Songkran! Worship in Water

Songkran (the Thai New Year Celebration) is celebrated over three days. This is an ancient Buddhist holiday marked by the bathing of Buddha statues, pouring out of water blessings on loved ones and strangers and other ancient religious rites. Songkran is celebrated all over Thailand and in many other countries in Southeast Asia.

This year we were honored to be invited by our friend, Wanvisa, to celebrate the first day of Songkran (yesterday) with her. We started the day with a visit to ancient Wat Chang Khum. It was lovely to start the day with quiet prayers, meditation and Buddha bathing. I took this photo of Wanvisa standing in front of this Spirit Tree. These other photos were the last I was able to take because…

Chiang Mai is home to the “world’s largest water fight” for Songkran and I put my camera away!

Video of Songkran Water Fun

Our friend, Monique, was able to take the above video of the craziness that ensued for the rest of our day.

We loaded into the truck with a large vat of icy water, lots of buckets and water guns. It was so much fun to experience with Sally, Wanvisa’s daughter. It is truly a wonderful holiday for children. We returned home exhausted, throughly soaked but delighted.

For the next 2 days there will be water and dousing everywhere. If I’m brave enough to venture out, I may put up more pictures. I hope you enjoy these. Sawadee Pee Mai Ka! (Happy New Year! )

Through BOLT Eyes…

Kathy and I love the National Park Service. There is such an abundance of nature, history and wonder within the parks, monuments and forests that it administers. We’ve found something to love in every place that we’ve visited. 


However, there are often things we find disturbing to our Black American and People of Color consciousness. This week we visited the Little Big Horn Battlefield Site.  It was essentially a monument to the fallen soldiers of “Custer’s Last Stand” and to American  imperialism. There was little mention of all the injustices perpetrated against First Nations Peoples that led up to the battle. The memorial to Native Americans there was much smaller and felt like an afterthought. 

When I was in the gift shop I watched a little white boy playing with the toy guns and knives for sale there. All I could think of was Tamir Rice and how it is not safe for  black children to play in this way. 

We visited “Pompey’s Pillar”, an ancient geological site sacred to the Crow people. The park service felt it more important to highlight the fact that explorer William Clark (of Lewis and Clark) wrote his name there.

Now we are at Theodore Roosevelt National Park. It’s breathtakingly beautiful here! It’s very fitting that “Teddy”a great conservationist is honored here. But he also embodied military might and colonialism. Kathy reminded me that the saying he is credited with “Speak softly, and carry a big stick.” is one he appropriated from West Africa. 

So what do we do with these thoughts and feelings? We try to find beauty and enjoy it where we can and to tell the truth about our history and our present.  We try to learn more about our own and other marginalized people’s history. We show up and make use of these parks and forests, knowing that our ancestors did much to make them possible. We write these blogs, share our pictures and adventures. We try our best to share our truth.  We hope to affirm that America is beautiful, still and America is ours.


Coche Lento, Casa Rápida (Slow Car, Fast House)

I’ve always wanted to travel in an R.V.  What I imagined was long days of driving, visiting lots of beautiful sites for brief periods. The reality has been much more wonderful than I had imagined. R.V. traveling, BOLT style has come to mean slow travel with fairly long stays in beautiful places.  I know this type of travel is not possible for everyone and I am extremely grateful for the privilege. If you are someone who is considering a full time R.V. lifestyle here are some of the top reasons why I have come to believe slow travel with extended stops is best.



Longer stays mean you really get to experience, explore and enjoy the place.  You find favorite stores and restaurants. You get to see sunrises, starry skyes, sunny or rainy days.  During almost every longer stay we’ve been able to participate in festivals or other community activities. You really get a feel for the place.



There are substantial savings to long stays. Obviously you are using far less gas and that’s not a small thing in our 30 foot R.V.  A tank of gas currently costs us about $100 and takes us about 250 miles.  Every day we stay parked is a good day for our budget. Also, most R.V. parks offer substantial discounts when you stay a week or longer.  We find places that include water and electricity in the rate, which cuts down on our propane and water costs. When we find a spot within walking distance of shops and town activities we are truly in finance paradise. 


While we’ve met interesting, friendly people on brief stays, one of the great things about longer stays is you can really get to know people. There is camaraderie among RVers and a lot of helpful information gets exchanged. 

I think the best thing about longer stays is the chance to slow down and really enjoy the simple pleasures of life. I love our quiet, slow mornings; long, aimless walks; lots of time for reading, and sharing BOLT life with my beloved, Kathy.


If  you have any questions about RV life or experiences of your own to share we’d love to hear from you.  Your support and interest are always appreciated. 

!Seis Dias en Mexico!

Today is our sixth day in Mexico. We have been without internet for the previous four days.  No internet or cell service but wonderous vistas, magnificent coastline, frolicking dolphins, kind and helpful people and the blessing of safe travels. Here are our six days in pictures. 

Day  1: We entered Mexico through the Calexico-Mexicali border station.  3 hours later we arrived at the town of San Felipe,right on the Sea of Cortez.  We spent the day walking around this sleepy little tourist town and spent the night safely in Winnie. It’s so nice having our home on wheels, we can just park and go to sleep. 

Day 2: The next morning we headed out for the tiny town of Puertecitos. Really it’s just a little fishing village.  We found a lovely spot in a fishing camp,right on the beach. We woke up to the fishermen launching their boats and the sound of lively music. 

Day 3: From Puertecitos we wanted to head south traveling along the Pacific. Little did we know that we would encounter the worst detour ever! 30 kilometers of rutted, rocky, dusty dirt road!  Our Minnie Winnie is not made for this kind of driving but Kathy slowly and carefully guided her along.  It took 3 hours to go 30 kilometers  (20 miles) but we made it!  Instead of heading to the Pacific, as planned, we decided to rest in the town of Bahia de los Angeles,  still on the Sea of Cortez side.  We made the right choice!

Day 4: Bahia de los Angeles was paradise!  We found a campground right on the beach.  We spent our days walking, reading and watching dolphins and pelicans.

Day 5: I ended up with a little cold and I can’t imagine a better place to be sick then parked in Winnie, looking out at the beautiful sea. 

Day 6: (Today) We left idyllic Bahia de los Angeles for a beautiful drive down Mexico Highway 1.  We are now on the Pacific Ocean side and will be spending a couple of weeks here in Guerrero Negro. Lots to see and do here and the town has pretty good internet and cell service. We had our first great Mexican meal at the Las Cazuelas Restorante. There will be a whale festival here soon. Tomorrow we are going to find a spot on the beach,  not sure if we will have service there. BOLT will definitely keep you posted as often as we can…and you know we love hearing from you!

!Adios Estados Unidos!

I am writing this post as we sit (comfortably in our Minnie Winnie RV) in a Walmart parking lot in the border town of Calexico, California. In the morning we will cross over into Mexico. 

January 20th will be a sad day for our nation and we decided we did not want to be in the USA on the day when Trump becomes president. We know that it is a great privilege to be able to make this decision.  Many of you must stay…to work, to care for children or elders and to fight. My son, Malcolm, and many other brave folks will be in Washington protesting. Our thoughts and prayers will be with him and with all of you.  The struggle will continue but for now BOLT is continuing our world travels. 

We are very excited about traveling through Baja California and seeing all the beautiful of the Mexican coast.  We are going to attend a Whale festival,  eat delicious food and enjoy the beaches and the sun. We may even go into mainland Mexico and all the way to Belize. 

We are going to post lots of pictures, share positive stories of love and encouragement and keep reminding you that America is beautiful still!  We’d love to see you on our travels, let us know if you’d like to meet up somewhere along the way. 

BOLT Reviews: Quartzsite, Arizona 

Not far from the California – Arizona border lies the tiny town of Quartzsite, AZ.  Tiny as in 3,600 permanent residents.  During the winter months Quartzsite becomes home to the largest gathering of RVers in the world.  Largest as in over 300,000 RV visitors! 

RV enthusiasts come from all over the country, especially “snow birds” from the colder states. As new RV owners, Of course Kathy and I wanted to check it out.

There is a beauty and serenity to the desert that I have always loved.  I felt it as soon as we found the perfect spot in the La Posa Campground to park Winnie.  It’s on United States Bureau of Land Management land. For $40 we can stay for 2 weeks, which includes water and a spot to dump our holding tanks.  For the  $40 we can also move around to any of the other 6 BLM campgrounds.

There’s lots to see and do in Quartzsite if you like swap meet/flea market style shopping.And there are plenty of quirky characters like this group of street musicians. 

We took long, lovely walks every day into town. 

There are of course, lots of RVs and accessories on sale.


Some of them are really amazing and we had fun being looky loos.

We also arrived just in time for the annual Gem and Mineral Show.  It was wonderful walking around soaking up the energy and beauty.

We really enjoyed our stay, so far, I Quartzsite.  We got to try out the solar panel for the first time. It works great!  We’ll be in the Arizona area for a while more. Looking forward to a visit to Lake Havasu (50 miles away) and to sharing more of our travels with you.

A New Year and a New Look for Winnie!

The Winnebago Company did an excellent job making our 1994 Minnie Winnie a compact, functional home on wheels. We are very happy with our tiny home. However, like any homeowners we wanted to put our own touches and make Winnie a true reflection of the BOLT spirit. 

For reasons I can not fathom Winnie came with a very light blue carpet. Although the sellers did a great job of carpet cleaning the old spots and dirt quickly returned.  We added dirt and spills of our own. No matter how I tried the carpet looked terrible. It makes no sense to me that a vehicle designed for outdoor adventures should have carpet!

Our dear friend Djembe Jan Nicholson came to the rescue.  Who knew that in addition to being a master drummer and fabulous artist, Jan knows how to install floors!  We picked out a beautiful, waterproof laminate and Jan got to work.

Kathy and I even got to help.  Yep! That’s me using a skill saw.  It was hard work as RVs have lots of nooks, crannies, bumps and grooves that regular houses don’t have.  But Jan got the job done!


We are so happy with our beautiful and practical new floor.  We’ve also added some other Halili Akoma/BOLT touches. 

My awesome, creative wife is transforming our plain, white ceiling with this cloth from Malaysia. 

Our dear friend, Katrice Jackson, gifted us with this wonderful sacred box taken from the tattoos Kathy and I both have.

Our tiny bedroom is decorated with the cloth we were wrapped in on our wedding day and the window is draped with the symbolic threshold we crossed on that day.

We’ve had lots of fun decorating, spending time with friends and family and getting Winnie road ready.  Tomorrow we embark on our next adventure. We look forward to sharing it with you and please…share your adventures, comments and questions with us.

We Did It! Buying an RV BOLT Style 

Kathy and I have a simple formula for realizing our dreams. It works really well as we pursue our vision of living a “home free” life of world travel. We used this formula for realizing our current dream of spending a year traveling the U.S.A. visiting national parks, African American historical sites and other spots of interest. 

The first step is gratitude. We give thanks to the Universe and to all the ancestors, angels, bodhisattvas, Gods and Goddesses for the abundance in our lives. This practice centers and grounds us in a place of openers and trust. 

Next comes intention setting. For us this involves lots of talking, prayer and meditation. We finally came to the clear intention of buying a used RV and traveling North America for a year or so. 

The next step is crucial. ACTION!  Having formed the intention we began to move towards it. We (Kathy especially) did lots of research while we were still in Asia. What kind of RV? How to buy a used RV? How to live full time in an RV?  We budgeted, planned, watched videos and read lots of articles and blogs. We waffled between class A or C, we debated about length, year, models and mileage. By the time we boarded the plane to come home, we had decided to trust the Universe to lead us to the RV that would be right for us.

And It did! We landed in Atlanta, Georgia and began our search. We looked at many RVs.  Some were too small, some too big. Many were out of our price range. A few were poorly cared for. We found  “Winnie” in Mobile, Alabama. I knew it was ours when the beautiful and brown teenaged boy came out to show her to us.  Our 1994 Minnie Winnie DL model Winnebago is clean, well cared for and has low mileage. It’s an oldie but a goodie, perfect for us.  Right now it’s at the mechanic’s where they are getting it road ready.

We can’t wait to take Winnie out on the road and to share more adventures with you!  

How about you?  How do you realize your dreams? Also, we’d love to hear your suggestions of spots to visit this year and please follow us and let us know if we are in your area. We’d love to see you. 

Boundlessly Homeward

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In one week Marci and I will board a plane for a twenty-four hour flight back to the US. We haven’t been home in a year. As a matter of fact, we celebrated our one year on the road anniversary two weeks ago. We haven’t really yearned to return to the States. We of course look forward to seeing our family and friends but we dread the “noise” of the United States. Those conversations about who is winning as if speaking about a horse race instead of a yet still undecided national election. Or the seemingly daily shootings at schools or during unnecessary police encounters. And the ever-present advertising of fast food, fast cars, fast acting nasal spray. Everything wants to be fast in America. But Marci and I have embraced slow. We eat slow. Our food is prepared after we order it. We move slow. Most days we never use a car. We travel slow.

But we do have a plan. The fact is the US is much more than all those dreads, that have recently caused both of us to moan and doubt our ability to cope as individuals and as a happily married unit. For us, the United States is a place of unbelievable beauty. We have traveled to the Grand Canyon and Glacier National Parks. And as we find every time we travel anywhere on earth, the US is place of astonishing kindness. Like the apparenBOLT ustly homeless woman we met a a rest stop who shared her homemade jam inspiring us to share our morning coffee. We three had a breakfast picnic before Marci and I drove onward to eventually meet some friends in New Orleans for Essence Fest.

There is without a doubt a system of racist policies and racist actions in our country, the results of which slash our hearts. But we decided we were not going to allow those things to keep us from enjoying the beauty. So we are buying an RV and touring the country for a year or so, visiting National Parks, museums and chatting with women of a certain age about their relationship to our country.

This trip home is not the end of our international travels. North America is just another continent and once we are ready we will move on. But while we are home we will explore America from a black, queer and elder perspective. These things inform our choices and inspire us. We know we want to attend several women festivals throughout the year beginning with one 20160619_132905-1.jpgof our favorites the NIA Gathering. We also want to visit Underground Railroad sites. We’ve left lots of free time in our schedule so that we can take suggestions and move slowly and boundlessly.

We invite your suggestions and hope you will continue to follow our travels as we return home.

If you had a year to travel North America where would you go? What would be your first three stops. Please share in the comments.

Save Money with Pharmacists

One of the valid concerns people have when contemplating long term travel is what will they do about medical issues. We are not getting any younger although some of us may be healthier now than when we were young and much more foolish about our bodies. Health considerations, even if you are in the best of health will pop up during your travels.

Marci and I have spent a year in South-East Asia. This is a tropicalimages-5.jpgclimate filled with tropical diseases , like those in the old movies. And although Marci has not really gotten sick, I have suffered through unknown rashes and infections. The good news is I am fine. The great news is it cost me less than fifteen dollars to handle the most expensive health scare. That is for less than $15 I was completely cured of a skin infection I thought would send me home to the United States and my Mama’s loving house since we no longer have a house of our own.

The thing is health care just does not cost that much in other countries. I am not talking about democratic socialist nations of Europe although there too healthcare is much more affordable than the United States. I am talking for profit businesses that offer western trained doctors and if you prefer it western solutions and medicines. I have no preference. When I am sick, I just want to be well. The western solution to my skin problem would have cost closer to $100 dollars but that is still less than my deductible would have been at Kaiser and that is with Obama Care or the Affordable Care Act.

But the real stars of affordable healthcare are pharmacists. These women and men will look you over and prescribe the answer in a matter of minutes. I was on my way to have lunch when I thought I would show a pharmacist my itchy arm. He gave me a topical medicine to try for two dollars. Later that evening I had completely stopped scratching. Two days later my skin looked better than ever. It worked. And still have some medicine left over.

When I was in Spain I went to a pharmacist because someone told me to. I had terrible canker sores and could barely open my mouth not that I needed to, I didn’t then and still images-3.jpgdon’t speak Spanish, to my great regret. The pharmacist who didn’t speak English took one look inside my barely opened mouth figured out what I needed. He handed me a bottle while miming for me to rinse my mouth and gargle with it 6 times a day. I nodded and paid him. The next day I could talk and more importantly, smile without pain. A few days later I was back to my old chatting laughing self.

Pharmacist visits are faster and much less expensive when compared to going to the doctor or clinic. No waiting rooms means no waiting. Just explain your problem and let her figure out the cure.  Eventhough Marci and I live in the shadow of an award winning hospital with an outpatient clinic, I always try the pharmacist first. So far so good.

There are few places where you will be unable to secure routine healthcare as you move through your adventure traveling across our beautiful planet. The price will vary mostly in line with the cost of living overall. The US notwithstanding.  Keep a credit card handy. Consider travel insurance. Have a quick checkup and discussion with your home doctor. Then get on a plane. The world awaits, warts, canker sores, upset tummies and all. Enjoy.

Have you ever had to see a doctor on an international trip.  Share your story with us in the comments. Thank you.