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:


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.

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.