Friday, October 21, 2016

Desert sunset


Desert sunset

Abha, Saudi Arabia. I’m taking in the sunset in a grove of acacia trees, the branches are heavy with pods, a nearby flock of doves is cooing and settling in for the evening, and in the distance I can hear the yapping and howling of the wild saluki hunting dogs. From the Middle east to Arizona to Nazca to Morroco, It is a scene that’s played out in every arid region I have visited – with slight variations. I can say with 100% certainty that Deserts are my favorite environment on earth.

Thursday, October 20, 2016


 “When I was a little chap, I had a passion for maps. At that time there were many blank spaces on earth. But there was one yet, the biggest, the most blank, that I had a hankering after”

This statement by Charles Marlow in the book “Heart of darkness” by Joseph Conrad, struck a cord with me when I was about 12 years old. I have always loved maps, and can spend hours reading an atlas like others will read a novel. My dream as a youth was to travel the world and see those "blank spaces", and perhaps help fill a few in. As a kid I spent countless hours learning how to draw maps the old school way (like Lewis& Clark),or by using cartographers tools. 

Had I know the u.S. Army had a cartography program/MOS I would not have wasted all of my military years in the Infantry. Anyhoo, Grab an atlas sometime and thumb through it, Im sure you will find something interesting and learn a thing or two.



Saturday, October 15, 2016

Knife use by: "guns" in Cebu

I Carried this partially home made knife(The handle is hand pounded copper) for a whole week, used it to cut candy and biscuit packaging, whittle emergency wooden door stops, peel and cut apples in half, cut meat, potatoes and carrots for a lazy man's stew, cut and sliced onions, tomatoes and other veggies for food prep, worked indoors and outdoors, got soaked in pouring rain during one of my motorcycle rides going home, and after the day and work is done all i have to do is wash it in warm soapy water to remove dried fruit juices and food particles, give it a good shake, a thorough wipe down a drop of oil at the pivot and she is back for more action. I kinda noticed also how it patina'd with everyday handling and use. Now she has that character that a lot of people force on her, mine is going slow and steady and has aged with everyday use. Thomas D Moore was right carry and use your knife like no other.

Friday, October 14, 2016


Miswak - For several years now, i have not used toothpaste due to the fact that it contains fluoride and or artificial sweeteners. Instead, I use baking soda and peroxide and find that it is a better combination for me.  Also, whenever im in the middle east or Indonesia/Malaysia, I like to use "Miswak" as part of my daily oral hygene routine. It is a good natural root and has many good properties, to include NO fluoride. 

Traditional miswak sticks. Softened bristles on either end can be used to clean the teeth.
The miswak (miswaak, siwak, sewak, Arabic: سواك‎‎ or مسواك) is a teeth cleaning twig made from the Salvadora persica tree (known as arak in Arabic). A traditional and natural alternative to the modern toothbrush, it has a long, well-documented history and is reputed for its medicinal benefits. It is reputed to have been used over 7000 years ago.

The miswak's properties have been described thus: "Apart from their antibacterial activity which may help control the formation and activity of dental plaque, they can be used effectively as a natural toothbrush for teeth cleaning. Such sticks are effective, inexpensive, common, available, and contain many medical properties". It also features prominently in Islamic hygienical jurisprudence.

The miswak is predominant in Muslim-inhabited areas. It is commonly used in the Arabian peninsula, the Horn of Africa, North Africa, parts of the Sahel, the Indian subcontinent, Central Asia and Southeast Asia. In Malaysia, miswak is known as Kayu Sugi (Malay for 'chewing stick').

Monday, October 10, 2016

Tomahawk the minimalist


 "Never carry more than you can carry on your back at a dead run"

~Macaroni Jack

I was going over my gear to realize that I am a minimalist. I have about  40 to 50 items (I never actually counted) of clothing and equipment, that I carry around the world. These include electronics, a wardrobe and outdoor / wilderness survival / gear.

To break it all down, I separated it into the 3 categories I mentioned above;

1. Electronics - Dell laptop, iphone4, 2 Nokia cameras w/chargers, 1 blue tooth speaker, 1 one Terabyte external hard drive. Sure fire flashlight, 3 panel solar charger for camera and phone.

2. Wardrobe - 1 Pair of new balance hiking shoes, 1 pair flip flops, 4 pair of smartwool socks, 4 pair of boxers, 3 T shirts, 2 short sleeve button down shirts, 1 long sleeve. 1 light jacket. 1 touque, 1 pair of gloves. 6 handkerchiefs. 1 ball cap, sunglasses , reading glasses. Patagonia shorts, 2 pair of carharrt pants

3. Camping/survival gear - Crazy creek chair, 10x10 tarp, hammock, poncho liner, parachute cloth,
2 insulated water bottles, match safe, ferro rod, 1 swiss army knife, 1 coffee tumbler, sewing kit. Toiletries kit(tooth brush, soap ,razors etc.) 1 army spoon, 1 metal bowl. 1 Blackhawk "3 day" pack and a medium sized northface river duffle.

All of these items fit easily into my river duffle if necessary. Being a full time traveler I never accumulate many possessions or travel with things I can buy locally like towels, foods, or additional toiletries. I do at times buy things as gifts for friends around the world but mail them off quickly so I dont have to carry them.

Minimalism is a great way to travel and relieves stress and worry. Give it a try you might find that you are happier.

See you on the trail! Tomahawk

Arab style foods

I was recently in Bahrain and treated myself to an "Arab grill" beef, chicken and lamb with veggies and pickles.combined with Arab coffee and sparkling water it was a delightful repast .

Shortly I will be departing for the Najran in Saudi Arabia and will post pics of local foods and the Arab Janbiya knife.

Tomahawk out.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

"The woods are lovely, dark and deep"

So, I was in my home town yesterday and decided to take a spin through the woods where I would hang out when I was a kid. I had not been there in nearly 40 years. I was surprised to see how pretty it was, not at all like I remember it. I skirted the edge of the cypress bog, found false turkey tail and artist fungi. I spied a beautiful King Fisher, his blue color was vivid in the dark woods. And I filled up my 2 water bottles from the pump, I had forgotten how good the water from this well tasted.

"The woods are lovely, dark and deep. But I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep"

~Robert Frost