Back In the Saddle

Morning Folks,

Just flew in yesterday from The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It’s 7 am and I’m running through my emails and stuff. It’s been a spiritually refreshing trip. I hadn’t realized how constantly online I was and so to be disconnected from that and to connect with my small nuclear family for that much time was, I think, a positive step.

The trip was a Pilgrimage (minor) to Makkah (what you guys call Mecca) and ultimately was a trip dedicated to worship and spiritual contemplation. That meant that I did not allow myself to get sucked back into the day to day hamster wheel spin of the voiceover business I had. So I setup an auto-responder to tell clients that I won’t be accepting jobs for the duration of my visit and when I will be available again … and that was pretty much it. I might have lost a few jobs but ultimately I stopped checking my email accounts on my cellphone every 5 minutes… and that in itself is a massive improvement…. which was helped of course by the lack of internet availability (I should say widespread internet availability) in the cities I visited.

I have heard from Michelle Summers of VOplanet who thanks everyone for their kind messages and thoughts and although her hemoglobin count is up… she was back in the hospital for a while and has been subjected to a barrage of new tests… pretty much everything that happens in a House MD episode. We pray for her recovery and that she is well and healthier than before. Amen.

My daughter unfortunately had the roughest time. Although thankfully she did not get sick she was thrown off balance but the 10 day trip that took us to 3 different cities. 2 plane rides, 2 six hour bus trips and a whole lot of walking. Children don’t like change… and if it does happen they like it in small doses. Unfortunately she is too young (2 years 4 months) for us to leave her with my parents and too active for me to even contemplate leaving her with them for 10 days. So she had to suffer a bit of discomfort with regards to her routine changing and her surroundings being radically different every few days.

Thankfully the hotels we stayed in were pretty nice and the cities we visited have some of the lowest crime rates in the world so we could walk around in any of the cities at any time we wished.

I will cut this post short since it’s crazy early and I have a long day tomorrow (technically today but after I sleep again) we need to do some shopping, need to go deposit my rent, and take a look see around my plethora of websites to make sure everything is working fine.

I’ll post some of the pictures I took on the trip later… but for now… service will resume shortly…



  1. Great to have you back! I, too, disconnected while in Italy and Switzerland most of April working and also seeing family there briefly. Italy loves the design field in every way, and the studios there are gorgeous. From furniture to lamps to consoles, fab designs. The voice overs on radio TV harken back to the U.S. in the 70s-80s a lot. Deep voiced males, sexy reads or super-smiley ones from females. Interesting. American English with no accent is prized. Of course, nearly every vo is done in more than one language, at least for the public venues.I tried to get a cellphone that worked and used Skype to check messages. I had a keyboard with German Swiss keys so umlauts etc took place of keys and wow it was confusing because I type fast and don’t look at keyboards. I am glad to be home and in my recording studio. My annual children’s voice over workshop is here in Dallas June 5 and my annual Beginner’s VO Workshop is June 12-13. I’m in New Orleans by invitation June 26-27 in a recording studio setting. Hope you will all pass this along. Networking works. Taji, welcome back. We value you so much. I am sharing your wonderful lists and info with my students!

    1. It’s good to be back… Cairo is sweltering these past few days. We basically just arrived in the middle of a mini heat wave. My only experience with Italy unfortunately is a layover in Milano which was terrible. The people were rude the airport was dirty and the airline (alitalia) gave me an ear infection from the movie ear phones (there was a plastic edge in them that cut me in the ear canal and caused an infection).

      But apparently this is not italy… Roma and the south are allot friendlier compared to milan which is more industrial apparently.

      I took my laptop with me in case of emergencies and to keep tabs on my Voiceover Pavilion Directory but internet availability wasn’t that great… I could have bought a usb modem … but I couldn’t justify the cost for a 10 day stay… so I decided against that.

  2. Yes I also did not take my wifi stick to Europe. Cost prohibitive for international version and also cell phone. Skype works ok. But next time, I’m paying for intl. version of USB stick. Worth it. The per day hotel costs in Europe for wifi are astronomical. And by the way, hotels in Venice are just out of sight cost wise. I stayed about twenty minutes outside town in charming tiny village with bus stop across from hotel. Worked great. Besides, reviews I read on venice hotels cited bedbugs, mosquitos and more. I get a bit weary of Europe after being there several weeks. Sorry folks. But true. And the Euro and the Dollar…my hotels were $1000 more in dollars on my cards. Awful. Next time we take major trip it’s not going to be where they use Euros!Sorry to hear you got ear infection. And on that subject, Taji, a recent study of airplanes found the most germ-laden, dirty thing in planes is the headrest on seats which are never cleaned. Suggest using handkerchief, T Shirt or towel on headrests. Amazing varmints on them too! And speaking of planes, going to Europe and returning, had horrid people in back of me with kicking my seat, talking in my ear loudly, (leaning up, and permitting babies to roam the aisles freely without supervision. Are there no rules about these types of things? And when I told the steward about feet in aisles, people sleeping, people tripping over feet, they did nothing! Plane travel is not good anymore, no sir.

    1. Last trip I had to Austria the wifi in the hotel was free, the wifi in my hotel in turkey was also free… the wifi in Medina (one of the cities I visited) was free but only in the lobby… the internet in Makkah was about 20 riyals an hour when there was a connection… so overall I’ve been lucky with the hotels I’ve stayed at… I have found out that for extended trips (1 or 2 months) it’s usually worth just buying a local usb internet modem… but for 10 days I couldn’t justify the cost of buying it and then it being useless when I got back to egypt.

      The ear infection was back in 2004 but I haven’t forgotten how bad that was…. since then I just avoid watching movies on airlines… as a 6’1.5” tall guy it is getting worse and worse each year with these stupid airplane seats. I would rather save up for business class than continue to be bludgeoned by stewardesses moving the food cart back and forth down the Isles (sp?).

      I’m sorry to hear you had a relatively bad time in Europe. My biggest problem is finding Islamically kosher food. Thankfully I don’t visit europe unless the advertising company I work for pays for the trip. No reason to visit otherwise.

      Maybe if someone took the initiative and made a European version of VOICE hosted in France or Germany or the UK I’d consider visiting.

  3. Taji,

    So glad to have you back. It just isn’t the same drifting around the vo blogs without your voice in the mix.

    Thanks for the update on Michelle, glad to hear she is on the upswing.

    Sorry I can’t comment on your exotic travels – mine to to places like Red Deer and Medicine Hat 🙂

    And with the title of your post and me living in Calgary I just can’t resist: Giddy up pardner, gittalong littl’ doggie, mount up and ride out… yeee ha.


    1. Hey Doug,

      Thanks for stopping by! The more I travel the less exotic certain locales become. I think at this stage I’d have to go to china or Japan to feel that I am in a culture very different to mine.

      I also never mentioned what saddle I would be riding in… We do have camels in arabia you know… and you ride those with saddles 😉 (just kidding I did actually mean a horses saddle.)

      I’ll post a few pictures of where I visited… might help de-mystify some of the places I visited.


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