On the cruise, of 841 guests, fewer than 5 percent were Americans. The vast majority were Europeans and Aussies, more than 50 percent of the ship from England. (I know, I know–you’re mocking me for how much I love weird statistics, I get it.)
My friend Shari and I were each told once that we lack “diplomacy” by a Brit–because we were so hyper and excited to be there. Okay okay, fine, it’s because we are loud Americans! We got off in 8 port cities to tour, and people paid about $100 USD for each tour. I was astonished, repeatedly, that the Europeans with us routinely STAYED ON THE TOUR BUS at really cool sites, like Fort Santiago in Manila, full of scary dungeons and a real-life moat, where the national hero Jose Rizal took his last, incarcerated steps before being shot by a firing squad.
Why would these folks–literally a majority of the bus–not even get off the bus at many of the sites? Wait for it. It’s certainly not because the tour guides were bad, because they were great! At Marble Mountain in Da Nang, Vietnam, everyone got out to buy marble statuettes in the store where incredible artisans make gorgeous things from the marble mined there. But they got back on the bus, or dropped out after the first flight of stairs, when we climbed 156 really steep steps of the mountain to an incredible Buddhist temple. The tour guide at the top asked if we wanted to do more climbing to see even more cool stuff, and the three of us jumped at the chance. An unbelievable view, and this temple in a deep cave where American bombs had opened a skylight as people huddled down there during the war.
Of a full busload, those who went on could be counted on two hands. (The ones I cheerleaded on, saying, “You can do it!!” were up there with us, and I felt bad when it came time to go back DOWN the stairs–British Maureen, in her 60’s, was such a trouper. My friend Shari and I let her lean on both our shoulders to get down, least we could do since I was the leader of the pep squad who conned her up the stairs!) So here’s the kicker. The vast majority of these people who paid a mint for an amazing vacation and the MISSED IT were unable to walk short distances because of . . . a lifetime of poor lifestyle choices. I would estimate that more than 85 percent of the folks on the ship (most of them retired) were overweight, many of them obese.
On display daily were plates full of bacon and eggs for breakfast, fish and chips for dinner, lots of coffee and booze, too much toffee pudding, lots of cigarette smoking—and raw vegetables and fruits too rarely. I feel bad for them. They missed some cool stuff! My tennis-pro friend Shari and my daughter Libby and I pumped up those stairs and would’ve wanted more except for the 90 percent humidity (Vietnam is the hottest place I’ve ever been in my life).
Taking 12 steps towards a whole-food, plant-based lifestyle isn’t necessarily so you can live forever. (Everybody will die sometime, yada yada, heard it a million times.) It’s so that whatever years you DO live are great ones, full of vitality, learning, and positive energy. In our case on this trip, finding cool buys in open-air markets, stomping through a rain forest, snorkeling in the South China Sea, boating through a mangrove looking for monkeys and crocs. There’s so much to life, and it doesn’t have to end because of obesity, heart disease, and the other maladies currently destroying life for so many close to us. If you’re in that boat, you can get out! Degenerative disease CAN be reversed. What I teach in my book and on this site is HOW.
This one hilarious lady named Jean in her 70s, was dancing, crawling around, jumping up and down, and staying up till 2 a.m.–she was thin, fit, and a total RIOT–everyone on the ship loved her. I want to go out like a light bulb, like Jean, not a dimmer switch like the folks on the tour bus! Go make a big quart of green smoothie for yourself, and put a quart in the fridge for tomorrow, while you’re feeling motivated!