Monday, 23 November 2009

Indonesia, Tibet And The Secret Of 'Terima Kasih'

I first met His Holiness the Dalai Lama in 1996. Accompanying me was a parliamentarian and two other friends. We were fortunate enough to have a private audience with him. When I said we were from Indonesia, he immediately reacted: "Oh yes, yes, yes ... Indonesia .... Tibet has very strong relations, strong ties with Indonesia."

"Atisha, was a monk from India. He went to Indonesia to learn from the Indonesian master," he said.

Fortunately, I knew the story.

Indeed, not many Indonesians remember we used to be a treasure house of wisdom. We did not import spirituality from India; indeed, even the Indian pundits came to our archipelago to learn from our indigenous masters.

Later, Atisha traveled to Tibet, where he propagated the teachings of his master.

The meditation he taught is still being practiced by the Tibetans. It is called Tong-Len, literally meaning "The Meditation of Terima and Kasih, Receiving and Giving". The common phrase terima kasih, now meaning "thank you", is no ordinary phrase.

There's a deep philosophy behind it. It reflects our view of life and it projects our deep rooted belief. We, Indonesians, believe, or at least once believed, in the law of gratitude. We do not, or did not, need a movie like The Secret to tell us to "be grateful" for all we receive from the universe.

More than 800 years ago, the Indian pundit traveled to Sumatra, then known as Svarna Dvipa, to learn from Dharmakirti Suvarnadvipi, Dharmakirti of Svarna Dvipa. He spent more than 10 years with his master. He documented each word he heard and each lesson he learned.

We, Indonesians, do not have any record of this.

Later, this meditation would be used by Tibetan medicine men and doctors. They would imagine their patients' pain and draw it into themselves. This is the first part of meditation, terima -- receiving. Then, in the second part, they would send out their energy of well being, kasih -- giving.

The was technique soon replaced their herb-based anesthesia. Let me remind you again, all this happened over 800 years ago.

The beauty of this technique is, the receiver of pain, the recipient, can process pain and transform it into well-being. All negativities can be drawn into oneself, be processed and then projected out as positive energy. Now the technique is being used by many Western neurologists, as part of transcranial magnetic stimulation therapy, to relieve the suffering of some stroke victims.

"But I have to emphasize, we haven't got a clue what's going on," said Max Bennett, professor at the University of Sydney and one of the world's top neurologists.

"It's a phenomenon. But in one sense, it does indicate that there are a lot of things that we know nothing about in Western science," he said.

"We know by the year about 2020, the greatest disabling phenomenon for the health of the human race will be depression. Not cancer, not heart disease, but depression," he said.

This drug-free technique from our own archipelago can ultimately replace the expensive morphine-based pain killers.

When discussing the Chinese occupation of his homeland, the Dalai Lama said, "This is the meditation which frees me from hatred. I use it every day to send out positive energy and feelings to the Chinese."

I personally can never ever forget the words of the Dalai Lama: "We Tibetans are always thankful to Indonesia and Indonesians, for this beautiful Tong Len teaching." Those of you who have seen and heard him may recall the way he speaks. He uses minimal words, short sentences and is not burdened by the sophisticates of English grammar. I bear witness to Dalai Lama's terima kasih for us, Indonesians and our land, Indonesia. I stand witness to his gratefulness, his gratitude.

Now, as Indonesians let's remind ourselves of what it means to be thanked. It is kembali kasih, and when reading between the lines it means "I am equally grateful to you."

Unlike the American "welcome" and British "never mind", Indonesians return "gratitude with gratitude". Let us now face the mirror of our consciousness and let us check the face of our souls. Have we returned the Tibetan gratitude with gratitude?

For almost a millennium the Tibetans have preserved the missing pages of our history. They have preserved them with a sense of gratitude. What have we done for them? How do we return our gratitude to them?

The European Union, the United States, the United Nations and countries like Poland, Germany, India and Taiwan have all commented on the recent uprising in Tibet against the illegal occupation of their homeland by the Communist regime of China.

What do we have to say? Perhaps we find it more comfortable to remain silent as we have been doing recently. But, let us remind ourselves this is not our tradition, this is not our culture.

Let us remind ourselves of what Sukarno, the father of our nation, once said: "Freedom to be free* For, of what use would be 'freedom from fear'; of what use would be 'freedom to express, freedom to believe, and freedom from poverty, freedom from fear' -- if there is no 'freedom to be free?'"

Time and again, Sukarno would repeat that the fruits of Indonesia's freedom would not be enjoyed by Indonesians alone and that Indonesia would unceasingly work for the freedom of all peoples from all lands.

I have no space left to discuss the illegalities of the Chinese occupation of Tibet. Any student of history cannot but condemn the occupation. We, as a nation, must immediately stand up against the occupation. Otherwise, generations to come may laugh at our cowardice, unclear foreign policies and our negligence toward history. Aside from the Tibetan issue, I am afraid our attitude may ultimately harm us.

Note: This article is also published on The Jakarta Post

Anand Krishna
Spiritual Writer (


The Friends of Yogyakarta (Revised and Reedited 7-2008)

City of Yogyakarta, 1999, Bustling at the Market

This story takes place in Central Java [1999]; the city of Yogyakarta, while visiting the archeological sites [old ruins] of Borobudur and Pramanan nearby.

I, Dennis have very little hope that you will understand, still less, hope you will or can believe my incredible journey, the expedition I went on, and the trial and tabulations, I went through some five-years ago, or is it now six (how time does fly, writing this account down, which is in the year of 2004 now). Time soars between living the experience, then writing and rewriting, and somewhere in-between- recounting, as I am about to do in my journal notes, and its aging face-and revising it, in the process this story can become a tinge baffling (today being 31 July, 2008).

These words, this story, what happened during those days-much was written down in my hotel room, bringing home the notes thereafter, never much leaving my side since I was the only one with the inner facts to this case. Although I have an understanding-as unusual as it is, or was, it does still enlighten people that read it, because those who know, at least in Java by oral tradition, are more convincing a picture; where those who are not from Java, have a more confused tongue, in trying to convey they believe in this account, or happening. Very few suitable comments did I receive from outside visitors of Java.

It might be wise to read this account, and reread it, at your leisure, then investigated if you wish to see if it is as far fetched as you once thought it to be, one thinks best when they check out all corners of the revelation, or background. My name is Dennis, and if you check into this strange happening, you will discover with similar details, this very thing happened in the 1840s and 1880s, within the madness of Java's jungles, and be it witchcraft, or demons playing, will be your sinister bones working out, if indeed you find out, drop me a line.

In any account, I wrote it all down on paper for I knew my memory would haunt me and I'd distort it later, had I not. For it did fade somewhat from my jittered nerves-shortly after the story took place. The events to follow being, may be considered centuries old, in that the old dark brooding foes, live in the wilds of the crumbling jungle area I was in, with its whisper-haunted shadows, which brought upon me and my friend their own ancestry and background evil deeds, from evil spirits. I often thought, being licensed in abnormal psychology, and having a large amount of information on occultism, this case should have been an open and shut case, until I lived through it. But it all happened quite suddenly, with hours of chaotic disturbance. I am getting too far into the story and leaving out the plot. But just thinking about writing the rest of this story out, my head starts aching, the same head someone was trying to bash in not so long ago.

Some say I'm quite eccentric with this story, to the point of fleeing reality, and replacing it with too much subjectivity; and when it did happen, and it did happen: I thought such myself; it was madness, for it is hard to believe this true and frightful story from any corner of the world. In any case, to those none believers who confronted me shortly after these events, namely the media, ugliness is not imprisoned, it is free like us to roam wherever it please, and it did this one day, this day I'm about to share with you.

For the sake of the story I will use my middle name, Lee: somehow it seems less out of character that way. I had gone to visit a friend in Japan, in the summer of 1999; I had met her in Istanbul, Turkey in l996. I stayed there-in Japan-for about a week, seeing most of the sites, such as a tourist would do: going to the top of the Tokyo Tower, and taking a train ride to Kyoto where nearby there was an international sumo wrestling tournament going on, to which I attended and met some of the world famous wrestlers. And of course, going to the top of Mount Fuji thereafter; all in all it was a most wondrous trip, to say the least, and perhaps the most sane: although, having MS, a disease of the nerves, my spine collapsed a few times in Japan, and I needed to seek out some physical therapy, a massage and some acupuncture, the acupuncture made it worse, and I collapsed again right on the tram. It was so bad, I slumped down, almost unconscious, until I found a chair across from me, where a young woman arose and gave it up.

From there I went to the island of Guam, stayed two days and one full night there, and getting a little more medical attention, in the form of a massage, which circulates my blood, and exercises my muscles automatically, where I do less of he work, and get all of the benefits.

At 3 p.m. the next day, I flew to Bali, my eyes wide open, my body rested, and my vision clear, for those with Multiple Sclerosis, vision can be a changing thing, my advise to those folks is keep moving, and find the sun; in any case, where I stayed another three nights, and then on to Central Java, to the city of Yogyakarta. In most place I travel, I conceal this medical issue, it seems to dominate the people around me if I do, though once removed, life goes on normal, and my eyes gazed upon this busy city with a bustling market place; everything really quite unfamiliar.

There I visited two sites, Borobudur, which is the largest Buddhist Shrine in the world (so I was told) made of somewhere around three million dark volcanic black bricks, over a natural mound. It is a marvel of ingenuity, for the world at large. And then I visited the temples at Pramanan, another breathtaking site. After two days of visiting these sites, I had three more days left. And this is where doubtful-reality may come into place for the reader-but the story cannot be changed, nonetheless; no not one iota, not to appease the media, or another's speculative witty and aphoristic scientific mind; really is what I will produce, not science, and be it a mystery of mysteries or not, so it shall be-even if it leads away from the practical world to the unbelievable.

Thus, it was on the second free day in Yogyakarta I received a letter down in the lobby, at the main desk, in my hotel, it read:

"For god's sake, come out to this peculiar and beastly, haunting hotel [more like a motel]. Another night like this, in this wilderness, will make me snarl, if not go nutty."

Frank Gunderson

That was enough for me. I was known to be a traveler of mysteries, or one looking for them, or so my reputation had preceded me often times. And Frank Gunderson also from the Midwest, was a writer like David Childress, whom I talked to once over the phone concerning some books and my house in Lima, which I was considering selling-and was considering going to Easter Island with his team, but could not at the time, I had to wait because of business, but went the following month with just my wife, and there met the renowned Archeologist, Charlie Love, whom sat with my wife and I at a cozy outdoor café, and had a drink while discussing the moving of the huge statues on the island. Well, Frank was like Charlie in the sense he was always looking for the unusual, and often times found it. To be honest, I didn't even know Frank was in country until I got the letter.

Even his speech, in the form of his awkward words, in his note, which was clumsily written in pencil, but it, had a curiously stilted quality to it, an expression (archaism) wholly unfathomable, but a seed planted with the request. Of the latter, is what motivated me though?

On the back of the note, was where I was to go, and so I grabbed my small suitcase, some shaving gear, and took a train about one hundred miles south, there at the station was Frank with a jeep, waiting, and no sooner had I disembarked the train we were both off to this hotel, a hotel I'd bestow an eldritch and macabre title to-soon. In my head as we traveled through the wild jungle, much complexity and indisputable newness was reproduced in every word Frank did not say, he was too quiet.

As we rode into the tropical forest deeper, harsh it was, like a picture of a lost world: then Frank, he babbled on about something: ghosts, fiends-devils, the macabre world, and the eldritch shadows, I dare say, what was on his mind, mystifying words for a strange abbreviation of something petrifiedly recalled. Then within forty-five minutes we were at a strange looking structure, he called, 'The Hotel,' a new phrase would soon begin; it looked more like a black volcanic brick low-built house, with four main rooms to it. The roof was that of wooden beams supporting some kind of jungle shrubbery and bamboo shoots covering the whole top. The stones to the building were that of the stones used at Borobudur I noticed.

Just his presence here, seemed to pull eat his physical strength, he was not by far as young as I, perhaps 60-years old, myself being 42 at the time. His hands, legs, bodily equipment in common seemed to become stiffer, alert.

(I can't describe this story as I'd like, the horror of it is somewhat placed deep in my mind, and not as vivid as I'd like it to be. But I will write calmly, but try to patient with me as I unfold the following!)

"You noticed it yet?"

Frank said a few minutes into our walk to the an imposing edifice, more on the order of structure that might have once been a motel or club house in the jungle: parking the jeep somewhat in the woods, not sure why; then he took me around to the back of this edifice, this one story building and into each room (apartment-section that is, so it looked).

I must admit, now at least openly, I became eager for information of all sorts into this mystery, I lost interest in my personal likening for the archeological sites I had seen the post few days, as I found this case of tremendously abstruse to my mind, almost childishly, but very oddly he did not explain much, was actually somewhat casual, not specific of events to come.

I had noticed gravesites in the back of the building, some of them, they looked fresh, others had dates on them going back as far as 1840, and others marked 1880, two historical events evidently, along with a most recent one, this brought some kind of actual fright to my bones. This uncanny cemetery, in back of this stone structure, had some kind of link to their vanishment I thought, and Frank, with me along side of him walked cautiously, by the stones.

After the tour around the building and its surrounding area, we went back to the back of the building again. I kind of laughed with some embarrassment and mumbled something like,

'What kind of a rat trap did you bring me to?' I mean he said it was a motel of sorts, and I wanted to be permitted to know the whole story of why I was here; I really did not suffer from a lack of curiosity that was for sure.

Frank then pointed towards the window panes, two of them on the right side of the building. They were smashed, destroyed as if something had hit them, broke them into pieces: matter of fact, it had just dawned on me, that none of the windows had glass in them, not one single one, the structure itself could have been older than Frank, and rebuilt a few times, from the way it looked. And there were holes in the roof, as if an earthquake had taken place; and of course, I knew better.

"You will soon be able to take home with you information for your colleagues, the psychologists, of your time, and gain a little mild celebrity among them, and even puzzle them with your bizarre symptoms. (What Lee didn't know, and what Frank was talking about was of course real aversions to soon take place.)

"What in god's name happened here," I began.

"No," he replied, adding, "it has nothing to do with god my friend," he said with a cool friendliness, however, I encountered some tone in his speech, that was vague with fears unresolved since we had entered this area, where resided some kind of black, hidden horror, all connected with an incalculable oddity I yet to experience.

He would not tell me completely what took place as to not spoil his pleasure, and mystery I do believe. I was dumbfounded, and curious, as he could tell in my voice, no exception, these feelings shared by Frank himself, and if it was terror and repulsion on the menu, evidently he, Frank wanted to conquer it, so it appeared. I indeed at that time felt that he was a stranger to me, for I had known him for eight years, but did not know this side of him maybe his proper self would return, but for the moment, it was glancing over this and that, in the so called 'hotel.'

"You don't know, you just won't understand, you got to stay until it happens again," he told me-repeatedly. I didn't see in the least what he meant, and followed him dumbly into his edifice, into a room. There we sat for three hours in the mucky heat, just sat and waited for whatever was supposed to happen, not a word said. Sat in the hole in the wall, sort of room: dirt on the floor, walls discolored with mud and blood and all kinds of debris; glass all over the place, and the roof-if you could call it that, and what was left of it-had the sun shining through it in several locations. I watched Frank, and wondered over the horror on his face, what was in his mind, voice, and his expressions.

(I will not attempt to tell much of what took place this day, and the readers may glean all the outward essentials, check out the scientific journals, and you will find me not so ridiculous.)

He, Frank jumped up-it caught me off guard and shook me up a bit.

"Come on Lee, it's starting," he grabbed my right arm and somewhat pulled me over to the door, then opened it slightly-just enough to look out-it was as if his secondary personality was alerted-and then had me look out, standing alongside of him, but I didn't see anything, and I was getting this endless irritation coupled with suspicion, that I wasn't going to. And out of the sky, just like that, suddenly came a rock, then several followed right in a row: small, big, medium size boulders, all bombarding the building, one after the other. Then they came faster and faster, more and more, larger and larger. I had to duck, as he shut the door, and bolted it. I gasped.

My sojourn was disrupted, what kind of human action was taking place, my body became abnormally rapid, said to Frank:

"What kind of trick is this?"

"No tricks," he said, adding, "the fiends [devils], the fiends, they are throwing them from out of the sky."

"What!" I replied, feeling this was a bunch of malarkey, for I had never read any solitary study on such a phenomenal.

"The Ghoul's are mad at me, the devils themselves, I've made fun of them, to get them to show their faces and this is what they do," said Frank, now with his tangible proof-in the form of magical rocks being tossed onto a doubtless, but stimulated me.

I shook my head, but they were coming from the sky nonetheless, what could I say, seeing is believing, and I did not want to get hit by one of those boulders to minimize my disbelief, I did believe in this ugly occurrence--period.

"I, I insulted them, I did," he repeated; "Oh yes, I was mighty good at that too." Said Frank, with an ongoing world-weariness and unabating interest,

Then all of a sudden a huge boulder came through the roof, it must had been two-hundred pounds, then half the roof caved in, I began to display signs of anxiety, and Frank saw this.

"We got to get out of here," I told Frank.

"What!" he questioned me, "out of here, why-we can learn from this happening, reopen the devils door, they must be huge beings to toss two hundred pound rocks through the air at such speeds, analyze it Lee, what kind of human action could this be, none, none at all, anyone with any intelligence can see the fiends are giants borne out of such makers as the fallen angelic beings of the time before the Great Flood, or perhaps those who built Solomon's temple, or perhaps, those giants on those islands in the Mediterranean, such as on Malta, or Crete."

Next, he started to cuss them loudly, calling them every name under the sun, and shaking his defiant fists at them from out of the window. He then threw his keys to the jeep at me, and told me to run for it, and he'd stop for a minute his cussing and that would puzzle the fiends: consequently, allowing me time to get to the jeep, so I ran like the dickens out into the bombarding environment to the Jeep, thinking as I was running, how right he was, this was not related to humans at all, hitherto mask like faces , shadows, giant shadows began the show sings of expression, in the foliage, in the deep, overhead, nothing completely visible, and I vigorously jumped into my jeep, muttered a few words as I started it up, and went like hell. In the meanwhile, I heard the rocks and boulders pounding on the building structure behind me.

I had made it back to the train station and eventually back to the city. Alas! Frank never wrote me again, I never heard of him or seen him from that day on. No one ever heard of him again to be exact. Pityingly the folks went out looking for him for a number of days, but could find no trace of him, nothing but his shoes, which he was wearing on that day. And the building was almost totally demolished; the whole structure looked like they were bombarded by heavy artillery. The inhabitants of that area say it took two weeks clearing up everything.

I do know one thing for certain; there is a grave stone behind that Hotel, among other grave stones with his name on it that says "Buried here are the Shoes of Frank Gunderson, died 1999, the only thing found of him."

Written in July, 2004 (The Author visited this location during the summer of 1999) Revised and reedited 7-2008.

Dennis Siluk has written two previous books of short stories, and is creating his third book, in with the story in this article will be placed. The Previous books being, "Death on Demand," and "Dracula's Ghost." He lives in the Midwest with his wife Rosa, and travels the world as often as he can. He has been to every location his short stories and poetry engulfs. His website is:


Yogyakarta Tourism

Yogyakarta (some people call it Jogja, Jogjakarta, or Yogya) is a city with outstanding historical and cultural heritage. Yogyakarta was the centre of the Mataram Dynasty (1575-1640), and until now the kraton (the sultan's palace) exists in its real functions. Also, Yogyakarta has numerous thousand-year-old temples as inheritances of the great ancient kingdoms, such as Borobudur temple established in the ninth century by the dynasty of Syailendra.

More than the cultural heritages, Yogyakarta has beautiful natural panorama. The green rice fields cover the suburban areas with a background of the Merapi Mountain. The natural beaches can be easily found to the south of Yogyakarta.

Here the society lives in peace and has typical Javanese hospitality. Just try to go around the city by bike, pedicab, or horse cart; and you will find sincere smiles and warm greeting in every corner of the city.

An artistic atmosphere is deeply felt in Yogyakarta. Malioboro, as the center of Yogyakarta, is overwhelmed by handicraft from all around the city. Street musicians always ready entertain the visitors of the lesehan food stalls.

Those who have visited Yogyakarta reveal that this city makes them long for it. Just visit here, then you will understand what this means.

Transportations to Yogyakarta:

* Train You may reach Yogyakarta by train from Jakarta, Bandung, or Surabaya
* Bus Yogyakarta is reachable by bus from Sumatra Island, Bali Island, and most cities of Java Island.
* Plane Recently, international direct flights from Kuala Lumpur are established to Yogyakarta. In addition, domestic flights to Yogyakarta from Jakarta, Denpasar, Balikpapan, and many others, are available now.


Thursday, 19 November 2009

Are You Thinking of Visiting Or Moving to Jakarta?

Since the late 1960's Jakarta has grown into a mega-city that has been "temporary" home to thousands of expatriates from all over the World. One of the city's most famous, expatriate "kids" - Barack Obama spent part of his childhood in Jakarta.

Aside from a long history of being "home" to many non-Indonesians. Modern Jakarta is a city of contrasts, and to many a scary mega city, which has a larger population than many countries in Europe, and states in the USA. But this has created a 21st century mega city, strongly influenced by a mixture of cultures.

Expatriates in Jakarta today, have an easier time of it, than expatriates of yesterday. The city has adopted many "westernized" traits, such as mega-malls, fast food outlets and suburbia. You can shop at Carrefour, drink coffee at Starbucks, and eat any type of food, often at reasonable prices, compared to home.

Depending on your contract, and the area you live in. Expatriates on the "high end," live in an ultra modern, affordable and "westernized" existence. There may not be that much difference between suburbia in the West, and in Indonesia to many of these expatriates.

Many expatriates prefer to live beyond the "high end" westernized suburbs like Kemang in South Jakarta. Sometimes because of convenience, given the fact traveling across Jakarta, could take as long as a flight to Singapore or even Shanghai, depending on the traffic.

So most locals and expatriates prefer to live close to where they work, rather than live in "ghettos" like Kemang. This means you experience the "real" Jakarta, the city of contrasts, were traditional kampungs. intermix with Fast food outlets, Malls and roadside street food stalls.

And not all expatriate jobs are the well paid Corporate Management or Consultant jobs that make life affordable in Kemang or other exclusive suburbs in the City- another reason why many expatriates, live in "normal" Indonesian-style suburbs or kampungs.

One of the secrets of adjusting to life in Jakarta, is to become "Indonesianized." This helps with business and work, where just because something resembles "back home," it does not mean it has the same. attitudes, manners and tastes differ from person to person, and Indonesians have a history of taking an idea, and then creating something uniquely Indonesian out of it.

Learn the local language, get to know the local food, and explore communities outside the closed in high end suburbs, and you discover a very unique and thought provoking City that will live in your memory even if you are passing through.

Jakarta is a city that embraces but changes outside influences, and symbolizes the rise of Asia, in this very new Century of great change. It welcomes you as long as you can adjust and accept the traffic, attitudes and extreme contrasts of this ever changing city- and has become "home" to many "foreigners" from all over the World.

Discover the City of Dreams


Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Backpacks - Top Tips on How You Must Pack Them

It is essential that you learn how to pack your backpack correctly and there are many factors that are determined by knowing how to back it in the most efficient way. Follow these top tips and learn the proper way to get the most out of your backpack.

By packing your backpack in the correct manner you will determine exactly what you will carry with you on your trip. If you pack in correctly, you will be able to take everything that you had planned to take, but if packed wrong you will be frustrated and disheartened as you may end up leaving vital items behind. Every backpacker must appreciate how to pack their backpack properly so you will have everything you need. Be learning how to pack your backpack you will make it a far easier task.

Organizing Your Backpack Items Using Colored Bags

A simple yet highly effective solution that provides the management of your backpack essentials yet adds negligible weight to your overall backpack is to use colored bags. Often backpackers go for the internal type frame backpack as they are much easier to carry. However, with these backpacks they generally don't have multiple pockets so you can organize your items and keep them in a specific place - they just have one large compartment. Before long you can become unorganized and "lose" your things inside your backpack. The remedy is to use different small color coded bags as you can put a certain group of items in each color bag. When you next go to open your bag to retrieve a certain item it will be so much easier to locate.

Knowing what to pack where?

You must get into the habit of packing the things that will need to get to quickly at the top of your backpack or in the outside pockets of the bag. This may sound common sense but with a little thought you can put these useful things where they are most accessible and this will save vital minutes when you are trekking.

If your have sharp or awkward shaped items don't put them in your backpack in such a way that they will dig into your back. Make sure that one side of the bag is not heavier than the other - even the weight out.

Any fuel used for cooking must be double wrapped and placed well away from food or drink, preferably in a sealed bag.

The author has been writing articles for many years. For more great tips like these check out his latest website on North Face backpacks which also gives help and advice to find great deals on a North Face fleece jacket as well as help and information on a range of outdoor gear.


Ten Travel Tips

When returning home a few years ago, I packed my keys in my suitcase, only to find out at the baggage claim that it did not arrive with me. There I was stuck at the airport with no keys to drive my car or ability to enter my home once I got there! Well since then I have collected a list of "to do's" to make my travel go more smoothly. Since people travel all year round these days, I thought I'd share this list with you. Here's to stress-less vacations.

10 Tips for Travel:

1. Carry on luggage: Don't make my mistake; be sure to take your medication and keys with you on board in case your luggage doesn't arrive with you. The carry-on should include your "must haves" such as: medications, toiletries, emergency contacts and travel documents, passport or other ID, a change of underwear or whatever else you can't live without.

2. Keep a standard list of travel items on file, listing all the necessities. You can add/delete as the season or occasion indicates, but at least you'll have a complete record from which to choose.

3. Identify your luggage with some personalized touch. It could be a colorful tag, luggage strap, or even spray paint a small design on the side...that certainly won't get torn off!

4. Stay hydrated while traveling, especially when you fly. Experts recommend drinking one cup of water for every hour in flight. You can carry a small plastic water bottle with you through security and fill it at a water fountain after you pass through. That saves a few bucks before you even leave!

5. Take small exercise breaks during your flight. Be sure to get up and walk every hour or so to keep the blood circulating in your lower extremities. If you can't get up, then at least stretch in your seat and flex your feet and move your legs.

6. Avoid jetlag by curtailing alcohol on board, eat light meals and only when hungry and drink plenty of water. When the flight departs, set your watch to the destination time zone to begin acclimating to the change. When you arrive, avoid taking a nap, which only prolongs jetlag. Instead get some fresh air by taking a walk or choose activities fitting to the new time frame.

7. Out of the country I find many hotels, especially the smaller ones, look alike. I always take hotel stationary or matchbook and drop it in my purse. Then if I need to take a taxi or ask directions, I have the exact name and address with me and no worries about potential language barriers.

8. One pleasure about traveling is escaping from the barrage of daily news. However, I've learned that is not such a good idea. Once I missed a flight due to bad weather, which made my trip home nearly unbearable. So I now follow the news, albeit in small doses, but enough to keep abreast of weather and other potential delays. Most airlines offer cell or text alerts that notify you in case of flight changes. Request that information when you book your flight to avoid unexpected hassles.

9. Be mindful of staying healthy as you travel. Be sure to wash your hands frequently and keep a liquid antibacterial handy when needed. Avoid others who appear ill and clean areas in your hotel room known to harbor germs such as the phone, TV remote, etc. If you are not feeling well, don't leave home without consulting your doctor.

10. If you collect things on your trip and need more room in your suitcase, why not take older clothes with you to shed along the way. I've done that and the hotel staff was happy to find a place for my sneakers, jeans or other items. That freed up luggage space for my souvenirs and other newly purchased items.

Bonus: One site I researched suggested that you shower in your underwear. Well, I wouldn't have thought of that, but it certainly supports "going green!"

No matter if you are jetting off to a far away place, touring the heartland or planning an economic "stay-cation," I wish you a wonderful and safe vacation. We all need time to relax and revitalize, so have fun!

For over 20 years, Barbara Katz has been committed to helping individuals (particularly women) and couples create the lives they want and deserve - initially as a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and now as a Certified Retirement Coach. In this new venture she is able to bring her extensive experience, intuition and education to provide her clients with the coaching and planning that will help them achieve a new level of fulfillment and purposeful living as they enter their "golden years." For more information on how to improve and maximize your retirement lifestyle go to


Tips For Women Traveling Alone

Nothing beats a weekend away from the hustle-bustle of work and everyday life. Whether it's just to visit a beach or a foreign place, women sometimes need to get away and just enjoy alone time. Here are some tips for women traveling alone.

Traveling solo opens up a lot of new opportunities to explore the world and get to know yourself better. The first tip is to plan ahead. Planning ahead not only allows you to get the best deals for airfare and accommodations, but also is advised for safety.

Choose flights that will take you to the place during the daytime. Arriving at your destination during the day is safer than arriving at night. Be very picky about the hotel that you're staying at. Choose the room which is most convenient. Know where the fire exits are, just in case of emergency. If you are bring important documents and jewelry with you, request for a safe and set a password that nobody knows except you.

Dress properly. Let's face it. You are not traveling to attract attention. It would also be helpful to make a quick research on how women dress on the country you're visiting. That way, you get to choose the safest outfits and explore the city without having to worry about anything.

Always have an itinerary. Bringing a map always helps, especially if it's your first time in the new place. When using public transport, be very careful and choose the most reasonable deals. Some countries take advantage of tourists who seem lost. Be confident and look as if you know where you're headed to.

Keep in constant communication with friends and family so they know what's happening. Email them from time to time or bring an international mobile phone just in case you need to call them.

Bring copies of your passport. You'll never know when these will come in handy and that this is only the type of identification that you need and is valid throughout the duration of your travel.

One of the tips for women traveling alone is that you need health insurance because you'll never know when you might need them. Bring all the medications and vitamins that will supply you energy during the trip. If you must bring other stuff for first aid (band-aid, alcohol, bandages), do so.

Stay alert everywhere you go and never be afraid to ask questions. Whether it be at a certain restaurant or the locations of the washrooms, don't be afraid to ask. If you are not comfortable talking to a stranger, then you might want to ring your hotel desk for assistance.

Be sure to have fun! Bring a travel journal with you and keep track of the beautiful places you've gone to, plus a digital camera which you could use to document the whole trip. Traveling alone need not be a daunting task, rather a brave and fun activity that is much-needed for relaxation and one that will lead to the path to self-discovery

On the internet, you drown in information but starve for knowledge. That's why I created, the number #1 source of Daily Life Advice. Hi, I'm Dr. Barry Lycka the founder of - and I encourage you to come enjoy my site. Let us help you live your life to the fullest. Feel free to use this article (but please give us credit. It's copyright protected.) And visit our Travel Section for up to date advice


Top Holiday Spots


The name Indonesia has its roots in two Greek words: Indos - meaning Indian and "Nesos" which means islands. It is an appropriate description of the archipelago as there are estimated to be a total of 17,508 islands, of which only about 6,000 are inhabited, stretching for 5,150 km between the Australian and Asian continental. The main islands are Sumatra Kalimantan), Sulawesi Irian Jaya), and last but not least Java. The nation's capital, Jakarta, has a fascinating and significant history

Climate-- Indonesia's climate is definitely tropical. The main seasons are summer, winter and monsoon; it is devoid of autumn and spring.

Culture-- Indonesia is rich in art and culture which are intertwined with religion and age-old traditions. The basic principles which guide life include the concepts of mutual assistance or "gotong royong". Religious influences on the community are varied from island to island. Indonesia is rich with culture with 250 - 300 ethnic groups live here.

From graceful court and temple dances to charming folk dances and boisterous play, the performing arts of Indonesia offer an astounding range of types and styles, shadow puppeteer is famous.

Cuisine-- Fish features prominently in the diet as fresh, salted, dried, smoked or a paste. Coconut is found everywhere. The staple food traditionally ranges from rice corn, sago, cassava to sweet potatoes.

Hot spots-Indonesia is a mix of beaches, forests and cities- Amlapura, Bali Barat National Park, Irian Jaya, , Java, , Jakarta, Baluran National Park, Karimunjawa Islands, Kalimantan (Borneo), Gili Islands, Gunung Rinjani (Mount Rinjani), Kuta, , Pulau Bunaken, Rantepao, Tanatoraja, , Sumatra, , Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park (Great Bukit Barisan Forest Park), Harau Valley, Jangga Village, Kerinci-Seblat National Park, Lingga Village, Medan, Mentawai Islands, Ngalau Indah Caves, Ngarai Sianok (Sianok Canyon), Padang, Pandaan Beach, Pandi Sikat, Parapat, Samosir Island, Siberut Island, Sipiso-piso Waterfall, Taman Hutan Raya Bung Hatta, and more.


The Malay Peninsula has thrived from its central position in the maritime trade routes between China, India and the Middle East. It is shown on early map with a label that translates as "Golden Chersonese"; the Straits of Malacca were referred to as "Sinus Sabaricus". The two distinct parts of Malaysia, separated from each other by the South China Sea, share a largely similar landscape in that both West and East Malaysia feature coastal plains rising to often densely forested hills and mountains. Putrajaya is the newly created administrative capital whereas the capital city isKuala Lumpur. Georgetown, Ipoh, Johor Bahru, Kuching, Kota Kinabalu, Alor Sar, Malacca Tow, and Klang are the major cities.

Climate -- It's hot and humid year-round in Malaysia .

Culture -- Malaysia is a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural and multilingual society, consisting of 52% Malays and other indigenous tribes. With Malays, Chinese and Indians living side by side The music, art, food, dance, architecture and general day to day living are influenced by all three to some degree, creating some of Asia's most fascinating sounds, sights and tastes. Malaysian traditional music is heavily influenced by Chinese and Islamic forms, it is based largely around the gendang (drum), but includes other percussion instruments. The country has a strong tradition of dance and dance dramas, some of Thai, Indian and Portuguese origin. Other artistic forms include wayang kulit (shadow puppet theatre), silat (a stylised martial art).

Cuisine -- There is a great variety; spicy Malay Food, a seemingly endless variety of Chinese food, exotic cuisine from North and South India, as well as Nyonya and Portuguese Food.

Hot spots -- Malaysia's love of Western-style is abundantly clear in its big cities, Kuala Lumpur, Penang etc. Malaysia boasts some of the most superb beaches, mountains and national parks in Asia. Cameron Highlands, Batu Caves, Lake Gardens ,Sepilok Orang-Utan Rehabilitation Centre, Taman Negara National Park.

Raman Verma is a travel consultant with India tour packages. Provides detailed information on Australia Travel packages.


Award Winning Tattoo Design For Everyone

What is tattoo? Tattoo is a mark made by inserting pigment into the skin; in technical terms, tattooing is dermal pigmentation. This sort of marking can be made on human or animal skin. Tattoos on humans are a type of body modification, while tattoos on animals are most mainly used for identification or branding.

Tattooing has been practiced worldwide. The Ainu, the indigenous people of Japan, wore facial tattoos. Tattooing was widespread among Polynesian peoples, and among certain tribal groups in the Philippines, Borneo, Africa, North America, South America, Mesoamerica, Europe, Japan, Cambodia and China. Despite some taboos surrounding tattooing, the art continues to be popular all over the world.

It has been around for thousands of years and has a direct link to culture and symbolism of each culture. Tattooing has been a Eurasian practice at least since Neolithic times. Even mummies also bearing tattoos and dating from the end of the second millennium BC have been discovered at Pazyryk on the Ukok Plateau. In Japan it is thought to go back to the Paleolithic era, some ten thousand years ago. Various other cultures have had their own tattoo traditions, ranging from rubbing cuts and other wounds with ashes, to hand-pricking the skin to insert dyes.

In the past tattoo served as rites of passage, marks of status and rank, symbols of religious and spiritual devotion, decorations for bravery, sexual lures and marks of fertility, pledges of love, punishment, amulets and talismans, protection, and as the marks of outcasts, slaves and convicts. The symbolism and impact of tattoos varies in different places and cultures, sometimes with unintended consequences. For example shamrock tattoos are believed to belong exclusively to the Aryan Brotherhood (within their range of the US prison system), but on the streets of America a shamrock tattoo can stand for whatever the wearer wants it to.

Today, people choose to be tattooed for cosmetic, sentimental/memorial, religious, and magical reasons, and to symbolize their belonging to or identification with particular groups (see Criminal tattoos). Tattoos of favorite bands and football teams' logos are fairly common in the west.[citation needed] Some Māori still choose to wear intricate moko on their faces. In Laos, Cambodia, and Thailand, the yantra tattoo is used for protection.

Now tattoos are used more as expressions of character. People find that being able to put what they find important in their lives on themselves for others to see is part of their freedom of speech. There are many various type of tattoo design. People see tattoos as an art and design.

For more award winning tattoo designs please click here.


Tattoo - Type of Tattoos

Tattoos can be classified on the basis of their origin

- Historical - Based on the Historical development such as Tribal Tattoos.

- Location - Based on the region and culture from which it has developed such as Celtic Tattoos, Cross Tattoos, Dragon Tattoos etc.,

- Designs – Based on the designs of the Tattoos such as Angel Tattoos, Butterfly Tattoos, Fairy Tattoos, and Flower Tattoos.

- Type of Application – Temporary or Permanent such as Henna Tattoos.

- Area of Application on the Body – such as Lower Back tattoo.

All these types are again interrelated. For instance, Tribal tattoos can also contain angels in their design. Celtic Tattoos can also contain Fairies. The Tattoos can be engraved in part of the body, and hence we cannot possibly define any particular design for Lower Back Tattoos.
Tattoos which originated from ancient tribes are called Tribal Tattoos. The original tribes, which had enriched the tattooing styles are the
Celtic Tribes – who lived in England and Ireland, had a style which was interlacing, spirals, dogs, birds and humans.

Maori Tribes – Originated from New Zealand and have traditional facial tattoos and special leg tattoos. Their style shows a lot of resemblance with wood carving techniques in which skill the Maoris excelled. The designs in their faces were so unique, to the extent that each person had an identity of his facial design. Maori hunted each Other to retain their supremacy among their tribe.

Haida Tribes – The Indian Tribes, which lived in the North West of America. Their tattoos show a lot of resemblance with the woodcarving of the Haida tribes, consists of thunderbirds, beavers, bears and fish.

Marquesan Tribes – who inhabited Marquesan Islands in Polynesia. They used to be completely covered with tattoos. Their bodies showed picture stories, for other tribes to recognize them. Their style was originally based on divinity Tiki, who was always portrayed with his eyes closed because he smells danger before he sees it. Images that are used a lot in this style are Shells [Wealth], Shark Teeth [protection], Lizards, Whales, turtles Fish Hooks and so on.

Borneo – Situated in Indonesia. The head hunters, of this tribe lived on ground and protected the others of their tribe who lived on the trees. Typical of their style are The Scorpions, flowers, dogs, dragons and spirals.

Thus the subject and range of symbols covered by Tribal Tattoos are vast and are classified as Native Indian, North American India, Pacific Northwest American Indian, Indigenous, African, Egyptian, mayan, Aztec, Hawaiian, Samoan, Maori, South Pacific, Micronesian, Polynesian, Melanesian, New Zealand, Eskimo, Inuit, Wiccan, Pagan, Gothic, Tahitian, Borneo, Oceanic, Oriental, Asian, Japanese, Chinese, Buddhist, Tibetan, India, Hindu, Deities, Aboriginal, Fraternal, Military, Heraldic, Ritual, Amulets, Talisman, Sacred, Mythological, Magical, Alchemy, Mythic Folk Art, Astrology, Astronomy, Neo-Tribal, Contemporary Tribal, Abstract Tribal, Geometric tribal, Traditional Tribal etc.,

This article is written by Dagfinn Rognerud, former Norwegian officer. This article may be reproduced as long as all Live links are included. Dagfinn has several pages about tattoos: [] [] []


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