Your Very Next Step newsletter for July 2009

Your Very Next Step newsletter for July 2009

“Men hang out their signs indicative of their respective trades: shoemakers hang out a gigantic shoe; jewelers, a monster watch; and the dentist hangs out a gold tooth; but up in the mountains of New Hampshire, God Almighty has hung out a sign to show”

– Daniel Webster

The next adventure begins with your very next step.

Driftin' Blues (Charles Brown, Johnny Moore and Eddie Williams)

I'm drifting and drifting,

Just like a ship out on the sea.

I'm drifting and drifting,

Just like a ship out on the sea.

Well I ain't got nobody

In this world to care for me.

If my baby

Would only take me back again.

If my baby

Would only take me back again.

I would feel much better, darling,

And at least I'd have a friend.

I give you all my money,

Tell me what more can I do.

I give you all my money,

Tell me what more can I do.

You is a sweet little girl

But I swear you won't be true.

I'm drifting and drifting,

Just like a ship out on the sea.

I'm drifting and drifting,

Just like a ship out on the sea.

Because I ain't got nobody

In this world to care for me.

“Your Very Next Step” newsletter, published by Ned Lundquist, is a cooperative community, and everyone is invited, no…encouraged, no…urged to participate.

Subscribe for free. Send a blank email to:

Send us your comments, questions, and contributions to

You are now among 629 subscribers.

Contact Ned at

*** In this issue:

*** Travel News

*** “Where I'd rather be…”

*** YVNS “Sport You Must Try” for July

*** Faces od decay

*** Ned’s brief family vacation

*** Mike Klein’s third day in Bulgaria

*** Debbie Marcinkowski in Tibet

*** Travel, Outdoor and Adventure Jobs and Volunteer Opportunities

1.) Guide, Eastern Mountain Sports, Foxborough, MA

2.) Stables Junior Wrangler (part-time), Keystone Resort, Keystone, CO

3.) Wranglers, Duchesne County, UT

4.) Marine Mammal Observer, AES Regulatory and Technical Services, Barrow, AK

5.) Retail Associate, Fishing, Cabela's, Hamburg, PA

6.) Captain/Mate/Master, Cascade Fishing Inc., Bering Sea, AK

7.) Breakfast/Lunch Chef, Ruby Springs Lodge, Alder, MT

8.) Tour Guides, Insta-Gator Ranch, Covington, LA

9.) South Pole Area Manager, ITT Corporation, Antarctica

10.) Project Manager – South Pole Traverse, ITT Corporation, Antarctica

11.) MFO Organizer, Military Families Outdoors (MFO) Program, Sierra Club, San Francisco, California

12.) Multimedia Specialist, The Chesapeake Bay Program, Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, Annapolis, Maryland

…and much more…and it’s all FREE!!!

*** Do you have that special place you like to get away to for a respite from summer?

Send me your pics and I’ll post at the “Your Very Next Step” website ( under the category of “Where I'd rather be…”.

*** It gets hot in Houston, so Susan Burnell is thinking of the beach:

Hi Ned, thoroughly enjoy Your Very Next Step!

Houston is having a heat wave and drought. I'd sure like to be at a really

pretty beach, like Redington Beach on the Gulf of Mexico, south of

Clearwater, Florida. We haven't been there in a few years, got there

precisely at sunset the last time. Barely made it because the parking meters

took quarters and we had none. Dashed to a convenience store, got change,

ran back to the beach. Birds flew by right on cue. Enjoy!


Susan H. Burnell, APR

Imagination Ink – Business Writing & Public Relations

Houston, TX

*** It gets hot in Phoenix, so Heather Murphy is thinking of the mountains:


Temps might reach a [crud, I don't even know the word to insert here…ummm…hellish??? 'Hellish' just doesn't capture it.] 116 degrees by the weekend.

Almost exactly one year ago, I was exploring and hiking the Canadian National Parks of Banff, Yoho, Kootenay and Jasper. It was a sweet break from the Phoenix heat and an opportunity to feed my photographic energies.

Here are three photos that represent where I'd like to be before it hits 116! Sadly, my next real vacation is (maybe) February 2010.

For the rest of the folks stuck in sunny, hot or humid summers, let's hope these photos put you in the mood for a vacation. I highly recommend the Yellowstone/Grand Teton National Parks, the Canadian Rockies and Newfoundland. Newfoundland was the destination for my summer 2007 trip — undiscovered, rugged, hardy folk plus really great stories and hospitality from the locals.

Heather Murphy

*** It gets hot in the springs, says Keith Moore:

Ned, I could pick many MANY places I'd rather be from all the hiking

and backpacking I've done, but just to narrow it down based purely on

the power of the photo, I'd be in Goldbug Hot Springs in Idaho,

sitting in a natural hot springs on a sandy bottom, leaning back

against the rocks watching the sunset.

Best regards,


*** Where would Debbie Marcinkowski rather be?

“… back in the high mountain passes filled with Tibetan prayer flags…” that I explored for the first this summer…

Debbie Marcinkowski

McLean, VA

Send your photo to Ned at

*** From Mike Zimet:

Hi Ned…

Love the newsletter! Makes me wish I had clients who'd tell me where to go more often… :>)

An update to “Fast lane — speeding through airport security”…

Most of the article is about CLEAR, the preferred traveler program. Unfortunately, CLEAR folded on June 22, giving its members only a few hours notice and no refunds. Citing “creditor” issues, they just folded everything up and disappeared from sight (with everyone's money — and at $199/year, that's a lot of $$). (I'm fortunate — I let my membership lapse.)

It's a shame, because it's generally acknowledged that the CLEAR card and its chip (which contained an iris scan and fingerprint) was about the most secure ID document available. But without any real support from the TSA, they were doomed…

Anyway, it was great seeing you (as always) in San Francisco. We never had enough time to chat, but if you're ever in the Philly (or even NYC) area, let me know and we'll meet up.

Have a happy 4th (and a good fifth, too)…



*** Check out “Your Very Next Step,” the travel/adventure/outdoors newsletter for July, now posted at www.yourverynextstep. Plus, Ned is offering free 95×600 pixel .jpg banner ads at the YVNS website for conservation organizations (Ned will decline this offer to organizations that conduct or promote illegal activities). Contact Ned at for details. Well, actually, those are the details. 95×600 pixel .jpg. And free.

*** Sometimes, the nest vacations are when you stay around home. Tell us about your best “Stay-cation.” Send to Ned at

*** Trail Ho!

Thanks for the info on the Appalachian Trail events. I've always wanted to take a trip along the trail… as opposed to, say, going to Argentina.


Paul Hart

San Antonio

(Okay, this was funnier when the South Carolina governor thing went down. That’s the problem with being a monthly.)

*** Here’s the YVNS Travel News for July:

*** Unclear what Happens to Personal Info with Clear

Link to AP story:

*** Can your EZ-Pass catch you speeding?

Maybe not in Houston.

*** Non-stop from NYC to downtown London:

British Airways is pulling its Gatwick-New York route, the last remaining service from London's second airport to the Big Apple, because of disappointing premium traffic, yet corporate clients have reaffirmed their support for the forthcoming launch of New York service from London City Airport.

The business-class-only service on an Airbus 318 requires a fuel stop at Ireland's Shannon Airport en route to New York, but the carrier said it would enable passengers to clear U.S. arrivals processes during the stop. Eastbound flights will be nonstop.

*** Israel to Install Air Defense in Passenger Planes

Link to UPI story:

*** US airlines June passenger revenue drops sharply

US airline passenger revenue plunged 26% year-over-year in June, the eighth consecutive month of decline, while the 20.7% drop in yield was the “sharpest” this decade, the Air Transport Assn. said.

*** Head to the trough:

(From TCN. The Transportation Communications Newsletter is published electronically Monday through Friday.

To subscribe send an e-mail to:

*** 'Do you want to stand up? If you do, you can travel for free'.”

Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary found himself in the headlines again yesterday after telling Sky News “We might take out the last five or six rows [of seats] and say to passengers, 'Do you want to stand up? If you do, you can travel for free'.”

O'Leary said he has asked Boeing to look at converting or producing aircraft with “vertical seating” and asked, “Why is this any different to what happens on trains where you see thousands of people who cannot get a seat standing in the aisles?”

A spokesperson confirmed to Agence France Presse that Ryanair and Boeing are in discussions “in relation to adapting the aircraft to allow people to travel in vertical seating.” They “wouldn't be fully standing. They would have something like a stool to lean on or to sit on.” The same spokesperson told the Daily Mail, “It's really early days but we're looking at a 20%-30% increase in passengers on commuter routes.”

*** World's Worst Airport for sleeping?

Professional Travel Guide's “Travel Relish” tells us about “a website dedicated to airport napping has picked out the world's worst to sleep in – and frankly, it's kind of a surprise. What country is it in? And where do some of America's (so, hint: not in the US) worst departure points rank?”

Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris was named the “Worst Airport to Sleep In” by

***Watch Out! 11 Airline Fees You Haven't Heard Of … Yet

*** Passengers report declining satisfaction in 2008

J.D. Power & Associates released its annual airline customer satisfaction survey on Tuesday, and despite fewer baggage delays and more on-time arrivals, some passengers overall said they were less satisfied this year with air travel than they were last year.

The survey, which questioned more than 12,900 business and leisure travelers, found the drop was driven by lower satisfaction with in-flight services, flight crews and costs and fees.

In a move originally created to try to fend off the impact of high fuel prices, many airlines last year began charging for services once considered part of the ticket price, including such things as snacks and checked luggage. The extra charges have remained at many airlines despite a drop in fuel prices from last summer's records.

*** Cute date!

Hwee Suan Ong in Abu Dhabi says it’s Liwa Date Festival time. Suan says the “date trees lining every street here are bursting with dates. I am used to seeing coconut trees rather than dates. They are so so so cute.

*** The June YVNS sport Ned has never heard of:

Lawnmower racing

The The U.S. Lawn Mower Racing Association says “We turn a weekend chore

into a competitive sport!” Not only is lawnmower racing a sport, they show it on TV…and they even have a video game version.

*** Faces of Decay:

You might not want to go to Chernobyl. But Timm Suess went, and took pictures. Check this out:

*** Our family vacation to New England

We drove to Boston on a Saturday at the end of June. To avoid the Northeast Toll and Traffic Corridor we snuck around Harrisburg and Wilkes Barre/Scranton. There was some traffic because of road construction near Scranton. We had some pretty nice days in Auburndale. The Northeast had 20 days or rain in the previous 31 days. We took a quick trip up to New Hampshire.

It is not easy to explain the White Mountains to someone who hasn’t been to New England. I took a college classmate there for a ten-day hike and he of California thought we were going on a picnic until he saw the peaks of the Franconia Ridge, and he turned to me and said, “We’re going up there?” Fact is, the White Mountains, ranging between 3,000 and 6,000 feet are not the foothills people might expect from New England.

The girls enjoyed lobster rolls at D'Angelos in Concord. It rained when we got to Lincoln. We got a week-long parking pass for the White Mountain National Forest. There is an incredible network of hiking trails up here, and the WMNF now charges a nominal fee for the small parking areas at the trailheads. The rain, as it turned out, would limit our walks, but it seemed reasonable to have our pass ready to go on the dashboard.

Much to see and do in this part of the White Mountains (

We couldn't get a cabin large enough for all four of us so we rented two cabins at Pemi Cabins ( in Lincoln, right on the river. Pemi Cabins was so chosen because of their pet policy. We enjoyed a dinner at the Woodstock Inn's brew pub, “Woodstock Station.” I had a meatloaf Wellington. North Woodstock is situated on the Pemigewasset River, one of my favorite rivers in the entire world, and is a small but eclectic shopping district.

In Fadden's General Store we got the scoop about the Great Great Grandfather Fadden who served in the Civil War and had the documents on the wall to prove it. Fadden's is known for their maple syrup ( It was here a Southern gentleman inquired about Moxie. Moxie, if you don't know, is a New England specialty. It's what snake oil magic elixir salesmen used to sell. I told the man from Georgia I'd buy him a Moxie if I could watch him drink it. He opened it, made a face, and said, “It's not bad.” His wife took a swig, gagged, scrunched her face, then stuck her tongue out, looking for something to relieve her discomfort, and wiped her tongue on her husband's shirt. She then grabbed her purse, got out some tic-tacs, and popped a dozen in her mouth. I recommend it.

Barbara and I walked to the Basin in Franconia Notch early in the morning and had this glacial formation to ourselves on this foggy mountain. The “Old Man of the Mountains” used to sit atop nearby Cannon Mountain. Beacause of the fog we couldn't see where the craggy face used to watch over the notch. Later we walked up the Flume (, another delightful experience. I like watching the water dripping off the mossy rocks, and the tree roots that cover the boulders. We later took the tram up to the top of Cannon Mountain by the tram.

Another excursion was across the Kancamagus Highway to North Conway. This is an incredible road ( ). The views of the mountains from the road were obscured by fog. In fact, the road was obscured by the fog. North Conway was rainy but fun for poking around the shops. We were going to come back that evening to have dinner at the Notchland Inn but I was outvoted about crossing the cloud-covered road yet again.

Our cabins were quaint, with a fire in the hearth and the river sounded great out our back porch. The innkeeper's son caught five nice trout. Three nights was too short.

*** Minor league ballparks of New England:

Everybody knows Fenway is a major attraction, but what about the lesser known baseball destinations?

*** From Mike Klein:

Here's a segment: “My Third Day in Bulgaria”

Bulgaria-Day 3

After a long sleep-in brought on by my lack of somnolescence following the virtuoso performance by the Globally Famous DJ Sash at Den Glade Viking near my hotel in Sunny Beach, Bulgaria, I took one look at the pool area and its collection of aging Germans and tattooed Brits, and then call again for a road trip.

Yesterday's trip, to Nessebar, a small but cute Bulgarian seaside town of Romanesque provenance was pleasant if predictable. Lots of souvenir shops, everything at the relatively-modest-but-high-for-Bulgaria tourist prices.

Today's trip, Burgas, was the real deal. An old school Black Sea port cum beach town, with a resort atmosphere set in authentically ex-commie digs.

One thing that's always struck me about ex-commie places is the sheer numbers of buildings with multiple layers of peeling paint. I first noticed this in Rugen, a Baltic resort that once catered to Erich Honecker and the heavies of the old DDR (East Germany for those who never saw the classic, Goodbye Lenin). Rather than marking eyesores, the peeling paint speaks to these buildings being witnesses to history, as the history in these parts was turbulent over the last 70+ years.

Bulgaria's history is interesting enough. A Nazi ally which nonetheless saved its 50,000 member Jewish community, Bulgaria switched sides to the USSR in 1944 and later embraced communism to such an extent that it asked to be annexed to the USSR in 1973. They must have dug Brezhnev's eyebrows, I guess.

Today, Burgas at eventide is bustling if not ostentatiously prosperous (guys in t-shirts driving late-model Mercedes notwithstanding). Streetside cafes are about half full. Prices are a little cheaper than in Sunny Beach, menus in Cyrillic and either English or German, depending on the place.

Cyrillic is fun. Invented by Bulgarians Cyril and Methodius, who were later sainted for their literacy-spreading deeds, it is at its most fun when Westerners mangle the pronunciation of letters like B, C, H and P, which have differing sounds in the roman alphabet. As was once said of a Moscow dining establishment, “I once thought that 'PECTOPAH' meant 'restaurant'. Then I ate there, and realised that in fact, it really meant 'PECTOPAH'.”. To be fair, in Bulgaria, restaurant means 'PECTOPAHT'. I haven't had a bad meal yet. Must be that extra T.

(Ned: I was just about to ask you if they had multiple layers of peeling paint. You were reading my mind. Does PECTOPHAT mean Keopectate in English?)

Mike: No, that's PEPTOCAHT.


*** The discussion was stewardesses, and the fact that they don’t look like the used to:

PSA invented hot pants…in hot pink.

*** I asked Debbie Marcinkowski to tell us about her Tibetan adventure. Here are two dispatches:

Here you are… just this one of many dispatches is lengthy, so please clip it shorter as necessary…

Yesterday I fell in love with Tibet; today we found Shangri La (two of 21 days in Tibet…)

Woke yesterday morning in the horrid hotel to sounds of Chinese military drills, chanting and marching at 6am again. One of the downsides of staying in towns. Much prefer the river of the last village to these bathrooms for washing. However, opened my curtains to steady snowfall and near whiteout skies. The day was like a dream. Breakfast out with the guys and to the local market for hard-to-find fruit before heading out. (Myself, a Tibetan, a Bhutanese, and a 61-year-old silver pony-tailed Californian named Vic… we were like a circus on wheels piled into our car meandering through Tibet.) Snowy roads, low visibility, breathtaking rock cliffs towering over through breaks in the whiteout. Reached a high pass at 15,000 feet so got out for our usual picture and prayer flag routine. I ran bit further up the mountainside (I DID run up at 15,000! Gave myself an instant headache but it evaporated with the first snowball I threw down at my companions.) War had begun. I whispered to Woeser, our Tibetan translator extraordinaire who once escaped across the Himalaya into Nepal on a 21-day epic trek in tennis shoes and a jacket, “how wrong is it to aim for Tenzin Ngyima while he's praying??” I got the thumbs up so… It was a free for all in this high mountain pass. Vic was in the car about 30 seconds after we let the first one fly, in retreat. The laughter was endless. The mountain views were endless. And the gratitude was endless. True joy and delight. Flowers were poking through snow. Woeser nailed Tenzin Ngyima in the back of the head, and he yelped out the line of the trip thus far: “Migh eyesball are go-eeng to pohp ouht of migh head!” I've been finding reason to use the word “eyesball” at every possible

opportunity since.

We reached mystical cliffs soaring out of the snow and cloud. It would be climbing heaven in mid-summer. An amazing sight I can't describe of prayer flags encircling an entire mountain in the mist. Thongkor. An elaborate Tibetan home perched hundreds of feet above at the entrance to a cave on a sheer rock face, no apparent way to it. A spring of sacred water, if one can find it amidst a maze of prayer flags. Once I duck under

and into the flags, it's as if I've entered a different world of gurgling streams, mountaintops peeking above flags, and finally the crystal clear pool. I stare hard (and then try gazing gently) into its surface for the rumored face of Buddha, but I'm distracted when Vic brushes against a poisonous plant growing out of the pool and his hand swells.

Encountered our first land slide blocking the road, monks trying to move rocks. Stuck there till it was partially cleared, then drove over remaining scree hoping it didn't send us tumbling down the ravine wall into the roaring river far below. (The roads are almost one “lane” wide, no shoulder, just a drop that makes my stomach turn to peer down, no paving, all rock and dirt and so rough that my body feels beaten at the end of each day. Speeds top out at about 50km/hr – that's a high speed of 30mph, traveling several hundred km in a day. )

(Written Monday night) yesterday was more of those roads. A higher pass this time; when we got out for prayer flags and wind horse offerings, with a vast expanse of snow capped peaks thoroughly surrounding us, Vic told me to go ahead to the high point at just over 16,000 feet. Thought one or two would join me but when I turned to see, from my knee-deep snow, Woeser had instead started a snowman right next to the pass. And a van of monks – long red robes and all – had pulled over and piled out to help him. Grinning at this sight, I continued up over 16,000 feet. When I returned to them, this time Vic stayed for the snowball fight. I was afraid my aim would be poor but Tenzin Ngyima assured me the monks would “be very, very happy. Yes, I think that is so,” if I hit one of them instead of Woeser. Again, the laughter was echoing through the pass while we played.

Spirits dampened when we descended the pass on harrowing switchbacks to see a jeep above us, sticking out of the snow, that had tumbled off the road we just drove down.

After, finally got stopped by the police in the middle of no-man's land. I was more rageful at the reality of the Chinese government, but poor Tenizin Ngyima was shaking like a leaf in terror. For the last several days we've been in an area where everything is blocked – we could not make international calls on cell phones and could not send/receive any email. Hard to believe but true. I still can't call the US from where we are. They instructed us not to stop, to keep driving hundreds of km to pass through the region. We're actually roaming here for several days. However, due to this we didn't go into a town for a hotel last night so we instead stayed at our driver's family home. Huge, gaping emptiness, no solar panel for power so once dark came… We were in this place with a dimming bulb and flashlights. Critters skittering overhead all night. More fitful sleep, all too familiar to my earlier night in the sacred cave with the rats and flickering shadows of butterlamps.

Despite all, it was the day something happened and I fell in love with Tibet. We arrived in the family's village late afternoon. Tiny. Set deep in a ravine between steep mountain cliffs, and the river changes to a milky pale blue rushing along the village with giant willows on its banks. Of course the temple… Tendonitis in my right wrist will soon act up with the number of prayer wheels I'm turning when I follow Tenzin Ngyima. Sat out under the trees, listening to the numerous bird calls and mesmerizing sound of the water.

Today we found Shangri La. Figuratively, of course. Driving up, up the most precarious mountain road yet, through the clouds appeared towers of gold that seemed to be floating in the mist. A monastery that was like a fairy tale clinging to the side of a rock-faced mountain. Whimsical, overwhelmingly beautiful, hidden from most. Again, an audience with one of the high masters. Given precious pills in the tiniest silk wrapping that are supposed to cure things you wouldn't believe if I bothered to write. The whole experience was mystical.

Sort of hiding out in a town tonight. Just played pool with Woeser and Tenzin Ngyima… not what you think of as our pool halls; these are open-faced shacks tucked in alleyways with nothing but a mud floor and a couple old pool tables. Another laughter-filled evening as three roaming Tibetans sang genuine nomadic songs to the 5 of us as we ate, begging for $. The music was hypnotic. We were pleasantly surprised when Woeser joined them in singing. It is almost unbearable, now, to think of leaving all of this.

And this dispatch:

It's snowing tonight! First falling snow since I've been here. Crazy

since I was in a t-shirt yesterday morning. Beautiful on the expanse

of mountaintops.

So the whole cave thing was quite a mixed experience for me. First

stop was the monastery Vic has raised money to build, high above the

town. We rode up an unbelievable dirt/rock road that NO vehicle should

travel up, drops into nothingness ravines, in Lama Khempso's 4-door

pickup truck. Woeser and I decided to start our adventure early by

standing, rather than sitting, in the bed of the truck for this ride,

leaning on the roof of the cab and laughing like hyenas at our fun

thrill of danger peering over the precipices as we slowly traveled

upward. To see the shambles of a monastery the orphan young monks

live in is heartbreaking. All 50 who live there must be fed off of

food sponsorships for just 16 boys. The headmaster, a very elegant

and dignified lama, had us sit in the field in the evening light in

front of the monastery, looking over the valley and town far below

(and also over the “cemetery” – a monstrous expanse of prayer flags

that covers acres and part way up a mountain. But they don't, uh, bury

the deceased. They cut the corpses into pieces for the crows and

vultures to eat, believing they are making use of the empty shell –

remember, Buddhists believe every sentient being is reincarnated as

plant, animal or human – to feed other living creatures, and not

ruining the land and wasting money on boxes for burial) surrounded by

velvet green soaring mountains, to have their discussion about

progress on the new building. I later told Vic it was the most scenic

business meeting I've ever been part of. Me, Woeser, Vic, Tenzin

Ngyima, 3 high lamas and a mysterious yogi sitting indian style atop a

mountain in Tibet surrounded by yak poop. (The yak poop, by the way,

is the primary source of cooking and heating; Tibetan homes have an

iron stove that heats and cooks. Yak dung is plentiful and burns

extremely clean for the environment. They also use it to build

walls.). After, the head master brought us into the temple where the

young monks were practicing debates. I MUST show you the video I took

of this; one of the most fascinating things I've ever seen take place.

And pretty remarkable to watch little ones as young as 8 and 9

debating existence v. nonexistence. Not at ALL our form of debate

however, so you'll have to see.

So from there it was up to the cave. I think Woeser and I both felt a

bit reluctant being left there at sundown, as the rest of our party

waved goodbye with knowing grins, telling us to watch our dreams

carefully as unusual things happen in this place where a teacher and

13 of his students attained enlightenment. It was the whole

otherworldly feel that was giving me creepy uneasiness… The mystical

side as well as the very real physical danger of one misstep sending

an unfortunate fool over a thousand feet down. And reading Vic's

earlier email about the rat sitting on a ledge over where he slept in

the cave. So to simply go to the bathroom here is risking the

1,000-foot fall. It's tiny inside. Woeser and the yogi made me go sit

in the upper chamber to meditate while they made dinner. That too is

tiny, but tall walls which are hung with thangkas (elaborate

handpainted images of deities) and a rock ledge-turned altar with a

big buddha statue, many other symbolic tokens, lit only by the

flickering light of butterlamps splaying shadows on the rock of the


I was there an hour before eating. Over dinner we heard of the yogi's

own escape over the Himalaya; stories of monks who used to fly (yeah,

I said fly) 60 km from one mountaintop to another he pointed out to

us, in droves of a hundred at a time; questions about my own

meditation practice followed by flailing arms of this little yoda-like

yogi, and then a string of instructions as my way is apparently of no

benefit. All being translated through Woeser. He then decided the

three of us should meditate together in that upper chamber. I was

dreading returning to it. This alone was an experience beyond words


Oh, lucky me to also have that space to sleep that night. He insisted

I choose if I would sleep up there alone or in the lower chamber with

one of them. Some twistedly curious side of me picked the upper

chamber. Now, I knew that's where the rats would be. And I was already

haunted by the flickering light and objects in it. But might as well

go for the full experience as long as I came all the way to Tibet.

Woeser looked at me with sympathetic understanding as he said

goodnight, ducked down, and backed out.

Suffice it to say I slept little. I initially fell asleep fitfully,

but I woke soon. Tried to keep my eyes squeazed shut so as not to see

the haunting butterlamps flickering upon staring Buddha eyes and the

images. And – the rats. first time I woke up I tried not to look. But

then saw first two skittering across the ledge. It continued all night

– just had to surrender to it. The yogi's giggles as he said “who

cares if they're in there? Just smile at them” were little comfort

when actually faced with them. I was also awake much of the night in

worry regarding something which the yogi and I spoke at length about

the next day as we ascended two mountains. (Yeah, he took me on a hike

the next morning. 70-something, in long robe, falling-off glasses,

shoes with holes – and he seemed to float up the mountain. Felt like I

was gasping for air by the time we stepped out of the cave, and

immense joy to be on our hike upward. The three of us talked, affixed

prayer flags in idiotically steep places, and meditated at the summit

as Woeser translated more instructions for me.). When we finally

descended on foot all the way down from the cave, past the monastery,

to our friends far below 2 days later, we were both relieved to dump

our packs on the riverbanks while we washed our clothes and hair

(closest thing I've had to shower) and then snoozed on the sunny rocks

with the comforting sound of the river tumbling beside us.

So much more has happened, no way to convey even a small portion. Had

my prediction read by another lama, in a really gross place. Drove

into a new region, days in the car along raging rivers with sheer

mountains narrowly towering over us. Apparently this is brown bear

country. Today Tenzin Ngyima was sitting indian-style much of the car

ride. Aside from the first few days of Vic insisting I sit in front to

soak in the Himalayan views, it's TN, Woeser and I like three

musketeers in the back seat. The roads today were particularly bad and

I wanted to snap at TN for hogging space. Kept reminding myself this

is a Bhutanese Buddhist. So I just smiled sweetly at him and kept my

elbow in his ribs till he budged.

Just left Serta monastery, largest dharma center/monastery in all of

Asia. It is like a fairytale land, my words here will smatter it

terribly. Had lunch on mud roof of Woeser's sister's home (men aren't

allowed into nun's homes). Thousands of delightful homes built in

terraces up mountainsides, mingled with brilliantly painted temples.

In '98 the Chinese destroyed over 2,000 of the nuns' homes here. His

sister is young; they look just alike and it's obvious they are dear

friends. He won't see her again for at least 6 months as most of his

time is in Lhasa guiding people to Everest base camp. We made

offerings for both the 7,000 nuns and 6,000 monks here to pray for a

friend of Vic's and mine who is sick.

Hail in Serta before it turned to snow this eve. Scuzzy hotel no

water, yet it's the best in town. Watching snow fall on surrounding

mountaintops. It was my first night out on the town since being here!

Arrived back and the door to my hotel room was wide open, lights on.

Sigh. Thankfully this amazing day outweighs all else.

*** Virginia Summer Angling Education Workshops Scheduled:

*** Travel/Adventure/Outdoors employment opportunities:

*** From Mark Sofman:

1.) Guide, Eastern Mountain Sports, Foxborough, MA

2.) Stables Junior Wrangler (part-time), Keystone Resort, Keystone, CO

3.) Wranglers, Duchesne County, UT

Description: WRANGLERS Wanted wranglers for summer position at guest ranch located in Duchesne Co. Must have at least 2 yrs. exp on horses and have taken guests on trail rides, is willing to learn ranch procedures and safety policies. Works well with guests and is personable. Pay is $120 per day + room & board.

4.) Marine Mammal Observer, AES Regulatory and Technical Services, Barrow, AK

5.) Retail Associate, Fishing, Cabela's, Hamburg, PA

6.) Captain/Mate/Master, Cascade Fishing Inc., Bering Sea, AK

7.) Breakfast/Lunch Chef, Ruby Springs Lodge, Alder, MT

8.) Tour Guides, Insta-Gator Ranch, Covington, LA

9.) South Pole Area Manager, ITT Corporation, Antarctica

10.) Project Manager – South Pole Traverse, ITT Corporation, Antarctica

11.) MFO Organizer, Military Families Outdoors (MFO) Program, Sierra Club, San Francisco, California

Duration: Limited duration of 1 year, possibility of extension depends on funding.

Context: Works with the National Military Representative to coordinate and implement the Military Families Outdoors (MFO) project. Organizes support for MFO project and works with appropriate staff to integrate the program with relevant field and outings programs. Assists in outreach activities and oversight of grants program.

Scope: Plans, organizes and implements education and mobilization efforts for the Military Families Outdoors program. Regularly works outside the office to participate in visibility and outreach events and functions, conduct site visits and environmental education evaluations. Works in close cooperation with the National Military Representative, the National Youth Director, field staff in relevant areas, and volunteer leaders.

Job Activities:

Works with staff to identify, recruit and organize volunteers and leaders who support the MFO program.

Works with appropriate staff and volunteers to integrate MFO program with other Sierra Club programs.

Coordinates visibility events and activities and assists with media outreach to promote the MFO program and partnerships.

Travels to conduct site visits to observe and evaluate grant program and ensure environmental education curriculum is being appropriately implemented by grantees.

Provides information, research, and other assistance to staff, Sierra Club leaders, the public and others about the MFO campaign.

Assists in development of educational and campaign materials.

Performs administrative and clerical duties as assigned by supervisor.

Performs miscellaneous duties as assigned.


1-2 years' experience working with volunteers in the environmental movement, military community, political campaigns, or other similar organizations.

Valid driver's license, satisfactory driving record, and proof of auto insurance required.

Strong demonstrated written and oral communication skills.

Strong organizational and problem-solving skills.

Ability to work independently, cooperatively and effectively with public, staff and volunteers.

Able to travel as needed. Extensive travel and weekend and/or evening work required

Proficient computer skills; knowledge and experience with word processing, database and communications software. Sierra Club offers competitive salary package commensurate with skills and experience plus excellent benefits that include medical/dental/vision coverage, and a retirement savings 401(k) plan

Sierra Club is an Equal Opportunity Employer committed to a diverse workforce.

Explore, enjoy and protect the planet.

To Apply: We would appreciate if you could take a couple of minutes to answer a few questions about the position you are applying for and about yourself. Please click on this link to take you to this very short survey: Please send cover letter and resume to: To ensure proper routing of your application, please specify job code: (MFO) Military Families Outdoors Organizer — IDTBD in the subject line. Please do not add or modify anything else beside job code in the subject line.

Sierra Club


*** From Travis Loop:

12.) Multimedia Specialist, The Chesapeake Bay Program, Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, Annapolis, Maryland

Can you use a video camera and produce short segments to educate and engage people? Have you produced podcasts and managed audio files? Are you familiar with pushing multimedia content out through online sites such as YouTube, Flickr and Facebook? Do you have graphic design skills?

If so, the Chesapeake Bay Program is hiring a Multimedia Specialist to produce and manage a variety of content. Candidates should have one to two years of experience in video and podcast production, online content distribution and graphic design. The ability to use cameras, microphones and programs such as iMovie, Final Cut, GarageBand and Photoshop is preferred. Applicants should be highly organized, exceptionally creative, savvy with technology and self-motivated, as well as have a strong interest in environmental issues. This is a great opportunity for recent college graduates who have hands-on experience working with multimedia hardware and software.

The Chesapeake Bay Program is a federal-state partnership that works to restore and protect the Chesapeake Bay and the thousands of streams, creeks and rivers in the watershed. For more information about the partnership, visit The Communications Office is administered by the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay ( ) through a grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The Multimedia Specialist will work in Annapolis, Maryland at the Chesapeake Bay Program Office, which is located on the water and near the historic downtown area. The position pays $36,215 and includes a competitive benefits package.

Please email a resume, work samples and salary requirements to Travis Loop at by Friday, August 7.

*** Your Very Next Step is a service of the Job of the Week Network LLC

© 2009 The Job of the Week Network LLC

Edward Lundquist, ABC –

Editor and Publisher

Your Very Next Step

7813 Richfield Road

Springfield, VA 22153

Home office phone: (703) 455-7661

Subscribe for free. Send a blank email to:

“Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple and learn how to handle them, and pretty soon you have a dozen.”

– John Steinbeck

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.