Hello! Shalom! Saludos! Kia ora! Talofa lava! Malo e lelei! Aloha! Ia Orana! Bonjour! Namaste! And a heartfelt “nice to meet you,” in your language, from our hearts to yours, in this time of necessary interdependence.
We are Mariana and Zion, mother and son. We are a Jewish American family from California hoping to visit New Zealand due to Covid-19, growing Anti Semitism in California and the United States, and for a safe harbor in perilous times. We believe New Zealand is the ideal place to be safe during this time, when our own state and country is not, and where we can deepen the research we began five years ago about the powerful and wise Island Nations of Oceania. We have great admiration for New Zealand and the values and actions it demonstrates to the world, and yearn to give and receive from the people there.
Zion is nine, and has traveled to 21 countries so far. Mariana stopped counting countries visited, and began counting the ones she never knew existed, many in the South Pacific. Catalyzed by a book Zion gave her for Hanukkah in 2016 that changed her life, The Travel Book: A Journey through Every Country in the World, in 2017 Dr. Caplan look a much-delayed and deeply desired maternity leave and they began their journeys into the South Pacific guided by Lonely Planet, Trip Advisor, and X Days in Y. In Oceania they have visited New Zealand, Vanuatu, Tonga, Samoa, Fiji, and French Polynesia. They are excited to visit the Solomon Islands, Niue, Kiribati, Nauru, and Tuvalu next, and return to document wise friends and the extraordinary natural landscapes and seascapes in the Tonga, Samoa, and French Polynesia, and to know New Zealand and its land and people. We are supported by a team of multi-media professionals, researchers, politically active people, children, and lovers of life from around the world.
We hope to continue to be guided by Lonely Planet founders Maureen and Tony Wheeler and The Planet Wheeler Foundation. The Foundation’s primary areas of focus include: Health, Education, Human Rights, and Climate change, with funding mostly allocated to Southeast Asian, East and West Africa, Nepal and Afghanistan. We are long-time allies of the Nepal Youth Foundation and its revolutionary founder, Elder Olga Murray. Mariana is currently a Special Advisor to the Association of Spiritual Integrity.
I, Mariana Caplan, am an author, humanitarian, consultant, cultural anthropologist, psychologist, yoga teacher, and former professor at The California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS) in San Francisco. You can find my books and current programs, and many free resources, at RealSpiritualityInternational.com. My current passion is to offer this new project in love and service, to be the best mother and family member I can be, and to find safety and inspiration where we are received and can contribute. We will document, write, learn from, connect and play with, and support the people of the Pacific Island Nations on their own terms. We will then share that with North, Central, and South Americans, Europeans, Israelis, and the Jewish community and Immigrants everywhere, in English and Spanish (hablo Español), and other languages with your help. I have loved nature since I was a child, as does Zion, and for my “second half of life” I want and need to give back to the Earth and the Ocean for my son, his siblings in Israel and their children, my nieces and nephews in the United States and Cambodia, and all children. I want to share soccer and yoga freely with all who wish to partake, as I believe both are effective tools for international peacemaking, and excellent vehicles for health, well-being, and thriving, whatever the circumstance may be. Both are free, and can be enjoyed at all ages and stages of life, and yoga can be practiced lifelong at all ages and stages, in sickness and in health. (For more see Yoga & Psyche International.)
Zion, age 9, LOVES Football/Soccer, is a humble but wise, bright and playful, and loves the earth and Her people. He is always down for a great adventure, knows what it means to help and give back, and plays with children and adults everywhere we go, especially if they are down for a good game of football. There is always a ball our suitcase, usually several!
YOU are our new friends, colleagues, and teachers, and those who wish to join us on this great and necessary work. You are of every age, ethnic, spiritual, and/or religious background, or many of them, like we are. We don’t care what you look like as long as you are kind. We are united in our love and respect for earth, ocean, sky, wind, fire, and the raging volcanoes that give rise and fall to oceans everywhere. We love our own and all children and grandchildren, and seek to protect the unprotected people and lands everywhere. If we can’t talk, let’s play soccer/football, or do yoga on the beach, a field, or online with me, and be soccer Moms, Dads, Aunties, and Uncles together. We stand for women and children everywhere. We hope you will continue to welcome us into your hearts and homes as we gain your trust. We will give back all we are able to, always holding in our awareness, hearts, and bodies our future generations.
To read Mariana’s CV, please click here.
Thank you, in advance, with folded hands and flowers,
Mariana Caplan, PhD, and Zion Caplan-Gafni (age 9)