Mount Batur Bali Volcano

We awoke at 2:30AM and were on the road by 3:00AM. The hotel prepared coffee, tea, and a light breakfast of croissants, breads, and pastries for our 45 minutes to the base of the volcano. Driving the windy, narrow streets of Bali in daytime is a nerve racking experience, but at night, even though the traffic was light, the lack of street lights, road constructions, and a Hindu cremation ceremony, made it a surreal experience.

We arrived at the base of the volcano where we met our guide. He had water and flashlights for us as we headed off to trail head. It’s a popular spot and there were many others climbing the volcano but we rarely ran into anyone except at the occasional check points/resting spots.

I really did not know what I was getting into. My phone registered that I had only walked 2.8 miles but had climbed the equivalent of a 105-story building. And we were walking in the dark aided only by our flashlights and our guide leading the way. The last part was particularly challenging as the path, as we were now above the tree line, became rocky and steep. There were points where we were climbing up at a 45 degree angle.


We arrived at 5:45, about 45 minutes before sunrise, found some seats on the rocks, and waited for the sunrise.


It was magnificent. Unbelievable. To be above the clouds looking over the caldera while viewing other distant volcanoes as the sun finally peaked above the horizon.


Our guide had brought breakfast for us. Nothing fancy. Some fresh fruit, nuts and berries, and veggie breakfast burritos.

There were about 500+ people who made the climb and although I did polls nor statistics the majority of the people who had made the climb were in the 15 to 35 year age bracket. In my opinion I was one of the two or three oldest to make the ascent.


By 7:00AM we headed back down the mountain. Here’s a view from the base of the volcano.


The last time the volcano erupted was in 2000 but it was just a hiccup. But 54 years ago, in 1963, the volcano erupted with a force that wiped out many of the villages below.


…and there I travel looking, looking, breathlessly.

“For me there is only the traveling on paths that have heart, on any path that may have heart, and the only worthwhile challenge is to traverse its full length–and there I travel looking, looking breathlessly.”  -Carlos Castaneda

Just some final pictures of Soori, Bali before moving on to our next location Ubud, Bali.

Photos from the beach



A Bali Huntsman Spider found in my room at 4:15AM


The children attending a traditional ceremonial Bali basket weaving class


While some traditional music (pentatonic scale??) played in the background.


Didn’t ask what this was… any ideas?


Exit Slips

Today is our last day in Soori, Bali, before heading to Ubud, Bali. At the end of the stay at each locale, the three children will be asked a number of culminating questions based on their experiences. Some questions may require research, others may demand discussion, while other are more introspective. Of course I am expecting a different level of response from each of the three children depending upon their age, interests, and experience.

The questions we have chosen for this locale:

  1. Are the people of Bali poor? Are the people of Bali happy?
  2. Why are the beaches black?
  3. Choose: Chinese Tea Ceremony, Creating traditional Balinese prayer baskets, or the visit to Tanah Lot. Describe the activity with emphasis on how it related to you personally.

We are also planning to video tape exit interviews with the following questions:

  1. What was your favorite thing we did at Soori, Bali?


Would you do this again?

How would you make it even better?

  1. What was your least favorite?


Is there anything you would have done to change it?

  1. Do you enjoy the way the school is set up?

What are your favorite parts of the school?

What are your least favorite parts?

How would you improve the school?

  1. Have you learned anything about the people that you didn’t previously know?

Was there any one person that you will remember?

  1. Have you learned anything about the place that you previously didn’t know?

Would you ever consider living here when you are older?

  1. If you could have changed one thing about our stay what would it been?

If this a real possibility?

  1. Anything else???

Where do we go from here?

A few days before we travel to our next location each child will research the new area/region/city to determine three places/activities that they are interested in seeing/participating in. They will then present their findings to the adults using persuasive techniques in the hopes that we will choose one or more of their activities. The hope is that they will feel more empowered and more easily “buy” into what we are planning to do and where we are planning to go if they have a hand in the process.

Nicholas chose: Canyoning, visiting a monkey sanctuary, and taking a cooking class.

Alexander chose: Visiting a monkey sanctuary, bike riding though the city, and visiting a famous scenic park with a waterfall.

Annika chose: Visting a volcano, white water rafting, and visiting a bird sanctuary.

Once locations/activites has been chosen by the three adults, it is the child’s responsibility to become the “authority” on the activity. For example, we chose Alexander’s first choice of visiting a monkey sanctuary so Alexander is learning about macaque monkeys in preparation for our visit. He will become our tour guide. Similarly Nicholas will be schooling us on Canyoning and Annika will be teaching us about volcanoes.

How amazing is that!

Meet the Students

Annika: Age: just turned 7. Grade 1 or 2. Bright beyond her years. Fearless. Outgoing.

I’ve been working with her for less than 7 days and we’ve already tackled adding (3 places) with carrying over, subtracting (3 places) with borrowing, line symmetry, equivalent fractions, and more. Check out the story she wrote on the Chinese Tea Ceremony that she attended.


Alexander: Age 11. Grade 6. Scientist. Philosopher. Soccer star. Writer. Introspective.

Check out the story he wrote after we learned about solar eclipses.

The Solar Eclipse

It was a beautiful day. Not a cloud was in the sky. I was gently laying in a patch of moist grass looking up at the sky as the moon was creeping up towards the sun. I felt as if I were on another planet as I listened to the birds’ tunes and smelled the fresh long grass.

When I closed my eyes, I imagined I was floating in space, gazing in wonder at the solar eclipse. I pealed my eye lids back a saw the most spectacular light show in the sky. It was like a ring of fire snugly latching around a whole planet. Then the blue sky was swallowed up by darkness and the air grew cold.

At that point three quarters of the sun had disappeared behind the moon. I was speechless. I was simply in awe of the sight that I was seeing. After a minute or two,the eclipse was over. The sky was blue again and the icy wind became warm. “I will never forget that moment”, I thought.

For the rest of the afternoon my vision was blurry. “It’s just a side effect that everyone gets.”, I thought, then fell asleep. I woke up to the beaming sun and peered my eyes open. There was one problem. When I opened my eyes, I couldn’t see anything…EVER.

Nicholas: Age 13. Grade 8. Protective big brother. IT guy: built his own computer at age 12. Outgoing.

Check out the video that he produced (with a little creative help from his father):

About the video from the family’s blog: “Thus, the use of American Idiot here is a subliminal, a call not to arms, but a call for the use of brains, and hearts, and goodness. It in no way shades thoughtful citizens anywhere. Moreover, this song selection is in no way meant to point fingers at anyone or anything in a manner as to convey high minded elitism. THE SONGS MESSAGE IS SERIOUS, THE VIDEO IS NOT!  We hope you enjoy watching, as much as Nicholas enjoyed making it.”

The video is from the family’s blog. Please take a look!


Educators , Colleagues, Students

Hopefully the school I’ve taught at for the part fifteen years has sent out an announcement directing you to this blog.

Please let me know if there is anything thing I can do to assist you. Perhaps some curricula piece that you feel might enhance what you are teaching. A student interested in learning more about a particular location that I have traveled to or will be visiting in the near future. Etc. A science teacher wondering if toilets drain in the opposite direction in the Southern Hemisphere or if the constellations are really up-side-down below the equator. Etc. A social studies teaching doing a project on South-East Asia that would like me to interview some of the locals. Etc. An art teach that would like photos from an art museum, garden, sunset, landscape… Etc.The idea are endless. If I can make it happen I will give it my best.

Although our itinerary appears to be very fluid (we are often  reacting to what we find around us and then heading in that direction) I will try and give updates to our future destinations as soon as I find out.

Next destination: Ubud, Bali, Indonesia: Rice terraces and rice farming, white water rafting, monkey sanctuary, scuba diving, Art museums, Batik workshops, temples, volcano tour, bird sanctuary, cooking classes.

Educators and students: Reach me at:

Others: Reach me at: