Category Archives: Uncategorized

How To Travel the World Indefinitely With an Ultralight, 18-Liter Backpack

Great information on minimalist travel…


Hola Ustedes! Como estan?

I’ve been in Colombia for the past five weeks, primarily practicando mi español (still bad, but getting better). I’ve been living, working, and traveling with only an 18-liter CamelBak Cloud Walker pack. My father gave it to me four years ago, for my 20th birthday. It’s been on countless trails, climbs, and adventures with me. Now, it’s taken me all across Colombia.

Everyone I meet has been amazed at the size of this bag.

Since I get asked about my pack so often, I’ve written a detailed breakdown of exactly what’s inside it, as well as my reasoning. I’ve also included a downloadable packing list for your own use.

View original post 2,943 more words

Headed to Vermont

Working on a sheep farm for a week, and attending a Vermont Law School Open House. It’s lambing season. First visit to Vermont, and the first state I’ll review as I see it for the first time. I’ve never been here, but my DNA shares coils with bones in cemeteries dating to the 1730s. Almost three hundred years ago, people who ended up contributing to me farmed these valleys. The landscape on I-93 and I-89 was beautiful, spring just plumping red buds and bringing out yellow green leaves. I wonder if we have an affinity to “ancestral” lands? What do you think?

Sailors in the Sandbox, 2008

Camp Bucca, Iraq, 2008. A Sailor stands an unexpected watch ashore.

“Sailors in the Sandbox”

An oldie but (I hope) goodie. Years ago, the US Navy stepped up and sent Individual Augmentees (IAs) to put boots on the ground in the CENTCOM AOR. These fearless folks weren’t Seabees or Fleet Marine Force (FMF) but your garden-variety DCs, BMs, and JOs who stepped forward to be counted and get some sand on their boots. Check out the article on PDF page 26, article page 24 of 2008-the-navy-reservist.

Living when others didn’t…

Fourteen years ago today, as a colleague pushed an elevator button on the fourth floor, American Airlines 77 crashed through the second floor beneath our feet, destroying the Navy Command Center … Where we were headed.

Unlike many thousands that day, I made it out OK —on the outside. For many years, however, I was not OK on the inside. I asked myself why I had lived. Why did I evacuate and not go back into the building to look for survivors? I suffered with guilt for many years. I spent several September  11ths lying on the couch, watching movies, ducking memorials even when I had written the speeches. I questioned why I had been saved only to continue a life that seemed bleak.

Not this year. Today, I am taking a symbolic step to living rather than torturing myself because I didn’t die when so many others did. I am sitting in LAX waiting to board a flight to San Antonio. First class. I dressed up. (Well, dressed up for me entails flip flops with rhinestones.) I will visit friends and family, then drive to Key West to find housing for my move this fall.

I am not neglecting the memory of those who died. In my own way, I am honoring their memory by living fully. The dead would want us to continue when they could not, I believe. 

My story is one of many, but I believe the point can be universal. We all have wounds. We all have scars where death has grazed us. But we can face and overcome them. We can get off a couch and get on a plane. 

On this day and all others, let’s honor the dead by living.

See you in Key West. 


Preparing for the Journey…

Corey Belize I started this blog to be the story of a journey.  Well, the journey hasn’t quite begun yet, but the planning is well underway.  I retire from the Army effective August 20, 2015, and have to figure out what to do with the rest of my life.  Where to start?  Like any good Army officer, I started with the planning.

I am going to devote the rest of my life to the ocean.  An open ended statement, and I will be the first to admit I don’t know what it entails.  I did not major in oceanography.  I don’t know how to operate any kind of boat.  I have my advanced open water qualification through PADI but don’t consider myself to be that advanced of a diver.  So where to start?

Education is always a good place to begin.  I signed up for a school in Key West (Florida Keys Community College) that will get me certified as a dive instructor and a research diver.  From there I will see what jobs are available or continue on in school.  Thankfully, my years of service and two deployments have been rewarded by the G.I. Bill.

So how do I get from Long Beach, Calif., to Key West, Fla.?

One step at a time.

It scared me today when I ended my lease effective October 28.  Signing the paperwork made my departure real.  So I committed to the future.  As a Game of Thrones fan, I quoted Dani Targaryen: “If I look back, I am lost.”

A lot of change is policing up the small details well in advance of execution of the plan.  I keep a couple of different notebooks for long term and short term planning, from monthly lists of dates to the nitnoid adminstrivia of every day life.  In order to know the sea better, I want to learn how to sail.  So I laid on a sailing lesson here in Long Beach.  If I am going to start school in Key West in January, I need some housing; so I laid on a road trip with a friend in September.

Last but not least, I am going on an “I love me” retirement trip.  After my 40th birthday “I love me” trip, this will be the second splurge this year.  So not like my usual frugality but much enjoyed.  The flight to Palau leaves October 29 and returns November 14, so I am locked into checking out of the apartment, packing the Great Escape (my trusty Ford Escape who has already crossed the country with me once), and upon my return to Los Angeles, starting my roadtrip: the Great Trip East.  November 16 I will leave the home of my birth, my home for the last three years, California, behind me.  For good or for now? I don’t know.

Again, former Pentagon Action Officer and US Central Command PAO Planner here: of course I am already delineating the details of the Great Trip East.  One of the first things that struck me was how blessed I am with friends.  As I perused Google Maps determining cities to visit, friends came out of the woodwork: reporters with whom I previously worked, Navy shipmates, Army buddies, childhood friends and college friends.  I hope to see many of you along the way.

It has been quite a journey these past four decades, and I have unlimited roads opening up before me.

Please check back on this blog to share my journey with me!

Radio Interview!

IMAG1294I am a passionate advocate for military and veterans’ issues.  I was asked to discuss my career and “life’s lessons learned” on a blog talk radio show.  So here it is, Episode 6 on Kalen Arreola’s “Mama Wears Combat Boots” radio.

Edit. 08/18/16. It doesn’t seem that my interview links to the below interview anymore. It appears to link to a shoe store. I have disabled the link until I can get more information.  Love to all.

Soldiers for Life!

Fixed the link!