The Nasty Flu Virus circulating the planet

About two days ago I began feeling like my old self again. I had had the virus flu bug that is going around twice in the last two months. The first time was in Chiang Mai and it lasted about two weeks.

The second time was in shortly after arriving in Bali where I presently am residing. Normally, I am able to shake colds and flu bugs in three to four days at the most. The sucumbing to the virus in Bali knocked me flat out and it took nearly three weeks to feel human again. The beauty of being ill I suppose is that ,for a while anyway, we stop taking our good health for granted.  That is for those of us who put a lot of time, money and effort in being healthy. In spite of all the precautions , “shit happens” as they say.

For me I think my immune system was assaulted during the 15 hour flight from Toronto to Hong Kong. After nearly three decades of flying from North America to Asia, I wonder when my body will say, enough is enough. Of course flhying to Europe and taking a break would help ,but it is still a ten hour flight directly to Asia from any European city. Of course , I could go by ship. Being caught in a huge storm at sea is not my idea of having fun traveling either. When the time arrives , I will know what I must do.

Who knows ,perhaps my wanderlust will exhaust itself and I will happily embrace staying more of less in one country.



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Oxgenated Ozone Sauna

In the Spring of 2017 I experince my first oxgenated sauna. I was amazed at the energy I felt immediately afterwards. Later on I had 11 more. The main benefit I felt was that I hardly breathe hard walking or cycling up steep hills in the Beaches community where I have a home in Toronto.

I was intorduced to this powerful healing modality at one of the nurmerous health show held in Toronto in the Fall and the Spring.  The woman who explained the benefits to me had been healed of Lymme’s disease years previously. She had a science background and aside from experiencing the benefits of the sauna sessions could understand the concept from a sceintific point of view.

In the last two that I had before coming to Chiang Mai to escape the harsh winter weather that has less and less appeal to me with each passing year, I had been under a lot of stress. I immediately felt the stress reduction -the tension in my muscular melting and my nervous system relaxing.

The combination of the oxygen treatment and then lying on the EMF mat worked it’s magic.

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My 27th winter in Chiang Mai

This Sunday evening I will make my way to Toronto Pearson International Airport and board Cathay Pacific flight 826.  This will be my 27 winter in Thailand. I normally leave during the first week of November ,but anoher massive renovation of one of my rental unit has delayed me. It will continue in my absence and I will attend to the finishing details when I return to Toronto at the end of March.

Why Thailand , you might ask of all the sunny spots on the planet. It is not called ,”The Land of Smiles “ for nothing. It’s the service industry. A lovely clean room with balcony will set you back $300.00 a month , a two hour divine Thai massage is $12.00, A facial is $12.00 , an organic vegetarian meal is from $3.00 to $6.00 at most.  This is in Canadian peso’s my American friends tease me.

It’s extremely safe. In all my 27 winters I have yet to encounter an unplesant incident. I know many retired woman ove 60 who walk or cycle about after midnight. I must say that this is in Chiang Mai, Thailand ,Thailand second biggest city situated in the Mountains where it is 28C by 10 a.m. every day of the year. The summers are hot ,but very pleasant after a heavy rainfall. The ideal weather usually begins in mid October and finishes in the latter part of March.

No place is perfect and in  the end it all depends what you are seeking . For me, I enjoy spending time with an ex pat community who are into healthy living and also those  who are not so into it ,but are fascinating freinds to hang out with. I go to the Sunday morning organic market where there are hundrds of Thai and foreigners milling about choosing wonderful healthy food for the upcoming week. I meet up with a core of folks ,mostly Americans who frequent the venue every Sunday.

My budget is about $1000.0 a month ,but I rarely spend all my budget.


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Arthur’s Happiness Project Continues

I started my ,” My Happiness Project “ after reading the book, “The Happiness Project “ by Gretchern Rubin , a book given to me about 7 years ago by a fellow traveler at breakfast in Chiang Mai Thailand where I have spend the past 27 winters. I’ had taken a hiatus from the project  for some time  ; but now I am back on track after recently acquiring , “Grethchen Rubin’s “ second book ,”Happier at Home” .

This will be my tenth book that I will have read and countless articles on the subject of ,”Happpiness.

Perhaps my perspective at the moment of ,”Happienss “,  is through the eyes that have been witnessed the human experince for over seven decades and counting.

I;m a contrarian by nature and inclination it seems. From early in life my experience was not an average experience.  Being from the only French family in an Irish Catholic neighbourhood who didn’t speak a word of English upon arrival at six years old definitely made me an outsider. Add an indifferent stepfather to this scenerio , and all the ingredients for the making a very independent male are present.

I think it was my sense of curiosity about life that has kept me buoyant all these decades . Reading and meeting many fascinating characters have contributed very much to the happienss in my life.

When I’m not in the present of interesting characters in my daily life    I somehow find them through reading .

Another consistent  thread  that has contributed to my happiness , is my belief that my physical and mental health are most important to my pleasure and happiness in this earthly life. My quest began early in life iwth my fascination in acquiring a healthy nutrional lifestyle and a fondness for physical activities through sports.

The other consistent theme in my life was my strong impulse to a spiritual life. In my young it was my obsessions by the lives of the Saints as I had begun an extremely devout Catholic. It was not until I began seeing the role of the church in my life and realize that it was not supporting a spirtual life ,but filling me with dogma that I no longer resonated with.  After a lot of explorations, I found myself attracted to the studyof the ,”Tao “ or the philosphy of Taoism.

Buddhism also is very attractive ,but Taoism feels right to me.


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The Power of Minimalist Living

My minimalist living project began the moment I decided to total renovate my one bedroom apartment and change it into a studio apartment with a Murphy bed.  Previous to this tranistion I would wake up in the morning ,open my eyes only to feel closed in as the room was bedroom was small and my adding a floor to ceiling book shelf did not help.

Now, I wake up and can see  a wall 30 feet away . I have a sense of expansion in my vision and life. As everything in life ,one gives up something to gain something else. In this case it is privacy. Since I live alone it is not an issue. When I do have company staying for a period of time we somhow adjust to the situation. It isn’t ideal but doable. I do have the Japanese screens that I can utilize to create a private space if necessary.

The beaury of this transformation is that I create a third more space in my minimalist apartment , making the bed is simply tossing the bed up to become the facade of a closet , and it facilitates having a clean and a tidy uncluttered space.

I have lived for decades now in Asia every winter and for several years lived in Japan.The Asian are masters of minimalist living and decluttering as space is a premium in Asia due to the dense population. I would say Hong Kong is an extreme exactly as well as apartment living in Tokyo and now Bangkok.

We in the West clutch on to many material possesions and filll many rooms of a house which is used for storage not living. The car is never parked in the garage as it has become a huge storage unit for most Westerners.

Time flies and soon the grim reaper arrives .  Suddenly , all that you held sacred and could not let go is released as you enter the formless.

It’s challenging to let go all these things that we have always thohgt impossible to live with ;  but the reward is immense.

I travel for five months every winter with only two carry on bags and surprisingly I don’t miss anything. The mysteries of life.


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Happiness and Health

.             Yesterday , as I walked briskly to my chiropractic appointment , I could smell the new Spring grass after the recent rainstorms in Toronto. I thought, Spring is the time of birth, of hope , of new beginnings.

After helping my friend down size again  during the past two weeks for the second time in two years, I felt the need for a tune up by my wise wholistic Chiroptactor, Dr. Patricia. McCord.  It turned out to be the best session that I ever had with her and she quiped ,”you should help someone move every week”. I replied, ” I don’t know about that ,it was rather quite hard work”. I found it interesting that I was a decade or two older than many of her friends, but they all have back and knee problems and ccould not help her with her move.

I have always made health -physical , emotional and mental health a priority in my life since my teenage years began. I have always been health conscious , studying various eating approaches over the past five decades and  reaching the conclusion that eating healthy is rather simple : eat whole uncontaminated foods and drink pure water.

I recently read a synopsis of a book on detoxificaton. The author mention several approaches ,but in the end the best thing you can do he says is eat organic  food. Someone posted on Facebook, “You should not ask why organic food is so expensive ,but why supermarket food is so inexpensive”. One of my favourite healthy foods is avocado and most times it is less expensive in my organic super market than in my local grocery store.

About two years ago , I began shopping at Costco for organic frozen berries as my health food store had priced blue berries out of the price that I was willing to pay. Since then , I have added organic frozen Peaces and Cream corn, Broccolli , and other vegetables to my weekly shopping as well as eggs. Living alone, I don’t always feel like eating the fresh vegetables right away so oftentimes they wilt and I throw them out. With frozen foods, I can eat the portion I want and the rreat remains fresh. Costco, in Ontario , Canada is buying up land and paying farmers to farm organically.

This year was my 27th winter living in Chiang Mai, Thailand. I did venture to Da Nang, Vietnam for a month by the beach which was lovely. I feel that being in a suny climate during the winter has also contributed to my health. I  walk a lot when it is warm and sometimes up to 10 kilometres a day. Movement is the second triad of being healthy. The third one is having peace of mind. They seem  to all flow into one another. If you eat healthy ,you feel like moving and if you move you feel rested and peaceful as you end up sleeping more soundly.

I fail to understand how people seem to put their health as there las priority and complain so much when their health fails them.





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Reflections in having pat downs at Immigration

Yesterday afternoon I returned from a two week stay with a friend in Maryland ,USA. I had been assisting her with another downsizing move.    I spend a lot of time  and money taking care of my health and I don’t want to jeopotize my health by unnecessary actions. My biggest concern in takin the trip was whether or not I would be allowed to have a pat down instead of going through a scanner that I was told gives you the equivalent radiation dose of 3 times that of an MRI. If I needed an MRi to assist me in a medical diagnosis I would have one ; but I see no reason to subject myself to harm at the whim of a security policy I feel is overkill. There are very few countries in the world who acutually use this technology. The only other country that I encountered was Holland at Amsterdam Airport. There , I requested a pat down and was politely and professionally given one.

I know a medical doctor works for the FDA . He also requests a pat down. When they tell him that the FDA says it is safe , he replies,”I work for the FDA. In a converstion with him he told me ,for the most part , the FDA does a fairly good job of protecting the public ; but a lot of politics and big business influence the agencies work.

In the line up I was a bit apprenhensive as to whether I would get my pat down or not , as their was a rumor that the new president had given the border guard permission to refuse a pat down. Previously, a request for a pat down cold not be refused.

I arrived at the conveyor belt ,but instead of throwing my luguage on the belt I went up and asked for a pat down. I was told to put my luguage on the belt and proceed through. In previous times , Ihad to wait perhaps ten minutes of so before someone could be found to pat me down. This time a wonderful man by the name of ,”Garcia” approached me and matter of fact told me about the procedure and then did the procedure in a professional manner without attitude. the worst type are the young white dudes who overcompensate for their insecurity.  I was very impressed with Mr. Garcia. I later told him that I was not trying to butter him up ,but he had just given me as a global traveler one of the best pat downs that I ever had.

One more observation. I was the only one who was having a pat down while I was there.




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Not all who wander are lost , Frodo.

Many,many decades ago stuck  on a farm in a small village I traveled the world vicariously-  in my imagination – through reading such authors as ,” Kim” by  Rudyard Kipling , magazines such as ,”Look” a , ” Life ” and National Geographic.  In 1967 I enrolled in a journalism program . By the time I finished in 1970 , both Look and Life had folded. Luckily for me , I had abandoned journalism or at least hard core journalism studies for a Liberal Arts program majoring in Psychology and English.  After graduation I continued studies in Psychotherapy and many forms of alternative healing modalities.

My first big trip in 1974 took me out of the  country to both Europe and Africa . I did East African studies at Humber College duing the winter. The summer studies was a month in Kenya and Tanzania via London ,England. I had been hired to document the trip for markeing purposes . It turned out to be a pivotal trip for me. I had never traveled with a group of people before in such an intense circumstances.

I learned a lot about myself , others and traveling in general on this trip. A lot of water has gone under the bridge in the interveening 43 years. Six months ago I spend my 27 th winter in Aisa, primarily in Chaing Mai, Thailand. I have wandered all over Europe and Asia ,but I keep returning to my beloved Chiang Mai. It’s like a living entity for me. Like a person it has many admirable qualities and a few warts . The most admirable qualites are the freindly people ,the safe space in  my Santinam community of healers , creative writers and seekers, the fresh tropical fruits and other culinary delights, the guaranteed warmth, the inexpensive amazing Thai massages (two hours for $12.00 Canadian , and inexpensive accomadations and organic vergetarian restaurants. Did I miss anything. The warts are the pollution and traffic and sometimes noise all by products of any so call sucessful city

Two months ago I spend a month in Da Nang, Vietnam. I had been to Hanoi and Saigon in 2009 for several weeks, but no where else in Vietnam. I was surprised to find out that Da Nang is the third biggest city in Vietnam and that a very fierce battle had been fought there during the Vietnam war. I took up a residence near  enough the beach  to view the white caps rolling in . There are many under tows there and the life guards are continously moving the red flags and cautioning people not to swim in many areas.

The loud sound of construction is  heard everywhere close to the beach and more and more facitlities are built for the tourist trade. Across one of the three bridges spanning a river ,the original town of Da Nang stands. It is a mixture of new buidlings and venues and many old narrow winding streets with buildings built during the French Colonial days. I actually met a young man who was an architect professor dividing his time between Hanoi and Georgetown, Washington. He had just given a lecture at the University next to the coffee shop we  found him  in . He told us that  he and his family did public projects ,but needed the work of  private projects to fund his public projects. He was one of two young men who I found interesting in Da Nang. The other young man I stumbled upon one day while in my favourite coffee shop in Da Nang. Although this young man had a PH.D in chemistry his passion was doing portrait photography. We met a number of times during my last two weeks in Da Nang. This young man rekindled my love for photograpy ,especially portrait photograhy  that I had had for since my teenage years into my late twenties.

Now , having returned to Toronto from my five months of winter stay in Asia , I slowly organizing my life around photography and writing.

Returing to the title of this article, “not all who  wander are lost”, I find  this so true in my forty three years of wandering the planet. I would call most travelers I meet ,”seekers”. Let’s say some seekers are closer to finding what they are searching for than others. In some cases, it appears that  some are hopelessly lost. Everyone’s journey is unique. The trick is to wish all well and concentrate on your own journey .  As, “The Wandering Therapist”,  I offer my services or advice to anyone who sincerely requests it.  Being in the enviable positon of being both  money rich and time rich I have no need to profit from my services. I do believe in the theory of karma  , “energetically what you put out comes back to you like a timely boomerang”.

I keep telling people, “that a good day for me is a day in which I have learned something new”. All my life I have been a sponge for new information.  The concept of being bored or depressed is alien to me.  Forget about never leaving home without an American Express Card as their ad shouted out for as long as I can remember , -I cancelled my $500.0 annual fee platium card recently when I realized I had not used it all year. It has great perks , if you take advantage of them. Back to the subject at hand. I never leave home without a book to read, a notebook to write in and name cards to share with  people I might meet with whom I have something in common.

As a traveler ,there are constant delays and long waits at airport and train startions. A book and a note book are a traveler’sbest friend unitl you stumble on a felllow traveler who is in the mood for chattin gand you have somethin in common to share.




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Arthur’s Happiness Project Continues

My apologies to any reader who have opened my blog and not found any new writings for many months.
Why now,you ask , am I returning to writing. There are most likely many reasons for not writing which are
rather personal in nature,but the reason for starting again is that I picked up my number eight book on happiness called,”Stumbling on Happiness”, by ,”Daniel Gilbert”. He begins the book by asking the question of how humans are different from all other living forms. His answer is that we can imagine the future. He goes through the theories put forth my psychologist and anthropologist on how humans are different such as humans being able to use tools,but apes or monkeys use a straw -rudimentary tool draw up ants for their meal. Squirrels store food for the winter ,but it is instinct he says not imagination of the future that squirrels hide nuts when the temperature drops to a certain temperature.
I shall let you know what I get out of this book when I finish it. The author makes a promise of being entertaining as well as informative and thus far has kept his promise making me laugh hilariously a number of times already.

Bertrand Russel in his book , “The Conquest of Happiness” written in 1930 writes ,” a person cannot attain happiness until the age of 30″. He says the reason for this is that by this time a person has finished his education ,gotten a job and perhaps begun a family”. How times have changed. Today, students in their early 30’s and much later struggle with massive debts of student loans. Has this become a new form of enslavement by the established power structure of how the few can control the many. Why has education become so expensive? Why are countries abandoning their youth in assisting them to be free independent adults. It appears it is more prevalent here in North America . I’m not sure what the scene is in Australia and New Zealand. In Asia , post high school education has always been on the expensive side.

One of the elements that has contributed to my happiness in the past 2 years is the introduction of a raw food diet and a year ago the Omgym or the flying yoga suspension system. I’m not a purist. I still enjoy steam vegetables, sprouted bread, sprouted rice, sprouted quinoa , oats and flax seeds cooked breakfasts.
The ,”Blendtec” blender is my best friend. Recently I began a bullet Proof Executive coffee drinker. In my experiment I found that ghee butter works well with my high quality ,”Kicking Horse” coffee beans.
Friends of mine are thanking me for introducing them to this manner of drinking cafe. All the taste of a good latte with no drawbacks-only a positive increase of mental clarity and energy without the jitters some people have with their second coffee cup of the day.

Releasing a two year relationship that no longer served me also contributed to my happiness. I became free to pursue woman with similar values and interests who could admire my best qualities and absorbed the effects of my human foibles which maybe are not so many -depending on whom you ask-but nevertheless , constitute the human condition.

Traveling, which brings me both great pleasure and happiness is being delayed a bit this year as I furnish a two bedroom apartment to rent.

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Arthur’s Happiness Project Continues

Happiness is a state of being. Pleasure is a feeling. In his book, “Happiness” , Mathew Ricard , the scientist turned Buddhist monk encourages us to embrace the tenets of the Buddhist philosophy to ensure our happiness state. One of the main tenets of Buddhist philosophy is that the lot of man is suffering. That is unless he has cast off the illusions of life , shed ignorance and become aware.
Looking around in any major city where I usually reside,the truth of this statement becomes evident. Most people do not know themselves. They neither know their weakness’s nor their strength. They are lost souls seeking satisfaction by pursuing a lifestyle in which they are programmed by many agencies of society and in a specific nefarious manner ,the advertising and marketing industry. They are constantly comparing their lives to the one that they should be having according to media influences. To be their true authentic selves and striving for their personal bests entirely escapes their consciousness.
Therefore, for the most part, they become their own worst enemies in the pursuit of happiness.
Knowing who they really are, their soul’s purpose eludes them. Perhaps if the countries in the world imitated the country of Bhutan and had ,”The Gross Happiness Index instead of of the the ,”Gross National Product as their goal more people would be happier.
In the eighties I read a book called,”The Way Of The Peaceful Warrior” by Dan Millman. His wise teacher said there were many ways of getting wealthy. He went on to say, “You could marry rich, you could rob a bank, you could work hard and save your money or you could control your desires”. This last statement impressed me at the time. This is what Mathieu Ricard suggests in his book. This requires discipline and being an independent thinker which is the opposite we in Western society are programmed. We are programmed to trust and obey authority in all its’ various forms.
The gap between the rich and poor is increasing every day.
This is the first time in history that young people have given up having the expectation that they will not be as wealthy or surpass their parents. They represent the highest group of unemployed people in the West. For every MBA making a six figure salary there are thousands of post high school graduates working as Barista at Starbucks and other Coffee shops and other minimum wage paying jobs.
Research shows that after attaining a minimum amount of wealth to allow you the freedom to do what you want ,when you want any additional wealth does not bring one any more happiness. The challenge at the moment is that young people often are scrambling to pay their rent, make payments on huge student loans and enjoy a lifestyle they previously had living with their parents without being in constant debt. It is impossible to do so being paid the minimum wage.
It is not only young people but many older people especially woman in retirement age suffer from the same fate.
It appears that many people are in a survival mode. How long can this continue in North American society. We have seen its” effect on the ,”PIGS”-Portugal, Italy,Greece and Spain. When will this unhappiness spread to North America or has it already?
The question one must ask oneself is ,”What is my passion, and what nurtures my soul”? For me ,it has been my work in healing,doing all I need to do to keep myself healthy in body, mind and spirit, good friendships, classical music, travelling , reading and writing.

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