On’s first trip to Spain, we came home salivating from the cuisine, as well as the adrenaline rush of this special week that included amazing tourist adventures, rare meetings with world changers and world-class service. Many thanks to Mind Valley for hosting this event and to Marisa Peer for being the first to invite us to join this historic annual journey.

Here are’s TOP 10 MOMENTS IN SPAIN (and unedited images for effect):

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10. Meeting 26-time world-record holder and endurance/pain specialist Wim Hof. This man has lived a life of challenging the limitations of human capacity. He currently baffles science and laughs about it. So refreshing to here is honesty on stage. If he visits your area, take the time to meet Wim. He is a special combination between a Guiness World Record live demonstration and a visit to the Improv!

9. The varied architecture, historic buildings and castles around Barcelona are too numerous to count. But adventure hunters are invited to chase them all down, including the Gaudi masterpieces. Feel free to start and finish The Magic Fountain in Montjüic where the nightly water fountain show borders on surreal. It was created for the 1929 International Exposition by famed engineer Carles Buigas.

8. Checking out the 3-story, marble Apple Store in Barcelona was a kick. Apple architects are always sharpening their store appearances. In this rendition, the glass/marble look (maybe its plexiglass and PVC, but it looked great) keeps visitors engaged.

7. The sculptures and water fountains in Barcelona are among the best the UDPhotos team has ever witnessed. Dancing waves that change color in perfect sequence often attracts crowds in the thousands. When you visit, don’t miss these highlights.

6. The beaches of Barcelona bring to mind the mellow atmosphere and physically-fit nature of a Southern California beach. Volleyball, biking, roller blading, running and fit bodies of all ages were plentiful. The water was clear although as loaded with Atlantic Ocean saltwater. The beach sand was a little coarse, but easy to enjoy. Also the beach we visited was clothing optional. 

5. Meal to Live For: The cuisine in Spain is flavorful and diverse. We stayed at a Crown Plaza Hotel, which hosted the event and included two restaurants: A bar and a full restaurant we could not seem to coordinate schedules with. On our final night, we enjoyed a 5-star dinner highlighted by beef tenderloined cooked in salt.

4. Main Meal to Live For: We joined about 25 other people at a dinner at a special location on Saturday night after listening to Marisa Peer talk. At the restaurant, we were exposed to a variety of Spanish delicacies like baby octupus, but the main course of beef was so flavorful and tender, it left most of us speechless. And that is a rare quality for a roomful of ambitious leaders! Best food we found in Barcelona, and we logged numerous Top 20 dining experiences this time.;

3. After watching dozens of Vishen Lakhiani videos on, I was searching for an opportunity to see him in person, and this trip brought three of my favorite speakers together at one time. Vishen founded Mind Valley ( several years ago and has partnered with numerous of the world’s elite personal improvement speakers. His book, The Code of the Extraordinary Mind, is an eye-opener to the way most of us were taught when we were younger. On stage as in his book, Vishen cites research and facts while challenging everyone to test the rules they live by daily, which may be holding them back.

2. Famous hyponotherapist Marisa Peer ( made me an offer I simply could not refuse. Having seriously considered flying to England to train with her in recent months, her invitation email regarding the Barcelona event arrived at a key moment. And we enjoyed the opportunity to eat a meal and ask for personal advice from Marisa. Marisa has been a counseling sensation for years for her Rapid Transformational Therapy (RTT) method, which she has used on television programs to solve serious problems in rapid fire for celebrities. Marisa is a trendsetter in her industry and the author of numerous books, including the best seller Ultimate Confidence. She holds the key to happiness for millions of us.

1. The spontaneous conversation my wife and I had in March as this trip originated with the announcement of a rare live convergence of authors and speakers at the very top of my must-see list. Marisa Peer’s signup email arrived, announcing a 3-day event only in Barcelona, Spain in June. I called Suzie and asked if she wanted to go to Europe for the first time for an early anniversary trip. Fortunately she said yes.



(A present-tense tale from June 22). 

Today we soar above eagles, hawks and giants. Though frightened, we step onto the cloudtops as if propelled by God’s right hand. It is not a smooth journey as our chariot rides the rickety rails toward heaven’s destination.

Today we walk on the wings of Cindy, June’s tropical storm that washed the Gulf Coast clean. The shades of gray range from drab only to dull near the terrain. Sunny days are not the norm until you clear the storm horizon. However later today we will touch down where Blue Jays play, where winter dominates and where french lessons are free.

But tonight’s slumber takes us on a magical mystery tour beyond the Fab Four, beyond the channel and south of the tower. From this aerial arc against the clock, we will settle near a perfect sunrise on the shores of the great sea that touches the founding countries so often discussed in history books: Egypt and Italy.

As I spy Evansville, Bloomington and brickyard, my heart flashes to a fallen family member who was in many ways my twin cousin. Victoria and I were nearly the same age and shared amazing summers together with my brothers and her sister. Despite a variety of ages, Victoria and I, the youngest pups of our generation, blended well with the teens and their troubles. 

Because of our parents and grandparents in nearby Richmond, Indiana, our generation thrived on outdoor events, including family baseball, tennis, golf, hide-and-seek and the famous strawberry picking expedition that Aunt Mert organized for us. Among those I love dearly in the Samuels family, Aunt Mert holds a special place because of her selfless attitude and consistent generousity.

My love for Gordon, Mert and their wonderous daughters, Susie and Victoria, may never bring back the loss of my twin. But love continues to pour out to them because of the love and quality they have displayed in good times and bad. Victoria’s unexpected death on Aug. 3, 2014, broke my heart and left my soul crying for months. She remains a Samuels legend who will be praised and missed forever. 

My apologies for not being in your daily life at that time, Vickie. I so wish I could have given you the missing ingredient to win that day. In my mind, you and our grandmother Lucille Samuels held many common characteristics, including a boldness, inner strength and massive skill set. Your spirit lives on in your outstanding sister, Susie, and many others in our family. They now pursue goals with you in mind. May they be blessed and reach their goals and dreams.


After this, our rocket ship continued northeast over the scrappy towns of Marion, Anderson and Muncie, all of which hold stature in the lore of Indiana history. Muncie Central High School has been a powerhouse athletic program and probably won more basketball championships than any other school in the Hoosier state.

Marion is rumored to the sacred site when this tiny farm town defeated Muncie Central and many larger basketball powers some 60+ years ago in a tale that eventually became the movie Hoosiers. And Anderson is famous not for its roundball footnotes, but for the birth of my brother.

But it is the home of the Red Devils that calls me home, and I will return soon to share my love and hope with the great elders who settled along Route 66 and farther east to Dayton. Though this industrial town calls me home, I must resist for now to chase Spain’s golden legacy.

By late afternoon, Blue Jay country reigns me in as we refuel for an overnight puddle jump. The maple capital regales us with superb culinary samples, delivered in a crowded box unable to contain my traveling co-horts. A new friend from Alabama gladly how his home in Huntsville had grown into another Silicon Valley, thanks to NASA and its enormous contractor base.

The night was spent spiraling ng into dusk and midnight’s darkest hour over the Atlantic fishery. Six hours of cruising toward a single goal despite the formless waves and islands. By dawn’s birth, french vineyards gave testimony to another productive season. The oranges and yellows of the day’s stunning arrival shocks the sleepy-eyed laggard lumbering through the night unprepared for the dawn’s knock.

Finally Spain’s homeland comes into view, and we set our sights near the Mediterranean coast and the history built of stone architectural masterpieces dating to the birth of Jesus Christ. With a kick of the gear and a call to idle the engine after nearly 7.5 hours of cutting a hole at 32,000 feet, we step on terra firma once more, eager to start the journey of life, death and flight.

And we completed day one with a step onto Barcelona’s precision soil, home to soccer legend Lionel Messi, history and the home of grand, new type of education founded this year. More on that soon.


In June 1967, The Beatles already owned rock music and had captivated the ears and hearts of millions.

Of the four tremendous musicians in The Beatles, Paul McCartney and John Lennon had already penned more than 100 original songs to establish the Lennon-McCartney byline as the most successful singer-songwriter combination. The Beatles broke sales records, attendance records and dominated the scene even before appearing in America in February 1964.

But what the quartet released to the public in 1967 is still regarded by many as the ultimate musical album of all time. It further scared and perhaps scarred adults raised on Jimmy Dorsey and Frank Sinatra. After all, rock-n-roll was not accepted by the majority of those age 30+ at the time.

However the release on June 1, 1967 of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band altered the scene for musicians, fans, haters/doubters and lovers of swing music. This new theme album changed the music world and inspired greatness from future legendary artists like The Electric Light Orchestra (ELO), Heart, Tom Petty and many others.

Led by Jeff Lynne, ELO released albums blending entire orchestras and classic rock guitars and drums. After The Beatle breakup, ELO became the one of a handful of rock groups that successfully created complex compositions involving string sections and a rock-n-roll beat.

Sgt. Pepper also influenced the legends of the day, pushing them to reach for greater heights in writing and performances. The Beach Boys, The Who, even Elvis, responded to the album that Sgt. Pepper and the boys used set a gold standard some 50 years ago today.

While many award-winning albums have arrived since then, listening to Sgt. Pepper again brings back smile as the album tells a connected story from one song to the next. It was a rare commodity then, and it remains the most challenging feat for a singer/songwriter to execute today.

Another key element to Sgt. Pepper that separated it from the hundreds of quality musical groups in the 1960s was the use of a vast series of instruments from around the globe. George Harrison had brought in sounds from Asia that America and probably European audiences were unfamiliar with.

The diverse, eclectic yet grand orchestration of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band can also be attributed to the grand master producer himself, the fifth Beatle, George Martin. Martin helped these four musical maestros present each song to its full impact, and Martin came from a classical music background.

His contribution earned him many titles and honors, but when Paul McCartney called Martin “a second father,” well, that is about as good as it gets in the music business. Martin was in the right place at the right time and signed the boys when other companies would not.

The rest was collaboration — and musical history that still rings true today.