Thoughts Travels

Home is where you make it

Wasps home making insects in Malaysia
Wasps home making insects in Malaysia

Home is where you make, it is often a saying I hear. Certainly these insects are making their home here on this plant leaf in Malaysia.

These little insects are building a wonderful structure, attached to the underside of the leaf by a simple single arm.
They have been working tirlessly throughout the heat of the day, whereas I have had to stay indoors in an air-conditioned room to stay comfortable.
The heat and humidity is something that after a time overcomes me, draining me of the ability to think, to function as I would in the temperate climate of the UK.
Perhaps the home we create should be where we are conditioned to physically, and not to live in such a place will put undue strain on our bodies and mind. I do not think these wasp like creatures could survive the freezing cold of a British winter.
Malaysian Wasps August 2013
Malaysian Wasps August 2013
Perhaps the home we create should be where we are culturally brought-up, with food stuffs we eat, pastimes we pursue, clothes we wear, beliefs we follow. Travelling to other countries other than the UK I see the British still holding onto their traditions, living a certain lifestyle, and for non British moving to seek a new life in the UK, that they too hold onto their traditions, cultures, lifestyles and beliefs.
So is home where you make it?
Is home where you were brought-up?
Is home where your roots are?
As I talk to ex-patriates, people who have moved to other countries, many will want to return to their roots, their home of up-bringing, even after many years of living abroad.
This brings many problems.
Often the ex-patriates have children whilst living in foreign lands, who are raised in the culture and traditions of that foreign land. Some with gain foreign spouses with their traditions and cultures.
Where do their hearts belong?
Where is home?
Culture NLP Thoughts Travels

A new creature for me

In Malaysia and other countries I often visit, I have experienced and seen things which is not the norm in my own country of the UK, that is not in the British culture, or is not contained in my belief system. I have had to learn to accept with an open mind new things presented to me as I travel.

Today I saw what I would have presumed was a grasshopper, but this creature had different markings that I have never seen before.
A new grasshopper for me
A new grasshopper for me
I have seen green grasshoppers, light yellow grasshoppers and more, but one with not such a dark brown with white markings.
But then, perhaps I do not know everything about grasshoppers.
I teach in NLP, we only know what we know, or want to know, and that is the world we live in, our belief system. Anything that does not fit into our existing or previous knowledge, learnings, what we have been taught, our understanding of our own small world would be strange, incorrect, and we will distort any new experience to fit into our existing understanding of our world.
Yet, obviously this creature was in existence prior to my seeing it. Just because I was not aware of it does not say it did not not exist.
We should all open our minds up for new possibilities, accept that a belief is just a belief based upon what we have been told by others, and we all have different beliefs.
Which or whose belief is correct?
We will never know until the lights go out.
So until I am told differently, this is a grasshopper.
Coaching NLP

Psychology of NLP in Coaching, Malaysia

Petronas Psychology of NLP in Coaching
Petronas Psychology of NLP in Coaching
Another great course finished here in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, called the Psychology of NLP in Coaching.
Arranged with my partner in Malaysia, Surrey McVey Resources, we had twenty participants from Petronas attending in the Royale Chulan Hotel.
A great time with lots of learning.
Coaching NLP Presentations Travels Türkçe

I Love My Job

My work continues around the world, delivering courses to providers who want my expertise and knowledge for their clients.

Today I find myself in SE Asia, having delivered a course for Petronas in conjunction with Surrey Mcvey Resources in Kuala Lumpur.
Petronas Course with NLPNOW
Petronas Course with NLPNOW
Tomorrow I fly to Turkey to give a Society of NLP Practitioner course and NLP Master Practitioner course with NLPGrup in Istanbul, for just over two weeks, to return back to SE Asia  to continue training immediately on my return.
It is so empowering to deliver and work in an industry I love, to impart and share my knowledge in a fun and easy to learn way, to shake the hands of participants as they leave with smiles on their faces, knowing in some small way, I may have enriched their world, as well as those they have contact with.
I just love my job.

Sleep Power-Nap

 I do not know what it is, the heat, the humidity, or the different time zone to the UK, Malaysia being eight hours in front, but often I need an afternoon nap, a small sleep in the afternoon.

This afternoon sleep, may last from ten minutes to one hour, but I find it such a deep sleep, the whole body plus my brain seems to shut down.

When working in Saudi Arabia, we had a time when the office hours were changed from working 9am – 6pm, to working 9am – 1pm, we would then go home to return to the office at 5pm and work until 9pm.

I would enjoy an afternoon sleep, away from the midday heat, but what a waste of a day, by the time we had returned home in the afternoon, had lunch and a nap, it was time to go back to the office, and in the evening, by the time we got home, prepared a meal, it was time to get to bed.

On my many trips to China giving training, it really confused me to see straight after lunch, office workers, participants, ordinary people, suddenly fall asleep at their desk, in their chair, but just for say half an hour.

Much research has been undertaken on afternoon naps, or what is known as “power-naps”.

In a California University, many years ago, researchers undertook tests on a group of cats.

The cats were taught a challenge, something special to do, and their brain waves were monitored. After a while the group of cats were split into two, and one of the groups was allowed to sleep or nap, whilst the other was allowed to learn the challenge.

A while later, the group of cats were woken, and the two groups were tested on how well they had learned the challenge. It was the group of cats that had slept who had mastered the challenge better. Sleep had increased learning.

Whilst the cats were taking the nap, researchers noticed unusual brain activity, and at a time when the sleep was at its’ deepest, when the cats entered REM or Rapid Eye Movement sleep. The researchers said that this was the first time they had seen the brain learning, the short-term memory passing information to long-term memory, a function they called the plasticity of the brain.

Further research has been carried out on REM sleep, in Harvard University (USA) and University of Surrey (UK). It was found that when nappers took 1 hour to 90 minutes sleep say around 2pm, and which involved slow wave sleep, that is light sleep, which also included REM sleep, that is deep sleep which is often identified with dreams, they performed better than those who did not sleep or had a “power-nap“.

It was also noted that the “power-nap” enhance performance of work and duties in the afternoon, but remarkably only if REM was achieved as well as light sleep. Also noted was that the “power-nap” was no substitute for a normal good nights sleep.

Research at the New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center suggests that a nap does not effect the normal nights sleep, in fact they found that the nap could be beneficial for improved cognitive performance, to perform arithmetic, decision-making and reaction time tests and mental for up a day after.

It is said that there have been famous and great “power-nappers” in our time including Margaret Thatcher, Bill Clinton, Lance Armstrong (the cyclist), yachtswoman Ellan MacArthur, Leonardo da Vinci and Thomas Edison, and that they could/can exist with a few hours sleep a night. But experts say that a full night’s sleep is still necessary for many bodily functions.

Will a “power-nap” influence the circadian rhythm or biological clock? No, only if you take more than 90 minutes for a nap.

sleeping man power nap sleeping man power nap

So sleep and nap well, I will.

See other sleep related articles on blog. CLICK

Rotary Club KOT

Rotary Club of Kingston upon Thames

It was back at the start of the 1980’s that I was invited to join the evening Rotary Club of Peterborough in the UK, at that time being the youngest member. It was an experience that would stay with me ever since, the friendship, the support, being able to in my small way, contribute to the community both locally and internationally.

My membership was short lived, as I had finished my task of computerising the toy manufacturer Peter Pan Playthings, and was offered the opportunity to work with Texas Instruments distributor in Saudi Arabia, as Software Manager, looking after customers who had purchased a TI computer, creating solutions to their individual needs. It was a job which would see me in Saudi Arabia for over five years.

Unfortunately, Rotary Club, and any such organisation was banned in The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, as was amateur radio (ham radio call sign G8YJQ) and other such hobbies or pastimes.

It was recently, that I became aware once again of Rotary, and in conversation with a member of the Kingston upon Thames Rotary Club, was invited to attend their meetings, and as time went on was invited to join once again.

Today was my induction into the Rotary Club at the Thursday lunch time meeting.

Although my work as a trainer, presenter, coach, takes me to many countries, being away from the UK, I am sure I can contribute to the club, to fellow Rotary members both in the Kingston Rotary Club and with members worldwide, including Malaysia.

A new chapter opens in my life, which I am looking forward to with eager anticipation.

Phillip Holt's Induction into Kingston Rotary Club wearing SHH

Wearing with pride the SHH and the Rotary Club Badges
after being inducted into the Rotary Club of Kingston upon Thames
by the Club President Peter Thompson

Oh, to Richard Bacon of the BBC‘s Radio Five Live late night show, and his Special Half Hour club (SHH), I can now wear with pride both badges.

Previous SHH Entries
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
All Entries

NLP Travels

The map was not the territory

I have written a number of articles on the NLP phrase The Map is not the Territory, (click here to read some of them), but yesterday it became a reality.

All my working life I have had to visit customers in strange towns and cities, in countries where I could not speak or the language so I could not read the road signs, where they drove on the wrong side of the road, and I always get there, even before the advent of mobile telephones, GPS and satellite navigation.
Today when I visit 1-2-1 clients in their home, for phobias or fears, addresses I have never been to before, I would find my way, reading a map, asking for directions, transcribing instructions into my own shorthand which I can read at a glance when driving, planning ahead.
Since the coming of satellite navigation aids, like Tom Tom, and I have installed one on my PDA/mobile phones (Another gadget – I love gadgets), I have used this means of navigation successfully, only once being sent to drive across a railway line which was for walkers only. My fault I had the wrong settings.
Here in Malaysia, I have not got a satellite navigation system, there are no A-Z road maps published that are up-to-date or even published at all, and the old friend we were to visit from days gone passed in Saudi Arabia, could not give verbal instructions as to get to her house in Ipoh, a town I had never visited before, she could only give her address.
Armed with this information, her home address, I searched the internet, surely there would be a means to find directions.
Sure enough, and the only one, was Google, which gave a highlighted map and written instructions.
The written instructions were a little confusing to me as the street names meant nothing to me. Jalan? Bulatan? Distances were given in kilometers and meters, meaning nothing to me, my brain works in miles and yards.
Our friend we were to visit had said that when we exited from the North-South Highway, we would within 50 meters come across a big shopping complex of Jusco and Tesco, she would meet us there, but she failed to say take the second exit from the North-South Highway, and as per the Google map instructions we took the first, so there was no shopping complex nor Jusco or Tesco.
No problem, we had the map and instructions, and I had asked that each new direction be given a long time before I reached the turning or junction so that I could plan ahead, reading out the distances, so I could gauge in my head and on the map where we were.
All was fine. Then one instruction said “Turn right at Jalan Pasir Puteh” after 1.4km. There was a set of traffic lights with a right filter, but I could see no road name, so I turned right. It must be a major road to have traffic lights. We were to proceed 3.4 km.
The road came to an abrupt end, it literally ended at the base of a wall surrounding a house after 2km. Obviously this was the wrong right turn.
So back I went to the traffic lights. 50m further on was another set of traffic lights, with a right filter, and as I approached, I could see the road name Jalan Pasir Puteh mentioned in the written instructions.
Go 3.4km the instructions said, and we could notice landmarks on the printed map as we drove past.  The map was correct, we were going in the right direction.

Ipoh Map

Actual location marked with the arrow.
Jalan Pengkalan Barat 8 
Looking at the map and instructions, it said “Turn right
at Jalan Pengkalan Barat 6“, and although I could not see a road name sign, there was a row of shops or buildings and the turning on the printed map, so I turned into the road.
The printed map clearly showed to take the fourth right after entering Jalan Pengkalan Barat 6, and there was a big marker, “B” which showed the destination.
The written instructions told something different. “Turn right at Jalan Pengkalan Barat 5” then “Turn left at Jalan Pengkalan Barat 8“.
The map and the written instructions did not equate, they gave different instructions.
I followed the map, as it had been correct so far. but the passengers in the car followed the written instructions.
Our maps we were using, the representations of the real world were different.
Not only were the written instructions and the pictorial representations we were using different, but they did not correspond to the real world, or to reality.
Yes, using the pictorial map we arrived at Pengkalan Barat 8, but it was not Jalan Pengkalan Barat 8 but Persarian Pengkalan Barat 8.
NOTE. Jalan means in Malay (language) “large road”, but taken to mean “Main Road”, whereas Persarian means a “playground”.
After much searching we eventually found the correct street, certainly not the one indicated by the pictorial map, and not the one in the written instructions. See map above and the black arrow, compared to theB“.
Maps and instructions are guides. We have to be there, we have to experience the real world to make absolute sense of the real world around us.
Even then, it will be our own representation, our own understanding of what we have seen, heard or experienced, not other peoples.
So, The Map was not the Territory.

16. At Bulatan Bahagia, take the 2nd exit onto Jalan Leong Boon Swee     1.4 km 
17. Turn right at Jalan Pasir Puteh                                                                        3.4 km 
18. Turn right at Jalan Pengkalan Barat 6                                                            0.3 km 
19. Turn right at Jalan Pengkalan Barat 5                                                            61 m 
20. Turn left at Jalan Pengkalan Barat 8 
              Destination will be on the left                                                                    14 m 

                   Jalan Pengkalan Barat 8, Taman Pasir Putih, 31650 Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia
NLP Travels

There will always be danger and monsters, Inoculate yourself.

There will always be danger and monsters (click to see monsters in my garden in Bukit Mertajam, Malaysia) in life, and there will always be things and people that go against our wishes and wants, that seem to want to harm us.

Grasshopper In Malaysia

Grasshopper hiding on a Hibiscus flower.
Just be aware that they could be there, and inoculate against them..
In the medical field, we have been able to eradicate many diseases, for example polio (Rotary Club End Polio Now), smallpox, and it continuous to be a fight to stop these diseases re-establishing themselves.

We can prevent people, animals and plants from getting diseases. In humans, the flu, measles, mumps and rubella to name just a few.

How can we prevent these diseases taking hold?

We inoculate against them.

We give the body a small dose of the disease in the form of an injection, and this small dose will grow and reproduce, and what it does is to allow the body to learn to fight it, to boost the immune system by creating and inducing anti bodies that will attack any future infections.

If you know that you may be traveling to some far off distant land, were there could be some potentially dangerous diseases, you go to the doctor or clinic and ask for an injection to inoculate against catching the disease.

If you are going out, to shop, to celebrate or just to walk, and the sky looks black, heavy with rain clouds, it is sensible to take an umbrella. You are looking forward, preparing for something that could happen. Inoculating.

As you go about your daily life, business, leisure, pleasure, be aware of the potential things that could go wrong, and prepare for them, just in case they do happen.

For me as I travel the world teaching and training (visit my web site for courses) with people from differing cultures and beliefs, I know I am going to say and do the wrong things, I inoculate the participants against my unintended mistakes by telling them I may do or say the wrong things.

In business have a contingency plan for happenings that do not follow the original structure or plan. Inoculate.

If entering a relationship, as a young lady I know was hoping to do, what happens if the other person has no interest, perhaps in this case it turned out that he was gay, something she could not see or recognize as she pursued him? Rather than letting her get hurt by his rejection in the future, I inoculated her by suggesting the possible rejection and why, but allowing her to carry out her quest. She was rejected, but they remain good friends.

Do not dwell or stop doing what you want to do, just because there could be dangerous monsters lurking to get you, just be aware they could be there, prepare, inoculate, but go for your dream.

Eating Out Travels

Culture. Eating Chinese Style

Some of the family from Malaysia is visiting the UK for the first time.

It was the first time they had experienced the pomp of the British culture, the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace, the Houses of Parliament, and many more sights and sounds. (see previous entry for pictures, click here).

It was the first time they had experienced real cold when outside walking, “0” degrees Centigrade, as one said, smoke came out of the mouth. The poor things were wrapped-up so much, they could hardly move. Malaysia is permanently hot in the “30”‘s, and is very very humid.

We went for a meal in London’s China Town. Why after traveling all this way were they taken for a Chinese meal, and not for a typical British meal?

typical Chinese family meal

A typical Chinese meal table layout with all the food in the centre.

That got me thinking. What is a typical British meal. Where could I take them for such a meal, and I struggled to find an answer. There are Chinese, Italian, French, Indian, Bangladesh, Japanese, Turkish Kebab, Greek, American style steak houses, hamburger restaurants. But what about British, English, Scottish, Welsh or Irish?

OK we have Fish n Chips, but where are the restaurants? They are far and few between. I could only think of a few, and some of these are perhaps not the standard I would take people to for a special meal.

Where are the roast beef and Yorkshire Pud restaurants?

As I have described in previous blogs, and talked about in my trainings, food in a typical Chinese restaurant is served in the center of the table, and diners will help themselves one mouthfull at a time from the serving tray.


Eating Chinese Style
Eating Chinese Style

A typical Chinese meal table layout with all the food in the centre.

In a few days I will be off to Malaysia, swopping places with the family visiting the UK. There I[will be eating only Malaysian food, as there are no British restaurants for me to visit. Oh Poo Poo. I better find one here in Kingston upon Thames for them to try and me to enjoy before I leave.

site index
NLP Travels


My travels take me to many places around the world, and these places and people have many customs and beliefs. These customs and beliefs will range from behaviours, dress, food, and politics to religion. The latter two I keep away from.

My problem is that as I visit and give more trainings in these far places (click to see countries I visit), I am introduced to even more culture, and as I forget what country or region I am in, I can make big mistakes.

Simple things like hand movements, simple words, touching, looking, how I eat food, drink, or blow my nose, can cause offense. And, I do not intentionally.

OK, there are times when I intentionally shock my participants with what I do. It is done for a purpose, but that is another matter.

Simple things like blowing my nose. In Turkey it should never be done whilst eating at the dining table. The trouble is I did not know this until recent times. How often have I eaten a spicy meal, hot chillies, that make my nose run, it is not that I have a cold, but my nose really runs, and how often have I blown my nose? I cannot have it dripping can I?

Sorry people who have taken me for a meal and I did wrong.

In China or Malaysia, South East Asia, they eat noodles, which can be called spaghetti in Italy and the rest of the world, as far as I am concerned they are one of the same. In China, they scoop the noodles into the mouth, and the excess is bitten off and is allowed to fall to back onto the plate. In Italy it should all be placed into the mouth whole, none should be dropped back onto the plate.

Sorry Donatella, when I ate like a Chinaman at your friend’s restaurant in upmarket Rome.

In some countries it is rude to show the souls of the feet, that is one reason when people sit on the floor they place their feet beneath them like in a yoga position. My knees do not bend that way or that much. I have tried, but it seems I am not built to do that.

Sorry, I suppose I should have some replacement knees.

The classic sign to indicate to stop is to place the flat of the hand towards the person you wish to stop. Most police forces use it to stop traffic. But then it can be a rude sign to some cultures. Another sign to say stop is to run an outstretched hand across the neck, to cut or finish. In Italy this is a bad sign used by the Mafia.

Sorry people in Italy.

I Muslim counties, cultures or beliefs, it is sometimes not done for a man to touch or shake a womans hand, one of the most natural ways of meeting someone, thus we have the NLP Handshake Interrupt exercise. (click to see).

In some cultures, it is not the done thing to show any form of affection or gratitude, for example the kissing of cheeks we see in Mainland Europe or the Middle East. It is certainly not done by the British, but I have gotten used to it.

Sorry those of you in the Chinese community, especially the family in Malaysia and Bing, my brother-in-law.

Perhaps the answer could be that we all wear a big sign around our necks, which states and says what is acceptable to us and what is not. It would then be easy for me not to cause offense to others by my words and action, and for others not to upset me, like jumping the queue. (click to read).

But then, people who have been on my courses can cope with culture differences, they may not like the differences, but now they can accept them and smile.

To the rest of you. Sorry in advance.

Can you let me know of differences in culture and beliefs you know of, by posting a comment below so I can be prepared?