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Helen Keller said

'Life is either a daring adventure - or nothing'

And you know what - I think she might have been right!

Mark Twain made a lot of sense too

- read this quote and see how it applies to you...


"Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do, than by the things you did do. So, throw off the bowlines.  Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails.  Explore. Dream. Discover."

One of the things I decided to do when I hit the BIG 50 was to plan some kind of adventure every year - something that I could look back on and say "now THAT was special!"

Here are a a few memories from those adventures, starting with my most recent trip which was a brilliant cycling trip through Wales in June 2011...then there was Japan October 2010, a wonderful 'Simply Inspiring' workshop from July 2009 - Tanzania 2008, Peru 2007 and the Himalaya in 2006

If you're interested in doing something along these lines and are looking for someone to travel with - get in touch - we can dream and plan some adventures together.


JUNE 2011

I had been meaning to do this bike trip for a few years and decided that 2011 had to be the year to finally get on my bike and stop talking about it!

Thanks to Nick Robinson for joining me on what was a wonderful 251 miles scenic ride through some of the most beautiful countryside imaginable.

Here we are at Holyhead Railway Station on Anglesey

- the start of our 251 miles journey

The Menai Straits that separate the Island of Anglesy from the Welsh mainland

This is Nick proudly showing off the longest place name in the UK

- and probably the world! For those of you who need to's


As Van Morrisson says, 'there'll be days like this'

And when they come along all you can do is appreciate them.

This was our reward for a very long and arduous climb.


A familiar sight as we navigated our way from Holyhead

in the North to Chepstow in the South

One of the things I love about these cycling trips is staying in 'B and B's'

(Bed and Breakfast guesthouses) - they're all so quirky.

On the final leg of the trip as we head towards the Black Mountains and Gospel Pass,

another beautiful day and stunning scenery.


On top of Gospel Pass - hallelujah!


...and finally the finishing post - Chepstow Castle.

It's been a great trip - can't wait for the next one.




Some happy memories of a recent trip to Japan with a bunch of wonderful people with whom I had shared a life changing 'Leadership Programme' back in 2004/5

I'm sorry but I have to start with the food - it was beautiful!

Me, Satomi (our host in Japan) Linda (aged 63!) Tine from Denmark

and Denise from Provincetown USA

In front of The 900 year old Golden Pavilion in Kyoto

A Zen Garden - 15 rocks, 15th Century - time to contemplate

This is the entrance to the amazing floating shrine of Itsukushima


The Peace Memorial in Hiroshima Peace Park


Celebrating my birthday in Hiroshima with Satomi

A beautiful day in Hida Village just outside Takayama

We go native in an outstanding 'Ryokan' (traditional Japanese Inn)

(That's Steve on the left - The Professor)

And this is 'Taishun' a wonderful Buddhist monk who helped me

answer the question, 'what's this thing called contentment?'

This was a superb exhibit at the MORI art museum

in Roppongi Hills Tokyo

...when Linda poked her head up through the hole...

...look who was on the other side looking right back at her

and finally here I am proudly showing off the exclusive shop in Tokyo

where my brother sells his hand crafted guitars

OK so this is the final shot - you can't go to Japan and not photograph the toilets -you need a full license to drive this one!



Here are some of the great photos from our recent retreat



and here's the talented lady who took the photo's

-a big thank you Fiona


Fiona Monks




And here are some photos from erlier in the year

Sandra and I were really in our element leading this course

- it was fun, it was challenging and it was rewarding


You really can have your cake and eat it - simply inspiring!

Sssshh - this is a library.

Denise, Jane and Fiona risk eviction


Someone had to take it seriously - don't ask!

(Well OK - this was all part of our 'open mike' night when we all got to

show off who we are in our element , some showed off more than others.

Alejandra relaxes while Charlotte creates

Janine feels the force

Everyone created their own 'in my element' boards

This is Ton

He may look like he's playing air guitar but in fact he's whistling

- like no-one I have ever heard whistle before - this man is a genius!

Jane sparkled her way through the weekend

So this is Ton, Tony and the big fella Marnix

saying thank you and see you on the next

Simply Inspiring weekend adventure




These are some of the shots of my recent 10 day trip to Tanzania to go and see my daughter Charlotte who has been out there for 5 months working on a volunteer project called, 'Art in Tanzania'


Charlotte and some of her pupils in the school at Bihari

What you can't help but notice about all the kids is just how happy they are

Here's a scene you could see outside any school gate anywhere in the world

An early evening scene on the beach at Mahaba - unspoiled and exotic

Fishing is still the main source of income along the coast

Off for a day's fishing

And even though we didn't catch many fish (one in fact!) we did

get to watch some sperm whales putting on a spectacular display

- this shot doesn't quite do them justice!


Meet the local stress management consultant

It's a hard life but someone's got to do it

- I lost the daft hat competition by the way

After all that hard work fishing, Charlotte and I needed a break -

this is us being met by the manager and his wife as we pull up to

'Lazy Lagoon' - our paradise for 3 days

Just 12 huts on the whole island - all with spectacular views out to sea

White sands

Lazy lunches watching the boats go by

Dinner served on the beach

Lazy Lagoon was perfect!

The local Masai men love a game of pool

New volunteers are introduced to their new school friends

Proud dad and happy daughter





Here we are on day one of our adventure - the intrepid great adventure people who made up the tour group. From left to right, that's Darren, Pete and Katrina with Helen in the front row, then Richard, Gregg, Dan, John and Leanne with Mandy with her back to us and finally Susannah.

This was taken on a cold, wet morning outside the hotel in Lima

I paid a lot of money for this shot - at least 6 soles - they're good business people

even at a very early age! This shot is overlooking Cusco - the Llama was camera shy.

OK, well it had to be done - when in Peru, you have to eat the local delicacies.

Guinea Pig or 'Cuy' as they say over there!

And no - it didn't taste like chicken - more like rabbit to be honest.

The red chilli in the mouth was a nice touch don't you think?

An old boy and his photogenic dog in the village of Ollayantambo

The start of the Inca Trail - a group made up of some of the group you saw above and some new faces from another group who we teamed up with for the trail.

Let's see if I can remember all the names!

From the left, back row standing...Susannah, Anthony, me, Lou, Darren, Charlotte,

Jens, Bryce, Jackie, Caroline, the back...Gerry and Dan.

Front row, Denise and Ken.

Stopping for a well earned rest - me, Jens, Jackie and Dan

(nice hat Tone!)

There were a LOT of steps on the way up to Dead Woman's Pass!

But the views were breathtaking.

Here we are - triumphant at the top of 'Warmiwanuska'

Dead Woman's Pass - 4,200 mtrs.

(nice hat again Tone!)

Just a few of the heroic porters (all 22 of them) who looked after us

so well on the trail, carrying our luggage, our food, our tents and just about

everything else - we couldn't have done it without them.

And while we had all the latest equipment money could buy,

including high tech boots, these guys wore sandals!

(when was the last time he had a pedicure?)


Not a bad view from the tent.

This was the view that greeted us from 'Intipunku' - the Sun Gate at about 6am in the morning. The sun wasn't yet over Machu Picchu but the feeling of seeing it for the first time was inspiring and emotional.


A classic shot of a very happy group.

What a view.

This is the mountain range that Machu Picchu looks out over - stunning.

(the pantomime horse seemed to like it too!)

The 'schoolhouse' we stayed at in Paucartambo - no water but a great camp fire.

Most of the houses in these villages are built of the 'adobe' bricks you can see stacked up against the wall.  The bricks are made of mud, straw and a few pebbles - you can get them in any colour you want as long as it's brown.

They start them young at the local corner shop in Paucartambo.

How she manages to look quite so stylish with a pig and an old tyre as props is a mystery but this local Peruvian woman seems to manage - nice hat too!

Leanne giving some of the local school kids some pencils and sweets.


Everywhere we went, the local kids would come out to see the gringo's on their bikes.

Loading up the bikes

Time to get off our bikes and try some rafting - in the Apurimac Canyon.

We had a lot of fun on the river - mostly in it.

This is us getting ready - those blue bags are misleadingly called 'dry bags'

as we found out later!

This is 'Roger' - the guy responsible for our 'cargo' boat.

This raft is loaded up with all the stores for the whole trip so it weighs a ton - literally.

Roger's job is to row this little baby through the rapids and keep it afloat.

He did a magnificent job on all but one occasion when the river got the better of him

- seeing the boat upside down in the rapids was quite a site but the guys managed to right it and the only casualty was a case of beer...what am I saying, the ONLY casualty was a case of beer!

Finally , it was all over, three magnificent days on the river. If I ever work out how to put a video on this website I'll let you see just how cool the whole thing really was - but until then, take my word for it, and if you ever get the chance to go white water rafting - take it.

And in stark contrast to everything else...

here is how they change the guard at the Palace in Lima.

Now I'm not an expert on these things but if you ask me...

that looks like a complete shambles!

And finally, a shot of the British Embassy in Lima - the place where I spent my last couple of days before leaving Peru. My passport had been stolen a week earlier in Cusco and it was touch and go as to whether I would get a new passport in time to fly home - it arrived with 2 hours to spare...phew!






Well we went - and here's the proof!

Seven of us - there was Laurel Vespi from Canada, Nick Martin from the lovely Malvern Hills, Caroline Yates and Phil White who both used to work with me at The Marketing Store, plus Steph Evans, Caroline's best mate and finally Lisbeth Johanssen from Denmark. And leaning against the pillar is Sheila, my friend from way back when - and three of her 'staff' who looked after us so well - Hamman, Shiva and Toru

Here's Phil and Lisbeth having a spiritual moment at 'The Point' - just the most inspiring garden view I have ever seen - you could see for hundreds of miles across the Kanga Valley from here.


And this is Shiva (A Hindhu god of love and destruction!)

And here are the intrepid mountaineers making our first assault on the Indrihar pass. Note the professional footwear worn by Lisbeth - TRAINERS!

Nick Martin and I enjoy breakfast on the roof of our 5* restaurant

We spent an amazing day at the Gyuto Monastery near Dharamsala where we all had an audience with the Karmapa Lama (the next in line to the Dalai Lama)

The team looking hot just before visiting the Golden Temple in Amritsar (it was nearly 40 degrees in the shade that day - now that is hot!)

Caroline (in orange) and Laurel show off their fantastic Indian sarees - while I get the beers in!


For the 7 of us who set out on this Himalayan adventure, I can honestly say it was just that...a true adventure....and more. One day I may write a book of the extraordinary events that we experienced while we were there - but whatever happens it was definitely an experience we will never forget - and for me...that's exactly what adventures are all about!




Tony Barton (photo)
Tony Barton
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