Sunday, July 20, 2014

Photo-of-the-Week #168 – You Meet The Nicest People, Albion, New York, July 2014

Meet Steven and Lindsey from Portland, Oregon. This cute, young couple shared the Walmart parking lot with me in the small, upstate town of Albion, New York one evening. I'd guess they might be in their mid 20's, but they seemed to have the “living free” idea figured out already. Good for them. . . READ MORE 

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Photo-of-the-Week #167 - On The Brink, Niagara Falls, New York, July 2014

Here is one of the great "levelers" of the world. I took this photo right at the edge of where the American Falls of the Niagara Falls formation goes over the edge for more than a 150-foot drop to the lower Niagara River. The water flows from Lake Erie with an elevation of about 570' above sea level through the upper Niagara River over the three waterfalls that make up Niagara Falls - the American Falls, the Bridal Veil Falls and the Canadian (Horseshoe) Falls. The water from Lake Erie continues down the lower Niagara River into Lake Ontario with an elevation of about 245 feet above sea level. . . READ MORE

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

New York or Bust - Trek #2 Recap (to date)

An historic and iconic part of the development of New York

I admit I've been somewhat remiss in posting while I've been on this current trek. I left you at Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks, Connecticut when I dropped my son off to fly back to Los Angeles. So, following is a quick recap of this trip until tonight. . . READ MORE

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Photo-of-the-Week #166, Taughannock Falls, Cayuga Lake, New York, July 2014

I love serendipity and the last few days have just been one serendipity after another. I took this photo on the way north from Ithaca, New York to Seneca Falls, New York along the western shore of Cayuga Lake, one of the larger of the Finger Lake series. As I drove I saw a sign for an overlook for Taughannock Falls. Well, since I didn't have any deadline to be anywhere in particular at this time, I couldn't pass up the chance for a shot of another waterfall. I found two interesting waterfalls the day before on my trip south to Watkins Glen. . . READ MORE

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Thankful Independence Day

I composed this letter last night on July 4th and sent it to a long list of friends. I share my thoughts with you here on the blog since you are also a long list of friends. 

My Letter

Dear Friends, 

On this Independence Day evening, I've been reflecting on the meaning of this national holiday, so I thought I'd compose this short epistle to wish you, not a Happy Independence Day, but a Thankful Independence Day. Sure, we should be happy for our Independence, but even more, we should be thankful for it. 

Exactly 238 years ago a group of people gathered in Philadelphia, put their lives and fortunes on the line and agreed upon and signed a document informing the King of England that we, as a people, were declaring our independence from the tyranny and taxation imposed upon those who braved the challenges of coming to a new world and carving out a new life and society based on liberty, personal freedom and certain inalienable rights. 

Nearly six years ago I chose to change my lifestyle to live free, on my own terms, replacing a more traditional, mainstream lifestyle embraced by the vast majority of U.S. citizens. Living free simply means I chose to live simply, minimally and economically. I am thriving and living a comfortable, fulfilling, happy life while not needing and using most of my resources and those assets I have retained.

I am traveling this country in a "tiny house" of my own design and construction built into a 17-foot van providing approximately 50 sq. ft. to live in. You might say it's my own version of a modern Conestoga wagon. One of the best features is that I have no mortgage or payments for "My McVansion." It is my "magic carpet" that is taking me from sea to shining sea, gulf to great lakes, over mountains and across great plains. I travel the "Blue Highways," those roads that were once our national road infrastructure, but have been mostly abandoned and replaced by high-speed interstate highways where everyone always seems to be in a hurry to get somewhere. I drive the speed limit, take my time, and enjoy discovering nature's beauty that I've never taken the time to experience before. I travel through small towns, villages and hamlets and meet the hard working, patriotic people who live in these places and learn about them, their families, their lives and what's important to them. 

Yesterday I was in the town of Bedford Falls. Remember George Bailey from the movie, "It's a Wonderful Life?" Well, the real name of the town that Bedford Falls was modeled after is Seneca Falls, New York. In the past week I went to an American League AAA minor league baseball game, was a guest on a legacy radio station in Syracuse, New York, revisited my alma mater, Syracuse University and toured the two Newhouse School of Public communications buildings that have been added since I attended 46 years ago. I enjoyed all kinds of great food and visited with a fellow grad school classmate and his wife, John and Pat Hottenstein, who also was the minister who married my former wife, Cynthia and me. I even had the great pleasure and privilege of seeing their daughter, Kirsten, who I bounced on my knee 46 years ago. Then I met Kirsten's daughter and three month old granddaughter who I bounced on my knee. I took a wonderful photo of the four generations. How time has flown. 

This is just a small part of why I'm having a Thankful Independence Day as I sit in my tiny house on wheels in Ithaca, New York tonight. Earlier. I enjoyed the day driving down along the western side of Seneca Lake (one of the beautiful Finger Lakes). I drove around Watkins Glen, New York and went over to the Watkins Glen Speedway where I shot pictures and a little video of Grand Prix cars doing time trials at 150 to 200 miles per hour. Oh, and while I've been enjoying my version of the American Dream and living free, I accomplished some audio production projects for a long time friend and client. All this because of those men in 1776, all the men and women who paved the way since then and those brave men and women who sacrificed their lives and limbs to secure the independence and freedom of this great nation

I do have some concerns about the future of our country and what we're leaving behind for our grandchildren and great grandchildren. I'm including a link to an article that spells out where The American Dream may be in some trouble. 

I hope your day with family and friends was much more meaningful than just a day off from work, hot dogs, hamburgers and fireworks. I also hope you are living free and independently, as you define this for yourself, and are happy and fulfilled. God Bless You and God Bless America. 

Ed Helvey


But, just because we celebrate Independence Day on July 4th doesn't mean that we shouldn't celebrate a Thankful Independence Day every day of the year. For all our problems in this country, I still consider myself singularly lucky to have been born here rather than in most other parts of the world. Think about it. 

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Photo-of-the-Week #165 Start Your Day With A Smile, Walmart Supercenter, Liverpool, New York June 2014

I don't feature people in my photo-of-the-week very often, but meet Kathleen. Kathleen is one of the "Greeters" who welcomes you as you enter the store. If you haven't had anyone smile at you before you encounter Kathleen you won't escape her smile. And, I can assure you, Kathleen's smile is genuine, not one of those forced "beauty queen" smiles. Even if she's engaged in a conversation, as she was with me on several occasions, she still acknowledges each person entering the store at her door. Not only do you get a smile and an upbeat, enthusiastic greeting, but she remembers the names of many of the regular patrons, knows if they had a recent medical condition or procedure, asks about their family and is responsive to everyone from infants to those in their 80's and 90's. . . READ MORE

Monday, June 23, 2014

Ed's Living Free Simple Plan For A Meaningful and Purpose Driven Life

This morning I read a very interesting post by Trent Hamm in his very popular blog (over one million readers every month) The Simple Dollar. The title of the article is "Building a Meaningful Life from the Bottom Up." The title of the article is a link to the actual article if you'd like to read it yourself.

We live in a world that is so busy and so stressful that most people simply keep going, doing all kinds of things they consider necessary until . . . well, until they stop, because they are too stressed, have run out of time and are just too tired to do anymore. So, they call it a day and start the next day doing the same thing and end the same way, day in and day out, including the weekends. Is there any wonder that most people realize little joy, contentment and fulfillment in their lives? They simply do stuff they automatically accept as necessary and important without determining if it serves any meaningful purpose in their lives. . . READ MORE