The Daily Explorer

June 20, 2008

New York, James Bond and Beyond

London: June 2008

Mozzie Byte, Editor - The Daily Explorermozzie-byte-profile-44pt.jpg

Welcome back to all our Daily Explorer readers and greetings to those of you who are joining us for the first time. My name is Mozzie Byte(above) and I am the Editor of The Daily Explorer, responsible for the compilation of all of our publications on-line. In our last issue, I followed Ray as he prepared to make a brief re-entry into the business world, travelling to Basel in Switzerland to become familiar with the contents of a training course about Partnerships for a global pharmaceutical company. During his stay there, he was able to visit the home of his ex-wife Charlotte to meet her husband and children. If you missed it, you can read it now at Basel Beckons.

In this issue, we find out how he got on during his first two training programmes in Basel, and New Jersey (USA), and catch up with him at the ‘Casino Royale’ party in London, thrown in honour of his brothers 50th birthday. I also spoke to Ray about a one day seminar he attended in Brixton with David Icke and found out a little bit more about his travel plans for the next couple of months.

Recruited as part of a small team by the Centre for Professional Development in America to work on a corporate training programme, Ray returned to Basel in the middle of May with his friend and colleague Simon Lovegrove. I asked him how he felt about his new role. “Well Mozzie, I am looking forward to this work as I have not engaged with corporate business people for a while and whilst I have a lot of personal experience of working in partnerships and negotiating, I am not an experienced trainer which means there is something new for me to experiment with in the process. I am very pleased that I will be working alongside Simon as he has been doing this for a long time and it makes me feel like I have a safety net” replied Ray.

Above: Back in Basel, Switzerland – a picturesque city on the Rhine and a chance for our traveller to explore the business world as a corporate trainer

Below: The last time Ray was seriously involved in business in London, he would sometimes take the 14 bus from Parsons Green into the West End…. “There are trams instead of buses in this city, and seeing this one reminded me of the time I used to regularly commute – something I do not really miss!” said Ray. The tram system is completely free for visitors to the city

The choice of hotel that was made for the visit turned out to be crucial, as Ray explained to me. “For me, in one way the timing of this trip could not have been worse, as for the first time in their entire history as a football club, Chelsea had managed to reach the final of The Champions League. For people who are not followers of football, this is the most prestigious club competition in Europe and is the highlight of the footballing calender. Added to this, Manchester United also reached the final making it the first time in the history of the competition that there would be two English teams playing for honours”.

The game was scheduled to take place during the week in Basel, so finding a place to view live coverage of the forthcoming match became an imperative for our Blues fan. “Fortunately, I discovered my hotel had the live sports channel on the TV in my room, which made me very happy!”

Above: Home for our nomad this week is Room 460 at the Swissotel (left), which is the largest five star hotel in Basel and connected to the Congress Centre in the heart of the city. For Ray, who used to be a season ticket holder at Stamford Bridge, home of Chelsea Football Club (right), it meant there would be no hassle in seeing the most important football game of the decade

With football logistics sorted, our apprentice trainer was able to put his attention on the job in hand. “From Monday to Wednesday, Simon and I were training a group of about 15 people who had completed the first part of their programme earlier in the year, so I was new to them as a trainer” explained Ray. “Simon led most of the training, giving me a further opportunity to see how it should be done which was very helpful to me. He has so much experience, he makes it all look so easy and definitely has a gift in working with people in this environment” he observed.

Above: Simon (standing third from right) skillfully facilitates a discussion in the training room

Below: Our traveller leads the group through an exercise. Many Daily Explorer readers may be surprised to see Ray in this sort of environment after 950 days of travelling – “It’s a bit of a shock to me to be working in this way too! Although I am slightly ‘rusty’, this is something I like doing” he told me, “as it brings some change and variety into my life whilst enabling me to add some value to others”

Above: After the training one evening, Ray and Simon decided not to eat in their hotel, but to look for some authentic Asian cuisine – “One of the things I love about budget travel, especially in Asia, is the simple but very healthy and tasty food. European meals seem so bulky and starchy by comparison” said Ray as he drank a bottle of Singha – his favourite Thai beer

Below: You have to be very careful how you pronounce the name of this museum in Basel’s city centre! – “Simon and me passed it every day on the way to work and it always made us giggle” laughed Ray

Halfway through the working week in Basel came the big ‘Champions League’ match and Ray made sure he was in front of his television set for the kick-off. “I was in contact via text messaging with my brother, who was also watching the match at his home in London, so it felt like we were watching it together. There were huge expectations for the game, as mentioned earlier and it really lived up to them all, ending in a highly dramatic penalty shoot-out in which Chelsea’s captain, John Terry, missed the crucial spot kick that would have seen his team become European Champions” said our soccer fan.

I asked Ray why he had sent me the pictures and his report from the match, as it was not strictly something I would expect him to mention from his travelling perspective. “You are probably right Mozzie- however this was a piece of history and worthy of a mention. If anyone was watching the game, they will probably be feeling a great deal of sympathy for John Terry. In a few seconds, his life was permanently changed and he must now find a way to live withthe consequences of this error for the rest of his life. This is an interesting and challenging experience to cope with as a human being and something I reflect on myself when things do not go the way I want them to” explained Ray.

Above: The moment of disaster! John Terry slips and misses his penalty (left), giving the match and the European title to their rivals Manchester United (right), who won the trophy for the third time

Below: The aftermath… As the scoreboard shows, John Terry needed to score his penalty to win the match (left). After the kick, the Chelsea captain was inconsolable for some time, whilst the Manchester United keeper shows his obvious delight at the mishap. As you might expect, after the match there was plenty of stuff going round on the Internet making fun of the poor chap, with this sign on the right being a good example!

With ten days of training scheduled, and with the week in Basel complete, the next venue was New Jersey, USA. “I was still taking it all in as I left Switzerland for London on Friday evening, knowing that I would be leaving on Tuesday morning for the States to do it all again, which was a bit overwhelming” said Ray. “So I did not plan much over the weekend, except for one particular event which had been in my diary for some time” recalled our traveller.

Above: Ray had booked a ticket to see David Icke at the Brixton Academy a few months ago

When I asked Ray to tell me about why he wanted to attend this event, he seemed quite excited about it. “You know Mozzie, the last two and a half years for me has been a huge exploration in opening my mind to new ideas and alternative ways of living a life. Travelling has encouraged me to be far more curious about people with extreme viewpoints, such as David Icke. My friends Nic and Regina Meredith, who I visited in Sacramento in January have interviewed him several times for their Conscious Media Network web site and I was always fascinated to hear what he talked to them about. Although his views seem utterly incredible, I wanted to hear from him directly as any information that keeps me better informed about the bigger picture of what is happening in our society is of significant interest to me” explained Ray.

Above and below: Often ridiculed in the media, David Icke’s seminar lasted around six hours and contained a huge amount of information on subjects which most of us either know little about, or don’t want to acknowledge their existence, such as government ‘conspiracies’. The biggest and most recent of these is 9/11 – “He attempts to ‘connect the dots’ of seemingly random events and show there is a logic to all of them. According to Icke, they are part of a bigger plan that has been in place for many years to keep the mass population terrified, or ‘hypnotised’ so that a single, unified government and army can ultimately control the whole planet. This may sound ludicrous at first, until you go and have a look on the Internet and see some of the stuff on YouTube that never gets aired on our state controlled, dumbed down mass media channels” said our concerned global traveller

Talking to Ray after the event, I sensed his agitation and asked him about it. “My personal freedom means absolutely everything to me. This has become even clearer as I continue to travel around the globe. But that is only one kind of freedom – outer freedom. Just as important to me is my inner freedom, what I think and believe about the world.  It is crucial that our society maintain the right to freedom of thought, making it possible for everyone to come to their own view, independent of mainstream media, about key issues and take whatever stance they deem appropriate without fear of recourse – something which I observe is slowly, but surely being eroded. For example, under the Terrorism laws in the UK, protests against Parliament now can only be made one kilometre away from the building, and only then with prior consent from the Police. This restriction of civil liberties is not because of governments per se, but the interests of a small handful of manipulative, elite people who have the goal of power and control at the centre of everything they do. If this sounds ridiculous to you, or you think that makes me a bit off my rocker, listen to this speech by John F Kennedy made some fifty years ago – he was assassinated shortly afterwards”:

If anyone is interested in understanding a bit more about the work of David Icke, Ray has asked me to direct you to the numerous video clips available on You Tube. “Naturally, I raked through a lot of the clips before and after the event” said Ray. “This clip, which I sent to the Daily Explorer (below) gives a good sense of what he is about and in my view, is definitely worthy of the ten minutes it will take to view it”:

Above: The David Icke event in Brixton presented an opportunity afterwards for a very animated Ray (left), to meet an old friend and ex-colleague who also attended. Will Welch (right) now lives in Hereford and has worked for many years in the wine business since leaving Programmes – “it was great to see him again after some 20 years” said Ray “and I am glad that my friend Nic in Sacramento alerted me to the fact he would be there”

With plenty of ideas to chew on from David Icke, a rapid re-pack of his Dakine holdall and Ray was back on the road, this time to New Jersey to complete this phase of training work. “I am starting to understand what it must be like for professional people who fly all the time for their work – it is quite exhausting – and I am not sure how they cope with it for prolonged periods” Ray told me. “I have been very lucky so far with the two training locations. The first, in Basel, meant I was able to visit my ex-wife and her family (see previous issue) and this one is so close to New York, I have arranged to have supper with a friend of mine the night before I leave” he told me.

Above: Ray arrives in New Jersey and is chauffeured to his hotel in a classic yellow taxi

Below: “Ahh, luxury!” says our traveller as he looks at the surplus of fluffy pillows on the king size bed in his hotel room

The training in New Jersey was an opportunity for Ray to team up with American trainer and facilitator, Jim Peal. “We met last November when I was here to observe a programme as part of my preparation” said Ray. “We got on really well on a personal level and I knew we would enjoy working together. Jim is a very warm, engaging human being and has been working in this field for many years, so I was keen to learn from him”. Ray and Jim, who lives in Oakland, California arrived one day early and finalised their plans for the two day programme. “We basically divided up the programme so we knew who was leading which parts and studied the information from the people attending to see what they most wanted to achieve from the course” explained Ray.

Above: The very handsome, talented and energetic Jim Peal – “He was a pleasure to work with and brilliant at what he does, as well as great to hang out with afterwards. I suspect our paths will cross again” said Ray

Below: Ray looks pretty happy as he makes his way to the training centre on the first day….

Above: The training room was modern and very well equipped (left), located in a building on the clients site known locally as ‘The Chapel’ for obvious reasons (right)

Below:Ray welcomes the group to the programme (left) – “I enjoyed the whole experience immensely” he said. “This particular course requires trainers who have quite a specific and extensive background in teaching ‘Neuro Linguistic programming‘ and whilst I am familiar with some of the concepts, my experience is not as deep as it needs to be. Add to this my limited experience as a trainer and I think that there are more qualified people who would be better placed to work on the next event. I am glad I explored this marvellous opportunity to do some interesting work and am stepping down from further participation a wiser, more capable person” said Ray. Later that evening, Ray and Jim dined out in style in one of Rutherford’s nicer restaurants (right)

Anyone familiar with the east coast of the United States will probably know that New Jersey is just a few miles from Manhattan, which gave our traveller the opportunity to pay a social visit to his friend Angie. “I was very pleased when I discovered Angie was in town and she went to a lot of trouble on my behalf to organise a memorable evening” recalled Ray. “Unfortunately, due to circumstances beyond her control, the plans didn’t all come to fruition, so we ad-libbed and had a great evening anyway, eating sushi on the banks of the Hudson River in view of the Statue of Liberty. I feel very lucky to be having experiences like this in my life on a regular basis” said our appreciative traveller.

Above: The unmistakable Manhattan skyline. In the centre is a blue and white yacht which belongs to the exclusive Manhattan Sailing Club, of which Angie is a member – “She had planned to take me on the board and get us out to the restaurant at the sailing club quarters which are out in the bay of the Hudson River about half a mile offshore” recalled Ray. “Unfortunately, we arrived at the dock to discover there was no one operating the launch which meant we could not go. The thought was lovely though and it gives me a great excuse to come back!” he added

Below: Angie (left) poses for our photographer in front of the Jersey city skyline whilst Ray enjoys the view of the Statue of Liberty at sunset (right)

Wanting to know a bit more about his future plans, I caught up with Ray at Newark airport to get an idea of what was coming next. “I have reached a point which I call the ‘end of my horizon of certainty’ and I am rapidly creating the next stage as we speak” he told me. I was intrigued to understand what he meant by this. “As a perpetual traveller and with no permanent base, I have become used to living with the uncertainty of what is coming next. Unlike my life before, I am very lucky if I can look in my diary and see any commitments beyond a week or two, most of the time” he explained.

“When I made a commitment to do this training work back in November last year, it meant my horizon of certainty expanded to around five months, i.e. the end of May as I knew for sure that there was some place I would have to be on a given date. Now that this phase of work is over, I am ‘free’ to create a new plan from here, which means I will depart the UK in a few days time and have to decide where! I can tell you that top of my list is a trip to Australia, as there are a couple of business opportunities there that sound interesting. However, the real reason is that it gives me the perfect excuse to go to Thailand en route and see Nikki again” admitted Ray. “Having said that, I have picked a great time to pass through London as it’s my brother’s 50th birthday party, plus I am going to meet a couple of people I have not seen for a very long time, so the next few days will be very exciting”.

Above: There is one person who is always delighted to see Ray when he passes through the UK – his mum! They are pictured together in the garden of (Ray’s brother) Paul’s home in Southfields….

Below: … Paul is pictured here (aged 20 something) in the centre of a special set of dollar bills that were created for guests of his 50th party to play at the ‘Casino Royale’, the chosen theme for the evening

With the 50th birthday party being staged at Paul’s home, there was a great deal of work to be done and Ray was on hand to get stuck in. “I arrived the night before from New Jersey so was still a bit tired from the jet lag, but after a good old British cup of tea, the preparations were well underway. This included erecting a couple of gazebo’s in the garden to hedge against bad weather, importing the roulette and black jack tables and making sure the caterers were on top of all of the food for the night” said Ray. “Paul went to a lot of trouble – you are only going to be 50 once so I reckon it’s worth it” he added philosophically.

Above: The ‘Casino Royale’ theme required everyone to dress up James Bond style. Paul (right) and our traveller completely fulfilled the brief, looking stunningly handsome in their DJ’s. The lady in the centre came as ‘M’ – for mum!

Below: The Martin family prepare to meet their guests. Dressed to Kill, from left to right are Paul’s wife Kitty, son Daniel, daughter Rebecca and 007 himself or should that be Agent 777!

Above: Spanning three generations, Daniel (left) and Rebecca (right) with their Grandmother Della

Below: Ready, aim, fire! Paul, Daniel and Ray make the most of this photo opportunity – “I think it could be quite a long time before my Valentino DJ gets another public appearance” said our budget traveller

Above: The evening was a massive success with the ‘Casino Royale’ theme being enjoyed by all who attended. Ray catches up with Spanish girl Gio, one of the family’s former Au Pairs (left) whilst Nienke, the current Au Pair (right, standing second from right) tries her luck at the roulette wheel

A couple of days after the party, I called Ray to find out if he had confirmed his plans to go to Thailand. “Yes I have, Mozzie – I am going to see Nikki in Chiangmai, but first I am going to make a return visit to the Spa Samui for a seven day detox, so that I am in really good shape for onward travel. My diet has gone to pot a little bit while I have been working and the food in England is generally more bulkier than the diet in Asia. So I am going to do a fast and cleanse and will probably send you some pictures for the next issue of The Daily Explorer”.

I asked Ray if there was anything else he had arranged to do in London before leaving? “One of the things I am trying to do is build a couple of associate relationships which will enable me to work in different parts of the world, including the UK on an ad-hoc basis. After I completed the sale of my business, I approached a couple of firms to open discussions about the potential of working together in this way and one of them has requested a meeting, so I want to go and explore the potential” he explained to me.

Above: Our global explorer heads towards Lombard Street in the heart of the City of London, to investigate the possibility of a part-time associate relationship with a firm that provides leadership training and coaching to executives in the financial centres of the world

As well as meeting new people in the business world, our traveller was quite excited about refreshing some former working relationships. “I was really thrilled to have lunch with Robert D’Aubigny, who I worked for between 1982-94 and who was somewhat of a mentor for me during that time. Back then, he encouraged me to consider the idea of starting my own business, which I eventually launched in 1997. The organisation he founded and led was an incredibly creative place to be and whilst I was never that close to him personally, it was great to catch up after 11 years!” said Ray.

Above: Meeting again after 11 years absence, Ray and Robert (right) have lunch in London – “I am exploring the possibility of creating an alumni for the thousands of people that came into contact with the organisation he created and maybe even a re-union event if there is sufficient interest in the community. I thought Robert would a good person to talk to about it” said Ray.

Below: Ali Atwell, another ex-colleague was also on Ray’s social calender – “Our readers may recall that I met her ex-husband Grant Atwell whilst I was in California recently (see our first issue of 2008). She was as bright and enthusiastic about life as I can remember from many years ago and is now enjoying success as inspirational public speaker on personal fulfillment and happiness”

Some of our readers may have read about Laura Jacobs, a friend of Ray’s, in previous issues of The Daily Explorer as she has appeared regularly during his visits to England. This time, as luck would have it, Ray was able to witness an historic event for her personally.

“Laura is an artist and was holding an ‘open studio’ weekend just before I was flying out. Essentially, this is when artists open the doors of their studios to the general public to display, and hopefully sell, their work. Although Laura does receive commissions from people to create art for them, up till this particular weekend, she had never sold a painting to a member of the general public and I do not think she was expecting to either” recalled Ray. “I am not really into art so thought I might get a bit bored, but I could not have been more wrong” he said. “Ten minutes after I arrived, a couple wandered into the studio and asked if they could take a closer look at one of her paintings on display. As I watched them interact, I could tell the couple were really interested and my senses were telling me that an offer was about to be made” he told me.

Above: Laura (in black and white next to the chair) talks to the couple who have expressed an interest in the painting on the easel (left) and stands by as they admire her artwork – “After a few minutes, an offer was made and hey presto – the painting was sold for £1,000! Not bad for her first sale” said her admiring fan. “She has been dedicated to her art for a long time and I know it has been a bit of struggle sometimes. This means a lot to her – she really deserves it and I hope it is the first of many sales” added our traveller

Below: A proud moment for Laura as she mounts an orange dot on the label next to the canvas – this signals to other buyers that the painting is sold

Above: Even though he is not an art lover, Ray was really impressed by her work. “Laura has an amazing talent. When I arrived, I saw this black board on her easel and thought it was just that – a blackboard!” he told me. “Oh no, its a picture – if you stand right back and look carefully, you can see the image of a woman’s face” replied Laura. Take a look and you will see it!

Although there was the usual packing to do during Ray’s last day in the UK, there was time for him to accompany his brother to meet a couple of friends who they used to know when they were teenagers. “When Paul told me that Caroline and Susan Murad were visiting the UK, I couldn’t believe it” said Ray. “We all used to hang out together in the 70’s, when I was about seventeen, and I spent a lot of time at their house in Mill Hill. I lost contact after that but heard the family had all emigrated to the United States. Paul stayed in touch so I was aware over the years that they had got married, had kids and that sort of thing” added Ray. “The chance to see them after nearly 30 years was too good to be true” said our traveller.

Ironically, given the girls had flown from the USA, they met at the recently opened Whole Foods Market in Kensington, West London. “During my recent trips to the States, I have been in several of their stores and they are really brilliant, with beautiful displays of healthy produce” said Ray. “It is quite expensive, but Whole Foods have taken over the iconic ‘Barkers’ building for the opening of their first store in the UK and it is a superb place to meet friends. They have wonderful dining facilities in a really casual atmosphere – I highly recommend a visit the next time you are in London” he told me.

Above: The iconic ‘Barkers’ building on Kensington High Street is the location for the first Whole Foods Market store in the UK

Below: Ray and his brother Paul (left) had a wonderful time meeting their old friends Susan Einy (next to Paul) and Caroline Azouz (next to Ray) who have been settled in California since the 80’s. The girl in the centre is Izzy, one of Caroline’s four children – “Where did the time go? It seems like only yesterday we were all kids ourselves” reflected Ray

I caught up with Ray as he was packing and getting ready for the next episode of his nomadic life to confirm his plans. “I am going to Thailand for a while and then, sometime during July or August, I will push on to Australia. As you know, there are a couple of people in businesses there that I have been in dialogue with for some time and the conversations have reached the point where it is now necessary to meet if I am to progress them any further. And of course, Nikki is in Thailand and I am delighted that I will be able to spend a few more weeks with her” he told me.

Above: As he was packing, Ray showed our photographer his rather worn out footwear which have now been replaced with a new pair. He bought these Meindl Trek shoes when he left the UK in November 2005 – “They have served me well. Its hard to know exactly how far I have walked or climbed in them, but by my own rough calculations, it would be somewhere between 3,000 – 4,000 miles in the last 950 days, and there were long periods during that time when I was settled in a city or on a beach, when I wasn’t even wearing them!” he laughed

Editors Note: As you can see from Ray’s comments above, he will be in Thailand for the next few weeks and will be sending us pictures from there so we can compile the next issue of the Daily Explorer, which should appear online sometime in the next few weeks. We will keep you posted!

MOZZIE BYTE

Above: Nikki, in traditional Thai dress, looks out to sea as she awaits Ray’s imminent arrival! More about this in our next issue

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5 Comments »

  1. Good stuff, keep on wandering dude.. Well interested in the Icke stuff will endeavour to check out more…and a welcome back to Thailand in advance!!
    Take care, Paul x

    Comment by Paul of the Smiths — June 20, 2008 @ 1:45 pm

  2. Great blog Ray (as usual!) Fantastic to see Robert looking so well. He still has a sparkle in his eyes! Have fun in Thailand.
    All the best
    Nic

    Comment by Nic Meredith — June 20, 2008 @ 5:38 pm

  3. Every time I read your Blog I have to pinch myself to make sure I am not dreaming – your life is brilliant! Genuine friends all over the world, bit of business here and there of the kind you enjoy, lots of travel and exploration, beautiful Nikki, inner and outer freedom…. cor, well done! xxxxx

    Comment by Charlie — June 21, 2008 @ 8:41 pm

  4. Thank you for another look into ‘a life well-lived’. Fascinating. ‘M’ and I have been friends for many many years and I am so pleased to have seen the blogs and looking forward to reading and seeing what comes next. Shirley, Penrith NSW

    Comment by Shirley Gould — June 24, 2008 @ 5:06 am

  5. An amazingly interesting and thought provoking blog. We’re so pleased that you were there to share in the 50th birthday party celebration.
    Happy travels and we’ll all miss you.
    Much Love
    Paul, Kitty, Becca & Dan XXXX

    Comment by Paul Martin — June 27, 2008 @ 4:54 pm


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