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Cuba to USA: Welcome Back! August 28, 2016

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By Tracy L. Barnett
For Westways Magazine

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It was my first walk down the Malecón, the famous seawall that has protected Havana for a century along the Straits of Florida. I ended up at a seaside café, where I met a friendly man with a baseball cap. He called himself John and showed me his ID card, which identified him as Juan.

“My parents named me John, and I was John until the revolution,” he explained. “Then, with all the problems—you know, John Kennedy, the Bay of Pigs—it just wasn’t possible to have that name anymore, and the government changed it.”

He wanted to be sure that I knew, however, that he had no hard feelings about the difficult past between our countries.

“We Cubans have nothing against the American people,” he declared. (more…)

Castro’s Cuba – Before it’s too late December 16, 2015

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Kelly and Carmela Frels grew up in the Cold War era. The Cuban Revolution, the Bay of Pigs, and the standoff with the Soviet Union that nearly led to a nuclear war marked their lives profoundly. For John and Becky Luman, it all amounted to a footnote in history – something you learned about in school, but didn’t fully understand.

Now, with the gradual opening of Cuba, both couples took advantage of trips to the island organized through The University of Texas alumni association, the “Texas Exes” – and despite their quite different perspectives at the outset, both couples came away from the experience similarly enthusiastic.
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Vision Council calls to dreamers and doers from near and far November 1, 2015

Posted by Tracy in : Adventure, Eco-Nomads, ecotourism, Ecovillages, Latin America, Mexico, Nature tourism, Permaculture, Sustainability , add a comment

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By Tracy L. Barnett
For El Daily Post

The Call of the Sage, which will culminate on the week of Nov. 21-28 in the intentional community of Teopantli Kalpulli south of Guadalajara, is the newest manifestation of the 25-year-old Vision Council-Guardians of the Earth. This loose-knit network of visionaries, artists and activists have traveled the globe for decades, with their workshops and performances planting seeds for a culture of peace, one that draws on movements from permaculture to bioregionalism to the Rainbow Gathering and the human potential movement.

The Call of the Sage began as a whisper in the winds of a tiny village on the edge of the Primavera Forest. For two years it has gathered force and volume, and now the call is being heard in lands as far away as New Zealand, Germany, Australia and Slovakia. It has different sounds at different moments and for different people; it’s the early morning trumpet of the caracol, calling us to yoga, to the temazcal, to breakfast. It’s the strumming of the Celtic harp in the women’s teepee, it’s the insistent beat of the Navajo water drum from the temazcal, and the rattle of the Aztec concheras as they gather around the fire for their offering of danza.
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Enjoying the best, preparing for the worst January 20, 2015

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Patricia and Mark Rauch were planning a trip to Italy to celebrate a cousin’s 60th birthday, and they decided to explore a less-beaten path across the Adriatic Sea in Croatia.

Rochelle and Alan Jacobson have always sought out exotic, challenging destinations far from tourist zones, so Myanmar had been on their list for a long time.

Both couples experienced the best of what life has to offer in their travels last year – and each also lived through a hard-hitting reminder to prepare for the worst.

– See more at: http://thebuzzmagazines.com/articles/2015/02/enjoying-best-preparing-worst#sthash.2Gwc06da.dpuf

Común Tierra: A journey through sustainable communities of the Americas July 27, 2014

Posted by Tracy in : Adventure, Consumer travel, Eco-Nomads, ecotourism, Ecovillages, Latin America, Nature tourism, Permaculture , add a comment

Minhoca Ecuador
(All photos courtesy of Común Tierra)

Editor’s note: In November of 2010, as I was winding down my journey through the Americas, documenting sustainability initiatives in the 10 countries I visited, my path crossed with that of Ryan Luckey and Leticia Rigatti, the couple who make up Común Tierra. They were doing exactly what I had wanted to do but ran out of time, funds and energy. They have spent the past four years creating a body of work that is unparalleled in this area, planting seeds of sustainability as they go with their workshops and seed bank and presentations. Their journey carried them throughout the Americas aboard the Minhoca, a motor home outfitted with a wide range of “ecotecnias” or ecological technologies that help the travelers live in a way that’s consistent with their values, while making their home a rolling demonstration project for sustainability.
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National Parks: Revisiting “America’s best idea” May 21, 2014

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Arches
Arches National Park (Neal Herbert photo courtesy of National Park Service)

Historian and author Wallace Stegner once called the National Park System “America’s best idea.” Nearly a century after the park service was established, most who have had the privilege of visiting a few of our national parks would be sure to agree. Nothing captures the grandeur of this fragile, beautiful, incredibly diverse planet the way that our national parks do – and to be sure, I’ve been privileged to see quite a few.

So naturally I was delighted when USA Today invited me to help out with their guide to the USA’s best national parks. Here are my contributions:
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Our Father March 6, 2014

Posted by Tracy in : Adventure , 1 comment so far

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Our father, who art in heaven
Hallowed be thy name…

One night not long after you had left us
I stepped out onto the porch
Of the house that you built
With your own strong hands
With the help of our mother
And your brothers
So many years ago

I was confused
There was your workshop, dark and empty
And the barn that you built
To hold the farm equipment, the tractor that plowed Mom’s gardens, the buckets and shovels and hoes
And the RV that held so many of your adventures and your stories
And so many dreams of adventures not yet lived
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The Rolling Cameras of Guadalajara January 29, 2014

Posted by Tracy in : Adventure, Biking, ecotourism, Guadalajara, Mexico, Nature tourism, Sustainability , add a comment

Camara Rodante
Last week I had the chance to visit with Carlos Ibarra, news photographer for El Mural and one of the founders of Camara Rodante (literally, “rolling camera”.)

Carlos with his collection of miniature bicycles and a photo of his father, an avid bicyclist.

This intrepid group of biking photographers is dedicated to promoting biking in a variety of ways. Besides their weekly outings, which traverse a variety of rural terrains around Guadalajara and further afield, they’ve organized get-out-the-vote campaigns, children’s outings, first aid workshops, bicycle repair workshops, and a fundraiser for Haiti – all aboard the seat of a bicycle.
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Coasting along the Costalegre: Costa Careyes January 2, 2014

Posted by Tracy in : Adventure, Mexico, Nature tourism, Uncategorized , add a comment

Copa 1
Part 5 of a series

From the land, the cryptic entrance sign says it all: a question mark, followed by an exclamation point.

From the sea, the first thing I noticed was a strange inverted dome perched atop a narrow tongue of land, a crystal-studded cup opening skyward upon a bridge of wave-pounded cliffs. La Copa del Sol, it’s called, and it’s the brainchild of the same visionary who created the lavish dwellings tucked along this 22-kilometer stretch of coast known as Costa Careyes.
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Coasting along the Costalegre: Manzanilla and Tenacatita December 20, 2013

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laguna

Part 3 of a series

We awoke early this morning and went to the wildlife refuge at the backside of Barra de Navidad, a place seldom frequented by tourists but a hotspot for migratory waterfowl. A beautiful place to watch the sunrise and the sometimes extraordinary birds that appear there; once I saw several very large waterfowl that I didn’t recognize, over a meter in height. Today there were a pair of graceful blue herons fishing for breakfast; we observed them quietly before hitting the road north.

Today was the day we’d arrive in Cuixmala, the mysterious coastal refuge that was the high point of our trip. But first, we had a bit more coast to explore.

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