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


Saturday, December 31, 2016

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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:


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.


 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.

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:

Monday, April 4, 2016


Two weeks in Morocco with our own personal guide and driver, Mohammed Aboud from TripsToMorocco.com.

Started in Tangier and drove South, ending up in Marrakesh. Highlights of the trip include the city of Chefchaoen with it's pastel blue buildings, and men cloaked like Druids; visiting a nomad Berber family in their tent, and another that lives in a cave. Also visited Fez which is famous for it's narrow alleyways, and centuries old tannery (where we bought leather jackets custom made for us). And then there was our time in the Sahara Desert close to the Algerian border where we rode camels at sunset, and stayed overnight in a tent. And finally, there was Marrakesh with it's immense market and square, the latter which was a circus of entertainers, snake charmers, fortune tellers, and belly dancers (men dressed like women)

To see more photos and stories about this trip go to: 



Saturday, December 5, 2015


We were in Orlando for an APNA Conference (American Psychiatric Nurses Association) where Judy was presenting. This year my workshop proposal was not selected, but I went along. We came two days early and went to Disney World and Epcot Center. The third day, which Judy was in the Conference, I went to Universal Studios.

I found all of it very expensive. A neighbor of ours went around the same time with a family of four and estimated they spent $6-7,000 (including hotel, rental car, meals, and the cost of getting into the various parks).

I thought Disney World would be great if you were 4-7 years old. But it struck me as out of date, and not very interesting. The best of all the parks for me was at Universal Studios which had more updated technology to enhance the rides. Some made me have motion sickness, and some I wouldn't even attempt: the big roller coasters.

In all, it was mildly interesting but I don't need to go back.


Denver hosts one of the largest "Zombie Crawls" in the Country. People (mostly adults) dress up as the "undead". It is very creepy, but great for unusual photos. People are decked out in very elaborate costumes that show a lot of creativity.

I can understand how children develop a fear of clowns!

Thursday, September 24, 2015


Lund is a very small village and harbor where my sister and her husband own a home overlooking the water. The town only has 300 year around residents, and is mile "zero" on highway 101. Here is a link to information about Lund

I flew up via seaplane through Kenmore Air. Unfortunately, the first day the flight was cancelled due to inclement weather. This is a photo the day that occurred and you can see we were socked in with fog.

Once we arrived we visited the resident sea lions (below), and were visited by a bear who ate all the apples on their tree, and all the grapes growing on their arbor. The day after I left my sister was kayaking along the coastline and a large humpback whale surfaced close to her.

Saturday, August 29, 2015


 We just returned from a trip we characterized as "arduous and awesome". Just getting there was an ordeal: four plane flights, a long van ride, and four hours in a dugout canoe. We were on the Middle & Upper Sepik River for the first week. That was a great experience, staying in village houses - and experiencing life in a very hot and humid jungle with no electricity, plumbing, Internet, showers, etc. Ironically, we slept better there than usual!

We went for the purpose of attending the Mt. Hagen Cultural Show or Sing-Sing. That was in the Highlands where we were the second week. There it was cooler, and actually the temps dropped to the point Judy had to go out and buy shoes and a sweatshirt (we had prepared for the hot weather).

The Mt. Hagen Sing-Sing was only one of four we attended during our stay. And probably my favorite, although much smaller, was the Crocodile Festival while on the Sepik River.

Another highlight for us was being in a village when the Chief (known as the "Big Man") returned from a crocodile hunt. We were given a tail to eat, and it turned out to be the best meal we had on the river.

The group below was my favorite that performed in the Central Highlands at both the Paiya and Mt. Hagen Sing-Sings. They are known as Sili Muli from Enga Province, Wabag.

I have done a separate blog on our trip which can be viewed at:

Papua New Guinea Blog

I have also posted 170 photo from this trip on Flickr:

Flickr PNG Gallery


Wednesday, July 29, 2015

July 2015: Photo Contest Winner

This photo was taken in Botswana in 2014. I entered it in a travel photo contest sponsored by Santa Fe Photographic Workshops. There were almost 2,000 entries from photographers all over the world. Mine was selected in the top ten!

Here is a link to all the contest winners:

2015 Winners

2015: Portfolio Video

June 2015: Road Trip to South Dakota & Wyoming

South Dakota is only a (long) day's drive from Denver but in almost 40 years here I had never been to Mount Rushmore, or the Badlands. Having a new Toyota Tacoma there was no better time to go.

Mount Rushmore was impressive in size, but the adjoining town, Keystone S.D., was a tourist trip. And there were lots of people there and at the monument.

The Badlands, however didn't disappoint. They are truly impressive.

Another highlight for me was a wildlife reserve called Bear Country. I was the first one there at 7:30am - anticipating that's when the animals would be most active. You drive through, and the animals are separated from each other by electric cattle guards. You can get quite close:

On the way back I got on a historical kick and visited six museums in Wyoming. The best were in small towns: Wheatland and Lusk where you can see an iron lung and a two-headed calf as well as some frontier buildings and artifacts.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

May, 2015: Wyoming with New Truck & Trailer

After buying a somewhat larger trailer than our old Aliner - in part because our big Irish Wolfhound, Drummer didn't have enough space; we discovered my old 1997 Toyota Tacoma had too hard a time towing it.

So I bought a 2015 Tacoma with a bigger engine. It is barely big enough, but a Tundra would have cost $10k more and I couldn't get it in the garage.

This was our first time out this year. The goal was Yellowstone, but we were met with rain and snow.

With the inclement weather and relative lack of wildlife sightings in the Park, my favorite part of the trip was visiting the Wyoming Territorial Prison museum in Laramie, and South Pass City outside of Lander - another frontier town which is now a museum.

The highlight for Judy was the scenery in Wyoming:

Thursday, March 5, 2015


Gardens of the Queen, Cuba from Mike Holtby on Vimeo.

This trip was scheduled prior to Obama's overtures to open up our relations with Cuba. We had a special educational visa through Ocean Doctor to dive at the Gardens of the Queen. This is an underwater reserve which was established decades ago, and as a result has some of the biggest groupers and most sharks a diver is likely to see in the Caribbean.

Judy did four dives, and then had an ear blocked with water that she could no longer clear. I did ten dives, reaching a lifetime total of 200. On eight of those dives we were escorted by sharks: silkies, and Caribbean Reef Sharks. In my dive career I have now been diving with seven different kinds of sharks - and never felt threatened.

We were moved to go on this trip by a 60 Minutes episode where Anderson Cooper featured the Gardens of the Queen (and our dive master, Andreas was one of the people he interviewed). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bhC1U8hj4Yk

We also saw the Goliath Grouper that Anderson filmed. They can reach 5-600 pounds. You can see the relative size of this one using Christine Gordon who is in the right of the frame for scale. This group would imitate Andreas shaking his head. These fish are endangered, close to extinction, and cannot be found many other places as they are easy to catch, curious, and prized as a fish people like to eat.


We also spent a day in Havana, which I found less adamant about "the triumph of the Revolution" which I heard often as a cliché when I first visited Cuba in 2001. I, for one, would like to see the embargo lifted. I can't see how it has made a dent in the Castro regime, and the people need the economic shot we could provide.

We stayed at the Hotel National, which before Castro was owned by the Mob (Meyer Lansky), and visited by many famous people: Frank Sinatra, Ernest Hemingway, Winston Churchill, & FDR just to name a few.
 Cubans are limping along with cars acquired in the United States before the revolution. They have found they can keep them running by making their own parts, or using parts from the Russian cars they were able to obtain. But most people don't have cars, and transportation for the average Cuban is a big problem - as is basics like food and housing.

3 MINUTE CUBA from Mike Holtby on Vimeo.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

December 2014 & January 2015: Home to Seattle

Four trips "home" to Seattle and Whidbey Island over the past six months.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

October, 2014 IN MOAB, UTAH


After our camping trip in August I concluded that our 2000 Aliner was showing it's age. It also was getting more and more difficult for the three of us - including Drummer, our Irish Wolfhound, to have enough room in the trailer. So I began to shop for an upgrade. This is what we settled on, and this was the first big trip with the new trailer. Unfortunately, I concluded that my 1997 Toyota Tacoma is a bit underpowered to pull it. So now I have to get a more powerful truck over the winter.
The photo below may look familiar if you use Microsoft Windows screen savers. It is my favorite arch in the Moab area. It is Mesa Arch in Canyonlands, 35 miles South of Moab - which is best seen at sunrise. It's obviously worth getting up early!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

September, 2014: TURNING OF THE ASPENS

Every Fall our aspen groves bloom with yellow for a brief time, then turn grey and lose all their leaves. This photo was taken from our favorite camping spot, Aspen Ridge, SE of Buena Vista, Colorado. Fortunately, it is a difficult place to get to, but even with that we were lucky to find our spot vacant. On the way over Kenosha Pass the traffic was stop and go with so many people coming to see the aspens. I was told today that a thousand new people a day are moving to Colorado. It is quite noticeable now in terms of traffic - particularly getting to and from our great mountain range.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

August, 2014: KENYA SAFARI

This was on a safari in Kenya. We actually stayed with this lioness over an hour to get this two minute video. She did a lot of careful creeping towards her prey (we were between her and her antelope). She was with another lioness, and they were using a strategy of a "striker" and a "catcher". The striker would drive the prey towards the catcher, who would make the kill. In this case this lioness was the catcher, but shortly after this video clip they gave up and didn't attempt a kill because the antelope wandered too far away to be caught by surprise. More still photos of this trip can be seen at flickr.com/photos/holtby/15110990265/.

A detailed account of this trip can be found at: http://kenya-safari-2014.blogspot.com/

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Tuesday, July 29, 2014


As of July 3rd, 2014 my little store front office building was sold after living in it for 21 years of my work life. The other six therapists who inhabited the building near the end all found other places to practice. The building itself is in a residential neighborhood and will be converted into a home by a couple who own a business on Broadway, within walking distance.

It doesn't seem like it has already been eight months since I stopped seeing clients, nor do I feel particularly retired. A friend of mine who has been retired several years says, "I wake up in the morning with nothing to do. It takes me all day to do it. And by the end of the day I'm only half done."

This is a turning point as it ends my supervision of other therapists. (Writing this 2 years later I must say I still regularly dream about office, and grieve its loss, and what it symbolized about my long career. In the dream I have to see someone for therapy, but have nowhere to do it, or am in someone else's office - which is occupied).

I have been working on a way to give back to my colleagues and have developed a workshop and shorter presentation on coping with vicarious trauma and burnout. By the end of this year I will have presented it to three conferences, two agencies, and two professional groups. While I believe I have great content, and great slides (using my photography) I still am not great with the delivery part. But I have a coach and practice makes perfect! A colleague with the Colorado Speaker's Academy sent me the following quote from Winston Churchill: "No success is final. No failure is fatal. The courage to continue is what counts."     http://CompassionWithoutFatigue.com.

But my next post will be after another adventure: off to Kenya for the Great Migration!