Sunday, November 6, 2016

Free Child Slaves in Haiti

Freedom House is featured on Raw Travel 406 - Port Au Prince. They are a U.S. supported charity helping to free poverty stricken "restaveks" (child slaves).
A restavek is a child that has been given to another family as a servant in hopes to have their basic needs met. If you see the segment, you will see how incredible these children are now that they are surrounded by love. Freedom House is not a huge bureaucratic organization with a lot of waste.
They are small and grassroots and just the kind of organization we like to shine the light on.
If you are so moved after seeing this weekend's episode and would like to help Freedom House rescue more children, you can donate and support HERE.
A little goes a long way in Haiti, so no amount is too small.

Thursday, October 13, 2016


-  Nat Geo People Asia Picks up Hit Travel Series from the U.S. -

New York, NY – October 13th, 2016 - AIM Tell-A-Vision® Group (AIM TV) announced today that Nat Geo People recently acquired Asian territorial rights to certain episodes of their production, Raw Travel®, the U.S.A.’S #1 most watched syndicated adventure travel & lifestyle series. The series began broadcasting on Nat Geo People in a variety of Asian territories earlier last month.

The announcement is just the latest in a string of licensing deals from Raw Travel’s international distributor Off the Fence Distribution, who has also inked several other deals for the series in territories in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and on a variety of airlines the past several months.
Off the Fence is responsible for licensing Raw Travel (58 x 30’) to media outlets outside of the United States and represents the show at global television markets, including the upcoming market MIPCOM later this month.

Raw Travel is a 30 minute adventure travel & lifestyle series that incorporates two of the fastest growing segments of travel: eco-tourism & voluntourism. The fast paced show focuses on authentic experiences to often off-the-beaten-path destinations as well as other more mainstream destinations. The show recently debuted its 4th season in U.S. Syndication in the United States in 159 cities representing over 93% of U.S. television households.

“We are excited about working with Nat Geo People in Asia and in continuing to work with Off the Fence to expand our international audience even as our U.S. fan base continues to expand” stated Robert G. Rose, Executive Producer and Host. “Raw Travel’s unique perspective and positive message of socially consciousness living among an inclusive worldwide community resonates with global audiences. We are eager to welcome our new viewers and friends from across the globe and let them know we are proud to be citizens of the world with them.”

Visit  and for more information. 

Tuesday, May 24, 2016


AIM Tell-A-Vision Group / Punk Outlaw Records

- Punk Outlaw Records Signs African Band in Futile Bid to Become P. Diddy of Punk -

NEW YORK, NY, May 25th 2016 AIM Tell-A-Vision® Group’s Punk Outlaw® Records announced the signing of their first band from the African continent with Half Price. Hailing from musical hot spot Cape Town, South Africa, Half Price has been rocking the African music scene for over 15 years. The band has toured extensively in South Africa and until now U.S. audiences had yet to hear their potent sound or explore African punk music in general. A concept that’s kind of nuts because when thinking of punk music, one automatically thinks of Africa.   

Featuring powerful rock hooks channeling Ozzy Osbourne, AC-DC, NOFX, Rancid, Offspring and several other bands you’ve probably never heard of, Half Price’s music adds just a touch of Ska and Reggae for songs that have razor sharp lyrics ranging from bitingly serious (corruption, inequality, H.I.V., etc.) to fall down funny (people borrowing and ruining your stuff, partying with friends and family, etc.).

The quartet that make up Half Price have been more focused on having a good time than exporting their raw, yet somehow simultaneously slick sounds to U.S. shores.  However, when veteran indie TV producer and Punk Outlaw Records owner, Robert G. Rose, was in South Africa filming his popular and rapidly growing international television series, Raw Travel®, Rose insisted on meeting the band. He subsequently tricked them into playing his favorite songs over and over while pretending to film them for “Raw Travel - Incredible Cape Town”.

Rose later signed Half Price because he was so impressed by their comradery and level of musicianship. The band also plied him with a huge wad of South African currency, which looked like a ton of money at the time, but turned out to be worth just $6 U.S. Dollars. But a deal is a deal, so Rose worked with the band to curate 16 songs from Half Price’s hefty repertoire and the result is “Straight Outta (South) Africa”, the album debuting on all the major digital sites including iTunes, Google Music, Amazon Music, CD Baby, and more.

Full, as well as instrumental only, versions of songs from the band will also be featured on Raw Travel’s upcoming Season 4 sound track debuting October 2016. Visit to hear Half Price’s music, see videos and find out more info on the band.  For information on Cape Town or South Africa, Google or Wikipedia is probably best.   

Half Price’s Cape Town, South Africa based members are: Homo Pete supplying main vocals and guitar, Emo Mawk on guitar and back-up vocals, Kyle "The Machine" on drums, The DFG playing bass guitar and backing vocals as well as some other crazy Africans on various tracks.

“Half Price is one of the most talented bands I’ve come across in all my travels, so I want to bring their music stateside. I don’t know if it will be well-received, but to be honest I don’t really care.” Robert Rose stated. “It’s more about staying true to what you believe in and I believe in Half Price. I also believe messages put forth in this collection of songs will ring true to fans as well.”
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Since 2001, Half Price has caused havoc in South African music circles. Their unique style of punk rock has been accumulating followers and detractors in equal amounts. They’ve been banned from various venues and have had their applications to festivals burned. Yet, like a bakkie (a South African 4 wheel drive truck) careening out of control, they’ve been bravely plowing forward refusing to back down. They claim to be 90% politically incorrect and 10% politically incompetent. The distinct backgrounds underlying the Half Price social movement has resulted in a truly unique style of music, which is both rocking and catchy.

Half Price has been spreading their high octane, and dangerously infectious party punk rock, touring extensively in Southern Africa and Europe. This relentless touring schedule has solidified a core following around South Africa. Half Price strictly adheres to a “We do what we want, when we want, how we want” ethos and is a mantra that their fans agree with and completely endorse. To listen to samples form the release “Straight Outta’ (South) Africa” please visit

Punk Outlaw Records is a digital record label and publishing company with a focus on distribution and promotion of socially conscious punk, ska, reggae, rockabilly and psychobilly and other music forms from around the world. The label’s mission is to facilitate music’s ability to bring social awareness and change to some of the world’s most pressing issues.  

Raw Travel is an adventure travel and lifestyle television series currently heading into its 4th season airing in over 150 U.S. Cities (93% of the U.S.) via broadcast affiliates (Fox, CBS, ABC, NBC, CW, My, etc.), in a dozen or so territories and on a variety of outlets internationally in Europe, Africa, Asia and more.  Raw Travel showcases 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 television. More information can be found at and viewers are encouraged to visit their Facebook page at and for updates on complete listing of cities, affiliates and time slots in the U.S.
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.

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Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Belgium Bombings

We were on layover at Brussels Airport when filming Eastern Europe in Season 2 of Raw Travel. I distinctly remember how very polite & nice airport personnel and staff at Brussels airlines were. I was so moved by their hospitality, I actually wrote a letter telling them so AND they actually responded back in kind. Today I'm saddened by the images and I hope and pray for their well being. 

Now get ready, because much of our national media is going to tell you that travel is unsafe. They are pedaling fear as usual, because fear gets ratings. But they are wrong. Staying home, locked in a comfortable existence while everyone else is living their lives is not living. The odds are in your favor. While travel is unpredictable and occasionally uncomfortable, it's safer than driving down the road for a carton of milk or commuting to school or engaging in the work place. 

Don't let fear and misguided media messages stop you. See the world, warts and all. It's an amazing place MOST of the time.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Finally Africa - Johannesburg, South Africa

This was my first trip to the fabled continent of Africa so I figured what better country to begin than the so called "Gateway" to the continent, South Africa.  Less official nicknames for South Africa include "Africa Light" or "The Livable Africa". I get a chuckle out of those because after later visiting Ghana, I realized it's kind of true.

Johannesburg, South Africa or Joburg as the locals refer to it, is the largest city in South Africa and it's the commercial center but it's definitely not why most tourists come to South Africa. That would be Cape Town, the safaris and wildlife at places like Kruger National Park or perhaps the beaches of Durban.

This is precisely why we wanted to dig deeper into Johannesburg.  I firmly believe that in every destination, there is a Raw Travel episode waiting to be teased out, probably several actually. This includes the well-traveled spots (i.e. New Orleans, Prague, Costa Rica, etc.... let's show another side of it) and the more off-the-beaten-path destinations (i.e. Bratislava, Honduras, Laos, etc....let's show why this place deserves to be visited).

I wasn't sure what to expect in Johannesburg but two words were on my mind... "gritty" and "dangerous". I couldn't have been more wrong.

Media reports are wildly subjective and I've found, inaccurate. Yet another reason to visit and see it for myself.

The definition of "dangerous" is so relative it's nearly impossible to define anymore. There is war zone danger and there is everyday danger.

I believe NYC with its rash of random stabbings could very well justly be perceived as dangerous, yet I've lived here going on 20 years and never had more than a handful of issues that could have easily been avoided and where I came to no harm.

Which is why, I do some research ahead of time and consult not the news media or U.S. government web sites but travel blogs, social media and other travelers before I go.
Turns out Johannesburg WAS dangerous.... 10 years ago.

Well, since I'm not traveling back in time, Johannesburg needed an update and I intended to do my best to see what was up in this city and this included hitting up the "dangerous" townships and neighborhoods where "poverty" exists.

Granted we were going with guides and granted, I probably would not have gone to these particular spots by myself at night with expensive camera equipment but that is just because I had no reason to, not because I perceived any danger whatsoever at any point. I'd like to think after 50 or so countries my "danger radar" is getting pretty fine-tuned and it ran silent the entire time. That doesn't happen everywhere. 

The reality is, that in the 3 township tours that we took... Alexandra, Soweto and Hillbrow... I found absolutely zero reason to be concerned and I felt 100% welcomed and almost, I hesitate to say it, but beloved.

I don't know how else to describe the warmth of feeling when total strangers stop you in the street to hug you.. when kids wave and jump as you pass by and others wildly jump in your arms to give you a big hug and a kiss on the cheek and clap and sing and basically are so full of goodness, and lack of cynicism that I am still emotional typing these words weeks after my visit.

Perhaps I should not have been surprised in a land where the likes of Nelson Mandela and his legacy still loom so large. Madeba is beloved here and it's infectious.   
But beloved is the word I feel and thus what I will use.

My annoyance quickly faded to true affection for the Joburg Tourism folks and their staffers after they left us hanging at the Joburg airport waiting for a ride for well over an hour (after a 19 hour flight from NYC and after confirming numerous times beforehand that a driver would be meeting us at the airport when we landed). Severely jet lagged, exhausted and facing 16 days of a brutal work and travel schedule with little sleep ahead normally puts me in a somewhat surly mood.

From our driver, now my pal, Mndeni at Zeigen Tours and Rendani at Joburg Tourism and the rest of the crew like our local cameraman Mike Bell (one of the most talented and professional I've ever worked with), to Jimmy, a local guide who tagged along... to the dozens of other folks we met on the ground at the different filming locations... their spirit of friendliness and lack of guile completely extracted any negative thoughts or anger issues from my mind. 

But how can they be so happy and joyful? 

This was after all where Apartheid reigned up until just a few years ago. I mean in the U.S. we went through our Civil Rights period in the 1960s and today it seems, if you believe the media at least, race relations are as bad as ever.

Yet in South Africa where apartheid reigned until as recently as the mid-1990s, this was a place that, in my short time there I observed, was so lacking in bitterness and pessimistic thinking, even in the poorest of areas, that I couldn't help but think "what are we in the U.S. doing wrong?"

Perhaps it's an unfair comparison, but still... one has to be impressed with the way South Africa and Joburgers in particular have embraced their history. They are not ashamed of it. In fact they almost seem to celebrate it, proud that they found reconciliation or so it seemed to me. Now granted an outsider in town for a very limited amount of time but this is how I saw it.  

Yes, apartheid was a travesty of human relations and people died and were severely mistreated for many, many years but as Madeba instructed through his own extreme example of forgiveness, it appears to have been relegated to the past by most and almost everyone we met seemed focused on the present... a loving and more caring present and an hopeful, optimistic future. 

Of course there are problems (we witnessed 3 car accidents in our short time there). Of course there is inequality (we stayed at some extremely nice hotels courtesy of our pals at Joburg Tourism and yes, I enjoyed it while the Townships we visited are super raw). Yes, there is a massive difference between the wants and needs of the wealthy vs. the everyday folks living in the townships but there is no way it could be described as a hotbed of danger, divisiveness and crime as I'd allowed myself to subconsciously believe through erroneous reports.  

Johannesburg is lovely. It's big, traffic is tough sometimes and it's spread out, but it's a place I'd gladly return.

But even if it were a hellhole, I'd still go back to be with the people. Because I cannot emphasize this enough, it's the PEOPLE who put the heart into a place and it’s the people of Johannesburg I will always remember.

Thank you Joburg for not treating me like a walking ATM... as an outsider or interloper or exploiter... but instead as a fellow human being.

Raw Travel Episode #313 - "We Heart Johannesburg" will premiere in the U.S. April 30th and May 1st in the U.S. Click HERE for tune in info. For more photos from our travels to Joburg go HERE. 

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Half Price Band - A Good Deal in South Africa

Half Price

I've heard a lot of punk bands in my life... from all over the world. From Asia to Latin America to Russia, Europe and the U.S. and I've heard some really good (and yes, some not so good) punk, ska, reggae, rockabilly & psychobilly music.
But on my very first trip to the continent of Africa I may have stumbled one of the best and mostly unheralded punk bands I've ever heard, a band based in Cape Town, South Africa called " Half Price". South Africa is known for good music, period.

As I write this, Mos Def is in the middle of a legal proceeding there for overstaying his visa. He wishes to continue to live there full time. For good reason. The musical influences there are amazing and we heard great music pretty much the entire trip (including a hell of a Rastafarian, reggae sound from a legendary band in Johannesburg called "Tidal Waves".. but more on them later).


The punk scene in South Africa is apparently larger than you might think, but in a way this makes sense. There is a backdrop of Apartheid, Segregation, HIV infections, corruption, immigration, extreme poverty, environmental catastrophes and other social justice issues are not quiet 100% in the rear view mirror (unlike Americans, to me South Africans openly discuss these matters largely without walking on egg shells or the threat of violence or resorting to political shouting matches). Of course I was only in South Africa for around 10 days, so any impressions I have on the country must be countered against that information. But I didn't need much time to know that Half Price IS the real deal when it comes to Punk Music.

They are buttoned up by musician standards.. showing up on time (well, ok, just to prove this was a punk band still, the lead singer sauntered in over an hour late but he had a good excuse, he recently had a daughter and had fatherly duties), a cracker jack manager who was 100% organized. While being on time and having a manager who actually does stuff may not be a big deal in places like Western or Northern Europe, this is Africa, where even though we had arranged days in advance, we had to wait for over an hour for a ride from the airport to our hotel after a 19 hour, little sleep flight from the U.S..


But we don't often judge bands by their punctuality or management capabilities, we judge them by their music and that's where "Half Price" really shines.

Once I could tear my ears away from the highly addictive single "Break Out" and give the rest of their catalog a good listen, I realized just how good (and in your face funny) these guys are. They are like NOFX combined with Rancid with their alternating hilarious, tongue in cheek songs sitting side by side with very serious issues (the aforementioned subjects of segregation and HIV). Ska and Reggae play a heavy influence on many of their tunes and I dig it, but I REALLY dig even more the straight ahead punk sound of "Break Out" and "We're Still Playing Punk". DSC_0023

I'm including below a video of their "Break Out" tune rehearsed in studio with us and recorded on my iphone (hear the studio recorded version on their FB Page) and "Half Price" playing live at the Jolly Roger in Cape Town with "We're Still Playing Punk" Do yourself a favor and head over to their facebook page and give these guys a listen.

Their sound cleans up nice in the studio and in the very off chance you happen to not like what you hear, just remember, it's only "Half Price" so it's always a good deal. in See our interview with Half Price on U.S. television in Late April or Early May on Raw Travel TV. Visit our Facebook Page or for updates.