Tag Archive | Traveling

A Day In The Life in Cuba – The Reality

In life, one of the most incredible experiences is travel. I believe that when you travel to see the world, different lifestyles, realities, different people, places is something that is such a great thing. You become more aware, educated, informed and get in touch with your personal self to get a better understanding than what you hear in the media and pictures, also to change your perspective on things of the way your life is and in your own backyard to appreciate, count our blessings, and to be grateful for everything you have in life where others are less fortunate and do not have much. For example, in Cuba.

I have traveled to Cuba 13 times in my lifetime. I have traveled almost all over the island and have seen cities, and towns along the way. I have spent time with the locals, and met families, and have seen the way people live their day to day lives with the bare minimum. Some people make about $12.00 – $30.00 a month. Maximum 35 if they are lucky. Most people work in the resorts and touristic parts, some who are teachers, doctors, room makers, cleaners, bartenders and more.

A lot of people nowadays are so picky about what they want to eat, some people have a fridge full of food, pantries full, stomachs full, and they still are trying to figure out what to make. I admit, I am one of them, but It is really an eye-opener when you see the world. Not only in pictures, but when you see it with your own eyes. That is a whole new ball game. Well, some people in this world unfortunately do not have that option. Cuban people get a certain amount of food per month or every 2 weeks and that they need to space out how much food to eat during the day, some have to struggle to make their own food.

As I was going through towns from Cayo Santa Maria, back to Santa Clara where the airport is to come back home, I saw some of the most saddest things I had ever seen, there are run down buildings that look like they will collapse any minute, people walking around the streets with heavy bags, people cutting grass with machetes or some sort of cutter, some people going somewhere with horses, busted up cars, and it just made me tear up and think to myself, how can people live like this day in and day out? I teared up and so did the person who was sitting next to me and I overheard 2 ladies behind me saying that, we shouldn’t complain anymore and be choosy about everything we have. This really opened up my eyes one of the ladies said, and the friend of hers or whoever it was said, yes that’s true, you are right.

I have been through towns and cities in Cuba, and some of the conditions of the homes the Cuban people live are terribly sad. It breaks my heart. They don’t have proper windows, the roofs of some of the houses are coming apart, a lot of the houses are the size of a 14 to 17 foot place and some of the houses are even smaller than that. Can you imagine a family of 5 living there? Well, I met this family of 5 and they live in such a small house and they have to go outside of the home to use the toilet and to shower they have buckets inside the house and there is running water outside, so they have to go out to get running water then come back to wash up inside where there is just a drain.

In Cienfuegos, Cuba when I went. I had met an entertainer and then he invited my family and I over to his house, so the next day we took the taxi over to his place. We met his family and I remember how hospitable they were with us and so friendly. So, we took them a few items we do not need anymore and they were so happy. So the mother of the entertainer made us a whole table full of food, and started preparing the day before when the entertainer told them we are coming over. The dinner we had was so delicious and it was probably their months worth of food for us for that night. It was done without our knowledge or else we would have refused and if we did, they would get offended, so we ended up eating all of it as we were hungry. They then served us coffee and then we went back to the hotel.

They were so incredibly friendly and we got to see how they lived the whole day. They struggle so much with the deplorable conditions they live in. Some places though are really nice. It depends on the monthly salary as well. Again, I came to my resort and I just thank my lucky stars. I showed a few Cubans my pictures from my Camera, and they have never even seen an airplane in their lives, they have never even seen a camera, let alone the type of clothing I was wearing. It absolutely broke my heart to pieces.

I will continue to visit Cuba. I really like the people there and they are so friendly, witty and energetic, but for some people you can see the sadness and depression in their faces and you can tell some of them don’t have much, and some show they are happy, but they are not. The desperation can be seen. They love it when you give them shoes, clothing and anything else. For these people I will donate and give them the shirt off my back. Put yourself in their shoes and see what its like, but some people don’t realize.

I see them working so hard at the resorts, non-stop and they have to travel long ways to make a Buck which is a Peso there. There are people who come to these resorts who travel there, and I see how rude the guests can be to them and waste so much food on their plates, demand things from them. I mean at the end of the day, they are human beings just like us and deserve to be treated with respect and to have patience. Those Cubans see it and they said, I wish I had this much food at my home and I can see the frustration and sadness in their eyes. I am very observant when I travel. Some of these tourists don’t realize that, however I do and I am compassionate and patient with them. I put myself in their shoes and I go from there.

Moral of the story is that you should always be thankful for what you have. You never know what someone else is going through and people in this world do not have anything, so we must stop begging for more, being desperate for buying the next newest and latest smartphones, or super expensive things that really suit no purpose in life. Some people are so spoiled to the fullest extent. It is unbelievable. We should always count our lucky stars because people in this world aren’t so lucky.

Have you been to Cuba or anywhere else and have seen the way people live?

Do you travel to other destinations to see other peoples reality and what it is like?

Would love to hear from you.

Driving on Two-Lane Highways – It Feels Awesome

As you may or may not know, one of the most therapeutic things for me in life is to drive and I like it very much. I especially love to drive on major Highway/Freeway Arteries, big and small, long and short. When I drive, it is very relaxing to me. I remember when I got my G2 drivers licence, I began driving on highways in Ontario, Canada, especially the Highway 401 going back and forth to Montreal from Toronto, and when I used to go up to my cottage in Tweed, Ontario on Highway 37 which is a two-lane highway in some parts. Then after I got my full G licence, it felt awesome taking control and having that experience to drive all on my own from Montreal to Toronto, which is about a 5 hours drive. I loved it. Listening to the radio/cd’s, Myself, my car and the road. It was so peaceful and incredible.

With that being said, I absolutely love driving on two-lane highways as well. I feel like I am driving out in the country, different lifestyle, seeing farmers, pick-up trucks, old cars, overlooking trees, scenery, farmland, agriculture, fruit and veggie farms, animals, a house or 2 within a few km’s away from each other, followed by passing pick up trucks, big trucks/rigs on opposite side of the highway, then seeing solid lines, then broken lines for cars that are able to pass at that moment, say if there is a very slow moving vehicle in front of you, then quickly merging back into your lane, of course when it is safely to do so. I love road-trips like that, and I have to be the driver, but I am not the one who can stay in a car for more than 8-10 hours. That is my maximum limit. Anymore than that, I would rather fly somewhere.

I know sometimes driving in rural country/county township highways take longer to get to places, depends on where you are going, but it feels incredible to see greenery more and to get up close and personal with nature as you drive along.

Do you usually drive in the family or when you are amongst your friends? Or do you like being a passenger a lot more? I am in the mix between both, but I am the one who likes to usually drive. I cannot sit in a backseat of a car. I feel uncomfortable. I have to either drive or sit in the front.

Do you have a driving memory or story?

Our Ultimate 1308 Miles of California Getaway

A couple of weeks ago on May 21st, 2015 after a long wait and anticipation, Our ultimate California getaway had arrived when I went with my Family. We were so impatient and anxious to get to Toronto Pearson’s YYZ Airport to take our Air Canada Flight AC 789 to Los Angeles Airport LAX at 8am when it took off. As we submitted my boarding pass to the Air Canada attendant and as we made our way to the Aircraft and grabbed our seats, we were absolutely excited for the 5 and a half hour flight, which to us did not feel long at all, as we are used to flights. We arrived at 10:10am LA Time, so we had the full day ahead.

As soon as the aircraft attendants announced that we will be landing momentarily to LAX and as we saw the Los Angeles Buildings in Downtown while landing, the hills, valleys, and the beauty of LA, we began to get more excited then ever and then I said to myself, it is about to get real now. So much is waiting for me to discover, my family to see, my cousins wedding to attend to, Facebook Friends whom I met for the first time, and covering so much ground in so little time. 10-11 days went by like a dream.

It was an incredible time when we went through towns and cities, and firstly after getting our rental car, we made our way to Newport Coast, where we stood the night, taking the 405 Freeway, where then we began driving north to Fresno where my cousin got married, and reunited, and united with family and friends, then after Fresno, we made our way to San Francisco passing through San Jose, Oakland, and many other towns. After San Francisco, we ventured out to Highway 1 Freeway 101 which is the Pacific Coast Highway. It took over 8-9 hours to drive from San Francisco to Los Angeles. We made a stop in Santa Barbara for a night, Then we stood in Northridge Area, visited Santa Monica Pier and Beach after that we went back to Newport Coast where we ended our trip with more family time. On May 30th we returned our rental car, then at 10:20pm we departed Los Angeles LAX airport to arrive back to Toronto on May 31st, at 6am in the morning our time.

In Beverly Hills, we were on our way to Santa Monica, where I saw Actor Hugh Jackman driving a black Porsche when he was getting out and stopped on one of the streets in Beverly Hills close to Carmelita Ave with the tall Palm Trees around the homes. All the cars were either Range Rovers, Porsche, Mercedes, Ferrari, BMW, Maserati, Teslas and so many more crazily expensive cars around there, and then there were cleaners and maids coming out of some of the stars homes as I was driving and watching the streets. It was quite awesome to see a celebrity in LA… What is a trip to Los Angeles without seeing a celebrity?

With all that you hear from Movies, TV, Entertainment websites and all the hype of Los Angeles with the home of Celebrities, Music Performers, Directors, Producers and a huge Population that works in the entertainment industry somehow are scattered all over Los Angeles area’s. LA is just so huge that you need at least a month to comfortably go all around. 2 weeks is not enough. There is just too much to see, too much to do. If I lived in Los Angeles, I would definitely be in the entertainment industry.

Now Los Angeles is not just about Film, Entertainment and everything. There is far more to it than just film making, awards, studios, mansions, Malibu beach houses, movie sets, the glitz, glamour, vanity, fashion and everything is not just everything about it. There is so much more to do. If you have never been, you should make a trip there whenever convenient for you.

Now, they say that the Highway 401 here is jam packed and so much traffic. You haven’t seen and heard nothing yet. We took doses of the 405, 110, traffic and that is extremely brutal. I do not know how residents of California, LA area can handle that day in and day out. It takes patience, skill and guts to go through that almost everyday. Highway 401 traffic in Toronto is nothing compared to what they go through on the 405 and 110. I would go crazy with that everyday. People of LA are brave.

I love Los Angeles so much. I am excited to make a return next year. I have been back for a couple of days now and I miss it so much already, especially my family and my friends there. Next time I will be there longer to see my other Facebook friends that I didn’t have time to see. Cheers to LA!

There is so much more that I have to say about my trip, but this was just the bit of it.
Now to take off my bucket list:

– I saw the Painted Ladies and the Full House TV Show house, and Alamo Square in San Francisco,
– I saw the Fisherman’s Wharf, also the skyline of San Francisco, the Golden Gate Bridge.
– I saw the Santa Monica Pier
– I Drove on the Pacific Coast Highway
– I went close to the Hollywood Sign
– I saw Beverly Hills and glimpse of Celebrity Homes
– I saw a celebrity in LA – Hugh Jackman in his Black Porsche.

Understanding Social Media – Twitter

Since April, 2007, Twitter launched its social media website to the world. Twitter’s headquarters is located in San Francisco, California, where then eventually many offices were open in the United States, as well as the world. Millions of people have now created accounts since its launch. Twitter is a social media website where people share instantly without barriers of create ideas, advertising ones own business, as well as promoting events, causes, raising awareness on issues of the world, trending the news, popular words, phrases, currents events and more with 140 Characters or less.

In August of 2007, Chris Messina had incorporated the Hashtag “#” sign which is the number sign, which makes it easier and what will attract the world with certain keywords used to promote, advertise and make something popular with the hopes that it will begin to trend. For example, when you create hashtags such as #People #SocialMedia #Life #Love #Travel – and then if another person decides to write the same Hashtags, it will come up on the same page, and it will be like a chat room where people can communicate with each other, as well as if something is found to be interesting, they will add someones tweet to their favourites and re-tweet it on their page.

You will then receive notifications, that what you post on where it is and who has posted it on their pages. When people find something or someone interesting, they may or may not start following them and adding them on their list.
I know you are probably thinking, what can I write and share in 140 Characters or less? Well, there is a lot you can do in that limit. There is always something somebody is searching for and Twitter has made it easier to share it with the world. You can post photos, links, personal websites, and so much more which of course with obeying Twitters terms of service. Twitter also has a short link generator, which you can find the twitter short link generator and save space in the status message you are about to share. You can find it on a search engine site of your choice.

Introducing you the Executive Team:

Dick Costolo, Chief Executive Officer
Adam Bain, President of Global Revenue
Alex Roetter, Vice President of Engineering
Anthony Noto, Chief Financial Officer
Kevin Weil, Vice President of Product
Luca Baratta, Vice President of Finance
Vijaya Gadde, General Counsel
Adam Messinger, Chief Technology Officer
Gabriel Stricker, Chief Communications Officer
Brian “Skip” Schipper, Vice President of Human Resources

Board of Directors:

Jack Dorsey (Chairman)
Co-Founder, Twitter, and CEO, Square

Dick Costolo
CEO, Twitter

Peter Chernin
Founder and Chairman,
Chernin Entertainment and The Chernin Group

Peter Currie
President, Currie Capital

Peter Fenton
General Partner, Benchmark Capital

David Rosenblatt
CEO, 1stdibs.com, Inc.

Marjorie Scardino
Chairman, MacArthur Foundation

Evan Williams
CEO, Medium; CEO, Obvious Corp.

There are quite a few people that have told me, what is twitter? How can I understand it? why did it become so popular? Well, it is a social media website that has blossomed like wild flowers in the world. Like I said in my previous articles, people will search for anything, and when it comes on the news about a new website, and they begin to advertise so much on Media outlets, it will be a huge hit and sensation in the world. Twitter still is after 8 years.

I am so happy with Twitter. I feel that it has gotten so much easier to raise awareness about certain topics and issues of the world, and to address important subjects to our society. Thank you Twitter for giving us all an opportunity to get out there, to achieve, and to do what our hearts desire to the world. If you do not have an account with twitter, make one, it will make it so much easier to share blogs, ideas and so much more that you want to contribute to the world.

I wish Twitter and its staff all the best and many more years of trending, re-tweeting, tweeting, sharing and more. Thanks twitter.

The Social Media Information Overload

In the life and times of the society we are in, We keep hearing about Social Media and the many websites and how technology has changed so much with communication and how the internet is the biggest information/communication hub of the world now and I know in the last few posts, I have written about it, however this is such a thing as Social Media Information Overload, however that should never deter you from putting yourself, your ideas, suggestions, experiences, stories and more out there. There are many people in this world who want to look for different types of information in different context and there is always some type of information out there for everyone.

I know Social media is a huge topic and starting out and beginning your journey is something that can be frustrating and so intimidating, that you just want to give up quickly and not give it a chance. When I began blogging, writing and putting myself out there in the public eye, I never thought that I would get this far. I read many blogs, and tutorials on social media and how to get myself out there and I began following those instructions, then gradually I began getting so much feedback and so much more out of it. At first, I thought this is such a waste of time, and I won’t get anywhere, but then I gave it a chance, and everything fell into place. You just need to give it the green light.

I know some people are probably thinking, how of hundreds and thousands of blogs, twitter posts and all the writings, articles of the world, how someone can get to my site, and see my posts and things that I put out there to see? Well, it is very easy with over 3 Billion people who use the internet, it is very easy for so many people out of those billions of people who want to search for something that interests them and they will go through many sites to find it and they will get onto your site. It is pretty neat to be shown on Search Engine sites, and with searching for a topic or something is easy. People will sift through many search engine pages and when they see a blog or something that interests them, they will click on your site and see the content they want, then they might share it amongst their family and friends, and then will share it on their social media sites.

Some tips to take note of and a word of advice when beginning your social media journey:

– Be Patient
– Engage, Discover, Deliver
– Read Social Media Tutorials
– Get on Social Media Marketing websites and receive e-mails on articles
– Keep writing, Posting material
– Give yourself and your social media journey a chance
– Get on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook
– When you are on twitter hashtags like this #hashtags #blogs #socialmedia is important to spread out with whatever topics you want to share in 140 Characters or less.
– Never take take take – Give as well.

When you are in social media, do not make it a competition of “Oh I am better than everyone else” approach “My material is the best” attitude. People automatically feel the way things are written online, and if people feel that someone is complimenting themselves so much and becoming a center of attention, it becomes less interesting to engage into that persons website. Never make someone feel that their material and what they write is something that is not good or don’t make people feel that what they have to say isn’t important. We are all important, and what we all have to say is something that is good to read. Never slander and insult somebody because of it. We all have something incredible and wonderful to contribute to in the world.

All in all, Social Media is a great thing to be in. It is a communication of information that can be beneficial for everyone. So take the chance and see where it takes you. Have fun and best wishes!

My Vision of Empowerment of Social Media

Since social media has been a big trend on the internet and the world, We all have different outlooks and perspectives toward the vision of empowerment and communications that social media has that a lot of people are in, however my vision for social media and what I want to get out of it is to inspire, share my views/opinions and to educate others in the life experiences I have had and will continue to have. My vision is to raise awareness on certain issues that have me deeply interested in and to make a difference one person and many people at a time.

Some people create blogs, and become active on social media to see where things will take each and everyone of us and the purpose we have to get to that point. Still, I think the traditional word of mouth is something much more powerful, however with this new age in technology, with communication that has gotten a lot easier than years ago, information gets sent instantly on the other side of the world with just a click of a button. It is incredible where inventions, technology has led us to a new realm of today, tomorrow and the future.

Social media has different levels of how we look at it, some always want it to be fun with posting funny jokes, memes, and doing funny things all the time, some post inspirational quotes, some post photos of themselves and/or with friends/family, postings about so many things.

Advertising has become a lot easier with posting events, flyers, sharing it on twitter, on Facebook news feeds, walls, inviting people to pages, fan pages, groups, also making it easy to RSVP to events, people post up greeting cards, Photoshopping, and all kinds of interesting and neat things. Social media is a huge thing in the world right now and it is getting more popular as time goes by.

A few people have messaged me in the last few years and have asked me “What are you getting out of social media”? My answer is simple, to empower, to communicate, to keep in touch, to meet new people, inspire, and with the hopes of changing the world and the perspective on life with my words and to spread love, happiness, joy and smiles across the globe. Once someone posts something, it is out there for the world to see.

We all understand social media in different context and ways and what we define our vision of it is. Some use social media to communicate with family and friends, some use it for business/commercial use and as well as many other things. No matter how we look at social media, we must always be very careful of the information we transmit and not post anything and everything that goes on in our lives for the world to see.

The biggest vision of mine is to communicate to the world through my eyes, my words, and my thoughts to the world as much as possible.

Why Do We Write? What is the Sole Purpose?

In life as human beings in the world, we are all good at something or multiple things and we are blessed with being gifted and talented in whatever that is instilled in you. We all have a purpose in life and it is never late to find out what it is. One of them being is that a lot of people choose to write. Now in social media, and blog sites where it is easy to transmit information and being able to write more easier and quicker so that many people can see instantly rather than waiting for a book to be published. The world can see what you have posted. I began writing in 2002 and even maybe even before 2002. I cannot really remember, but I have been writing for a long time. I began by writing for my church and the events it had, I became a communications director and secretary for committees where I wrote meeting minutes and e-mailed them out to fellow committee members, then eventually when it came time for social media to come around, I began writing for the community of the world.

My Sole purpose of writing is to get my points across. I want to inspire, uplift and make a persons day. I mostly 99.9% of the time like to write about positivity, happy thoughts, optimism and instilling people in giving them confidence, and so much more. I want to make a person smile, to feel good about themselves, to know that there are people who care about every individual around the world, because I care about the human race, and everybody who is on-board in this planet we live in. We are only on this earth for a limited time. We must learn to help each other, give each other a hand, inspire one another, to care, love and appreciate one another without violence, and all the other negative things in the world that are going on right now.

There are so many reasons why people write and the sole purpose of writing is to share experiences in all walks of life, to share ideas from writing news stories, articles, writing poetry, lyrics, short stories, fiction, true stories, sentimental stories, scripture, about movies, music, novels, traveling, children’s books, food recipes, organizational ideas, giving advice, tips, and suggestions about things and places in the world. There are many perspectives that lead to writing. Writing skills are important when you get your points across, but it does not have to be perfect. I know writing is a task that we bloggers know and sometimes we get writers block where it is absolutely difficult to think of fresh new ideas and a topic to write about which is totally in the norm. Even I get days where my mind cannot come up with new ideas, so I resort to reading online, brainstorming subjects to write about and make it into my own words.

Lets put it this way, writing can be anything you want it to be, but to make it in ways where it does not offend anybody, or directly or indirectly to point fingers to someone to prove a point. It is always best to take up personal issues and problems you have with an individual right to their face to confront and come clean about a situation, rather than posting it on social media where thousands and millions of people can see and involving everybody else. It is you, your business and the other persons. It sends out the wrong message. It is best to leave very personal issues off the internet. Not everything should be published and posted. Not when it comes to issues with others. It can really ruin friendships and relationships. Trust me, I have learned that lesson and in a hard way, which is why I do not do it anymore. I am speaking from personal experience. It is not fair for the other person and not fair for yourself as well. It can cause a lot of trouble.

Now to ask you, what is the sole purpose of writing? Why did you start to write and contribute to the world? I know some people will not have all the answers and it is hard to answer this question, but would love to hear and read about how you discovered about writing and what is does to you. Best wishes to you in your writing journey. If you can write or contribute to the world with your words, you can make a difference in the world. It all starts with the outlook that you do have. All the best. :)