Richard Uzelac’s Top Japanese Living Destinations for Expats 

Nara City by Richard Uzelac

Japan is a country rich with diverse landscapes, bustling cities, and unique cultural experiences. It is filled with breathtaking destinations that are sure to leave you awestruck. This list showcases just a small selection of the beautiful places in Japan, and it is a work in progress as I hope to visit this country soon. I would appreciate it if you could share your insights with those who live or have visited Japan and suggest some incredible places to see in the comments.

Here are the destinations in Japan that captured my heart and left a profound impact on me. These are the places that exuded beauty and charm, further increasing Richard Uzelac’s fondness for this incredible country.


There is no doubt that Kyoto is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Japan. Its inviting mix of nature and traditional architecture, along with temples and shrines scattered throughout the city, nestled among picturesque gardens brightened by cherry blossoms in the spring and red maple leaves in the fall.


If you love nature and wildlife, then Arashiyama in Kyoto is an especially enjoyable district to visit. The forested hills not only make an attractive setting for temples, tea houses, and riverside parks, but the area is also home to the Iwatayama Monkey Park and Kyoto’s famous bamboo grove.

Miyajima Island

Miyajima Island is located in Hiroshima Bay. It has been recognized as one of the Three Most Scenic Spots in Japan for centuries. The island boasts miles of picturesque coastlines and mountain trails that offer stunning views of the Seto Inland Sea. A hike up Mt. Misen provides the opportunity to visit two observatories, allowing visitors to appreciate the island’s gorgeous setting.

The island is home to several spiritual sites characterized by traditional Japanese architecture. One of the most remarkable is Itsukushima Shrine, distinguished by its vermilion color and unique construction on wooden pilings. This design gives the impression that the shrine is floating in the sea during high tide.

However, the most captivating sight on Miyajima Island is the sunset behind the Great Torii. This iconic structure stands in the sea and is illuminated by warm, golden light, creating a truly enchanting and magical scene.

Miyajima Island
by Richard Uzelac
Miyajima Island


Nara is a city in Japan known for its rich history, cultural heritage, and natural beauty. It is indeed considered a beautiful place to live for several reasons.

One of the prominent attractions in Nara is its large population of freely roaming deer. These friendly deer have become a symbol of the city and are protected as a national treasure. Living in Nara means having the opportunity to interact with these gentle creatures on a daily basis, adding a unique and charming element to everyday life.

Nara is also home to numerous UNESCO World Heritage sites, including the famous Todaiji Temple. This temple houses the Great Buddha, a massive bronze statue that is one of Japan’s most important cultural treasures. The serene beauty of these historical landmarks, surrounded by tranquil gardens and park areas, creates a peaceful and picturesque atmosphere throughout the city.

A Guide to Becoming an Expat in Japan by Richard Uzelac

Living and working as an expat in Japan can be a really exciting and rewarding experience, especially for individuals under 30. To make this dream a reality, there are several important steps and considerations to keep in mind.

Visa Requirements: Obtaining a visa is crucial for living in Japan. For those under 30, the most accessible option is the Working Holiday Permit (WHP), allowing you to reside and work in Japan for up to one year. However, it’s important to note that the WHP has certain limitations on the types of employment permitted.

Work Visas: In most cases, expats will require a work visa. There are various visa types available, including Engineer visas for technology and engineering roles, Investor visas for managers and entrepreneurs, Mutation visas for company transfers, Specified Skills 1 and 2 visas for specific industries, Humanities Expert visas for teaching and translation, and Permanent Resident visas for long-term residents.

Certificate of Eligibility (CoE): A CoE issued by your employer is a crucial document in the visa application process. It is required to obtain a work visa and serves as an intermediary step.

Additional Documents: Depending on the visa type, additional documents may be necessary, such as a work contract or a certificate from the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) to demonstrate language proficiency.

Residence Permit: After receiving your visa, you must apply for a residence permit that will indicate the length of your stay and the type of job you are allowed to engage in while in Japan.

Special Programs: There are specific programs designed to facilitate the expat process in Japan. Notable examples include the ETP (European Training Programme) and the JET (Japan Exchange and Teaching) programs. The ETP program offers language and management courses along with internships in Japan, while the JET program focuses on teaching opportunities and language proficiency.

Japan also provides visa options for retirees and individuals of other age groups. The “Designated Activities” visa, for example, allows non-working stays in Japan and requires meeting specific financial and insurance requirements.

To pursue your journey as an expat in Japan, it is recommended to consult the respective program websites or contact relevant authorities for detailed information on application requirements and deadlines. With the right preparation and determination, Japan offers a wealth of opportunities for young individuals seeking an enriching international experience.

Richard Uzelac’s Travel Bucket List: Japan

Japan's Beautiful Places to visit by Richard Uzelac

I’ve always been a traveler at heart. I’ve been to Hawaii for over 50 times, swum in the crystal-clear waters of Bali, and tasted the mouth-watering paella in Spain. I’ve also visited the bustling streets of Cartagena and the beautiful southwest tropical of India, Kerala. But there is one place that I have always wanted to visit, a country that has captured my imagination since childhood: Japan.

I read books and watched movies about Japan’s unique culture, history, and traditions for years. I was fascinated by the country’s blend of old and new, its ancient temples, and modern technology. As time has gone on, I have been looking for places that are good to visit in Japan. But some say that the best way to explore a place is to just dive in head-first, without a plan and itinerary, just with your pocket and eyes thirsting for curiosity. 

Famous Places in Japan to Visit by Richard Uzelac 

Let me know your thoughts about these places.


Osaka, Japan’s third-largest city, offers a unique glimpse into Japanese culture. It is famous for its street food, traditional Japanese cuisine, and international options. Osaka Castle and Universal Studios Japan are popular attractions. The Shinsaibashi and Namba areas are great for shopping. This city also boasts a vibrant nightlife, with plenty of bars, clubs, and karaoke venues to choose from. 


Tokyo, the capital city of Japan renowned for its lively culture, retail outlets, and culinary delights. It’s home to some of the biggest and busiest street crossings, as well as impressive landmarks such as Tokyo Tower and SkyTree.


A metropolis that boasts a wealth of cultural heritage, housing numerous age-old temples, shrines, and traditional gardens. Kyoto is also known for its traditional handicrafts, such as kimono fabrics and pottery. These are all excellent destinations to visit in Japan, each offering a unique experience.


Hokkaido, the northernmost island of Japan, is well-known for its stunning natural landscapes and winter sports activities. Known for renowned ski resorts like Niseko, Furano, and Rusutsu, Hokkaido is a favored choice among those who love winter sports. I would also like to experience the famous Otaru Snow Light Path Festival. This enchanting winter festival occurs in the city’s charming canal and historic streets, creating a magical atmosphere. The freezing waterway comes alive with numerous floating lanterns, casting a soft radiance over the serene surroundings and turning it into an otherworldly wonderland.


A city with a sorrowful past and a very historic place history. It is known as a symbol of hope and peace. This city is known for being the first city in the world to suffer an atomic bomb attack on August 6, 1945, during World War II.


Nara, situated in Japan, is renowned for its historic temples and shrines as well as the untamed deer that freely wander around town. The Kansai region was governed by Nara from 710 to 794 AD when it served as Japan’s capital; hence, several UNESCO World Heritage Sites are located here. The Todai-ji Temple is a prominent landmark in Nara that houses Buddha’s largest bronze statue globally.


Located in the central region of Honshu island, the fourth largest city in Japan, and a major industrial hub, housing companies such as Toyota and Mitsubishi. The city is renowned for its iconic Nagoya Castle.

Things that Richard Uzelac wants to experience in Japan

Bucket list in Japan, things to do by Richard Uzelac

Watch Sumo

I am fond of martial arts, and that is why I want to watch a sumo tournament.

Tea Ceremony

I am interested in immersing myself in Japanese culture by participating in various activities, such as attending a tea ceremony


There are places that Alexandria and I have been to, but we would love to experience Hanami together. They say that the essence of Hanami is not just about the experience itself but also about the person you are sharing it with

Also Read:

Top Japanese Living Destinations for Expats by Richard Uzelac

Hanami in Japan by Richard Uzelac

Japan Festival 

Everyone enjoys a festival, right? With good food and vibrant performances. But the true feeling of being fully immersed in the spirit of matsuri or festival would be one of a kind.

To wear a Kimono

Japan is a very unique and fascinating country that is rich in culture and history. Therefore, my goal is to set foot on the Land of the Rising Sun and be welcomed into a world unlike any other. I am drawn to Japan’s stunning natural beauty, including cherry blossoms, hot springs, and scenic mountains. Moreover, I am also attracted to Japan’s advanced technological innovations. Japan is renowned for its delicious cuisine, which includes sushi, ramen, and many other tasty dishes. Additionally, Japan has a reputation for being safe, clean, and well-organized, making it an ideal destination for tourists. I can’t wait to explore all the wonders that Japan has to offer! – Richard Uzelac

Cartagena: A Beautiful Caribbean Region in Columbia by Richard Uzelac

cartagena columbia by richard Uzelac

Once in a while, we pay a visit to Alexandria’s country home- Columbia. Before anything else, let me tell you about Columbia. Columbia is a country in the northwestern part of South America and has a coastline on the pacific ocean, Caribbean sea, and Atlantic ocean.

Cartagena is located on the northern tip of Columbia, thus located on the Caribbean coast. It’s a tropical place and a port city and that’s what even makes it hotter. The official language of the country is Spanish. The Caribbean region of Colombia is the most diverse in the region because it is considered the only tri-racial region, composed of African Colombians, the indigenous people, and the “Pardo” predominantly Spanish or European. 

Some Facts about Columbia

The country has a tropical climate with two well-defined seasons: the dry season, from December to May, and the wet season, from June to November. It is mostly sunny with an average temperature of 30°C all year round. Some months of the year can be very humid with a temperature of over 40°C, while others can be slightly cooler than usual at around 25°C.

Colombia’s Capital City: Bogota 

Other major cities are Medellin and Cali currencies:

Currencies: Peso 

Major religions in the country: Catholic Christianity followed by over 80% of the population. The majority of the population is also Christian but other religions are also represented in the country, like Islam and Judaism.

The major holiday in Colombia is a religious celebration called ‘fiestas’

Cartagena, Columbia by Richard Uzelac

The city is famous for its colonial architecture, built during the 18th century in fortified bastions surrounded by thick walls. There is that one of the famous monuments of the city, is the church of La Popa, which is located on top of a mountain overlooking the city and is one of its most famous buildings; the Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas, with its famous dungeons and impressive defensive system; and the old centre of the city, known as the walled city which includes the world-famous plaza de Los Coches. Another very important attraction in Columbia is the Gold Museum which is home to a collection of pre-Columbian gold works, which are among the world’s most valuable pieces of art.

“We had so much in Cartagena and  I love coming back to this place all the time. Cartagena has a very colourful and vibrant culture due to its diverse population, which consists of several different ethnic groups. In the early morning hours after a long night of partying, you wake up late, step outside and feel the salty air blowing in from the Caribbean. You buy some tropical fruit from a smiling lady wearing a vibrant, colourful dress and embark upon your day with it. Your mood is elevated by the abundant supply of Vitamin D. You have a lot of things planned for your time off the beach that you are sure will fulfil your adventurous side as well as satisfy your need for some relaxation. As you enter the crowded market area, your senses are stimulated by all the sights, sounds, and smells. You see brightly coloured fruits, vegetables, and fish piled high; you hear the laughter of children playing as they chase each other through the stalls selling souvenirs; and you smell the delicious aroma of freshly cooked meats cooking in the outdoor food stalls. This place is like no other!”

Richard Uzelac

One of the things I love about Cartagena is the variety of activities you can do here. If you are into history or want to learn more about it, there are many historical museums you can visit where you can learn the history of this fascinating region, like Museo del Oro Zenu, Museo Historico de Cartagena de Indias, and Galeon Bucanero

If shopping is more your thing, you will love spending time exploring the markets to find unique items you can’t get anywhere else.

Bocagrande Plaza Mall

Mallplaza Cartagena – El Castillo

Bazurto Market

Centro Comercial La Serrezuela

 If you enjoy the outdoors and being out in nature, there are a lot of beautiful beaches where you can enjoy a day in the sun or go for a swim in the ocean. Here are some beautiful beaches I’d recommend exploring in this beautiful Caribbean city.  

Playa Castillo Grande

Playa de Bocagrande

Isla Baru

Beaches Cartagena Plaza

During our visit to Cartagena, Columbia, we got to check out what Colombia has to offer: The country has a diverse population, which makes this place even more interesting! There are many things to do in Cartagena and the best spots to visit when you’re here. You can travel along its stunning coast and take a trip up the stunning Sangre de Cristo Mountain Range or relax with soothing beauty in the Las Piedras waterfall–all without leaving the city of Cartagena!

Whether it’s your first trip to Colombia or you’ve already been here and want to come back, there are many things to do in Cartagena. The city is full of things ranging from museums and international markets to parks and beaches. As the arrival of Spanish long before, Cartagena attracts many interesting history buffs–like me! There is something for everyone here.

-Richard Uzelac

A Travel Guide to Bali, Indonesia by Richard Uzelac

Richard Uzelac in Bali

Hi, I’m Richard Uzelac. I will bring you to my latest destination trip, Bali, Indonesia. Indonesia is one of the countries in Southeast Asia. Because it is a tropical destination, remember to bring your sunscreen. There are pretty much a lot of activities you can enjoy on your trip to this country. But first, let’s get to know this lovely place. Bali is an island in Indonesia and people here are called Indonesian. Most of the population is Hindu so when you travel here in Bali, you will see many offerings laid around the sidewalks or in shops. and Bali, Indonesia, is a great choice for a budget-trip.

How to get your trip started in Bali, Indonesia? by Richard Uzelac

First, you will need to book a flight directly to Ngurah Rai International Airport, so you will not need to drop by Jakarta. However, you can always stop by if you want. You can check out google for flights going to Bali through Ngurah Rai. What’s good about going to Bali, Indonesia, is that most countries can enter and purchase a visa on arrival, which costs around 35 dollars if you’re coming from the US. And for more updated and more detailed information about the requirements for Bali, Indonesia entry you can check out their site. Moreover, you would also need to download an ehac international form, an app you will have to fill out before you depart from the airport.

The last time my wife and I visited Bali, we didn’t have to do the PCR Test anymore.. But regulations constantly change, so please check Bali’s official website and your visa travel agent.

Upon arrival, you likely want to head for a currency exchange stall, but I suggest you use the ones from outside the airport, and for the currency, 15,000 Indonesian rupiah is equivalent to 1 USD. I wouldn’t like to stress this out, but as soon as I tried one of the ATMs on the island, it sank to me that I reached my card’s withdrawal limit so I made a phone call- on the other line, “Richard Uzelac, would you verify this information and we are going to transfer you to another department and blah blah” it lasted about 30 minutes including the waiting time. So, I recommend changing the atm withdrawal limit for your cards before heading for a trip and then estimating its conversion.

temporary pic

What to bring to Indonesia?

The best time for a trip to Bali is before September, as the wet season starts in September. And as you must know, Indonesia has only two types of seasons: Wet and dry. This goes the same for any other southeast Asian country. So you won’t like packing your coats as it will be only humid and hot, otherwise rainy and wet when you arrive.Go for your summer or sexy clothing such as shorts, T-shirts, sleeveless, swimming outfits, Mountaineering outfits, and of course, super comfy clothing as it gets very humid daytime.

Research Research Research

Research is very important prior to going out for the activities like Scuba Diving, 
Kayaking, Mountaineering, as this will save you a lot of time and avoid being taken advantage of. Remember to download the offline maps from google as well to avoid getting lost, especially when you're heading to a mountain place where there's no signal. Research also for budget accommodations especially if you're looking to stay longer. Again, you can find some on google and as well as on Facebook. Make sure to check out ratings and reviews too. You can already enjoy luxury accommodation for about 50- 100 USD and this includes food; if you want to push it higher, you can spend over 100 USD, which is already super luxurious for food together with accommodation.

Top 3 Recommended Places to Visit in Bali by Richard Uzelac


If you’ve ever wanted to feel like you’re in a scene from Lord of the Rings, Uluwatu is the place for you. It’s about a 30-minute taxi ride from the airport. There are a lot of cultural sites around, including the Uluwatu Temple, which is high up on a cliff overlooking the beach. It’s an incredible sight to see!

Tirta Empul, Bali and Goa Gajah Temple.

If you would like to experience a cultural Balinese culture, I recommend you visit Tirta Empul, Bali and Goa Gajah Temple. These are sacred places and you will see the significance of Balinese religious culture. They’re both located in Ubud Bali Indonesia and are among the busiest tourist spots.

Tukad Cepung Waterfall

Another beautiful spot is Tukad Cepung, a marvellous waterfall pouring into a cave. It’s a short trail through the wilderness. It’s a beautiful place and picture-perfect with its beautiful shafts of sunlight

My family and I have enjoyed Bali and we highly recommend you go out and check out Bali for you next planned vacation destination. It’s one of the homes of the friendliest people on the planet and it’s not hard to fall in love with this place. I’d love to come back here someday!

Richard Uzelac’s Oahu Hawaiian North Shore Hurricane Adventure

Richard Uzelac, Haleiwa Hawaii, coast of Island

Richard Uzelac and Alexandra’s Beachfront AirBNB Condo was a Bullseye for Alaskan Hurricane

The Hurricane caught Richard Uzelac and Alexandra Uzelac off guard during their Experience on the North shore of Oahu in February of 2019.

Richard Uzelac view of Oahu with Airplane
Richard Uzelac view of Oahu with Airplane

Richard Uzelac’s Hawaiian Hurricane experience was a first! We were thrilled as usual to revisit the Hawaiian Islands. Alexandra and I had never gone to Oahu together and this trip was going to correct that discrepancy in our travels.

Landing in Honolulu brought back memories of my very first airplane ride in 1982. I had won a free trip to Oahu for being the top real estate agent on our dominating office in southern New Jersey. How could I forget the smell of the beautiful flowers after we climbed down the staircase of the L-1011 onto the tarmac. As I left the terminal with my bags I saw a guy at the light on a Harley, with no helmet smiling and gave me the ‘hang loose’ sign with his hand. I thought to myself, “How cool is that! Riding around Hawaii on a Harley with no helmet enjoying the smells and views of paradise every day.” I wanted to throw it all away and move to Hawaii and live that life. I didn’t. Maybe I should have… But I seriously digress.

We were thrilled as usual to revisit the Hawaiian Islands. Alexandra and I had never gone to Oahu together and this trip was going to correct that discrepancy in our travels.

An Auspicious Start for Richard Uzelac on Oahu in 2019.

No Harley’s or Palmyra blossom smells almost forty years later. I stupidly ordered a rental car from a no-name rental place. The ride out to the lot was very long. We arrived at a dingy used car lot/repair shop/car rental place. Our first car was a Certified Piece of S**t, seriously. It was old and the tires didn’t look that great. After I pulled out with it (after waiting at least an hour for the car), I turned around and came back it. The feeling of the car was unsteady. I went into full ‘Rich’ mode and got them to give us a much better car at no extra cost. I think they were still breathing when we left. The new car was actually quite nice and we headed out to the condo.

Haleiwa Hurricane Condo

Richard Uzelac, Haleiwa Hawaii, coast of Island Cliffs and Surf
Richard Uzelac,Hawaii, coast of Island Cliffs and Surf

Haleiwa is a cute, yet grungy little seaside town in the North Shore of Oahu. We has fun lunches and dinners at just about all the restaurants in town over the course of a week. Just north of Haleiwa is the surfer, dropout, druggie Sunset Beach. We were warned several times online and off to no leave valuables in your car in that area. We had no issue and the waves were huge, up to 60 feet!
Our condo was ocean front, I mean, really really ocean front. Our sliding glass door looked right upon the ocean about 30 feet away and 12 feet down below our ground floor unit. The first day was awesome and sunny, the second day was awesome and Hurricaney? Hurricanesque? We had a hurricane on the second day.

Richard Uzelac Mans the Sand Bags and Plywood.

Richard Uzelac and wife, Alexandra at Hawaiian Waterfall in the rain
Richard Uzelac and wife, Alexandra at Hawaiian Waterfal in the rain

Second morning clouds gave way to second morning howling winds and whipped up waves. The Alaskan Hurricane hit us head on. The slider was bending but it didn’t break. We helped to carry sandbags and plywood to bolster the slider of our unit and those of those less physically able. It was all for one and one for all and we all rallied in any way we could. Some could only provide beer, but they were very respected helpers.

Remember the ‘ocean was 12 feet down below our ground floor unit part’? Nawww. Our patio became part of the ocean. Hats off to the quality of that slider though! At times it looked, on the inside that we were looking at an aquarium with the waves crawling up the glass a few inches, but she didn’t break! That was cool. our sandbags slowed most of the water down and repelled some and the door didn’t even leak a drop! Damn impressive.

Richard Uzelac and Alexandra’s Fun Night

Richard Uzelac, Haleiwa Hawaii, coast after the storm
Richard Uzelac, Haleiwa Hawaii, coast after the storm

Well it wasn’t the fun Hawaiian night that was expected, but it was still exciting. We lay in our bed on the far side away from the slider about 20 feet back. We figured if we got up in the night and our feet were under water, we should leave. Buy all accounts from the sounds of the hurricane winds, it should have been wet and deep. The less robust side windows, with the little panes of glass you can open and close were not water tight and the areas around the window were wet but not something a couple of towels couldn’t handle below each window.

The Aftermath of Richard Uzelac’s Hawaiian Hurricane Adventure on Oahu

After two days of hard rain and winds the hurricane decided to identify as a tropical storm and we could go out and enjoy the wet wet island. My wife even swam in the ocean in the cold waters and air. She’s a Polar Bear, a tiny fit latin Polar Bear. We forgot the umbrellas as they only break in those winds and we just drove and hiked in the wet. Breakfasts and Lunches were warmer and tastier. All the patrons were kindred spirets and we recalled the Hurricane and how awesome it was.

Richard Uzelac’s Hawaiian Hurricane note: Sorry for the general low quality of the images. I will upgrade my camera soon.

Richard Uzelac’s Mount Shasta, California Experience


We Enjoyed Visiting Mount Shasta!

Recently my Wife and I decided to go to Mount Shasta for a few days. I gotta say, it was a fantastic experience full of natural beauty, fresh air and alkaline water! The little town of Mt Shasta was charming and a great walk around full of Shops and eclectic restaurants. – Richard Uzelac

Lodging Notes

Inn at Mount Shasta:

This was a nicely modernized and updated Motel located just before arriving to the main street of the town of Mt. Shasta. The people there were relaxed and helpful. The outside is rather plain but clean. The room was well above average with a designer feel to it. Nice big bed and furniture looked proper and planned. It overall had a hip clean upscale feel. Pricing was VERY reasonable.

We often walked to the town from the Inn and it was very pleasant. Overall we gave it 3.5 Stars for a nice safe clean place with style, at a great price.

Inn at Shasta Lake:

This was literally a Mom and Pop Inn with lovely grounds, a charming gathering place for the included breakfast and happy hour drinks and snacks every day. This place was three minutes to HWY 5 and five minutes to Shasta Lake and a short boatride to the Shasta Lake Caverns ( a must see).

The place reminded me of Pennsylvania with lush mountain flora and groups of deer in the woods. Much of the breakfast food is grown right on site in their large garden. We walked through there and saw a very nice selection of fruits and vegetables they use for the breakfast.

Food Notes:

Too bad they didn’t offer food because finding a good place to have dinner was not so easy. We decided to go north on the 5 Hwy and ended up eating at a dive bar on Taco Tuesday night. It was a dive but the people were fun and we actually enjoyed the evening. If you want a better plate of food, you MUST go SOUTH on the 5 freeway to Redding, California for Dinner.

Back up in the town of Mt Shasta we had some great meals. One place was the little hippy market just a short walk from our hotel. The breakfast and lunch food was great and the people, mountain people, hippies, Van-lifers, hikers, bikers and other edgy people were quite interesting to watch while enjoying a healthy meal.

We also ate at the only Indian Food restaurant in the town. The owner lives upstairs with his family and serves food in his living/dining rooms. The food was good and a nice walk to and from the hotel.

The Sights:

Loved Mt. Shasta, the monolithic white pyramid sitting on the flat lands around it like a spaceship that landed in a corn field. It feels surprising and unexpected when you first see it. We were used to the long High Sierras that tended to go on forever. But Mt. Shasta is like the pyramids of Egypt: Monoliths surrounded by relatively flat lands around it.

Mt Shasta is beautiful upon first Site. While we fought our way up to the town in a long downpour at night, we were rewarded by a beautiful snowy mountain peak the next morning, just breathtaking. Mt. Shasta reminds me how truly beautiful California is.

Fresh Snow!

We drove our car up as far as we could to the highest car park available which was about 8,000 ft above sea level. And that spot is just the base of Mt. Shasta proper. The mountain top is over 14,000 feet, almost that of Mt. Whitney, the highest mountain in the continental United States. We did a short hike to about 9,000 feet and stopped to meditate on boulders after removing some of the fresh perfect snow that sat on top of them like icing.

Peaceful Meditation

We sat in our meditation positions and listened to …nothing. I mean, NOTHING, it was sooo very quiet that I actually heard my own brain slightly humming. My ears heard the inside of my brain, it was amazing.

If you plan to hike Mt. Shasta in the snow, be fully prepared and in great shape, especially with new snow. New snow can hide dangerous drop offs and cliffs.

Overall this was a must see hike and part of my bucket-list.

Old Resort Ruins:
With a bit of work you can find the old resort from the early 1900’s where people went to take in the ‘the waters’ near Shasta. The waters happen to be a very alkaline ground water that to this day bubble up out of the ground and find their way to an old small brass pipe, and just flow right on to the ground. The water has a PH of over 11! As an Alkaline water drinker, this was heaven for me to get natural alkaline spring water. The area has some old stone walls and even an old stone soaking tub for the Resort visitors from 100 years ago. Beside the ruins is an active creek and two sets of waterfalls, one of which was quite big.

Lake Shasta Caverns:
Beautiful rock formations after a short boat ride, bus ride and steep climb.

Lake Shasta Dam:
Great museum and history behind this dam that buried three towns under 400 feet of water!

Hope you go some day! -Richard Uzelac

Welcome to Richard Uzelac’s Photography and Travel Blog

Santa Cruz Ocean Blow Hole by Richard Uzelac

Richard Uzelac’s Photography and Travel Blog Introduction

“Hi There Everyone! I’d like to welcome you to my travel and photography blog! The goal here is to offer something meaningful, insightful, beautiful, fun and thought provoking. I agree that it may just end up self-serving and trivial, so we are both going to have to take that risk! Ha ha!” – Richard Uzelac

Blog Goals by Richard Uzelac

For those that got this far… 🙂 Maybe this is why I’ve never wrote a book by now; I don’t exactly know where to begin. This travel and photography blog can be enclosed and trivial or it could be much more, it could be meaningful. It is easy to be meaningful for me. I get to pick the images, stories and adventures I present and I guess there is something wonderful, cathartic and meaningful for ME in that but how does that benefit YOU?

My goal is to make this meaningful for you as well as me, then I’ve done something ‘good’ and positive in the world. Ad Dr. Jordan Peterson says, (and I paraphrase) ” Do something meaningful with your life. It is a way to deal with the Chaos and Suffering we all experience in this world. Start by taking care of yourself, then your family and friends, and then your community, your country and the world.”

So that is my grand goal for this blog, to make it meaningful and positive in the world and provide this to the people that take the time to read it. Whether or not anyone outside of a handful of family and friends ever read this is certainly debatable. And if more read it, it is even more debatable, or better yet, improbable that they will find meaning in my writings and images.

The Photos

The photos are a key to all of this. They are a symbolic representation of my travels and life. Picking the correct ones and presenting them here is the key to this blog. Just describing the travels without photos would make the experience all the less impactful for readers. But having photos will stimulate the visual cognition of the story as it is revealed in the written word. “A photo is worth a thousand words” is certainly true here and maybe quite a bit understated. I believe the correct picture is worth a hundred thousand words of nuance and information.

Ah, but picking the correct image is turning out to be quite nerve wracking for me. I am obsessing with the decision for each and every story I am planning on. Hopefully my brain will rewire to the point where my decisions on images is light speed fast and quite accurate to a great degrees. Quality in, quality out. At least this is my photos goal.

The Stories and Observations

“Every picture tells a story,” as the saying goes. Some of those stories are mundane, but some can be truly profound, insightful, thoughtful, exciting, dynamic, and life changing. I’m going to endevour to do the later, duh.

How much time I put into each will be variable as some stories are short and targeted and others may be general and project a flood lamp on my life.

I’m so excited to be working on this little blog and seeing how this goes!


Richard Uzelac