Vagablogging

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:

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!

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

Consume & Update on a Saturday?!

Normally I publish my community outreach on Sundays, but as tomorrow is a holiday, I thought I would switch it up a bit...just this week.

That "Rascal," Kim Jong Il, and His Antics

Far from simply a rascal, North Korea's dictator is one paranoid character, with due cause, and has recently been noted for traveling with ridiculously extreme caution...and luxury.

Kim's train is equipped with conference rooms, an audience chamber and bedrooms, with a pair of Mercedes-Benzes on standby, not to mention satellite phone connections and flat-screen TVs so the leader can be briefed and issue orders.

His precautions make sense, I guess. He's not the coolest man on the planet. And even he knows it...

One tell-all memoir written by a former associate claims that Kim once even banned secretaries from wearing hairpins in his office, fearing they might be used to assassinate him.

Am I going to get one some red list for blogging about this article? Yikes. And speaking of North Korea, did you know American tourists are now allowed to travel on the guided tours just like non-American Westerners can. I sure didn't until earlier this week. Would you go given you were in the Asia area and had some free time? Comment below!

And You Thought YOU Were Generous...

Fiji 0201

Charles wrote a quality piece this week at Vagablogging about non-Western hospitality that pointed to our often short-lived hospitality at home. We're taught to shower "pleases" and "thank yous" at everyone we encounter or interact with, and paired with gratitude and proper body language, this is the upmost level of appreciation we can muster.

But what if your in a culture that doesn't accept your onslaught of gratitude and undeserving attitude?

What if they just want to give you the hook up without receiving sainthood-status in your eyes? I think many Americans are incredibly kind and hospitable, but is Charles right? Do we not know how to accept or deal with non-Western hospitable nature based on our own belief that hospitality is somewhat short-lived?

Don't Waste the Soap!

A fresh bar every time, a couple hand washes, and you're done with it. What happens to a bar of hotel soap once you've checked out. It usually joins its 2 million brothers in a landfill, but Clean The World has decided to change this around. Intelligent Travel fills us in on the lathery goodness.

Still a devastating threat to children in developing countries, diarrheal diseases cause some 1.6 million of the 1.8 million childhood deaths that occur each year, according to the World Health Organization. Suitable drinking water sources, regular hand washing habits, and proper hygiene practices can eliminate these entirely avoidable fatalities.

Can't Feel Blue Looking at This!

Thank you, Vagabondish, for this eye candy from Norway's coast.

Coast of Norway

Other Discoveries

This is quite a doosie of an article: The Absurdity of Spiritual Enlightenment

Found this interesting simply because I've been studying Mexico's interesting approach to Catholic veneration: Say a Little Prayer for...Death?

Check out Jenny's new interview with SoSauce. Who is Jenny? Well, she's my new boss, silly!

Update on Nomadderwhere

May 6th, 2010

May 6th, 2010

What on earth am I doing to you this week?!? Am I crazy?!?

Monday: The Nakavika Project Outtakes video Tuesday: Journeys of a Lifetime in May Wednesday: The Triple Importance of Cinco de Mayo Thursday: The First Hour of 2010 in the World Friday: Urgency and a Broken Hip Not to mention the Consume & Update on a Saturday?!?

I've been told it's much more thrilling to stay current with what I'm talking about, as opposed to the flashbacks to Fiji. And now that you know my big news for June, I've got to tell those Fiji stories mad fast, because while in Mexico you'll want to know what's going on in the moment!

My twitter is present day, my Youtube isn't far behind, but my blog for some reason is still experiencing New Year's 2010! Don't worry. The crazy schedule this month will make it all better.

As you can tell, I have many interests (personal travel narratives, reviews, inspiration, World Traveler Internship, ProjectExplorer, etc.), and I'll be writing about all these topics in the near future, hoping to find a balance and order with all of them, including their expression in multi-media form. If you have any ideas on how I can make my blog easier to follow, contact me!

1 Minute or Less Moments: This week on my Nomadderwhere Facebook Fan Page, I've published raw video clips of some fun moments with the kids and on the carrier with some of the boozing fellas.

Nomadderwhere's Facebook Fan Page

Nomadderwhere's Facebook Fan Page

Consume & Update: Tony, Mallory, and My Glory Days

Consume & Update: Tony, Mallory, and My Glory Days

For those of you who follow me on twitter, you may know my grandmother passed away two weeks ago. I apologize if my quality of work falls a bit in this next month or two, because this is one death that will keep hitting me for a while. Soon to come is a post about her and the side of her I don't yet know all about: her world traveling side. The research begins this week. She was one cool lady.

Read More

Consume & Update: Rowing, Journey, and Carnival

Are you getting pumped for the Carnival of Blogs starting tomorrow? Yeah, I thought so. That's why you're here today to warm those eyes up and read about the rest of the online travel world, so you won't feel guilty spending all your time here next week! I can read you like a book...or a blog!

Eat, Pray, Watch

This book was borderline for me, like a Frances Mayes novel that leaves me unsure of whether I enjoyed it or not. But there's no doubt that this new movie based on Eat, Pray, Love will offer amazing visuals and a good feeling lingering. Maybe I'm excited about this movie because I can relate to the act of taking a journey that moves me and documenting its entirety. I like Elizabeth Gilbert and think she's talented at verbalizing the benefits of creativity, and so I approach this film trailer simultaneously pumped up, envious, and irked. What do you think about this new movie coming out?

The World's Biggest Pool

My internal monologue immediately said "Whoooooa" upon seeing this image. Check out this crazy spectacle, courtesy of the Intelligent Travel blog.

The Poetic Journey

This week, Chris Guillebeau brings to our attention a poem about movement, about redesigning your life against the status quo, about a mental side of travel that usually leaves you squirming if left unvocalized.

The Journey

One day you finally knew what you had to do, and began, though the voices around you kept shouting their bad advice— though the whole house began to tremble and you felt the old tug at your ankles. “Mend my life!” each voice cried. But you didn’t stop. You knew what you had to do, though the wind pried with its stiff fingers at the very foundations, though their melancholy was terrible. It was already late enough, and a wild night, and the road full of fallen branches and stones. But little by little, as you left their voices behind, the stars began to burn through the sheets of clouds, and there was a new voice which you slowly recognized as your own, that kept you company as you strode deeper and deeper into the world, determined to do the only thing you could do— determined to save the only life you could save.

~Mary Oliver

What Have You Done by 22?

This story is fantastic. If I only had the iron will and guts to do this, I think I'd like to. But nay, I don't think I'll ever accomplish something like Katie Spotz and row across the Atlantic solo...at age 22! I read about stories similar to this all the time, but this one struck a cord in me (and gave me one or two goosebumps). Check out her website, Row for Water.

Other Discoveries

Vagablogging does it again...great musing about being oblivious abroad

Cherry blossoms must emit an intoxicating odor, because for some reason, I'm amazed by them!

One thing I need to work on: letting myself pay a little more for better, authentic food elsewhere

Good question...Does every culture understand sarcasm? Man, either some don't or my jokes don't translate across borders.

Happy belated Passport Day!

Update on Nomadderwhere

Tomorrow is the big day! Can you guess what it could be? It's the Carnival of Blogs! That's right. Tomorrow marks the 1st anniversary of my Nomadderwhere.com domain, and though that doesn't mean much to most people, I'm turning it into a blog post party! That means starting tomorrow, I'll be publishing a post per day, including: the ultimate travel video of this year's best, giveaways, a new series, as well as the original work you come here for in the first place!

1 Minute or Less Moments: There's still so much you haven't seen from our trip to Fiji, which is why I'm on week four of posting raw video files onto my Nomadderwhere Facebook Fan page. This week, new videos are ready for your viewing eyes. Click on the icon below to watch the Fijian boys pound and mix the kava and be sure to check out the video of me harassing a guy doing bench presses. Always a good time...

Nomadderwhere's Facebook Fan Page

Nomadderwhere's Facebook Fan Page

Also, join my Facebook event highlighting the Carnival of Blogs and show your support for all the great stuff coming your way. Joining this will get you links to each day's posts and allow you to mingle with other travel fanatics!

Consume & Update: Air Traffic, Hatred and Two Days To Go

Soak it in, boys and girls. This is the last dose for a while! This week's good news...

World Air Traffic in 24 Hours

Really Going Rogue

Numbers 15 and 31 on my Life List mention an inexplicable draw towards countries not easily accessible to foreigners (or just Americans). Well, maybe not so inexplicable...

  • Pakistan = mountains

  • Afghanistan = rural landscapes

  • Cuba = culture and salsa

Digging into the archives a bit, I found Chris Guillebeau's How to Travel to Rogue States, which of course got me salivating for Cuba again. Who knows when my next new country will be blazed and if it could be one of these massive non-trail destinations. Any plans for a trip like this in your future?

When To Put The Camera Away

Visiting orphanages for 30 minutes?

Visiting orphanages for 30 minutes?

I've been checking out the Acumen Fund this week and found a compelling blurb on travel and documentation called When To Put The Camera Away. Marc Manara makes a comment on our intentions for taking photographs and how they come off to the subject of the moment.

Though the desire to snap a telling shot of reality may seem harmless for the sake of your own memories or appear a good move for the sake of informing others of what you've seen...you may be bruising someone's dignity or making them feel like a mystery species on a game drive.

There are times when I truly wish I could have secretly snapped the photo, but I also think that frequent inner turmoil - when these opportunities present themselves - has a lot of truth and validity. I think spending more time with the people/potential subject matter of the photograph(s) helps smooth over many of the worries one has with taking vulnerable photographs of others.

I get upset when people stare at me, and I get especially testy when people photograph me without my consent (e.g. in Doha, Qatar). I definitely don't want to make others feel the same way, especially when there could appear to be a socio-economic difference and a stress on personal dignity.

Travel and Hate

What has often been a companion of my culture shock is something akin to hatred, an ugly emotion that has the ability to take hold of my soul even against protest. I've come home angry at many things, and though it's not the way I actively choose to be, Joel Carrilet gives me a little comfort in knowing it's not just a massive character flaw. It happens with due cause.

Travel frequently introduces us to beauty, but it shows us other things too. As we lay eyes on situations and listen to voices in places we previously knew little about, our love for the world and its people will deepen. The flipside of this, however, is that our hatred—of attitudes, ideologies, and policies that take advantage of others and harm—will also deepen. For if we love with all our might, we will also be bound to hate some things with all our might.

Read Joel's article on How Travel Teaches Us To Hate, and let me know if you find travel's combined effects of love and hate in yourself.

Other Discoveries

Chris Guillebeau's new site for Unconventional Guides

Rolf Potts' interview with new writer and former English teacher in the Marshall Islands

Join in the conversation about Women Hitchhikers over at Vagablogging

Don't forget to have quiet time on the road

28 Things I Wish I Knew Before Traveling

Update on Nomadderwhere

In the coming months, I'm going to be a bad consumer. This will be the last weekly Consume & Update as you've know it until I return to reliable internet coverage, constant electricity and a life not centered in a remote village. However, I will still attempt to keep updates coming on a weekly basis or as often as I can.

The last steps in preparation:

Emptying out the piggy bank

Emptying out the piggy bank

1. Buy mosquito net: check. All supplies in bag: also check. Empty the piggy bank and cash in for dough: oh geez check. The village knows we're coming, and we have two days until departure! Nothing left to do but document every step and meet Garrett at LAX! Our sponsors are stacking up and sending their contributions. We're so grateful for all the people finding this project relevant.

2. I threw a Michael Jackson Dance Party in my basement to fundraise for the project. It involved Dirty Diana martinis, trivia and prizes, black and white food and a chronological ordered playlist with every great hit by MJ ever created. I also dressed up as MJ throughout the decades: the Jackson 5 era, the Bad/Thriller era...yeah, I get carried away. I'll let you know how the event went and how much was raised at a later date.

3. BJB Challenge: Remember this? I wanted to write 20,000 words in my narrative on the Big Journey. This challenge began a month ago, before I had booked the tickets for Fiji. Needless to say I was preoccupied this month to keep up with my own, self-imposed deadline for writing. It was sad, as I continue to grow away from these experiences from 2008. But among other things in Fiji, I hope to find time to write about this experience in the detail it deserves. I'll be a word machine before you know it.

Consume & Update: Bloggers on Happiness, Ambition, and Reason

I did a little reading this week, and this is what stuck from the lot. Click on the images to read the articles.

Good Investments

I've only recently come to hear of Rolf Potts, and I look forward to reading his novel "Vagablogging" in the coming months. Here on his blog, fellow writer Scott Gilbertson discusses possible reasons for unhappiness as a result of putting your money to the wrong use: stuff for yourself, and not on experiences for yourself or the people around you. I've really tried to apply this philosophy to my life in the last three years, running from buying stuff and saving for memorable experiences...maybe not with the direct goal of happiness at the front of my mind but more for the "I know I'll be a better person for doing this" reason. I've never been Miss Moneybags and have been spending my own money for quite some time, but I've known I always had enough to do the things I wanted. It may also be that I've only chosen to desire the things that are within my reach. Travel the world? Who needs twenty years of savings! Buy some drinks for people I don't know? Bottoms up, strangers! And the times I've spent money on dresses or crap for the shelves have never been as fulfilling as the money spent on a chicken dinner and dance party for kids. I'm not trying to say I'm holier and happier than thou, but it's all we can do to make the sensible, compassionate steps toward being people we're proud of. And if we're proud of who we are, we're probably pretty happy.

Shake Up Your Lazy Inertia

This the second Vagabondish article I've really liked from author Turner Wright. His piece entitled "Why it's easier to stay fat, stupid and untraveled" is pretty straightforward. It's too bad our priorities as a mass population reflect a desire to do very little and be happy with that. We never stay still when we eat, or rarely even cook with known, natural ingredients. If your trigger finger is strong and nimble, you can shoot down every online deal you spend hours on your butt searching for. I guess I fall into the sloth lifestyle upon coming home. I work online or read sixteen hours a day and drive to the gym when I need to move around. I rationalize it as time spent researching and building a foundation for those times when I'm running around the world with a mission and a desire to live out ambitions. Anyway, this is an interesting article and one I'd love to hear reflections on from fellow readers.

You're You Everywhere

Lea Woodward writes well and often about being unattached to a place and still making a living. It's called Location Independence. Look into it. Often it's easy to look at a purpose-driven life that's created from one's passions and think "That is the life!" Well, wherever you go, though, there you are. There you are doing the same things, and even though the initial thrills will please you and your travel objectives, we humans are habitual and get into routines, which often feel remarkably similar to those we once had at home...in that stable, stiffling, mundane environment. Wait a minute. Her article isn't to say creating your own lifestyle anywhere in the world is unnecessary because everything's the same everywhere, but it's a "reality check" to make sure you're not in a dream world. Travel and location independence for some is the holy grail, but romanticizing it too much will lead you astray from the realities.

Toxicity Kills the Journey

If I'm honest, I've felt very toxic for the last few months. The acid in my mind (figuratively speaking...) almost felt tangible at moments, and sometimes it takes all the energy you can muster to make those thoughts liquefy and disperse in the name of happiness. This blog from Brave New Traveler, a Matador magazine on the inner thoughts of a traveler, could have been very useful to me in preventing toxicity during my travels.

Update on Nomadderwhere

Since I've been home from the World Traveler Internship, I've begun work on my new website, researched potential projects, and connected with many people interested in my trajectory. My work week is something like 90 hours. I drink a lot of tea. It doesn't feel like work, which means it's the right path, and surprisingly I still don't feel like I have enough hours to progress as far as I'd like.

So what does all this mean for Nomadderwhere?

  1. I'm learning how to write first and write well. Objectives = great subject matter, great blogs, potentially great book material

  2. I've scheduled four different speaking engagements throughout the Northern Indiana area, some directed at photography passionates and professionals. I'm moving from online expression to that of the verbal kind.

  3. The book on my solo RTW has begun its morphing process into a complete idea. It will take many years and many sessions in front of a blank screen...but that end result will come to be.

  4. A new website will be ready and raring by September 23rd that includes more travel advice, suggestions for reading, technology and destination highlights, free city guides, and an even more exciting development for photography.

  5. I have the incredible fortune of cheap travel in the near future, which gives me the perfect chance to create new work on places I've never been or really observed. October is the Mexican Riviera. November is Chicago, Illinois. Who knows if December will hold nothing or a fantastic travel opportunity with a favorite vagabond pal...