Nomad Living – Part 1

Four months ago I packed my shiny new Bronco to the gills and departed California on a beautiful sunny morning (of course). On my way to Texas, with no particular city in mind or specific travel map in place except for my one goal: to find a place to live within a month. Just the right amount of time to visit and explore at least a dozen major cities along the way.

You may call it a long road trip, but I call it Nomad Living. Nomad as in “a member of a people who have no fixed residence but move from place to place”. And that would be me.

The good news is I love to explore and have since adapted to the inconveniences of not having a fixed residence – trust me, there are many. Plus, nomad living is never boring because you’re always scrambling to familiarize yourself with the plethora of unknowns. Until you eventually land and get the lay of the land, like I did in Plano for a few months and where I also produced my podcast, Tola Talks Texas. Opinionated and oftentimes political for sure, and be sure to check out my two favorite episodes Ep 8 – Suicide Sucks and Ep 20 – Never Live in Fear.

Then it was back on the road, again, this time desiring to spend quality time with my father who’s battling liver cancer as well as revisit some old friends and haunts in Las Vegas and of course, my formerly beloved LA. Not to mention a bunch more cities along the way.

All told I’ve driven 12,000 miles in 120 days while heartily visiting the following 30 cities: Yuma, Phoenix, Scottsdale, Tuscon, Tempe, Chandler, Gilbert, Flagstaff, Sedona, Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Las Vegas, Henderson, Summerlin, Boulder City, Amarillo, El Paso, San Antonio, Corpus Christi, Waco, Fort Worth, Dallas, Denton, Frisco, Plano, Needles, Riverside, Pasadena, LA and most recently, San Diego – as I write this I’m curiously exploring the boatloads of amazing neighborhoods and beaches of SD!

Have an awesome weekend and keep moving forward with your goals and dreams everyone…and get your workout in! Peace – R

RIP and Defeat the Madness – Ep 19 – Tola Talks Texas

Today the magic numbers are 2 and 4, that is to say, we’re giving two RIP shout outs to rock and comedy legends, Meat Loaf and Louie Anderson, plus there’s only two (or maybe four) more episodes of Tola Talks Texas. We’re also talking about the four NFL teams left in the playoffs after their super close games this weekend – 49ers, Rams, Bengals and Chiefs – plus the top four stories including kudos to tennis champion, Martina Navratilova, for her comments regarding China’s Peng Shuai, as well as kudos to the peaceful protesters in the Defeat the Madness rally on Washington, DC. And no worries if you’re getting crushed with your stocks or cryptocurrency holdings (like I am). Because it’s a blood bath out there that’s bound to rebound. But hey, what do I know.

Have an awesome Monday everyone, and get your workout in!

Top Stories of 2021 – Ep 6 – Tola Talks Texas

Today we’re talking about finishing the year strong as well as assessing your goals, successes and failures in 2021. Because it’s always best to acknowledge your small victories in the war when it comes to your personal, family, business and “Universe” lives. We also countdown the Top 10 Stories of the Year, plus my own Top 5 Highlights as well as my entertainment goals for 2022 including making the short film, All Mixed Up, plus a more lofty one…working with Noomi Rapace. She’s the six time award winning lead actress in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo trilogy (I highly recommend watching all three films on Crackle). Not to mention more talk about working out and drinking from the Fountain of Youth and of course, my predictions for where Robinhood’s seven cryptocurrencies are headed in the New Year. Stay safe and sound and perhaps even sober tonight everyone (like me)…and get your workout in! Peace – R

Homeless in America – Ep 4 – Tola Talks Texas

Today we’re talking about the 580,000+ homeless people in America, most of those individual males and the rest single moms with children. That’s way too many, and with the help of those of us who are not homeless – including my bodybuilding idol from 1979 and seven time Mr. Olympia champion, Arnold Schwarzenegger, we need to end this epidemic now. Plus a special RIP shout-out to Man’s World Gym owner and mentor from my childhood, Joe Dodd, as well as the legendary football coach turned world-class TV broadcaster, John Madden. Not to mention more weightlifting tips from my workout today, and of course, some inspiring talk about holding the line when it comes to your cryptocurrencies…like I’m doing, even as they plunge even further.

Merry Christmas & Welcome to Tola Talks Texas!

Our first episode on Christmas day is a special one: we’re talking about my own religion of Tolism based on the foundation that Health = Wealth with your temple as your most important asset; the history of Texas and why it’s better than California; the overall grading of the Biden Administration including the pandemic vs. epidemics; COVID and fear mongering; investing in blue chip stocks and trading all seven cryptocurrencies on Robinhood; former presidents George Washington, Donald Trump and JFK; LeBron James, Fox Nation and Paulina Porizkova as a role model who drinks from the Fountain of Youth; plus my love of films including the Swedish version of The Girl who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest.

Goodbye California…Hello Texas

When I told my buddy I wasn’t vaccinated and was never getting the jab, he said, “Then it’s either Texas or Florida if you want to lead a normal life.”

Normal life, as in freely or being allowed by law, including going to the gym, nail salon, movie theatre, shopping mall or any bar or restaurant in the city. Talk about a quintessential What-The-Fcuk. I mean, one of our nation’s greatest Presidents and spokesperson for democracy, Thomas Jefferson, would roll over in his grave with such “tyranny over the mind of man” exhibited by today’s government officials.

Because in my book the COVID mandates of Los Angeles are not only ridiculous and unjust, they’re also a form of tyranny or “arbitrary or unrestrained exercise of power”, as defined by the dictionary. Most importantly, these mandates prevent me from living a so-called normal life, which includes working out every single day plus walking 10+ miles a day since COVID began. Not to mention I’m at my ideal weight with less than 10% body fat, a blood pressure of 110 over 60, plus a great bill of health from my doctor. Oh yeah, I’ll be 59 in March and I’ve never taken a daily pill in my entire life – medicine or supplement. And don’t forget I wrote the book on How to Drink from the Fountain of Youth: 30 Steps to Everlasting Youth. So why do I need to inject myself with something that isn’t necessary? Forgettaboutit.

So there you have it California, you leave me no choice but to leave you after 15 glorious years. Albeit, it’s more like you kicked me out after 15 hard-working and dream chasing years.

Here I come Texas, with my new horsepower and anything is possible attitude. And no worries to anyone who thinks like I do and remains committed to living a fearless and vaccine-free life, all the while treating your most valuable asset, aka your Temple, with the utmost respect.

Happy Veterans Day everyone…and get your workout in! Peace – R

PS – new live stream podcast Coming Soon

The Year I Walked from LA to Venezuela

by Rich Tola, July 21, 2021

If anyone told you they walked 4,000 miles in the past 12 months you’d probably think they were crazy right? Because walking 4,000 miles is the equivalent to walking from the hot and sunny confines of The Valley of Los Angeles, California, to the balmy and tropical valley of Caracas, Venezuela. And yes, it’s totally possible as you can walk across the Panama Canal by way of a pedestrian walkway across the entrance of the locks of Gatun, so no worries if you want to follow my footsteps to get there. Figuratively speaking, that is.

Let me explain.

I didn’t actually pull a Forrest Gump and wake up one day and start walking south through Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama and Columbia before arriving in the capital of Venezuela one year later. No, but wouldn’t that be cool. I actually walked the entire 4,000 miles throughout the streets of LA, from my home in Chinatown going back and forth to a plethora of neighborhoods including DTLA, South Park, the Arts District, Lincoln Heights, Boyle Heights, Little Tokyo, Echo Park and yes, Dodger Stadium. 

Walking the empty streets of LA during COVID (4,000 miles)

From June 1, 2020 until June 1, 2021, I walked between 10-12 miles every single day as part of my personal COVID relief. Or shall I say, personal COVID insanity prevention. Because when the lockdowns in LA were imposed back in March 2020 and all the gyms and yoga studios were closed, my daily walking meditations became my only savior. The longer the better, and mostly in perfect quietude with no human interaction whatsoever. Except for the occasional homeless person, who seemed even more surprised to see an even less occasional pedestrian. LA was like a veritable ghost town where I can honestly say I felt like the legendary actor Will Smith, aka US Army virologist Robert Neville, cruising the empty streets of Manhattan in the 2007 post-apocalyptic thriller, I Am Legend

For anyone who knows me, you know that I can’t go a single freaking day without exercising in some form or another, e.g., weightlifting, Tola Yoga, stretching/abs. Good news is for as long as I can remember I was taught that your physical body, aka your temple, is the most important asset you’re ever going to possess in this world. And to respect your temple with a daily fitness program that keeps it vibrant and strong and injury-free, is paramount to maintaining a healthy lifestyle as well as turning back the hands of time. 

Something I’ve also been doing for the past 58 years. Drinking from the Fountain of Youth, that is, and yes, something that’s rather challenging to achieve – especially as you get older – but something anyone can do with the help of my 30 Steps to Everlasting Youth. Including Step 20 – Walk to Win, arguably the most important step of all because walking is a perfect source of aerobic exercise not to mention it does wonders for your brain.

That’s right, walking is great for your brain. Just this week the New York Times reported that “Exercise can freshen and renovate the white matter in our brains, potentially improving our ability to think and remember as we age, according to a new study of walking, dancing and brain matter. It shows that white matter, which connects and supports the cells in our brains, remodels itself when people become more physically active. In those who remain sedentary, on the other hand, white matter tends to fray and shrink.”

Fray and shrink just like everything else in our bodies with the help of good ole’ Father Time. Forgettaboutit! Don’t let the world’s most non-beloved Father get the best of you…get with the program now. Translation: start walking today. Or else stay seated and wait for your brain matter to wither away, and hopefully not before your temple does. And if you don’t care so much about improving or at least maintaining your ability to think and remember things as you age, then do it for your family. That’s right, start walking today and bring a loved one along so they can reap the amazing benefits of walking. You can even bring your dog Spot or cat Fluffy if none of your human friends desire to capitalize on such a great opportunity. I’m sure your pets won’t complain, and if they do, then pick them up and carry them for an even better workout. 

Just remember to bring water. And if walking to improve your white brain matter doesn’t really matter to you, then maybe these “12 Benefits of Walking” as described by the Arthritis Foundation will motivate you (see arthritis.org):

  1. Improve circulation
  2. Shore up your bones
  3. Enjoy a longer life
  4. Lighten your mood
  5. Lose weight
  6. Strengthen muscles
  7. Improve sleep
  8. Support your joints
  9. Improve your breath
  10. Slow mental decline
  11. Lower Alzheimer’s risk
  12. Do more for longer

So there you have it, 12 more reasons to walk every single day of your life (or at least 3 times a week for 40 minutes). If you’re capable that is, because not everyone is fortunate enough to walk. But if you can, don’t deny your body, mind and spirit these amazing benefits by choosing a sedentary lifestyle that’s only going to shorten your stay on Planet Earth.

And by the way, in case you were wondering what it’s like to walk 4,000 miles in a 12 month period, let’s just say it may do wonders for your brain but it sure takes a toll on the physical body, especially the low back, hips and knees. But what’s interesting about the routine of walking nearly 100 miles a week is that once your body gets used to it, it’s not only easy to maintain but it almost becomes a daily obsession that you can’t do without. Even with all the aches and pains that come along with it, during and after.

Would I recommend walking that many miles in any given year? No. But I do recommend walking 1-2 miles a day for the rest of their life, no matter who you are. And if you need some help try this: walk out your front door and keep walking for exactly 15 minutes, at a brisk pace with good posture, then stop, turn around, and come back. Voila! 2 miles in about 30 minutes. You can do it, especially if you live in LA or Venezuela or anywhere with a beautiful climate. Or just brave the rain and snow like I did in Chicago and Seattle. But then again you might say it’s summertime in the northern hemisphere and just like DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince rapped back in Philly circa 1991, “Summer, summer, summertime, Time to sit back and unwind.”

No doubt unwinding can be a good thing, especially to decompress from our busy lives. But when it comes to your health, walking is something anyone can incorporate into their current lifestyle. And should incorporate, based upon all the goodness it brings. Especially in today’s new normal world of working from home, there should be ample opportunity in your day to lace’em up Rocky style and kick the bricks, as I like to say. I hope you do, your temple will love you for it. 

Have an awesome summer everyone, and get your walking in! Peace – R

Step it Up…When We’re Down

I don’t know about you, but I’ve definitely been stepping it up with a few projects about to bloom, even during these “up-and-down-again” pandemic times. Gotta do it. Keep moving forward that is, when you have the time to make good use of your time, with actions and small victories.

With our recent setback, feels like a swimmer on the starting block who takes off only to be whistled back for a false start. I should know, I swam competitively as a child and for two years in high school, and no doubt getting called back sucks. That’s right, and it goes like this; you make a great start off the block, or so you think – and hope – the official didn’t catch you leaving early, then your heart skips a beat when you hear that whistle blow and you know it’s you. Now you swim back, pull yourself outta the pool, pull yourself together, then get set again. But this time you’re a little more cautious so you don’t get another false-start, and thus, get knocked outta the race.

Tola Talks is coming back in August!

Sound familiar?

For those of us in LA and anyone else who’s been told to lockdown – yet again – that swimmer is us. But we gotta stay positive and keep rockin’ our worlds.

No matter what.

And rather than bore you with my June Exercise Report Card – as you can imagine, it’s the same as the two months prior with some actual gym time in there, albeit not nearly enough, I’ve also been getting ready to publish my next book (woohoo!) as well as re-launch Tola Talks (podcast + on youtube.com/tolatalks).

We’re just two weeks away from the R &R, release and relaunch, so I won’t give any more away other than my next book is about Everlasting Youth and is definitely a one-of-a-kind creation. And the talk show is, well, ditto.

Have an awesome July everyone, and get your workout in! Peace – R

A Decade to Remember

Rich Tola – Filmmaker | Author | Creator, Tola Yoga

Since my childhood summers playing baseball at Nottingham Little League, I’ve been taught that the best hitters always perform in the late innings. So finish strong everyone, and have a happy and safe holiday season!

I also hope this decade has been as good to you as it has me, as this marks my most amazing one yet beginning with my film, Boulevard Zen. Exactly 10 years ago this week we premiered at the Silent Movie Theater in Hollywood. Thanks to everyone who supported me, i.e., watched or read or listened to any of my creations since the film. And a special thanks for taking my Tola Yoga classes.

No doubt I’ve built an awesome foundation in developing and producing original content as well as successfully crossing the finish line – on time and on budget – more than 15 times. Not to mention teaching my modern-day fitness style of yoga to more than 20,000 students throughout the US.

Looking forward to the next 10. Peace – R

Rich Tola productions this decade:

“Skate like a bat outta hell”

Hey everyone, we just released Skateboard Bandits on YouTube and Vimeo.

It’s a 12 minute character-driven thriller about a band of skateboarders who conspire to take revenge into their own hands – the second time around – and risk life and limb to rob a bank. We filmed all 18 scenes in one day, throughout the streets of LA.

Looking forward to releasing my next short narrative, Zen Diaries: The Lockdown, coming this November.

Peace – R