cheaper to rent an apartment. You will get a better price if you can enlist a local to help call the ads in the paper. Not all places are advertized on the internet, so this is best done on the ground once you are there. Another way to get free housing is to do a house swap with a local who wants to live in your house - there are several websites for this kind of thing. House sitting is another way to score free housing.


I am pretty sure you can enter Spain on US passport and get 90 day tourist visa entry. You can probably visit another country after that and get another 90 days if you desire. Don't tell the immigration people that you plan to work while you are abroad- it only causes excitement and might get you barred from entering the country. And in truth you are working in USA while you travel. Just say you are tourist if asked.



While many people will speak English you will find many people who do not, especially outside of big cities. So some Spanish will come in handy. You can get a Spanish-English dictionary and phrase book for your phone or a paperback works well too.

Traveling light and resources


The less stuff you carry the easier your trip will be - most items can be bought abroad if you really find out you need them.

The travel stack exchange is good for researching and asking travel questions  I recommend reading the 4 hour work week and Vagabonding on traveling light longer term travel. Those resources and more here.

How are the Earth's magnetic changes affecting you?

I am enjoying Cusco Peru a lot! I hired a personal Spanish teacher (who is called Luz) who is helping me improve my pronunciation and grammar - only S/ 15 (Approx $6) per hour :-) I am fluent enough for every day conversation and reading magazines and books (slowly!) and am now practicing my writing too. ¡He mastrando una classe de Kundalini Yoga todas las Lunes a la Healing House con 12 studentes - está muy linda!


I have had a several "colds" recently that didn't feel like a traditional cold - blocked sinuses, dizzy feeling around my head and shoulders, apathy, strange sleep and eating patterns. All cured when I got some energy healing. Have you been feeling strange recently? Tired, dizzy, headaches, "colds" that seem different from traditional sickness, feeling disoriented, apathy, loss of focus? You might have been self treating these symptoms with increases in addictive behaviors such as junk food, sugar, extra TV, coffee, chocolate, alcohol, drugs...


It might be that you are feeling the effects of the rapid changes in the Earth's magnetic field happening this year. It is not just the mass animal and bird deaths (many animals use the magnetic field for direction finding) but also humans are affected. This effect seems to have increased in the last few months and will probably increase during the year as the magnetic field changes more, with (according to the International Space Agency) solar activity sometimes deleting the Earth's magnetic field completely.

"A number of important findings already have emerged. For example, changes in the earth’s magnetic field are associated with changes in brain and nervous system activity; performance of athletic, memory and other tasks; sensitivity in a wide range of extrasensory perception experiments; synthesis of nutrients in plants and algae; the number of reported traffic violations and accidents; mortality from heart attacks and strokes; and incidence of depression and suicide. It’s interesting to note that changes in geomagnetic conditions affect the rhythms of the heart more strongly than all the physiological functions studied so far"

From http://www.glcoherence.org/monitoring-system/about-system.html


What to do? This article suggests tuning into the changes so that we can adapt ourselves to the new magnetic fields more easily. How to become more aware?

  • yoga
  • meditation
  • bodywork and energy healing
  • clearing old patterns and beliefs that keep you stuck, even clearing clutter!
  • sound therapy (eg singing bowls, Om chanting)
  • listen to your soul instead of tuning it out with addications
  • accept weird variations in food requirements, sleep and daily patterns that may occur as you adjust
  • live in the "now" and be flexible (great advice for all 2012 changes occurring!)

Good luck adapting and let me know what your experiences are?

Lightening the load and miracles

Happy Equinox! And Happy Spring (or Fall if you are south of the equator like me)! It has been a while since my last email - I spent a month in Cusco Peru which was wonderful. More on that another time. This time I want to share my experiences in lightening my emotional/spiritual load and creating miracles.


Since I decided to live in South America and sell my house in USA I emptied out all my stuff, sold some, gave a bunch away to friends and in a mega freecycle give away and kept a few things in storage. I even managed to give 80% of my 3000 book collection away to a retreat center to be a library for visitors. That one was a bit of a challenge because as you might be able to tell I have a bit of a book habit! Also purged out clothes I didn't wear, didn't fit or no longer liked. 20 large garbage bags full of clothes went to charity. And furniture, my CDs and LPs. Car being sold.


I feel a lot lighter emotionally - there was SO much energy I was storing in my stuff - old emotions, other peoples morphic field pieces that were broken off, probably some collective consciousness too. I got a lot of help from other healings in releasing my attachments.


Now I am wondering how much of the stuff I kept in storage I really want to ship here. The 80/20 rule applies - I use 20% of my stuff 80% of the time and the other 80% I only use 20% of the time. Just keep that 20%... Fortunately I had Alison and Kim who helped me declutter and pack, photograph and catalog the contents of the boxes that I stored, so it will be easier to select items to ship if I want to.

I am at La Paz airport right now because there is an indigenous indian protest planned for Thursday to block all the roads to the airport so I decided to spend the night here instead of risking missing my 6:50am flight to Paraguay. You can pretty much figure there will be one protest or another in La Paz each week - people here are used to it and I guess I am too now! This week there will be 3-4 protests - I think there is an increase of anger in a global morphic field or something. I noticed I got angry with my travel agent when none of my credit cards would work to buy a ticket even though there was enough balance for them to work, my bank said they were fine to use in Bolivia and I had used them successfully at the same travel agent before. Anyway I did a little magic then I used an ATM to get cash to pay. Plus I had been looking for some boots in my size here for a few months with no luck (I am size 42 (US 10) and women here go to size 39 (US 8.5)) and on the way to the ATM found a boot store that is manufacturer's outlet and could custom order my size! Miracles are everywhere when I look for them :-)


PS I have been reading a book called Effortless Prosperity - it is a daily inspirational page plus stories on being prosperous from the inside out. It is by someone who ran a Course in Miracles group. Recommended. I also have been listening to the Unlimited Abundance course - more on that another time.


PPS Please let me know how you are doing.

My Typical day in Cusco and Shifts I am noticing in my Life

5:30am Listen to abundance meditation MP3 in bed, get up and do Donna Eden 5 minute energy routine to clear my energy, do about an hour of yoga and meditation.

8am Eat fruit and nuts that I bought at the market for breakfast, read a chapter in inspiring book.

9am Do some TeraTech work, download postal mail scans from Earth Class Mail, make calls on Skype to clients, follow up on projects with subcontractors. If necessary send a fax by email using MyFax.com or mail a postal letter using Click2Mail.com.

1pm Walk a few block to a vegan lunch place and have lunch for for $3. Practice my Spanish with the owner and other guests.

2pmMaybe read the local paper in Spanish. Meet some new interesting people at South American Explorers garden or in Healing House. Perhaps do some healing for someone or teach a yoga class. Or attend a workshop. Maybe take a walk in town or in the local hills.

7pm Share dinner with some friends or eat out at a local restaurant. Maybe watch a movie on DVD on my laptop or read a book.

9:30pm Night time meditation and bed.

Shifts I am noticing in my life - more following my joy in my activities. Noticing when I mess up my energy with food or late nights. Less keen to tolerate people who constantly complain or play the victim. Paying more attention to money and keeping my finances organized. Paying more attention to intuitive messages.

How to Avoid Clothing Buyer Remorse and 4 Days Shamanic Sun Dance

Thanks everyone who told me about your Letting Go experiences last week!

Having just sorted though my closets and given away or sold about 24 large bags of clothes that I wasn't wearing or didn't love (or didn't fit) I realized that like many people I buy clothes that I don't wear. Here are some questions from Carol Tuttle article (full article and video at link below) to ask yourself in the dressing room when you are deciding whether to buy that item.

            Why am I buying this item? Poor reasons include:

o             Am I settling? /tired of shopping and this is good enough

o             Do I want to please the sales person who helped me

o             The price a good deal even though I don't really love it

o             How much do I love it? (1-10)

o             Greater than cut off number - say at least 7/10

o             Check in with my heart on the decision, not my head

More reasons and the video at


Here is to a closet where everything I have I love and can wear. And it is easy to put together an outfit that I feel wonderful wearing!

I am in La Paz right now - going to a 4 day shamanic sun moon dance - a vision quest kind of thing that starts tomorrow. No food, drink or talking for 4 days/3 nights. I think it will be powerful and interesting. I will tell you more afterwards. I think it is something some of you might enjoy! It is part of a month long shamanic journey but you can chose just to do the dance, like me.

More info at


Let me know your clothing and shamanic experiences?

Letting go in 2012


I have heard from several people that they will host Wednesday Gatherings once a month or on some other schedule and if you are hosting a gathering let me know ahead of time and I will be happy to include it in my emails. Right now I am not aware of any scheduled. So! I have retitled these emails "ADVENTURE" rather than "ANNOUNCEMENT" so that they are easy to find in the lists.

de-clutterI have been doing a lot of letting go in the last month. I sold and freecycled most of my stuff. I had so much stuff that I had not used for years! And that is after a Feng Shui purge a few years ago. I gave my 3000 books on spirituality, personal growth, paganism, sexuality, math, business etc to Camp Ramblewood to be a Michelle Zee library there. I figure that way many other people can benefit from the books again and again. Plus I can even visit them in future years! I do have a pattern of collecting books and while I read a lot there were quite a few that I had bought and not read. So this pattern is something that I have done some clearing on


During the house clearing process I found that if I did some spiritual work on letting go the items ahead of time then the physical part went easily If I didn't do that then it sometimes got stuck or delayed. In my case the spiritual work might be holographic healing, or sage smudging ritual, asking angels for help or even a Kundalini yoga set for releasing. I once read that 99% of events manifest in the spiritual realm first and then 1% in the physical so it makes sense to me that doing spiritual work first will make manifesting easier. I got a lot of help from Alison, Kim and Derrick on the sorting and moving and ebaying - thanks so much! And thanks to everyone who bought or picked up free stuff! The items I chose to keep (some books, clothes and artwork plus business records for 7 years) fit in a 50 square foot storage room. Though I got a 10 x 10 room so that there is room to get in there and retrieve stuff later as I need it. That is a lot less space that a 2000 square foot house!


As I did my stuff letting go I keep a mantra "I release all that is unlike love.". If an item didn't feel like love to me any more or didn't fit or was used a lot then out it went to someone else who could use it and love it better. I got this mantra from Louise Hays book "You can heal your life" when I looked up the affirmation to cure the hemorrhoids I had before Christmas. And I have to say that my hemorrhoids left as I stopped holding onto my stuff and being stressed over deadlines! When it came to the final clearing out I had originally planned a tight deadline. And I chose to take a more Latin "Mañana" approach so that I could process the emotions of letting go without getting sick from the stress. I found this to be both more self-compassionate and overall more effective because I didn't have to take time out being sick! Here is the full Louise Hay info that I found at http://www.squidoo.com/spiritualmeaning


HEMORRHOIDS: Fear of deadlines. Afraid to let go and move on.
AFFIRMATION: I release all that is unlike love. There is time and space for everything I want to do

I see letting go of stuff I don't love or use as part of a way to be more conscious in 2012. Here are some other ways to be more conscious this year from Mike Adam's blog

Five practical ways to raise your consciousness in 2012

1) Spend more time in nature.
2) Consume more high-vibration foods.
3) Clean your clutter.
4) View your life as if you were your own life coach.
5) Deepen your commitment to spiritual practice (even if it's just a few minutes a week).

More details at http://www.naturalnews.com034611_consciousness_awareness_2012.html

I am doing all of these (some better than others!) already. How are you doing? Write and let me know.

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