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


Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Your Feedback

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, July 1, 2018


This was my 5th safari, and Judy's 2nd. We picked Botswana because the first time we saw more wildlife in diversity and amount of any of the other countries I've experienced: Ethiopia, Namibia, Kenya, Tanzania, and South Africa.

Also, Botswana has more elephants than any other country in the world. And on this trip we experienced more elephants than we did even on our first trip. At a watering hole in Savute the elephants kept coming and coming and coming until we believed we saw 60-80 in more than one herd all converging on this one watering hole.

This was a safari highlighted by several elephant events. On the Chobe River we all of a sudden heard loud trumpeting, and witnessed a bull elephant trying to mate with a female who wanted none of it. He chased her crashing through the water straight at us. Katembo, our guide, had to move our boat out of the way. (Katembo's name means "baby elephant").

Speaking of baby elephants there was this little guy practicing with an improvised baton:

And of course there were many other animals: crocodiles, zebra, giraffes, lions, leopards, hyenas, vervet monkeys, waterbuck, bushbuck, kudu, impala, mongoose, hippo, wildebeast, ostrich, wart hog, lechwe, sable and steenbok; and a whole host of birds. We had a special treat with three different leopard sightings with the best one about a half hour long following a mother leopard and her cub.

Here is a video slide show of our trip:

Botswana Safari 2018 from Mike Holtby on Vimeo.

Sunday, May 6, 2018


Denver's Cinco de Mayo celebration is reputed to be one of the biggest in the USA. It goes on for two days with lots of low riders, dancers, Mariachi bands, fancy dancing horses, & food trucks.

Sadly, it was not photographically covered by the Denver Post due to the gutting of the editorial staff by their current owners, a NY hedge fund.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018


Sometimes it is not necessary to leave home to have a great wildlife encounter. I took this photo of a red-tailed hawk within a short distance from my home. I was walking my dog, Drummer, when I saw him sitting in a tree. I went home, grabbed my camera, put my 100-400mm lens on, and he was still there when I went out again. I set up, and encouraged a curious neighbor to walk up to the tree to get him to fly. My camera (a Sony A9) has a burst rate of 20fps, which increases my chances of the perfect shot. I got two tries at it (as he first took off and landed a short ways away on another tree), and the second time I got this one - three really usable shots with two bursts.

Thursday, April 26, 2018


Judy is on a three month contract in Concord, California as the Director of Operations for Patient Care Services at a psychiatric hospital there. I went out to visit with her for the weekend. The first day we went to the Napa Valley for wine tasting with her California pals, Olivia & Kinzi.

The second day we went to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. We've been there before but never tire of one of the best aquariums in the world. The highlight is the tanks of jellyfish.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Life as a Grand Adventure

This New York Times video embodies some of what I believe: examine your life, figure out how to leave the rat race behind, and truly embrace the adventure of life!

Thanks to Karl Grobl for sharing this video on Facebook. Karl is the embodiment of this philosophy, leaving behind a career as a pharmaceutical rep in the States, becoming a  full time NGO photographer who also leads photo trips to Asia & India through Jim Cline Photo Tours. He now lives in Siem Reap with his Cambodian wife, their two kids, her mother and cousin. His life is exuberant and following his passions.

Sunday, February 11, 2018


Ankor Wat, Siem Reap, Cambodia

Water Blessing, Cambodia

This is a trip that took us to five countries: Singapore, Thailand, Laos, Myanmar and Cambodia. I took over 9,000 photos and 75 video clips.

I have completed a separate blog page with 30 separate posts, and 167 photographs that depicts our trip in some detail:


What follows is a 6 1/2 minute video depicting much of our trip is photos and video clips:

Here is a 3:16 minute video I composed of the Muay Thai Kickboxing that I attended in Bangkok:

Muay Thai Kickboxing from Mike Holtby on Vimeo.

Here is our trip leader, Karl Grobl's video of the trip:

Southeast Asia 2018 from Karl Grobl on Vimeo.

This is an annual trip with Jim Cline Photo Tours: http://www.jimclinephototours.com

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.