Category Archives: Travels

Another trip starts today

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Today I start another trip to deliver trainings and workshops.

My first port of call will be Rimini in Italy to co-train with other Society of NLP trainers the Master NLP Practitioner course organised by NLP Italy.

To the disgust perhaps of some people, I have a couple of days off, and there is no point in returning back to the UK, so I may find myself in my swimming shorts, laying out on a sunbed on the beach, not looking at all the bikinis as they come back from a swim in the warm sea. No I will not be doing that, as I am sure my friend Alessio Roberti will find work for me to do.

I leave Rimini an the 20th, to go to Kuala Lumpa in Malaysia to deliver a workshop called Neuro-Linguistic Programming for Human Resource Professionals, and attend meetings, only to return to Italy to co-train in an NLP Practitioner course in Milan.

So I may be “off air” from my blog for a time, but I will be storing up experiences to write about soon.

I can fly

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In my previous article, I wrote about learning from reading, will you be able to undertake a task after reading.

I have many interests and hobbies in my life, and as Dale Winton once told me when he was a DJ on Radio Trent, “Phillip, you have unusual hobbies“.

One of my interests is aircraft, and flying. I wanted to join the British RAF as an air traffic controller, even going to the officer selection section which lasted for a grueling three days at the RAF Station Biggin Hill.

I love to research about aircraft, the old aircraft, Spitfires, Hurricanes the Savoia-Marchetti SM.79 Sparviero (SM.79), and always had the ambition to fly one to become a pilot.

Way back when I was much younger, I took a trial flying lesson, the cost was too much to continue, but what an experience. I loved it, but got totally confused and disorientated when the instructor asked me to turn the aircraft in a 360 degree turn. I was completely lost, as I had no barrings, nothing to tell me as I looked out of the cockpit window in which direction was I heading as I started the turn and thus not knowing when to stop the turn. There were no houses, trees, signposts, just open sky. I failed to take a compass heading before I started the maneuver.

Since then I have read many books on aircraft, on flying skills, I have learned about the process of flying, how an aircraft stays up in the air, I know the terms and language a pilot will use.

During a recent trip to Italy, my friend and colleague Gianni Golfera, said he would take me and teach me to fly. Gianni is a very experienced pilot, having his own stunt plane, and I understand an ex world stunt champion.

We set off one morning to a local airfield and booked a single engined aircraft, Gianni wanted to go to another airfield where his own stunt plane was parked so he could practice some maneuvers.

Phillip Holt getting ready to fly in Italy
Phillip Holt getting ready to fly in Italy

After the pre fight checks, Gianni started to tell me the does and dont’s of flying an aircraft as we began to taxi to the end of the runway.

My heart was in my mouth, and thumping ten to the dozen as we raced down the runway and shot into the sky.

Phillip Holt in the aircraft cockpit and the aircrafts' controls  Phillip Holt in the aircraft cockpit and the aircrafts' controls
Phillip Holt in the aircraft cockpit and the aircrafts’ controls.

My mind was going through all I had learned, from the books I had read, from the previous flying lesson so many years ago, when Gianni said “you have the controls“, and I found myself holding onto the joystick, stiff as a board, trying to keep the aircraft at the same altitude and flying in a straight line.

One minute I was at 3,000 feet, the next I was climbing, only to then find myself diving as I over compensated trying to get back to the correct height.

Before I could get used to this alien experience, Gianni took back control so that we could land at the new airfield, and he could take to the air in his stunt plane. There would be no way that you would find me in that plane.

Gianni Golfera and his stunt plane
Gianni Golfera and his stunt plane

I watched Gianni going through his paces, taking a video for him as he looped the loop, and I reflected on my experience.

My mind knew what to do when I was at the controls, but my body did not. My muscles did not react as I wanted them to do, they were uncooperative. So, I spent time running through in my mind the flight, relaxing my body, teaching my eyes how to read the instruments, how to read the horizon, the landmarks through the front and side windows, and noticed that as I was flying, there were body sensations I had missed, which told me if I was turning left or right, going up or down.

Even though I was standing on the ground waiting for Gianni to land, I was able to rehearse in my head and involve my whole body how to fly, by reliving the experience.

Once Gianni had finished his practice, we got into the rather slower and thankfully less maneuverable aircraft we had flown in with, and headed down the runway to head back to where we had start earlier. Then the aircraft began to shudder, and emit strange noises. Gianni aborted the flight, and parked the aircraft, saying there was something wrong and we would have to go back by road, leaving the aircraft for an engineer to look over.

So my second lesson was not to be.

A few days later, we were due to drive up to Milan for me to give a PhotoReading course, and Gianni picked me up early from the hotel, and took me for my second lesson.

This time my mind was prepared, I had rehearsed my body to relax, my mind was ready to accept feedback from all my senses, and I had Phillip’s Sausage in place.

Once in the air, and I took control of the aircraft, I forced myself to relax, to enjoy the experience, and began to move the controls, to get feedback as to what happened as I moved the joystick forwards or backwards, turned it to the left or right, and then combinations.

I could now recall what I had read, and experiment, and as I did, calibrating what my senses were telling me, to what the aircrafts’ instruments were showing, to what I was seeing outside.

I had control.

Now I had time to enjoy this new alien form of transport, and was able to take time to look at the landscape, the small lakes with water birds far below, I watched the coastline slip below me, making fine adjustments so to keep the aircraft on the course Gianni wanted, following his instructions with easy movements, to change direction, to head to the new airfield so he could practice in his stunt plane again.

On the return flight back, I again took control, and this time it was easier, with practice, I was getting better.

Learning has to be a whole body experience. My body had experienced flying before, maybe many years before, but I believe that once we have learned something, once we have experienced something, it is there for life, and all that is needed is for the right stimulus, the right trigger to be given and the old learning will surface.

In NLP it is said:- 

do something once, you can do it again

Immediately after finishing the PhotoReading course in Milan, I had to get to Istanbul, Turkey, and it was with joy that as we flew over the coastline of Italy, I looked down, to see the very same area I had taken control of that little aircraft, the very same lakes.

I felt good. Thank you Gianni.

I have so much more to learn.

Bahrain still expanding and growing

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It is amazing how things change so quickly, not only in the NLP sense with people, but countries too.

I used to travel to Shanghai, China to deliver courses practically every month, and was astonished as to the speed roads and bridges were built, how buildings sprang up, of grandiose designs. I would see a new building nearly every visit where once there was just waste ground the month before.

Bahrain, even at this time of the credit crunch is much the same.

New roads, lined with palm trees still wrapped in their protective covering. Shaded temporary structures tor the masses of Asian workers to keep out of the burning sun. Buildings growing from the reclaimed sea, there is construction everywhere.

New construction everywhere in Bahrain, and loads of new palm trees

The skyline will soon be like New York, with high rise offices, hotels and apartments. Some of these buildings are of strange designs and shapes, like the Bahrain World Trade Center, and they add to the modern character of this island. On the outskirts of the main area of Bahrain, vast housing estates are still being constructed, and the University is being expanded.

And yes there are the poorer areas, where I am told there is trouble brewing nearly every night, something I have not witnessed, but getting lost one night being driving home, I did feel somewhat intimidated as we drove through a village, with narrow streets and backstreet cafés packed with men just after prayer time.

I look forward to return in the future to see how much more the Kingdom of Bahrain has expanded, and I know there will be reminders in what I see everywhere of friends and times gone past, even in rare traffic less streets.

Even a road has reminders for me

BBC Focus Magazine and the Bahrain World Trade Center

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I enjoy learning new things, digging down (chunking down in NLP) to find new information about things I see, hear, feel, taste or smell, and I love reading the monthly magazine published by the BBC in the UK called FOCUS.

The FOCUS magazine gives articles on science, technology and the future, sometimes giving background information on programs the will or have been broadcast. I love it.

In the FOCUS issue 204, July 2009, there is the usual section called “MegaPixel“, perhaps six pages of high quality photographs, one photo per page, and with a small inset which explains the photo. They publish some amazing pictures, great enough to make you want to look deeply into the very depth of the image.

One photograph caught my eye straight away, it covered two pages. It was a building very close to where I have stayed whilst in Bahrain giving NLP, PhotoReadingMind Maps and memory courses.

The building is the Bahrain World trade Center, located on the King Faisal Highway, being a twin fifty-storey building, of a very unusual design.

Between the two oddly shaped towers are three connecting bridges, each housing a 95 ft (30m) wind turbine, which the article said captures the wind’s energy blown in from the Persian Gulf. The electricity produced 11-15 per cent of the twin towers’ energy consumption.

The Bahrain World Trade Center
showing only two of the three wind turbines between the twin towers.

How do they know? Because ever since I have been going to Bahrain, and that has been many times, starting before the building was opened, I have never seen the blades of the turbines turning. Asking my colleagues, they said that they have never seen them turning either.

Even in the most informative and trusted publications, I have learned not to take what I see, hear, feel, smell or taste as the truth, even as I am reviewing the work of Richard Bandler, the Co-founder of NLP, are his stories true? But, if the stories have the desired effect, to make us think, to make changes, perhaps it is OK.

Do not believe everything you read.

Even more on the Special Half Hour Club of BBC Radio 5 Live

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Further to my previous entries of wearing the badge of the Special Half Hour (SHH), for the Richard Bacon program on BBC Radio 5 Live, I wore it with pride in Bahrain at an NLP Master Practitioner course I was giving.

Of course, I left the participants eager to know what was the Special Half Hour, but as in other countries, they will have to tune in to the internet to listen.

Bridadier Abdulla Saif Al.Naimi and Amira A. Rehami with Phillip Holt

Brigadier Abdulla Saif Al.Naimi and Amira A. Rehami with Phillip Holt wearing the SHH badge. Two participants from the Society of NLP Master Practitioner course, Bahrain, June 2009

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Rotary Club of Kingston upon Thames
Even more on the Special Half Hour Club of BBC Radio 5 Live 
Special Half Hour, Radio 5 Live
More on the Special Half Hour badge of Radio Five Live

A pair of eyes woke me at 4:14 am

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It is now 7:41 am in the morning in Bahrain, 5:14 am in the UK, I just don’t want to know what time it is in other parts of the world, as I will start the NLP Master Practitioner course here at 9:00 am.

The flight from London yesterday was much the same as any other flight, but more on British Airways BA0125 later.

I will be staring in the home of Leila and Philip Edwards of the Make Over Experience, who are promoting my Society of NLP, PhotoReading and Mind Mapping courses and other courses in Bahrain.

My life style and travels mean that I have slept alone for many months, and I am used to having a bed, in which I sleep no more than ten consecutive nights, all to my self.

At 4:14 am in the morning, I became conscious and my eyes opened, and met with a wide pair of eyes staring back at me.

I did not panic, because they had love written into them, they had the look of friendship, longing, companionship in them.

I just said hello, and the owner of the eyes jumped onto the bed and snuggled up to me, and after a little cuddle and small talk, it was not long until we were both in a deep sleep.

Ah, heaven.

The Eyes

Ironing done, suitcase packed, Bahrain next

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It seems like a small break since being in Gaziantep, and a lot has happened, meetings, meals, work, lots of washing and ironing of shirts.

I am sure someone is wearing my shirts, and letting me wash and iron them. I can not be going through so many.

My suitcase is packed, ready for my next trip to Bahrain with The Make Over Experience.

It will be another early start to get to Heathrow, a six hour flight to arrive in Bahrain Saturday evening.

We will start the Society Of NLP’s Master Practitioner on Sunday morning, and I look forward to meeting many from the previous NLP Practitioner course. Perhaps I may meet some of other participants we have had on other courses.

Do I get a taxi, or leave even earlier to catch a bus and drag my suitcase all over Heathrow?

Oh well, bed calls, I will decide whilst cleaning my teeth.


Jasmine or Honeysuckle

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Whilst working in Gaziantep, Southern Turkey, I am very lucky to be allowed to stay in the home of Mehpare Kileci of GAP Danışmanlık, and from my lounge diner, I have wonderful views over the local countryside, with a business park, fields of plantations, mountains in the distance and valleys with sparse vegetation.

View from Phillip Holts rooms in Gaziantep, Turkey
View from Mahpare’s home in Gaziantep, Turkey

In the morning, I would stand in the garden waiting to go to the Mind Mapping and PhotoReading courses held at the Gaziantep Tennis Club, enjoying the early sun already reaching temperatures requiring me to remove my suit jacket, taking in the sights and sounds of a lone car straining to climb the little used road from the town in the valley below the house, and the smells, the fragrances, the perfumes of the plants and flowers.

In the evening, after completing another day of training, sometimes being greeted by the family dog Zeus, we would climb the steep stairs leading from the garage to the entrance to the house, again the smells of the garden met the nose.

Mehpare, pointed-out one plant that she and her husband Necdet loved, but did not know the English name.

Silly me did not have a good look at the plant or flower, but my mind took me back to memories of previous experiences, (NLP, Transderivational Search), and to a particular night in Antalya, again in Southern Turkey, a popular holiday resort, and where I gave an NLP Practitioner course.

I walked around the harbour one evening with my translator Asu, and there I was confronted my many Jasmine plants, with a wonderful and powerful perfume coming from the blooms.

Taking some of the bloom, I laid them on my pillow, and I still remember the perfume as I drifted off to sleep.

I could not though as I stood next to Mehpare the name of that plant.

I tried everything I could to remember the name of the plant, me a person that will train others to gain better memory skills, but nothing. The more I tried the more frustrated I became, and that is why I became consumed in searching for the name as I stood there, instead of taking a closer look at the blooms of Mehpare’s plant.

It was whilst dragging my suitcase back to my home in the UK, Norbiton Hall, on my return trip from Gaziantep, thinking what I could eat for my evening meal that the name of plant came to me.

As I teach, it is when the mind is relaxed, distracted, that it really gets to work. At a subconscious level, unknown at a conscious level i.e. we are not aware, it is still working on problems, searching for answers.


Jasmine flowers
Jasmine flowers

When I contacted Mehpare, she had already done her searching and took a photograph of her plants blooms and told me it was Honeysuckle.

Honysuckle flowers and plant in Gaziantep
Honeysuckle flowers and plant

In my mind I was still convinced that it was Jasmine, because it invoked a strong memory from my past, especially Antalya.

I think you are correct Mehpare, but my memory of Antalya is still stronger.

More on the Special Half Hour badge of Radio Five Live

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Two weeks ago I was in Milan, Italy, whilst giving a course in NLP, and as promised to Richard Bacon, the Radio 5 Live presenter of the Special Half Hour between 00:30am and 01:00am, I wore the SHH badge with pride. (click to read)

Yesterday I gave a course on Mind Maps organised by Gap Consultancy in Gaziantep, a town in Southern Turkey, and again wore the SHH badge with pride.

Like the ring I wear, (click to see), the badge draws attention, but as the Special Half Hour rules dictate, I cannot divulge what is the SHH, and I have to direct the people to listen to the radio program to find out themselves.

Don’t look me in the eye.

A bit of a problem really, as the radio signals do not reach outside the UK, but then anyone can listen via the internet. (click to listen).

That raises another problem, as here in Turkey we are two hours ahead, that means waking up at 02:30am, I think the participants would rather sleep as I do. I need my beauty sleep. Or perhaps they could listen to a podcast.

So, just to show that I am honouring my part of being part of the Special Half Hour, here is a photograph of the Mind Mapping course in Gaziantep at a loss to understand the SHH.

What is this SHH? (Special Half Hour) Participants in the Mind Map course Gaziantep, Turkey

I will have to see where else I can wear the badge.

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More on trains, the SWT Class 455 train

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Since I posted the article on the South West Train’s train pulling into Norbiton Station (click to view) in South West London, there has been over 3,000 views, so for those who want to see the normal class of train which SWT‘s use on Kingston route, here is another video.

This I believe is the Class 455, which are quite old, but have been refurbished and brought into the 21st century.

Oh whilst filming, there was a visitor on the platform, wait till the end.