A Philosophy of Radical Aliveness

A Philosophy of Radical Aliveness

"Yesterday is already a dream, and tomorrow is only a vision; but today well lived, makes every yesterday a dream of happiness and every tomorrow a vision of hope."

John Kerestes


Sunday, December 31, 2017

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If you wish to leave a comment or want to contact me please do so using my email:
(If your interest is primarily biographical, and you want to see what my early adventures were, be sure to view the older posts. They go back six decades to my childhood.)
Do not reproduce without my permission!

To see an archive of our personal artifacts,
as another way to peek into our history,
go to:  mholtby.blogspot.com

More of our travels go to:


Friday, December 1, 2017


Trip to the Oregon coast driving along Highway 101.

Visited two aquariums, the largest was the Oregon Coast Aquarium in Newport. It was large enough to take a good couple hours to go through. Then at Seaside their small aquarium had only local fish, but had a group of leopard seals that would splash water to get treats. The aquarium had fish available to throw them.

This photo has been the most popular on Instagram of those I've posted of the trip. At the time of this post it has gotten 299 "likes". It captures the mood of the broad, sandy beaches on the coast of Oregon.

Saturday, October 21, 2017


Mustang shoot organized by Mike's Camera at the Great Escape Mustang Sanctuary which is located Northeast of Denver.

Sunday, October 15, 2017


This was an epic trip to villages along the Sepik River, culminating in an invitation to attend the initiation of sixteen boys into the Yamuk Spirit House. Pictured above are boys in the Kanganamun Village wearing feather headdresses from the cassowary bird.

Pictured above is a member of a Sing Sing group performing for us from the Koroko Village.

In this photo a member of the Yamuk tribe dances as part of the initiation ceremony. A large group of these men stomped, groaned and chanted all night long before the boys underwent ritual scarification.

Here the boys are lined up naked and being lectured by the village chief as he jumps over them.

Saturday, September 30, 2017


Stopover in Brisbane, Australia on the way to Papua New Guinea to minimize jet lag and fatigue. Unfortunately, I had planned a stopover on the return trip which was to include the Koala & Kangaroo Sanctuary plus dinner with a "mate" who owns a goat farm. But I had to cancel due to being sick and exhausted from the PNG portion of the trip.

Artificial Beach Created on the Brisbane River

Wednesday, August 23, 2017


Went to visit my sister Tracy, and her husband Raoul, at their home in Lund, which is literally the last house going North on Highway 101. It is a beautiful setting on Desolation Sound. We went by seaplane, and had the thrill of being picked up on their boat.

While visiting we were able to hang out with a pod of killer whales.

And we went to lunch at Refuge Cove (below)

Saturday, August 12, 2017


An owl shoot organized by Mike's Camera and Hawk Quest Raptor Sanctuary with owls brought to Bear Lake Park near Morrison, Colorado.

Thursday, June 15, 2017


I attended a photographic event sponsored by Mike's Camera which was with Hawk Quest, a raptor sanctuary. This was my favorite photo from that event.

I have also made some trips to the Rocky Mountain Arsenal, which has been turned into a wildlife refuge. Every time I have seen Swainson's Hawks, which nest here and then in the winter fly to South America.

And every time we see lots of deer:

Monday, June 5, 2017

JUNE, 2017 - POW WOW

Attended a Pow Wow at The Fort in Morrison, Colorado. It is especially good for photographs because I can get very close:

PowWow from Mike Holtby on Vimeo.

Sunday, April 2, 2017


I went to the Ndutu Plain of the Serengeti in Tanzania during the wildebeest migration when two million wildebeest come through the area. I did not find a way to photograph the immensity of the landscape with wildebeest everywhere all the way to the horizon. The wildebeest all calf within a few weeks of each other, and thereby overwhelming predators with easy prey. Some are sacrificed for the good of the whole, in that there are too many for predators cannot take them all. The area was exceptionally plentiful with cheetahs, which we saw every day. Most often we would follow them while they hunted, sometimes for hours. The lions were also plentiful, in particular a mother with her three cubs, which we hung out with several times. They were cute like stuffed animals.

I also visited a Maasai Village, where they danced for me, took me to their small primary school, and showed me their houses. I was guided by Justice, a Maasai who worked for the And Beyond camp where I stayed. We spent hours talking about their culture, and his own history. It was a highlight of the trip.

For a video slide show of my trip please go to:

Tuesday, January 17, 2017


The annual National Western Stock Show, held in Denver, Colorado, celebrated the 100th anniversary of Buffalo Bill Cody's death by putting on his style of Wild West Show. There were trick riders, Annie Oakley, Mexican Charros, Russian Cossack riders, American Indian dancers, Mexican maidens riding side saddle, and a bronc rider. Pictured here are the two best photographs I got of the event.

Monday, January 16, 2017


This was our second trip to India, but this one left us with a much more positive impression. We went with Jim Cline Photo Tours led by Karl Grobl, who was probably the best guide we've ever had. The trip was tailored for photographers, so for instance to get this photo of a camel walking across the dune at sunset we paid him to walk back and forth about two dozen times to get just the right angle on the light. I do think it is a stunning effect.
We had Patrick Firouzian a professional videographer with us who was there to promote the Jim Cline Photo Tours. Here is a video he took of all of us taking the camel photo (that's Judy doing the Egyptian routine). I'm in the yellow ball cap (which I'll never wear again!): 

Here is one more clip from Patrick when we went to an opium ceremony in a remote village:

Patrick used a drone for parts of the trip, so his clips are particularly worth watching!

I have also posted a video slide show which I titled "The Faces of India". The people were very gracious and patient with all our picture taking.

Faces of India from Mike Holtby on Vimeo.

The trip was focused around attending the 300 year old Pushkar Camel Market with 10,000 camels. We would get up at dawn to catch the earl morning light with the camel traders, and wear ear plugs when we went to bed in our tents because the party went on until the early hours of the morning.

Pushkar Camel Market from Mike Holtby on Vimeo.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017


On our way to India we did a stop over in London. We have begun stopping in Europe, first in Madrid and then Amsterdam to break up the 30 hour travel to places like India and Africa.

I picked a hotel close to Trafalgar Square. We had essentially a day-and-a half to explore. We visited the National Portrait Gallery, and the British Museum.

Then Judy wanted to see Harrod's, where we had high tea.

We used the Underground (Mind the Gap!) along with the locals.

Saturday, December 3, 2016


This was a trip we did with our friends First and Chad. We were amazed at the amount of people there after Labor Day. We were there up until the closing of the RV facilities. I read later that it was a record year with 4,221,782 by October.

Yellowstone remains a premier park with both an abundance of wildlife, and geothermal wonders.


 Traveled with my best friend, Frank to Botswana and Namibia with CNP Safaris out of South Africa. They provide custom vehicles for small groups of photographers mounted with Nikon cameras with 600mm telephoto lenses.

Here is a link to a short slide show of some of the best photographs taken on this trip:

Namibia & Botswana Safari from Mike Holtby on Vimeo.

Friday, December 2, 2016

August, 2016: AMSTERDAM

On our way to Africa Frank and I did a brief stopover in Amsterdam. We had a hotel right on one of the canals.

Amsterdam is a very manageable city and we visited the Anne Frank Museum, as well as their largest art museum, the Renich which proved well worth it.

I had a dinner to die for: mussels while on the sidewalk of a bar/café: the DeReiger.

Amsterdam is a place that is pretty difficult to have a car in the central part of the city, and there are bikes all over. It's the most practical way to get around. With the canals, the roads are all level and narrow. There is plenty of parked bikes, but few for cars.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

New Slide Show - The Universal Child

This video is five minutes of kids around the world demonstrating their spontaneity, spunk and playfulness. It illustrates both the diversity and universality of the human family.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

June 19, 2016: GAY PRIDE

A week after the Orlando Massacre in which 49 people were killed and 51 wounded in a gay nightclub Denver's Gay Pride Parade and weekend celebration occurred.

I had not initially planned to go as I was manning a booth in an art show. But after the shooting I felt a need to be there to support the GLBT community.

To view a slide show of 80 of my best photos from the event go to:

Gay Pride 2016

Thursday, June 16, 2016


I was a winner in this contest last year when the theme was "Travel". This year the theme was "Home," and I was again a winner - honorable mention (in the top 50) out of over 1,000 entrants from around the world.

This photo was taken when we were in Morocco in March of a Berber Nomad kitchen.


I went to Minneapolis for two reasons. First I spoke at the 28th Annual National Conference on HIV & Social Work. I anticipate it will be my last workshop at a national conference due to my retirement, and my growing tired of doing these workshops. Over the past few years, especially since I've retired I've done over a dozen of them. It was, however, a fun time. Above is the view from the 22nd floor where my hotel room was in the Hyatt Regency.

The second reason for me to go was to visit Waverly, Minnesota which is an hour west of Minneapolis. It is a very rural town but it is where my grandfather grew up, and my great grand father had a carpentry business.

I was fortunate to meet Ed & Sue Claessen, the local historians for Waverly. And they gave me a grand tour of the town, the graveyard, and a farm where my Great Grandfather built the barn.

Their passion is old tractors, and Ed proudly cranked up is 1921 Best tractor which is in running order. They were just back from a tractor convention where they were the featured guests. They recently published a book on the history of Best tractors, which were the precursors of Caterpillar tractors.

Monday, June 13, 2016


I have spent the past month preparing for a gallery showing of my 1Planet1People collection of photographs. It will be shown at the Wandering Gallery for the Santa Fe First Friday art walk, August 5th. It is a small gallery between Santa Fe and Inca on 9th Avenue.

A link to the collection on line is:

Sunday, April 10, 2016


On our way home from Morocco we did a "rest stop" in Madrid. This broke up two long flights, and gave us a chance to see another country.

We arrived one day, had another full day to explore, and left for Denver on the third day.

We visited the Prado Art Museum, taking a tour that was supposed to get us in early. However, the Japanese had bought up all the early tickets. Our guide was able to help us maneuver around the large Japanese tour groups (about 30 tourists, their guide with a flag).

We were able to see the Catedral de Santa Maria la Real de la Almudena, a very impressive building, a relatively modern church started in 1883, but not completed until 1993.

This photo is of a Roma gypsy who was begging (with her cup). I told her I'd give her 5 Euros if she's let me take her photo. When she had the money she immediately walked away. When I yelled after her, she turned and waved.