Category Archives: Travels

So quiet, the London-Surrey Cycle Classic

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Today is the London-Surrey Cycle Classic bike race, a test and to prepare for the 2012 London Olympics.

The race, some 250km for the men and 140km for women, runs from The Mall (Buckingham Palace in Central London, out into leafy Surrey a place called Box Hill and back, passing through six London Boroughs, Westminster, Kensington and Chelsea, Hammersmith and Fulham, Wandsworth, Richmond and were I live Kingston. 

From Kingston the race will pass through many small towns and villages in the County of Surrey.
To facilitate the race, many roads have been closed, and will be for most of the day. The road I live on is a major route, carrying many hundreds of cars and buses per hour, but today there is nothing, save for one or two “official” cars.
Our roads in Kingston upon Thames will be closed between 6am and 1500pm, yet the race will pass we are told at 11:50am. Why is it required to close the road so long, especially if the race is anything like the Tour De France, all the racers pass in one big block, blink and you will miss them?
For anyone who has stayed with me, traffic noise can be a problem, but today, it is so quiet, I can even hear birds singing and pigeons cooing in the distance.
It is like living in the country-side, so I am not complaining, even if I like many people are locked into their home as they cannot leave their premises because the roads are closed and the only way to use their car is barred.

Up close to nature

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It is always fantastic to watch wildlife in their natural setting, and although there should never be full trust between the animals and humans, some trust and curiosity between the two I think should be welcomed.

I recently had the privilege to witness a family of foxes sharing food in the English countryside.
A family of foxes eating
It was after they had finished eating that I was able to experience looking into the eyes of the younger fox. There seemed to be a trust between us, I could be part of its world for just a moment, not to get too close, but just sharing a moment in time.
A young fox makes friends with Phillip Holt
As we relaxed in each others presence, a sense of calm flowed over me.
A young fox makes friends with Phillip Holt
But, it was all over so quickly, and the young fox left to join his family.
See a video of foxes, click.


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As I approached the brow of a hill, memories came flooding back from when I was a small boy sitting in the back of my parents old Riley car.

I knew what I was going to see, even though so many years had passed by, my imagination, the pictures in my head were so vivid, the road sweeping to the left of a green field rising at a slight incline, and a road off to the right that I would take, and there in the middle of the field would be what I had come to see, Stonehenge.
The power of the human mind, to have small triggers, or anchors in NLP terms, bring back such vivid memories, as if we were experiencing them in real terms, as if we were there in reality.
The smell or trigger of jasmine instantly takes me, as if I was actually there, to the harbour of Antalya in Turkey, breakfast on a tray, instantly takes me back to a hotel room overlooking the Golden Horn in Istanbul on a snowy morning, a cooling breeze on a hot day gives me the sensation of walking on the British seaside promenade of Skegness, a stone carving to the old Roman city of Leptis Magna in Libya.
As I drove over the brow of the road from London, there in the near distance they were, the stone circles of standing stones called Stonehenge, standing so majestic on a site that is over 5,000 years old, a site that has been used over these years for worship, for calculating seasons of the year, astronomical observatory, for burying the dead, a healing centre, for reasons we still do not know of.
Stonehenge a World Heritage site, memories food back to Phillip Holt
Stonehenge a World Heritage site
These megalithic monuments are said to predate those in the Mediterranean, Greek, Egyptian and Mycenaean cultures.
The stones some weighing about 5 tons, (5,080 KiloGrams), were transported nearly 250 miles (400 Kilometres) from Wales to Stonehenge, and how they did that without modern transport methods, and once on-site, raise them to their standing positions leads to even more speculation.
Two main types of stone have been used, the warmer to touch bluestone and the Sarsen stones, some being eighteen feet in length (5.5 meters) and weighing some twenty-five tons (25,500 KG’s).
As the real meaning of Stonehenge and similar stone circles around the UK are fathomed out, it is believed that they were used for astronomical and ritual purposes. By using the stars, the celestial bodies, times of the year could be calculated, the solstices, the equinoxes, lunar periods, and from these festivals, ceremonies and ritual gatherings could be observed.
Many mythes and legends have been born from these magic stone circles, for example the stones were carried from Africa by giants, as told by Merlin, that perhaps King Arthur is buried there, for around the site are many mounds, little hillocks, called barrows which were burial sites.
Stonehenge is part of British heritage, it is a World heritage site, and as such must be preserved for the future. But, I was disappointed that I was not allowed like I was as a small boy to walk between the stones, visitors are shepherded to walk around the circle at a distance, making a strange sight as I drove down toward the site. I understand the reasons, much damage and loss of stone has been done over the years, but somehow I missed the interaction, Stonehenge was in the distant, but it is very much deep in my memory bank.

Lunchtime for some

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One of the benefits of all the travel I do and the countries I visit is to be able when time permits different places of interest. Taking my camera with me, helps me share and tell a story of my experiences.

On my visit to Malaysia, I was able to visit the Botanical Gardens on the Island of Penang, which was hosting a flower festival, a chance to see more of the tropical plants in a compact area. Certainly not on the scale of the UK’s Hampton Court Flower Show, it did have many companies selling their plants, and lovely plants and flowers they were.
But lunch soon called, but with little choice of eating establishments in the Botanic Gardens, I had to make do with some fried rice, and coconut juice straight from the coconut fruit.
Then I noticed I was not the only one having lunch, the monkeys were having theirs too.
Visitors walking through the gardens eating a sandwich, drinking some water from a bottle, would marvel at the packs of monkeys so close, playing on the grass, sitting in the trees or on top of lamp posts, but they would be in for a surprise, the monkeys have learned that where there are humans there will be food for the taking, and take they do. The monkeys run up to the unsuspecting visitor, who may have the food in a plastic bag, and grab the bag and food and run off into trees, leaving the shocked visitor shouting after them and to go hungry.
The monkeys have learned how to take the tops off bottles to get at the contents, how to remove the tops of litter bins to recover unwanted food.
Wild monkeys searching for lunch in the Botanic Gardens, Penang, Malaysia  Wild monkeys searching for lunch in the Botanic Gardens, Penang, Malaysia
Wild monkeys searching for lunch in the Botanic Gardens, Penang, Malaysia
The monkeys may be small and cute, but to have one running after you to get at your food is quite and experience.

Course cancelled

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Here I am sitting in Malaysia, preparing for my next course, The Society of NLP Master Practitioner, to be held in Istanbul starting 14th May 2011, flights arranged, plans made.

Then I get an email, the organisers have cancelled the course.
I had been asked by other people to work with them, to give other course in other countries, I had been asked to meet with people, I had made arrangements to attend meetings, all based on the course happening in Istanbul. Now, all my arrangements are in disarray.
What can I do?
Nothing, but get on with my life, and try and stop the hacker/s that have violated my Skype accounts, using my credits to call Nigeria and the USA, and thank you Skype who do nothing about it. To stop the hacker/s getting into my other accounts. And Apple say that their computers do not get viruses and trojans?
Oh Poo Poo, I have to put a smile on my face, at least I woke-up this morning for the Muslim early morning call for prayers, (just after 5am) with the loudspeaker pointing to my bedroom from about a mile away, but it is so loud, it is as if the person is standing over my bed, and he is still going on at 6:20am preaching to those believers who are still asleep, at least I am awake and alive, even if I cannot understand the Malay language he is rabbiting on in.
At least I am alive, to go and try and change my flights, contact people to make other arrangements due to the cancelled course.
Anyone want an out of work trainer or presenter? 

How good is a trainer, presenter, coach?

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I was talking to a person, and they told me about a ship that had called into the harbour to deliver some cargo.

Once the cargo had been unloaded, the captain gave orders to set sail for the next port, but the engineer told the captain he could not start the engines.
When the captain asked how long it would take to make the repairs, the engineer said he was working on it.
Many hours later the engines still would not start, and the captain was desperate to leave the harbour as he was loosing money moored to to harbour wall, and he heard that there was a highly specialist engineer visiting the area, so the captain asked him to look at the ships’ engines.
The specialist took his little work bag down into the engine room, and listened to the engines as the tried to start, and he went into little bag and took out a little hammer.
With his little hammer, he tapped a pipe, tried the engines, and they started immediately.
The captain was so happy, and he asked the specialist for his invoice.
When the captain saw the invoice he was most angry, for it was for $10,001.
This was too much for tapping a pipe.
When the captain challenged the specialist as to why so much, the specialist replied.
For tapping the pipe I charged you $1, for knowing where to tap the pipe it is $10,000.
I was recently asked to visit a company who wanted me to give their management team some training. When told my fee the manager said it was too much, and asked for another person to do the course who had attended one of my courses, but was a trainer in their own right. 
The manager offered the second person half of what I had asked for, but the second person refused their offer as being too little.
A third person was asked, and was offered an even smaller fee, which they accepted.
We have a saying in English,
If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys.
So what is the price of a specialist, an expert, a good trainer, an experienced trainer, presenter or coach?
In his books, especially his book Outliers,  Malcolm Gladwell,  explains what makes people great, what made Bill Gates who and what he is, what made the Beatles such a great group? 
His answer is that they worked in their field of expertise, their specialism, that they studied for over 10,000 hours. This analysis was also substantiated by Michael Syed in his book Bounce, where he looks at what makes champions. They have to put in the hours of practice, the 10,000 hours.
I have been delivering training in my fields of excellence since the mid 1990’s, in many countries, cultures and languages, and also before that whilst working for computer manufacturers, so I have put in over my 10,000 hours, unlike many trainers who have just earned their training certificate.
So, I still have my little hammer if someone out there would like use it.

Relaxing in Antalya

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My travels are not only work, although I do tend to fly into a country and immediately start training, and on the last day catch the next flight available to my next destination, so not much time for sightseeing, so it is good to have reasonable accommodation to rest my head and body.

Here in Antalya I have stayed in many hotels over the years, including the 7 star Rixos Premium Hotel in Belek, and the hotel I am now in is pleasant and comfortable, the Grida City Hotel. OK, not a 7 star, but the staff are very pleasant to me, and I sleep well.
Although quite a walk from the sea front, and situated on a busy road, I can relax and work in their garden under a cloudless sky, to  prepare myself for more courses I am scheduled to give. PhotoReading Friday 8th – 10th April 2011.

View from the Grida City Hotel, Antalya

Antalya, Southern Turkey

The beach on an April evening in Antalya, Turkey

Another day, another country, another training

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Traveling to different parts of the world, giving training, talks, speeches and presentations, has become part of my life, and I love my work.

Last week I was in Shanghai, China, then back to London for two days, now I am in Antalya in Southern Turkey for more courses.
Researching and updating my knowledge bank all the time, it is good sometimes to return to some of my favourite courses, one being hypnosis for the medical professionals, and here in Antalya we are due to work with dentists and doctors, to teach them how they can use relaxation techniques for themselves and their patients. Doktorlara Hipnoz Kursu Click to visit., organised by BİZ Eğitim Danışmanlık ve İnsan Kaynaklar in Antalya.
Other courses are being arranged for the local community such as PhotoReading(contact BIZ 0242 229 75 51 or 0533 603 93 27), short courses for hotel management, and one day courses for school children on memory, reading and learning skills. We are also scheduled to give talks to universities in the area.
I love my work, meeting new people and old, returning to previous venues to meet previous participants, when without fail, they remember what we learnt together.
If you have training requirements from a worldwide respected trainer, contact Phillip Holt

BİZ Eğitim Danışmanlık

0242 229 75 51    0533 603 93 27

Altınkum Mahallesi, 419 Sok. No:13/1 Antalya

Rotary Club of Shanghai

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My trip to Shanghai, China, has not been the first, but one of many, the previous being perhaps five years ago, and what a change there has been.

The only place I recognised was the Shanghai Bund lining the Huangpu River, which has dozens of historical buildings that once housed consulates, banks and trading houses from the various countries, for example the UK, France, Russia to name just a few.

As a member of Rotary Club in my home town of Kingston upon Thames, it was a privilege to visit the Shanghai Rotary Club for the friendship and fellowship Rotary offers around the world.

It is a young active club, one of only two in China, with many visitors in attendance, and quite a young average age membership. On my visit three new members were being inducted into their club.

It is good that I got rid of my phobia of heights, as the meeting and meal was held on the 40th floor of the Hilton Hotel. But it did give fantastic views of the Shanghai city at night and the wonderful light displays of the buildings.

Presentation of Shanghai Rotary Club flag

There is always a first time

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My host and I were walking to a coffee shop, and she was explaining what each shop was as I was unable to understand the shop signs, and I was engrossed, as always, in the culture, sights and sounds. The bright red and gold signs above the shops, the smells of the food and spices.

My host, Aisha Solimon, said to me that this shop sells this and that shop sells that, mentioning a manicure shop, to which I said as a joke that I could get mine cut, as they were getting too long. Within minutes I was sitting down having my first manicure. Oh the pain.