Surviving the collapse of the World Trade Center,
McKenzie immediately launched a website promoting the need for unity,
www.vigilancevoice.com. Its primary purpose, he says, is to teach
the world of parents-to-be, parents, children, adults, corporations
and grandparents that vigilance begins with bonding with the world
family, other individuals as well as with nature.
“The greatest legacy a person
can create with another person of any age is to go to the source of
human existence and touch the heart of civilization’s birth.
Africa is such a place,” McKenzie says. “It is the birthmother
of the secrets to the beginnings of humanity. Time is frozen in Africa’s
great heart. It comes to life in a lion’s roar, or an elephant’s
trumpet, or the graceful leaping of a gazelle.”
McKenzie’s goal through his African
articles is to establish not just a desire to see Africa as a tourist,
but to visit the continent with the thirst of a pioneer, bent on mapping
out and presenting to others a journey they must enjoy to complete
their own sense of oneness with nature and the world at large.”
He claims the worst form of terrorism
is ignorance. By widening the scope of a person’s view of this
magnificent earth and its peoples, places and things, the less desire
there is to destroy, maim or harm others, he advocates.
“I stress in each article that
individuals who go to Africa do so to create an African Legacy,”
he notes. “That legacy is a promise to themselves that they
will bring other family members and friends back for a second, third,
fourth experience. The more global respect for life, the greater harmony
there is for everyone,” he adds.
McKenzie doesn’t limit the African
legacy to just people with children.
“A young couple, for example,
on a honeymoon to Africa can easily make a vow to bring their future
children to see this great land. A retired couple touring Africa can
go beyond their own pleasure and commit to bringing their grandchildren
face-to-face with the beauty of an African sunset, or share with them
a stroll through a Maasai village, or revel with them as lions and
elephants are spotted on a game drive. The bonding between people
sharing such an event, regardless of age, is indefinable.”
McKenzie greeting newscaster
Walter Cronkite at press conference in New York City.
McKenzie notes that Walt Disney
designed his “magic kingdom” on the principle of sharing.
“More than half the people who
return to visit Disneyland bring a guest with them with one sole purpose—to
watch the excitement and awe in their eyes when they see Disneyland
for the first time. Africa is more than just an experience in awe.
It is a jaw-dropping experience that every man, woman and child should
lock into their memory. If more people made a vow to create a safari
legacy, the eyes of the world would widen and shrink many existing
blind spots that can lead to trouble.”
On his two-week article scouting trip
to Africa this March, McKenzie intends to interview and write stories
about a wide variety of what he terms African Legacy Ambassadors—the
guides, hotel managers, employees, and limitless batteries of support
systems--designed to make any African traveler’s breath stop
“I have been in contact with quite
a number of safari companies and safari lodges,” he said. “Everyone
I’ve contacted exudes a love for Africa that is hard to capture
in words. It can best be termed with the words love of, or love for
their land. I intend to tell the story of the urgency of an African
Legacy through their eyes and hearts.”
McKenzie hopes to urge each of the safari
lodges to issue travelers a Safari Legacy Certificate. “I’m
creating a website and offering to companies and safari lodges ideas
to individualize the safari legacy in their own way. Promoting their
company or lodge is key to any good marketing, but the overall promotion
is to get the traveler to commit to future trips with family and friends.”
McKenzie’s range of readership
climbs up and down the economic pole.
“As a freelancer, I have the luxury to write for a wide variety
of publications. Some have very rich readers who can easily spend
thousands of dollars a night for a luxury safari lodge,” he
noted. “I also have venues for the average income publication,
and the more general circulation that has mass appeal,” he adds.
“Whether rich or moderate income,
I believe readers understand the importance of creating a legacy.
I’m poking at my readers to veer from other vacation choices
and steer them to Africa. The safari legacy is the great venue for
this. It offers the greatest price-value ratio.”
|McKenzie greeting President Ronald Reagan
at national convention in early 1980.
McKenzie has more
than his fair share of experience at insuring good ideas become
legendary. After the war in Vietnam, he freelanced for a number
of years for various magazines and newspapers, and then elected
to join the business world to better support his family.
He rose rapidly up the corporate ranks
and became, before the age of 40, the senior vice president of marketing
for Century 21 International Real Estate, a multi-national company
generating more than $50 billion U.S. in residential sales. Warren
Buffet’s daughter, Susan, was his executive secretary.
He left the company in 1980 after
it was purchased by Trans World Corporation and launched his own
international franchise marketing consulting company. He assisted
major companies penetrate markets in Asia and Europe, as well as
others in North America.
A bout with colon cancer in the early
1990’s changed his life.
“I survived cancer and took
a look at my life,” he said. “My first love was always
writing. Caner changed my lifestyle completely. I got off the fast
corporate make-all-the-money-you-can-as-fast-as-you-can track. It
was tough giving up all the things you accumulate when you’re
financially successful. But cancer set me on a new course. It made
me realize the importance not of my life, but of the life of my
children and grandchildren. It made me aware that a great legacy
is about sharing vast, monumental experiences with others, especially
those you love.”
When his wife was stricken with breast cancer a few years later,
the couple decided to move from their ocean-view home in Dana Point,
California to the crowded cacophony of the East Village.
“You could fit our apartment
in New York into our California master bathroom,” he jokes.
“But the desire to be near our grandchildren was the best
chemotherapy in the world.”
“I started to think about the
importance of the family legacy, of creating a deep well from which
all children could drink the wisdom of past generations to enrich
their current one. I was writing about ways one generation can bond
itself to the next when Nine Eleven happened. I then realized the
importance of acting on a legacy building plan.”
The heart of McKenzie’s vigilancevoice.com
website was about generational family responsibility.
“As a writer,” he says,
“I believe the true message for peace versus war, or prosperity
over poverty, or happiness versus sadness, begins and ends with
a rich, well-rounded viewpoint of the family. A family that believes
in protecting the world from harm won’t allow injustices to
occur without a fight for what’s right. And the more families
commit to a Family Vigilance Legacy, the less strife and more prosperity
will exist for all,” he affirms.
“The African Family Legacy is
a big step in making a commitment to peace and harmony around the
world,” he says. “Going to Africa is not a vacation.
The word safari translates to a journey, a trek into the true meaning
of life. Once exposed to this meaning, one’s life decisions
cannot be shallow, selfish, self-centered. Africa opens the door
to the ultimate evolution of people,” McKenzie states.
His planned series of articles
on Africa and its legacy value to people are small drops in a big
bucket of purpose, he says.
The African wild, McKenzie claims,
is an example of the world’s peaceful unity in a natural setting.
Creatures of all types and kinds co-exist in pristine habitats,
he notes. “Balance and harmony rule the African animal kingdom,”
“We can all take a lesson from
the land and use it in our life, in our business, in our cultures.
Africa poses questions such as how can so many creatures of so many
different kinds all exist in one land? When we study Africa’s
answer to this question and apply the answer to our world, we’ll
have a new form of peace and prosperity.”
There are obstacles McKenzie plans
on paving with well-chosen words and well-placed articles. One is
the cost of going to Africa and the other is the image many people
of Africa in state of strife.
“I’m amazed at the reasonable
costs of traveling to Africa,” he said. “I’m sure
the public has no idea you can go on a safari in Africa for less
than $100 a day—economy of course. As well, you can range
upwards of the $1,000-a-night luxury lodgings.”
McKenzie estimates a trip to Africa comes within close range of
a couple of trips to Disneyland.
“I was pushing the pencil around
and noted that a legacy safari rivals the economics of two Disneyland
trips. I thought about the price valuation of viewing someone dressed
in a Mickey Mouse costume versus watching a lion or elephant in
the wild from a safari Land Rover. Or, the value of walking through
a Maasai village versus a mechanical hippo rising out of the Jungle
Cruise. Or, of seeing a real zebra or giraffe grazing in the Serengeti
compared to Winnie The Poo weaving in and out of hundreds of tourists
on a hot summer day in Orlando. I couldn’t imagine anyone
creating a Disneyland legacy.”
McKenzie isn’t just focused
on the family vacation to create an African Safari Legacy.
“Take a couple who are thinking about a cruise to Alaska or
a jaunt through Europe. For the same price, they can enjoy a monumental
experience in Africa that cannot be compared to or likened to any
other journey. They will be at the heart of existence, traveling
in a frozen land of timeless beauty. Everyone’s first real
vacation should be to Africa, and every other destination should
take second place.”
McKenzie plans on promoting the value
of the Corporate African Legacy also.
“An executive taking his or her team on a corporate safari
to create a Corporate Business Legacy, will find the results phenomenal,”
he affirms. “All great companies are competitive, and no other
place on earth allows first-hand experience on competition and harmony
He notes from his own experience that the great corporate team works
together to achieve common goals.
“A pride of lions does exactly
the same,” he says. “How does a pride of lions achieve
spectacular results? What causes their members to fail? What corporate
lessons can one can learn from eons of African wildlife existence?
Company CEO’s will find the Corporate Safari Legacy a wonderful
way to sharpen business teams competitive skills”
The second issue McKenzie hopes to
limit as an obstacle to visiting Africa is the image of security
and personal safety.
“People need perspective,”
he said. “I felt very safe in New York City until the attack
of Nine Eleven. People around the world must realize the dangers
of traveling to Africa are no more or less than walking across the
street in their own neighborhood.”
He understands that the news media
promotes the squalor and poverty of Africa rather than its beauty
“In a way, I’m hoping
to establish a public relations counter balance to the news that
often shrouds Africa in a state of strife. I know this isn’t
true. It amazes me that the magic of Africa has been squeezed out
by headlines that often discourage travelers. I believe with dogged
promotion of the African Family Legacy theme, the world public will
realize the only real danger and risk is in not going to this great
McKenzie says he’s planning
on developing a website on the family legacy safari, replete with
information and stories on why everyone should create their own
African Family Legacy.
“Life is short,” he attests,
and the greatest value we have is passing on treasures to other
generations. No value or treasure can compete with going to Africa
and seeing it first hand. Parents, grandparents, cousins, brothers,
sisters, husbands need to go to Africa and then say to everyone
they meet: ‘Our family is an African Legacy! Yours Can Be