America

Che and Jack Agree. It's All About Movement.

I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel's sake. The great affair is to move. -Robert Louis Stevenson

In the last two years, I read two books I found interesting (though not astounding) by two men with fetishes for movement. I found their stories ones I would only enjoy vicariously, but I definitely related to their desires to be on the road. Reading both of these at times I was myself on the move, maybe this is why they resonated.

Today, I wanted to highlight some of of their passages. Please welcome Che Guevara and Jack Kerouac.

Che Guevara on Movement

[The following are excerpts from Che's Motorcycle Diaries.]

It is there, in the final moments, for people whose farthest horizon has always been tomorrow, that one comprehends the profound tragedy circumscribing the life of the proletariat the world over.

Before Ernesto (a.k.a. Che) was conducting guerilla warfare across Latin America, he was motoring across it as a spry 23 year-old with a passion to move. This passion, as I recall reading this on my Big Journey, was the catalyst for his narratives as well as their downfall. While some of his adventures were exciting and exotic, some of his daily jottings were as thrilling as, "We drove all day Tuesday and found a little place connected to a restaurant to crash for the night. The next day we got up and fixed La Poderosa and rode all day until we found another place to sleep." Riveting.

There we understood that our vocation, our true vocation, was to move for eternity along the roads and seas of the world.

The real appeal for me was the idea of jetting across an expansive and diverse continent like South America. He crossed the Andes, met up with the Amazon River, and drank his mate in between long excursions on the open road.

What we had in common - our restlessness, our impassioned spirits, and a love for the open road.

Ernesto blazed these numerous trails with his friend Alberto Granado, but unsurprisingly, he met many people along the way with which to relate his impulses. While on my own excursions, I've often pondered the connective thread between all wandering souls, and though I think it's got to be more detailed and profound than his above description, I think Che is onto something.

What do we leave behind when we cross each frontier? Each moment seems split in two; melancholy for what was left behind and the excitement of entering a new land.

Are we that move the ones most lost or most in tune with the nomadic nature of man?

Jack Kerouac on Movement

[The following are excerpts from Jack's On The Road.]

We were all delighted, we all realized we were leaving confusion and nonsense behind and performing our one noble function of the time, move. (Part 2, Ch. 6)

This is word-jazz, a book that makes the classics list and calls for a straight-through reading session. This novel was more favorable to me when I read more pages in one sitting, because it has a flow, almost like reading Virginia Woolf for its realtime, stream of consciousness rhythm. Just as Jack rode stripes across the continent, he blazed through his own narrative, moving faster than his headlights.

Why think about that when all the golden land's ahead of you and all kinds of unforeseen events wait lurking to surprise you and make you glad you're alive to see? (Part 2, Ch. 6)

I admire Kerouac’s drive to find an honest and original form of expression, just like Van Gogh. For me, that’s what makes this book a classic.

What is that feeling when you're driving away from people and they recede on the plain till you see their specks dispersing? — it's the too-huge world vaulting us, and it's good-by. But we lean forward to the next crazy venture beneath the skies. (Part 2, Ch. 8 )

Reading this novel while on the World Traveler Intern, his descriptions like the one above made so much sense. I couldn't process the speed and activity of each day, but I kept leaning forward awaiting the next day. It was about a whirlwind, not the simple digestion of one experience.

They have worries, they're counting the miles, they're thinking about where to sleep tonight, how much money for gas, the weather, how they'll get there--and all the time they'll get there anyway, you see. (Part 3, Ch. 5)

Profound, Jack.

Our battered suitcases were were piled on the sidewalk again; we had longer ways to go. But no matter, the road is life. (Part 3, Ch. 5)

Jack was impassioned by the constant change. I think my brain starts to trip around when I think of a stretch of road as symbolic of far more than the pavement ahead.

What's your road, man?--holyboy road, madman road, rainbow road, guppy road, any road. It's an anywhere road for anybody anyhow. (Part 4, Ch. 1)

Though Jack's antics and tendencies went against the accepted norm in America at the time, his passion to do so was very American of him, buzzing around the country "nutty with independence."

Behind us lay the whole of America and everything Dean and I had previously known about life, and life on the road. We had finally found the magic land at the end of the road and we never dreamed the extent of the magic. (Part 4, Ch. 5)

Any lasting thoughts from you on movement and the road? Are you a fan of movement for movement's sake, or are you the anti-Kerouac/Guevara? Does this method of living and traveling make little sense to you? Let's get conceptual here.

A Paucity of Postings

You may have noticed an obvious drop-off in the amount of writings and videos I've created for the website in the last couple months. And this is why:

I'm on Vacation

Hilton Head with the Family

Hilton Head with the Family

Since the 3rd of September, I've been on the road with my family and will continue to be until the middle of the month. We drove from Indianapolis to the Atlantic Ocean and have been doing what we Clarks do best: turning into leather bags on the beach/poolside/bar-side. Especially now that I'm in preliminary brainstorming sessions about an eventual relocation, I really appreciate the family time and seeing my niece learn words like "yesh" (a la Michael Scott) and try her foot at walking.

The Mexico Series is Almost Complete

If I'm not eating, sleeping, or throwing my niece in the air, I'm working on the blogs, videos, and photographs for our Mexico series, to be launched on the 27th of this month. The challenge of creating videos complex enough for 12th graders but comprehensible for 3rd graders has been a big one to overcome, especially in cases of history and warfare, when we don't have History Channel-like reenactments or stock footage to use. When it's between paid work that I love and unpaid work that I love (a.k.a. this site), I'm sure you can understand why my allegiances are attracted to one side.

I'm Redesigning Nomadderwhere

Nomadderwhere.com

Nomadderwhere.com

On September 23rd, thanks to the help of Jenn Vargas, I'm launching the redesign for Nomadderwhere, one year after launching my newly self-hosted site. Because my use of Nomadderwhere is evolving in a very specific direction, I need my site to reflect this change. The content will be geared toward a specific reader, because to try and please everyone is a recipe for failure and exhaustion.

My Best Friend's Having a Baby

Our parents were friends in high school. We were neighbors throughout childhood. We've been friends since our infant years. My friend Hayley is having a baby, and I'm going to be wholly distracted by this addition to the Wabash community.

September is proving to be a busy month, and I'm not getting the opportunities I normally do to create for personal reasons. As I evolve toward the new design on the 23rd, I'll be condensing my posting schedule to be solely about quality than quantity. If you have any suggestions or comments on this move, please send them my way.

I thought it was due time to give you an update. I'm still dedicated to this little property of mine, and it's about to get a lot better.

Travel Pals, China, and the Quarterlife Crisis

Alexis

Alexis

A tsunami smacked me on the head last Tuesday, energy and activity in one exhausting wave, rendering me not quite unconscious but with twitching eyes and a crumbling mental capacity. And I don't mean that in a bad way.

Since the dawn of this website, I've known a radiant being of 6'1" stature and a high verbal capacity. Alexis Reller was my potluck, shipboard roommate on Semester at Sea and an instant friend, even though she found my ship ID photo pre-meeting downright worrisome. Alexis and I continued to galavant around the MV Explorer and the world's ports thinking, "Gosh, how lucky am I to have a partner like this broad," only to disembark post-trip and reunite regularly for the next three years with our friend Garrett Russell.

Since then, we've tackled fifteen European countries in thirty days (on a budget) and experienced ski and road trips alongside each other. She's my ultimate travel pal, one whose friendship is instantly renaissanced upon a simple "s'up" regardless of the time between interactions.

Alexis Tendering

Alexis Tendering

For the last year, she's been teaching English at a university in China. Emerging from the Mother Land in one piece, she carried with her musings on communism, the ample travel opportunities of the expansive land, and the power China can have on her expats. Her first night in Indianapolis, we discussed these - and many other - topics ad nauseam, letting conversations go conceptual at the drop of an adjective. I was thrilled to be back in contact with the person who helped me hone my appreciation for the world and its powers.

Late night chats welcoming later bedtimes and early morning rises squeezing in a sense of productivity; I wired myself with caffeine and racked my brain in the afternoons for food and entertainment ideas in the Indy area. It's rare I seize the day in my own city, and I usually save those occurrences for guests. We rode thirteen miles on bikes, hit up Michael Jackson (a tribute, of course) in concert, and grabbed a beer next to a handlebar mustache at the Rathskeller. And best of all, we coexisted in the same hemisphere - nay, the same room - for six days of social splendor.

Now you know why the website has been a little barren recently.

Opening our Conversation Up

With great friends come great conversations. Instead of using seemingly-unnecessary, elevated text to relay my fun week with a friend, I wanted to pose one of our musings for a more public debate. What's the point of having a blog versus a journal without calling for commentary?

Alexis and Lindsay in Brazil

Alexis and Lindsay in Brazil

Question: Does the quarterlife period virtually guarantee a change in character, often catalyzed by extreme factors, such as living in China? Or is the quarterlife a time to expect your friend pool to thin out automatically, as we all branch and swerve different ways, ultimately becoming the persons we were meant to be all along or will be formed into?

Alexis felt the country of China does weird things to people, mainly to the expats she knew, but I also felt people go through distinct changes post-graduation from college or simply in this transition period to "job world." It couldn't be just China, based on my own exposure to crises stateside, but I can only imagine what a year in Mao Country can do to a person.

And on that note, I'm sure both Alexis and I have changed since our high school or college years. We could very well be among the population of vastly changed individuals, but for the sake of our conversations, we are never in the wrong. Never.

What's your take on the changes in the quarterlife? Comment below or contact me!

Consume & Update: Opportunities for you!

$10,000 and a trip to Bhutan. I'm so generous this week.

Getting Paid to Talk to Bourdain

I don't consider myself a foodie, but I've been thinking a lot lately about the question Tony Bourdain posed to his fellow food-lovers.

What does it mean to cook well?

Coming from a sustenance culinary tradition, I'm not used to always eating the most delectable dish or denying something less than favorable. Frankly, I'm surprised I haven't shot my taste buds yet. I find this topic intriguing, and if you do too, you could very well win $10,000 just for documenting that opinion.

Not only do you get a big ol' pay day but a spot in the paperback edition of Medium Raw. To be published and rolling in the dough...what a surreal concept. Go for it!

And speaking of Tony, his post this week on the death of his good friend Michael Batterberry and his big break in writing is insightful and compelling.

Snap Your Shutter for Bhutan

This opportunity rolled around last year and got me salivating. A trip to Antarctica sounded fantastic, but the application seemed simplistic and, therefore, intimidating. Tell a story with 5 or less photographs...STRONG photographs. Should have gone for it; it's a trip to the last continent, by golly!

Bhutan Travel Scholarship

Bhutan Travel Scholarship

And now it's 2010, and a new travel scholarship from National Geographic and World Nomads has rolled into town. Tell a story with 5 or less photographs, and you could travel to Bhutan for a week alongside a NatGeo photographer, a truly once-in-a-lifetime learning experience for a budding shutter-snapper.

This year, the photographer is Jason Edwards, and he's got some words of advice for hopeful applicants:

The application deadline is October 17th (in Australia), so you've got some time to think about this opportunity and let your photographic story inspiration come to you.

Burma in Photos

Brave New Traveler sported a great photo essay on religious life in Burma. It's worth a look-see.

Burma Photo Essay

Burma Photo Essay

A Word from my Favorite Book

Rolf Potts quoted my favorite book this week at Vagablogging, and I believe the whole world would be enriched by a simple glance:

If our lives are dominated by a search for happiness, then perhaps few activities reveal as much about the dynamics of this quest — in all its ardor and paradoxes — than our travels. They express, however inarticulately, an understanding of what life might be about, outside of the constraints of work and of the struggle for survival. Yet rarely are they considered to present philosophical problems — that is, issues requiring thought beyond the practical. We are inundated with advice on where to travel to, but we hear little of why and how we should go, even though the art of travel seems naturally to sustain a number of questions neither so simple nor so trivial, and whose study might in modest ways contribute to an understanding of what the Greek philosophers beautifully termed eudaimonia, or ‘human flourishing’. –Alain de Botton, The Art of Travel

Other Discoveries

Problogger has some great words of wisdom this week: Build your Blogs Voice, Monetization Ideas for the Little Guy, and the Content Producer's Copyright Checklist.

Join this discussion on Vagablogging: What pulls you back to the road?

Update on Nomadderwhere

August 8

August 8

I took a week off from Consume & Update due to a lack of compelling material on the net. It was weird. Normally there's always something worth sharing with others, but last week...dang, slim pickins. These weekly postings are for sharing good work, complimenting content producers, and contributing to the internet travel community. If you ever desire to be featured in these Sunday posts, feel free to contact me, so last week's debacle never happens again!

Anywho, guess who's back from the small town! I'm plunging head first into ProjectExplorer.org work and Nomadderwhere redesigning and content creating. I slapped May with a slew of work and left June starving. I need to get back to a regular schedule of good stuff. Your input is always encouraged.

And the future? Alexis Reller, my potluck roommate from Semester at Sea, is visiting next week, and I'm going to show her a gay ol' time in Indianapolis. We just may boast all of our fun times online!

And here's the work of the last two weeks:

The Art of Reinvention, Anonymity, and Self-Discovery in Travel

The sky of Indiana

The sky of Indiana

My mind finally smells summer. I've been away from Indiana for the past two summers and away from Wabash during the summertime since I moved away ten years ago. Having spent the majority of my childhood outside, I've been unknowingly pining for the familiar olfactory triggers, which I still can't define well: aromatic greens of unknown classification, warming as though being slowly cooked, lawn mower engine fuel, chlorine and very cold water, heat radiating from the cement below my bicycle tires, sometimes fresh asphalt but most often cracked sidewalks and gravel-sprinkled roads.

Though some of these seem like multi-sensory experiences - not to mention fairly common around the world - I'm really only talking about my nose. I can smell all those things. The same summer climate can be found on about 60% of the Earth's land mass at some point in the year, but it is only in this town that the sun seems to electrify the atoms and molecules in such a way - for me.

Bias steals my reason when I believe this town could actually be that much different than the rest of the world. Everyone most likely has a sweet spot for their birthplaces, maybe less sweet than bitter for some, and memories are fantastically linked to senses and, in my case, inspiration.

Nostalgia Triggers

I'm not a weird uber-fan of sweeping my grandmother's back porch, but doing so the other day washed warming nostalgia overhead and allowed me to tap into the feelings I once had as a youngster, feelings I remember viscerally that I can now decode and translate with this older mind.

It's an exciting town!

It's an exciting town!

It was in the public library downtown that I grew to love plowing through books. Though my reading comprehension these days is borderline frightening, the visuals I concocted for the stories of Roald Dahl are still sharp in my mind. The movies were all sad efforts after my daily mental capades through Matilda's home and Charlie's new factory.

It was a means of wasting time while my parents worked at the office, but I used to pluck away at a typewriter and create five sentence short stories about personified animals with morals and cool names. Taylor Swan was my ideal girl name, now a nausea inducer. I still have these hilarious attempts at literature in a folder somewhere, along with the memory that I dreamt of being the youngest published author in the world. I had no burning story to tell, but the thought of purging my thoughts to achieve such a landmark was satisfying for my eight year-old self.

Cue to me, ten years later, finally figuring out I did have stories to tell.

The Reappearing Interest

And I have to admit that while living in Wabash I was, at best, ambivalent about being here, even though my daily outdoor activities were fascinating and my friends quirky and long-lasting.

We moved cities with the intent of snatching those opportunities from which I'd be out of reach in the rural north. In turn, I believe my senses were dulled, though they did become my flypaper for artistic inspiration later in life.

My grandma used to say, "All roads lead to Wabash" - her version of the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon. I sometimes find my path back "home" completely mind-boggling, which looks something like Indianapolis - Italy - Misc. USA - RTW Cruise Journey - Europe - Africa - Asia - Indianapolis - South Pacific - Asia, again…and so on until all trips are accounted for, with the caboose being good ol' Wabash County.

As far from "as the crow flies" as you can make a round-trip, I'd say…unless that crow is very drunk. And never a plausible concept when the bubble of the small town seemed to draw impermeable borders.

Wabash friends

Wabash friends

And now I'm peddling through town on sidewalks that haven't been updated since my mom was with bun in oven. The people who see me cycling seem to know me, and I don't remember names, only encounters at fairs, churchs, and community theater performances. There are no strangers. Cliche, schmeeche - I'm having serious déjà vu.

Reinvention

Fresh from a recent trip that reminded me how much I love the clean slates and stranger-filled surroundings of travel, I'm feeling stumped.

Where are the lingering conversations I can't comprehend? Where are the strangers, and why do I want them around?

The ensemble of the town rarely seems to change, and so stays static my relationships with everyone. Feelings remain regardless of time, which seems to affect bodies rather than minds. There's little flexibility available for reinvention, as history is chiseled in stone. Aging doesn't guarantee anything.

My brother's advice upon starting my new school in Indianapolis was simple, and it stuck.

No one knows you here. You can reinvent yourself, if you want.

That sounds like a movie line. Maybe I'm getting confused. Disregard the wording and assume the same sentiment was relayed to me ten years ago upon the first days of my new schooling experience.

My parents after a wine tasting

My parents after a wine tasting

With a move [I couldn't conceptualize] an hour and a half south of childhood, reinvention became possible. And even though I've never felt unlike myself in a true, lingering sense, I did seize the opportunity to portray myself in a different light. Mannerisms, humor, interests - they all stayed, but I altered my air to put up with less than I used to allow. No longer did I slink away from moments of embarrassment or shame from the likes of the neighbor boys or the burly girls of bully stock. I didn't want to feel self-conscious about being the person I wanted to be, nor did I have the desire to exhibit any characteristic not indigenous to my being. Hence, no fake-itude.

And now I return, having flexed as a personality but not having evolved alongside Wabash. I wonder if I'm recognizable. Even though this renewed interest has brought me back in touch with the town of 11,000 of my upbringing, I'm unsure as to whether I see myself or a different person in the reflection of my memories.

Walking above Charley Creek, I wonder if it's purely time that strips me of my visceral connection or the fact that the person is not the same (just plus ten years).

When Does a Person Become?

When have I been most happy in my life? Would memories of the most fulfilling or satisfying moments be those which define my life's interests or purpose? Are we who we were coming from the womb and then slowly compromised as we evolved into civilization? Are we really who we are after a life-changing experience or a test that morphs us into a person we never thought we'd become? Was I more me in the 80s, playing in my backyard treehouse, or now - now that I ask these questions and still come out of the wringer being the way that I presently am?

These are the sort of questions that arise amidst the dormant and knowing air particles of my grandmother's house. Surrounding by the grooviest domicile on the block, I question the point I've reached in my being and wonder if the same mushroom cap hairstyle who used to watch TV in the nook on the left is still present and solid.

My Wabash abode

My Wabash abode

Being alone (with cat) in a house that holds my history, in a town that crafted my humor and habits, in a state that isolated my focus on personalities, I am grappling with concepts to identify what place and time have to say about my being. What person would I have become had I not moved? And if that hour and a half move was all I attempted, what person would I then be had travel been stripped from my pastimes?

When home seems to nurture a specific development of the self, how does travel - with its anonymity, chance for reinvention, trying challenges to the first installation of values - affect the development of our purest form?

Post-world travels, I tend to side with the tried-and-tested theory of being; being put through the wringer, slapped around, and pushed to a near breaking point will result in a person, fibers and nothing else. But are these challenges distractions from the primary meditation that would facilitate that pure knowledge? The answer to that question would restructure the entirety of our social make-up.

What Do You Think?

This is a post I've been writing since the commencement of my summer seclusion project and seemingly one of the main products I hoped to reap from the experience. I write for an unknown public audience, and in doing so, I'm inviting the collective "you" to think what you want. While this post could seem like a journal entry or simply a moment of deep, personal musing, I want these concepts to be chewed on by all. I don't write these ideas to be an exhibitionist but to stimulate a discussion on the art of travel.

Please leave your feedback on whatever was of interest to you. If you'd rather have your comment invisible to the public eye, leave a message on my contact form. Video comments are extremely encouraged.

Thanks for reading.

Consume & Update: Balance, Success, and Last Week

Today's documentation of the travel and blogging world is a little slim but can plunge you into a lotta deep thought.

The Four Burners and Success

Balance Your Life...or else

Balance Your Life...or else

Who really has a balanced life? I'd like to think that overall the way I conduct myself on a year-long basis levels out between travel and home, physicality and leisure, hermitville and social junction. As I've stated before, the concept of "live every day like it's your last" is, in my opinion, a bunch of hullabaloo. How are we supposed to make today a most brilliant day while also strive for completeness in all aspects of our life? That's a whole lotta pressure for one day. I'd have to spend all day today planning for an amazing tomorrow, which would defeat the point, right?

I chew on this thought today because Chris Guilleabeau brought up an interesting idea mused by David Sedaris:

One burner represents your family, one is your friends, the third is your health, and the fourth is your work. -David Sedaris

The gist is that in order to be successful you have to cut off one of your burners. And in order to be really successful you have to cut off two.

Especially in a country where we like to think we can "have it all" and also one where we define success as an outward appearance of money, power, and respect, this idea seems to be true for most Americans; not sure about the rest of the world, but I assume the same goes for most of them as well. We don't want to read this quote and consider its validity, because that means accepting imbalance and relative failure at one facet of our lives, of which we'd normally be prideful.

What do you think about this concept? Do you think the idea of the four burners is irrelevant or spot on? What's your stance on the balance of focus and pride in your life? Do you think one or two must slip to achieve some level of success? And what is success in your terms? I'd love to hear your feedback, so please comment below!

Other Discoveries

Problogger sets us straight on some typical blogger grammatical mistakes. Hate to lose my hold on proper English!

What do you think is necessary in redesigning your lifestyle to incorporate your passions and happiness? Did this guy get it right?

Do you think your travel experiences have had a direct impact on your political affiliations or sidings?

Update from Nomadderwhere

Photo on 2010-07-18 at 16.20

Photo on 2010-07-18 at 16.20

Delicious culinary concoctions, kooky Midwestern weather, biking through town and heat advisories, cinematic adventures and writing deep thoughts; this was my week. In some minute ways, the world seemed to stand on its head for me this week. I watched one Shakespearean themed movie...and finally understood them. My cat, whom is far from a lap pet, sought comfort in my bosom during an overhead thunderstorm. Wow, that was all that really stood on its head. My life this month isn't all that exciting! I guess that's what happens when you dumb your life down to a few elements and hope they function at their peak: cooking, writing, and summoning creative energy.

This week, I upped my game and pumped out a slew of content. Applaud me, why don'tcha?

I only have one more week of exploring the town of 11,000 of my upbringing, and I plan on soaking up the solitude with every molecule of my being. I visit daily locations I haven't experienced since my middle school days and am beginning to wonder if my quarter-life crisis is approaching early with an emphasis on the past rather than a fear for my future. Eh, I know I'm going to be alright. But am I the same person I was when I was four? These are the thoughts of this pickled mind...

And in case you like helping me out: I'm doing a little research on South Korea and Taiwan this week and would love some expert help on where to go and what to see, along with important facets of both cultures and histories!

Video of the Week: The Challenge Edition (Webcam)

Traveling creates a lifestyle of constant challenges, which then facilitate self-discovery and, in turn, happiness. This week, I report from my post alone in northern Indiana to ask you: how would you challenge yourself with a home experiment that would simulate the effects of travel?

Notes from this week's Video of the Week:

  • I continue to get back to the basics by concentrating on a few key things: cooking, physical activity, and expression.

  • Challenge for you: What would your month-long self-discovery experiment be?

Consume & Update: Museum Roommate and Deep Thoughts

This week's outreach into the world of travel may pack a wallop for some of you eager to do something amazing.

$10,000 to be a Museum Live-in

Live in the Museum of Science and Industry for one month, learn something, write about it, and receive $10,000 for your efforts. This is not a shabby gig.

The Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago has launched a competition for tech-savvy, learn-happy extroverts that seems like the perfect position for a world traveler. We're interested in the world around us, in need of money, and often well-versed in online media and marketing (a.k.a the travel blogging type).

Month at the Museum

Month at the Museum

This seems to be yet another marketing campaign that doubles as a fantastic pooling of like-minded, lifelong learners. To live in the museum of science and have your mind revolve around discovery for four whole weeks would be a treat for anyone curious about their surroundings on this planet. Of course, the lucky individual isn't allowed to work elsewhere during that time period, nor are they given total freedom to their normal social lives, but this is an experiment in itself, an opportunity to be one with the universe and grow an ever deeper appreciation for how all things work.

There are a lot of wanderlusters out there looking for ways to do what they love and still sustain themselves. Not every opportunity out there is a "Best Job in the World" or a "World Traveler Internship," but there are plenty of other ways to learn about the world and craft your voice of expression, this definitely being one of them. Therefore, I'm here to pass this great opportunity along to you, the Pavlovian salivators to all things exploration.

Make a video application (and you know how to do that), write a lil' essay, complete an application form, throw on a photo, sign a waiver, bing, bang, boom, you're in the running. Let me know if you go for this!

Other Discoveries

Chris' Guide to Travel Hacking

Take the Seven Link Challenge: I know I will soon!

Bourdain is awarding an unpublished writer $10,000 and a spot in his newest book's paperback edition.

This Brave New Traveler piece touches on a topic I've been thinking about these past few weeks: home mind and travel mind.

The 2010 State of the Travel Blogosphere

Update on Nomadderwhere

Isolation

Isolation

This week has revolved around deep thoughts, cinematographic research, trying to NOT cut my fingers off with freshly sharpened knives, and, of course, work for ProjectExplorer.org. Here's what I've created in the last two weeks (since the last Consume & Update).

Stunning news from the world of Nomadderwhere: I'm going full steam ahead on my redesign for Nomadderwhere, to be scheduled for September 23, 2010. I would love to hear your feedback in any way, shape, or form. Video feedback is always best, but you can also contact me with a simple message or leave a comment below!

Disgraceful Tourism

Girls at Palm Tree

Girls at Palm Tree

We travel because it's a rare kind of high that can also enlighten, rejuvenate, and ensure the occurrence of adventure. Regardless of the road's discomforts or challenges, travel seems to always evoke an inexplicable positivity - whether that's from the possibility of new friendships or just the newness of a myriad of elements. The scope of potential world travel is tantalizing, and thankfully tourism has the ability to elevate developing communities through employment opportunities and tax revenue. Win for the wanderer; win for the welcomers. Sadly, not every traveler sees his or her voyage to a new country in such a positive, symbiotic light. Those are the ones who perpetuate the very dark and very bleak side of travel. I'm talking about the perverted patrons of the sex tourism industry.

This post was written in conjunction with Angeline Diamond of ECPAT-USA.

The Darkest Form of Tourism

Kids at Palm Tree

Kids at Palm Tree

I'm not talking about backpackers who delight in a consensual tryst or the business traveler hoping to meet a cute gentleman in the hotel bar. I'm talking people whose sole purpose for travel is to engage in sex with minors, or they may take it one step further and transport someone for criminal sexual conduct. Ya know…real classy types.

Let's lay this out logically. Sex tourism increases the demand for prostitution. However, this demand is not easily met by women willing to choose this profession. Therefore, to meet demands, the supply of prostitutes becomes contingent on extensive human trafficking networks. These networks appear to be incredibly underground, which is why we don't hear about them like we do the drug trade. But sadly, the U. S. State Department says one million children worldwide are enslaved in the global commercial sex trade. Sex trafficking is considered one of the top three most profitable criminal networks in the world, generating about $4 billion dollars a year.

It's enough to make you writhe.

I feel rather morally comfortable while traveling, since I know for a fact I'm not engaging in anything related to sex tourism. But unfortunately, the travel industry often unintentionally contributes to this debilitating form of abuse. This doesn't mean anyone should point fingers and never leave their homes, but we as travelers, if we have any interest in our hosting communities, have a duty to act in ways that prevent the exploitation of the most vulnerable members of society: the children.

Kids are awesome, and to imagine a start to life wrapped up in such a seedy and life-threatening industry could induce nightmares and permanent travel guilt.

Know They're Out There

I've written about the creeps who often navigate to my site from google searches, like: cambodian naked boy, sex tourism friendly hotels, little boy with no shirt. If my blog were my home, I'd sit with an acidic potato gun on the front porch and fire at any creep who wonders on my lawn. To much our surprise, perverts aren't as easy to spot as Mormon evangelists (not that I'm encouraging the same activity to these solicitors…they're just easy to spot).

End child prostitution

End child prostitution

Instead, if I'm hoping that the world becomes a better place within my lifetime, I'd be better off imploring the help of fellow travelers who have an ounce of morality or two - hence, my blog post to you today.

I was recently contacted by ECPAT-USA, a network of organizations and individuals committed to the fight for children’s rights of freedom. While I know it's often fruitless to call for agency from an anonymous online audience, I figured it could only be beneficial to mention the tools they provide to assist the travel industry in preventing the sexual exploitation of children.

This acronym, which stands for Ending Child Prostitution, Pornography, and Trafficking, represents a group that focuses on research, advocacy, and public awareness. In conjunction with UNICEF and UNWTO, they created "The Code of Conduct," which outlines policies that may be adopted by travel companies within their code of ethics to prevent the sexual exploitation of children. Over 900 companies worldwide are in support of the code thus far, yet there are many companies that still hesitate.

Seriously…these guys are hesitating to support actions that prevent sexual exploitation. I'd like to hear the rebuttal for that argument.

Here we are, at the end of my ramble, where you can choose to do a couple things. You can click away mentally and physically (I admit to doing it a lot). You can consider yourself more aware and decide to learn more on your own time (I like to do this, as well). You can also exercise your "take action" muscle and follow some ECPAT-USA recommended steps toward making the travel industry more responsible. Regardless of your next step, I appreciate your perusal of this content and hope you feel enriched for doing so.

Kick Those Creeps Where The Sun Don't Shine

  • You may print out The Code Postcard and drop it off with your travel companies, which declares that you support responsible travel practices and travel companies that feel the same way. The Postcard provides information on how they may become a signatory.

    • If you take this route, do let ECPAT-USA know where you sent the postcard. It helps them out.

    • Check out ECPAT-USA online and follow us on Twitter.

    • Research the internet for great blogs about current issues.

    • Talk with your friends, family, co-workers, and other travelers to promote awareness and create a greater force against these practices.

    • Purchase a TassaTag, a beautiful, fair trade plus luggage tag, which also increases public awareness and benefits ECPAT research and women in Thailand.

Do you have any questions concerning sex tourism around the world? If so, you may contact Angeline directly at angeline@ecpatusa.org. And if you have any other information, stories, or reflections on this issue, please add to our dialogue below.

Video of the Week: Seclusion Musings (Webcam)

My Wabash abode

After one successful week of relative seclusion in northern Indiana, I've got some thoughts to share - musings, if you will. Your feedback is strongly encouraged.

Notes from this week's video:

  • Musing #1: Reinvention

    • Have you ever become a person you don't recognize?

    • Do you take advantage of the easy opportunity for reinvention when traveling?

  • Musing #2: Anonymity

    • How does your anonymous presence on the road affect your attitude, behavior, mind, etc.?

    • Have you experienced the overfamiliarity of the small town or close-knit region? How does this change your state of mind or activity?

  • Musing #3: Constant Travel

    • Is re-experiencing your own town/city as valuable a teaching opportunity as perusing a new place in another country?

    • If home travel is considered "travel," where is the line drawn between travel and not? What differentiates the two?

Journeys of a Lifetime in July

Welcome back to my new monthly series on Nomadderwhere, one which highlights the incredible trips one could take in that current month - thanks to a vibrant book called Journeys of a Lifetime by National Geographic. Each month I pick a couple adventures from each section in the book in order to provide you inspiration for 365 days from now. Read the brief description to whet your appetite, and click on the trip name for further information (links provided by National Geographic...of course you could be a gritty backpacker and make it on your own).

Across Water

The Sepik River: Let's start off with a trip for the hairy-chested and callused travelers. Say hello to Papua New Guinea! Coast along one of the least spoiled and greatest river systems in the world, flanked by jungle and indigenous cultures with multiple languages and gruesome stories from village rivalries. Skip the capital city and board a cruise boat for four days. Sounds extreme…

Turkey's Turquoise Coast: I read "anchor at night in isolated coves" and got a little giddy. How does sailing the southwest coast of Turkey, admiring relics of 4,000 year-old civilizations, and enjoying Turkish breakfasts while watching flying fish go by sound? Sounds like a trip to convert any land-lover.

By Road

Route 12 in the Outer Banks: Windsurfers, I'm talking to you now…and hang gliders…and people who like beaches. There's a stretch of 80 miles on the coast of North Carolina called the Outer Banks that would entice all of you. Rocky seas slap the shores and create the perfect climate for wind sports. Route 12 runs the length of the barrier islands and can be driven in three hours.

Ireland

Ireland

Connemara's Sky Road: Ireland already pulls you in with its lovely people and tendency to indulge in some tasty brews, and while you're enjoying the emerald green of her landscapes and primordial beauty, take a drive through the Connemara peninsula for some added visual pleasures. White-sand beaches and high cliffs both make up its rugged perimeter, where the intense wild mingles with pub-filled towns and wild ponies.

By Rail

The Inland Railway: Board in Mora, head to Lapland. See one of Europe's last great wildernesses along the way. If you're into grand travel landmarks, you may enjoy getting the certificate upon crossing the Arctic Circle. Don't rush your week in Sweden, awaiting brown bears outside your train car window. And remember that touring in summertime allows for some awesome vistas with the 24-hour daylight.

Scotland

Scotland

Inverness to Kyle of Lochalsh: If you've never seen a hairy cow, now's your chance. Honestly, if you don't know what the Scottish Highlands look like, you're in for an awakening. You've probably dreamt about them without even knowing such land truly exists. I was enchanted by the simple beauty of the lakes and mountains. The landscape is haunting and hopeful at the same time. This train takes three hours and can show you the magic.

On Foot

Climbing Mount Fuji: No snow. No massive festival lines to the top. July is a great time to love on Japan's famous peak. From the looks of Japanese toilets, the rest stops on the way to the summit have got to be elaborate and…kush. Whether you start in the middle for the pre-dawn trek to the sunrise or do the whole darn thing all day long, allow yourself to think about the dormant volcano below you, not all the knick-knacks and novelty items you could get while up there.

Lake Issyk-Kul: I know you don't often find yourself crossing the Kyrgyzstani/Kazakhstani borders often, but you may want to tack this trip onto your pre-existing Stan tour (or your bucket list journey). What do you imagine a lake "cradled in the Mountains of Heven" looks like? You better bet it's not only picturesque but surrounded by incredible hikes through herb meadows and colorful vistas. I never knew the Stans were coated in natural splendor. Serves me right for watching Borat.

In Search of Culture

Amish Country: Do you hang with the Amish often? What gives? Maybe you should. Take off right now for Lancaster Country, Pennsylvania and find yourself some Old Order Amish folk to admire. Take the backroads, stop for some crafts and delicious food goods, and if you're around for a Saturday, try attending an auction. Don't ask me what they auction off; I want to be surprised when I hit that up.

The Painted Monasteries of Moldavia: Illuminated manuscripts are immaculate to begin with, but seeing a similar effect covering the walls of a quaint monastery in Romania's countryside would be time travel-esque. There are as many as fifteen monasteries with similar artistry on display, one of which earned the title of "the Sistine Chapel of the East." You won't have to search very hard to find the culture here in Romania.

In Gourmet Heaven

New York Deli Tour: There's an overwhelming amount of things to do and see in Manhattan, which is why fueling up is essential. Enter the New York deli scene. You've got your classic Katz's Delicatessen, your staple Carnegie Deli, and a slew of others both well-known and lower key. Go with friends and split sandwiches to save room for some cheesecake and other delicious goods.

Wine Route Through Hungary: Allow me to write a wine route haiku:

Ancient golden wines Aged in musty, moldy caves What could be sweeter

Since when have you needed to be persuaded to visit a wine country? You just needed to know it was there. And now you do. So go.

Into the Action

Horse Treks in the Andes: The choice isn't horse, foot, car, or plane. It's obvious you'll be traversing the Andes on horseback, but the question is where: through the grasslands and volcanoes of Ecuador or along old smugglers' routes in Patagonia. Since the Andes are the longest mountain range in the world, it seems the choices are virtually limitless. Regardless, to be that connected with the glory of nature would be a thrill for the masses…and the sole individual that feels real isolation and fresh air in their nostrils. Can you tell I pine for Patagonia?

The Big Five

The Big Five

Stalking the "Big Five": Who are the "Big Five?" They were classified as so for being the most difficult to hunt: lions, leopards, elephants, buffalo, and rhinos. Chobe National Park in Botswana will satiate your desires to see these bad boys and stalk them with your newly purchased sniper (a.k.a. telephoto) lens. Don't expect to sleep in on this sort of safari, but you can expect an awesome mid-day nap when the rest of the animals snooze as well.

Up and Away

Over British Columbia: Vancouver is one of those cities that can be done by foot, bike, car, etc. but what shouldn't be neglected is the aerial view from the windows of a float plane. Sunset flights could be majestic, but daytime jaunts can bring you into view of eagles, seals, and porpoises going nuts in nature.

Buzzing over Kruger National Park: Nothing feels more like a defiance of all natural instincts and laws that flying over man-eating animals in a kite strapped to a lawn mower engine. And at the same moment, nothing is cooler than taking a microlight on a mini-safari over reserves like Kruger. It's certainly a new and interesting way to move about this earth and a surreal way to observe animals in their natural habitats.

In Their Footsteps

Across the Continental Divide with Lewis and Clark: I have no idea how Lewis and Clark could do it. But thank goodness they did; otherwise, who knows if I'd be alive (that'd be funny and make sense if I were actually related to William Clark, which I don't believe I was). It is, however, possible to see for yourself what the wild continental divide was like 200 years ago when they made their famed trek. Montana looks monumental in size, and it's always a trip worth taking to be amidst mass beauty.

Blues Pilgrimage in Clarksdale: It's the birthplace of the blues and chillin' in the Mississippi Delta, waiting to be explored by you. Morgan Freeman has certainly invested a lot in this region, which is decidedly understated but top notch in musical quality and food choices, among many other things, I would assume. You could also take Highway 61, also known as the Blues Highway, and make Clarksdale one stop among many on your musical pilgrimage.

How's that brain? Spinning with innumerable desires to traverse continents and climates? Pull out a pen and prioritize your life by putting one or more of these trips at the top of the list. And by planning a year in advance, you'll be quite able to save, prepare, and anticipate the rigors of your adventure in every way. Check back in August for the Journeys of a Lifetime you could partake in next year!

Where are you inspired to travel to next year? Leave a comment and be my new friend.

Video of the Week: Summer Seclusion Project (Webcam)

Haven't seen one of these in a while, huh? A video of the week or a webcam special. I finally got my act together! Enjoy.

Notes from this week's video:

  • ProjectExplorer.org is in post-production stateside after a fantastic filming session in Mexico.

  • I'm moving out of my parent's house for a month for some seclusion in my hometown.

  • I have four goals for the month of July.

  • Crank out stellar videos, images, and work for ProjectExplorer.org

  • Write personal travel narratives in hopes of publishing or at least having them for myself.

  • Learn how to cook basic vegetarian meals well. I don't know how veggies are supposed to taste. Sad.

  • Enjoy my hometown for the first summer in a decade and reap the benefits of relative seclusion from distraction.

  • It's time to reformat/redesign Nomadderwhere, just like I did last September. A lot has changed in my life and path, and my website needs to reflect that.

Consume & Update: The Go! Edition

I just felt like churning the butter for a couple awesome things this week.

Go, Remote Locations...and Disclaimers!

This article on the most extreme and isolated places to live in the world is mildly interesting, but what I found most humorous was the ending disclaimer. Gotta keep it PC!

Disclaimer: As a brand, Tripbase are accepting of all global cultures. This article is written from a Western perspective and is meant for humorous purposes only. No offense is intended.

Said about The Pitcairn Islands:

Notable also for the sexual assault trial of 2004, in which 7 men living on the island went on trial. With all but one of the defendants being found guilty of some charges, this incident had the unfortunate side effect of pretty much tying up most of the area's workforce (which consists of roughly 15 people in total). Seriously, sexual assault on an island that small? Not to mention the fact that most of them will be related...

Said about Tristan da Cunha:

Another interesting fact is that in the entire community there are only 8 surnames and 80 families, most likely leading to a horrific dating scene.

Said about Oymyakon, Siberia:

Other interesting facts include that it's so cold, that some birds can freeze solid mid-flight, plummeting to the ground like a rock. Spit will also freeze solid before it hits the ground at -50°C and a glass of water thrown into the air will freeze before it hits the ground.

Alright Undercover Reporting in North Korea! Go! Go! Go!

Even though this article was written in August of 2009, I still find it interesting. I'm enchanted by mysteries.

It took them two hours to inspect our luggage when the group entered the country and four hours to go through every picture on our cameras—and to delete the ones they deemed improper—when we left. They apparently didn't know that it is easy to switch out memory cards.

...On one occasion, I drew a banana on a piece of paper and showed it to a waitress; she had never seen one. She knew about apples, but she had never eaten one. I brought 150 Kit-Kat bars into the country, and I always took several out of my bag when I was alone with a North Korean. They would hesitate for a few seconds, look around to make sure that no one else was watching, and then stuff the Kit-Kats into their pockets.

Other Discoveries

Someone recently asked me if I saw Kevorkian's side, based on my newly appointed personal stance on pain and life. Interesting...

Can't post a Consume & Update without tips from Problogger: The Secret to Long-Term Blogging Success and Creating Facebook Landing Pages

Update on Nomadderwhere

Happy Independence Day, 'Mericans! I'm back to mental stability and a regular routine! Yesterday, I moved from my parent's home in Indianapolis to my hometown of Wabash. I'll be in a home sans TV, constant internet, and...well, furniture. It'll be Hermit-ville. It'll be lovely. Tomorrow's Video of the Week will fill in the blanks.

This week's thin herd of postings:

Things will be changing soon. The content tsunami cometh...

Consume & Update: Fear, Soccer, and Post-Production

Back from Mexico and once again with enough time to consume the best travel gummies on the net this week. Sorry my schedule is all higgilty piggilty. Chew away.

Guillebeau Talking for TED

If you're a fan of Chris and his charisma, check out renowned non-conformist's TED talk from Carnegie Melon University. He discusses fear with some intriguing metaphors. What do you think about his message?

Most Celebrated Travel Books

Though I believe Frances Mayes should give it a rest with her lists of flower types and Italian herbs...and Ernesto Guevara could have cut his diaries a couple weeks short...and Elizabeth Gilbert got a wee too much publicity for her travel trifecta, I think this comprehensive list of travel books covers some great titles. Check out the entire list on World Hum and let me know which ones you would recommend to fellow narrative-hungry travel readers (cough, cough...me).

Most Celebrated Travel Books

Most Celebrated Travel Books

Why We Call It Soccer

Thank you, Nat Geo Traveler, for finally solving the mystery. Why do we call football soccer (or, inversely, why do others call soccer football)? Alas, we have an answer:

After some digging, I'm happy to report the following: Apparently American's word for football is a shortened version of Assoccer, an abbreviation of "Association Football," the term given the game as it was played at elite British boys' schools in the 1860s. "Assoccer" became "soccer" and the name somewhat stuck as it served to distinguish it from rugby-rules football.

As players, coaches, sailors, and the enthusiastic exported the game around the world courtesy of the British Empire, local languages appropriated "football" as a loan word. For example, the Spanish fútbol doesn't literally combine the Spanish words for "foot" and "ball" but is an approximation of the British word for the ever-popular game. The game came to U.S. shores in the late 19th century and was called "football" in the U.S. until after World War II when the increasing popularity of the National Football League (NFL) prompted a change in name. Where English is a country's first language, "football" often refers to the most popular form of football in that country. Only three English-speaking FIFA countries refer to the game as "soccer": the U.S., Samoa, and Canada.

Now we know.

Tony's New Book and 100th Episode

I compulsively document Big T's new blog posts, this one being no exception to the rule. I love the flow of his travel writing - even his travel writing that isn't about travel per se. After releasing his second book, entitled Medium Raw, he reflects on the tiresome, yet pivotal, regimen of self-promotion across the country, as well as the ambiance during production of his 100th episode (in Paris).

I've heard Tony didn't necessarily meet the expectations of various travel bloggers with the new book, and I'm sort of glad. If he's a cook, a traveler, and a writer, why can't he write about cooking (and the unexpected celeb chef phenomenon) without focusing about travel? Why would people assume his book would be about his travel tales and woes when the blurb on the front reads:

A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook

Lay off, people. He's still a better writer than the vast majority of us.

Other Discoveries

Lion Burgers? Really, Arizona? Strike two.

This guy's just walkin.

The Michael Palin interview with World Hum

“Backpackers aren’t the bad guys. It really boils down to how we travel, and what the legacy is of that. We are guests in another culture, so the issue isn’t how do we stop tourism, the issue is how do we get it right.”

Problogger: 8 Habits of Highly Excellent Bloggers

Update on Nomadderwhere

Back Home Again

Back Home Again

Judging purely by my intense slumbers upon returning to Indiana, you'd think I slept not at all throughout production in Mexico. I was entirely pooped, and to compound it, my mom dragged me to the Indy Night Ride, which started at 11pm and took us for 20 miles around downtown Indianapolis by night. My butt bones hate life today.

Since I was too busy to read up on the gems of the internet over the past three weeks, I also wasn't able to recap the work I churned out. Hence, here are the pieces I wrote (or photoblogs I compiled) over the course of production with ProjectExplorer.

Bear with me, people. I'm hoping to get back on schedule soon!

Journeys of a Lifetime in June

Welcome back to my new monthly series on Nomadderwhere, one which highlights the incredible trips one could take in that current month - thanks to a vibrant book called Journeys of a Lifetime by National Geographic. Each month I pick a couple adventures from each section in the book in order to provide you inspiration for 365 days from now. Read the brief description to whet your appetite, and click on the trip name for further information (links provided by National Geographic...of course you could be a gritty backpacker and make it on your own).

Across Water

The St. Lawrence: If you have an interest in Canada's most historical city, a passion for seafaring, and a love of the slow travel movement, take this river route from Quebec to Montreal, which exhibits its fair share of beautiful nature. Glacier-carved paths have never been so cool.

Eastern Caribbean Cruise: It looks like there are some very appealing options for the Caribbean other than the all-inclusive resorts. Sailing from Antigua to Puerto Rico sounds like one of them! And if you're not obsessed with sun-worshipping, don't forget the intriguing cultures, inland adventures, and fantastic diving opportunities are paired with a Caribbean good time. Not a cruise-goer? I don't think you should expect the stigma.

By Road

Lake Michigan Shoreline: Traverse one of the longest suspension bridges in the world. Motor from white sand beaches to the dunes, big cities to the Cape Cods of the Midwest. Would make for a great summer road trip for anyone unfamiliar with the highlights of the region.

Crossing the Andes from Bolivia to Chile: June will be a cold month for South America, but that also means seeing very clear skies reflected in the beautiful salt plains. With a title like "The World's Highest Road Journey," you know it has to be a memorable trip. To the Andes, baby!

By Rail

The Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad: Sounds like the kind of trip a traveling family would enjoy taking: boarding an authentic steam train for a day though the Colorado Rockies. Of course, if you're a nature lover, it could also knock you down with its river/gorge/forest/mountain awesomeness.

The Qingzang Railway: I'm guessing you didn't think this is how you'd ever experience 15,000 feet. Linking western China to Tibet, this high-altitude train has oxygen supplies under every seat, in case you get a little woozy from watching a landscape of glaciers and Himalayan peaks. Note to the wise: you must prove your heart capable of making such a jaunt, preferably with legit paperwork.

On Foot

The Carpathian Mountains: Give yourself a week in Eastern Europe for some vampire hunting. Whether you believe in Romania's folk mythology or not, the day hikes through these mountains peppered with wildlife and culture-rich castles and related history. Let your imagination freak you out in Transylvania.

High Atlas Mountains: Pack mules lug your load while walking from village to village among the Moroccan mountain range. And if your particularly adventurous, climb North Africa's tallest peak at 13,670 feet. And, of course, there's no doubt this country harbors some pretty amazing cities with loads to unload in the form of exotic culture.

In Search of Culture

Athenian Ruins

Classical Greece: Imagine the birth of Western civilization in the actual places of its occurrence. And showing up in June could score you front row seats at a Greek play spoken in the original language, that is if you stop by Epidavros for the annual festival. And don't then call it quits after Athens; you've still gotta see Delphi, Mycenae, and Olympia.

Arnhem Land Cultural Safari: The oldest civilization on the planet have got themselves a nook all their own to cherish their history, culture, and way of life. To visit the Aborigines of Northern Australia requires registering and taking a guided, organized tour. And with that golden ticket comes a slew of coveted experiences from the Aborigines themselves.

In Gourmet Heaven

Trappist Monastery Beers: Investigate the subtle differences between every other [immaculately engineered] beer in the world and those with the Authentic Trappist Product label. Either you can rent a car and visit the monastery churches (not the breweries), or you can sit at a bar and try them all from the comforts of your stool. I guess one is more scenic.

From Pesto to Paella: Genoa to Valencia. It's very obvious the one bound for this gastro-adventure will come home 10 pounds happier. Order what's most fresh and special, the delicacy of the area, the meal everyone else is munching on. Rent a car and take your time. Savor those morsels!

Into the Action

Dutch Bulbfields: Cycling around Holland seems like an obligatory task when traveling there, but it's also said to be the optimal way to view the blooming extravaganza every spring, when tulips fill fields with brilliant colors. Stock up on your bulbs like you're heading to Costco.

Diving with Sharks: While some call it a truly crazy idea, I call it a darn good time. Jumping in a cage next to a boat surrounded by chummy water and fish the size of station wagons - what could be better for a thrill? Head down to Cape Town to see the scariest smiles in the world.

Up and Away

Floatplane to the Nahanni: Glide on into the first ever UNESCO World Heritage Site, located in the remote Northwestern Territories of Canada. Rock, rivers, wildlife, waterfalls - they all blend their extremes together to create an impressive backdrop for an adventure. Careful of the massive mammals that roam the lands.

The Burj Dubai: The world's fastest elevator, which happens to be a double decker, is fittingly situated in the massive column of the Burj Dubai, presently the world's tallest building. Observe the hazy, impressive city of Dubai from the 124th floor where you'll surely feel a bit of a sway to and fro.

In Their Footsteps

The Odyssey: Reading The Odyssey while buoying around the Aegean Sea may just inspire you with divine knowledge to know which real islands were the models for the fantastical ones from Homer's epic poem. Santorini? Crete? Give yourself three weeks to follow your own version of the journey.

James Joyce's Dublin: Joyce's book, Ulysses, is yet another reason why tourists love Dublin and its earthy goodness. June marks a great time to visit, as the Bloomsday Festival carries on with period costumes speckling the streets and activities based on the classic book attracting the true fans to the plate.

How's that brain? Spinning with innumerable desires to traverse continents and climates? Pull out a pen and prioritize your life by putting one or more of these trips at the top of the list. And by planning a year in advance, you'll be quite able to save, prepare, and anticipate the rigors of your adventure in every way. Check back in July for the Journeys of a Lifetime you could partake in next year!

Where are you inspired to travel to next year? Leave a comment and be my new friend.

Video of the Week: Preparing for Mexico (Webcam)

Hanging in NYC

Hanging in NYC

I finally dipped into the world of webcam, vlog-style videos, for both the sake of practicality/timing and in order to stay current with my website postings. As I embark on this trip to Mexico with ProjectExplorer, I am telling myself, "Stay current and create dynamic content with timing." Also, I wanted to thank the awesome tweeters this week that have offered their great encouragement and stellar commentary.

Therefore, enjoy the first webcam special, in all it's shotty, pixelated glory, followed by some lovely tweets!

@backpackingmatt After dinner check out Jimmy's Corner! Epic pub! 44th ann broadway...Tweet a photo if you get there. And do. Go there. Cheapest pint in NYC I reckon! Hopefully Jimmy is there!

@nfisher01: Are you still in NYC? If so, head over to Brooklyn to Dumont burgers. Sooo good! Get the mac&cheese if you go. Happy travels!

@mytravelogue good luck in Mexico! Can't wait to read all about it!

@justinspired ProjectExplorer.org -- look forward to seeing more videos from them around the world (via @nomadderwhere)

@rtwdave steak au poivre + fries [in response to asking for suggestions at Les Halles]

Also thank you, tweeters, for your input on an impromptu poll: Does briefly visiting an airport en route to a new state qualify being in that state? Same with countries. What qualifies visiting?

@LandLopers It counts for state IMHO, countries eh, I usually go with passport stamp

@janelleeagle I've often wondered that. I don't think it counts technically unless you leave an airport (a la Tom Hanks in "The Terminal")

@MattBoggie yes, at least how the Century Club counts ur first 100 countries. Remind me to tell u story of 4 us time zones in 1 day.

@justinspired POLL Response: I wouldn't count it if I stayed inside but a quick layover out&about 2 get a feel for the place then why not?

@a_rachel I only count a visit as leaving the airport, either state-wise, or internationally.

Consume & Update: Why Blog, Low Points, and NYC

I'm in New York City! Depending on our work load in Mexico, this may be the last normal Consume & Update for a while. Enjoy it while you can!

Why The Low Points Matter

Once again, great work, Chris, in addressing an idea regarding a "perfect" trip with the necessary and realistic angle. He noted that no one really has (nor should have?) a perfect trip without low points. Meticulous planning sounds exhausting and semi-fruitless, not to mention detrimental to an aspect of travel that arguably many travelers find as the point to it all.

Image by MAMJODH

I'm reminded of the Hindi om/aum and the interpretation I often associate with its multi-purpose, ambiguous meaning. When you're high, know one day you will be low again. And when things are low, have hope that tomorrow you'll be back on top. I envision a undulating sine curve that reflects the state of all things, the stock market among others. Though this is somewhat of a hippie-esque ideology, I do think I believe everything balances out in the end - the great moments in life and the low points, the good and the bad. The same goes for your travels.

If we only had high points, what kind of characters would we be? Would we be as adaptable, as prepared for the world and appreciative of the good times? And though the catalyst for this "perfect trip" idea was in no way indicating a trip without flaws, it makes me think no one should leave their home expecting all to go as planned or with their own convenience in mind. We must flex with the sine curve of life and our own movement, appreciating both to strike a balance that makes us who we are.

Thanks, Chris, you got me thinking. And isn't that what good writing, and "perfect traveling," is about? You tell me.

Name This Vista

What are we looking at here? Any ideas? Leave a comment!

Why, If You Write, You Need a Blog

Rakiraki

This one is for the hopeful travel bloggers out there, the ones keen on crafting word symphonies with the hope of creating a path toward their passions. And not just travel bloggers, hopeful broadcast journalists, photographers, poets, and other expressionists have been contacting me about what to do with their skills as the means to a preferred end. Though I'm not a broadcast journalist nor a novelist by trade, I at least know it's essential to adapt to the new trend of self-marketing and projection of your assets in the form of a blog.

Darren at Problogger is usually someone I refer these people to, because he writes pieces just like this: Why Professional Writers Need a Blog. Or Not. Here are some great excerpts from his recent piece.

We can boil it down to this: if you’re looking to get hired for a project, which implies you offer some vertical expertise in addition to your abundant writing gifts, then you should consider writing a blog. And you should let the reader know who you are. Because you need to show the world you know more than they do about whatever it is you do. You need to demonstrate it. Both elements drive toward your credibility, which his essential.

A blog is about your niche, your field of expertise, your message. Your blog is, in essence, a gift to your readers. In effect, your blog is where you give away what you know. It’s your chance to demonstrate and validate your claim to authority and expertise. Your blog is, in every essence and facet of the word, content.

World's Touristy Map

It's kinda nice I'm from an unspotted area. My goodness, Europe, quit being so appealing to the world.

World's Most Touristy Places

World's Most Touristy Places

Other Discoveries

I'm getting pumped for Tuesday and my first real adventure in Mexico - let's face it, the others have been burps in my timeline. Check out some amazing photos to get pumped along with me.

Talk about the art of travel! Great moleskin journal watercolors from Notes From The Road.

Problogger's here to tell you How to Convert Blog Readers to Paying Customers

Update on Nomadderwhere

Here's the skinny on my current situation.

Nakavika Project/Fiji Stories: I've been frantically pushing out stories from Fiji this month and have finally completed the storyline. Yay, me! Soon, I'll publish a walk-through of the entire narrative in case you missed the overall flow of things.

The New Travels: The onslaught of Fiji content was in reaction to my upcoming trip and new job with ProjectExplorer, which has begun already with a short trip to NYC, followed by a flight Tuesday morning to Mexico City! Last night, I dined at Anthony Bourdain's restaurant with Jenny and Matt, a PE board member, and today I start my training for Mexico!

Reunited Collaborators: Great news, as well...I get to see Garrett Russell this weekend, for the first time since we parted ways in Suva. Garrett recently got his Peace Corps assignment and is preparing for Malawi come July 1st. I'm so excited for him, and I look forward to publishing some of his work on the experience on Nomadderwhere. We've also decided on how to proceed with The Nakavika Project, which you can check out now.

This week on Nomadderwhere:

1 Minute or Less Moments: This week on my Nomadderwhere Facebook Fan Page will be the last for publishing raw video clips from our Fiji footage. Check out the final installment, which shows some lovely moments in the Yasawa islands before I flew back to America.

Nomadderwhere's Facebook Fan Page

Nomadderwhere's Facebook Fan Page

Consume & Update: Lovable Haters, Epiphanies, and Vimeo

I'm at my Grandpa's 90th birthday today. It's a good day. Now let's learn about what's new in the travel and blog worlds.

Learning to Love the Digital Haters

I don't think I'm evolved enough to truly love those that go after my passionate pursuits, but Tim Ferriss makes some solid points on reactions, time efficiency, and dealing with criticism - both logical and rant-asical. Check out the following speech below (it's long but I watched it all and enjoyed it) or browse his ideas below:

The following list is paraphrased from Mashable's Tim Ferriss: 7 Great Principles for Dealing with Haters

1. It doesn’t matter how many people don’t get it. What matters is how many people do. “It’s critical in social media, as in life, to have a clear objective and not to lose sight of that,” Ferriss says. He argues that if your objective is to do the greatest good for the greatest number of people or to change the world in some small way (be it through a product or service), you only need to pick your first 1,000 fans — and carefully. “As long as you’re accomplishing your objectives, that 1,000 will lead to a cascading effect,” Ferriss explains. “The 10 million that don’t get it don’t matter.”

2. 10% of people will find a way to take anything personally. Expect it. “Online I see people committing ’social media suicide’ all the time by one of two ways. Firstly by responding to all criticism, meaning you’re never going to find time to complete important milestones of your own, and by responding to things that don’t warrant a response.”

3. “Trying to get everyone to like you is a sign of mediocrity.” - Colin Powell “That guarantees you’ll get more behavior you don’t want and less you do.”

4. “If you are really effective at what you do, 95% of the things said about you will be negative.” - Scott Boras The bigger your impact and the larger the ambition and scale of your project, the more negativity you’ll encounter.

5. “If you want to improve, be content to be thought foolish and stupid.” - Epictetus "To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing.”

6. “Living well is the best revenge.” - George Herbert “The best way to counter-attack a hater is to make it blatantly obvious that their attack has had no impact on you."

7. Keep calm and carry on. “Focus on impact, not approval. If you believe you can change the world, which I hope you do, do what you believe is right and expect resistance and expect attackers.”

The Frustration Epiphanies

Lake Nakuru Flamingo Viewing

Evan has a good point. We travel with the expectation that the huge events we schedule reveal the most, move us to the climax of our emotions.

When we travel, we literally become different people. Stripped of our habits, routines and safe places, we are forced to meet the world as we are. The more we travel, the more accustomed we become to participating and thriving in the world because travel, by design, brings an openness of heart and a clarity of self. Some travelers have a spiritual fantasy of this new life, and it can include the clichéd vision that, despite all our cultural differences, we’re really “all one”...Unfortunately, when you’re traveling, this naïve view results in a lot of stolen wallets. But, more importantly, that’s not how the traveler’s transformation of consciousness really goes down.

In actuality, I feel the times I experience the iconic and stereotypically "awe-inspiring" are the times I'm less inspired. Riding 18 hours in an Indian sleeper car with the stomach flu, walking across Lusaka in the summer sun because I'm out of money for a taxi (or a hostel), mourning a separation with friends on the beach in Malawi - these moments are the ones when the most is revealed about myself and my displaced existence.

At what point in your travels do you experience the little epiphanies? When do you learn the most about yourself and the purpose of your movement? Do those moments of self-discovery usually occur simultaneously with itinerary highlights or when the frustrations take the limelight? Comment below and tell me what you think!

Traveling is Seeing

Joel scribed a great piece at Vagabonding this week, which felt more like inspired prose than a simple post on an impression of travel.

We travel also to see things that are not easy to see. The Egyptian man in Alexandria, for example, who walks past your cafe table selling kleenexes, his skeletal frame so disfigured that he walks with his torso almost parallel to the ground. His eyes meet yours and you exchange a smile, suddenly conscious of the dollar’s worth of lemon juice in your hand and the relatively great health along your own spine...

And sometimes we may even travel to catch our own reflection in a cracked and dirty mirror, not entirely sure for a moment what it is — or rather who it is — that we’re looking at. And perhaps later in the day, when we see our reflection not in glass but in the eyes and faces of our neighbors, we will have a moment of clarity about what and who we are.

Hiking Alps

This week, I've been especially aware of my own reasons for traveling, and Joel made me realize yet another on my list. I love being humbled by the constant stimulation while traveling. The exchange, the "you're on" sense from a live TV broadcast, the challenge to the self from the self and the world - it's all in the attempt to solidify your own essence and self-knowledge. I'm a fan of travel because it helps me see myself in a way that could only be alternately achieved by rapid time lapse into my future.

Other Discoveries

For your reading pleasure: The 11 Foreigners You Meet in China

An interesting viewpoint on Arizona's new immigration law: Que Lástima...

Makes you hungry and a little disgusted at the same time: Seven Essential Breakfasts for the World Traveler

Update on Nomadderwhere

05-23 Snapshot

05-23 Snapshot

This weekend I headed up to the Northern Indiana lakes for some friend time before my first ProjectExplorer adventure! Of all the things that I enjoy about the Midwest, it is this lake culture I miss the most when abroad and away from the comforts and rituals of home.

This week at Nomadderwhere (big week for Fiji narratives):

Hardcore Brain Expansion: I'm happy to say I finished my read on Mexico City (which I recommend - review coming soon) in time for the big trip and am now working on The Lost Girls, the first and recently released narrative put out by the girls in charge of LostGirlsWorld.com. Hope I finish it before Saturday, because this bad boy is one thick travel read.

T minus 6 Days: On May 29th, I'll be on my way to New York City to meet my new boss for the first time. For a couple days, photo shoots and training sessions will be on the agenda, alongside meet-ups with my great friend, Garrett, before he heads to Malawi on his Peace Corps assignment! If you're in the NYC area next weekend and want to meet up, DM me on twitter or use my contact form!

Video/Online Property Update: You'll notice in the near future that I'm testing out a little Vimeo action. I've exclusively used Youtube for all my travel videos thus far, and even though I enjoy using that platform, I'd like to join the Vimeo community to see what works best for my work. Which video platform do you prefer, and why?

1 Minute or Less Moments: This week on my Nomadderwhere Facebook Fan Page, I've published raw video clips of some intimate funeral footage (because I think these are meaningful moments to give some perspective) and one of the children early on a school morning.

Nomadderwhere's Facebook Fan Page

Nomadderwhere's Facebook Fan Page

Video(s) of the Week: Self-Teaching New Skills

I'll admit this off the bat: this week's video post is all over the place. Yes, it's dedicated to the betterment of the self-taught skills, just like last week's. Yes, it covers material from last year, this year, and calls for agency in yourselves! And yes, there are three videos this week. Just roll with it.

My Thought Process

Editing a video

Recently, I answered a question on how to best groom yourself for the World Traveler Internship, and since a huge part of the job is video editing, I thought it wise to encourage some exercises that will only improve our skills in videography,  yours and mine. Unless you take formal classes or have a mentor, you have to push your own development in order to make travel videos people want to watch.

Last week's video showed a lengthy experience squeezed into something compact with a bit of flare, and I called for suggestions on how I could have made the piece more dynamic with different techniques or styles all possible with a simple point-and-shoot and Windows Movie Maker. Many people don't create travel videos because they don't have the top gear, like HD camcorders and Final Cut Pro, but that shouldn't stop anyone from having an expressive final piece that stretches the abilities of that gear.

Video #1: Self-Teaching the Analysis of Theme

I created the following a year ago, while taking a trip to Iowa with friends. I wanted to show unexceptional and mildly inappropriate subject matter submerged into an unlikely theme, to hopefully enhance whatever charm can be extracted from a party bus situation.

Please don't judge.

Did this technique of pairing old and new, classy and not classy, work in your opinion? How would you have captured the same subject matter with a different angle, using the same tools of a point-and-shoot and a simple editing program? Comment below, and let's move on.

Video #2: Self-Teaching New Accessible Techniques

I am a MatadorTV intern (did you know?), and this week, I've been on the lookout for interesting videos under the theme of photography or photo-centric. This brought my attention to a technique called photomotion, which I love. I decided to give it a go this week, with the help of a Matador tutorial.

Give it a try yourself. If you have a DSLR, keep your finger on the shutter button for some rapid succession shots of something that moves. Also check the continuous shooting options on your camera and see if you can't make it do the work itself, possibly resulting in 9 frames per second if you're lucky.

If you have a point-and-shoot, I think the fastest you'll be able to capture is a photo a second, and it may help to turn the photo review off. You may not be able to capture enough frames to make it seamlessly animated, but it's a great technique to try out!

Bottomline: Don't not create because you don't like your subject matter or don't have the perfect gear. No doubt my subject matter would be cute no madder how I captured her. Great topic to start with.

Video #3: Self-Teaching How to Hunt Inspiration

And finally, today's last video is about finding new inspiration. Did you already know about photomotion? How can you learn other techniques without waiting for someone else to tell you about them? I found an easy way for anyone to come up with new methods.

I have twelve days until I take off for NYC and Mexico on my first business trip as producer and editor for Project Explorer. With this fourth series coming up, we want to get really creative with our filming techniques, in order to make learning all the more entertaining for students. Also, some archaeological/historical/cultural sites don't allow filming, so how are we to deal with these barriers?

By getting creative.

If you're finding it difficult to diversify your storytelling abilities, not sure how to capture certain subject matter in a new and compelling way, or just want to try something new, check out Vimeos channels!

Did any of this widespread content help you in conceptualizing better travel videos? Any other ideas to share? New techniques to try out? Fill me in, because I get further direction knowing what you, the reader, thinks!