I started traveling this fall on September 16 and the travel didn’t end until November 9th. And during that period I was in Honolulu (six hours behind Cary NC) and in Paris (six hours before Cary NC). I’m 73 years old and changing time zones isn’t that easy anymore. But at the same time, I love it.
But why am I telling you about my travels? The answer is simple: I want you to know a little bit more about Van Tharp and how he thinks. I’ve been told through Vedic Astrology that I’ll live to be over 100. I love helping people transform and become more successful, but at the same time, I consider myself to be someone who is working and retired at the same time. I basically just do what I love to do. And my plan is to take about 3 one month trips each year as part of my retirement plan. I really enjoy travel and doing tours, and I have a long bucket list of places to visit.
This year my first trip was to India (but I went from Cary to London to India to Hong Kong and then back to Cary on that trip). I was in India for almost 7 weeks, but I went around the world during that trip even though there was one stop. I spent six weeks at an Ayurvedic clinic near Kochi. During that time, it felt like I was confined to a 10 foot by 14-foot room, being forced to eat food that I didn’t like. I used the time quite productively as the first draft of my next book was written there and in just three weeks. It would have taken 3 months or more had I been doing my normal routine, however, that was 8 months ago. We’re self-publishing the book and it’s still not finished. The book, entitled Motimaps: The Definitive Guide to Self-Propulsion to Getting Your Dream Life, will probably come out in early 2020. Right now it’s still in the proofing stage as I want at least 10 of my Super Traders to read it and comment on it. It will be both a book and a workbook with exercises and examples of the exercises. This workbook might be a little slower to get published as I want three examples of doing all the exercises including my own and so far I only have my own example and one other.
I own a timeshare based in Las Vegas so Kala and I also spent about 10 days there in mid-July. During that time, Kala and I actually took a jet boat through 22 miles of the Grand Canyon. That was also a dream trip, but it also convinced me that I didn’t want to do the rafting trip that takes about 10 days to travel the same distance. The bottom of the Grand Canyon in the summer is very hot. And one day was definitely enough.
My iPhone had stopped working that day and I couldn’t take pictures. So all the pictures were from my wife and she wasn’t brave enough to take pictures while we were running the rapids. It’s probably a good thing because it was very rough and she might have lost her phone had she tried. So one is us at a rest stop.
Okay, so fast forward to trip #3 – a cruise that went from Quebec Canada to Newark New Jersey. It was a free cruise donated by Park West because we purchased enough art on the last cruise to earn the “free” cruise. The cruise was entitled “Fall Colors” but with global warming from Sept 4 through Sept 26th, there the leaves in Canada were still green and on the trees.
Our biggest adventure in Canada was getting into Canada. Marijuana is legal throughout the country of Canada. In the US, Marijuana is legal in about a dozen states, but thanks to Donald Trump signing the farm bill, hemp (less than 0.3% THC) is legal in all states. Kala and I both take CBD oil (Kala for knee and foot pain and me because it really helps me sleep better). Anyway, when you enter Canada, customs promptly asks you if you have any Cannabis-based products. I’m thinking what’s the big deal, it’s legal in Canada and, of course, I declared the CBD oil. Next thing I know were singled out and Canadian Customs takes away our CBD oil. My wife is complaining that she needs it for pain, and they say, we’ll just buy some more here in Canada. But that was not the end of the adventure. My wife was now on a list for Canadian Customs. We were okay in Canada getting more CBD oil, but little did we know that our cruise ship (because of traffic in the ports) decided to go from the maritime provinces of Canada to Portland Maine and then back to Canada. There was really nothing to Canadian Customs except that my wife was now on a list. When we left the next morning to go on a tour (I think Halifax), when my wife’s cruise card was scanned getting off the ship she was immediately screened aside and told that Canadian Customs wanted to talk to her. She was now on a list. And, what happened, they got our CBD oil again and this time there were not very nice at all.
I’m mentioning this incident because it just shows how countries make up rules and it’s all just a game. Why would Canada ban the entry of hemp substances into the country when full-strength marijuana is legal? I have no idea, but they do. Canadian Customs confiscated over $300 worth of CBD oil from us during that trip and my wife is now on a list. What did that accomplish? Absolutely nothing except to guarantee that I probably will not be visiting Canada with my wife in the near future. I had two other trips planned. My bucket list included taking the train across Canada from Toronto to Vancouver. That’s supposed to be a beautiful trip and it’s quite expensive. Prestige class for two people is about $25,000 Canadian dollars and a regular sleeping Cabin for two is about half of that. So, the Canadian government has just guaranteed that we won’t be taking that trip anytime soon. I was also considering driving across Canada in my Tesla when they have superchargers along the entire route. Those supercharges have been promised for about 3 years now and still don’t exist, but again there is another trip I won’t be taking. And what is the purpose of that law? Perhaps to get you to spend money on Canadian CBD oil? I have no idea but it just doesn’t make sense.
Kala and I spent a few days in New York after that trip and then returned to Cary. Within five days, we were leaving for Paris which brings up something else that’s interesting. I typically fly business class and I subscribe to a service to find discounted business class seats. I knew we had three workshops in London in October so I started looking for the discounted seats in early 2019. The discount service will typically monitor the prices until about two months prior to leaving. In February the price of the round trip RDU to Heathrow tickets was about $5700 each. I am used to seeing fares for about half that price. I think there was one sale in the summer but for that, you had to fly almost immediately and it wasn’t good for October. When only two months were left before the trip, the discount service took me off the fare monitor. I thought that I might have to buy the $5700 business class tickets but then I discovered that every airline’s flights to London Heathrow from every US location I could think of were close to $10,000 for business class seats. A six-hour trip in business class was actually more expensive than first-class tickets by about $500. Why? Who knows? The discount service said their seats were practically all unsold and that the airlines just decided to really jack the prices up. We used this as an opportunity to try something different.
Round trip business class tickets from Raleigh to Paris were only about $4,000 so I booked business class tickets to Paris. We had a nice visit with one of my Super Traders who lives in Paris and we had a nice visit including a cruise along the Seine. The next day Kala and I did something else I’ve always wanted to do – take the train underneath the English Channel from Paris to London. So, check off one more thing from my list of things to do. The train across the channel takes only about 2 hours and 20 minutes but the train was not nearly as nice as the British trains throughout the UK.
After the London workshops, we ended up taking Premium Economy on the direct flight back from London Heathrow to Raleigh. I don’t mind that one so much because it’s a daytime flight when I’m not normally sleeping.
While in London, we did three workshops in London and about 10 days of tours around England. We took the following trips:
1) The Cotswolds and Blenheim Palace.
2) Leeds Castle, Canterbury Cathedral, and the White Cliffs of Dover.
3) A train trip to the Lake District to see Beatrix Potter’s area of the UK (which now belongs to the Queen).
4) Warwick Castle, Oxford, Cotswolds, and Stratford upon Avon (I went by myself because Kala was tired of travel each day).
5) Oxford University and Cambridge University (I took this one with Kala because I thought she’d enjoy seeing these two great Universities).
6) Windsor Castle, Stonehenge, and Bath.
To put this set of trips in perspective, I lived in England from 1951 through 1961 and was there during Queen Elizabeth’s coronation. I went to American Schools in the London area for US Military dependents. When I was in 5th grade I really wasn’t getting very good grades, and I was turned down for admission to a special school because of my low grades. That was a wake-up call and my best friend at the time had an IQ of about 150 who always made straight As. No one told me that I couldn’t do all the intellectual things that he did, so my friend became my model.
And right about the time I decided to turn myself around, I had to write some sort of report. My mom took me to Stonehenge and to Bath. I wrote a report on the experience and got my first A. I thought “this isn’t so hard” and after that, pretty much made straight As. I still remember my trip to Bath and Stonehenge and wanted to do it again.
65 years ago, I could go all around Stonehenge and into the inner circle – but that’s no longer allowed. I remember finding a bone there and speculating about that bone was part of my report. Thus, it was really interesting for me to do the same trip again with my wife. The picture is what it looks like now. A big circular pathway goes around the circle and of course, it all belongs to Her Majesty’s Trust or to the Queen.
I also love visiting Castles and hearing stories about their past. Netflix has a series on Great Castles of England and Scotland and with this trip, I’ve visited about half of them. Many of them were built by William the Conqueror as a show of force to the Saxon people. Originally wooden structures, they were gradually enlarged and fortified. The Tower of London is probably the most famous but Warwick, Leeds, and Windsor Castle are also among the ones started by William the Conqueror.
Windsor is the most spectacular castle so if you visit the UK and have time, you really should see it. The Queen resides there on a part-time basis and I actually think it is more spectacular than King Louis XIV’s Versailles Palace near Paris. The Queen has an absolutely fabulous collection of art, furniture, armor, weaponry, etc. there. Kala was so fascinated that I had to keep hurrying her or we could have missed our bus… they gave us about 100 minutes to see as much as we could see. You can’t take pictures or you get quickly escorted out but you can buy a souvenir book with great pictures for about £5.
Leeds Castle was also interesting but not nearly as spectacular. It’s called the Queen’s Castle because so many of the Queens of England (mostly wives of the Kings) loved that castle. For example, Catherine of Aragon (Henry the VIII’s first wife) has a bedroom named after her. Henry VIII transformed the castle for her. Other Queens who loved Leeds in order of occupancy, included Eleanor, wife of Edward I. Philippa (wife of Edward II), Joan of Navarre, Catherine de Valois, as well as Catherine of Aragon. Queen Elizabeth was actually imprisoned here before her coronation. Later, an American socialite bought it and spent her fortune on it using it as a country home.
Warwick Castle is pretty spectacular as well. It’s now quite interesting because it is owned by various tourist companies. At one time it was owned by Madame Tussauds and as a result, there are a lot of exhibits with interesting wax figures in the castle. Currently, Merlin Entertainments operates the castle.
The castle also is the home of one of the largest trebuchet’s (siege engine) in the world that is 22 tons and 59 feet tall. That’s shown in the picture to the right. It didn’t arrive at the castle until 2005.
Warwick castle, before becoming an entertainment complex, was actually owned by the 7th Earl of Warwick who went to Hollywood with the intention of becoming a movie star so that he could maintain the huge cost of keeping up the castle. His real name was Charles Guy (1911 – 1984) and he made several movies under the name Michael Brook, including a supporting role in the movie Dawn Patrol with Errol Flynn and David Niven.
I have many more pictures of the different places we visited. I saw Shakespeare’s birthplace at Stratford on Avon. And, of course, you hear all sorts of interesting stories such as grave robbers digging up his grave and stealing the head. They left a note saying that he was buried in just a sack (no coffin) and apparently he said that “Good friend for Jesus sake forbeare, To dig the dust enclosed here. Blessed be the man that spares these stones, And cursed be he that moves my bones.” Apparently, the note didn’t stop the grave robbers, but it has prevented historians from digging up the grave to see if the note from the robbers was true. Historians have taken x-rays of the grave and the body did seem to be missing the head.
Anyway, I find all of this sort of thing quite fascinating. And plan to do a lot more of it over the next 20 years or so.
Kala and I also visited the Lake District in England by train. It’s famous for Beatrix Potter (Peter Rabbit) and her love of the country for as she became famous, she bought up lots of property in the area which drove up the land prices so that the farms would be preserved. Those properties now all belong to the National Trust – meaning that the Queen owns them. I found Potter’s cottage interesting in that I counted over 70 paintings hanging in about 1800 square foot house. Our new home has almost 6,000 square feet and Kala says we don’t have room for more paintings but we have nowhere near that many paintings on the walls. As a result, Beatrix Potter provided a good example of how there really is a lot more room on the walls if you are willing to make the space.
I didn’t take any pictures inside the house but I loved the warning street sign just outside of her house.
We arrived home from the UK on October 31 and then I went off to Hawaii for Stuart Mooney’s retreat about five days later and that kept me away until I returned on November 9th. I go to Stuart’s retreat each year as part of my spiritual development. I usually spend a few days in Honolulu to get used to Hawaiian time and then go to the Big Island where Stuart lives and holds the retreat.
I usually present workshops at two overseas locations each year – one set in Australia and one in Europe. Then I do part of my travels as part of those trips, however, workshops in foreign countries are very expensive because of the travel and hotels. Those trips can involve as much as $50,000 in up-front costs and I need to make a profit to justify them. On this year’s trips, we didn’t make even 1R so I’ll probably only give workshops at our offices 2020. Besides, in March of 2020, when we would usually be in Australia, I will be going to the Southern Hemisphere again, but this time we’ll visit South Africa, Botswana, and Zimbabwe. Kala and I are taking a private Safari (another bucket list trip) and we plan to take a small cruise (4 days) from Durban to Cape town. I definitely look forward to telling you about that one.
I find that these trips bring out my creative juices. I haven’t published a book since Trading Beyond the Matrix – probably because trading books don’t seem to sell that well. As a result, I haven’t been motivated to write any lately but the Motimaps book just came out of me on the India trip earlier this year. I also plan to write a book on what I call Beyond the Matrix thinking, but I’ve been waiting for that book to just flow and it hasn’t been time yet.
I have just had a total brainstorm for a new book. The tentative title for the new book is “The Holy Grail of Trading is a Huge Edge – You Don’t Trade the Markets Just Your Beliefs about the Market.” This came out of understanding systems thinking and then realizing how it applies to what I’ve been saying all along – you don’t trade the markets, you trade your beliefs about the market. When you really understand this concept and system thinking – it totally transforms systems development and thinking about systems. I’ll be presenting this material at the Super Trader Summit, the Crypto workshop for Super Traders and the Van’s Favorite Systems for Super Traders and then showing the new applications in the How to Develop Winning Trading Systems That Fit You that we are presenting Feb 25-27th in 2020. And based upon what happened last year, I plan to go someplace quiet (where there is nothing for me to do but work) for about three weeks and write this book. And I suspect it will be before the Systems workshop in February.
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Until next time,