I asked GB to weigh in on Russia ( since he has been there ( hint he has been everywhere)

Presently in Tajikistan .

Hi Gary,

At the moment, I’m in Dushanbe. Will be here a day or two longer than anticipated because of a little snag. When I attempted to get cash from my US account to pay for the 2 months of exploring in the mountains, the request was denied. The bank here could not confirm why, but it appears to be related to the sanctions against Russia, so US institutions are shy about dealing with a country like Tajikistan that is ‘friendly’ with Russia. The solution is my brother wire send me money through Western Union, which apparently does still work here. We’ll know tomorrow. If that goes through, my guide friend and I will leave for the mountains on Thursday morning.

You can probably guess my general response to the debate between Predator and KenS. I’ll begin with a little story that gives background to my understanding.

When I was a kid, one of the TV programs my father liked to watch in the early 1960s was called ‘College Bowl’. The show was comprised of two competing college debating teams. The format was for both teams to be given the same issue and told which viewpoint they would debate!

I was intrigued as a child to learn that anyone could argue any viewpoint passionately and effectively, no matter what they actually believed (i.e. viewpoints are not necessarily long-lasting). Essentially, this taught me that taking sides in anything is futile.

So, as to the debate that Russia is a good place to live or is not a good place to live, both sides are obviously correct!

The idea that anyone would debate such a question brings to mind my view that people easily get fixated on calculating their way through life. It might be the way an individual chooses to operate, but from my view it’s only an attempt to calculate the incalculable. I mean, we don’t even know what life is, yet we think we can calculate how to live it?! Double sheesh.

If someone feels like living in Russia, then why not follow that feeling? Likewise, if someone doesn’t feel like moving to Russia, then it might just work out best to not go there.

Me? I could live in Russia, but I could live anywhere and everywhere, so I do ?

One of my longstanding personal mantras, which I emphasize when instructing student balloon pilots, is:

It never matters what you do, only how you do it.

I do my best to encourage the students to pay basic attention, to bring their attention to now, instead of being distracted by anything else that might detract from remembering they get to choose how to be, NOW.

The idea of distraction has been on my mind since seeing comments posted about my travels. Some have written they like the distraction of my travels. It made me wonder what they want to be distracted from, because the implication seems to be they are focusing on something they don’t like and believing it’s the main show.

That might be akin to a student balloon pilot focusing on power lines and saying they don’t like the power lines. My instruction would be to be aware of the power lines, but do not focus on them, to focus only on where they want to go/what they want to do, i.e. the whole rest of the sky.

There’s something called ‘target fixation’. The term is oftentimes used to describe a negative event, where the result is someone gets whatever they focus on. In aviation, it’s uncanny how a pilot hits the only thing in an otherwise wide-open area, as demonstrated in this poster:

Target fixation is another way to describe the law of attraction: it works both ways, for what you want and what you don’t want. What a person is aware of can be very different than what they are focused on. The proof is in the pudding, as in the expeience will show what the focus was on.

I love your site and how you operate, yet I think many (most?) people posting might be as caught up in the drama as those they abhor, but believe they are ‘right’. As far as I can tell, there is no ‘right’.

There are so many reminders I like, one of them being Shakespeare’s lines of “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women upon it actors.” It reminds me that we’re all just acting, myself included. It brings me back to the idea that it never matters what, but only how. To understand the how of it requires always asking why.

The ideas of our friends Klaus, Gates, Pelosi, Clintons, Biden, etc. are easily repulsive, but these same characters can also accurately be viewed as masters of playing their parts in life, in fact so good at how they act that an undiscerning person believes that the part they are acting is real and really matters! People love to get caught up in a drama and argue one side or the other, doesn’t matter if it’s on CNN or in the Tent… I happen to like shows and all this is a good show to me, cheap entertainment. I even like stirring the pot sometimes!

Nature rules, so *hopefully?* I’m soon headed off into some extreme remote nature, because I happen to thrive in the thought of it, but it really doesn’t matter. I could live in Russia, or not.

Cheers, my friend!



After sending the last email to you, I thought of the experience of Nelson Mandela. Regardless of how accurate, or whether or not anyone agrees with anything/everything Madela did, is besides the point. Mandela’s book, Long Walk to Freedom, tells of the great example of Mandela. Physically imprisoned for 27 years, he came out a happy man. Of course it wasn’t because he enjoyed the physical captivity, but because he figured out how to be free, by consciously choosing how to be, and then moving forward in each moment. He did not confuse the external with the internal.

Mandela could have lived in Russia, or not ?



Thanks For the Reminder Balloonman…and Bon Voyage