Connecting Photography Dots Around The World With Google+

You are cordially invited to the Google Plus One Year Anniversary Photowalk happening around the world this Saturday! 

Google is already your best friend.. Now they are going to be your BFF reaching out to touch you around the world sharing their global community through photographs!

                                                                                         *Original Google heart design concept by http://psdblast.com

When: Saturday, June 30, 2012  check time in your city

Where: Anywhere in the world check over 200 locations

Who: Photographers of all skill and levels. From beginners to pros. Cell phones are just fine too!

Why: To celebrate the one year anniversary of Google+ in the G+ photo community. To hang out with other fun Google+ photographers. To SHARE MORE PHOTOS! To meet new and interesting people.

Cost: All Free! The best things in life are free right? We just need people to step up and decide to host one in your city.

Anyone can host a photo walk. Groups of people can host them. Anyone can be involved with them. This is a loosely defined community of photographers.

To host a new location go sign up at plancast.com  There is still time so come on in the water is great! 

Become Part Of History This Saturday June 30, 2012 as you participate in the world's first GLOBAL social media "meet-ups" with photographers from all over the world.

Everyone is welcome to join the  Google+ One Year Anniversary Photowalk.  All photography skill levels embraced with kindness and a willingness to share knowledge and talent.

Come join the group in your city or there is still time to create your own group an be part of this history making social media event with Google+.   

Places include: Singapore, Denver, Switzerland, Phoenix, London, Columbus, Baltimore, Calgary, several places in LA, Hong Kong, Dubai and over 200 more cities.

City ?? Beijing
Link ?? http://plancast.com/p/bwmq
Host ?? +Mitchell Masilun 
Time ?? 5:00pm
Meet spot ?? South side of Gulou (Bell Tower) at the three way intersection?

City ??Shanghai, cn
Link ?? http://plancast.com/p/byh4
Host ?? +Angelia King 
Time ?? 
Meet spot ?? around the Shanghai Expo Park.

Check out the Dubai listing they are meeting at the world's tallest building!
City ?? Dubai, UAE
Link ?? http://plancast.com/p/bac3
Host ?? +Syed Rizvi 
Time ?? 
Meet spot ?? Burj Khalifa – the World's Tallest Tower

Someday I WILL do a photowalk in Dubai and after this event I will know photographers there so I can get that checked off the list!  

I will be hosting the Williams, Arizona photowalk on Rt66 or we might just jump in the car and head up to the Grand Canyon.  If you are in Arizona and want to come to the cool country, please let me know.  ??This event will provide an opportunity for people go create relationships with photographers of all skill levels all over the world.  A participant will be able to circle and comment on all the photos as the doors are opened through a common interest in cities around the globe.  Think global, act local brings on new meaning as you really do have a way to connect with the world and share your community through social media at Google+.

The Google+ community is reaching out to touch the world and make you feel safe with engaging in social media. There is even a contest that might interest you if you are a photographer and want to participate .

Photo judging for this great event will be broken down into the following categories:

  1. Macro
  2. Wildlife
  3. Landscape
  4. Architecture
  5. Sunset or Sunrise
  6. Portrait (candid or posed)
  7. Black & White (monochrome)

The door is open for an opportunity to connect with something exciting that everyone loves to talk about, pictures!  
Contest rules include:
"Remember that this is all about enhancing our photographic abilities and interaction with others here on Google Plus. We are here to have fun and to learn a bit along the way. This is a positive experience and please don’t make any negative comments along the way.??The one and only rule is that you must be a Google Plus member before this walk to enter.??Anyone and everyone can participate and take photos in the various photowalks around the world and actually that is encouraged, the more the merrier! We are just limiting the judging to existing G+ers.  😉

I will be hosting the Williams, Arizona photowalk on Rt66 or we might just jump in the car and head up to the Grand Canyon.  If you are in Arizona and want to come to the cool country, please let me know.  ?Hope to see you there! 

Please connect some photography dots around the world and join us for the GLOBAL Google Plus One Year Anniversary Photowalk
Watch us on twitter #GplusAnniversary

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Everything Happens For A Reason! Rule of the 2 R’s™

Where are you supposed to be?  Thinking Global, Acting Local, going “glocal”  with the  “Real Reason Rule ™.”

Do you appreciate the concept that everything happens for a reason? I am a firm believer in this philosophy and know all our experiences are directed from a higher source. When going through something, many times it might not be until you get in the middle of it do you see the “real reason” something transpired. Our global lesson proved this theory showing how the “Real Reason Rule™” is always applicable.

My husband Tom and I have been on a journey around the world and in the middle of the South China Sea we got a call from family letting us know that his 92 year old mother had been admitted to the hospital with pneumonia. Serious thoughts of guilt began to rise as we thought about her original concern with us taking the trip at her age. Gertrude, Tom’s mother, was not in bad health when we left so we felt that 104 days should not be a problem and we proceeded with our plans.  We had driven to Colorado from Arizona for Thanksgiving prior to embarking on our January voyage to say our personal goodbyes and hopefully made her feel better about the trip.

Upon receiving the news about his mother, Tom checked in frequently with his sister, about his mother’s condition.  Gertrude improved and was moved to a re-hab facility which was good news for all of us. The news of the tsunami and earthquake in Japan on March 11, 2011 was also starting to undermine the thoughts of everyone on the ship including our family watching the news and knowing we were very close in the China Sea. The only news coming through on the satellite to the ship was the Aljzeera network which continually repeated the bad news about the global disaster in Japan.  Prior to the incident in Japan we did not have any news at all on the TV so getting to catch up through the broadcast was helpful as we processed what was going on in the world around us as we gradually approached Japan.

The decision was made by the trip organizers to cancel the stop in Japan and change the last port before Hilo, Hawaii to Taiwan. Tom and I started to think about how his mother loved looking forward to visits from us so we decided that disembarking after Hong Kong and Shanghi then going to Colorado to be with her might help the healing process.  We e-mailed and called our daughter in Arizona and a friend in Colorado asking for help with trip plans as the Internet service on the ship was not working well and we wanted to take action immediately.  All of the flights leaving Hong Kong on the short notice were going though Japan and that global stop was not an option. Our daughter booked us a flight leaving from Shanghi direct to Los Angeles. Nineteen hours later we were in Phoenix, Arizona on solid ground, happy to be in the United States of America.  The fifteen hour time change was quite an adjustment as we crossed the international dateline and had the opportunity to live March 30th twice.

There were several reasons we decided to disembark from the journey early.

  1. Tom’s 92 year old mother was in re-hab after contracting pneumonia.
  2. The Japan disaster was a looming danger which caused some concern for our family.
  3. The ports of call on the trip were almost complete.  Having lived in Maui, Hawaii for three years, the last stop in Hilo was just extending the voyage time.
  4. 21 more days of crossing the Pacific was not going to add to our Global knowledge as the international cultural engagement had been completed.
  5. My head needed to re-boot with all the global experiences before I could accurately write about the lessons and rules that unfolded in each country.

To our friends who indicated that 104 days on the ocean might be too much, you were right! We were so happy to see the sign “Welcome to the United States of America” and Welcome to Los Angeles.

Why is she explaining all this you may be asking? To share how this global activity shaped our local experience in allowing us to travel back to Colorado and be where we needed to be for two very important reasons we were not aware of at the time we made the reservations.  Everything happens for a reason and the “Real Reason Rule™” became clear after this adventure.

Five days after making the decision to disembark, while still on the ship we had a call from the son of a close family friend. His mother had passed away and they were having the services on April 8, 2011.  I was able to assure him that we would be there and would be able to help with anything that needed to be completed.  He was so appreciative that we would be able to attend and be there with his family.

Seven days after we had decided to leave and still on the ship, our daughter in Phoenix called, very upset as she had totaled her car in an accident. She was not hurt but frightened and needed the support of her family. We had made arrangements for her to fly to Colorado to see her grandmother as we were going to drive and she could not take off more than a weekend. We were all together this past weekend and it was a healing event for everyone as we were all together,  able to make plans for the future and move upward with our thoughts supporting one another.

The celebration of life service for our family friend of thirty years, Cindee Murphy, helped me continue in mental growth about life and it’s meaning. Cindee’s son Kip delivered a memorial speech emphasizing the hyphen between the dates of her birth July 17, 1943 and her death March 27, 2011.  Creative writing has been going on  in my consciousness while working on a chapter about the meaning of a persons “dash.”  Several new ideas connected as he spoke so lovingly of his mother.  The family had Santana and Pink Floyd playing as they flashed photos of her life on the two big screens.  I was moved beyond description as I saw my picture included in the family treasures. The photos initiated thinking about all our experiences and how she would be missed then my thoughts turned to the higher meaning of her life and what she gave to us and what we gave to her.  Cindee Murphy’s dash made a difference in the world.  She always completed her real estate business with unblemished ethics and set the bar for high standards in the industry.  We were  sounding boards for each other on ideas that were outside of the box and she was always respectful and kind in the way she responded.   Based on Cindee’s vision for the service, she had us dance out of the hall with Santana blaring thinking only happy thoughts of Love.

Creating letters to friends and relatives upon passing is something I had only seen in movies and read about in books. I had never experienced receiving a letter from anyone I knew who had passed.  Cindee’s son brought me a letter she had written to me along with a beautiful red bag that contained two hand beaded, purple necklaces and bracelets Cindee had made especially for me.  I wept as I read the letter and will only share one sentence Cindee wrote to me:  ” ….you gave me one of the biggest gifts anyone has been able to give me.  That was to constantly reinforce my relationship and love with my son, Shawn.” Remembering conversations in the past helped me realize how  verbal exchange really does affect people and how important positive reinforcement is in our relationships.  I know I will take this lesson from Cindee and start to write letters to my friends and family NOW,  letting them know what they have done for me and how they have helped me with along the way. Hopefully, dear reader this might touch you and the “pay it forward concept” sharing how someone has helped you in the NOW makes a difference in their dash as well as yours.

Had we not made the arrangements to get off the ship early we would have missed this once in a lifetime opportunity to share with family and friends the celebration of life of a very special individual, Cindee Murphy.  I am so grateful to have learned the “real reason rule™” and realize how important it is to listen and then respond accordingly when ideas come, as everything does happen for a reason.

We were able to be where we needed to be and did not know the “real reason” to disembark until we had already made plans to leave. Tom’s mother was recovering beautifully and two families who really needed support, received our love and physical presence because we listened and believed that everything happens for a reason.  Taking this global lesson and applying it to local situations makes this glocal lesson the “real reason rule™.

The contest, Where in the world is Carra Riley is still active and will continue as originally outlined until April 24, 2011.  New photos are being posted on facebook and flickr daily along with  youtube videos of the port adventures. Double points are available on some venues so jump in or keep playing, the game is still on! Winner for prizes to see one of the seven wonders of the world will be announced May 13, 2011.

What is with your orange? Glocal #7


Welcome to Day one on the voyage for “Connecting The Dots Around The World.”

“How can this be?” you may be asking as today is actually the 52nd day of travel on the MV Explorer.  Mental transformation proceeds on different paths with each individual and it has taken me this much time to process the information and share it in a way that makes sense and will have a positive impact as we “Think Global and Act Local”  going “Glocal.” To prepare for a mid-voyage review I took a step back to review where we came from and compare where we are, setting the first day stage:

“Anxious whispers filled the room in the student union as voyagers anticipated the key note address for the Spring 2011 voyage of Semester At Sea. The thought of 104 days on the open seas, engaging with people in communities all over the world was daunting.  How would I know what messages to listen to? How would I decipher all the visual and audio stimulation I which I would experience and use it as a learning tool?  How will I know if I “Get It?”  What will I feel?  Will the dots connect?  Will the puzzle pieces fit?  These are questions swimming through the minds of many on the ship so the importance of the initial message was one that would set the tone and expectations for the passage.”

C.Y. Tung,  one of the visionaries behind Semester At Sea said, “Ships can carry more than cargo. They can carry ideas.”

To that end I embarked upon a global path with no obligations, no stress and a total open mind to absorb and engage in stimulating conversation to help connect the dots around the world. Completely void of any ties or worries, produced an environment perfect for a type of “scientific research” where were no external factors that could obscure the message. My mind was an open book ready to write the chapters after each port or life changing event.  The bar of expectations for the experience on the ship was at the very top level.  The marketing “hooks” had me ready, hook, line and sinker for somewhat of a utopia in travel and education.  The superiority of the instructors, the course selections, the student body composition, the quality of the ship itself all were framed in marketing perfection.  I drank the Kool-Aid and was ready for the ride to become “grounded at sea.”

Rosalyn Berne, Vice President of Academic Affairs for the Institute for Shipboard Education and Semester at Sea, spoke to the Spring 2011 voyage participants about embracing the newness of everything and what we were about to experience. She asked us to close our eyes and visualize…….

“Pretend you have one orange and there is one orphan child looking at you on a bench, you start to open the orange…… what are you going to do with the orange?  Now 7 orphan children appear…  again the question arises, what are you going to do with the orange… as you break off one section.. a hundred orphans show up… what will you do?”

Pregnant pause…. that was it, she was done and the next speaker was walking to the stage.

“What is up with your orange?” will be the theme and deep question to ponder throughout the voyage for me.  The sensation in my stomach after her speech was something I was not prepared for as I had no clue what I would do with my orange. Originally thoughts of sharing the orange popped into my head but once the 100 orphans came out I became uncomfortable in my thoughts as the reality of world hunger started to set in. The question then arose about my one orange and what I could do to help.  We have encountered hundreds of hungry children on this voyage so far and the answer to the questions seems to change or evolve after each port.  It will be interesting to compare ideas on how to “Connect The Dots Around The World” once the voyage is totally complete.

Going back to the orientation event, potent information was provided by Dean Dan Garvey describing the hypothesis of why some of us were on the ship.

  • Some are here to meet people and travel.
  • Some people see life as a great charm bracelet and want the charm that says “I sailed around the world.”
  • Some are just getting out of relationships and some want in a relationship.
  • Some are here because their sorority or fraternity said it was a good thing to do.
  • Some are trying to answer “WHO AM I?” and where do I fit in.

Out of nowhere we hear the clear sound of one note ringing in the auditorium.  The addition of a second note peaks our interest, then many notes just hap hazard are being played with no association.  The notes then evolve into a beautiful melody, setting the tone of “harmony” which is ultimately one of the goals for the voyage according to Dean Dan.

“Take aways” from the orientation included the fact responsibility comes along with this adventure if we accept it. We are the custodians of our stories both the successes and the regrets.

I created the Dean Dan Top Ten list from the ship orientation speech.

  1. Traveling around the world is an opportunity to be one of the most transformational times of life.
  2. It can also be an opportunity for huge regret if one misses doing things or experiences for growth in exchange for momentary instant gratification.
  3. Let the experience to light a fire to become a positive influence on the world.
  4. Become a citizen of this planet without regret.
  5. Never say, I wish I had listened, I wish I had spent a little less time at the Hilton.
  6. Adults have been coaching you since you were little, you know what to do, just do it.
  7. Make sure you have no regrets.
  8. Look forward to the unknown opportunities.
  9. Don’t be a distraction to others who want to learn.
  10. Honor everyone else who is here.

The orange messed with my mind or should I describe it as “stimulated contemplation.” The orange has been the topic of many conversations on the voyage as we individually figure out what to do with that fruit.  The door of thought was opened but no directions were given or alluded to including what could potentially happen if you turn right or left in thought so it is up to the “thinker” to figure out how all the dots connect and the ultimate outcome for the orange. The ship is filled with “serious thinkers in the form of both students and educators” which gives a good cross section of some of the most brilliant minds in the country. The voyage has turned out to be more of an “independent study” instead of a community project. Having access to the intellectual resources is making the journey an easy place to learn.  Each individual is learning or absorbing the lessons from around the world at their own pace and under their own terms.

Several insightful ideas came from posting the orange question on facebook:

  • Eat the orange and plant the seeds.
  • Take the orphans to the orange tree itself.
  • Pray, like the loaves, fishes and wine to feed the multitude.
  • Eat the orange and run.
  • Make juice.
  • Teach the orphans how to plant an orchard.

Contemplating the orange, opened thought for new ideas like, connecting the dash in life with specific purpose. Could it be the “dash” on the tombstone showing the material start and end of a life answers what you did with your orange?  Does discovering passion in your dash evolve into “Who Am I” and what did I do to make the world a better place?
Is there a right or wrong answer? Do you share the orange, give it all to one, eat the orange, plant the seeds, graft a tree, create juice or run away?  There are certainly many choices of what to do with the one orange. What is right for one individual might not be right for another.  It really does not matter what your answer is because, your dash, is your dash and you have control over what you do in life to make a difference in the world.

Connecting the dots around the world with global ideas that can be implemented at the local levels is what “Glocal” lessons are all about.

What are you going to do with your orange?

What difference can be made in individual communities?  How can others be encouraged to help with local issues?  The world is a big place and the backyard is a step away.

Going Glocal, connecting our local communities with global lessons.

Lessons From The Omelet

Part 1 of 2 Lessons From The Omelet

“Thinking Global Acting Local” is the theme of the Spring 2011 Semester at Sea voyage around the world. The Term “Glocal” is a hybrid word coming from the combination of taking global ideas to a local level.

We are 30 days into the voyage now and I am starting to connect the dots around the world without emotions. Saying there is an adjustment to traveling on a ship with 700 other people is an understatement. The diverse group of learners from all over the world has been an interesting study of human nature. Each day I am learning more from the individuals and from the ports so it’s all part of life and the lessons it has to give.

The lessons are still the lessons and I was so happy to learn the Lesson of the rainforest in Dominica and the 18 Mile Rule™ in Brazil. Could it be we have about completed 9 of the 18 miles in the last 30 days and a balance is starting to appear? I am thinking we are about half way there and the dots are starting to connect.

The lesson of the Omelets are ready to be shared.

The ship, MV Explorer, embarked from Nassau, Bahamas on January 12, 2011. My husband Tom and I arrived in Nassau a day early to be sure we were rested and ready to embrace all the “glocal” lessons we could absorb. Being in a receptive state of mind heightens the consciousness for the lessons that are right there. Without a conscious state of awareness the lessons can just slip by and the feeling of the experience is just going through the motions to get through an event. By putting on the receptivity hat, the trip continues to be stimulating as the awareness heightens on a daily basis. The ability to listen more intently, picking up on trends, actually feeling the moods of the people and the surroundings becomes a new world with intense opportunities to learn. The hotel we were staying at provided us two free breakfast buffets because of some room issues whichOmlete will be another post involving the bar of expectations and quality.

While standing in the line to have an omelet prepared I heard the cook ask a man in line if he was having a good time. The man answered “yes I am.” The cook then inquired “when will you be coming back to Nassau?” to which the man responded “well I need to get home first then think about it.” The cook then suggested “why don’t you come back for the super bowl, we are going to have many fun events and it will be a great time.” The thoughts came rushing in with wonder how an individual preparing an omelet would be such a great public relations person for the hotel in talking with the guests and closing n another stay.

The global lesson started to crystallize as I reflected on conversations with the taxi drivers, the door men, the restaurant host and wait staff. Everyone we had come in contact with had a smile and was asking how our stay was going. It became clear that Nassau, as a country or community, was dedicated to encourage tourism and help make the guest feel welcome and appreciated. Taking this concept to the local level it became evident that to create an environment where visitors want to come back and tell their friends about their stay in a particular location the entire community needs to be on board to make the visit pleasant no matter what facet of the town they encounter.

Taking the global message from Nassau right back to our local communities made the experience of the omelet a “glocal” lesson that expanded as we encountered engagement with the locals. Ambassadors of tourism Downtown we encountered tourism help from women in neon vests eager to help make our time in Nassau enjoyable. The question arises “Is the local government involved with this dedication to creating a memorable experience for the visitors or is it just “free trade” at work?” I had the distinct feeling of “big brother watching” as we navigated the area and thinking that would be great content for some investigative reporting.

The experience in Nassau has stimulated a desire for me to research how local communities can come together economically and from the heart for the common cause of sharing the love of their land with others coming to visit, work or live. Let’s ponder together, how do we take this global concept local? Is there any way possible our local Chamber of Commerce can work with the community to support one another in expressing joy to visitors and sharing the love of the individual cities and towns? Can we encourage local citizens to smile and engage with visitors to share the hometown feeling of a group of people living and working together with a common goal of survivalin changing economic times? Is it possible in our individual communities that even the person making omelets is concerned about the experience a visitor is having?

Williams, Arizona is the “Gateway to the Grand Canyon” and the community where my husband and I reside. We are going to take this lesson of the omelets to embrace each and every visitor we encounter on the street to be an ambassador of good will for the community we share.

Glocal lesson #5 think global and act local, going “glocal” with omelets.

Check back later for part 2.

Be sure to register to play the “where in the world game” if you have not registered!

Connecting The Dots Around The World With Coffee

Confronting The Coffee Crises:

On our way to Brazil, the largest coffee exporter in the world, we had the opportunity to listen to Lee Gross explain his Masters research on small scale coffee production in the Dominican Republic. We are traveling down the Amazon River on the ML Explorer with the Spring 2011 Semester At Sea voyage learning new concepts from the theme: Thinking Globally to Acting Locally on a daily basis.

Lee Gross sharing research on Spring 2011 Semester At Sea

The information Lee shared was really an awakening for me to really embrace the concept of supporting  “Certified Fair Trade” products.

I must admit I have been on the outside looking in with really understanding the importance of using my consumer dollar to support the environment and small scale farming families. Lee’s presentation “connected the dots” for me in understanding why we should buy “Certified Fair Trade” products.
Interesting facts about coffee production:
• 25 million families are “sustained” by coffee and its connected production products
• Shade grown coffee helps with soil conservation, provides habitat for bird life and consumptive fruits to families
• Brazil produces 1/3 of the world’s coffee
• Small production farms would be the size of a backyard in an American subdivision.
• Coffee is handpicked by millions of laborers and grows in remote mountainous areas. The largest cost to bring the coffee to market is the transportation by mule to the cooperative and export overseas
• Coffee is harvested only one time a year which creates a cash flow problem for small farmers
• Coffee is the 2nd most traded commodity in the world behind OIL
• Most small coffee growers receive $1 to $1.40 per pound
• President John F. Kennedy started the ICA International Coffee Agreement regulating coffee prices
• In 1989 the ICA was terminated which has resulted in an extremely volatile coffee market
• It takes 5-7 years from planting a coffee tree to harvest
• Farmers have all the risk with weather, disease and pests
• 63% of the coffee market is controlled by 5 big corporations: ie. Kraft, Proctor & Gamble, Nestles, Tchibo. who in 2001 at the heart of the coffee crisis experienced significant earnings
• Coffee can be differentiated through specialty coffee organizations, which purchase the highest quality coffee i.e. Starbucks, Green Mountain, Cooperative Coffees, Peats Coffee. Coffee can also be differentiated by purchasing single origin coffees
• Fair Trade is a certification, which ensures that farmers are paid a minimum price ($1.38-$1.50) plus a social premium for good practices, democracy in organization and additional premiums for organic production. Coffee by any roaster can be Fair Trade certified
• Certified Fair Trades growers have to produce products under specific condition to obtain the certification
• Many developing countries spend more in military expenses than in the education of their people
• There is no incentive to grow organic so only the consumer can help the farmers by paying more for certified products
• Organic certifications certify the productions method
• Fair Trade certifications certify the process of trade (i.e. labor practices, minimum price, transparency, etc.
• Many farmers do not have title to their land and cannot obtain loans
How can you help make a difference in supporting small farmers?  Follow the links below for a cliff note lesson!

1. Read about the Certified Fair Trade products, Specialty Coffees and Relationship Coffees. Don’t buy coffee in a can. Know where it comes from and that workers were paid a fair price. Buy certified and single origin coffees. Be a conscious consumer, your dollar speaks!

2. Be willing to pay more to help the environment and sustainability of the world. Support companies who can ensure transparency in process, social and environmental best practices.
3. Learn more about injustice happening everywhere and share with your friends.

Coffee bean sorting

When I posted information about the class and helping small coffee growers on facebook the first person to comment was my friend Sadie Harris from France. She has been buying Certified Fair Trade products for years and makes a conscious effort to support the movement. Many Europeans are acutely aware of how this impacts the world. Traveling around the world, learning from educators in all fields of sustainability is certainly helping me connect more dots!  We are taking the global lessons and applying them to our local practices!

One person DOES make a difference and if that person shares with one other person who becomes aware of the environment and injustice then modifies their buying behavior the world can change. Remember to Buy Certified Fair Trade Products!

I am excited to hear back from you!  Read all the links and then let us know how it touched your life and what you are doing to share?

This post took days to finish with the bad Internet connection so thank you for your patience!  More to come Connecting The Dots Around The World!  Be sure to check out the contest to visit one of the seven wonders of the world!