2018 Theme Revealed

John Lett (About) (Sessions) (Planning a Europe Trip Consulting)20171118_132558

Click on images below to have an expanded view. I am currently in Italy and these images capture the holiday vibes and also the message I wish to convey for 2018.

Hello friends and the intrigued! 2018 is soon upon us and I wanted to get a general theme prediction out there again in a more timely fashion because I have a lot on at the end of this month. In addition to that, most of us have been on edge from so much bad news in the last year to 18 months. I have said it before to many of you who are reading this both before and after the year, but 2015 was our last “normal” year. For those who don’t know my site well, I have been posting these year predictions based on tarot for about five years (2017) and normally I get the general spirit or energy of the year correct but not always the results, often because I am reading bias or too much media into the results. Also, we are able to change the future once the main trajectory is laid out before us – we can avoid some of the more horrible aspects of things if we see something coming.

I asked the cards to give a general overview of our experience – and this is the warm-up or starter for the reading rather than the fully fledged version I do in January. This time I was compelled to draw two cards for reasons we will soon find out:

Dear God, Please use these cards, the Golden Tarot deck I possess, to identify a theme for 2018 that people can see and more easily know how to position themselves for survival, prosperity, happiness, and success in the year we recognize as 2018. We are thankful and want to do well with our allotted time. Thank you, Amen.

XI Strength; Nine of Wands = 2018 Theme: Courage Under Fire

This is a very interesting combination and indicates a rising up of people. I will term 2018 the year of Courage Under Fire. Be prepared for conflict and having to stand your ground. You are more likely to find your words and stand up for what is right rather than going with the flow and the critical mass or mass consciousness is turning in this direction. It could be setting the stage for massive conflict but it means a cathartic experience of finally being true and being able to live with it in spite of costs. I expect a few traumatic events that shock people into awakening, and maybe a few technological advances or reality changes that make people gain some additional intellectual prowess. This is a year of needing to put in some very hard work to get yourself adapted to the changes and people will see some hits to their comfort zones.

I do take this to mean a more militarized, organized time, but I do think that alliances will cross partisan lines and people will be focused on pragmatic things. There is war coming but it is going to firm the resolve for most of the readers of this forthcoming reading.

People are going to have more self-control and awareness and not be imposing limits and paranoia on their own capabilities.

I look forward to visiting more with you in 2018!

John Lett (About) (Sessions) (Planning a Europe Trip Consulting)

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Quietude in and Before the Storm

John Lett (About) (Sessions) (Planning a Europe Trip Consulting)

At the moment I am still in quiet mode during my period of (re)learning the ropes teaching in Italy, though I am now four weeks in. For some reason I am finding that my brain wants to teach everyone everything on the spot rather than step back and realize that it will take years for each student to get through what they need to do in order to gain fluency, and not all will do it. It has been such a beautiful experience being in the classroom again, and I am so moved each time I see something shift in someone’s brain and they are able to master a piece of grammar or vocabulary for the first time. I have a group of adult A1 students and several of them have in a short time gained an enormous amount of confidence, and it really can nearly bring one to tears when you see them experience this.

After what seems like perpetual sunshine here we have a few days of rain underway and I have been hibernating in my studio apartment to some degree today. I came to Italy in part to escape some of threats of climate change and political upheaval. It happens here as well but there is a particular energy of agitation that seems to hit the Anglosphere more than elsewhere and I have this juxtaposition of feeling fortunate to escape the matrix but a state of missing it also. There are several things I still see in the media cycle (I should just turn off my laptop and put it under the bed) that are drawing me in and keeping my vibration lowered, but I do feel safer here. I advise everyone to be relaxed and self-assured but on top of how they could be manipulated.

 

I am getting some indications that our bubble is nearing the end of its life cycle, so please  play it safe and don’t leave yourself too exposed to volatility. That said, there are some possibilities of good things to come from the US with the possibility of more straightforwardness and the truth coming out. Do your best to tell the truth as you see it as it comes and take the bad early on while preparing your safety net while foundations are in place.

Below in the slideshow you can see basically every vantage point I experience on the 12-15 minute walk home every night when I close the school (sometimes alone, usually with my talented and hard-working colleagues).

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Daytrips Around Veneto and Venice

John Lett (About) (Sessions) (Planning a Europe Trip Consulting)20171015_184135

(to skip to pictures only, see bottom)

I have returned to teaching for the first time in seven years and have my first week under my belt now. My position in northeastern Italy is one that is surrounded by great people on staff and also in the student body. While it is always a physical shock starting a new position and absorbing pieces of a language, culture, and organizational culture, and further this curriculum is much more active than what I’m used to (a lot of games and interactive tactics), I have been treated so well through advice of colleagues that I have absolutely nothing to complain about. The locals do insist that the haze here is just related to fog but I do believe the dominance of diesel in the car marketplace is affecting me.

During my time here, I will do my best to take advantage of this very centralized base to see lots of towns and scenery here. You are never far from the next town or village. It feels like they all link together in a relatively low density but one that feels like a very spread out suburb. One reason that I came here is to explore a long-term arrangement because I can sense that this area will not experience the same amount of turbulence that North America or Asia will in the next several years. It is really surreal living in places of 800 years of continuous settlement and you can see how this impacts people – it is a less dynamic and fast place but rather people take a long view and are in no rush to finalize something. This runs at times totally counter to what I expect from the American business landscape where you have to move very quickly before the mood changes or a competitor gets into the space first.

Here are some recent scenes I’ve enjoyed.

 

VENICE

I missed coming here in 2005 and assumed it would be long gone by now. It’s really congested and a bit too much for my taste but I am glad that I went. It is very near me and a round-trip ticket is €9.80 with hourly departures the majority of the day.

 

ASOLO

This was a quick day trip with a new coworker, his girlfriend, and friend. They were excellent company to hike up the hill over the small city. 

 

AGAIN CASTELFRANCO VENETO, home base now

Europe was high on my priorities to relocate to also because of the nighttime pedestrian culture. You can see that people prefer to stay in numbers here. There is something to be said for surrounding yourself with architectural beauty to benefit your psychological health.

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Clandestine Italy

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This is a limited release post to get everyone who knows about this work journey up-to-speed. I have not told everyone that I have moved for an eight-month contract teaching English in Castelfranco Veneto, Italy, near Venice, in combination with soon formalizing work establishing new sustainable, ethical brands and organizations ad spaces with digital publishers. I would like to quietly rebuild my teaching skills without a lot of social media activity. It was really crazy getting over here with a flight delay that forced a missed connection and left me and about 2,000 other travelers stuck in Lisbon – the frustration was so high the police were called. It took me 36 hours door to door. Needless to say, even telling a few others that I was okay was difficult.

I will be teaching all levels and age groups and in particular it will be interesting having a dozen or so adult students who will be forced into my hands for vocational retraining in a bad labor market.

This city seems like a friendly light industrial city. Per usual I am coming in here like in South Korea barely knowing the local language but I have been to other regions in Italy. I have been treated very well by the director-owners and new core colleagues from the UK and Australia.

You can see some local images of the church across the street, the fortified city/castle dating from the 1200s, and the efficiency apartment the school arranged.

Again, I may not report as extensively or tell everyone I’m here because it is all rather experimental. Please click away at the pictures and check out a new consultancy offering for traveling to Europe. I love helping people save money generally but in travel especially.

 

 

Strangely, all of northern Italy was this solid light pink and then purple while we were landing, the color of spirit a neighboring passenger pointed out.

 

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A Love Letter to Serbia – Tourists Need This Country in Their Lives!

John Lett (About) (Sessions) (Planning a Europe Trip Consulting)

Serbia deserves really great coverage as a country for its spiritual and hospitality depth but it does take a quick overview at times to pique interest and generate discussion. I was probably unusually fortunate how quickly a warm integration took place. I will quickly describe why I have such warm feelings toward the country but omit names so that participation is… participatory.

Belgrade in 2017 is on the rise as a wonderful spot for nightlife and I suspect it will be a digital nomad hotbed for many years to come.

A long-time social media acquaintance became a friend early in my trip in the UK and was selflessly on board with the intricacies and reportings of my 18-country trek, and when I was in the neighborhood of southeast Europe she became a strong advocate that I would visit Serbia where her son lives in Novi Sad. I really knew nothing about Serbia and it was not on my itinerary. A few months into the journey I was exhausted and really could not fathom taking another country’s psyche in. However, I went from east to west through Romania and decided to soldier through to Slovenia on the ground if I could manage it. Landing on Serbian soil (or clearing the border, more like) started with me hitting a lifetime abstract goal – to visit 40 countries.

As soon as my minibus had a stop in Vršac at a gas station and convenience store, and immediately a very nice girl-lady started speaking with me in English asking about what brought me to Serbia and a welcome and so forth (I don’t remember the exact words). She let me know she is an English teacher and was happy to help in any way. I explained that I really made no preparation for Serbia and did not want to buy anything in the convenience store yet because I forgot one major task I always do before entering – finding out what the exchange rate of the local currency is to dollars and euros! We chatted and exchanged information because she was sitting further back in the bus. I instantly felt safe and like synchronicity was in motion in Serbia.

Meanwhile in London my friend was coordinating her son to meet with me and the social media interaction had begun. I was not sure if I’d make it to Novi Sad yet. I was going to Belgrade and if I felt totally shattered I would fly west at a moment.

The shuttle bus dropped me off at the hostel I was staying at (in the Balkan region there are a few really great shuttle companies that for less than 30 euros will pick you up directly at your hostel or hotel and drop you off at the next door also – much better than dealing with trains sometimes) and when I got in they were full (I had not booked in advance) but I used their wifi to book another one nearby. When I arrived there, my phone exploded with messages from my new friend that she knew some people working at the hostel. I explained that the previous hostel was full but as it happens, she is friends with the owner of the second hostel I managed to book! I related this when I arrived and in doing so, three new young employees were in training and were eager to help and be accommodating. In Serbia, it was my experience that people will take hospitality to an extraordinary level, like their neighbors in Romania, and the very high level of English makes it easy to travel this country.

It goes without saying that Belgrade is very much a place for excellent nightlife and excellent food and drink can be had at affordable prices. Like its eastern Europe neighbors, the food seems a lot more pure and untampered with. I stayed for almost a week to recover from all the movement of the previous months and because I was fast making friends with so many people, as you will find that Serbians will embrace you into their world quickly. I also had three friends I met in earlier travels that were converging there at the same time as I was (they were a few days ahead) and they were people I had profound connections to on a spirit and friend level. When a place makes things like this happen, it is usually because social engineering and spirit forces are supporting it. Many people stay in Belgrade to regroup, for the exciting socializing, and some for medical tourism – and I see it becoming a business meeting hub. For me, it is a base of friends for life! I thank the young lady who took the courage to introduce me to her vast network, her other friend and my new friend who walked me through the city, and to all the staff of Hostel Goodnight Grooves.

I was able to connect with my friend’s son and coordinate a move on to Novi Sad, a very charming and still even more affordable place to the northwest of Belgrade. It was clear he was going to pull all the stops to show me everything, and I am eternally grateful. He has a very original business called Beeraj, and such a networked and more likable person is rare to find – he and his partner see to it that the beer garden is the epicenter of music and social life in Novi Sad.

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Beeraj is a great place to stop in the evening and should you be there in the summertime, it’s great to follow up with a walk to the River Danube, where there might be a movie screening like when I was there! I rested my bones every night at Hostel Nomad and had these wonderful new spirits in life immediately embrace me into their magical world of a simple life out of the chaos taking place in the western news cycle.

 

Ahead of arriving, I asked him where he knew of great people to stay with in a hostel. Even though he was prepared to host me or link me to a place to stay I nearly always prefer to stay in a hostel for the autonomy and networks that emerge – it is like a story unfolding every day. He told me the place to go is Hostel Nomad (booking). I came in just as they were preparing to leave for the night because by some fluke originally no one else was booked for that night. It was stunning that they dropped everything and got me totally secured and comfortable and gave me a total rundown when many people would be somewhat resentful of having their evening gatecrashed in this way. All facilities are totally new and even at full capacity it would be very comfortable with lots of space and convenience to get anything you’d want for food, drink, entertainment, and infrastructure. Novi Sad has very cheap hotdesking business incubator sites and in my opinion is a nascent place because of the high education level, general English aptitude, low operating costs, quality of food, and natural beauty with the Danube and castle nearby. My new friend, the son of an existing friend, lent me a bike to follow him on and I was able to see every corner of the city and the many vehicles for a happy, balanced life there. Guys traveling from other countries also love Serbia for the “hot girls” both in the body sense and mental integrity generally found there.

What truly blew me away finally was when I was preparing to leave the country by bus, I got into the waiting area and the co-owner of the hostel that I made friends with was soon there – at 10 p.m.! – waiting for me to make sure that I was not alone. It is not by any stretch a dangerous place to be but not only did I meet the best people Serbia has to offer but the country’s flag should sprout guardian angel wings because that is the kind of support this culture gives.

On one and only disturbing note, I did not realize that the NATO bombings of 1998-1999 were as extensive in Serbia as they were. Even the most versed American, Canadian, European, and Australian tourists do not know the full extent of the violence that takes place to hold their power in place and how wars are often not more than testing missions for new weapons. The Clintons, fairly or unfairly, are extremely unpopular in Serbia. Keep political views under your hat and do what we are all supposed to do when traveling – listen and consider what is being said.

The Museum of Yugoslavia in Belgrade with an area focusing on Tito as well as his grave was food for thought and makes one want to research that era more. There is a strong sentiment here that Yugoslavia was the good old days, and indeed all personal stories I learned of made it sound like a highly functional era of tolerance and of a strong middle class lifestyle.

Further, I would advise this is a country where you want to get a read for the humor of your company and surroundings more than some other places. People may not appreciate or understand sarcasm or joking around and if alcohol or an evening are involved, one should be aware that that something can easily be misinterpreted. Stay polite and not super boisterous – actually, this is good advice anywhere and has kept me out of trouble in my travels.

As one of the young ladies in training said to me the first day I was in Serbia, “I can see it in your eyes you love this place and you will be back!”

John Lett (About) (Sessions) (Planning a Europe Trip Consulting)

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Topeka, Kansas, USA Parks Do Not Suck

John Lett (About) (Sessions) (tarotworldtour YouTube)

I am in the midst of keeping my head in the books in preparation for some business maneuvers and occasionally, with gratitude, slip away to a park area or two in Topeka, Kansas. While this city has pretty high per capita crime and an overall downcast vibe going on (some reflected in numbers, some purely abstract and of a self-loathing nature), the park space is phenomenal and well-maintained while possessing true wildlife, such as hawks, deer, snakes, birds, and any fauna attracted to the man-made swamp and wetlands. It is so strange coming from Europe where there are pedestrians everywhere to have many hundreds of acres virtually unused.

I would further argue that this part of the world has some of the best rent yields you could ask for with two-bedroom 640-800 square foot (around 55-65 m square) houses a few blocks from this park as of 2017 selling for $45,000 to $60,000USD and attracting rents from $450-750+ per month.

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Veer off your programmed path by even a few blocks and you will find sacred and underutilized spaces to regroup.

John Lett (About) (Sessions) (tarotworldtour YouTube)

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Hauntings and Romanticism in Unexpected Corners of Romania

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To get a strong feel for the country, I selected images that should rouse some kind of feeling if you expand them.

I went to Romania expecting Transylvania to be the place with the strongest psychic forces jumping on any stray electric spark they could harness to this world but instead the region that really held the most strange energy was Moldavia in northeastern Romania. I did not allow for an appropriate amount of time for this region because Romania is slow and cumbersome to cross and I was not aware of the uniqueness of the region but in the future I would spend more time there. I am not entirely sure of if the other world activity is positive – there was sort of a heaviness to the prayers and energy of the Orthodox churches here and in my opinion people overdo their crossing themselves here and in the region nearest Romania in Ukraine.

As I heard and saw people praying intensely (final image in sequence), I felt something very severe and as though they were inviting evil rather than repelling it. I wished to intervene but you cannot do this as a visitor in a country especially.

Suceava, Romania was the main entry point and then I stopped in Piatra-Neamt, which was a rough town but the gateway to the Carpathians and quite authentic. Lots of wild dogs were there including two that jumped out of the brush and wanted me to take them. Apparently there are still not animal rescue and shelter operations in place.

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Over Brasov in Transylvania.

I was very struck by the generosity and efforts to help of people throughout the country, but particularly in the center and western areas. Unfortunately, I did not make it to the capital Bucharest yet, but did manage to make some wonderful friends from there and plan to return.

Piatra Neamț was where the dogs popped out of the brush. The railroad tracks were probably one my favorite scenes of a months-long trip.

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This was a mountain divide with some local summer and weekend cottages with massive gardens tucked in between. These properties would surely sustain Romania in a time of energy crisis and I often joke that the grandmothers of Eastern Europe will save humanity from extinction one day.

Mostly Transylvania and a bit of a Suceava monastery at the top. I was impressed by the monastery having solar panels. I also did do the requisite Vlad the Impaler tour stops but felt nothing there and a lot of it really diluted by exaggerated commercialization. 

I recommend Romania as a place to feel an energy that is quite different from other places – very mysterious and heavy. The people are potentially the most hospitable as a collective that I have ever encountered and you will make meaningful friendships there. I did not get to see it personally because the locations are rather remote, but a growing number of do-it-yourself western Europeans are settling in some areas that are felt to be bargains (many places in the vicinity of €30,000 can be found).

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