Author - Clarke Ball

Revelations – A Change of Plans
Workin’ on the Logo
Travel With a Cause or Cause for Travel?
How can World Tree Circle Help Make the Best of My Travels?
So Why Open Source?
To Donate, or Not To Donate? That is the Question…..
World Tree Leaves
Sun Ray
Being Different is Reason to Celebrate!
Not as Overwhelming as You May Think!

Revelations – A Change of Plans

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This is the first time I’ve run more than 20 some odd miles.  It’s been a year and a half since my buddy, Charles, got me into running.  On our first trip out after a party at his house, we had turned around about 7-7 1/2 miles in and were walking when I stepped off the trail and turned my ankle.  My left foot twisted so the bottom of my foot was clear around facing my other foot and I heard it pop.  But, you know me, I kept moving, but was only able to make it about 4 miles before my leg just wouldn’t go anymore.  Charles went and got the truck and I met him on the road.

The recovery period was a challenge, but I have enjoyed it.  Charles invited me to come run this SCAR with him and a friend and I leapt at it!  Thank you Charles for the invite and being such great support.  AND for hauling around such a crazy about of supplies on your back!  My homemade gels need a bit of tweaking, as I ended up with heartburn and a headache on the run (due to too much coffee in them, I think.)  Charles and his TUMS and gels saved my bacon!  I also would like to thank Brad Kee for having great trail experience and crazy endurance.   It was a good run and a strong team.  We Indian Ran the entire thing, trading off 2

I would also like to thank Matt and Sarah Fraser, friends of Brad’s.  They met us at approximately 40 miles in where there was car access.  We got to grab a solid bite (you have no idea how good that is after nothing but water and gels) and lube up again before hitting the trail again.  Matt ran the next 30 miles out with us too.  He’s a great guy – awesome attitude!  Good sense of humor.  Sara drove to the finish and then ran in to meet us.  There were crazy good pacers.IMG_20150529_062013555_HDR

So, our plan was to finish in under 24 hours.  As we neared the end, Brad, Charles, and I couldn’t help but push hard and we finished with Charles at 20 hours and 46 minutes and Brad and I in 20 hours 48 minutes – with Brad charging through on the last mile.  It was a great experience.  Including having to go off trail for water, we made a little over 74 miles in under 21 hours!

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I have also come to some conclusions after this run.  I have been driving too hard on this upcoming run and getting the website launched by the end of the summer.  The amount of research and sheer scope of planning a run this big (finding the contacts, scheduling the dates and times and locations, all our resources) is more than can be done in the time I allotted.  So, we will be postponing the leave Run/Bike trip start date.

We are developing great contacts and leads, so the momentum is picking up very quickly.  This additional time will be perfect for making contact with everyone and give us more options for both the creation of the site and planning for a very successful promotional trip at a later date.  We will keep everyone posted so that everyone will have the new date once it’s set.

We are so grateful for all the support we have been shown and will continue to work hard to get World Tree Circle ready for you all to start communicating.  Thank you everyone!

Travel With a Cause or Cause for Travel?

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ecotourism_ecotour-orgNow lets look at WTC from the business perspective of the travel industry versus from the travelers’.  Ecotourism is the specific field of travel that WTC would like to promote the most.  Ecotourism is defined as “responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people.” (TIES, 1990)  Its the more physical aspect of what this website does.  Uniting different cultures through education and enriched awareness of other places around the globe.

Groups like USAID (United States Agency for International Development) is one such company.  USAID has benefited many countries through ecotourism.  “USAID supports nature-based tourism activities as part of its biodiversity conservation programs in more than a dozen countries worldwide. The Agency’s ecotourism activities include support for developing national park systems, demarcating and equipping new national parks, recruiting and training park staff, and encouraging government reforms that promote regulated investments in private lodging, guide service, and other tourism ventures.”  According to Untamed Path.  So far they have helped to increase revenue and local involvement in conservation in the parks in Nepal, Costa Rica, Jamaica and Sri Lanka, just to name a few.ecotourism1_www-borneo-holidays-com

There are many many eco friendly travel companies and programs out there.  With a few clicks you can have an amazing and conscientious trip planned across the globe.  We did some looking and found some pretty cool ones in just a few minutes.  One site in particular was pretty informative.  Here we found the top 10 suggestions.  The first recommended was a company called Responsible Travel.  They do all the work of finding hotels, tour operators and other travel options that meet strict sustainability requirements and make them available to you on their site.  The second is Natural Discovery.  They specialize in eco friendly accommodations across England.  The 3rd is a company called Good Travel Company.  A lot of the accommodations they provide around the globe are by train and they put all the hotels, tours, etc. that they promote through a strict audit as well.  To read a brief description of the top 10 ecotourism companies highlighted on the site check out the article on showcasing them.


The scavenger hunt game will work through the ecotourism and businesses around the world to encourage learning from other cultures and people across the globe by promoting their wares and being part of the hunt.  A location to go to, or an unusual or unique product to find.  It will also provide a place for these companies to promote their product as well as network.  WTC could also be a place for the more adventurous to figure out their own eco friendly destination through their own investigations and interviews of fellow users.  World Tree is a place for us to connect, learn from one another, promote causes, help out and showcase our talents, whatever they may be.


How can World Tree Circle Help Make the Best of My Travels?

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With so many resources for travelers on the web these days, you may ask what World Tree could add.  It’s a valid question.  In our opinion WTC can add not only a much greater wealth of information to pull from but also a better rating for those suggestions and insights that you have to choose from.  Why just take one person’s word for it when you can ask millions?

Think about it.  World Tree, as a worldwide forum for any topic, would allow you to pose a question to every single person in the world old enough to use the internet.  The answers could be limitless.  That gives you a far more accurate idea of the pros and cons of an area.  Or which attractions in a specific area are worth adding to your list of things to do first while traveling there.

You have 4416 cities in the world to choose from (according to the World Atlas) and the most commonly known places aren’t necessarily best.  Sometimes its just a matter of better advertising and marketing.  And that’s just the cities with a population over 150,000.  There are little meccas of culture with inhabitants that embody a myriad of talents, values, and lifestyles for you to experience.

You don’t even have to travel.  Let’s face it.  As romantic and glorified as travel may be, it isn’t for everyone.  That doesn’t mean that some of those home-bodies aren’t still interested in learning about other cultures and making friends with similar interests no matter the distance.  They just don’t want to leave the comfort of their hometown to do so.  World Tree will give us all the ability to expand our horizons in whatever way intrigues us.

We’re not saying we’re going to be the best tool for world travel out there.  Just one of the better tools to compliment the existing greats.  Are you ready?

So Why Open Source?

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Why did we choose to open source?  If you do, or have done, any reading on Open Source you learn pretty quickly what  a rapidly growing idea it is.  More and more companies are using open source technology to grow their business.  There are many benefits.  Your software grows with you, it is more geared toward the users because they can give their opinion and help shape it.  And its friendlier to a tight budget.

Companies can save lots of their income by using open sourced products and creating their own to share.  World Tree Circle is no different.  As a small startup with no capital to start of with, on our own we have to raise the money to pay our contributors.  In the beginning we were all for that. World Tree Circle is going to be big news, and eventually it will bring a large income.  We’ll be rich.  We’d donate to whatever causes we wanted, buy nice, fair trade goods and foods, make our house more eco-friendly…the list could go on and on.  In the meantime though, WTC doesn’t have funds to get off the ground and we don’t have the technical knowledge to do it on our own.  We couldn’t pay the small team we had gathered and the challenges we faced discouraged some of them to the point of backing out, or at least only contributing now and again.  We were losing momentum and making tons of money and keeping it to ourselves was never the purpose of World Tree to begin with.

So why not share?  Why can’t we be comfortable and share the amazing technology that this project is bound to encourage?  This is a world site and should be a world project.  A place not only for all of us to hang out on to learn, sell, visit, get travel ideas or play games but also a virtual workshop for the most creative and innovative programmers and designers, social media gurus and any other techy to exercise their brain and share what they do best even behind the scenes.  So we started to research how we could do that.  And that is how we stumbled on Open Source.

The idea is very simple.  You put all the information you have out there.  All your notes, everything you’ve tried, and allow people to use it, modify it, rewrite it, with the purpose of correcting and/or improving it.  Open source has been around for a while.  Since the 80s at least.  It’s been used by business around the world for some time now.  Its gone through its hardships with regulations and changes but it is still around and growing more rapidly everyday.  We love the concept and can’t wait to experience the process firsthand.  We look forward to meeting all of you and building a website we can all be passionate about, enjoy and be proud of.

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To Donate, or Not To Donate? That is the Question…..

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Roth-IRA-Income-Limits-2012 To Donate, or not to donate?  That is a question we ask ourselves more and more these days.  With so many con-artists and the internet making it harder to make people accountable, we need a way to get reliable information about fundraisers and non-profits.  Or just get the full story on someone’s cool new invention we would like to help fund. This is another great way for World Tree to pay it forward.  WTC could provide a way for people to donate to anyone, anywhere. Just think.  You could post an idea about some sort of function and, if you chose, WTC could give you aray to information we have found pertaining  to your post.  Let’s say you like what you find and you would like to support the other group or activity, with regards to what they are doing.  Even if this Leaf Holder does not have donation information provided, WTC will be a conduit so that you may ask if they would be open to a contribution.  Then, you could donate securely through the website. So you would be able to donate to anyone you felt would benefit from the support.  Or you could donate just because you like the idea and want to help it grow. Another function of WTC’s ability to be a conduit for contribution would be the contributor’s ability to check up on what they had contributed to.  Let’s say you have a charity or organization that you heard about and wanted to see if their actions were having beneficial effects in the area they are specializing in.  The Leaf Holder could post questions on our Q & A Board to folks in the region and receive real world information about the organization that they were interested in contributing to. So – donate or not to donate?  Let’s get some answers………..Winnie the pooh

World Tree Leaves

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The team here at World Tree thinks that its users should get their own leaves.  Akin, possibly, to a Facebook page (if you are familiar with that).  You can decorate your leaf with pictures, colors, music, font, etc. that speak to you aesthetically.  Picture the Tree of Life.  Often depicted with different colored leaves to represent spring, summer, fall and winter.  Well, WTC’s tree needs leaves and each one would be unique, representing the leaf holder by representing all the aspects that make them what they are – their generation, upbringing, culture, and country of origin would be displayed in the way they fashion our leaf’s layout.

Let’s take it a step further.  Not only should you be able to customize your leaf, but we also think you should be able to set up a shop, or organizational platform leaf as well if you like.  It can be one-in-the-same or hang its own “leaf”.  Someplace that you can offer you wares or state your case, as the case may be.  Musicians can sell their music, individual tracks, whatever.  Hobbyists can display their works of art, similar to Etsy.  All while have that translation software making dealing with people worldwide as simple as a few clicks of your mouse or a friendly chat with your new clientele via a chat room or video chat.

This is where those organizations we mentioned in another post would set up base camp (their leaf). When you want to read about an activity, organization, movement, and so on, that you heard about – this is the place you could come.  The organizations would have the opportunity through their translated leaves to get their information to a much larger audience.  Another great way to learn about other cultures or ways of life.  These leafs will also have the opportunity to receive Sun Rays just like the personal leaves.

Not sure whether you want your personal leaf to be seen by friends or the public, or anyone to see it period?  No worries.  You decide what gets seen and what doesn’t.

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Sun Ray

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People all around the world thrive on gathering information helpful to their passions, work, creativity, and etc. One of the ideas for World Tree Circle is to facilitate a website where people everywhere can publicly post what they are doing and how, in order to help someone else that may be doing something similar.  World Tree Circle has the potential to not only be an inspirational tool but also an educational one.  When a user posts something similar to another users work or interests, that user will get a  notification called a “sun ray”. If you are planning to start a club or group activity and you post on WTC publicly about it, the site can help you to find other people interested. You could request a “sun ray” for just about anything you post.  The algorithm would be very simple.  Similar to a search engine.  It would use the words you wrote to find you similar posts from others.  Perhaps, it would be better if the leaf holders specified which areas of interest they would prefer their “rays” to come from. This feature would enable the users to learn more about projects, ideas, and pertinent information happening all around the world while letting them tailor information to their specific interests.  It could also be used as an open source forum.

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Being Different is Reason to Celebrate!

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We have been stressing how important our similarities are for a little while now.  Maybe a little too strongly.  Our differences are very important as well.  They are what help to define us and we don’t mean to belittle that AT ALL.  Differences are most definitely worthy of celebration.  Our similarities bring us together, help us relate to one another.  Just like making new friends when you move to a new school or town.  But our differences are what make us interesting.  It is what allows us to shine.

Take Holidays as a very easy example of how we differ.  No one celebration is more special than another.  They are special to us for reasons that aren’t always apparent to an onlooker.  Some of us practice very elaborate celebrations while others barely observe the same one.  To me, they are all so interesting and unique.  How, and why, each detail is included.

Most, if not all of us celebrate January 1st as the first day of the new year, according to the Gregorian Calendar.   However, China has an incredible celebration with a riot of colors and sounds and smells that lasts for 23 days!  Starting January 31st,  many people clean their homes to welcome the Spring Festival.  Red is a predominant color for the New Year, or Spring Festival, celebration.  There are red posters with poems, red lanterns and Chinese Dragons dancing in the streets.  The Dragons come in all colors, too.  Unlike here in the states, the Chinese Government and many of the businesses are closed from the eve of the Festival through the seventh day of the first lunar month of the Chinese calendar.

Russia and Serbia observe two New Year celebrations as well.  They have an informal celebration on the 14th of January, based on the Julian Calendar, called the Orthodox New Year or the Serbian New Year.  This is generally less elaborate.  It is now used more as a way for them to wind down at the end of the busy holiday season of Christmastide and the Gregorian New Year (January 1st).   They enjoy a more quiet celebration with traditional large family meals, singing, and celebratory drinking.

Another country with a new year’s tradition all their own is Peru.  They do celebrate with a festival of drinking, good foods and having lots of fun.  However, they also believe in bringing in the new year in new duds.  Underwear to be specific.  Yellow underwear.  Yep, you read correctly.  The belief that wearing new clothes signifies a new beginning and the yellow signifies luck.  You can also start the new year in red (for love) or green (for money) if you can’t find yellow or have love or money on your new year’s agenda instead.  You could also eat 12 grapes at midnight, one for each month of the upcoming year, to bring yourself luck.

Hopi Indians have a ceremony called the “Prayer-Offering Ceremony” that is related to the Sun and coincides with the Winter Solstice which is celebrated by many earth-based belief systems as away to celebrate the cycle of birth, death, and rebirth.  It is one of the Hopi’s most sacred ceremonies because it is when they say prayers for the New Year and wish everyone prosperity and good health.

So, you see?  That is just one holiday and we only got to 4 countries.  Don’t even get me started on Christmas.  Or should I say Yule?  Or Hanukkah?  Orrrr Kwanzaa, Ta Chiu, Sviata Vechera, Ganna.  Hahahaha, you get the idea.  Each is amazing and significant, but only celebrated in one or two countries.  Though more and more they spread to other countries as we move around and share our traditions with others.

We’d love to hear more about your traditions.  Please feel free to ask questions about a holiday tradition you’d like to hear more about. OR share your country’s holiday tradition for others to read about.  Eventually we’ll have our question and answer board up for just that sort of thing but for now, we’d love to get a head start with our comments section below…..Thanks!!!

Not as Overwhelming as You May Think!

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If you are following our posts of late, you have an idea of how big our BIG ideas are and some of you may be thinking, “ARE YOU KIDDING ME?”  And the answer is no.  We understand this is big, we want it to be big.  Global, in fact!  We also believe it is very possible to get there.

When we started making this idea a reality about a year ago, it did seem overwhelming at times.  We just took it one step at a time.  Still are in fact, and some of the steps have been retraced.  But we have learned so much and become more confident in the ability to make it real.  In all of our research we’ve found tons of cool organizations and even cooler people  behind it them all.  That’s also when we heard about open sourcing.

What is open sourcing, you ask?  According to the Open Source Initiative, “Open source is a development method for software that harnesses the power of distributed peer review and transparency of process. The promise of open source is better quality, higher reliability, more flexibility, lower cost, and an end to predatory vendor lock-in.”

Open sourcing is a very successful way to get an idea out and make that idea freely available.  Some great examples of successful  open source software on a global scale are Mozilla’s FireFox (check out their video below for a brief autobiography), WordPress and Wiki.  I’m sure you’re familiar with Wikipedia?  They use the wiki, originally thought up by Ward Cunningnham.  According to Wikipedia  itself, “wiki (Listeni/ˈwɪki/ wik-ee) is usually a web application which allows people to add, modify, or delete content in collaboration with others.”

So, still think this is overwhelming?  Think again…..


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