The Washington Monument, Washington D.C.


During a recent trip to Washington D.C., I hope the pleasure of visiting the Washington Monument.

Fashioned like obelisks of the ancient world, most especially Egypt. It can be seen from miles around.











Standing Tall on the Washington Mall, it is a beacon for freedom around the world

In the midst of a major city, it is a symbol of America’s greatness and culture

As seen from the World War Two Memorial.

Growing up on a dairy farm in southeastern Indiana, Gary traveled very little until midlife, when the opportunity became available to him.

Grabbing his camera and a bag full of equipment, he began his vision quest traveling to most areas of the United States and several countries abroad.

Along the way he collected several thousand photographs that he wants to share with everyone.

Gary decided the best way to accomplish his goal was to publish photo documentaries on the various areas of the world he has visited.

What will follow will be several photography books, who knows how many will wind up in his collection.

To contact Gary:









St. Thomas Cemetary

What self respecting shore excursion wouldn’t include a visit to a cemetery?

Decorative Tomb in Saint Thomas

As  we departed the cruise ship the guide mentioned we would be stopping at a cemetery.  I thought it was a little strange and although I had never been on a shore excursion before that actually stopped at a cemetery, I  assumed it was part of the regular tour.

St Thomas cemetary
Above ground burial vaults

As we departed the parking the answer became apparent. It just so happened there were a large group of funeral directors on board the ship, some of which decided to go on the same tour we were on.

Because of their occupation, they requested to see a cemetery in St. Thomas. Since I had lived and grown up in Batesville Indiana, the home of one of the largest casket factories in the United States, I could relate. As a child , a lot of our daily conversation centered around the manufacture of caskets, along with this came the usual jokes, like people are just dying to use our products and we get no customer complaints.

An interesting feature of all cemeteries in areas that are at sea level or below, they are buried above ground so that when flooding occurs, the remains are protected from the flood waters.

It became an enjoyable experience as most of the funeral directors knew where Batesville was, and many had visited there.As a result many knew some of the same people I did. That is always nice when traveling far from home.

When visiting Saint Thomas ,don’t forget to check out the cemetery.

Now you can follow my travel adventures on Kindle.

Gary has been a writer/ photographer for over 20 years, specializing in nature,landscapes and studying native cultures.Besides visiting most of the United States, he has traveled to such places as Egypt,the Canary Islands,much of the Caribbean. He has studied  the Mayan Cultures in Central America, and the Australian Aboriginal way of life.Photography has given him the opportunity to observe life in many different parts of the world!

He has published several books about the various cultures he has observed.

For more information and a link to his hard cover and Ebooks,and contact information: please check his website,

Your comments appreciated

money photography

This informative Ebook describes alternative methods of making money ,often a full time income in photography even if you have no desire to shoot wedding photography. this book gives examples and websites where you can use your photos to supply you with an income, not only to enable you to buy new equipment, but a living income as well


One Life Lived

The story on one man’s adventure of a lifetime.

Hey, repost this article, and I’ll send you
the link where you can download the book for free.”

I wasn’t angry. I didn’t hate my job. I wasn’t annoyed with
capitalism, and I was indifferent to materialism. I wasn’t escaping
emptiness, nor was I searching for meaning. I have great friends and a
wonderful family. The dude two doors down invited me over for steak or
pork chops—my choice—one Sunday, and I couldn’t even tell you the first
letter of his name. Most of my teeth are natural.

I had enjoyed some nominal success: a few books to my name, a bunch
of speaking engagements across the country, a new audio program for
teenagers. Sure, the producers of The Amazing Race had rejected all five
of my applications to hotfoot around the world—all five!—and my
girlfriend and I had just parted ways, but I’d whined all I could about
the race, and the girl wasn’t The Girl anyway.

All in all, my life was pretty fantastic.

But I felt boxed in. Look at a map, and there we are, a pin stuck in
the wall. There’s the United States, about twenty-four square inches’
worth, and there’s the rest of the world, about seventeen hundred square
inches begging to be explored. I looked back, and I looked forward.
This life is serious: I want the wife, I want the babies, I want the
business success, and I understand the work that is required ’til the
wee hours to get them. But I didn’t want to leave any experience unlived
before that happened.

I felt as if I was a few memories short, as if there was still time
for me to go out there and get missing for a little while. Bust out the
List o’ Good Times, sell my car, store my crap, stuff a backpack, buy a
small mountain of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, and hop on a plane. Just
this once.

I first started to visualize this trip when I was in high school.
Back then it was a dream, like playing basketball in the NBA, although I
legitimately thought I was going to play in the NBA. Then, a year or so
passed, and my NBA dream morphed into the A-division in Italy. I went
off to college, and my dream settled on any one of the top leagues
throughout Europe. By the time I graduated from college, I would have
signed with any team, anywhere. I would have lived in a tent and hunted
for my own food with a blowgun. I just wanted to hoop. Then my
thirty-six-hour professional basketball career in Germany came to an
end, and I flew home. I left to write my first book.

My dream to travel around the world wasn’t really that serious. Other
things, domestic things, were on my mind. My first book got published;
national media outlets flashed the cover on TV; I was invited to speak
at a variety of venues. Then, I looked at theList o’ Good Times:

  •     Run a mile on the Great Wall of China.
  •     Sing karaoke in a foreign language.
  •     Castrate a wild bull.
  •     Tip a crisp $100 bill on a $20 tab.
  •     Read the Bible.
  •     Handwrite a letter from the heart.
  •     Grow a mustache for a month.
  •     Cut my hair into a mullet (at a different time than growing the mustache).
  •     Provide a month’s supply of food for an entire African village.
  •     Scuba dive in the Caribbean during winter.
  •     Watch a movie in an Asian language without subtitles.
  •     Pick up a hitchhiker.
  •     Attend the Super Bowl.
  •     Dress up as Batman and run around asking people abruptly if they’ve heard anything about a robbery in the neighborhood.

I made my list when I was a sophomore in college. The heavens had
dumped a mountain of snow on us in North Andover, Massachusetts, and
school had been called off. Everything was called off. Plows were
barricaded in. The National Guard was on standby.

So I sat down to write. I had previously read a chapter in one of
those Chicken Soup for the Soul books. I think it was A Second Helping
of Chicken Soup for the Grandmother’s Son-in-Law’s Estranged Best
Friend’s Dog’s Wounded Right Leg for the Soul, Revised Edition. Some
elderly dude had crafted an essay about how, when he was a young lad,
he’d written out a list of the things he wanted to do with his life:
climb this mountain, play that instrument, learn this language, etc. And
then—get this—he spent his life actually doing them rather than talking
about his list at cocktail parties. “Ah, yes. Scuba diving in the
Caribbean. I’ve got that on my bucket list.”

I looked around my dorm room. I didn’t have any new books to read,
homework could wait, TV seemed too easy a solution at the moment.

The list seemed like a good idea at the time.

Fast-forward a few years, and there I was, approaching thirty,
fast—really, really fast—the List o’ Good Times staring back at me from
the screen on my laptop, cursor blinking. One hundred forty-two items on
that list. How long would this take me?

  •     Complete a marathon.
  •     Design the landscaping for my own house.
  •     Make a positive impact on a child’s life before I have children of my own.
  •     Obtain minority ownership in a professional sports team.
  •     Fish off the coast of New Zealand.
  •     Learn to jump while wakeboarding.
  •     Anonymously buy someone’s meal from across the restaurant.
  •     Climb Kilimanjaro.
  •     Smoke a Cuban in Cuba.
  •     Hug a koala.
  •     Ride an elephant.
  •     Bet my wad on the underdog in a cockfight.
  •     Learn to fly without a copilot.
  •     Randomly spend an hour cleaning up a littered area.
  •     Attend the World Cup.
  •     Make love on a beach.

This could take ten years, I thought. My boy Sipsey said, “Shep, this
list is going to cost you three-point-four million dollars.” Even if I
had another fifty years or so left on this planet, depending upon a
stroke of luck here or there and what those chaps in lab coats come up
with, I was still far short on money. I made the determination, right
then and there: two years to save and one year to be on the road. One
year to get Out There, meet people, volunteer, learn, and get my heart
racing a little bit. One year to read. One year to hold an impoverished
kid’s hand and tell her that her life can be whatever she wants it to
be. One year to stand on top of a bridge, declare my dominion over the
world, and jump. Maybe I can make a small difference—in my life and the
life of someone else.

Asking yourself what you want to do before you die is a silly
question, shifts focus to the wrong place. A setup for procrastination,
surrendering your List o’ Good Times to retirement. Who said anything
about dying? I was healthy and capable and had no fatal diagnoses on my
record. Death, still presumably far away, didn’t even have a place in
this conversation.

And a bucket list? To hell with a bucket list: that’s not the time to
start living, when your doctor announces that that black spot fastened
to your lung is malignant and inoperable, and, well, you just better go
ahead and make sure your will is current. A bucket list? That always
makes me laugh: Oh, shit! Now the clock is really ticking! Gotta go out
and do everything I want to do before it’s too late!

This list belongs in the present. This—right now, today—this is our
time to live, yours and mine. Quality years ahead, presumably, and we’ve
already had some great experiences, met some great people, and created
some great memories. Life is good. We ain’t mad.

But I still felt boxed in. Maybe I’d gotten a little soft. Maybe I’d
neglected the best parts of life. Maybe I’d become too regimented.

I needed a little perspective. I’d be home soon to find a wife and
conceive kids and construct a career, but right then I wasn’t worried
about any of that. I needed to get out there, just for a year.

I needed a year to live.


So, here we go. You:

The high school kid with a thousand ideas for the future. Now is the time to harness your enthusiasm, start dreaming big.

The college student tossed into the blend of social and academic
life, loving it but anxious about what’s next. Now’s the time to have
your list handy.

The young professional, suffocated by a cloud of work and swearing that, “I’m missing out on something.”

The older professional, thinking you’ve lost your window of adventure.

And the retiree, lost in reminiscence and excited to go exploring once again.

And me, sitting in the Miami airport, a mouth full of chocolate and
peanut buttery goodness, ten minutes from boarding a plane to Guatemala
City, about to embark on the greatest adventure of my life . . .

See the author fighting bulls!!

Day 15: Washington D.C.

The sun is rising as we approach Cumberland Md. This was where we were on our trip to Indiana when the sun went down. Looking forward to our journey from Harper’s Ferry into Washington, pretty scenery and loads of history.

I’m not disappointed, crossing the Potomac the scenery is fantastic. Wish I didn’t have a train window in the way, I could get some great shots. Back in the rolling countryside of Maryland, horse farms and forests abound. Soon we will be in D.C. and a seven hour layover, will probably take another tour.

Capitol Washington D.C.

Well, well, we arrive in D.C. on time. As we check in at the VIP lounge, we learn the earlier train is leaving at 3PM, deciding we just want to go home , we forego the tour and book the earlier train, cool, we should be home 4 hours early, and the train travels to Tampa, no long bus ride from Orlando.Someone is looking out for us, time for a quick lunch, then it’s boarding the train for our last night out. Would sooner wait a couple years before I tour the White House anyway.

Washington is an amazing city with all of it’s history and monuments to our great leaders, however, looking at all the office buildings and the windows therein contained, I suddenly realized that every window contained an office with someone therein desperately trying to come up with another tax of law to limit our freedoms.

Washington soon fades into memory and our thoughts turn to dinner and a good nights sleep.It’s almost over, better follow me on Kindle.

 Gary has been a writer/ photographer for over 20 years, specializing in nature,landscapes and studying native cultures.Besides visiting most of the United States, he has traveled to such places as Egypt,the Canary Islands,much of the Caribbean. He has studied  the Mayan Cultures in Central America, and the Australian Aboriginal way of life.Photography has given him the opportunity to observe life in many different parts of the world!

He has published several books about the various cultures he has observed.

For more information and a link to his hard cover and Ebooks,and contact information: please check his

Your comments appreciated

money photography

This informative Ebook describes alternative methods of making money ,often a full time income in photography even if you have no desire to shoot wedding photography. this book gives examples and websites where you can use your photos to supply you with an income, not only to enable you to buy new equipment, but a living income as well.

Day 2 : Washington D.C.

It’s always hard to sleep the first night away from home, and being on a train makes it double hard. The cramped quarters and constant rocking of the train adds to the problem.

Once you adapt to the situation, it can be quite enjoyable. Traveling though the little towns with the clanging of the signals and the constant blowing of the train whistle adds to the romance of traveling by train.

Capitol Building

Our first destination was to be Washington D.C., our nations capitol. This city is always fascinating and a bee hive of activity. With the vast history in the area, weeks could be spent and never partake of all the options available.

Washington Monument

A short visit to the Amtrak VIP lounger to recharge our batteries and ourselves, it was time to take in a little sightseeing. We had a six hour layover before our train to Chicago would depart, plenty of time for a tour.

Finding a Red Double Decker bus tour , we were on our way for a visit to the most popular historic sites Washington D.C. had to offer. The tour was nice in that we could get off at any site we chose, stay as long as we liked and hop on another bus at our pleasure. The buses ran every twenty minutes, so finding another bus was never a problem.

The first stop was the Smithsonian Space and Science Museum. The museum is fascinating because it houses all types of aircraft from the Wright Brothers “First Flight” aircraft to the latest space and lunar landing modules.

Smithsonian Space and Science Museum

On to the Capitol Building where we were able to stroll to the steps and enjoy many photo ops.

Lincoln Memorial

The Washington Monument,and Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials followed, with a brief stop at each one.

Jefferson Memorial

Across the Potomac to the Arlington National Cemetery to view the rows and rows of fallen heroes who all sacrificed so much in the defense of freedom.

Arlington National Cemetery

Time was running short, so it was time to return to Union Station to continue our journey to the nation’s breadbasket, the rest of the tour would have to be resumed at a later date. No problem, many photos and memories were recorded during the previous four hours.

Pulling out  the station the train was on time and we were soon traveling across one of the most beautiful states in the union, Maryland. With the rolling hills, farmland and  many horse farms, it was a welcome change to the crowded city life of Washington D.C.

The sun had come out and as we entered the more mountainous regions of Western Maryland and West Virginia the landscape again changed . We were in some pretty isolated areas, so cell phone and computer service was nonexistent.

No time for that anyway, too much scenery to observe and photograph, it would be dark soon and there was no need to burn daylight sitting behind a computer.

With the Potomac River on our right , we meandered up the mountain valleys to Cumberland Maryland, where we would enjoy dinner in the diner car, as the sunset behind the mountain, ending our day.

Continue the Travels, follow me on Kindle.

Cheap Independence Day Hotels

Amtrak: Journey to the Heartland

Today our journey begins! It has been several years since my wife and I have traveled by Amtrak.

I have a 50 year class reunion in southern Indiana to attend on Saturday and my wife has been wanting to visit her son and family in the Detroit area. After researching all the options, we decided it was time to make the journey by rail.

Amtrak is a fun way to travel, after one decides he isn’t going to arrive an hour after leaving home and being content with being at least an hour late when arriving at the destination.

Reserving a sleeper car is a must , as riding coach is relative to riding a bus, and it is too long a trip to even consider it. Reserving a sleeper car provides one with three square meals a day, the food is excellent and Amtrak provides some of the best cheese cake any where.

It will be a two week trip and I will be providing a blog post weekly during and after we return.

Follow us through the heartland on Kindle.

Travel Agents: Are They making a Comeback?

                                              Travel Agents:Making a Comeback?

                                      Is a real live travel agent better?

There has been a trend in the last several years to conduct all our  business on line.Not only can one go on line and conduct business any time of day,It seems faster and cheaper to do so. But is this always the case?

We’ve all been there , especially in the travel business, we’ve found this really great cruise on line, at a great price. But then the real questions surface, how do I get to the cruise port, which airline has the cheapest fare, what shore excursions do I go on, how do I get the best deal on those? The list goes on and on.

What happens when I have to change something, do I dial 16 different phone numbers to talk to a real live person? How much time am I going to spend doing all of this. In time , is it really worth it?  How much am I really saving?

The novice simply isn’t going to know what his or her options are, one who only travels once a year or so, simply can’t keep up with all the changes going on in the travel industry.
Rates and fares change hourly, what was a good deal on Monday, might not be a good deal on Thursday.

Only by  sitting down and talking to an experienced travel agent can one be reasonably assured of getting the best deal, and having someone available to solve any problem that might arise.

Statistics show that fewer people are booking on line, down to 46 % from a high of 53 % in 2007.

A real live travel agent can also give more personalized service, you’re not going to get warm cookies if you stop by a travel website and want to change an itinerary. It’s very hard to get creative and customize a vacation on line when all the options are unknown. Many times a travel agent has personal experience and knowledge concerning your destination, if they don’t, they know someone who does.

The internet is a wonderful tool and I use it a lot, however even in today’s world,there is still no replacement for the personalized service that a face to face meeting provides.

Gary is a travel writer and photographer living in Sarasota,Florida. He has a website featuring  more photos and articles and also markets products featuring some of his travel photos.