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New Zealand, Back to the Future on this Peaceful Pacific Island

By Sherry Brooks
April 28, 2014
File under: Environment, Travel

No GMOs in this Nuclear-Free Zone

I have heard that visiting New Zealand is like traveling back in time to the 1950’s; however I would say that it was quite the opposite during my recent visit.

For me, it seemed more like going forward in time to a perfect vision of a future filled with peace and kind and loving people who always greet you with a warm smile.

The unspoiled “Middle-earth” vistas are filled with millions of sheep and cows that live 100 percent outdoors for year-round grazing, due to pleasant weather, which they refer to as ‘long, fine spells.’

The dress code everywhere is ‘hiker chic’ where sage green prevails, reflecting the New Zealand motto of  ‘Clean and Green.’  I found that there were no poisonous snakes, bugs or any sort of dangerous animals to halt you in your tracks on a long hike. …read more of New Zealand, Back to the Future on this Peaceful Pacific Island here

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Useful Phrases for Finding Your Way and Making Friends in China

By Sherry Brooks
October 2, 2013
File under: Travel

Before visiting a country, I have found that the trip will go more smoothly when learning or printing out some basic phrases in the spoken language.  This seemingly simple act can be invaluable when trying to find what you need in foreign culture and can also create a magical, spontaneous spark of friendship with the locals.

On our first night in China, we arrived very tired, but not enough to keep us from a nightcap in the hotel bar.  We had heard that the Chinese would be able to speak English, yet we were getting nowhere fast with our sleek, young cocktail waitress in the long skirt with the thigh-high slit.  My father repeatedly asked for ice in English.  She became measurably more frustrated and tried to let us know that she did not speak English.  He was, I must admit, a bit incredulous when she left in a huff.

This was my chance to explain to him the value in the lessons I was taking in multiple languages and that, “A local phrase can create an instant friendship.” …read more of Useful Phrases for Finding Your Way and Making Friends in China here

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Aussie Country Diverse, Dramatic and Delicious!

By Toni Salter
August 27, 2012
File under: Gardening, Travel

Photos: Toni Salter

I love a sunburnt country, A land of sweeping plains, Of ragged mountain ranges, Of droughts and flooding rains. ~ Dorothea Mackeller 1885 – 1968

These immortal words, excerpted from “My Country” by an English immigrant poet to Australia in 1904 that are often quoted to reflect the vastness and unpredictability of the Australian countryside.

Like Dorothea Mackellar, I love the broad range of landscape in my country.  The dramatic variety of flora and fauna amidst vastly divergent countryside attracts almost 6 million visitors to a country with a population of less than 23 million. …read more of Aussie Country Diverse, Dramatic and Delicious! here

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Modern Tibet, Ancient Culture in Transition

By Sherry Brooks
July 5, 2012
File under: Spirituality, Sustainability, Travel

Tibetan prayer flags flutter in the wind outside the 7th Century Potala Palace.

Hardy Tibetans have lived a simple, cost-effective and sustainable lifestyle for centuries. Sadly, this peaceful, planet-friendly way of life is giving way to the occupation of a modern and militaristic China.

This growing world power has a strong need for Tibet’s timber, coal, sparsely populated large land mass and jobs that pay three times the wages that the Chinese can earn in China. …read more of Modern Tibet, Ancient Culture in Transition here

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Cuba Today – The Life and Culture of Forced Frugality

By Sherry Brooks
April 25, 2012
File under: Recipes, Travel

An old Mercury

I just returned from Cuba, where they don’t have car seats, bike helmets, avocados or berries out of season, traffic or much of anything with a brand name, other than the ubiquitous State branded Havana Club Rum.

Dogs run in the streets with nary leash in sight, but these materially deprived citizens did sport a multitude of smiles, lots of music, extremely grand historic, albeit crumbling, architecture, lovely caged birds and longevity.

According to the United Nations, the average life expectancy in Cuba is 77.3 years, ranking 36th in the world along with the U.S and Denmark.


While the mild climate and relatively stress-free Caribbean lifestyle, (most Cubans live rent-free) and free medical care may have something to do with it, the strict rationing of meat may well be a strong contributing factor.  …read more of Cuba Today – The Life and Culture of Forced Frugality here

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An alternative approach to health, wellness and disease prevention. Marie Oser and her team of bloggers bring you creative natural solutions to issues affecting our health and wellbeing.

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