Category Archives: Travel

Perfection Is An Illusion

It never rains in Southern California.

Last night it rained here in Orange County.  It rained hard, it rained for a long time, and it was decidedly chilly; which is a change from the perfect weather I’ve come to expect here.  In SoCal I have come to expect perfectly blue skies and perfectly warm sandy beaches.  But then, nothing is ever truly perfect,  not even you or I, and it is our own imperfections that make us who we are.

Each person is unique, and each of us bears the scars of our past, suffers the stresses of the present, has hopes and fears for all possible futures.  Each of is a kaleidoscope of conflicting thoughts, emotions, and character traits.  All of us has character defects and personality problems to one degree or another.

Each of us has been hurt, suffered, tried and failed, and had Pyrric victories.  Each of brings into the present physical, mental, psychological, emotional, and spiritual wounds from the past.  Right now all of us has difficulties to overcome or tolerate.  We may have emotional, financial, medical, relationship, or spiritual problems; or all of those and more.

But then, we are not perfect.

There is no cure for imperfection.  There is no mileage in blaming others for our pain, problems, and thwarted desires.  And, yet we do blame our partners, lovers, ‘friends’, employers, the government….. for our own imperfections.  We become angry, depressed, frustrated,  impulsive, jealous, judgmental, and sometimes dangerous.  We criticise and blame.

Why do you look at the mote in your brother’s eye, and pay no attention to the beam in your own eye?  –  Mathew 7.5

Some say that Life is difficult and painful.  And that it is only through suffering that we can ever hope to achieve enlightenment.  All I know is that it has been my own wants, lusts and desire for instant gratification that has caused my problems and pain.

The way to freedom from suffering and pain is through self-control in body mind and spirit.  Striving for perfection is to chase a wrath… an illusion.  Better to strive to grow, to develop and evolve, to be a ‘better’ person today than we were through all of our yesterday’s.  Better yet to walk the warrior’s path with grace, honour, honesty, and openness towards an enlightened future.

I strive each day to be more accepting, less judgmental, more honest and open, kinder and more understanding than I was in the past.  I try each day to be fitter and healthier in body, mind, and spirit.

But then, I am not perfect.


jack collier


if I am not careful I can become Mr. Hyde


au revoir England

Life is a journey ~ enjoy the ride.

At 06:00 Greenwich Mean Time (UTC) this morning a car is picking me up to take me to the airport.  I fly out of Newcastle upon Tyne at 09:35, and eventually land at John Wayne airport in Orange County, California at 20:32 local.

Last evening I had some strange misgivings about this whole vacation.  Ah well, I can always spend a few weeks on a long solo road trip.  I do like to spend some quiet time just looking at the sky.

This was the view I had from the garret early this morning.

Here it’s a nice day right now, but we’re due for some brutal weather soon.  Mostly, I’m glad that I’m not going to be here to suffer through it.

My teddy bear, Marmaduke, so wanted to come along that he tried to hide in my bag.  I’m sad for him that there just wasn’t the room this trip.


jack collier


maybe next time Marmy

The Earth Is Not Flat

You cannot hide the sun, the moon, and the truth.

Some millions of people aver that the Earth is flat ~ there are books, Facebook pages, groups, magazines, religions, societies, Tweets, websites, and YouTube videos devoted to the idea that the Earth is not a sphere.  And, do you know what?  On a day-to-day basis, the ‘Flat Earth’ concept works perfectly well ~ going from here to my local store I don’t have to take into account the curvature of the Earth.  If I can triangulate a position I can ignore the curvature of the Earth and treat the triangle as though the world was flat.

But, and here’s the thing, tomorrow I’m flying from England to California, and if the navigation system in the aircraft is programmed to think the world is a flat plane then I’m totally screwed.  In any event, I’m pretty certain that we will be flying a great circle course over the North Pole, and that wouldn’t work if the Earth was, indeed, flat.

On a clear day in California, standing on the shore, looking out over the Pacific Ocean, one can actually see the curvature of the Earth at the horizon.  The ‘Flat Earthers’ have a lot of explanations and arguments against that simple observation ~ but then, by definition, a flat earther is out of touch with reality.

Just because a lot of people believe something does not make it true.  Just because a charismatic guru / leader / speaker / teacher says something does not make it true.  Just because your religion has a specific article of faith does not make it true.  Just because your counsellor / priest / therapist, or your ‘higher power’ says something does not make it true.  Just because your ‘group’ collectively agrees on something does not make it true.  Just because I write something here does not make it true for you.

You have to grow from the inside out.  None can teach you, none can make you spiritual.  There is no other teacher but your own soul.  ~  Vivkananda

Nothing is real except that you are a spiritual, emotional, thinking, physical being ~ and the things you believe in may not be true, but they may be very useful to you.  Only the insane do not try to make sense of the world.  We attempt to give meaning to everything we encounter, and every experience we have.  As an adult this gives us an habitual way of thinking, a rule book, and a map of our own world ~ mostly these serve us well and allow us to survive and thrive in a complex environment.

Reality is merely an illusion. albeit a very persistent one.  ~  Albert Einstein

But sometimes our internal rule book, our reality, and our map of the world is wrong, untrue, limiting, imprisoning, and dangerous.  This particularly applies if our map of the world has been unduly influenced by others ~ or if negative events in our past have twisted the way that we view the world and the people in it.  (And, that applies to 99.9999% of the people on this planet.)

You are creating your next moment based on what you are feeling and thinking.  That is what’s real.  ~  Doc Childre

Most of us have within us the capacity to transcend who we are today, to become a ‘better’ person, to achieve things that we thought were impossible for us.  Mostly we need to change our rule book, to reframe our internal map, have an open mind, be prepared to take another path, in order to change and grow.

I know that’s difficult ~ for some it’s impossible.  But, if you have taken the time to read this post, and the time to try and understand it, then you have it within you to truly walk the warrior’s path with grace, honour, and your eyes on the far horizon.

Which is curved, because, like the sun and the moon, the Earth is not flat.

The truth is out there.


jack collier


If you didn’t laugh you’d cry.

The News from England is utterly depressing.

We have a pretty serious argument with Russia over the attempted murder of a former Russian spy and his daughter, just a stone’s throw from the 13th Century Salisbury Cathedral.  Some of our left-leaning politicians seem to support Russia over this atrocity.

We have very serious arguments among ourselves over the fateful decision to leave Europe, (Brexit).  Alongside that we have continuous disagreements with the European Union over just about everything.

Up in the North, (actually south of where I live), there are ongoing scandals about the grooming of young white girls for sex by much older Asian men, (mostly Moslems).  Because the fear of seeming to be racially prejudiced the police and everyone else with official responsibility has been turning a blind eye to this for years. (Not just in the North ~ Asian men all over England have been engaged in this disgusting criminal practice for decades.)

Meanwhile, anyone from outside Britain with anti-Muslim views, who wants to take advantage of our freedom of speech laws and actually talk about it here is banned from entering the country.

One of best-loved comedians, Ken Dodd, has just died.  One of his one-liners; ‘I haven’t spoken to my wife for 18 months.  I don’t like to interrupt her…’

And, the weather here is about to get worse… again.  Cold, gales, grey skies, rain, thunderstorms.  What fun.  I’m glad I won’t be here to see that because I fly to Southern California in 2 days.  Sadly poor Marmaduke won’t be my travelling companion on this vacation.  I’ve decided to heed my own advice, (borrowed from hordes of previous travellers), take half as much luggage as you think you need and twice as much money.  Leaving England right now will be such a wrench, (irony).

England, this Sceptred Isle, this other Eden, this precious stone set in the silver sea.  ~  Shakespeare, Richard II.

I won’t be following the news at all while I’m in California ~ I don’t want to be depressed while I’m on vacation.


jack collier


the beaches of Orange County

Scenes on Sunday ~ Orange County

When you are tired of California you are tired of Life.

Orange County in Southern California is one of my favourite places in the world ~ say right up there alongside Tuscany in Northern Italy.  I’m visiting SoCal next week, but here are some pictures from my last trip there.







jack collier

Scenes on Sunday ~ Wyoming Wilderness

The clearest way into your mind is through a wilderness.






jack collier


all these pictures were taken with a compact Lumix by the girl riding shotgun.

Tiny Teardrop Trailers

Little trailers for big road-trip adventures.

I have this idea to build a tiny ‘teardrop trailer’.  The size of one of these tiny trailers is based on a standard 8′ x 4′ sheet of plywood.  That size sheet is what forms the floor, the walls, and the roof ~ cut and moulded to give whatever pleasing shape you like.  I believe I can build one of these in a little over a week.

There is  tiny trailer called ‘the Droplet’ which has a space-efficient shape.

You can obviously buy a ready-made, off-the-shelf teardrop trailer.



This is something I want to make as a project before I build a school bus camper.


jack collier


the fog of uncertainty

Life is an unending struggle at the edge of uncertainty.

Some say that nothing is certain in this life except death and taxes.  And, that we should live in the moment, taking what joy there is to be had.  All I know is that a little certainty sometimes would go a long way.  Worrying about things that may happen is to create pointless pain.

Over the past few days I have been struggling to make sense of a relationship that’s important to me, and my introspection and deliberation hasn’t gone so well.  Either I just do not understand my friend and why she does things, or I do not understand women at all, or both.  It’s probably both.

My friend is taking a trip to England ~ going on a retreat in the Cotswolds with a weird self-improvement group.  Her first trip to England isn’t to visit me, it’s to be with her group.  That doesn’t make me feel good, it makes me feel very second-best.  What my friend is going to do by taking this trip to England to see a bunch of other people hurts me more than just a lot.  Anyhow, I hate groups.  Most small groups revel in their self-righteous and introspective stupidity.

Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.  ~  Martin Luther King.

In general I don’t much like the self-righteous people who join groups, and I don’t like group mentality.  I would not join any group / association / society/ club that would willingly have me as a member.  I firmly believe that groups create a vicious ‘them and us’ mentality, especially closed groups, and I despise that.  It disgusts me.  I firmly believe that groups close off outsiders and that people develop unhealthy relationships within the group.  The whole group ethos sickens me.

In individuals, insanity is rare; but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule.  ~  Friedrich Nietzsche

Groups can and do operate to unhealthy norms.  Group members will continue to conform to norms that are quite harmful rather than healthy, even norms that run counter to society’s accepted standards of behaviour.  Members of small groups can find their behaviour unconsciously regulated in a way which is not good for their physical, mental, and spiritual health due to pluralistic ignorance.

Sex, drugs, and pluralistic ignorance: smart groups do dumb things.  ~  Geoff Cohen

Pluralistic ignorance is a shared delusion common in small groups.  A small group can engage in systematic barbaric, harmful, hurtful, and uncaring behaviour ~ even though the individual members of the group may be good people in their own right.  The members of small groups are amoral within the group, they tend to drink too much, smoke too much, use drugs, and engage in casual sex, all within the group, and those self-destructive behaviours can become the group norm.  I know, I’ve seen it happen.

Sometimes most people in a group will disagree with the group norm, but nobody will ever speak out.  Groupthink is a powerful thing, it’s what creates a mob mentality, a cult mentality, a harmful and poisonous bunch of people.  The list of destructive groups is long and painful.

No one believes, but everyone thinks that everyone believes.  ~  Tricia Wang.

I do not like this situation, I do not like that my friend’s first trip to England is to be with a ‘group’, and it’s making me very unhappy, which is stupid.  Unhappiness should not be endured, it should be cured.

I can do nothing about some things.  I can’t try to stop my friend from being in a group she says is valuable to her self-development.  But I fear that this situation will end badly and painfully.  Yet, I cannot change other people and what they do.  I cannot even change what happens to me.  All I can change is myself.  All I can do is be the best guy I can possibly be; accepting, considerate, kind, reliable, and understanding.  All I can do is be there for my friend.



jack collier

written close to midnight on

January 30th 2018

Scenes on Sunday ~ Burning Skies

Sky above me, the earth at my feet, the fire inside.






jack collier

all pictures taken by

the girl riding shotgun

using a Panasonic Lumix




Cars in California

The car you drive says a lot about you.

I like cars, but then I like all things engineering and mechanical, up to and including the RMS Queen Mary.

California seems to have a Love / Hate relationship with the internal combustion engine, but there are some great cars out there.

A cool guy should drive a cool car, (if you have to ask; ‘which is a cool car?’ then you aren’t a particularly cool guy).  Any cool woman can drive any car she likes and it will always be very cool.






jack collier

I think Marmaduke likes a Bentley

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