Elephant Jungle Sanctuary, Pattaya, Thailand

If you are visiting Thailand and looking for a reputable elephant experience, I can whole-heartedly recommend the Elephant Jungle Sanctuary just outside Pattaya (or any of their three other locations for that matter!) I promise you it will be something that will stay with you forever.

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If you’re in a rush, click on the image above to go to their website

Just before Christmas last year, I had the good fortune to visit an old friend in Thailand for the first time. One of the items on my ‘Must Do‘ list was to spend time with some elephants, as I’ve loved them since I was a kid – I mean, who doesn’t love elephants? A quick online search showed there were three choices in the Pattaya area, but which were ethical and not just tourist traps that exploited the creatures? It didn’t take long to discover the only one that didn’t mistreat the elephants was the Elephant Jungle Sanctuary. The other two sites chained their elephants, let people ride them – which is a totally no-no as it’s not good for them – and their were even reports of the elephants at other sites being beaten in view of the visitors!!!

Elephant Jungle Sanctuary – My Experience in Words and Pictures

A picture is worth a thousand words, so I’ll try and balance the two, and hopefully not bore you with either too many words or too many pictures, but I wish to capture my wonderful experience as best I can, not only for your benefit, but also in the hope that it will shed more light and support on this wonderful organisation and their great work

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The sanctuary offers a number of experiences dependent upon the amount of time you have and your budget, from a quick visit to see and pet them all the way up to a whole day trekking with them. I opted for something in the middle, which could either be a morning or afternoon experience. The price for this was 2500 Thai Baht, which worked out to be about sixty quid. Now, before you go screaming to the hills about the price, first remember the Baht is at an all-time high, but hear what you get for your money. This price included return transportation from my hotel (which would have cost at least 1000 Baht!) and a superb meal (which would have cost upwards of 500 Baht!) And that’s before I’ve told you what you get for the rest of your money (1000 Baht) which if you don’t think is terrific value for money, you probably can’t afford to travel to Thailand anyway, and should really think about buying a good book and a stay-cation instead!

What You Get For 1000 Baht

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I opted for the afternoon experience which began with the taxi picking me up from my hotel at 12.30. We stopped twice along the way to pick up two other elephant-lovers, and half an hour later we were out of the noisy city and in the countryside, bouncing up a dirt road towards the sanctuary. There was already a group of other eager elephant-lovers milling around the facility and interacting with the animals, and the guides told us to get to know the elephants while we waited for one more small group to arrive.

The Pattaya location had managed to rescue six elephants (other locations have more, especially the oldest site in Chang Mai to the north of Thailand) which ranged from the youngest, who was only three years old, all the way up to the Grandpa, who was over sixty! No matter what age, elephants are just so amazingly cute. Apart from on telly and in London zoo, I’ve never seen an elephant in the flesh, so to be in such close vicinity to these peaceful, majestic ‘land whales’ is almost beyond words to describe, but I’ll try.

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It’s hard to see, but this lovely lady is almost due to give birth!

The most obvious thing about elephants are their size, but they are anything but scary, as they move very slowly and cautiously – apart from their trunks when there’s food around! They have a very calm, almost meditative aura about them, and my first reaction was to just go up to this ‘mummy-to-be’ elephant and give her a big hug and kiss on the nose. As you would expect, their skin is very thick and tough, and stroking them is like getting an exfoliation! By the time the last group arrived by taxi, I’d said hello to all six elephants, and had learnt a lot from the many guides and handlers that were on site.

Feeding Time!

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Our group was approximately 40 in total, and came from all corners of the world. After a brief introduction given in very good English by one of the guides, outlining the action plan for the afternoon, safety protocol, and the ‘do’s and don’ts’ around elephants, it was time for the first activity: feeding the elephants! There were many, many baskets of food (bananas, cucumbers, and other vegetation) which we could feed the elephants either by holding it out and letting them grab it with their trunks, or – if we were feeling brave – say the word, “Bonn” and they would open their mouths, stick out their tongues, and we could feed them directly!

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Naturally, I chose to feed them directly, and was amazed how easy it was (and how enormous their tongues are!) There was so much food, it was probably about half an hour before all the food had gone, and the whole time was filled will laughter, amazement, and pure child-like bliss for all participants (and even a few strange shrieks from some of the more timid participants who got ‘goosed’ by the odd trunk or two!) As we were feeding the elephants, the wonderful aroma of Thai cooking wafted through the air, as the cooks prepared our meal.

The Elephant Mud Spa!

Having been instructed to change into our swimming gear, next on the agenda was to grab more bananas and lead the elephant troop alone a dusty pathway to their muddy watering hole for a well-earned mud spa! Guess who lead the way…?

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Oh, I forgot to mention, as I add all these wonderful photographs to this post, additionally in the price, there was a photographer on hand snapping merrily away, so you didn’t have to worry about missing anything, and could just focus on fully enjoying the experience! That probably would have cost another 1000 Baht to arrange!

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I don’t know who’s muddier, me or the baby elelphant!

Time to strip off and get muddy! Since I was there during the dry season, their mud hole was particularly dry, but the staff had prepared for that and there were plenty of buckets and wheel barrows full of lovely, sloppy mud for us to play with. Being almost 50, this experience simply knocked the years off me, as I became a big kid again! Looking around at the others, I could tell I wasn’t alone in this experience, especially as the guides actively encouraged us to get muddy ourselves!

Rinse and Scrub Time!

Like any good spa treatment, at some point you have to get clean again, and this is where the REAL fun began…

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Armed with water bowls and scrubbing brushes, we and the elephants plodded to the other side of the path where their ‘swimming pool’ was, and actively began tossing water over the elephants and ourselves, scrubbing them clean. We were all upstaged by baby elephant to immediately lay on his side, completely submerged, with only the end of his trunk sticking out of the water like a snorkel, and began to thrash his legs about with glee!

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If you look VERY closely, you can just see baby elephant in the water in front of me.

Playtime over, it was time to lead the elephants back to camp, and have a proper shower and clean-up before dinner time. All of the facilities were clean, in great working order, and more than you would have expected for such a remote and basic location – trust me, I witnessed far worse facilities in some of the bars and restaurants in Pattaya!

Our Thai buffet was ready and waiting for us with food aplenty! They had even catered for all participants dietary requirements with vegetarian and vegan options, and fruit to finish off with. Between bites of food, the conversation was filled with expressions of how amazing the experience had been and, “Way more than I had expected…” and, “This is such great value for money…!”

And as if that wasn’t enough, they had even more surprises: each of us got a reusable, sustainable shopping bag as a keepsake and reminder of our experience, and there was one final activity before our taxi rides home, but I’ll let you search their website to find out what this one is! The only clue I’ll give you is that it sure surprised me…!

Find Out More About Elephant Jungle Sanctuary

Thank you for reading all the way to the end. I hope I’ve whet your appetite and you’re keen to know more, or have the experience yourself. If that’s the case, or you simply want to help spread the word about their great work, please share this post, use the links below to follow them on Facebook and Twitter, and generally spread the word!

Website: https://elephantjunglesanctuary.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ejspattaya/

Twitter: @ejspattaya

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Anthony Donnelly is a British author, actor, and life coach, more recently known for his charity, children’s book series, “Charlie, the Migrating Snail”, which is available to buy on Amazon by clicking the book cover to the right.

Don’t Make Resolutions, Set Goals!

As we start to see Christmas merchandise flood the shelves of our stores, it reminds me that another year is soon coming to an end, and that means some people will be thinking about making some New Years Resolutions.

My advice to you is… DON’T.

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Click on the book cover above for a free audio book

 

Instead I’d advise you to start thinking and planning what you want for 2020 now. Ask yourself this question: “If you didn’t plan to be in the situation you are in now, who’s fault is it?”

This is not an opportunity to blame other people, it is YOUR fault that you are where you are now, if you didn’t PLAN to be somewhere else. In my book “My First Goal-setting Book” you will learn that goal-setting is natural, easy, and can be a lot of fun. In plain English I explain all the steps you’ll need to take to achieve absolutely anything you want in life.

So what are you waiting for? Don’t wait until you’re full of Christmas cheer and looking back on 2019 wondering why your life isn’t as great as it could be. Take control of your future and set some goals, make some plans, act on them daily, and who knows where you could be this time next year!

 

 

Book Reviews: When The Trees Held Their Breath

greta thunberg
Greta Thunberg

Since staging her school strike last year, Greta Thunberg, the young, Swedish student, has brought the urgent topic of Climate Change back into the media spotlight. But it is not enough for us to just read and talk about this crisis, we need action now! We all need to do our part, but most importantly we need to put more pressure on our politicians and big business to reverse the effects of Global Warming.

In 1986, when I was Greta’s age, I too was a strong campaigner for environmental issues, as I still am to this day. I have personally grown and planted thousands of trees in the countries I have lived over the years. Unfortunately, back when I was 16, we had no internet, no social media, and you had to walk to the local call box to make a phone call. On top of that, the majority of people still believed that “children should be seen and not heard”, so to get any adult to listen to you was practically impossible! The best I could do was to write about my concerns, so I penned “When The Trees Held Their Breath”, a short, but very powerful piece of poetic prose about the plight of our planet, and sent it to publishers. Hundreds of publishers later, at age 29, a very small imprint picked it up and released it the next year.

Trees 2019 Book CoverAlthough there was a lot of talk and hype in the media about Climate Change, Global Warming, Animal Extinction, etc. – it was all, quite literally, just ‘hot air’ – the book was a flop! The Right Wing media and book reviewers shredded it, including some hate mail.

It wasn’t all bad news though. Those that did read it were very praiseworthy, and the reaction from people that heard me read it at public events were often brought to tears.

Through the new technology of the internet and self-publishing, I am now able to release my words once more, and I hope more people are listening this time, as it’s now 33 years later and the problem is even worse than ever before. I thought I’d share with you some of the kind reviews people have posted from when it was first released:

“From the first few lines of this book to the very ending it speaks so loudly ! This is an environmentally awakening poetic prose which tells a simple story of how the world we live in has through ‘progress’ created a world of polluted and congested by-products. It is a simple reminder of the state of things on this planet Earth.”
“How can such a small book say so much? This book is deep, moving, enlightening… I could write many more adjectives, however… all that is needed to say is ‘Go read the magic for yourself!'”
“Oh God YES…!!! This book just says it all, says everything that needs to be said LOUDLY to the world about what we are stupidly doing to our dear planet Earth.”
“‘When The Trees Held Their Breath’ by Anthony James Donnelly,is a wonderful story,he captures your mind and brings you into a journey your soul has never been. It is sad that todays world justifies the killing of our Earth for the almighty dollar.This story allows you and encourages you to explore the effects that Humans and Technology have on Our Mother Earth.As an Environmentalist and a future teacher I would reccomend this Magificent Book…”
“This book… well, it blew me away! I’ve always thought I was ‘into the environment’ but once I read this book I realized how little we have achieved. Donnelly doesn’t really talk about ‘issues’ (well, how much can you talk about in so few words!?) but what he does do is write such powerful and poetic images that you are tranced… I was… just a few images in I was off, thinking about how bad this could get unless we REALLY do start doing something to change the mess we are in!”
“This amazing work of art is an inspiration to all; young and old alike to take a step back and look at the disintergration of our beloved planet. As important as progress is, we, THE EARTH’S PEOPLE, have gone too far; mining every last resource of the earth, detroying the forests, and worst of all, producing not just the wonderful products mankind is so proud of, but also the bi-product-POLLUTION. If everyone held their breath for a minute they would see just how precious oxygen is to us. I highly recommend this book to everyone adult, child, and every industry known to man.”

BUY THE EBOOK AND HELP SAVE OUR PLANET AND OUR PEOPLE

How To Overcome Fear – Part Three

As StarTrek should say, “FEAR… The final frontier!”

Think about it. What is stopping YOU from taking on the world and becommy_first_goalsettin_cover_for_kindleing EVERYTHING you were BORN to BE…? It’s not space, I can tell you that much! It’s…

F-E-A-R…!

  • Fuck
  • Everything
  • And
  • Run…!

That’s MY acronym. But eventually you’ll run out of energy and stop. But guess what, FEAR is right there with you, because it’s within you, with you, around you. The ONLY way to combat fear is to take it on with action. So, in Part Three, the next step in taking control over your fears is to list the top three fears you have and tackle them head-on!

What are YOUR top three fears?

This is the biggest step you’ll ever take in overcoming your fears. Once you KNOW that everybody has them, but doesn’t know how to deal with them, hopefully you’ll feel more comfortable sharing your insecurities. Once they are out of your head and in the public domain, they have no more power over you, especially if you have taken the steps to love yourself and invest in your own self-value.

In the spirit of sharing, here are my three biggest fears:

  1. Asking for help/ showing weakness
  2. Opening up/ Letting people in
  3. Lack of recognition/ rejection

I think I’ve tackled them in this blog post, and that was part of the idea. I still need help, but I’ve done it. The next step is having the confidence to get out there and do some public speaking on the subject…!

Once you know what your top three fears are, make a conscious effort every day to do what scares you most. Take baby steps at first, but make it part of your daily routine. After a while the feeling of fear will become less and less until it becomes small enough to manage. It may even disappear completely! Trust me, once you have taken control over your fears, there really will be nothing to hold you back in life.

Thank you for following and reading.

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my_first_goalsettin_cover_for_kindleAnthony James Donnelly is an author, motivational and business coach, and life guide. He has spent over 20 years working directly with individuals and corporations to adjust their perspectives on life. In his latest book, “My First Goal-Setting Book: How To Effectively Set & Achieve Your Life Goals”, he concisely explains how to get whatever you want out of life.

 

 

 

#NewBook – “Why Do i Care?”

It has been a while since I released a new book. I have many works simmering in the background, and fortunately my acting career has taken a front seat this year involving a lot of international travel. I have also been preoccupied with a new song project, which I’ll expand on towards the end of this post.

Why Do i Care COVER (2)BUT finally the wait is over!

It’s a short book with a very unassuming cover, much in the style of my goal-setting book. The focus is on problem solving this time: practical steps to put your personal issues into perspective and create workable solutions.

An extract from the introduction should shed some light on the direction of this new work:

“There are more diamonds in the world than people… AND we think they are precious! There are more bank notes in the world than people… AND we think they have value! There are more books in the world than people… AND we think they contain knowledge! There are more flowers in the world than people… AND we think they have beauty! BUT, as insignificant as you may feel, you are UNIQUE, so that kinda makes you rather special, don’t you think?”

It was inspired from a very long conversation with a great friend that I’ve known for many, many years. They were stuck in what they saw as an impossible situation, and our conversation circled round and round without them really wanting to take any action to remedy their problem. They were using every trick in the book to try and get out of accepting THEY were responsible for where they were. In the end I had to hang up and send them a copy of one of my parables to read in the hope the simplicity and metaphor would soak into their subconscious and they would find the right path again.

This book is  a dilution of that conversation. I hope you enjoy it, and it is of use to you.

If you’d like a review copy in exchange for your opinion and thoughts on it, please write a message in the comments section below. Thank you!

 

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my_first_goalsettin_cover_for_kindleAnthony James Donnelly is an author, motivational and business coach, and life guide. He has spent over 20 years working directly with individuals and corporations to adjust their perspectives on life. In his last book, “My First Goal-Setting Book: How To Effectively Set & Achieve Your Life Goals”, he concisely explains how to get whatever you want out of life. A great accompaniment to “WHY DO i CARE?”

 

FREE Books For Christmas

Rainbows New CoverIt’s Christmas. A time for love, generousity, and for giving, or ‘forgiving’. For this reason, ALL my kindle books will be free both today (Christmas Day) and tomorrow (Boxing Day) as a way of saying thank you to all my friends old and new, and spreading more of the spirit of the season.

All I ask in return is, if you download a copy of my book, please take a few minutes to honestly rate and review the book on amazon 🙂

 

NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS:

Dr Wayne DyerI’m not really one for making resolutions for New Year, but at this time I do like to reflect back on the past few months and take stock. Like many of you, I’m sure, this has been a great year, but also a bummer of a year. I lost two very great and dear friends: Dr. Wayne Dyer, a motivational force in my life, and Richard Anthony Eyre, an old school friend.

Richard Eyre
Richard Eyre 1970 – 2015

They will both be missed.

 

On the upside, I’ve met and made numerous new friends, mostly in the film and TV industry. Another positive to the year: I’m very excited at the great progress I’ve made since April of breaking back into the acting world again. A short film I starred in landed at Cannes, thanks to the wonderful director Miho Sugita. I finally got an agent! And I have two new film scripts doing the rounds. It’s almost as if my life has come full circle and I’ve arrived back where I was before I left sixteen years ago!

On the writing front, my books continue to sell – Thank you all for that! Although I feel a little lazy at not having completed ALL the new books I had planned to publish this year, they are still in the works and WILL BE published in 2016. How about that for positive thinking?!

Talking of positive thinking, it’s been wonderful to connect with some old friends (Tony Wilson, and Trevor Oakland, to name just two!) from the distant past and indulge my other passion for self-development and motivation. When there’s something you just can’t help yourself from doing, then that’s a good sign you should be doing it (if it’s positive in nature!)

 

Did I Give Enough, Live Enough, Laugh Enough, and Love Enough…?

When I reflect back on this year, there’s one question I ask myself, and that’s written above. I have certainly laughed a lot this year, thanks to new friends, Stephen, Jo, Louise, Helen, Ness, Rachael, and Darryl. Did I give enough…? I’m sure I could have given more, but within my financial constraints I think I gave as much as I could monetarily, on a personal level, definitely! As far as living enough, I don’t think there’s much more this little chap could have crammed into the last 12 months. I always consider myself as lazy, but then look at what I’ve managed to do and wonder why I keep thinking that! And then there’s love… ah, that sweet, alusive thing… As far as giving my love away, that has been joyously done over the year. More on a platonic level than romantic, but there is always hope…! I’m sure, somewhere out there, there is a young lady that has the patience to put up with my ‘insanity’.

Well, if you’ve read this far, I commend you. What a ramble! Here are the links to my free books. Enjoy! Share! And for all of you I have not yet wished a very Merry Christmas and a superb New Year, that was it.

FREE BOOKS:

Click on the book cover to take you to the amazon link for the book (sorry, these are US links. You’ll have to transfer to the country link you need!)

Rainbows New CoverWHEN THE RAINBOW SMILED

A delighful, powerful short read accompanied by 19 exceptional watercolour paintings. Peace, love, harmony and balance.

 

 

The Shepherd Cover ArtTHE SHEPHERD

A new age parable about connecting and listening to your heart. Let the Shepherd guide you to where you should be in life.

 

 

 

cockroach coverTHE COCKROACH CHRONICLES

Can we learn about ourselves from probably one of the most detested creatures on the planet? Find out through a series of ten letters this brave, little thing writes back to those at home fighting the Eternal War…

 

 

49q cover49Q? THE ENIGMA CONTINUES

Not an easy read this one, I’ll give you that. This is an experimental novel, part of a trilogy, a film, and a musical album that never quite made it off the ground. Read at your peril, is all I say… It almost drove me mad writing it, but it’s full of philosophy, ridiculousness, and mischief. It’ll make sense once you’ve read it!

 

Remember, if you download a copy, please leave a rating and review, thank you very much!

MERRY CHRISTMAS ONE AND ALL,

AND A VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR!

WIN Free Headshots & Coaching Session for Actors

Do you need to renew your headshots?

Would you like some great coaching to help put you on the right path to success in your acting career?

Acting Wings bannerThis is a unique opportunity to do both in one three hour session on July 20th, 2015, with top photographer Vanessa Champion and Lifestyle Architecture (TM) coach Anthony Donnelly. In addition to all the benefits you’ll get listed below, every participant has the opportunity to WIN their session for FREE, just as our way of saying thank you and giving something extra back.

What You’ll Get:

• 10 Great Headshots (£250 value)
• x2-3 costume changes
• Strategic Life Coaching (£250 value)
• The ‘Business’ of Acting Briefing
• Strengths & Opportunities Analysis (£100 value)
• The Success Action Plan
• Peer Networking


TOTAL VALUE: £600.00

ALL this for ONLY £100.00 per attendee…!!!

 

For further details and booking information follow the links below:

EVENTBRITE BOOKING PAGE

FACEBOOK EVENT PAGE

Have Fun In London: Bullshit London Comedy Walking Tours

London is so vast, so fascinating, so full of life and things to observe. London is an experience. London is ever changing and evolving. In a way it’s like being at a cultural ‘all you can eat’ buffet…! Where do you start? Which bit do you see first? Well, having now experienced a Bullshit London Tour firsthand last night, I can safely say this would be a great appetizer for anyone new to London, AND anyone that’s lived here their whole life.

I wonder which one's the tour guide...?
I wonder which one’s the tour guide…?

I arrived early at the front of St. Paul’s Cathedral where the tour kicks off every Thursday at 7pm, and just as the website says, the tour guide was VERY easy to spot. Quite a crowd had gathered for the first tour of their 2015 season – about 30+ ‘grown-ups’ looking for a good time and some serious BS. From what I could make out, the crowd consisted of a few couples and a large group of office workers adding a touch of originality to a leaving party. Many were already in quite high spirits, and adult beverages aren’t frowned upon (as long as you drink responsibly).

After a quick head count to ensure nobody will be left behind and the ‘legalities’ are taken care of (you’ll have to take a tour to find out what that’s all about!) the tour quickly jumps into high gear and the BS starts flowing like a Monsoon river in the rainy season! Some of the comedy is intellectual, but still very accessible to those without an Ox-bridge education, but mostly it is sharp, edgy, and downright silly, with the participants having to dodge the odd pun or two!

Reuben Williams isn't afraid to improvise.
Reuben Williams isn’t afraid to improvise.

The tour trips along at quite a pace, and Reuben Williams (the creator of Bullshit London back in 2013 and the main tour guide) keeps the narrative lively and the group buzzing. Before you know it you are discovering ridiculous facts about The Roman Renaissance Movement of the 1800s… the new Russian Quarter of London… tales of the London Mermaid… and the spot where Queen Victoria exploded… amongst other things!

Taking about two hours to complete, it’s a good job for the drinkers that there’s a halfway stopping point and ‘toilet break’ location en route. This also allows the crowd to familiarize themselves with each other, chat about the jokes and gags, and generally allow their minds to soak in all the Bull.

For those readers that know nothing of Bullshit London Tours, I should add a little word of explanation at this stage before you get completely lost. These aren’t your average, boring city tours with a stuffy, old historian-type guide who knows it all and loves the sound of his own voice… no sir, no indeed… this is more a walk on the wild side… the type of tour of the cool kids on the block that want ‘in’ on what’s really going on. If you’re the kind of person that never gets invited to parties, or hear about things after the fact, you probably won’t even be reading this, let alone go on a tour! As their website (www.bullshitlondon.com) states they will show you “the kind of London that would have happened if Monty Python had been elected Queen.” The landmarks are real, but the facts about them are completely made up.

In three years, Williams has managed to grow quite a cult following, and the tours get bigger and bigger each year. The participants range from stag nights and office parties, to Australian tourists, along with locals just out for a bit of fun. When I asked him the largest group he’d ever taken round, he said it was close to 60 people for a special event. Confident, charismatic, and well versed in BS, Williams is the perfect host for a fun night out in London.

I certainly got my tenner’s worth of bullshit last night and have a thoroughly brilliant night.