The Daily Explorer

September 9, 2009

Birthdays and Broken Records

Chiang Mai, Thailand: September 2009

Meso FitMe So Fit profile 44pt

MOZZIE BYTE (Editor): A warm welcome back to all our Daily Explorer readers and greetings to those of you who are joining us for the first time. To our regulars, many thanks for viewing our online publication and for giving us your feedback. Over 20,000 visitors have been to see our site since our re-launch at the beginning of 2008. For new readers, Ray has been living nomadically for nearly four years since he left England in November 2005. In that time, he has visited or lived in 15 countries and we have been publishing news and stories about his journey throughout that period. You can find all of these in our Previous Issues archive.

We always aim to maintain our high standards of journalism and presentation, so please keep sending us your comments and suggestions as to how we can improve what we are doing. You can use the comments box on this site, or email Ray ( or ‘Mozzie’ or any of our correspondents at

Our lastest issue has been compiled for us by our Asian Health correspondent Me So Fit (above), who has been keeping an eye on Ray during the preparation for his latest challenge – running in the New York Marathon on 1st November. Our global nomad arrived in Chiang Mai to start his marathon training in mid April. Since then, he has clocked up nearly 700 miles on the road and track – and has replaced his first (worn out) pair of running shoes! In the last few weeks, he has constantly set new personal bests for both times and distances as he works towards his goal of running the marathon in under four hours. Me So Fit also reveals how Ray and Nikki celebrated their recent birthday’s and there is an exciting update from Ivana Getachek as the target for Ray’s “Calling All Angels” fundraising campaign is reached in just eight weeks. Last but not least, we have responded to comments from some of our readers and upgraded our web site – more about that later.

In our last issue, Ray accomplished a huge milestone in his training by completing the first of two half marathon races in Pattaya, Thailand, following a brief visit to the southern gulf island of Ko Samui. And there was a ‘visa’ run to Myanmar (formerly Burma). If you missed it, you can read more about it now at: On Track in Pattaya


Above: The Daily Explorer provided news and pictures for an exclusive feature in Runners World in August. Ray was in action in Pattaya as he completed his first ever half marathon race in 2:00:58 seconds! The result means our global traveller is making good progress towards his ultimate goal – completing the gruelling 26.2 mile course in New York on 1st November in under four hours – which he has undertaken to raise money for three worthy causes. If you missed it, you can read it at: On Track in Pattaya

For the last few months, our global traveller has been in Chiang Mai and travelling has been the last thing on his mind. His intensive marathon training regime means that he exercises virtually every day and when the physical work is over, he gets on the telephone to inspire potential sponsors to add a few more dollars to the growing fund that has already been raised from his ambitious “Calling All Angels” campaign. “I guess I am lucky to get at least one full day every week when I do not have to train, and sometimes two” he told me. “When I first arrived here, my coach Matt Campbell told me that we would spend ten weeks working on building endurance (to run long distances) and then fourteen weeks improving speed, power and overall performance to ensure I will be able to achieve my four hour goal time when I complete the New York marathon” recalled Ray. “But I do not want to mislead our readers and have them think that running and fundraising are the only things I do here, as it is not entirely true” revealed our budding athlete. “In this part of the world, there are many different experiences on offer and Nikki and I have been trying out a few of them, especially as both of our birthdays took place in August within six days of each other” added Ray.

1a Map Chiang Mai

Above: Ray has been in Chiang Mai (circled) since April this year as he prepares himself to run the New York marathon on 1st November, but there are many different experiences on offer in this part of the world …..

Below: …… and Thai massage is only one of them – “It is definitely one of my favourites” said Nikki, who was pictured here relaxing during one of her regular one hour treatments. “We really appreciate the quality of life we have here” she told me. “Thai massage costs around £2.50 per hour and is something we could never indulge in on a regular basis in London. And it really supports Ray’s programme of training and helps take away most of the aches and pains that he gets as a result of all the running he does” explained Nikki



Above: Anyone for Thai? One thing that has really helped our traveller to integrate well into the local community is being able to speak the language – “I have picked up the odd words and phrases here and there but have felt frustrated recently by my very limited vocabulary” he told me. “I came across a freelance teacher called Kanchana (above, left)  who I have met for a couple of one hour teaching sessions over coffee, which has already made a big difference to my ability and confidence. I like the language very much and am determined to function with it much better” he added

With their birthday’s only six days apart, Nikki and Ray were both born under the sign of Leo. I asked Ray how significant this particular occasion was this year and what plans he had for making the most of his special day. “It is quite significant with regard to the marathon, simply because it has been one of my dreams for a long time to complete one before I reach the age of 50 and this is my 49th birthday” he told me, “so all things being equal , I should be able to fulfill that dream. It is quite ironic that my running coach has entered me for a “mini-marthon” race (10.5 kilometres) on the morning of my birthday – it will certainly enable me to remember the day in years to come” added Ray. “Actually, it is a great opportunity for me to find out how much progress I have made since I ran my first 10 kilometre race in Chiang Mai back in May as I know I am running quite a bit faster now over this distance” (for UK readers, it is about six miles, or a quarter-marathon).

45 Rapee Minimarathon 6.5 miles

Above: Ray set his alarm for 4.30 a.m. on his birthday to get up for the start of his second mini-marathon race in Chiang Mai since he started training. Nikki (left) stayed at home to prepare breakfast and some other little treats for Ray, who returned with his race medal (right) around 7.30 a.m. to enjoy the rest of his birthday – “The race worked out really well for me” said our birthday boy. “I felt much stronger and fitter than I did back in May and have taken over two minutes off my overall time, by setting myself a faster race pace and by finishing with an all out burst of speed towards the end” he told me, as he got ready to open one or two birthday cards and eat a bowl of Nikki’s famously good muesli with fruit and natural yoghurt – so healthy!

Below: Being a nomad means Ray is unlikely to receive many traditional birthday cards as people wouldn’t know where to send them! But since the arrival of social networking sites like Facebook, the traditional card is rapidly being replaced with a new kind of electronic messaging – “I have accumulated quite a few Facebook friends over the last couple of years and I was really surprised at how many of them got in touch – and quite delighted” added Ray. People who sent messages included (from left to right): Patrick Meijer (Ko Tao, Thailand), Sara Mabelis (Mae Sot, Thailand), Charly Fitzpatrick (UK) and Divert Lahn-Johannessen (Norway) – “I am very lucky to have met such wonderful people from all over the world” beamed Ray (Pictures from Facebook)

 5a Patrick Meijer5b Sara Mabelis5d Charly

So what else did our birthday boy have planned? “Well Me So, although Nikki and I have been coming to Chiang Mai for three years or so, we have never visited Doi Inthanon National Park, known as the ‘Roof of the World’ in Thailand as it is home to the country’s highest mountain (at 2,565 meters)” said Ray. “About 70 kilometres from the city, we rented a car for the weekend and booked a room in a nearby resort so that we could spend the day exploring the area and stay overnight. We had been told by many people that the views from the summit of Doi Inthanon were really spectacular but had also been warned that this was not a good time of year to be going as the period with best visibility occurs later in the year, from November – February. So we kept our fingers crossed for some luck with the weather and set off” recalled Ray.


Above: Unfortunately for our two birthday travellers, the good weather they were hoping for at Doi Inthanon did not materialise! Nikki stands at the summit and comes face to face with a solid wall of fog, totally obscuring the views of the surrounding countryside – “Ah well” said Nikki, “it just means we are going to have to come back another time”

Below: Nikki gets out of the car to take a closer look at the blue and white sign which confirms they have found the highest spot in Thailand (left). About ten minutes later, her and Ray found another sign a little bit higher up declaring that spot as the highest in the country! (right) – “Maybe there are two highest spots, one for each of us on our birthdays” joked Nikki


For readers interested in the geology of Doi Inthanon, the doi (mountain) is largely a granite batholith intruding a southerly extension of the Shan Hills range and forming the divide between the Nam Mae Ping river to the east and the Nam Mae Chaem river to the west. Lower elevations in the most easterly part of the park are limestone formations and contain a number of caves. Formerly known as Doi Angka, the mountain now bears (since 1899) a shortened version of the name of Chiang Mai’s last sovereign, King Inthawichayanon. During his reign, he had, with great foresight, expressed his concern for the forests of the northern hill country as the watershed for all of central Thailand. The modern study of rain forest hydrology has borne out his early convictions and given substance to Thai folklore which describes this hill region as the home of the Phiphannam, the ‘spirit who shares water’. Before the King died near the turn of this century, he commanded that his remains be placed at the top of this mountain: his ashes at the summit stupa are visited by thousands of people each year.

The park covers an area of 48,240 ha. Its lowlands below 800 meters in elevation are warm and very dry during the rain-free season, but the summit of Doi Inthanon has a climate more like Canada than Thailand. The temperature has been known to drop as low as -8 degrees C. At any season, Doi Inthanon is a comfortable reprieve from the heat of the lowlands. At altitudes above 1,000 metres, rainfall exceeds 2,500 mm, considerably more than at nearby Chiang Mai. Even in the dry season, November to April, there is rare but occasional rain, or the summit may be shrouded in cloud for a part of the day; persistent mist is an important factor in the maintenance of the moist forest there.


Above: Because of its elevation, there is constant rainfall in the forests which surround Doi Inthanon, producing dense, lush vegetation as Nikki discovers

Below: Ray and Nikki explore one of the many nature trails in the park and discover they have quite different ideas regarding what nature can teach us about harmonious relationships!


Above: Irrespective of the weather, the Doi Inthanon National Park is a spectacular place to visit. Nikki stops for a moment to take in the sounds, aroma’s and atmosphere in the rain forest (left) and later on, at Mae Ya – “We discovered that Mae Ya is thought to be the highest waterfall in Thailand and was well worth the extra effort it took us to get here” said Ray. “Park officials estimate that the Mae Ya River plunges more than 250 metres at this point. It is a beautiful, fanning cascade, dropping down an ever-widening series of steps over 30 tiers and without a doubt, a photographic favourite” added Ray, who sent us this wonderful shot of Nikki in awe of this natural beauty spot (right)

The “Care for Dogs” Home is just outside Chiang Mai and Ray had scheduled a stop there on the way back from Doi Inthanon, to find out more about the fabulous work they are doing there. “I met a couple of people who work there over a year ago and was very inspired by what they told me” said Ray. “I made a promise to make the half hour journey out of the city to come and see their home and this was a perfect opportunity. Co-incidentally, I was due to attend a birthday party the following weekend where guests were being asked to make a donation to “Care for Dogs” so I really wanted to know what I would be contributing to” he explained.


Above: The rice fields near Samoeng provide an idyllic location for the Care for Dogs Home

Dog care is an enormous problem in Chiang Mai, not to mention the rest of Thailand. Puppy’s are typically born fluffy, cute, playful and a little bundle of happiness to have around, but animal welfare does not seem to feature high on peoples agendas and there are just far too many puppies. There are positive examples of dedicated local dog lovers who look after their own or even homeless dogs very well, but sadly there are also many cases of animal neglect.

The saleable commodities of little bundles of pedigree fluff at pet markets – often bred and kept in appalling conditions – is sad but a reality. “In Thailand, safety and common sense practices are disregarded. Everyday you can see four people riding a motor bike with the poodle, or similar toy dog, leaning on the handle bar resting it’s feet on the riders knees” said Ray. “Sometimes there’s even an umbrella opened above the drivers head too. Larger dogs that do not appear in pedigree book pictures are not readily accepted as a pet or family dog, though His Majesty King Bhumibol of Thailand, has set an example by adopting homeless dogs and encouraged others to do the same and has even published books and videos of his favourite dog “Tongdaeng”. But still, many households consider a “Thai dog” as ideal to live in their garden as a guard dog or outside their home, whilst the pedigree or toy dogs live inside the house” explained our traveller.

“Homeless dogs are largely responsible for the mass of puppies found wandering looking for food and shelter but family “latch key” dogs are possibly equally responsible. These dogs are often not sterilised and if puppies are born from family dogs, more often than not, the majority are dumped at a temple or other public place rather than found a home with a friend or neighbour. If people know the Care for Dogs shelter, they sometimes try to anonymously dump a white rice sack full of fluffy bundles at the gate” said our saddened visitor.


Above: Nikki wanders around inside the Care for Dogs Home (left) and meets some of the residents. Meanwhile, Ray immediately attracts a canine fan club of his own (right) – “The people who run the home explained how much they like it when visitors come, because many of the animals here suffered cruelty at the hands of their former owners and have become anti-social or are simply too frightened of human beings. Visitors who are prepared to come and just hang out with the dogs and show them affection helps to restore their trust and confidence and means that they have a better chance of adoption by new owners” explained Ray

In Chiang Mai, there are many “no hope” dogs on the streets and if you visit markets, shop car parks or other public amenity areas where there might be food during early morning or evening, you will see them hanging around looking for something to eat. When dumped at temples, they fight for their lives and if they survive without being eaten or managing to find some food of their own, they will join the masses. These place are not picture post card tropical rest homes but sad and dreary, pitiful places. Some temples have literally hundreds of animals and it is not because monks particularly like dogs, but because they get overwhelmed by dumped dogs from irresponsible owners. Some in fact want to move dogs out from the temples by any means possible.

Despite a regular rate of adoptions, the numbers of residents at the shelter remains high due to the Care for Dogs team effort to find homes for dumped puppies, rather than see them starve and die on the streets or just become one of the many thousands living a life of no hope. The current budget and space at the shelter allows for the housing of approximately 80 dogs (young & old) at any one time. The shelter could have hundreds of animals if all the dogs offered were accepted, so the team tries hard to concentrate on the most urgent cases. Some dogs come to the shelter for sterilisation or treatment and leave again. Some are brought to the shelter in order to advertise them for adoption and some are rescued from imminent danger of being killed.


Above: Love at first sight? One of the dogs takes a special interest in our traveller – “It was quite heartbreaking being there” said Ray. “If I had a permanent home, I would definitely consider adopting one of them. The dog in the picture stuck to me like glue and let me know in no uncertain terms that he would like me to take him away from the place and even stood crying at the fence when we eventually had to leave” he told me

Some dogs enter the shelter in a sad condition for many different reasons. Some are hit by cars or motorbikes, run over whilst asleep under the car or even asleep at the side of the road. Often, someone who came across a dog in terrible agony after an accident will take the animal to Care for Dogs for help. “Illness and injury from disease (e.g. distemper or parvo virus) and the consequence of living rough on the streets can often kill a dog” Ray told me. “Afflictions such as nerve damage, broken bones resetting out of place, open wounds putrefying and a list of other conditions lead to dogs living shorter lives. Dying sooner in some cases would seem to be a kinder release for them” he said. “When Care for Dogs becomes aware of any dog living with a health condition that could be improved with proper care, in the first instance they try to help the dog either by showing caring people in the area how to give medication, whilst the dog lives at its found home (e.g. a temple or car park). However, when they come across a dog who is living with a serious condition, they will rescue the dog to the shelter and provide the care required. Sadly, quite a high number of the dogs “in for treatment” (the Outpatient department) are neglected owner dogs” explained Ray.


Above: Ray and his new friends get to know each other – “I will definitely go back ” he told me

Returning to Chiang Mai after his weekend away, our traveller swiftly finalised arrangements for a couple of things he had set up for Nikki on her birthday, which is five days after his. “As we are budget travellers, we always say to each other (and tacitly agree) that we will not buy presents for each other, especially as we have nowhere to store anything. But inevitably, we end up breaking our agreement” he admitted. “Nikki does so much for me and others in Chiang Mai that I feel she deserves a bit of pampering and acknowledgement on her birthday, so I like to organise a couple of experiences for her. I know she loves any form of massage, so I planned to take her to breakfast at one of the nicer guest houses in town, followed by a one hour facial and shoulder massage. But first, Nikki insisted on stopping at Wat Phra Singh to pay her respects to Buddha. “As I live in a Buddhist country, I feel it is important to express gratitude for the life I have and through my growing understanding of Buddhism, the quality of my life is improving” she told me. “It was also lovely to spend some time in the quiet contemplative atmosphere inside the temple and think about the year ahead” she added.


Above: First stop on Nikki’s birthday was the Buddhist Temple at Wat Phra Singh, located in the western part of the old city. The main entrance, which is guarded by Singhs (lions), is situated at the end of the main street (Rachadamnoen road)

Below: The next stop was the Villa Duang Champa, a trendy boutique hotel which serves a rather nice English breakfast in their very pretty little garden adjoining the hotel – “We love Thai food and eat loads of it, which is very cheap compared to Western fare” said Ray. “But birthdays are a perfect opportunity to blow the budget a little and enjoy toast, eggs, beans and all things English for a change” he told me. “Nikki loves to read about what is happening locally and she had the latest issue of City Life to pour over as she relaxed after breakfast and prepared herself for her beauty treatment” recalled Ray



Above: The Villa Duang Champa has its own small, wooden day spa adjoining the hotel (left) and Nikki had no trouble in placing herself completely in the capable hands of her therapist (right)

Below: “Oh Madam – your shoulders seem very tense” says her therapist (left). “Let me see if I can loosen them up a bit for you” (right)



Above: “Ah… thats better!” says Nikki as she prepares to enjoy the rest of her special day

Below: Ray also arranged a surprise for Nikki – a 90 minute Transformational Astrology session with Australian healer, Robert Quinlan (right) – “The path I am on feels right and my chart seems to confirm it” said Nikki afterwards


August also provided an opportunity for Nikki to join in with some rather colourful celebrations staged for the 35th birthday party of her friend Svapna (also known as ‘Jennie’) at the Shangri-La Hotel in Chiang Mai. I asked Nikki to tell me more about the background to the event. “Svapna is from Holland, although she is from a family that is of Indian origin and Indian dancing is something that always fascinated her as a young child” said Nikki.

I managed to contact Svapna and ask her about her preparations for the party. “When I was growing up, I used to watch Indian dancing and was totally enchanted – I used to dream that one day I would be able to dance like this myself in a group. As the years went by, I started to believe that I was too old to give it a go and put it to the back of my mind” she told me. “Then I met Nikki, who told me about some Indian dance classes at one of the local studios in Chiang Mai and went for a couple of lessons, which was enough to-reignite my passion for it. I then studied many videos on You Tube to observe Indian dance moves and then decided that my 35th birthday was the perfect opportunity to live my dream and dance publicly for the very first time!” added a very excited Svapna. “To make it happen, I needed to create a group of women to dance with – six plus me, making seven in total. I chose that number out of respect for the seven ancient goddesses who have been my guides during this transition in my life. My personal favourite is Lakshmi, so I decided to create my own ‘candle dance’ and dedicate it to her” explained Svapna.

Nikki was recruited to the women’s dance group, along with five other willing participants, who were all dressed in different colours, with Svapna at the centre. “Svapna is so creative – she choreographed the entire dance sequence herself and organised a couple of rehearsals for us so we had a few hours in the two weeks leading up to the party to perfect our moves” Nikki told me. “And she wanted us to have the most beautiful costumes – she bought material for Sari’s from India which I and the others had to take to a local tailor to be measured and fitted for the top and underskirt. And the tailors were at the hotel on the night of the party itself to help us put our Sari’s on properly” she recalled.


Above: Nikki chose the only Indian outfit she had to go to Svapna’s party – a Punjabi dress which she had made at Sai Baba’s ashram on a previous visit to India (left). Svapna, also known as Jennie, in her beautiful Sari gets ready to perform her ‘dream’ dance with her group of women friends at the Shangri-La Hotel – “She is a fantastic teacher which made it really easy for us to learn the routine” said Nikki. “The spirit of the party was amazing too – Svapna asked her guests to make donations to the Care for Dogs Home (see above) rather than give her personal birthday gifts” added Nikki

Below: “Wearing a Sari gives me a wonderful experience of my femininity- I felt like a Princess” said Nikki (left) as one of the tailors helped her dress in the outfit. Her friend Steve Epstein (right) was very impressed with Nikki’s costume



Above: Inspired by Svapna’s ‘Seven Goddesses’, the women line up in their beautiful costumes, with Svapna in the centre, behind Nikki – “It was a really special treat to dance with this group of women, who are people I know and it was great fun too. We had to be very careful not to set our Sari’s alight with our candles!” Nikki told me

Below: (left) Nikki and Erin Palmer (green Sari) follow Soraya (in orange) in a final warm-up practise before the guests arrive. After the dance was over, Svapna fulfilled another one of her dreams and gave everyone a stunning solo performance of a big Bollywood dance number, much to the delight of her friends gathered – “I just love seeing people live their dreams” said Ray


Ray’s relentless marathon training programme continued throughout August with our new long distance runner clocking up no less than 180 miles during the 31 day period. “This has definitely been the most difficult month so far” Ray told me. “The main reason is that I am determined to complete the marathon in under four hours, which is a relatively fast time for a first marathon and for someone of my age” explained Ray. “My maximum heartrate (which is a function of age) is pre-determined and no matter how much I train, I cannot increase it. So that means I have to train my body to run faster at lower levels of stress, which requires constantly pushing myself to my physical limits until my body gets used to it and settles down with it. Basically, this means I am perpetually training in a semi-fatigued state and usually craving a few days off” admitted Ray.

I also spoke to Matt Campbell, Ray’s marathon mentor, to find out how our traveller was coping with the challenge of becoming a long distance runner. “He is doing well” said Matt. “When I looked at his performance data on his long runs at the end of July, he was definitely running comfortably at a pace that would deliver a time of 4 hours and 15 minutes for the marathon, so not far off his goal time with a few weeks left to go. At the mini-marathon he ran on his birthday (see above), I asked him to follow a race plan that required a pace of 8:50 mins per mile over six miles (a four hour marathon requires a pace of 9:09 mins per mile over 26 miles)” he explained. “Not only did he do what I asked of him, he actually ran even faster and looked in great shape doing it. His finish time of 53 minutes for the ten kilometres predicts a marathon time of 4:08:13 so we are definitely getting there. At the point of maximum exertion, Ray’s heart rate only peaked at 167 beats per minute, or 95.87% of his maximum feasible heart rate – which means he can definitely run faster as there is plenty more left in the tank. I really think a sub four hour marathon is very achievable and his ability to control his pace will hold him in good stead” added his encouraging coach.


Above: Ray has now clocked up nearly 700 miles on the road and track since he arrived in Chiang Mai to start training – and he has replaced his first (worn out) pair of running shoes! In the last few weeks, he has constantly set new personal bests for both times and distances as he works towards his goal of running the marathon in under four hours. If you would like to know what your own maximum heart rate is, then take a look at the Brian Mac website and enter your details. It will instantly compute it for you

Below: Ray’s current 14 week marathon training programme is the third of three phases of training – “This phase is all about building speed and power and making sure I can last the distance” said Ray. “I do three runs every week; one long run for endurance (18-20 miles), one for speed (made of repeated intervals of 0.5 – 1.0 miles which are sprints) on the treadmill and one ‘Tempo’ run which is usually 6-8 miles at a semi-fast pace that conditions my body towards the 9:09 mins per mile pace I will need to maintain throughout the 26 miles of marathon in New York” said Ray. On the two days I am not running, I am in the gym doing upper body strength work with weights and cycling or swimming. If I am lucky, I get a rest at the weekend!” he told me


August results002

Above: For those readers interested in Ray’s progress, look at his training schedule for August. He set a new personal best over 10 kilometres on 1st August of 53.00 minutes, set new record distances on 7th, 14th and 21st August and beat his best 18 mile time (set on 14th) by over 11 minutes when he ran the distance again on 31st August! Ray stores his performance data online at which is free to use

Editors Note: Our thanks to Me So Fit for bringing us the latest update from Chiang Mai. Ray is just about to leave for a couple of days to take part in his second competitive half-marathon race in Kanchanburi, which is the location of the famous bridge on the River Kwai. The race is Thailand’s oldest half-marathon and attracts many entrants because the first half of the thirteen mile course is almost entirely uphill! We will let you know how he got on, plus give you an update on the rest of the news from Chiang Mai in our next issue. I would also like to thank every single one of our readers who has made a donation to Ray’s Calling All Angels Marathon Fundraising Campaign. Ivana Getachek has an exciting update for us (see below).

In the last couple of months, we have responded to feedback from some of our readers who wanted easier access to previous issues. I am delighted to let you know that along with our new Home Page, we now have a comprehensive archive available with a thumbnail photo and three line description for every issue we have published to date. Please take a moment to check it out and please let us have your comments. 

Daily Explorer Home Page

Above: Our new look Home Page


Update on Ray’s Calling All Angels Campaign

Ivana 8

Above: Ivana Getachek, our “Calling All Angels” Fundraising Campaign Manager

Our campaign has now been underway for about nine weeks and I am delighted to tell you that we have raised $7,612 so far, which means we have surpassed our target of $6,500! Like Mozzie Byte, I would also like to thank everybody who has contributed. Your gesture of kindness will be hugely appreciated by the people Ray is running for. I spoke to our runner between training sessions to find out his thoughts about the campaign. “Well Ivana, I am really gobsmacked that people have been willing to make donations, especially in these difficult economic times. There seems to be a lot of support for what we are trying to do and there has been a steady stream of donations which I thought would stop at some point. But they have continued throughout the campaign, which gives me the confidence to know we can raise even more money. So I have raised our target to $12,000. It feels as if we have the energy of a huge, global team of people behind us, which is an amazing feeling to have. There are a number of people I have spoken to personally who have said they would like to donate, which is great. If you are one of those people, please help us get one step closer to our goal and make your donation now! All you have to do is click on the button below and have your credit card details ready. I hope people will forgive me for continuously banging the drum about this – I only have a few weeks left to raise as much money as I can for these people and they really need our help. If our readers had seen first hand the amazing work they are doing to alleviate suffering, with such limited resources, I am certain they would feel exactly the same sense of passion and intention that I do” said Ray.




CMN marathon banner

Healing Dialogue Banner

As we approach the marathon in New York on 1st November, full details of the amount raised will be published every week on Ray’s “Calling All Angels” campaign page. The project is a truly global endeavour. So far, we have received pledges or donations from people in 18 different countries. See how good your general knowledge is by looking at the flags below and seeing how many you can name!



Above: Ray’s Calling All Angels Campaign is a truly global endeavour – we have received donations or pledges of support from people in 18 different countries so far

Below: I would like to thank one of our readers for her outstanding efforts on the fundraising front – Hetty Martin (Ray’s mum) from Welwyn Garden City in England. She has been talking to many people about the campaign and inspiring them to make donations. We really appreciate the tremendous work she is doing and the support she is giving us. She is pictured here on the phone to one of her friends, enthusiastically telling them about what Ray is doing!


That’s about it for now. As usual, Me So Fit will be keeping us all in the picture with regular updates. If anyone would like to ask Ray about his training or fundraising, or would like his help with travel plans, you can send an email to or to me at

If you would like to have a chat with me, Ray or anyone on The Daily Explorer team about any aspect of the campaign, let me know and I will have them contact you. If you have not seen it yet, please take five minutes out of your day to find out what the “Calling All Angels” campaign is all about. And if you feel inspired, please make a donation! It doesn’t matter how much – really it doesn’t – every little bit helps. Together, we could really make such a huge difference. If you would like to talk to Ivana, you can reach her anytime at

We always aim to maintain our high standards of journalism and presentation, so please keep sending us your comments and suggestions as to how we can improve what we are doing. You can use the comments box on this site, or email Ray or ‘Mozzie’ or any of our correspondents. We will keep you posted!



Above: Nikki can hardly contain her excitement as an email arrives to confirm that she has a VIP seat (provided by race sponsor ING) reserved at the finish line in New York on 1st November!

Below: A huge welcome to the world to William Bentley, who arrived at 10.20 a.m. on Friday 14th August. His parents, Scanes and Sarah, are avid supporters of Ray and regular readers of The Daily Explorer. Congratulations to them from everyone on our team!

William Bentley



  1. Thanks again for a lovely, uplifting and tear jerking blog. Sad stories about the dogs’ home and also my heart goes out to that gorgeous mutt who befriended you. I am so pleased you had such great birthdays – wish I had access to those massages out here! I am constantly thinking of you as you go through your gruelling running programme and am delighted and impressed you are making such progress and are so completely dedicated. My love to you both. Charlie xxx

    Comment by Charlie — September 9, 2009 @ 6:30 pm

  2. Thanks for taking time to write about the dogs at Care for Dogs Foundation; your visit was very much appreciated. We look forward to seeing you back at the shelter again soon.

    We have plenty more dogs to say hello to and a lot more experiences to share (that’s the dogs with you, they said you were good listeners 😉 ).

    Comment by Ally — September 21, 2009 @ 3:48 pm

  3. Great news on the donation front! Chok dee!

    Comment by howard — October 22, 2009 @ 1:24 am

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