North America

A Surprising Adventure in the Western U.S.

Garden of the Gods – Colorado Springs, Colorado

The life changing possibility of travel is by far my favorite thing about my favorite activity. The way travel flips things on their head or side, or more accurately I suppose, how it flips me, the traveler and changes my perspective… forever. My brain expands to proportions from which I’m sure it will never return. Travel, I firmly believe, prevents brain (and heart) shrinkage.

Until this most recent trip to the Western Frontier of the United States (New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, Wyoming & South Dakota), I was convinced that in order to create that atmosphere where mind and body are stimulated to a point of dramatic change, a potent dose of culture shock was in order, the kind I most often get from entering another sovereign territory’s borders.

I figured one had to dust off (or obtain) that little blue book (for Americans), the passport, and immerse one’s self into a totally foreign environment for maximum shock value. This gets the brain waves to flow in different directions than the day to day routine conditions which often dictate our lives.

While I still believe that international travel is by far the best, quickest and most rewarding way to get quick use of that other 90% of our brain that is just sitting there waiting to be tapped –  you know  that part that helps us realize we’re all connected –  I must now, ever so slightly, amend my thinking.

Taos, New Mexico

Yes, a trip within the U.S. has changed my thinking on the very subject of travel and change. Not the last bit of irony this trip would uncover.

I’ll be the first to say that I had mixed feelings about taking this particular trip within the borders of my own country, to areas some of which, I’d even briefly visited before (albeit for extremely short visits and all solely dedicated to “business”).

But almost immediately upon arrival to New Mexico, I felt a familiar and welcoming feeling creep upon me. Upon the drive to visit the Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary in a very rural, remote and beautiful part of New Mexico the realization hit me that this particular trip was going to trigger some of those very reactions in my brain, heart and soul that I regularly receive when abroad. There were amazing things to see right here in this country, beginning with rescued wild life. Wolves are amazing creatures it turns out and you put 70 or so together, howling in unison… it’s an amazing experience.

Producing is not my first love, but it is my greatest love. I love to produce and am able to produce largely because I’ve been able to do the other things associated with business (distribution, marketing, sales, etc.) to such a degree that I can, for the most part, call my own shots, and produce how I see fit. It is a rare advantage of being an independent producer in an increasingly non independent world.

Santa Fe, New Mexico

Since I call my own shots, I had chosen this area of the U.S. Western Frontier as our next big trip for a few basic reasons.

1) I felt Raw Travel needed to broaden it’s message to folks who may, for whatever reason, be unable to embark on international journeys.

2) This was an area of the U.S. I was least familiar and I was curious.

3) I was charmed by the landscapes, recent history (the 1800’s are still very much celebrated here) and not so recent history (fossils & dinosaur digs abound) and by the people who live there

4) The still potent Native American culture & influence which has intrigued me since a child.

5) Let’s face it traveling in the U.S., theoretically at least, is easier. Less prep is needed and no language barriers.

I ate a lot of Buffalo!

Little did I know that this experience would have so many similarities to our international experiences in developing countries (i.e. working, adequate wi-fi was virtually non existent in a surprising number of brand name hotels we stayed in, my cell signal was at zero bars more often than not in the mountainous terrain and while most people spoke English of course, there were legitimately a few who still spoke their native dialect on the Indian reservations).

In short, I was in heaven…we would get our mind blown after all. This trip could be a mind bending, life altering adventure like all the rest. A couple of quick examples… ableit in the more negative column.

Just minutes after our first test flight (and crash) of our drone in Colorado, a very large and very live field rat was discovered in the glove box of our rental car. This somewhat cuddly (but scary when driving down the interstate at 70 MPH) creature had somehow made it’s way into our vehicle unbeknownst to my companion, cameraman & co-producer on this trip, Renzo. Renzo reached in said glove box to grab the rental agreement and instead let out a scream that would have made an 11 year old girl very proud. In all fairness, I joined in perfect, shrill harmony.

Then in Lander, Wyoming we unwittingly rented an animal excrement filled hotel room and promptly checked out just after checking in.

Also in Lander, a small charming town with a relaxed vibe, I couldn’t help but notice the proliferation of guns holstered on so many hips. Evidently a shoot out at the local burger joint could happen at any time. Come to think of it, the food orders were extremely accurate.

Ironically, the last time I saw such a blatant display of “freedom” was in Guatemala City, Guatemala.

But these examples are somewhat anomalies.

The kind of mind & heart expanding experiences I’m really talking about were more tame but just as powerfully etched in my brain. The interactions with everyday Americans in the height of vacation season was a wonderful opportunity to get to know locals and travelers from all over the U.S. in a totally different light.

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Kissing my 1st Trout for Good Luck (Then Threw Him/Her Back to Fight Another Day)

Whether it was the family on vacation from Dallas taking their first hot air balloon ride (mine too) with Rainbow Ryders high above the town and terrain of Albuquerque, New Mexico…

or the Philadelphia businessman on vacation with his wife and young kids at the legendary (some say haunted but I say lovely) Occidental Hotel in Buffalo, Wyoming…

or the young adventure seekers in Utah and Colorado who came to pursue adventure sports like Base Jumping (jumping off a clip in a wing suit), paragliding, rock climbing, etc. and seemed hell bent on seeing if they could get a pansy, not-so-well-known travel host to throw up…

or the Wyoming rancher who, instead of throwing us off his land, pulled over in his big pick up to tell us where we could get an even more picturesque “picture” for our cameras.

No, I couldn’t help but happily notice that Americans ARE indeed a very friendly bunch.

Sure, you can easily find a cranky, grumpy person anywhere, usually quiet easily. But you have to look extra hard in places like Utah, New Mexico, Wyoming, Colorado,  South Dakota.. to find one single impatient, non hospitable jerk.

Paragliding High Above Salt Lake’s “Widow Maker” Mountain

With or without the cameras, people were cooperative, easy going and amazingly friendly and laid back.

In fact in Salt Lake City even the dreaded airport security personnel were super friendly.

Whatever is going on at the TSC in SLC I say bring on more of that to JFK please.

But I digress.

It wasn’t just the people that impressed. The landscapes of each of these incredible states simply stunned me on an almost minute by minute basis. I mean, I expected to get blown away (and even melt) in the high desert of Moab, Utah. The photos just don’t do the place justice. It’s surreal.

But I didn’t expect to try and look for ugliness in Colorado and be unable to find it. Every curve or corner turned into an “oh wow” moment it seemed.

Moab, Utah

BTW, Boulder…yep, I think I’m in love with you. It’s like the whole town is one big Whole Foods supermarket. In addition to eating healthy, organic, local, etc. Boulder folks can Kayak or Fly Fish right in the middle of town and they bike.. EVERYWHERE.

Someone (not me) kayaking smack in the middle of town – Boulder, Colorado

Colorado, unlike say Wyoming, has loads of people but they are ALL, it seems, outside all the time.

I discovered a side of Denver I never knew existed and despite the ruckus about legalizing marijuana, I saw very little evidence that this place is obsessed with this nearly as much as the national news media. I know it’s not as sexy, but if you ask me, Colorado’s mountain towns and mountain music are what people are high on. Marijuana, as I was to learn, is just a natural plant that’s been grown for centuries in North America and used legally for most of that time, for everything from clothing to medicine.

But the most mind blowing part of the entire journey was in South Dakota. No, not Mt. Rushmore (we didn’t even visit) but the Oglala Lakota Sioux Indian Reservation in Pine Ridge South Dakota  where we ended our journey and spent, ironically enough, the July 4th Independence Day Holiday by celebrating with the 1st Americans at a local pow wow.

Badlands, South Dakota

If you don’t know about Pine Ridge Indian Reservation I invite you to simply google it. As we followed the trail first blazed by journalist Diane Sawyer, we too found all the sad facts… poorest county in the United States…. rife with substance abuse…some of the most prevalent rates of teen (and even more tragically pre-teen) suicide rates in the U.S., etc. ,etc.  Online folks will go on and on about how this area is a third world country within the U.S. borders, and they wouldn’t be exaggerating that much. It is poor and there are problems that are fairly well documented.

But what you will also find and what is much less documented (and we therefore plan to showcase), are the many positive things happening on the reservation.

Organizations like Re-Member and Native American musicians like Sequoia Crosswhite  & Scatter Their Own are working hard to turn the messaging about this place around.  They are grabbing control of their shared destiny and helping others help themselves.

Other positive things like Thunder Valley sustainable housing, the Skate Board Park recently constructed and for me at least, most excitingly, the travel and tourism industry is beginning to grab hold and help offer valuable income opportunities for many.

the new skate board park in Pine Ridge, South Dakota

Key to this and most importantly (and not surprisingly) to me, Pine Ridge has some of the nicest, humblest, soulful people I’ve met on this earth. They are rightly proud of their heritage, culture and spirituality that I think we as a nation need much more of.

I firmly believe that the right kind of sustainable, respectful tourism can help the folks at Pine Ridge turn over a century of tragedy and heartache into something positive economically while allowing and encouraging them to continue their proud heritage.

We conversed at length with proud descendants of famous leaders such as Red Cloud, Dull Knife and Black Elk and I found the reservation to be as fascinating as any international destinations I’ve ever visited.

Pow Wow at the Wind River Reservation – Lander, Wyoming

I’ll admit, I have a thing, a good thing, for the indigenous peoples of the world and in particular Native American culture here in North & South America. They touch my heart and soul in a way that few other people do.

After visiting Pine Ridge I am now forever touched and moved by my experience there and with other Native American interactions in South Dakota (the Alliance of Tribal Tourism Advocates), Wyoming (the Shoshone Wind River Reservation Pow Wow), Utah (the Adopt a Native Elder organization), New Mexico (Indian Pueblo Cultural Center) and more.

I’m very excited by what I hope you are going to see on Raw Travel – Season 3 this fall. I firmly believe it will be the Western Frontier as never or rarely experienced on television before. But I’m most excited about our time with the Native American peoples, especially at Pine Ridge and the opportunity to do some good.

I hope with our special episode profiling this wonderful place, that we can make real progress in some small way helping these proud and friendly people grasp the opportunity before them and that we can, in some minor way, help young people create a more optimistic outlook for themselves.

Yes, it’s official. I love Americans all over again…all of them… including the very first ones.

That’s a surprising gift and it’s one worth remembering.







North America Public Relations



AIM Tell-A-Vision Group /


–  New Episodes to Showcase New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, Wyoming & the Dakotas-

 NEW YORK, NY: May 27th, 2015 – AIM Tell-A-Vision® Group (AIM TV) announced today that Raw Travel®, the nation’s most watched authentic travel series, is a “firm go” for Season 3 and is kicking its production off in June with the “Great North American Road Trip – Western Frontier”.

The indie produced, adventure travel series is currently in its 2nd season. It has experienced +46% year-to-year audience growth and surpassed viewership of much bigger budgeted, cable network prime time travel shows to become the nation’s most watched authentic travel show on commercial TV.

For Season 3, the adventure travel series promises its most diverse season yet with far flung destinations on the menu such as Western Africa, French Polynesia, Northern Europe, Southeast Asia, Canada, the Caribbean and Latin America. Raw Travel will first kick off its 3rd Season production in June with a unique look at the great U.S. western frontier as the crew embarks on a month long road trip through New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, Wyoming and the Dakotas.

In its trademark style, the show plans to showcase adventure travel to these destinations in a way never before seen on U.S. television. The show will dig deep into indigenous roots found in the western United States while seeking out underground sub cultures and socially conscious living and travel angles.

“Season 2 episodes in Eastern Europe & Southeast Asia were wild and wooly and helped push Raw Travel to become the most watched travel series on U.S. television, but our U.S. destinations of Nashville, New York City and New Orleans were even more popular,” states Host & Executive Producer Robert Rose. “We’ll begin in New Mexico and then, in a truly bold move, we’ll explore other U.S. destinations that don’t actually begin with the letter ‘N’ as we road trip for a month through some of the U.S.’s most storied locations and beautiful landscapes,” Rose continues.

The show also hopes to continue to discover and showcase emerging, independent musicians while highlighting unique volun-tourism opportunities featured in its weekly “Give Back” segment.

# # #


Raw Travel is an adventure travel & lifestyle series showcasing the rapidly growing wave of socially and environmentally aware independent travel. The series weaves together themes of eco-tourism, volun-tourism (giving back) with underground music and authentic culture in a way unique to television.

Raw Travel can currently be seen in over 116 U.S. cities representing over 85% of the United States and in a variety of international territories such as Asia, Belgium, Italy, Romania, Russia and Africa. Viewers may visit for a listing of U.S. affiliates and time slots. More information at and @rawtraveltv for twitter.


AIM TV is an independent content, production and distribution company founded by media executive and entrepreneur Robert G. Rose. AIM TV aspires to produce and distribute positive, compelling content that reflects its mission of presenting Media That Matters. Visit and for more information.

North America

Raw Travel Nashville

When I visited my hometown of Nashville and Pulaski, Tennessee to shoot for Raw Travel  I had two extra goals in mind.

1) Show the diversity of Nashville, both musically and culturally.

2) Dispel stereotypes about my hometown of Pulaski, Tennessee (just google it if you don’t know what I’m speaking of)

If you’ve seen the episode, then I suppose you can be the judge of whether we succeeded in our aims.

But if you’d like to see some of the musical diversity featured on the show, we’ll share with you a couple of musical artists who were kind enough to perform for us.

First up is Jonah Kraut, a singer/songwriter from Chicago. At first glance, Jonah fits the profile of the prototypical musician transplant so abundant in Nashville these days in that he moved here to be surrounded by music and the creative energy that finds its way to Nashville.

However, there is one notable exception. Jonah’s not looking to be the next George Straight or Kings of Leon or whatever. He’s a classically trained musician who was inspired by Nashville’s country, bluegrass and blues roots. Listening to Jonah’s music one could forget they are listening to a contemporary artist. The listener is taken back in time to the good old days of roots country and blues.. even mixing in some rockabilly from time to time.

I was inspired by Jonah’s music and his story and he’s truly a good guy. I loved hanging out with him and the irony of a Chicago transplant showing me around my own hometown was not lost on me. Though in my defense, I have been gone for quiet some time and while I lived in Nashville for many years, Pulaski is my true hometown and where I spend most of my time when back in Tennessee.

I hope you’ll give Jonah’s music a listen. You can find out more about Jonah at his website  and here is Jonah performing for our cameras his blues inspired song “Company Man”.

On the other end of the musical spectrum are the guys from the psychobilly band “Hellfire Revival”. Psychobilly is a niche form of music combining elements of punk and rockabilly and more likely to be celebrated in places like the West Coast of the U.S. or internationally in hotspots like Germany and other parts of Europe, but I’ve found small scenes almost everywhere I’ve visited and Nashville is no exception.

These guys all have day jobs and while they are from all over, they moved to Music City not to pursue any big musical dream but to simply enjoy what Nashville has to offer to young, creative types, a cool lifestyle within a somewhat affordable cost of living.

They performed for our cameras in the heart of East Nashville. East Nashville is hot right now and not unlike Brooklyn is to Manhattan, is the place where artists and creatives are making their home these days because of less expensive rent and the plethora of cool spots to hang out. If I were to move back to Nashville, I’m pretty sure East Nashville would be my spot.

Here are the guys from Hellfire Revival having a good time and doing their thing, which as you’ll see, is neither Country OR Western.

North America

Start Spreading The Word – Raw Travel NYC is Coming!

Anyone who has lived or even traveled to the Big Apple probably knows that slow walking, camera toting tourists mixed in with fast- walking-with-urgent-purpose New Yorkers is a toxic mix.

Then why, oh why do the tourists & locals alike end up mashing together at the very same, very crowded very touristy overpriced spots…. Times Square, Empire State Building and Statue of Liberty.

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PLEASE STOP IT NOW! I’m not screaming, I just live here but I didn’t always, and I want you to not do what I did when I visited. Don’t take a taxi everywhere or think that if you leave the “safety” of mid to lower Manhattan you’ll get mugged instantly or figure the subway is just too complicated.

Raw Travel is out to change what it means to be a tourist in NYC. We’re asking for locals, yes you…. be you transplant like me or native, to show our good friends, our visitors some Northern Hospitality by showing them a REAL New York City experience.


Where do YOU take your friends and relatives when they visit? How do you help your guests get beyond the money sucking, tourist traps this city is full of?   Is Chinatown worth visiting? Is there any authenticity there? Where in Brooklyn would be good to go? Or Queens? Or, gasp! Staten Island or da’ Bronx? Nothing is off limits guys and there is no idea too strange.

Look, we don’t want to be different just for the sake of being different but we do want to show NYC visitors a unique and different way to be a traveler, not a tourist. We want visitors to feel a little what it’s like to be a local for a few days and find out why so many people risk and sacrifice so much just to live here.


Food, Culture, Music, Authentic Neighborhoods, Giving Back… we want to include it.

Send us your ideas and maybe you and /or your idea will be featured on Raw Travel TV. But do it soon. We begin taping next month and plan to have a rough agenda mapped out in a couple of weeks. Oh and be sure and read the legal stuff below, before you send anything.

Alright.. I feel the cobwebs starting to clear… and spring time slowly but surely is heading this way. Let’s make this the most unique & kick butt travel episode ever produced about New York City. It’s your time to share some of that pent up knowledge of secret finds, cool spots, etc. So what are you gonna do? Keep it selfishly to yourself? or help us help these poor lost souls clogging up Times Square at this very moment.

Spread the word.. and don’t Fuggedaboutit now!


If you are considering submitting a story, show idea, or any written or recorded works, please read below:

Stories, ideas, suggestions, essays, audio, video, photographs or related materials and any other materials of any kind whatsoever submitted (hereinafter, the “Submissions”) will not be returned or kept confidential and become property of Artist and Idea Management, Ltd. (AKA – AIM TV Group).

All such Submissions may be used: in broadcast or other publication by AIM TV Group, Raw Travel, Punk Outlaw or any of its affiliated companies or entities, including, but not limited to AIM TV Group, Raw Travel (collectively or its related companies or entities, including without limitation, and distributed in all markets and media worldwide and in perpetuity. By submitting, you acknowledge and agree to the following terms and conditions and consent to your name and geographic location possibly being published in connection with the publication, distribution and/or broadcast of your Submission(s).

1. The Submissions may be shared with The Producers and/or developers of AIM TV Group / Raw Travel (or its related entities, including, without limitation) related programming.

2. Neither AIM TV Group, Raw Travel nor any of its affiliated companies or entities are obligated to use or pay you for any Submission.

3. It is possible that similar Submissions may be submitted to AIM TV Group & Raw Travel by multiple sources and that a Submission may be similar to ideas generated or developed independently by AIM TV Group employees.

4. All Submissions shall become the property of AIM TV Group and may be edited for length, clarity and/or functionality, will not be subject to any obligation of confidentiality, may be shared with and used by the staff of AIM TV Group and any of their affiliated companies or entities and shared with legal authorities if AIM TV Group believes it warranted. Neither AIM TV Group nor any third or other party with whom AIM TV Group shares the Submissions shall be liable for any use or disclosure of any information or Submission that you submit.

5. AIM TV Group shall exclusively own all known or later existing rights to the Submissions worldwide and shall be entitled to the unrestricted use of the Submissions for any purpose in all media now known or hereafter discovered without compensation to the provider of such Submissions.

6. AIM TV Group reserves the right to change due dates for Submissions, or other specifics, as it deems necessary in its sole and exclusive discretion.

7. By providing the Submissions, you represent and warrant that you are at least twenty-one (21) years old.

8. No Submission may contain any material that is abusive, vulgar, threatening, harassing, libelous, defamatory, obscene, invades a person’s privacy, violates any law, any intellectual property or other property or other rights, or is known to be false.


North America

Yes! You Can Find Culture in the Yucatan!

EPISODE 112 – Raw Yucatan airs this weekend 2/22 & 2/23

Cancún images of wild spring breakers or throbbing nightlife may come to mind, but a “Raw Travel” destination? You bet.

 We began by foregoing the glitzy, glamorous Hotel Zone in Cancún and staying instead at one of the locally owned hotels in downtown (El Centro) where locals live and work. I prefer this as not only do we get to interact with the people of Mexico (as opposed to simply other tourists and those that are hired to serve them and keep them happy), but it insures our travel $s are benefiting the place where it is needed most… the locals, not some big corporation in Spain or the U.S.

Good intentions aside, the Yucatan Peninsula actually hosts one of the most diverse wondrous natural habitats in the world offering much more than the typical Cancún party experience.

Folkloric Dancing in Valladolid
Folkloric Dancing in Valladolid

Our 1st day was pretty civilized and began with a day trip to the Mayan temple of Chichén Itzá, an impressive site of Mayan pyramids and ruins that is squarely on the tourist’s trail.

But before arriving we stopped in Valladolid, a lovely little Mexican town full of beautiful colonial architecture, historic churches and friendly, laid back people. It was Sunday and though oppressively hot, the town square was full of tourists and local Mexicans in from surrounding haciendas and smaller villages.

After taking in a folkloric dance show we luckily met Israel who is somewhat of a local celebrity and man about town. Israel graciously volunteered to show us around.

He promptly guided us to the neighboring village of Uayma where the impressive Santo Domingo Ex- Convent & Church overlooks the town square like a protective mother. Having traveled extensively through Latin America, I’ve seen my share of historic churches but trust me when I say seeing this one in person is special. The church was built by the Franciscans in 1646 out of stones from nearby Mayan ruins, including Chichén Itzá . It has the distinction of 5 eagles featured into the design to help “protect” it.

Santo Domingo Church
Santo Domingo Church

While there we visited one of the town’s tortilla families which work out of an incredibly hot room where raw corn is soaked, turned into dough and fired over a furnace to crank out tortilla after tortilla. Despite the mechanization, tortilla making still requires 4 or 5 people providing plenty of manual labor in incredibly hot conditions.

Mari, is the owner and she and her family live on the premises. She said they work 7 days a week, cranking out thousands of tortillas for the townspeople who, like many Mexicans, eat tortillas at pretty much every meal.

Mari working the tortilla machine
Mari working the tortilla machine

She seemed happy to be there toiling over the hot furnace but I could only handle staying in that furnace of a room for a couple minutes at a time.Mari took us back to her cooking hut around back where she demonstrated the art of hand tortilla making over an open fire. For some reason, these tortillas from the open fire were even better.  You could feel the love that Mari puts into her craft.

Afterwards, Mari graciously cooked us a meal of chicken soup and tortillas. The crew and I were extremely hungry (aren’t we always?) and ate voraciously of course. Mari tried to reject the $200 pesos (about $17 U.S.)  I pressed into her hand afterwards but I wouldn’t hear of us 3 semi-fat, healthy and in their eyes, wealthy Americans, eating for free from the meager earnings she has to make do with for her family week after week.

Moe (camera) with the kids of Uayma
Moses (camera) with the kids of Uayma

However, I want to make it clear, I don’t pity Mari and her family. In many ways I envy them. There were happy photos of her now full grown children all around and grand-kids were running all about under foot and you could see the love in the home. I had the feeling that nothing was more important to Mari than family. Perhaps when you have less, family means even more. Regardless, Mari makes a mean tortilla and an even tastier chicken soup. Thank you Mari!  

Next we rushed over to Chichen Itza. To gain entry you have to pass through overpriced restaurants, vendors and gift shops with throngs of tourists sporting fanny packs and digital cameras who roll through with the chartered tour buses by the hundreds. But that doesn’t change the fact that the ruins themselves are amazing and anyone who appreciates ancient cultures I think will find the trip worthwhile and utterly fascinating. We arrived a bit late just after closing and were granted a special “late arrival” tour of the ruins. I’m always more at peace and reflective in the presence of ancient cultures but the massive place was almost empty which gave the whole experience an even deeper, more spiritual feeling.

Chichen Itza
Chichen Itza

DAY 3-6

Next it was up early to head to the beautiful and remote El Eden Eco Reserve. You can only get to El Eden after 3 or so hours of a jeep ride through terrain so rough and difficult my stomach muscles were aching from the strain of trying to stay in my seat. I only stepped out of the jeep once during the entire journey to help clear some brush and limbs out of the road so the jeep could pass.

Home Base @ The El Eden Eco Reserve
Home Base @ The El Eden Eco Reserve

I wasn’t out of the safety and security of the jeep less than 30 seconds when I was in trouble. I snapped a small sapling and was then gravely warned by our expert guide, biologist and host Marcos, that I should wash my hands ASAP as the sap in the tree was poisonous and could leave a painful rash that could take YEARS to go away. Needless to say I was concerned as we were yet miles away from soap and water. Luckily, I had packed some Clorox Handiwipes (no, they are not a sponsor.. yet ha, ha) and they must have worked because thankfully, days later, I’m rash free.

When we finally arrived at base camp, it looked like a typical  camping site or perhaps a set from Jurassic Park with some really, really crude cabins and thatched huts scattered about the several acre property which is buried deep in the savannah and teems with wildlife like Jaguars, Crocodiles, and more.  

At The Lookout @ Sundown with Marcos
At The Lookout @ Sundown with Marcos

Solar powered electricity at the property was set to shut off at 7pm and there was no consistent cell phone signal.  At night, our sparse cabins were candlelit. Just before the lights went out, we shooed a Tarantula and a giant water bug (a variety that is so big it eats frogs for dinner!) out of my room with a broom. TIP: Don’t leave your bags open when in the middle of a Yucatan jungle or you may bring back a few unintended hitchhikers.   

We helped the team at the reserve outfit tree cameras to track and “photo capture” the elusive and dwindling endangered jaguar population in Mexico.  Marcos could not have been nicer and I think we had the biggest, best heartiest lunch of the entire trip.The view at sunset from the lookout overlooking the entire reserve was simply indescribable. If not for the humidity and throngs of mosquitoes, I’d swear I’d died already and made it to Paradise.  

Cameras set to "Photo Capture" & count Jaguars
Cameras set to “Photo Capture” & count Jaguars

However, the next day we were thrilled to get back to civilization and Playa del Carmen was like an oasis in the desert for us city slickers.

Playa del Carmen is lovely. It’s a very walkable town with plenty of luxury accommodations and spas for the pampered traveler (as well as a plethora of day trips to places like Cozumel or Isla Mujeres). Or if you prefer (and we do) a more “raw” & authentic experience, there are slightly more humble and affordable boutique hotels and hostels scattered about.

Playa del Carmen @ night
Playa del Carmen @ night

We made Playa our home base but we soon headed back to Cancún to visit the Anáhuac University  to cover their inspiring American football team, the Leones (Lions) and their equally inspiring coach Marco Martos. Marco is 100% Mexican but also a former NFL Europe and NFL USA receiver with an incredible story (he made the NFL directly from Mexico, not via college, something almost completely unheard of) and contagious energy.

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The Crew & Coach Martos @ Anáhuac University

In order to get to the full feeling of practice, we woke up at 5:30AM to get to the University by 6:30 AM to take part of the team meeting. We ended up hanging out with Coach Martos and the team until almost 1 PM that afternoon. Watching these kids practice for over 2 hours in the hot Mexican sun was exhausting. These kids are playing for scholarships, not a shot at the pros and their love for the game is as genuine and inspiring as I’ve ever witnessed. It’s not exaggeration to say that Coach Martos’ enthusiasm rubbed off on me and I felt inspired in my own life and my own challenges by witnessing the fine, dedicated young people he and the university are helping to build.  

Playing purely for the love of the game.
Playing purely for the love of the game.

 The next day we headed to the Kantun Chi Ecopark where the gang treated us to a full day of cave exploring and swimming in the cenotes (sinkholes) which are all over the Yucatan (think of the Yucatan as a big slice of Swiss Cheese) but are especially beautiful in Kantun Chi. 

I’m normally not much for dark, dank places full of bats but these caves were anything but and were absolutely incredible, with crystal clear water that you must swim in order to complete the 45 minute or so underground tour.  You’re not so much touring the caves as swimming them and it’s a little chilly but seriously not as uncomfortable as it might sound. In fact, it was one of the highlights of the trip. Thanks guys!

The underground Cenotes (Sinkholes) of Kantun Chi
The underground Cenotes (Sinkholes) of Kantun Chi

The Yucatan is pretty incredible and yes, it’s very possible to have a cultural experience beyond the obvious Cancun, Cozumel, Playa experience.  Tourists and locals are interdependent on each other creating an interesting dynamic that I still don’t quite have my head around just yet.

I’m still torn over the harsh conditions I witnessed that locals live with daily. While poverty is not unique to Mexico, in this area the dynamics of wealthy foreign tourists mixing with poor locals, I have to wonder if the locals truly consider their tourism industry a blessing that gives them a much needed living or a curse that reminds them of how little they have in comparison to their neighbors to the north. And if they like me, ponder the complicated question of “why?”.  I don’t know.

Next up… an “almost” unplanned adventure in Belize.



North America



Flyer_Mexico City 


  New Episodes Kick Off This Weekend by Going Underground in Mexico City –

 NEW YORK, NY: February 5th, 2014 – AIM Tell-A-Vision® Group (AIM TV) announced today that their current production Raw Travel® is set to premiere brand new episodes beginning this weekend (Feb. 8-9) with an underground, raw look at fascinating Mexico City.

 The adventure travel series delves deep into the culture of Mexico City uncovering the rarely before seen underground “rock-n-roll” flea market, El Chopo Market before heading out to take in a Lucha Libre wrestling match, sampling some chapulines (fried grasshoppers) and pulquerias (throwback fermented juice bars) then of course giving back by volunteering time to a group of special needs students; all while enduring an earthquake and a severe case of food poisoning along the way.

This weekend’s Mexico City episode kicks off a series of eight brand new, original episodes that were filmed over the summer of 2013. The Raw Travel crew began their journey in Mexico City and taped their land, water and air journey through Mexico and most of Central America before finally ending their eight week odyssey in Panama City, taping every step of the way.

“I’m proud of these new episodes. I think they represent an authentic look at how real people are traveling these days. In a sea of inauthentic “reality” content “Raw Travel” stands out as unique and audience reaction from our soft launch so far reflects that,” states Robert Rose, Host & Executive Producer of the series. “Travel expands the mind and the heart and this eight week trip forever changed us. My hope is that viewers will shake off the media stereotypes and be inspired to embark on their own adventure and get out and meet our neighbors, who are unspeakably hospitable & welcoming” Rose continues.

Future episodes will include never before seen looks into the burgeoning budget travel destination of Nicaragua, an alternative take on the Mexican Yucatan Peninsula, the magical, Mayan Guatemala, Tribal Honduras, the eco-adventure paradise of Costa Rica and an adventurous look at Panama.

The new episodes will also debut soundtracks from a variety of independent musical artists from around the world, many of whom were discovered while traveling. The page showcases the artists who contributed their music. 

The adventure travel series can be seen in over 73 cities representing over 70% of U.S. Homes including New York (WWOR-My9 Saturday @ 12 Midnight), Los Angeles (KCAL – 9, Saturday @ 6PM), Chicago (WFLD-Fox 32- Saturday @ 11PM & Sun @ 12 Mid), Boston (WCVB-ABC 5, Saturday @ 12 Noon), Atlanta (WUPA-CW 69, Saturday @ 5:30PM), San Francisco (KICU -36 Sat @ 5PM & KTVU-Fox 2, Sunday @ 12 Mid), Dallas (KXAS NBC 5, Sun @ 12 Noon) and many more. Viewers can visit for a complete listing of affiliates and time slots.

Raw Travel is an adventure travel & lifestyle series showcasing the rapidly growing wave of socially and environmentally aware, independent travel. The series weaves together themes of eco-tourism, volun-tourism (giving back) with underground music and authentic culture in a way unique to U.S. television.  More information at ,, twitter @rawtraveltv



AIM TV is an independent content, production and distribution company founded by media executive and entrepreneur Robert G. Rose. AIM TV aspires to produce and distribute positive, compelling content that reflects its mission of presenting Media That Matters. Visit and for more information.

North America

Finally It’s Here.. Episode 110 Mexico City

Here is a little preview and a web segment from our Mexico City Episode. You can read about our experiences while filming on location here.

North America

Moctezuma Kicks My Butt.. And We’re Not Talking Lucha Libre



Renzo & Moses in El Zocolo
Renzo & Moses in El Zocolo

Two days without any solid food. Only liquids and even they don’t go down without a fight. Was it the fried grasshoppers? The questionable tacos at the local food market? No, we’ve narrowed it down to some Italian food in a very touristy restaurant in the Zocolo. Figures. It’s not the authentic food that gets you, it’s the very bad idea to have Italian food in Mexico. The culprit was the sauce.

But the cause is irrelevant. The result is a full day in bed. No shooting for me. Except for that one shot of me giving a standup (more like a “laydown”) from my sick bed. My crew is relentless and insistent that we keep things real. I acquiesced, reminded myself that I had long ago given up vanity when it comes to this project and somehow croaked out a few words about feeling bad and I can’t even remember what else honestly.

Yesterday was a blur. I rallied for the evening because we had a big, Lucha Libre match to attend where we were set to see one of the most popular and historic sports in Mexico. The taxi ride there took forever because of traffic (I know, I said traffic was  not as bad as I expected but when you are in danger of throwing up every other stoplight, any traffic is bad).

Lucha Libre moves are intense.
Lucha Libre moves are intense.

After what seemed like hours to garner permission to shoot, we were finally admitted entrance where the match itself was a spectacle. Lucha Libre has gone international and has a big following in the U.S. (very understandable given the immigration there) and in places like Japan (where there is virtually no immigration to speak of). In fact one of the wrestlers was from Japan and our guide and luchadore himself, El Kiss, told us of an  instance of 2 Japanese sisters who actually moved to Mexico City to follow their favorite sport. Now that is dedication.

The acrobatics of the wrestlers were phenomenal. Despite the testosterone atmosphere there are many female fans and there have been female luchadoras for decades, including one legendary luchadora who is still wrestling in her 80s! Now that too is dedication.


I momentarily forgot my extreme discomfort and got into the match. It was so tremendously fun and addictive that I’ll probably go again, sans camera (and hopefully sans food poisoning).

Today, I was allowed to sleep in and I tried a little breakfast, mainly fruit and yogurt. No good. It’s bizarre not being hungry for so long.  As diets go, the Moctezuma’s Revenge Diet is painful but damned effective. I’m pretty sure I’m down 5-7 lbs.

Today we hooked up with a local, Sitlali (an Aztec name), who took us to one of the most famous Pulquerias in town. Pulque are like  bars but instead of beer, wine or liquor, they serve naturally fermented juices. It’s a tradition that is gaining new popularity with the young, hip crowds of Mexico City.

We walked in at 2PM and it was jam packed like a bar in NYC at midnight. Surreal. After garnering permission to shoot (this time, very easy, big hats off to the waitress with the half shaved head and leopard spot tattoos) we sampled a few of the drinks. In the hot, crowded, noisy bar with sever stomach issues, drinking strange, fermented juices is a no-no, but I did it anyway. At one point I was sure I would pass out, but somehow, I kept it together long enough to put together what we think will be on of the highlights of the show.

Then we took the metro (subway) back to our hotel and as if by fate, it began raining, just as our shooting day had completed.

I took that as a good sign because I will be 100% honest when I say being this sick, while traveling is disheartening and gives me pause. It’s one of those moments when I question myself and say “why am I doing this”… “what is the payoff”? Why oh why didn’t I take an easier, safer route?

While those moments pop in my head from time to time, they usually pop out just as quickly. Once momentum starts to happen, it’s hard to stop something and I feel it with this project. It’s been picking up steam since January. But now all I want to do really, is eat solid food again.

Then I’ll be happy and life will be good again.


I’m happy and life is good again. I honestly forgot what feeling normal felt like. Now I’m ready to work out and rip the world a new one. Right after one more swig of Pepto (OK, I’m not 100% just yet but I’m close).

The Lunar Pyramid of Teothuacan

More importantly, I feel back on track creatively. Thank goodness for my dedicated and TALENTED crew Renzo & Moses. They know just exactly what to do when I’m unable to contribute 100%. The show is a true collaborative effort and I think we balance each others strengths and weaknesses out naturally.

Today, it was off to the pyramids and ancient pre-columbian city of Teothuacan. This amazing human accomplishment has been around since BC times and at one time housed 150,000+ people. The climb to the top of the tallest pyramid, The Sun Pyramid, is a workout and you need to rely on ropes along the way it’s so steep. At the top, the view was incredible (best we could muster it was 21 or so stories high) but we didn’t dilly-dally long at the top because it was cold, rainy and windy. I felt we had just climbed Mt. Everest or something.  I don’t typically do museums that often but the one at Teothuacan is a must see full of ancient artifacts and preserved skeletons from the burial grounds.

Early Residents of Teothuacan

The next day the crew and I took some time to work with some special needs teens and adults in Southern Mexico City at The Integrated Center of Special Education school. It was raining and that cut attendance to 10 or so students but that was the perfect size for us. We were to teach them some recycling tips and how to reduce, reuse and recycle (they already knew quiet a bit so we were pleasantly surprised).

I’ve never worked closely with special needs people before and I was a tad nervous about doing it on camera. The last thing we wanted to do was come across as exploitative or glib. But literally after 5 minutes the personalities of the students began to assert themselves. There are no hidden agendas or politics with these guys, what you see is what you get. Omar was the class clown and he was hilarious, boasting 70 girlfriends and dancing a jig when some Mariachi music was played. It was Maria Jose’s birthday party and the staff and students invited us to cake and flan and we stuck around to help them celebrate.   They even gave us each a parting gift of beautiful lamps made of recycled glass. I just hope I can get it home after 8 weeks on the road. You could tell there was no shortage of love in the school.

Our New Friends @ Integrated Center for Special Needs Students
Our New Friends @ Integrated Center for Special Education

In many ways these are the lucky ones. The Center is in a nice neighborhood and is a private school where parents of these kids can afford to pay the tuition. I thought of the many special needs kids with parents more like the majority of the Mexico City citizenry who have precious extra $s to spend on their care and attention. Who is helping them? How are they making it in the world?


Next we headed by metro (Subway) all the way to the opposite end of the city (about 40 minutes by train I’d say), to the famous Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, one of the most visited religious sites in all of the Americas, and for good reason. Here is where the apron of Juan Diego that shows the icon of Our Lady of Guadalupe is displayed. The Basilica is one of the most important pilgrimage sites of Catholicism and is visited by several million people every year. The gardens and smaller basilicas were some of the highlights for me, so tranquil and beautiful, a true oasis from the hustle and bustle of Mexico City.

Making the pilgrimage
Pilgrimage to the Basilica of our Lady of Guadalupe

We had to cancel a shoot later in the evening by a Mexican-American journalist who jerked us around all week and finally, eventually just cancelled (ironic that everyone came through but that the person with the “professional” resume acted the most unprofessionally). No worries. We’ve got a great episode for Mexico City in the can.  But like clay from the artifacts from Teothuacan it will need to be formed and shaped, pulled and formed.

But next, we switch gears completely and head to the the jungles of the Yucatan. Stay tuned for what are bound to be some tremendous adventures!

North America

A Rocking & Swaying Start to Mexico City


Getting a Cleaning By Aztec Shaman
Getting Cleansed by an Aztec Shaman


Mexico City began with a rumble, or more specifically, a 5.8 magnitude earthquake late Saturday night, early Sunday morning. I felt our hotel room dip and sway before the crew had ample time to say “what the????”. Things in the room clanged and clattered as the entire building moved back and forth for what seemed like forever, but was probably 15-20 seconds.

Sheer fear (we were on the top floor) and awesome power is the only way I can describe it. No injuries, no damage, just a serious blast of adrenaline making it hard to sleep. Despite having spent so much time in California, this was my first earthquake.

The Templo Mayor Ruins of Zocolo
The Templo Mayor Ruins of Zocolo

Had it not been for the earthquake, I would have definitely slept the sleep of the dead. Sleep has been a stranger to me this past week as I was super busy coordinating the shoot and preparing an 8 week journey through Mexico and Central America that has been months in the making. It will show on camera with some serious eye baggage and I feel like I’ve been run over by said earthquake. But keeping it raw and real.

Our hotel is conveniently located in Zocalo, smack in the very center of Mexico City where the epicenter of the Aztec Empire once stood. In fact, just a couple of blocks from our hotel in the middle of Mexico City sits the remains of the Aztec Templo Mayor (Major Temple).

Aztec Dancer
Aztec Dancer

The center is crowded but a great place to make home base as we were able to walk around the 1st couple  of days to get to the major sites. I took part in an ancient Aztec cleansing ritual to start the trip off right. The Shaman was super cool and blessed the remainder of our trip. He must have done something wrong because 3 days in and I already have a case of Moctezuma’s Revenge. May as well get it over with I suppose, but if this keeps up we’ll be targeting some toilet paper sponsors.

OK on to more pleasant matters. On the weekends, the Zocalo reverberates with the sound of drums as Aztec dancers show off moves that have been passed down over the centuries. They dance for hours on end for tips (propinas) from the crowd.

El Chopo Market
El Chopo Market

Next we made our way to El Chopo market which has to be one of the most unusual flea markets I’ve ever seen in all my travels and one you won’t likely find in any standard tourist guide. This market has been going on for 30+ years but instead of fruits, vegetables, etc. this one is full of all kind of underground music and paraphernalia like band T-shirts, Doc Martin shoes, anything and everything having to do with underground culture. Though it’s underground it’s also very official and very huge and crowded. There are probably more tattoos and piercings per square foot in El Chopo on any given Saturday than at a Metallica concert.

You really can’t visit Mexico City and not notice the influence of underground culture. It’s in your face. It seems every third or fourth young person is sporting some kind of tattoo, piercing or expression of a rock & roll lifestyle. I’m left wondering if they are somehow paying homage to their Aztec roots or is the California Chicano culture influencing Mexicans or visa versa.

To my knowledge, El Chopo has rarely if ever been covered by U.S. television (it has on BBC). Luckily we  had trusted local pals to guide us there and tell us when it was safe to pull out our cameras. At first I was on edge and tense but the feeling quickly wore off as we got to know many of the vendors and attendees. Mexico City is a city of contrast and perhaps nothing illustrates this contrast more than El Chopo.

El Chopo Market Pulls Together the Large Underground Culture of Mexico City

That night we headed over to Garibaldi, which is basically an area where scores of Mariachi bands and musicians gather to be hired out by locals. Mariachi music is everywhere but if you tire of the audio sensation, you can hop over to the food section and grab some tacos or other authentic Mexican food. We did, and I’ll just say LA is good but Mexico City is the real deal.

And yes, I did resist the temptation to purchase an over sized mariachi hat. For now.


We began the day at Torre de Latin America (Tower of Latin America) one of the tallest landmarks in Mexico City and the first “successful” towers to be built in this seismic region to withstand the numerous earthquakes.

Renzo made his way to the top to grab some aerial shots of the sprawling city while Moses and I strolled around to gather some b-roll at the Palacio De Bellas Artes (Palace of Beautiful Arts) and adjoining Paseo por el Centro Historico (Passage of the Historic Center) and park. The park is incredible and full of beautiful, classically designed water fountains that soon filled up with young, screaming kids cooling off on a hot summer day, (until a police officer firmly but kindly shooed them to another fountain made just for kids to cool off on a hot summer day).

Aerial Photo of Mexico City from Torre De LatinAmerica
Aerial Photo of Mexico City from Torre De Latin America

We then made our way over the Lagunilla market which is also off the beaten path and was just as big or bigger than El Chopo but was a bit more of a traditional flea market. Lagunilla offers up things to eat, drink and wear and appeals to a more mainstream clientele but that doesn’t mean the items on offer are boring. Not in the least. Among the items I spotted were antique stuffed Jaguar tigers, rare mineral rocks, one of a kind design T-shirts, ancient artifacts and more… much more like Chapulines.

Though I normally shy away from fried food, and specifically eating insects in any form, my crew and some convincing locals were enough for me to try some Chapulines, which is basically fried grasshopper. It’s marinated with lime and hot sauce but… add all the condiments you like, I’m still not digging it.

To rid ourselves of the aftertaste of fried grasshopper we headed to a local food market to partake of a massive but cheap and more traditional meal at one of the other local fruit and meat markets (always a good spot to grab an inexpensive authentic meal in Latin America).

Chapilinas or Fried Grasshoppers
Chapilines or Fried Grasshoppers


A More Traditional Meal
A More Traditional Meal

Then it was off  to one of the highlights of our trip so far, as we headed to the southern part of the city to XoChimilco (pronounced Chochimilco). XoChimilco was once where the Ancient Aztecs navigated and lived on the canals. Today the canals are where travelers, families and friends gather on colorful, rented boats to eat, drink and be merry and listen to live Mariachi or traditional Norteno music.

While being rowed down the canals, smaller canoes and boats pull up beside to sell food, drinks, souvenirs and… you name it. Our boat was named Violeta and we were fortunate to be on the river just as the sun was setting which made for some pretty outstanding footage.



On the way back to the hotel we headed over to Frida Kahlo’s old neighborhood of Coyoacon, an absolute treasure of a neighborhood where you can stroll among upscale Mexican families enjoying the park and unique Mexican sweets like churros.


I was surprised at how calm, safe and serene this large and supposedly chaotic capital city actually seems. Police (unarmed by the way) and security are highly visible in all areas and after 3 days of roaming all over town we’ve not had one instance of even a hint of danger.

Anytime you are rolling around a strange place with video equipment it is easy to be paranoid, but I have to say, (I don’t think these words will come back to haunt me either) Mexico City feels as safe or safer than Buenos Aires, Rio, Bogota or Lima.. and given my last few days there with the mass shootings and gun play, safer than Santa Monica, California.

Traffic in Mexico City is no paradise but it’s not that horrible either. In my opinion, Los Angeles and other North American cities are much worse. They have a rent-a-bike program called “Ecobici” which seems very popular with the locals. The Metro (Train) system is easy, safe, cheap (around 30 cents U.S. per ride) and convenient. We’ll be weaning ourselves completely off of taxis very soon to both save money and to travel in a more eco-friendly manner.



Tomorrow, it’s up early for another day of shooting. We have a lot ahead of us including shooting the famous “Lucha Libre” wrestling where rumor is my producer is trying to arrange a match with lucha officianado, “El Kiss”. Today I bought my mask and have been practicing some moves.

We’re also arranging some Aztec language lessons and hopefully, if things come together, we’ll be teaching some recycling tips at a local school and a visit to the iconic religious site of the Basilica of the Virgin of Guadalupe.

Mexico City.. I wasn’t counting on the earthquakes or the fired grasshoppers, but I’m still very glad we’re here. Stay tuned!