A Day of Hope in Tiananmen Square

Finally getting caught up on video work shot, but not produced.

We are very fortunate to have many great interactions with people as we circle the planet. Often the best days are surprises that take on a magic all their own. November 19th, 2017 in Beijing was no exception. What follows is a collaboration between Nicky and Stacia filming, Nicky editing, Alexander and Annika playing, dad writing and narration by Alexander.                                                    Hoping you enjoy our message of hope.


Be upbeat. Whether you are an optimist or pessimist, the outcome will not change.

Positivity. In investment terms, as in life, a positive attitude and outlook cost nothing, anyone can have it and it has the highest return. Below are six charts that measure changes in six important measures of human progress, and provide evidence why people everywhere should pay heed. As I often tell my kids, if you have 100 loaves of bread, and you get one more, it’s often, “Dude, what the heck”? But if you live elsewhere and you have only one, and you get one more, YOU. ARE. PSYCHED!

Here is the data from that chart I think every kid should be familiar with (Not fake news). Since studies show nearly 60% of people only read headlines, and over 85% only read the first two sentences of newspaper and website stories, here are the highlights. This has all occurred in MY LIFETIME (SINCE 1960)!

Extreme poverty: 65% has dropped to 10% since  1960

Basic education: 45% has increased to 85% since 1960

Literacy: 45% to 85% since 1960

Democracy: 35% to 55% since 1960

Vaccination: nearly ZERO % in 1960 to 85% today

Child mortality: In 1960, 20% of children died before their 5th birthday. Today it’s 4%

By any measure, it’s never been better. Be Positive.

Two thoughtful views of race relations in America

Every so often pieces come along that impart enlighten, but few with the eloquence and impact of this author, Ta-nehisi Coates. Kids, in a world of general nonsense, this is a voice worth considering.


A favorite…


And a dissenting voice…

An Open Letter to Ta-Nehisi Coates



Sunday session II, Calligraphy, and the Kyoto crafts museum…

…as it relates to the favorite speech I’ve ever had the pleasure of watching.

“Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”

Steve Jobs
Co Founder Apple Inc.

Revenge of the Jellyfish. (Nicholas)

Hi , Nicholas here. I have a really crazy story to tell you about what happened last week. (We’re a bit behind, it’s been hectic)

After eight nights in Ubud, Bali, we had done a bunch of cool stuff, but we were ready for a change. We had the opportunity to go on an old wooden Indonesian sailboat called a Phinisi,  where we sailed across the Flores Sea. We wanted to see Komodo dragons, go snorkeling to see sharks and manta rays, and make videos about our travels. We were leaving civilization. No restaurants, no cozy hotels, and certainly no Starbucks. Oh yeah, and no wifi, no Instagram, no Facebook, and no more news about the new iPhone. The iPhone part was the worst for me.

On a smallish boat, you learn to get along with the people around you, and in certain situations drastic measures may be necessary.

Late the day of departure, we set off and anchored for the night near a beautiful remote beach. Surrounding the island, was a shallow colorful reef. The island looked like a good place towards which to swim, and walk around on, and play. After morning class, we were hot and sweaty, and ready to go swimming. I nervously climbed the sail rigging and leapt off the boat into the water. When I came to the surface, I felt as if I was getting poked repeatedly with really tiny needles, all over my body. It didn’t  hurt so much as it was very uncomfortable. Out of curiosity, I asked the crew if they recognized the sting marks. They informed me that the stings were from tiny invisible jellyfish.

I continued jumping off the boat, as the smaller jellyfish stings, although uncomfortable, weren’t very painful. After I had leapt off the boat five or six more times, I had minute red marks all over my body from the mini-jellyfish.

My dad decided to swim the 300-ish yards to the beach to play soccer with the crew. Alex and Annika chose to join him on the beach. I decided I would wait for my mom, and we would swim over to the shore together. Alex, Annika, and my dad were almost to the shore when my mom and I began swimming over as well.

For the first 50 yards or so, my mom and I evaded the stings of the tiny jellyfish. After that, however, the stings began again and continued to worsen until we were like hay in a needle stack. When my mom and I were about halfway to the beach, the crew “seized” the motorboat from the Carpe Diem and headed toward the beach.

About two thirds of the way to the shore, I suddenly got an unbelievably excruciating sting in the crease of my right arm. It felt like all the needles in the needle-stack had been combined and jammed into my arm at once. I screamed in agony and begged the crew to let me onto the motor boat. When I showed them my arm they hurriedly said,” yes,”  and assisted my mom on board as well. We quickly climbed in the boat and I showed my arm to my mom.  She looked as if she was experiencing the pain with me. The crease of my arm was bright red and extremely swollen. The line where the jellyfish stung me looked like the veins in my arm had been ripped out, and taped back onto the outside of my skin. My arm felt like someone had cut it open and poured molten lava into my blood.

I needed something to lessen the pain, so I asked Cécile, our steward, if she had anything to reduce the pain. Apparently, one normally uses vinegar to counteract the effects of jellyfish venom, but the nearest grocery store was an hour flight away.

Plan B.

Cecile then told me of another solution. She asked, “Nicholas, do you need to pee?”

“Huh?”, I replied.

The ammonia in pee counteracts the venom temporarily until we could gain access to vinegar.


My sister Annika giggled and happily volunteered to provide me a pee specimen.  Annika, mom and I walked away from the group. Annika preferred to pee in a large shell she found, and pour it onto my arm. Unfortunately, she got stage fright, and was too shy to produce. Thankfully, Ali volunteered instead. He peed in the shell and my mom emptied it onto my arm. Instantly the pain disappeared. I felt like the fire had been doused with a huge bucket of ice cold water.

Finally, I could think again, I felt relieved, I never thought I would be glad to have pee poured on my arm. Then the pain returned and I needed more pee, ha ha. Luckily Annika peed this time and poured it onto my arm. Shortly after, Cécile brought over the vinegar. The vinegar completely relieved the pain. Cecile specifically told me not to scratch it or it would get worse. I couldn’t imagine it could get any worse than it already was, but I decided to leave that investigation for another day. About 10 minutes later it started to itch. When I say itch, I mean really itch. Thankfully, my mom being a forward thinking mom, had some anti-itch cream on the boat, so I paddle boarded back to keep myself from scratching it and having that experience all over again. Here’s some video from the Sea. Unfortunately, the video of the pee medicine incident got deleted from the Go pro. Oops.