Saturday, November 21, 2015

Help & Hope For Pine Ridge Reservation

I first heard about the situation in Pine Ridge reservation a few years ago while watching Diane Sawyer profiling the tragic issue of teen (and even more tragically pre-teen) suicide there. If you don't know the stats, they are mind boggling. 
The Oglala Lakota Sioux Indian reservation in Pine Ridge, South Dakota is one of if not the poorest area in the entire United States. On the reservation it is reported that:
- Average annual per-capita income is estimated at just $4,000 annually.
- Unemployment is over 80% and it’s estimated that over half live below the poverty line.
- Teen (and even pre-teen) suicide is estimated to be four times the national rate.
- They have the second lowest life expectancy in the Western Hemisphere (second only to Haiti).
- Diabetes is eight times (and infant mortality three times) the U.S. rate.
- There is a massive housing crisis with multiple families often crammed into small mobile homes, many without running water or adequate sewage.
Upon seeing the piece by Diane Sawyer, I pledged then and there that if ever I was able to help the people on the reservation, I would. Finally, during the 4th of July holiday weekend of 2015, I visited Pine Ridge to produce an episode of Raw Travel entitled "Pine Ridge - Tribal Tourism" and my life has never been the same.
Nothing that specifically extraordinary happened to me on that trip. I simply met regular folks from the reservation who were kind and hospitable to me, a total stranger. But I was very impressed by their resiliency in the face of difficult circumstances. I was equally impressed by the large number of locals, transplants and volunteers working to help make the situation on Pine Ridge better, especially for Lakota Youth.  I can think of no better way to inspire young people to believe in themselves than to allow them to explore the innate creativity present in all human beings.

I was made aware of the lack of creative outlets by youth on the reservation when I interviewed the local band "ScatterTheir Own" where Scotti & Julianna informed me that no music schools existed on the entire reservation. After interviewing the folks at Red Cloud School I thought a good way to help would be to assist their efforts to expand their after school clubs program.
I hope we can work with some talented musicians, filmmakers and other artists and entrepreneurs to visit the reservation and speak to the youth on a consistent basis. I’d also like to try to create a small film school. Who knows where, if anywhere this will lead but I do know that to do nothing, is in essence choosing to endorse the status quo, and that I cannot do. Whatever we can contribute, big or small it will help.

Even though this fundraising effort kicks off to coordinate with our Raw Travel - Pine Ridge / Tribal Tourism debut, it will be an ongoing effort and will continue as long as there is interest in helping Pine Ridge help themselves. For me this already is an ongoing cause I've pretty much resigned to be dedicated to until either things improve drastically or I die, whichever comes first.

There are several ways you can help. You can simply visit the reservation or donate via our crowdfunding effort or purchase the "Still Here.. Still Proud" T-shirts and/or forthcoming special edition Pine Ridge Extended Cut DVD. Or if you prefer, you can find a plethora of deserving organizations on the reservation to donate or volunteer like our pals at Red Cloud School or Re-Member. 

With your help, they I'm confident things can and will get better. For more information on Raw Travel - Pine Ridge and to donate please go to or for other ways you may choose to help then click the “How To Help” link at which will be updated as time goes on.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015


AIM Tell-A-Vision Group /

-  Nation’s #1 Most-Watched Authentic Adventure Travel Series Continues Big Growth Spurt - 

NEW YORK, NY:  September 30th, 2015 - AIM Tell-A-Vision® Group (AIM TV) announced today that the syndicated television series Raw Travel® will debut its 3rd season this weekend in over 140 cities representing 91% of the U.S. and over 103 million homes. Season 3 indicates another big growth spurt for the series with almost twice the distribution from its premiere two years ago.  

The show now firmly ranks as the #1 most watched authentic travel series in the United States, beating all comers on cable, broadcast and digital, ranking in the top 10 compared to cable nets on weekends for key demographics. Season 3 will see the addition of over 25 new cities, including all top 50 markets and 95 of the largest 100 cities in the U.S. almost guaranteeing continued audience growth.

Raw Travel’s momentum was demonstrated this past August, typically a low point for television viewing, when the show saw its highest audience to date. On back-to-back weeks viewers tuned in to more than double the previous year’s audience levels.  

International viewers are also getting a taste of Raw Travel with outlets in Europe, Asia, Africa as well as other key territories which are licensing the series and sharing the Raw Travel movement with viewers.

Raw Travel’s upcoming episodes showcase authentic and alternative sides of popular destinations such as Southeast Asia, kicking off with Foodtastic Philippines and then a road trip to the Great North American Western Frontier with stops in New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, Wyoming and South Dakota, and later showcasing the natural beauty of Norway.

One of the highlights of Season 3 is an emotional journey to the Oglala Lakota Sioux Reservation in Pine Ridge, South Dakota. The Pine Ridge Reservation is the 2nd poorest county in the United States and an area plagued by the lowest life expectancy in the Western Hemisphere, rampant teen suicide and substance abuse. The Producers visited Pine Ridge during the 4th of July U.S. Independence Day weekend and discovered reasons for optimism and hope among the heartbreak. Raw Travel Pine Ridge – Tribal Tourism will premiere in late November.
“This ride has been wildly more successful than even I could have imagined or hoped. I’m often humbled to the point of tears by the generosity of spirit I’m encountering in my travels. I’m grateful every day for the opportunity to share this journey with the world and hopefully be able to offer inspiration for others to embark on life changing adventures of their own,” states Robert G. Rose, Executive Producer and Host.

Raw Travel is an adventure travel and lifestyle series showcasing the rapidly growing wave of socially and environmentally aware, independent travel. The series weaves together themes of ecotourism, voluntourism (giving back) with underground music and authentic culture in a way unique to U.S. television. More information can be found at and viewers can visit for a complete listing of cities, affiliates and time slots in the U.S.
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AIM TV is an independent content, production and distribution company founded by media executive and entrepreneur Robert G. Rose. AIM TV aspires to produce and distribute positive, compelling content that reflects its mission of presenting Media That Matters. Visit and for more information. 

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Live TV Shooting Hits Home..

The "Live TV Shooting" tragedy in Roanoke, VA has hit home. WDBJ is our new affiliate for Season 3 beginning October 3rd.

I very easily could have been on their morning show to chat up Raw Travel, as I've done in so many cities on so many morning shows. Ironically they were filming a segment on local tourism.

I don't wish to add to the cacophony of opinion of "what is wrong" with our country except to say this.. If you think travel to other countries is dangerous.. consider this..

I lived in Colombia in 2011 and was struck by the # of Colombians, who'd commented to me how they perceived the U.S. a dangerous, violent nation. They would tick off the growing litany of high profile and mass shootings as examples of why they feared travel to the U.S. Many said stated they preferred go elsewhere or stay home... in Colombia.. where things are safer.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Animal Cruelty, Authentic Culture & Raw Travel

After posting on Instagram a photo of an elephant to promote our Laos episode, someone posted a sarcastic comment about the elephant enjoying “the rope around its neck and the chair on its back”.
What I did not post and I suppose should have, was an explanation that we discuss the treatment of elephants in Laos and other parts of Southeast Asia in the episode. We talk about ways travelers can make a difference in their sometimes cruel treatment. In fact, that is the entire reason our friends, the elephants, were included in the episode.  They provided an “organic” entree to make the point that elephants in Southeast Asia, especially in Thailand, are sometimes drugged, beaten, etc. into submission for the amusement of “tourists”.
We had tried desperately to shoot at elephant sanctuaries in both Laos and Thailand but either the timing was off or they were too strapped for resources to accommodate us or just didn’t bother to email us back.
After an exchange back and forth on instagram, the commentator said she was a fan of Raw Travel but was “against animal cruelty”. I bet if you ask 10 people, 9.8 out of 10, myself included, will say they too are against animal cruelty.
But this exchange did get me to thinking. Why are we so quick in the West to jump to conclusions and lecture the rest of the world on how they should live? Why should people in the wealthiest economy in the world be able to tell people in one of the poorest what they should and should not be doing? Is it right to do so? I honestly don’t know.
Read the rest of the post HERE

Monday, May 4, 2015

Manny Lost the Fight.. But Manila Wins My Heart

The fight of the century featuring Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather was a disappointment to most. No surprise there. Anything that hyped, with that much money at stake is bound to disappoint.
Which is why I love to travel to under hyped destinations, even places that people would never think to visit. Manila, Philippines is one of those cities and if you go in with low expectations (as we did) you are bound to be rewarded with an unexpected experience that could have you raving about the place.
The Philippines are a group of over 1,200 islands with some of the most stunning landscapes and beaches in the world and this is why most people visit.
Read the rest of the article HERE

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Volountourism vs. Disaster Capitalism

I'm sure you've heard about Nepal by now. Perhaps you saw the Vice HBO report about the travesty of donations in Haiti and like me, thought twice about giving. I understand the hesitation but the reality is disaster relief does mostly work. It's the long term US Aid that is rife with corruption. Here are further thoughts about Voluntourism vs. Disaster Capitalism 

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Estranged Wife Believed Killed By Beverly Hills Celebrity Fitness Trainer Identified « CBS Los Angeles

I hesitate to post this cause I know it's kind of exploitation but mostly because no one knows what really went down. But I knew the victim, at one time very well and while I met her husband just once briefly, I summarized he was a jackass, pure & simple right away. Trust your instincts Rob, I keep re-learning this over and over.

But I never would have expected him to be such a coward or a murderer. I don't need to know the details to pass judgement on this horrific act.

I post this because I'm angry, frustrated and want to issue, for whatever it's worth, a call to all decent people to stand up to cowards, bullies, losers, all the relatively few pathetic people that drag the vast majority of decent folks (like Jen) down.

Whether it's V. Putin or ISIS or a cowardly murderer who is not satisfied to end his own miserable life but must bring others down with him (others physically weaker than him).

A few months ago, in a rough part of Brooklyn but in broad daylight, I saw a kid getting verbally abused by his thug of a "father" who was removing his belt and shouting to a visibly scared 5 or 6 year old boy. I tried to intervene and the guy came at me. I backed down and I regret it. My only hope is maybe I deferred the out of control anger and provided an outlet that at least delayed the kids inevitable physical abuse.

The guy could have had a gun. He looked like a gang banger, whatever that means I know. But his actions backed up his look, as a violent thug who, lacking a suitable outlet was willing to take it out on his own flesh and blood, a kid who had no shot of defending himself. I regret I didn't see the confrontation through. Yes, it could have ended badly for me, but now I'm haunted by my inaction.

To stand by and do nothing is to be guilty and complicit. I don't know what else to do for my now deceased friend Jen, so I'll post this. and hope it may inspire a righteous indignation that the next time you (or I) see a bit of injustice, big or small.. you (and I) will DO something. RIP Jen.

Estranged Wife Believed Killed By Beverly Hills Celebrity Fitness Trainer Identified « CBS Los Angeles