Feeling confused in life?  Stop believing the baseless claims of social media charlatans and start looking within – becoming lost in order to be found: in thru the outdoor.

My father and I did not see eye to eye since I can remember. We had a strained relationship throughout most of his life, especially toward the tail-end as he lay dying of cancer. As my father was a fan of the “cheap seats,” I grew up listening to Harry Chapin. As a close and trusted friend whom my father highly respected, who both knew and understood my father and I thoroughly over a long period of time, said of him: “Sadly, he was a man who never did his ‘work’ in life.” And as Cats in the Cradle so presciently warns us, we are going to end up just like our parents – unless we each do our “work” in life, breaking free from our familiar past, the ancestral chains of yesteryear, thus reshaping our present and future.

The aforementioned statement begets the question, what does it mean for you to do your “work” in life? It starts with owning your stuff, dealing with your childhood trauma(s), your shadow side – learning not to project your deeper inadequacies and desires upon the screen of others. It means being filled with inner contentedness, feeling cozy when you are with yourself, being comfortable in your own skin, removing your mask, no longer riding your story horse.  It is being aware of your purpose and meaning in life, and how you see yourself in relation to the world. It requires working through all the troubling and perplexing parts of your psyche, including the harm accrued, the result of past lives’ karmic balance.

There are no shortcuts or silver-bullet pills you can take to remedy this inherited dilemma. It is a part of being human, living out a delusion of grand virtual reality drama on a spinning hot rock through space, a spec in the cosmos; one of four billion possible identified (as of today) planets that can sustain life. Even the classic pessimist Schopenhauer could not find a philosophy to explain away this conundrum. As the altruistic maxim goes: Pay now or pay later, but you will pay someday. You cannot escape your fate, good and bad inclusive.  It is all designed to make you stronger – prepare you for your future; and, in fact, planned out by you preceding the transmogrification of your soul into an earth being. Struggle and adversity, joy and happiness, are all inextricably intertwined, innate parts to the dance of duality of life. 

Those who resist fate are dragged through this blink of a dreamlike existence we call life by the feet, screaming and kicking like a red-headed stepchild. Free-will is an illusion. All decisions we think of as freedom of the will are simply bifurcations of various possible branches of the tree of life.  Regardless if we do think our thoughts or not – for who could really say where they come from, for, as clouds, they just appear, and disappear – in the end, all roads lead to the same destination (even if takes lifetimes): you become what you were always meant to be: your Venus de Milo. No matter what you think you are attracting or manifesting in your life, it is all happenstance – pre-planned and programmed to play out as your life. In spirit form, before you were born, in some planetary boardroom, you orchestrated it all.

Life is simple – the path is clear, it is humans who make a mess of it. We are in an epoch of the western hemisphere of the brain: the age of reason. But the quest of the heart, the way of the silent peaceful warrior is under way. With only fourteen inches separating the heart and the brain, so few can bridge the gap. We make the foolish mistake in thinking our intellect can get us out of the inevitable collision course of self and ego. It cannot. It can only be reconciled through a profound journey deep within the recesses of suffering and despair, the darkest corners of our psyche, where we are forced to experience the opposite, our karmic balance, thus allowing for compassion, understanding and ultimately, healing.

On social media you will find no lack of fast food drive-through gurus who are all but willing to sell you their canned and packaged regurgitated certificate of the month from the soup du jour institute of modern day snake-oil.  Without really knowing anything significant or substantial about you, lacking all deep listening skills, having no idea of your past or present disposition, or the inherent qualities of your character, they quickly pitch you expeditious answers to all your problems in just three big breaths over a tropical cocktail at a local networking event. We only know what we know (or think we do), but these ass-clowns would try telling you the cut of beef, whilst they have their head up the cows ass – all the while living in an artificial perverted deluded Alice-in-LSD-Wonderland fantasy faux world. This self-promotion to “coach” is just their latest a la mode ‘quick money’ scheme. Stay tuned – more to come.  

It is a classic example of the blind leading the blind – sheep to slaughter. This newly discovered gaggle of ‘I’m bored and unsuccessful in life and in need of a trendy hot job’ – without anything of real substantial value to offer you – whom have done nothing in life as yet that has earned them the right to chaperone others, continue hawking their unfounded claims online. Unless you have walked the road yourself, it is hard to advise others on how to navigate a complex ever-changing process. It is no different than a neophyte studying medicine and then thinking he is ready to teach surgery. Most too do not possess a professional background in any field, let alone psychology. Coaches “in the know,” do not say – and they certainly do not say so on social media. The ones with full calendars are not out whoring their services.

They will have you believing that you can manifest anything in life, which is just untrue. They are filled with promises they cannot deliver on, leaving unsuspecting victims to find themselves back at square one in a matter of months, or even weeks if the music stops too soon, causing Pandora’s nasty music box of misery to pop open yet once again. In many cases, they do more harm than good, no matter how many fuzzy-bunny feelings you felt during the process. Other than their prodigious over-the-moon promises, how to align yourself in three easy steps and make $20K per month, how you can skip karma in mere minutes, ways to eliminate trauma(s) in hours, how to manifest anything you desire in life in only days, and even how to masturbate yourself to happiness, they are useless quasi-pseudo-healer-buffoons. The only one laughing to the bank is the one alighting your wallet of your hard earned cash.

As I always tell people I meet that make inquiry into life coaching in any form, there is no need to pay someone for the knowledge, it is free. However, paying a qualified professional with all the necessary fundamental qualifications to guide you through the process, reveal your best inner-self and potential,  can prove a prudent decision. All great innovators and leaders of industry understand the need for a coach to help them navigate such complicated processes, to assist in growth development. But paying the latest unemployed graduate of Trump University (with fees far north than their CV warrants), who flaunts being an international best-selling author, a result of intentionally pricing their book in electronic format at .99 cents on Amazon and running sales, is no different than flushing money down the toilet.

Hopefully you have escaped unscathed from the incessant onslaught of advances that this epic litter of heavenly indoctrinated Sloan Rangers, incredibly misguided berserk global titans of misinformation, self-appointed space-cadet captains of utmost misguidance, self-ordained celestial ministers of the halfwit circus, has deemed “hopium” of the masses. Though their cunning methods may be considered slick by the unsuspecting hoodwinked corner Susie Q, using reverse psychology in their posts to bait their prey into the booby trap – or only replying via private message, does not exactly scream professionalism or credibility to me. Ass-hat children’s eunuch ensemble aside, no matter how many times they try selling you a part of the Brooklyn Bridge, it might behoove you to first consider the conductor of the choir.

Until one otherwise discovers the “self” through intensely baffling and hellish self-enquiry, thus negating all other unanswered questions as wholly invalid, breaking through the veil of reality, the illusion of life, our lives are lived out through opposites, the result of viewing the world only in dualistic terms. At such point, no longer does good or bad, positive or negative matter, for they are one side of the same coin, the eternal infinite ying-yang balance of the universe continues its phantasmal dance on the stage of life. However, until wont time, if ever, such self-realization arrives, knowing only of the world and our shared lived experience through egoic means of consciousness, we exist between two extreme poles.

A person could not know happiness without first knowing sadness. We live in a world of comparisons: night and day, sun and moon, up and down, north and south, and so on, ad infinitum.  We cannot know of one feeling or emotion unless we have also experienced and understood its polar opposite. Otherwise we would have no point of comparison to describe how we feel or what an experience genuinely means to us. Without said comparison, there is no memory formed. So therefore, no matter what some card carrying coach-of-the-month club member sells you, there is no bypass valve to acquiring the desired results. One cannot know light until they have first walked through the darkness of the valley of death.

Without having first experienced the utter despair and wicked self-realizations buried deep within the annals of the soul, one ultimately cannot walk in light. It is just not possible, though many a modern rib-tickling social media ding-dong putz will try convincing you of other. If they themselves first have not walked through the halls of Dante’s Inferno, they are incapable of helping you guide the tangled and convoluted passage. The path can only be walked by you; the quest to slay your inner dragons has no substitutes. It all starts in the heart; get out of your mind. The mind is shackled to the heart and the heart is tethered to the soul – in which the soul leads you to your ethereal subconscious being, God.

To break free from the confining fetters of self-imposed spiritual exile, to understand that life is but a dream and not to be taken too seriously, to unsaddle the constructed sawhorse of false securities we all ride, to come to the understanding that we have no control over life, that patience and gratitude are paramount, that we only get to know ourselves through others, and by helping others we are helping ourselves, we must exhaustively look within. All the answers you seek are waiting cavernously within you to be discovered. You are the universe as known through the conscious-self. Descartes’ famous statement, cogito, ergo sum, Latin, I think, therefore I am, is only true inversely: I am, therefore I think.

For it is only by tirelessly searching the vast troubled chasm within, plumbing the ever inimitable unique depths of our darkness, that we eventually can find light. That light is our subconscious, God. It can only be gifted to you by the grace of divine intervention – only once you are on your knees begging for God’s mercy. Once we have done our “work,” walked the path of darkness in order to become a glowing blaze of love, understanding and compassion unto others, life becomes fun again – our inner smile returns, we feel an immense sense of meaning and purpose. We get to sit back and, like a river, go with the flow of life. Thinking of the past or future are of no practical use to you – an unfruitful cerebral mind rape – an exercise in futility. And regardless of when thinking on either, you cannot escape being in the present.   

There are no shortcuts, no Monopoly pass-go, or detours to the infliction of the ego – the conscious self. It is only through the inevitable path of darkness that the light of essence, God, deep within the soul, can be realized. It is an enduring painful process of self-discovery, a death of the self as we aptly imagine it, succumbing to the relenting bloody pulp of your knees, begging for the love (or relief) of God to free you from the ghastly and shocking throws of what seems like indeterminable ions of suffering, an epoch of sadness and desolation so low you didn’t know it existed, bringing out parts of you that are legend, scary and yet unspeakable, without sage mentors or wise elders with the obligatory requisite tools, education and structure needed to properly assess the best path moving forward, to achieve the desired outcome.

Until one has reached the level of an ascended master, the likes of Buddha, Jesus, Zoroaster, Krishna and Mohammed, attained self-enlightenment, actualization of the “self,” or Nirvana through Moksha, ceasing the endless cycles of Samsara, we sad souls are stuck hitchhiking a ride on this trivial, speeding through space, insignificant trifling, space-magma-jism-filled scorching hot miniscule pebble are left to our own means and faculties to make sense of the brain-twisting unknowable. Which, it should be duly noted, we as humans are utterly incapable of answering the monumental questions of life (such as existence) we all face as bemusing questions in our lives. Life is meant to be enjoyed; it is a simulation we project through our eyes on a screen as if it is our own reality – as witnessed through the “self,” who is the “I” behind the “I”, the one observing our ego – all along fully convinced it is actual existent matter.

We are born into pure angelic existence but lose sight of who we are as cosmic spiritual souls as we go through the [un]common experience of life. Our challenge is finding our way back to that omnipotent omnipresent light. The purpose of life is finding our purpose and then sharing it with others. This is only achieved a result of facing life’s challenges and obstacles head on, Doing The Dirty Dishes of life – one’s “work,” so as to incur growth, increasing our inner vibration of love and light. Love and happiness are processes to be lived, not inordinate things on a shelf one can purchase – so too is the quest inward. The esoteric path begins in your heart, taking you within the unfathomable reaches of your soul, into the cryptic abstruse abyss of your recondite essence, ending with you discovering you are the source of the universe. Best to ignore the Imbeciles Sans Frontieres – a blissful life patiently awaits your pre-scription.

Travel Blog: Click here.

Spiritual Blog: Click here.

BookUnbreakable Mind. (Print, Kindle, Audio)

Doing The Dirty Dishes Podcast: Watch or listen to episodes and subscribe: SpotifyApple PodcastBuzzsprout.  Also available on Google PodcastiHeartTuneinAmazon Alexa and Stitcher

Doing The Dirty Dishes YouTube channel – watch and subscribe.

Social Media linksTwitterInstagram and Linkedin.

Travel Blog links: Covid-19 stranded in NYC JFK and Maine – also travel stories on IrelandSpainSweden,  BelgiumIcelandColombia (Espanol version), AmsterdamGermanyNew HampshireTN and NYC.

Personal Website link where you can also find my bookphotos of my travels and updates on current projects.  

Thank you for your love and support.

My move to the Yucatan, Mexico: Getting lost in Playa del Carmen – A life thrown into turmoil; Finding my heart in Nicte-Ha.

To travel the world is to experience and write you own book of history. Otherwise you are just reading history written at the hands of the victors. But to truly understand oneself and the world also one must depart the pseudo harbor of safety and explore the intrepid open seas. It is only through others that we truly learn about ourselves; it is only through travel that we sincerely learn of the untold people and cultures of other countries. Opening my mind to the possibilities of travel allowed me to find my heart.

This chapter of my life started in Amsterdam, Holland and ended up spitting me out in Yucatan, Mexico. In the interim, it brought me on a head spinning whistle-stop trek from New York City to Maine to Miami to Nicaragua, back to Miami again, then finally off to Colombia. After being unable to find a suitable apartment for my needs in two different cities in Colombia, with funds dwindling, on the verge of giving up, along with some close friends and business partners, it was determined I would relocate to Mexico.

All the while, my journey was eclipsed by the Covid-19 international pandemic and crisis. At every turn there was a new challenge or hurdle to overcome – they were incessant, always lurking in the shadows. Seventeen of the last twenty-four months have been spent living out of hotels. Whilst almost becoming broke and homeless in a wheelchair twice, having my whole life packed into three suitcases only added insult to injury, pre-pending undue stress and anxiety to an already precarious globetrotting expedition.

Do not be mistaken, this has been a wander of the heart since the start. The impetus behind the mad adventure, the magic of the trail, quest of the soul, always surrounded finding the proper foreign filming location for my TV pilot – an adventure travel show with a twist of spirituality, aptly named: Wheels Up! Once leaving Europe to move home temporarily to Philadelphia, whilst giving my car and all my home items away to the inner-city homeless, before being denied re-entry to Europe twice, it has been a slog.

Once I finally had made it to Cartagena, I thought that was my final destination. After attempting to move there twice before in life, my third attempt I planned to live there two to five years. But after six months of innumerable obstacles, breaking my wallet and almost leaving me no bed to sleep in, our team gave up on the possibility of filming in Colombia.  It was at this juncture that I went online in order to find a new city to relocate to in the Yucatan, Mexico. Through an ad on Craigslist I met Julio Cesar Chavez.

Cesar, as he liked to be addressed, was a very congenial person upon first introduction. Without wasting anyone’s time, immediately I informed him on my wheelchair and the necessary living requirements. Within a day he replied via text with a video, a video that showed a few areas of concern, that ended with him proposing where to build ramps for me. After umpteen apartment failures in Colombia, Cesar was an angel in disguise. And after losing all my money a week before my move, I knew it was a match.

At this point, it became evident that I was meant to be in Playa del Carmen – there are no mistakes in life. Since my time living in the Middle East I have always had a connection to the energy of the earth. It is much more fine-tuned in my current stage of life. Once I arrived in “Playa” the energy where I was living was immediately felt. As the same ethereally ‘at home’ comfortable feeling while living in Israel, Holland, Indonesia, Ireland and Colombia, Mexico was no different, genuinely l felt restfully at home.

Cesar owns an eight room apartment rental complex in an off-the-beaten-path quaint neighborhood, Nicte-Ha.  It is a working class neighborhood most representative of how average Mexicans live day-to-day. There is one thing for certain when living in such a regional locale, without the chaotic mess of the ‘el Centro’ zone, you do not see many “gringos” AKA foreigners in the streets. It certainly makes for an authentic experience, one most representational of the bona fide ways in which actual Mexicans live.

In my first week while staying in the warm and cozy barrio of Nicte-Ha, I could feel her warm embrace. The people here are incredibly polite and always willing to lend a hand. A local neighborhood replete with rooster crows all hours of the day, where residents often sit in front of their homes or in the street late into the night, where it is not uncommon to hear music played loud – no matter the hour – it is a district whose streets are alive with constant action all day and evening. The energy is alive, palpable.

Nicte-Ha is a neighborhood where the old-school trade traditions of yesteryear still exist. No matter if you need your shoe, electronic or car repaired, it is as safe a bet as finding a corner street food stand. The delectable choices of local recipes sold by individuals on foot or bicycle trying to support their families are boundless: tacos (14 + different types); tamales; pizza; cakes and pies; ice cream; ice treats; fresh coconut water and pulp; fruits and fresh squeezed juices, and a multitude of other delicious treats. 

On any given day you might see a pandemonium of tropical parrots or Chachalacas flying overhead, leaving yourself asking yourself Que Paso. There is a gorgeous beach, Esmeralda, within a ten minute walk. And, if you are up for the trek, ‘el Centro’ is a forty-five minute walk. When back home you can expect to be flooded with different shouts from the street by local sellers vending their wares, whether procured and resold, fresh mixed, prepared on cart, baked at home or random impulsive tasty foodstuff.

These hawkers depend on local sales to survive. Many live in homes nearby where the majority do not have doors, windows or flushing toilets. They each have their own distinct method to get your attention. The pizza-by-the-slice purveyor on a bike uses a car battery connected to a boom-box to blare out disco music, with voiceover as the menu. Another man goes through the streets, every other residence, in a very raspy hoarse voice, screaming of sweet bread for purchase. Each day over ten vendors would pass.

The complex was filled with affable guests from all over the world. Over time, I befriended one of my neighbors, Valentin, a burly hirsute Viking looking computer programmer from Montreal. He would later become the investor in my TV show. In two shakes of a lamb’s tail all eight units were booked. Many a night was spent outside sitting on the patio under the bright stars celebrating the wonder of life through profound conversation with new friends. One of the greatest benefits of travel is the people you meet.

Of the daily group there are always a few characters. George and Michele from Czech Republic were a daily source of meaningful conversation – as they travel the world trying to rid the oceans of endless plastic. Rocky, his preferred moniker, a seventy-two year old, extremely outgoing and energetic, filled with Midwest love and compassion, always at the ready for a witty remark or a good time, was a pisser. He was right out of a movie; as were many whose paths I crossed during my time in celebrated Nicte-Ha.

While living in close quarters with others over a long period of time it is without fail that some close relationships will result. Valentin was the first foreigner I met when I moved to Mexico. Eventually a friendship ensued. We would spend nights having local street-stand tacos and beers while talking about everything under the sun. At one point, my show became the topic of interest and, by the time the night had come to a close, Valentin decided he wanted to become the sole investor to produce my TV pilot.

As with any major life decision, I interjected that he should first take the proper amount of time in order find resolve with his decision. It was also recommended that he read a copy of my book, Unbreakable Mind, in order to better fully comprehend the totality of my story. Two weeks later he came to me one afternoon and told me he was 100% committed to the project. Unfortunately, without being forthright, he still had doubts deep in the back of his head. And though he tried to hide them, they were obvious.

Although his words said otherwise, and his questions were flashing red-flags of neon, he insisted he was ready to move forward. Within two weeks, in an infantile tantrum, he decided to pull the plug. The show was off. Not a few days passed before he realized his rash mistake and wanted back in on the deal. We reluctantly agreed to accept him a second time, with the fear that he would later find some other quack reason to kill the deal. We also worried that he might decide to have another shit fit once filming began.

Well, as anticipated, and as you might expect, in due time, Valentin withdrew from the project a second time. But by this time he had already made commitments to people for their time and service. Others ended up being affected, collateral damage so to speak, as a result of another unprocessed impulsive decision. After relentlessly chasing a dream all over the globe for almost two years, attempting to bring to fruition through all means, it was time to walk away. The universe’s message could not be clearer.

A wise elder friend and mentor once told me, “Steven, never tie a bow around it.” In life we have our agenda, but life has its own, as well. And guess whose wins? Never yours! We have no control over our lives; the power of fate conquers all. Life has a way of beating you down until you are on your raw knees begging for mercy from above. As part of your karmic balance, each has their own lessons to overcome in this life. If you do not yield and realize these lessons, the universe returns them with multiplied force.  

Obviously I had not learnt the intended lesson: giving up control – living in the now – learning to be patient, waiting for the ‘grand illusion’ to reveal itself. In the interim, we are to continue learning about love and forgiveness, increasing our vibration. Earth is a spiritual school where only the bravest of souls decide to live as a human. What is our purpose here? Why are we here? Every day we each have the opportunity to grow from our experience on earth – every day our reaction and attitude are our choice.  

Losing the deal was a gift in disguise. Truth be told, I have no real interest in being on TV, nor all that accompanies that lifestyle. Part of the lesson on giving up control was accepting that for one [unknown] reason or another, the universe had other plans for me than a TV show – at least at this period. What was the reason? That is part of the mystery of life: recognizing the infinite synchronicity and inextricable interconnectedness of the universe at play in every moment of our daily lives. It forever surrounds us.  

But I am fine with waiting for the universe to reveal its plan. If we continue on and do not acknowledge the lesson, continuing to carry on without being aware of our true purpose, in which the universe is trying to make us aware, life can be a real drag, not worth living. Life is about facing the unknown, head-on. Travel by its very nature has a never-ending plethora of unknowns. And no different than living, travel causes you to have to face and overcome your fears, befalling tremendous growth for future use.

Travel closely parallels life, as it is an experiential process: one that must be kicked off or fully lived, respectively. No different than trying to figure out how to get to a difficult location in a wheelchair, the universe does not provide a net until action is taken. It is only when venturing out into the void of the great mystery, questing through the fathomless far reaches of the heart, voyaging into the unrevealed dimensions of uncharted territory – the collective unconscious – that you find your conscious not-self.

This journey has revealed its purpose: to accept life as it comes by living ‘in the now’ – and to maintain immense gratitude for the limitless love and support surrounding us always, without fail neither of duty nor of time. Life is a big mirror, a mere self-reflection; what we see in others we are ourselves. Travel, forcing you to shed your superficial titles and security blankets, the story horse of vulnerability that we all  ride, opens the way to the road less traveled – the road to your heart, to your inner-being, to God.

Everything happens for a reason. I am where I am supposed to be at this moment of my life – Mexico.

Travel Blog: Click here.

Spiritual Blog: Click here.

BookUnbreakable Mind. (Print, Kindle, Audio)

Doing The Dirty Dishes Podcast: Watch or listen to episodes and subscribe: SpotifyApple PodcastBuzzsprout.  Also available on Google PodcastiHeartTuneinAmazon Alexa and Stitcher

Doing The Dirty Dishes YouTube channel – watch and subscribe.

Social Media linksTwitterInstagram and Linkedin.

Travel Blog links: Covid-19 stranded in NYC JFK and Maine – also travel stories on IrelandSpainSweden,  BelgiumIcelandColombia (Espanol version), AmsterdamGermanyNew HampshireTN and NYC.

Personal Website link where you can also find my bookphotos of my travels and updates on current projects.  

Thank you for your love and support.

Living out a dream during the Covid-19 pandemic: Becoming poor and homeless in Colombia in a wheelchair.

In man’s search for meaning in life, a never-ending process of trials and tribulations, all without logical reason or rational explanation, whilst most live in the mind instead of in the heart, often it is a confusing mess, sometimes disastrous – where experience and growth trump all else, but one where happiness, a byproduct of the process, is the intended goal – with all of life’s lessons serving a greater purpose. The question of how to achieve this endmost goal through the phenomenal mystery of life begets humanity.

Society has replaced the hero’s journey, the person who faces his demons head-on, inevitably navigating through the labyrinth of darkness to find light, with stars in tabloid news, resulting in worship of the rich and famous. Modern society has never been as plentiful in wealth and choices as any time in history, yet we are more unhappy and unfulfilled as ever. Why? We have been taught that he with the biggest house, most impressive title and amount of toys wins. However, the answers lie within, not without.

Over twenty years ago, after leaving a successful career in corporate America, I decided to embark on an odyssey, the inner quest – replete with immense meaning and ambitious purpose – and so I looked into my heart and decided to follow where it directed me. It took me all over the world, from London to Tel Aviv to Hong Kong to Buenos Aires, all the while filling my soul with lessons that would in time mold me into who I was meant to be – the meaning of why I was on this magma filled rock hurling through space.

All that invaluable world experience gave me a unique perspective in which to give back to the world one day – but yet to no avail. At the age of thirty-seven I figured I had a few answers, the sum total of all those parts of my journey up till that point. It was not until a life changing event occurred, after waking up in a hospital trauma center with a priest by my side, that I knew I had no genuine answers, that a more imaginative approach had to be found – all so that I may heal and find light, love and happiness.

After a night out in Philadelphia celebrating the success of a new business venture, I awoke a full quadriplegic. Waking up paralyzed from your neck down is one way to gain new perspective in life, but not one I would recommend. Over the next ten years, with grueling physical therapy and countless insurmountable obstacles, by peering into my heart, making others the focus of my healing, writing a book and creating two blogs, mentoring and helping others in limitless ways, I found resolve, healing.

It was those years of never-ending hardship and healing that led me to my real purpose in life: to guide others on their journey, to help others in finding light through their darkness. Or, simply put: to assist others dismount their story horse, to look into their heart to discover their truth – which is exactly what eventually led to me to Colombia. It is a project that encompasses all the infinite lessons and experience of my life, fully preparing me for this new venture, specifically suited to someone with my detailed past.

Following a talk with an old college roommate, an idea being kicked around for two years, finally took form: a TV show to assist the masses. Steven Quigley Wheels Up was born. A spiritual travel show where I traverse the world conversing with others about their daily struggles, their desire to find new meaning and purpose in life, what led to their breakthrough, and the results – serving as a psychological mirror for the viewers at home. Soon after hearing my story a director and producer signed onto the project.

Life is a best learned through our peers – what we see in others we see in ourselves. It is only by hearing their stories and truth that we fully come to understand how to overcome our own battles. By learning that we all share the same life experiences, no matter the culture or country, we can relate to ourselves and one another in deeper ways. Through a travel show steeped in psychology we hope to utilize others’ examples in order to assist the viewers in their own personal journey for inner healing and happiness.

In May of 2020, expecting to move to Amsterdam to film the TV pilot, with the impetus of an international pandemic underway, thinking there was no reason to store my belongings, I decided to give them all away to the poor and homeless. Soon after in June, I left to NYC to see friends before flying to Europe. Little did I know what my future held and what my recent actions would mean to my life in due time. My profound journey into the heart to live out a dream project would be severely tested.

After being denied entry to board my plane at an empty Newark, NJ airport, resolute on making it to Europe, I moved into a hotel in Queens, NYC in order to await new entry rules into Europe. After three weeks at an expensive airport hotel, with funds dwindling while awaiting an update, I purchased a new ticket to Europe; once again I was unable to board the flight. That is when a good friend from Maine decided one morning to drive down to NYC to jettison me to Portland until the storm passed over.

Unable to find a suitable place to live, and after nine months living in a hotel in Maine – with nowhere in the world to move, as international travel was all but closed due to Covid-19 restrictions – eventually it appeared some countries would soon open. During this period I settled in to experience my first “Maine winter” while exploring moving to twelve different countries, but all were closed. The next part of my journey would bring me to Miami, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, back to Miami, and then finally to Colombia.

Tests completed, flight reserved, it was time to find a place to live in Cartagena. A good friend from Bogota, with local connections through family and friends, was determined to help me secure a new home in my adopted country. Prior to my arrival in Colombia, over six weeks many people helped me to find the right living match. With a stroke of luck, ten days before my departure, with thirty units already disqualified, she secured me a flat in the one of the hottest neighborhoods in Cartagena, Boca Grande.

Once landing in Cartagena and checking into a hotel for two weeks, while the lady we negotiated a deal with was away in Miami getting her vaccination, I relaxed and waited to sign the final contract. But soon that all changed as it became clear she was untrustworthy. From Bogota, of the newly minted nouveau riche class in Colombia, a result of recent expansive economic growth, she had zero commitment to a schedule or to her word. She paid almost no regard or respect to her renters, especially those in need.

Little did I realize how prescient a harbinger she would serve when attempting any successful real estate transactions in Colombia. Her behavior was egregious; her example did not set the bar too high. At this point, with no contract or apartment to rent on the horizon, I extended my stay at the hotel for another two weeks. With unexpected costs adding up (again), friends immediately went back to the drawing board, this time expanding their search to include other neighborhoods and possible living options.

One natural impediment to wheelchairs in South America kept repeating itself – small doorway widths. The main entrances are wide enough, as are many other doorways in homes, but bathroom doorways here are notoriously small, depriving access to the toilet and shower. Otherwise, when contractors are not cutting costs or because they are older buildings, limited consideration is paid to accessibility. Until recently many developing countries had no laws on the books requiring building codes for accessibility. 

Two days before my hotel reservation was to expire it looked like as if we had found the perfect location, building and apartment. It was in the neighborhood I wished to live, with restaurants, shops, cafes, supermarkets and a pharmacy all within close distance. It also had a steep ramp, albeit suicidal – requiring assistance, and two balconies, including one with a view of the ocean and the other with a nice vista of the bay. Once all measurements were verified, I scheduled an appointment to meet the realtor.

The next day the realtor came to the hotel to take receipt of my deposit. All was set, I would move there in 48 hours. A good friend from Venezuela volunteered to help me with the move. Friday arrived and early that morning we got into two taxis with luggage in tow and drove to the building. Two hours later all my belongings were on the ninth floor, awaiting the contract and final payment. As soon I got things settled I headed to the back balcony. That is when I realized the bathroom entrance looked a bit tight.

Immediately I tried entering the bathroom and was unable to enter. The manager soon arrived and attempted to increase the doorway width. Now just barely able to squeeze into the bathroom, I was unable to access the shower. The manager’s response was for me to use a plastic bucket to shower on the balcony. Unwilling in the face of evidence on text between the realtor and my friend, with agreed measurements, he refused to refund my money. He placed the key on the kitchen table and departed.

Wow – what a precarious situation: to either live in an apartment where I could barely access the toilet, and certainly not the shower, or face becoming a vagrant on the streets of Cartagena in a wheelchair.  To return to the hotel would have caused me to incur paying the highest daily rate. It was decided my friend and I would spend the night there and figure it out in the morning. Morning arrived and I was able to get a good daily price again at the hotel. Later I reported the transaction as fraud and was refunded.

Back at the hotel for a third extension the staff was beginning to think I may end up living there. Shortly after it was decided I would leave Colombia, returning to Europe. Holland recently opened their borders again to American travelers – and within two hours I had a reservation on KLM to Amsterdam. It was then that a good friend from another more relaxed city further up the Caribbean coast convinced me to give her country a second chance. Five days later I arrived at my new home: Barranquilla AKA Qiami.

Once there, after checking into another hotel, I immediately began looking for a new apartment. An exhaustive search resulted in no other possible options, until a friend at the hotel told me of a unit for rent in the private residences on the top floors of my building. That evening I met the owner, and after three hours of talking we came to a rental agreement. I was in heaven – a dream come true. Until the day before I was supposed to move in, a text arrived from the owner cancelling the deal at the 11th hour.

This meant I had to extend my stay in yet another hotel for an extended period of time, at full cost. It did not take long for the bill to add up to over two thousand USD, leaving me in a tough position continually paying such excessive living expenses. It was only a matter of ten days before I would be totally out of money. Until this point it was expected my monthly rent would only be a third of my hotel cost, but that was not my reality. My reality was I was about to be broke and on the streets in a second world country.

After careful consideration and conversing with close friends, it was decided I had to swallow my pride and ask others for assistance through public online donations. Otherwise, in the near future, I would have ended up living in the barrios in Colombia in a wheelchair. Since this had happened to me already twice in my life, first after my accident when I lost everything, and second when I could not enter Europe, I could not think of a less desirable place for such an event. A serious crisis was in the making.

A fundraiser was started and within a few weeks friends, through endless love and support, stepped up with legions of contributions. The support I received from the Hilton where I was staying was a Godsend. Christine, the manager, then Paola, the acting manager while Christine was on a leave of absence, along all with all the staff they supervise, were spectacular – both were essential in helping allow me to find a way to remain at my newfound home in Barranquilla. They allowed me to live on credit while I got it all figured out, whilst reducing my daily rate to a livable monthly fee – a true blessing from the heavens.

As life is one big mystical journey filled with otherwise impregnable hurdles, I am grateful for all the aforementioned – amalgamating me into who I am today. It is all a part of the magic of the spiritual trail. However difficult seeing a path forward, I had to remember it would all work out fine in the end. Iron sharpens iron. And although unknown at that time, as nothing worthy in life comes without sacrifice, I had to remind myself that it is all for a greater purpose to benefit myself and others in the near future.

When I set out on my quest to delve deep into the unplumbed frightening expanses of my heart, I had no idea where it would lead me. It has led me all over the world; and eventually to the vision of creating a TV show to help others find healing in life. There were inexhaustible barriers all along the way to derail me from my intention. Certainly I look forward to the day I can look back on all this with a smile. In the interim, I continue to follow the path of my heart, the hero’s journey, the fated work of life, my dream.

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