Saturday, February 11, 2017

If in a good mood: "Wild-lands and Wildlife are and will always be the unique feature of the West!"

If in a not positive mood: Hurry up before it's too late!

Comb Ridge

I'm getting ready for the next On the Wild Road expedition, at the beginning of June. And I'm also working on the following one, likely to happen in mid October. And I'm grateful to be engaged in these projects, the main reason that still keeps me here. I am happy to make it happen, honored to pull together programs, meetings and itineraries. With the blessing of High Country News. And excited to learn at every step of the way.

Why am I so hesitant then? In one word: Trump.

Between now and June anything can happen, I mean literally anything. EPA may not exist anymore, and what's left or what replaces it will be led by someone who could be hired to destroy the Amazons in one day and do it without hesitation. It's that bad.
What really worries me is what will the future be for the wildlife still living here? We are already seeing a changing attitude towards wildlife with an increase in killings on protected areas. Unpunished. 

I don't have much to add, I'm pessimistic and worried. At least for the time being, with moments of hope! Often things must get worse, to get better. However in this case once the animals are gone and the land built upon, there is little to be done to restore them to pre-trump era! 

The plan to destroy what has been preserved for centuries is now going to be implemented with enthusiasm, looking at all the money that can be done with it.

Yummm...look at that shining oil running through forests...look at those little homes- badly built but very expensive- for those idiots who are so gullible to buy them...

The National Parks, National Monuments and other kinds of protected areas may be eroded to the point of non existence. It is heart warming to witness the clever efforts of the people who work in those organizations! They quickly thought of a way to bypass the bans to share information with the public, which ultimately is the owner of all this beauty, by creating private Twitter accounts so continuing their work as well as mocking the dispatchers of those stupid orders. But they will possibly lose their jobs or be forced to do something that is the opposite of their current mission.

This coming June we chose to go to the new Bears Ears National Monument, already under threat of being dismantled. We will also meet with representatives of the Native American Tribes Coalition who were fundamental in obtaining the nomination. A lot to hear and learn. 

Valley of the Gods- Jack Arnold

Will we come back with a message of hope? Will the world pressure and the daily oppositions succeed in keeping these treasures? 

Here is the link to this expedition: 
It would be nice to travel with some of you and enjoy a few days of beauty together!

The area is one of the most intensely beautiful of the Southwest, dotted with ancient habitations and rock art from the Ancient civilizations that lived here for centuries. 

Monarch Cave. Jack Arnold

I can't imagine it won't be here for the generations to come! 

Sunset. Jack Arnold

Sunday, October 9, 2016



The first On the Wild Road excursion is now in the past. And the next ones are in the works.

I can honestly say that in spite of all the anxiety and doubts, the first excursion has been a success. For more than one reason.

Let me begin with the people who participated. At first looking at each other with curiosity and suspense, we soon became buddies, happy to be sharing a new experience. 
And the experiences were many and diverse: surprise, fatigue, relaxation, laughter and most of all, curiosity.
What a pleasure  meeting them all and debating our respective points of view.

Then there were the people we met with at each location. We learned a lot from “our guys on the ground” who had an incredible amount of  knowledge based on experience accumulated over the years. We talked, took a lot of pictures, had dinners together where we kept on talking.
Their different perspectives and scenarios they shared show how dedicated these activists are to the cause of preserving (and releasing when possible) any wild things they come across. 
And then there is The land. Gorgeous! Never a moment of "meh"!  Of course we knew that.  But seeing this landscape in person is never disappointing.

 on the wild road with Seven Directions

And...the animals! OMG, from big cats to raptors, all sadly in danger or saved but not free anymore, except in a few circumstances. The dedication and care they receive is quite amazing. Some sanctuary has more money than others, some groups are more or less active. Everybody shows a tremendous dedication.

We saw a couple of camels! Okay, not native...just abused. We saw great tigers. No kidding. There are 6,000 in the USA. All bought as pets and then "given away" or abused in the horrible zoos along the street or in the even worse circuses. We need education here!
My favorite is the bison, king of the West. The American Mammal.
Wolves, mountain goats, wolf dogs, eagles, wild horses and on and on. Gorgeous and loved.
People must learn that we are all sentient beings with feelings, families, health needs. And that we all suffer when isolated and beaten to teach us how to entertain the "public".

We also visited a couple of lovely farms run like families, providing amazing food to restaurants, looking like a place where you want to spend a long vacation, maybe volunteering. 

At Chef Seidel farm that provides fresh food to his restaurants in Denver, Mercantile and Fruition.


The Living Farm in Paonia, CO. A spontaneous art work.
I learned a lot at every step of the road, which spurred on my passion to continue this journey. These  trips into the wildlife of the American West might become a tool to help those on the ground and ultimately the cause of wildlife survival. And eventually lead to respect.

Lessons learned: shorter days (everyone was dead tired after 8 hours on the road, (including our driver!) but the West is notoriously huge! Then since everybody's taste is different, more freedom when it comes to meals allowing to make personal choices, including not to eat.
We were happy to bring some monetary help to everyone, the cost of running a sanctuary being enormous. Most people working on the ground are volunteers, or poorly compensated. And they work in difficult conditions or too far away from home.

I, however, was surprised by so many happy people living away from everything, attending to animals all the time and when not doing that, fixing or cutting or cooking or whatever is needed. And happy, very happy. I can't stop feeling huge admiration for all of them. 

I am strongly motivated to bring the message to more people, a message of respect, love, and understanding for those who were on this land before.

I am learning every day about this world of wildlife care, I'm trying to understand what makes some structures better than others, whether operating on the ground or through specific organizations, what can be done to help, what is the future of wildlife in a world looking at exploiting every possible inch of land for personal benefits. The people on the ground and their ideas, their perseverance against all odds (the odds are huge and many!), their smiles and kindness when talking to the animals have taught me that will power and love is (almost) everything one needs.

For a short time it has been like living in a different world where we all stood for the same kind of ideal life, and although in the outside world it is very different, it is that attitude of togetherness and sharing that helps to win the battles, one animal at a time.

Life is complicated, so the same applies to the animal world and to the interaction with us humans. I hope it will get better. 

In the offices of High Country News. A sketch of the building dedicated to the founder, Tom Bell, journalist, educator, rancher, who just left this planet.


Saturday, September 10, 2016

Five Months Later

On April 10th I posted the embryo of an idea. Now it is reality!
I am beyond happy.                                                                                                          
I am excited like a little girl going to enjoy a carousel for the first time! With the help of only a very small group of enthusiastic people who believe in this idea and the wonderful collaboration with High Country News that I respect and love (and read religiously) more than anything, I will soon be on the road. The thing I like most since I moved to the Southwest, to be on the road.

This tour, On the Wild Road, is the first of many that HCN and Seven Directions will develop in, about, for, in defense of the American West. And its WILDLIFE.

I already have learned a lot, talked with incredible people for their knowledge and dedication, met with organizations whose support is very important to our cause.
Combining the business skills with one's passion is undoubtedly the best thing that could happen to a person. Work and interests, technicalities and passion are combinations that many of us have searched through our life. After a long and varied career in many different areas, I now feel fulfilled and happy. 
The purpose, or purposes, of these travels through the Western organizations dedicated to save, help and support our wildlife will become even better defined on the road through the participants' discussions and the learning process brought by talking with the people on the ground.
The overall objective is

We have assembled a wealth of books, articles and papers to help us navigate through the wildlife world. An original e-book is provided by HCN with articles published over the recent years pertaining to the different animals we meet with day by day.

Some lessons learned:

  1. when you feel you can't go any further, look at the award, your dream coming true. You will find the strength to continue.
  2. risk taking becomes for a while your best companion. It works only if you believe in your dream.
  3. read anything you find around you...even Facebook posts! One word can lead you to incredible new ideas!
  4. Trust your friends, mostly offering negative advice...The energy the anger created in your soul by hearing their remarks is fuel to go forward! Some though may suggest interesting ideas!
The serendipities that brought people together on this project, the new friendships, the bonding that a common cause creates, the ongoing learning process, expectations and thrills are but a few rewards I am already enjoying.

What I cherish more than anything is having the opportunity to see up close a lot of wonderful animals, big and small, threatened or not. They never betray us. I found a place where people like me, meaning with no specific expertise in caring for animals, can stay at to just be and feel their wonderful spirit. That's my next vacation! 

It is freedom as the absence of other people’s influence, manifested as the nonhuman world around us, realized as a place we can go but should not change. It is the freedom environmentalists restoring wilderness, and animal rights activists liberating animals, fight for every day.

Thoreau wrote of in Walden.


Sunday, August 28, 2016

Why travel?

Not for sheer amusement, nor to brag about it with your friends when you are back home, nor to show your boring pictures.
This is my honest view.

I know that nobody would say they travel for one of those reasons, but....they do! I remember when, back in those days, we produced tons of slides and then we struggled to have all the equipment ready to entertain a terrified audience of friends! The most common comment by the person showing the slides was "here we had so much fun"....

It really doesn't matter how one prefers to travel, whether in a group tour or with a deluxe travel company, what is important is how one travels.

I would highly recommend to start with an open mind and forget your world and habits for a while. Many travelers I've seen tend to look for the same things they have at home. Italians, for instance, always complain about not finding good pasta...Really, it happens more often than not.

I think that there are a few qualities and steps to be taken which make a trip worthwhile:
  • having read books about the region one visits, and written by authors native of that place
  • choosing a book to read while traveling
  • an open mind attitude
  • curiosity for the "otherness", rather than judgment. To compare the "new" with your own traditional world destroys the pleasure of traveling
  • interest in discovering the local music and knowing the instruments it is played with. Same for textiles and other forms of craft
  • human beings! Here it gets tricky. There are ways to approach them and ways that are bad. It is very annoying to be the center of interest and picture taking followed by a complacent look of the photographer and a quick thank you look. Since humans have the same feelings in every corner of the world, it is a good rule to think before acting and to remember not to do to others what you would not done to you (or something like that...!)
  • knowing a few words of the language used in the country one visits helps creating a thin but important bridge with the locals
  • get loose! Try to find time to explore on your own, meet whomever is on your path, be surprised in silence!
On a trip anyone of us can touch somebody's heart and mind. When traveling we become ambassadors of human relations and we can offer something to remember or...not.

Traveling is one of the best things that can happen to you! and since it is so relevant for  your mind and heart it becomes really important to be the best of you when reaching out to other worlds, whether around the corner from home or days away.

Our world has become very fragile. Who knows for how long it is still here for us. Tourism is becoming a huge threat to our planet, and no traveling format is safe anymore. When we go out discovering untouched sites it is the beginning of the end for it. When we approach a member of a far away tribe, his or her life is changed forever, often for the worse.

I would say that traveling on own, or in a small group of like minded friends, with the consciousness of what is right or wrong, it is the best. Speaking against my business interests, going solo is, probably, the best in terms of leaving the least tracks behind your passage. If you know how to travel well!

Please, remember that each footstep and each selfie can pose a threat to the object of your interest! Since I'm passionate about wildlife and animals in general I want to mention this, an example among many: by taking a picture too close to a mom bear means she gets scared for her cubs and attacks you and then she has to be killed as "dangerous" for humans. Who is dangerous here? I'm biased, yes, I know. And happily so!

To sum it up, traveling means pleasure for the traveler and often destruction for the destination.
Let's try to create a balance between what we take and what we give and leave behind our passage.

So the title of this blog has changed to: How to travel.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

A Hot Summer

Yes, the climate is changing, faster every day.
But also the world is going crazy and hotter in many ways. There is a joke I loved when I was little, where one can say "stop the world, I want to get off". I want to get out now!

However, looking at the past, when I was already walking on Mother Earth or just by reading history books, I understood that the now is only bigger. Bigger evil, bigger weapons, bigger criminals, bigger lies, bigger territories, bigger wounds, bigger..bigger...
Because we talk and act globally, not because it was so much better in the good old day.

The clamor of the news is nerve wrecking. It wakes me up in the middle of the night. I try to think of possible solutions, useless.

I can't refrain from reading, constantly and obsessively, the news, comments about the news, the contrary of the first news, what my friends think, and my enemies.

I am tired. Very tired. I'm not alone but at the same time we are too few to feel this shame for the inhabitants of Planet Earth.

So if it's not worse than before, what do we have to complain about?
Several obscenities.
How is it possible that after WWI, WWII, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the genocides-well known and not so much-, the nuclear tests on p-e-o-p-l-e, the assassination of people fighting for their country or causes at the hand of unclear "interests", or maybe very clear but unspeakable, child labor, racism, wildlife extermination...and so on, and on, and on, things got even worse? How is it possible that humankind is viscerally cruel? Most are the terrible decision makers of the planet destiny, but many are us, are people we know. From global to local, evil is rampant. Often disguised as egocentrism, jealousy, envy.

Should I add that "they"-"they" are the perpetrators of 100% of today's evil - must also be blind and plain stupid if they think to be able to survive their own cruelties?

Some have died, in peace...alas! But others won't.

How is it possible to rejoice after seeing the consequences of wars, terror, illnesses and suffering?

Maybe not rejoice, rather just be care-less, because they only focus on their own personal return. Can be their mothers' fault??!!
I suppose they are totally numb, and callous.

We are all the same, made of the same stuff, and ending in the same way. Nobody will survive the cataclysm it's being crafted day after day!

The hippy mantra "live in the now" may have gotten to these people too, although at the opposite spectrum of life style. They can only see themselves "in the now". Taking advantage of their crimes. Not in a grave of some sort, dead forever.

So, maybe, it is worse than before, at least in sheer numbers.

But I didn't begin this rant to point fingers. I am openly asking a question: why we (1) transformed over the centuries in this un-human thing, only ready to kill, steal, abuse, cheat, threat, and, again, kill?

(1) We doesn't include you, I, and our dearest friends!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Here we go!

It's been a roller coaster. But worthwhile for sure. As I felt that things were moving in the right direction and that I was able to juggle all the tasks to get on time to the launch, I began to feel happy.

I am now able to tell you what my new project is about.

1. It's a tour. No big news here
2. It's about animal, specifically wildlife. My passion
3. It takes place in the West, the US West. The reason I moved here. No across continents flights required!
4. It takes place at a great time of the year, mid September
5. It is limited to a small number of participants. 18.
6. The tour takes to three states: Colorado, Wyoming, and South Dakota.
7. The lucky number! These tours are a joint venture between High Country News and its new HCN Travel and my Seven Directions|Cultural and Sustainable Tours!!! This publication has an unmatched reputation among all the people who care and are interested in preserving the beauty of the West, its natural landscape and wildlife. Through in-depth journalism, it informs and inspires people to act on behalf of the West. What an honor for me!

In the last blog I left you with an image of is another one! The strength of this animal is in our logo and, we hope, in our project. It is an ancient and majestic animal, the strong symbol of this country. Unfortunately in danger. Not the country...the bison!

Throughout the tour you can visit different kinds of animal sanctuaries, see animals in the wild, and speak with experts with interesting backgrounds to better understand the current wildlife situation, the challenges, the efforts being made to help which in no way are the ultimate solution. Freedom is! Together we can envision new approaches, ways to help and contribute, and by educating ourselves better understand how to reach out to the new generations.

This is not a safari! It is a journey of love, love for nature and its inhabitants, with the purpose of becoming, all tour participants together, a support to those on the ground and an ally of the wildlife.

The overnight stays offer moments of relaxation in fabulous places and historical hotels. The food is also, in most cases, a protagonist. It is excellent and often a farm to table experience.

More details can be found here:

I would be very happy to hear from you and understand if you share with me the love for wildlife in the wild!


Sunday, April 10, 2016

New Vitality

Both physical and intellectual! I am happy.
Thanks to the determination of quitting smoking, the 2 years anniversary is in two days, I went crazy, down, up, and in all direction. This unpleasant situation helped me think just about everything. Me and myself in particular. Life and death. My dear friends whom I will never speak with again.

Some of my past blogs full of ideas of change and questions about me, my life,  reflect those months.

Hey, I got over it, not only feeling better, but feeling creative and excited. My usual me is back!

I am a senior and happy to be. It is such a huge achievement to be senior but young at heart. I feel I am a very lucky person, both my parents genes made me sturdy and open. My own life's ups and downs taught me a lot and I put it aside in the "experiences to use" drawer. Very useful. After repeating the same mistake many times I finally learned to tell myself "wait a moment, I remember this!"

Soon I will talk about my new projects. I am back planning tours. But I also found a path I hope to be able to walk because it's what it really matters to me.

I have no ideas about who reads my blogs. More people than I thought or signed up because sometimes someone tells me they read a story from my blog. I hope to have you all out there in the universe with me for a while still.

To the next with my secret dreams!
Coming soon