Sale on 23 Business Guides for Locationless Living

I bought it today

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This is a very different post than I normally write. I was planning to write about my new website that I’m about to launch called the Travel Blog Challenge, along with the 1000-1000 Blog Challenge experiment. But since the website and the challenge are geared toward helping all us wayward travel bloggers gain more visitors and earn more from our websites I decided I needed to let you know about a great sale going on that lasts only 72 hours (well 48 hours as of time of posting, it ends at 10am EST on December 2).  I’ll write about the Challenge next post.

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OK, so basically there is a huge sale where you can buy 23 Business Courses and Ebooks for only $97 that would normally cost $1,052 if you bought them separately. I’m usually skeptical about these types of things and I passed over the links to this for the past day thinking it was all spam. But it turns out the the books and courses are actually very good,  by a number of people I follow regularly and I own a couple already.

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They are aimed teaching you how to create an online businesses and helping you earn money from your websites. so you can live anywhere. Just getting Chis Guilebeau’s Guide to Working for Yourself and Corbett Barr’s Guide to Ethical Affiliate Marketing is worth the price. I have both already but decided I wanted to read the others too, especially since I’m trying to build the business side of my blogging.

[Update: I just learned that a portion of each sale goes to building a well in Ethiopia through Charity:Water. Very Cool!]

No hard sell here, just wanted to give you the heads up that this deal is on. I bought mine today and will spend the next few months happily reading through everything. If you want to get the books you can find out more information here. If you want some more information here is a quick rundown of what they are offering. By the way, if you like Todd’s Wanderings you will probably also love Chris Guillebeau’s site on Unconventional Strategies for Work, Travel and Life:

Unconventional Guide to Working For Yourself by Chris Guillebeau ($79)

  • Unconventional Guide to Working For Yourself (53-page PDF)
  • 3 25-minute of audio teaching sessions
  • SEO Report (26-page PDF)

The Essential Motivation Handbook by Leo Babauta & Eric Hamm ($15)

  • The Essential Motivation Handbook (PDF)

True Strengths + The Metrics of Ease by Danielle LaPorte ($20)

  • True Strengths + The Metrics of Ease – Sample Chapter from the Fire Starter Sessions (PDF)
  • Video:  The Metrics of Ease
  • Video:  The Merits of Self-Centered
  • Worksheet:  Passion Play
  • Worksheet:  Very Strong Priorities

Upsell 101 by Naomi Dunford & Dave Navarro ($77)

  • Normally only available to buyers of How to Launch the S*%& Out of Your eBook
  • 78-minute audio coaching session
  • 11 Upsell Worksheets (PDF & DOC)

Websites That Sell Webinar by Laura Roeder ($47)

  • Normally available only to buyers of Zero to Website course
  • Special access to 1-hour Webinar

Guest Posting Guide by Chris Garrett ($17)

  • Special access to Guest Posting Info membership site
  • Downloadable Guest Posting Workbook (PDF)
  • “Kick start” video
  • Guest posting checklist and flowchart

3-Day Money by David Risley ($47)

  • 14 Video presentations (2.5+ hours)
  • Full written transcripts for each lesson (PDF)
  • Audio files for each lesson (MP3)
  • Step-by-step Worksheet

Email Triage + 2011 Premium Planners by Charlie Gilkey ($32)

  • Email Triage (PDF)
  • Guided Audio Program (MP3)
  • 2011 Premium Action Planners
  • 2011 Premium Freelancer Planners
  • 2011 Premium Blog Planners

Location Independent Lifestyle Guide by Lea Woodward ($37)

  • Location Independent Lifestyle Guide – 2nd Edition (82-page PDF)
  • Do-It-Yourself Design & Branding Guide for Bootstrapping Businesses (78-page PDF)

Zero to Business by Johnny B. Truant

  • Special membership to full Zero to Business course
  • 30+ screen-capture tutorial videos
  • Step-by-step screenshot technical instruction

Write for the Web + Beyond Bricks and Mortar by James Chartrand ($54)

  • Write for the Web (89-page PDF)
  • Beyond Bricks and Mortar (47-page PDF)

Tired of reading? You can Click here to buy the package

Reclaim Your Dreams by Jonathan Mead ($47)

  • Reclaim Your Dreams – “Everything Package” (70-page PDF)
  • “I’m Serious About Action” Worksheets

How to Live Anywhere by Karol Gajda ($97)

  • How to Live Anywhere – Long Haul Edition (58-Page PDF)
  • Anatomy of a 4 Figure Affiliate Promotion (PDF)
  • 10 Audio Interviews (MP3)
  • How To Live Anywhere Audio Series (8 MP3s)
  • “Create Freedom” Teleseminar (Video)

Minimalist Business by Everett Bogue ($47)

  • Minimalist Business – Upgraded “Minimalist Plan” Version (PDF)
  • 30-Day Quick Start Guide

Affiliate Marketing for Beginners by Corbett Barr ($77)

  • Special access to Affiliate Marketing for Beginners – “Complete Course”
  • 5 Core Teaching Modules
  • 21 Affiliate Lessons
  • 2 Profitable Case Studies

Beyond Blogging by Nathan Hangen ($47)

  • Beyond Blogging (200-page PDF)
  • 15 Blogger Case Studies
  • “100k Blueprint” Summary

Smalltopia by Tammy Strobel ($27)

  • Smalltopia: A Practical Guide to Working for Yourself (156-page PDF)

Guest Post Secrets by Erica Douglass ($77)

  • Special access to Guest Post Secret membership site
  • 3 core Guest Post training videos
  • Full transcripts for each video (PDF)
  • Email Scripts
  • Bonus Videos: Online Workshop Recording & How to Deal with Rejection

How to Network Fast by Jade Craven ($44)

  • The Guest Posting Mini-Guide (PDF)
  • The Twitter Mini-Guide (PDF)
  • The Blog Commenting Mini-Guide (PDF)
  • The Affiliate Mini-Guide (PDF)

Networking Awesomely by Colin Wright ($20)

  • Networking Awesomely (PDF)

Article Marketing Traffic Booster by Henri Junttila ($47)

  • Article Marketing Traffic Booster (110 -page PDF)
  • 6 How-to Videos
  • Bonus Audio Affiliate Interview
  • 3 Content Worksheets

Yup, that’s a lot of information

There it is. 23 products worth $1,052 for only $97 if you Buy Now before 10am EST on December 2:

Click here to purchase the package

*Now for the small print. If you buy the package then Todd’s Wanderings gets a cut of the sales and we get to keep the lights on for a little while longer and the heat going for the winter. Like everything else on this site I would never recommend it if I didn’t a) buy it myself and b) think it is a good deal or incredibly useful to you.

Many people dream of traveling to Japan and experiencing this unique island first hand. Culture, history, technology, fashion and food blend together in an unforgettable experience that not only rewards the intrepid traveler but has fueled pop culture around the world for decades. Japan has taken on a somewhat mythical persona as it highlights its cultural differences to the outside world and implanting the desire to visit the country in minds of countless travelers. However, one myth has served to repel would be visitors:  Japan is extremely expensive. While its true Japan can be expensive, a trip to Tokyo can still be done on a budget and can cost much less than a jaunt to Europe’s largest cities.

A journey to Japan can be incredibly rewarding without cashing out your child’s education fund. I lived in Japan for over 5 years, and my wife is from Tokyo. Since we travel there quite a bit we  try to keep our costs down as much as possible, especially as the Yen is at historical highs compared to other currencies. There are so many things to do in Tokyo that can burn a whole in your wallet. As frequent former resident, frequent visitor, and a lover of my own money, here are 10 things you can do in Tokyo for free. Enjoy, and use your savings to get out of Tokyo and experience the rest of Japan :)

1. Tsukiji Fish Market

Tsukiji Fish Market Tokyo Japan

One tuna can sell for more than $10,000

Map of Tsukiji Fish Market Tokyo JapanYou used to have to wake up early, 4:30 am (or stay out drinking late), to experience the inner workings of the Japanese fish industry. Now visitors are not allow in until 9 am, I guess too many took the drinking option and interrupted the tuna auctions held at 5:30 am.  Nevertheless, a visit is still worth it to see  the wholesale clearing house for a nation addicted to the spoils of the sea. The market is smelly, and open every morning except Sunday. Located near Tsukiji Shiko Station on the Oedo Subway Line the market is made up of an inner market, where the wholesale business and tuna auctions take place, and an outer market with retail shops and restaurants that cater to the public. The Japanese as sticklers for the rules, which are now more complicated than ever. Use the map for help on where you can and can’t go, and at what times!

2. Harajuku

Tokyo street fashion Harajuku Japan

How long do you think it takes for them to get ready?

A trip to Tokyo is not complete without a glimps of Japan’s funky youth, desperately trying to be different by dressing in similar groups, from goth, to little bow peep outfits. Head to Harajuku on a Sunday, even rebels go to school and work, and head for the bridge. And don’t be shy, ask for your picture to be taken with them, they are not as scary as they look.

3.Yoyogi Park

Yoyogi Park Street Performers Tokyo Japan

Real or fake hair? You decide

Since you’re in the neighborhood and it’s Sunday, walk to nearby Yoyogi Park. On Sundays the park turns into a free outdoor concert with bands battling it out for attention, drum circles, artists and street performers under every tree. Besides the colorful street entertainment, the park itself is beautiful and worthy of a stroll, or even a rave.

4. Soak up the Views

Tokyo Skyline

Now those are streets you could get lost in

If you’re in Tokyo you had better make sure you see Tokyo. You don’t have a pay to get a good view and the 45th floor of Tokyo Metropolitan Government Office (also known as TMG Office) is one of the best. Right near Shinjuku Station, open from 09:30 am to 05:30 pm (07:30 on Sunday) and closed on public holidays, TMG offers stunning views of the city and if you’re lucky(read: if the smog clears) views of Mt. Fuji.

5. Imperial Palace and East Garden

Imperial Palace TokyoThe massive imperial palace grounds is set in the middle of Tokyo and surrounded by moats and held together with stone walls. Built on the former site of Edo castle, the imperial palace boasts one of the most beautiful gardens in all of Tokyo, the East Garden. The garden is free to enter (closed Mondays, Fridays and special occasions), and while you at it book a free tour of the grounds (its the only way you can get into the inner areas). This will require some advanced planning but luckily the application is online and in English (click here). The buildings and inner gardens are off limits as the imperial family lives there, but the doors are thrown wide open on the Emperor’s birthday (December 23) and for the New Years greeting (January 2nd). Time your visit right and you’ll get a free peak into Japan’s royal family.

6. Temples and Shrines

Sensoji Temple Tokyo

Senso-ji Temple with its vibrant gate and pagoda

Most Buddhist Temples and Shinto shrines are free in Tokyo. Considering they can be hundreds of years old, hold elaborate and colorful festivals, and contain some of the countries most treasured artifacts, that’s a pretty good deal. A few of the most popular, and some of my favorites include: Sensoji temple in Asakusa (from the 7th century!), Meiji Shrine in Shibuya and Zozoji Temple near Tokyo Tower.

7. Show Rooms

Sony Showroom TokyoWho doesn’t love gadgets, and when they are free to play with and sometimes not yet released to the general public they become even better. Visit the Sony Building in Ginza and enjoy 4 floors of the  latest gadgets. It’s near to the Sukiyabashi Crossing and is open everyday from 11:00am to 7:00pm.

8. Gadgets

Akihabara Tokyo

Gadgets, gadgets and some maids...in the coffee shops, geeks love maids

Not tired of gadgets yet? Who would be, you’re in Tokyo and  the buzz of electricity is everywhere. To see, and play with, more than just the Sony goodies head down to Tokyo’s electronics district Akihabara and wander in and out of the shops. Technically its free, but your wallet might take a hit after you start drooling over the latest cell phones and digital cameras.

9. Manhole Covers

Japanese Manhole Cover

Dirty, but still pretty

Yes, you read that correctly, manhole covers. Details are everything in Japan and if you spend all your time looking up at the tall buildings and the gigantic flashing TV screens you’ll miss the beauty under your feet. Manhole covers are usually fashioned in a traditional design and vary street to street as a way to mark the different tunnel systems underneath. You can’t take them home, but the picture and the story are free, all you have to do is walk, look, and pay attention (think of it as walking mediation).

10. Visit a sumo stable

Sumo Japan

You won't get this in the morning, but you'll still get the g-strings

Sumo has taken a bruising recently in the media due to gambling, pot smoking and charges some players coaches are connected to the Yakuza. Despite the dirt, it is still amazing to see up close and personal. Just don’t get too close as they are big, sweaty and wearing traditional g-strings. Tokyo boasts three grand sumo tournaments per year but these cost money. A better strategy is to visit a stable (a training hall) and watch sumo players work out in the morning. There are over 50 stables spread throughout Tokyo but no easy way to get in on the action without a guide. Your best best is to ask your hotel for help, or even just visit the Ryogoku area, the home of sumo in Tokyo, in the morning and listen for the screams :)

Know of any other freebies in Tokyo. Leave your comments and ideas below.

[Disclaimer: things change, times, costs, even buildings. The information here is accurate to the best of my knowledge at the time of publishing. But things change...I think I mentioned that earlier, so check times and access before you go]

Photo Credits 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

Rice Paddy Terraces

Where are these famous rice paddies? I wonder if the rice tastes as good as they look?

Update:

The winner is Caz…who guessed the Longshen Rice Terraces, also known as The Dragons Back Rice Terraces in China (OK she only said Longshen China).

Thanks again to Andrea and her educational travel blog.  Here is what makes these rice terraces so special to Andrea:

“It’s a special place because the terraces are stunning. They were mainly built during the Ming dynasty, so are about 500 years old. The lower terraces are at 380m, while the highest part is 880m, so there are 500 meters of stunning photographs at every turn. One of the best parts of Longshen are the female porters, who moonlight as manic pashmina sellers in the evenings. They have a wonderful humor that breaks through any language barriers. The family homes that are run as guesthouses also make it a special place to stay. Longshen is a wonderful break from the crowds and pollution of China. Although the hike can be done in a day, you can easily spend a week here.

Caz gets the prize this week so please check and her husband Craig out over on y Travel Blog. It’s one of my favorites and I featured it  in my amazing travel bloggers list.

Welcome to Travel Photo Contest Friday, wow that’s a mouthful! If you’re new or never bothered to actually read what I write, each week I post a beautiful picture (at least I think so) from my travels (and sometimes from a featured guest…see below for details on how guest post) and you guess where it is.

This week’s photo comes from Andrea and her travel blog Travel Teach Travel. Andreas a woman after my own heart, working and traveling her way around the world. She’s a self professed horrible tourist (she doesn’t see the major sites! what did you think I meant???), and she injects a nice sense of humor and realism into the long term travel trade.

The first person to guess where this picture was taken (Country and Place Name) will win a link back to their blog with the anchor text of their choice in this post (keep it clean and relevant).

Leave your guess and recent post in the comment section below. Last week Norbert won in record time Berlin, Germany’s Holocaust Memorial. This week we are making it harder on all of you. So good luck and let the guessing begin!

I will also stumble and review the latest post of anyone who leaves a comment even if the winner has already been picked (up until next Thursday). Andrea will also join in on the stumble love as well! Yes, the prizes heavily favor the blogging and travel geeks amongst us. If you don’t have a website, then leave your favorite website or better yet a charity that deserves attention. Yes, I also get behind on my stumbling responsibilities, but they always get down and I love to stumble at once.

Good luck!

Guesses aside, all comments are welcome!

Be a Guest Photographer

If you’re looking to help increase the visibility of your blog, drive more traffic, or just share your pretty pictures then why not be a guest photographer for Photo Contest Friday on Todd’s Wanderings! This is no longer as new feature as we have had 5 weeks of guest posters and have the next 3 weeks filled already!

If you’re interested in having your photograph featured then send me an e-mail through my Todd’s Wanderings Contact Page with the Subject line: Photo Contest Friday. Don’t forget to tell me which site your coming from and I’ll be in touch and explain how to send the photo. Keep in mind that your photo should be awesome!

The photograph should be your own and should have a few small clues in the photo to help the reader out if they’ve never been there (no, I don’t follow this last rule myself all the time…but it’s my website). I’ll link to your page and talk you up as the guest poster. I can be very flattering when I want to be.

Oh, and it goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway. You should be an independent travel blogger. You big companies have more than enough SEO stored up to get you through the winter.

I don’t do this often enough. Usually I’m tooting my own horn, or at least the horn of a destination or event. Today is a day to give back, to highlight 6 of my favorite travel bloggers. Each of these writers has inspired me and my development of Todd’s Wanderings in a different way. I’m also proud to call them my friends. Well, friends that I’ve never met face to face. But friends that I talk to more often than my friends back home thanks to the addictive power of twitter, facebook and RSS feeds.

OK, OK, friends might be too strong a word, but what else do you call an obsessive compulsion to read everything about someone on the internet, check out where they are day in and day out, and spy on their conversations with others in the bushes of a comment box? For those of you humming “Stalker” to yourselves, pipe down, and take a walk…but not before checking out these fantastic wandering word smiths who have a wonderful zeal for life and freedom.

Warning: you won’t be able to read through these sites without being infected by wanderlust.

Wandering Earl

I can’t say enough about Earl and his thoughtful blog Wandering Earl. We have a strangely similar life as Earl has been on the road for over 10 years as well. He writes with a sense of purpose and timing that makes you desperate to get to the end of his articles but sad when you do. One post you will love is The Day US Customs Found a Bullet in My Pocket. Earl makes his living as he goes along, through is blog and recently his fist e-book. If you’re looking to earn money and travel, Earl, a 5 year veteran of the cruise ship industry, gives you the lowdown on How to Get a Job on a Cruise Ship.

Runaway Juno

Where do I even begin to start with Juno? The creator of Runaway Juno, she is by far one of the nicest travel bloggers, or human beings, that you will ever meet. She was one of my first friends on twitter (yes, I tweet!!) and has shown nothing but enthusiasm for Todd’s Wanderings, my life, and my love of strong drinks. She has a wit and charm about her that you just can’t fake and amazingly it comes through loud and clear in her writing.

Want to find out how beloved she is by the online travel world? Just take a peek into her Juno-go-round, a round the world trip based solely on her hoards of twitter friends.

The Planet D

As Canada’s self proclaimed, but no less true, adventure couple, Dave and Deb are on an amazing journey to make a living out of travel, blogging, and promotion. This power couple and authors of The Planet D are friendly, warm, extremely productive, and are proof positive that travel blogging can be a career. Between Dave’s amazing photography and Deb’s insightful prose you’ll discover a whole new world of not only travel but also what it takes to run a full time blog.

I draw a ton of inspiration from these two. If you don’t believe me go check them out. At the moment they’re in Fiji on a press trip enjoying adventure sports (and I’m sure a nice cocktail or two) on the tourism department’s dime. Go on, join them for Fiji Waterfall Fun.

y Travel Blog

Caz and Craig are another traveling blogging couple and the brains and brawn behind the widely popular y Travel Blog. I’ll let you decide which is which! I’m running out of adjectives and superlatives to describe everyone so I’ll just give you the honest lowdown. Caz and Craig have been on the road for over 10 years and share a wealth of advice, tips and strategies for traveling the world. Helpful, considerate and focused on community are just a few of the things anyone would say about them. They are particularly good at engaging with their readers so be warned, you might spend a few hours on their site once you meet these nice travelers.

Go ahead, jump into their lives and brains a bit with their thoughtful post A Curious Case of Living.

Hole in the Donut Travels

If you’re looking for descriptive, riveting writing about far flung cultures around the world than Barbara and Hole in the Donut is for you. Barbara quit her successful but unsatisfying 70 hour per week job to travel the world and capture different cultures in writing and photography. She currently spends 10 months of the year on the road and the other 2 back in the US dreaming and plotting her next steps. Despite having a hectic travel schedule and successful blog (i.e. lots of time spent responding to her hoards of fans) she has always found time to write me and give encouragement. She is living proof that a travel writing career is possible, that it’s rewarding, and that she probably spends more than 70 hours a week working…but at least it’s fun :)

Follow on her most recent adventure searching for Wild Rhinos in Nepal.

Trail of Ants

Ant Stone is by far one of the most elegant writers in the travel blogging community. Trail of Ants is full of wit, irony and a dash or possibly even a splash of genuine insight. I have to admit that I don’t know Ant nearly was well as the others above, but this is more to do with my own shyness. Being grammatically challenged and possessing a mere five shooter of vocabulary, the machine gun efficiency of Ant’s literary minded prose intimidates me. But I’ll do my best to describe him in a manner befitting his awesomeness.

His writing is nothing short of great and his blog is simply incredible. Each time I visit I find another stunning photograph or insight that I’m sure everyone would agree is just about the best thing they saw on the internet that week. His writing is so unbelievable. I nearly died the first time I read his amazing prose. Not only is it awesome, but its really cheap too, I mean you don’t even have to pay anything to be a part of the millions of readers who follow this expert travel writer.

If you are still with me and wondering why I just threw up all over your screen you’ll enjoy reading Ant’s post on 10 of the Most Misused Words in Travel Blogs. Please don’t search for them on Todd’s Wanderings as I’m afraid you will overload the system with all of the results.

Have other travel blogs you love, leave a comment and share them with the world. Or at least my Mom…I think she still reads my writings.

light and dark specialty photography

You might need a wider view to guess where these stone blocks of light and shadow are filed.

Update:

The winner is Norbert…who guessed the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin, Germany.

Thanks again to Jonny and his fun travel and photography site.  Jonny is a man of few words so here is what Wikipedia has to say:

The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe (German: Denkmal für die ermordeten Juden Europas), also known as the Holocaust Memorial (German: Holocaust-Mahnmal), is a memorial in Berlin to the Jewish victims of the Holocaust, designed by architect Peter Eisenman and engineer Buro Happold. It consists of a 19,000 square meter (4.7 acre) site covered with 2,711 concrete slabs or “stelae“, one for each page of the Talmud arranged in a grid pattern on a sloping field.

Norbert gets the prize this week so be sure to check him out over at Globo Treks

Welcome to Travel Photo Contest Friday, wow that’s a mouthful! If you’re new or never bothered to actually read what I write, each week I post a beautiful picture (at least I think so) from my travels (and sometimes from a featured guest…see below for details on how guest post) and you guess where it is.

This week’s photo comes from Jonny and his aptly named Photography and Travel. If you like travel and beautiful images then this is a site for you.

The first person to guess where this picture was taken (Country, City, and Place Name) will win a link back to their blog with the anchor text of their choice in this post (keep it clean and relevant).

Leave your guess and recent post in the comment section below. Last week Jeremy outperformed his way to winning over the crowd at the Amphitheater in Amman, Jordan.

I will also stumble and review the latest post of anyone who leaves a comment even if the winner has already been picked (up until next Thursday). Jonny will also join in on the stumble love as well! Yes, the prizes heavily favor the blogging and travel geeks amongst us. If you don’t have a website, then leave your favorite website or better yet a charity that deserves attention. Yes, I also get behind on my stumbling responsibilities, but they always get down and I love to stumble at once.

Good luck!

Guesses aside, all comments are welcome!

New Feature: Be a Guest Photographer

If you’re looking to help increase the visibility of your blog, drive more traffic, or just share your pretty pictures then why not be a guest photographer for Photo Contest Friday on Todd’s Wanderings!

If you’re interested in having your photograph featured then send me an e-mail through my Todd’s Wanderings Contact Page with the Subject line: Photo Contest Friday. Don’t forget to tell me which site your coming from and I’ll be in touch and explain how to send the photo. Keep in mind that your photo should be awesome!

The photograph should be your own and should have a few small clues in the photo to help the reader out if they’ve never been there (no, I don’t follow this last rule myself all the time…but it’s my website). I’ll link to your page and talk you up as the guest poster. I can be very flattering when I want to be.

Oh, and it goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway. You should be an independent travel blogger. You big companies have more than enough SEO stored up to get you through the winter.

(Warning: there are no pretty pictures in this post. You’ve been getting distracted too easily recently and this is important)

Shhhhhh, come closer. I have a secret. Many of you may think you know me through my blog. I try to be open, transparent and honest about my life on the road.  But I still have secrets. Recently people have begun to associate me with the recent trend of travel and lifestyle bloggers who have dumped their corporate world and stifling cubical for the freedom of the open road.  It’s a compelling story, a dream of millions. It tugs at the emotional triggers of the reader for a life of endless beach cocktails, far away romances, and awe inspiring moments as you stand in center of a 10,000 year old monument, feel the ancient dirt shift between your feet, breath in the scent of accumulated history and finally make a real connection to the ramblings of Mrs. Garret, your elementary school ancient civilizations teacher. See, that was such a wonderful image you probably didn’t even realize how long that last sentence was!

So what is my Secret?

It’s a big secret. It might even change the way you view me and Todd’s Wanderings. It could shatter the growing mythology that surrounds my lifestyle and blog (well maybe my egotistical long term travel blogger head could use a quick deflation anyway).

One thing is for sure, it will shatter the image that only the rich travel. It will shatter the image that you need to save tens of thousands of dollars to travel the world.

OK, here is my big secret. The one I’ve been afraid to reveal to you. The truth is…

I didn’t ditch a 9-5 corporate job. I didn’t decide one day to be brave and cast away the life I had built until that point, sell all my possessions and hit the road. I’m NOT a corporate escapee.

This would be impossible for me. The truth is: I never had that life to begin with! There never was any cubical. I never acquired any possessions, house, cat, dog (although I really really want one). I’m just a regular guy.

What did I do?

I made the simple choice to see the world before I got bogged down by a career. Right after college I left the US and moved to Japan were I worked as a teacher for 5 years. I spent every minute of free time, and the money I earned each month, to explore Japan and Asia. I didn’t save a dime and I made the most of my time. (Catchy, I know.)

I changed jobs often, and lived in different parts of Japan. I never allowed myself to settle down and get into a routine. I didn’t want a career as an English teacher but it served its purpose of allowing me (even with my college loan debts, still have them by the way) to travel, live and work in other countries.

When I became bored with teaching, when I felt that itch in my soul that I needed a change I simply did it…I changed. I went to graduate school and started my life as an international development worker. This has allowed me to travel even more of the world, for both work and fun. Again, I change jobs often. I pick projects and causes that I believe in. I try to integrate my passions with my work so that they blend naturally together.

I will write more about what exactly I do in future posts, and will explain how development work is one option to help you see the world in an upcoming guest post.

So what’s the point? I thought I was getting a silver bullet to fund my world travel!

Everyone is different, everyone has a different story. Everyone can find a unique way to travel and experience the world. Many people have assumed that I saved a lot of money to fund my travels, that I did an around-the-world-trip and loved it so much that I continued traveling. Others assume that I have a location independent lifestyle and business that allows me to volunteer for great projects and sip cocktails on the beach.

Still others have assumed that I ditched corporate life and started traveling using my story as my hook to earn money (and millions in stock options). Nope, not true, any of it, especially the sipping part. I like gulping.

The truth is I found a job and left home, found another job and left home, left home and then found a job, quit my job and left home and then found another job. I’m three months into my current job and already thinking about my next country and next job. I’ve been working my way around the world, living a lifestyle of freedom and choice from the very beginning. That was 11 years ago. I’m still doing it and so can you. You don’t have to have the same story as others, or me. It’s better if you don’t.

The whole point of striking out and discovering the world is that you discover your own path and create your own story. The more you follow the path of others the more crowded the path will become, the less benefit you receive.

So how do you do it? You said there would be Steps!

Well, that’s up to you. Seriously, didn’t you read the point of this article! But I did promise steps. So here is a framework to work off of based on my own experience. This is how I not only funded my travels  but learned to get paid for doing what I love. Hopefully it will lead to something equally unique for you:

Step 1: Find a Job Abroad

-Pick a country you like, find a job that you might like and go

Step 2: Travel, travel, travel some more

Step 3: Do things that make you happy, hobbies, learning whatever. Do it all. Volunteer your time. Don’t worry about getting paid except for your regular job.

Step 4: Listen to your heart and change something when you are not happy or satisfied.

-Change your job, change your country. Just move, do something new.

Step 5: With each change, with each new job make it closer to what you would do for free.

-ALWAYS take something you love, a skill from each job to apply to your next step.

Finding what we want to be when we grow up is a process. But it’s one that can be combined with world travel without saving money for one big trip. Tailor your job to your interests and just go. Yes, it takes work. Yes it takes preparation. Yes, you’ll run about of money at times. But if you keep with it experiences will pile on each other and eventually you’ll succeed. Hopefully, you’ll find yourself in a wonderful place of loving your job, being able to travel the world, and getting paid to help others and be creative. It’s a wonderful feeling, trust me, I know.

Go ahead, push back. Tell me what you think or ask questions and advice on how to make it happen.

This post is by: Kay (my lovely wife and writer for K’s Kitchen!)

Turkish Tabbouleh

Turkish Tabboleh in a nice Turkish bowl straight from Istanbul's Grand Bazarr

I just came back from my work trip to Istanbul. Although this was my third trip there, I am still impressed with the energy and number of people! And Istanbul will welcome you with so many interesting activities including beautiful historical sights, shopping, and delicious Turkish cuisine. Today, I would like to introduce you to one of the Turkish dishes called Kisir which is a Turkish style Tabboleh.This dish is very healthy and friendly for vegetarians. As usual, I had to substitute bulgur with couscous as I could not find bulgur in Kosovo (and forgot to buy it while in Istanbul). I hope you enjoy this glimpse of Turkish Cuisine!

Ingredients (for 4 people)

Couscous: 1 cup=240 cc (and of course use bulgur if available)

Hot water: 1 1/4 cup

Salt: 1 teaspoon

Tomato paste: 2 Tablespoons (other recipes calls for hot pepper paste which is probably better to add the spicy taste)

Green onions: 1/2 Cups (finely chopped)

Onion: half (finely chopped)

Italian parsley: 1-1.5 cups (finely chopped)

Cucumber: 1 (diced)

Red paprika: 1/4 cup (finely chopped)

Pomegranate syrup: 1 Tablespoon

Lemon juice: 2 Tablespoons

Cumin: 1 Tablespoon (if you fry and grind) / 2 Tablespoons if you use powder

Tomato: 1 (diced)

Pepper: 1 teaspoon

Olive oil: 2 Tablespoons (or more if you like)

Fresh mint leaves (if available): 2 Tablespoons (chopped)

How to cook (cooking/preparation time: 30-40 min)

(1)  Chop all the vegetables as instructed above

(2)  Put Couscous in a pot and pour hot water mixed with salt and tomato paste into the pot. Put a lid and let is sit for 10 minutes. Then fluff up couscous with a fork softly.

(3)  Roast cumin in a frying pan and grind them.

(4)  Combine couscous, pepper, cumin, vegetables, and mix them well.

(5)  Add Pomegranate syrup, lemon juice, olive oil, and salt depending on the taste.

(6)  Serve in a bowl!

That’s all! It is quite easy to make, isn’t it?

Was that easy? Delicious? Tell us how tasty it was, or how it all went horribly, horribly wrong :)

Ancient Arena

Let's see who battles their way to the first correct guess!

Update:

The winner is Jeremy…who guessed Amphitheater in Amman, Jordan and who may have been the fasted correct answer recorded yet!

Thanks again to Nicole and Cameron and their fun world traveling Canuck blog.

Jeremy gets the prize this week. So wander on over to Living the Dream and check out his great travel and lifestyle site. It happens to also be one of my favorites so do spend some time and dig around, you will be very happy you did.

Welcome to Travel Photo Contest Friday, wow that’s a mouthful! If you’re new or never bothered to actually read what I write, each week I post a beautiful picture (at least I think so) from my travels (and sometimes from a featured guest…see below for details on how guest post) and you guess where it is.

This week’s photo comes from Nicole and Cameron who together are Traveling Canucks. They are two adventurous Canadians exploring the world with over 49 notches on their country list.

The first person to guess where this picture was taken (Country AND City) will win a link back to their blog with the anchor text of their choice in this post (keep it clean and relevant).

Leave your guess and recent post in the comment section below. Last week Merav canyoned (yes the past tense of canyoning…if it were a verb) his way to a win in Namibia’s Fish River Canyon.

I will also stumble and review the latest post of anyone who leaves a comment even if the winner has already been picked (up until next Thursday). Cam and Nicole will also join in on the stumble love as well! Yes, the prizes heavily favor the blogging and travel geeks amongst us. If you don’t have a website, then leave your favorite website or better yet a charity that deserves attention.

Good luck!

Guesses aside, all comments are welcome!

New Feature: Be a Guest Photographer

If you’re looking to help increase the visibility of your blog, drive more traffic, or just share your pretty pictures then why not be a guest photographer for Photo Contest Friday on Todd’s Wanderings!

If you’re interested in having your photograph featured then send me an e-mail through my Todd’s Wanderings Contact Page with the Subject line: Photo Contest Friday. Don’t forget to tell me which site your coming from and I’ll be in touch and explain how to send the photo. Keep in mind that your photo should be awesome!

The photograph should be your own and should have a few small clues in the photo to help the reader out if they’ve never been there (no, I don’t follow this last rule myself all the time…but it’s my website). I’ll link to your page and talk you up as the guest poster. I can be very flattering when I want to be.

Oh, and it goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway. You should be an independent travel blogger. You big companies have more than enough SEO stored up to get you through the winter.

No visit to Japan is complete without experiencing Japanese food the way the locals do. In Japan there is no way to separate eating from the atmosphere and experience. Food in Japan touches all of the senses from the minimalistic elegance of sashimi to the visual gourmet versions of hamburger patties. There’s more to Japanese food than sushi but let’s face it, navigating the difficult menus in a New York Japanese restaurant can be daunting enough, let alone tackling lesser known dishes on their home turf.  With Fall in full swing, and November Japan Blog Matsuri, hosted by Surviving in Japan tackling the topic of Fall foods in Japan, I started to think about what I love to eat in Japan this time of the year. This made me hungry and ruined all objectivity, displaced Fall and set me down the path to the 5 foods I love to eat during the Fall and every other season :) To help you follow in my footsteps and guide you through this culinary and cultural experience I’ve created a list of 5 dishes that are a must for any visitor to Japan.

Hungry yet?

The Japanese are famous for specializing and defining. It’s no different with food as each of these dishes will usually be served in its own specialized restaurant complete with accompanying unique atmosphere. Warning, if you are a vegetarian this menu is probably not for you, but there are always ways to substitute fish and vegetables for the meat dishes. But be careful, sometimes pork is not considered meat!

1) Donburimono

Japanese Donburi rice bowl

So much goodness all in one bowl.

Donburi is a large rice bowl and the “mono” (lit. things) refers to the delicious toppings laid over the bed of rice. There is a large variety of Donburi from comfort food, such as chicken and egg oyako-don, stewed beef and onions gyu-don, and fried pork and egg katsu-don, to the more refined variations like tempura ten-don, marinated eel unagi-don, or even sea urchin una-don.

All of these are a great value, even the more expensive fish dishes, as you can eat out with just one dish. Finding a quality local shop may take a bit of work but it will be worth it. If you are looking to only experience gyu-don visit the chain shops Yoshinoya or Matsuya. You’ll have to decide for yourself which is better as its one of those questions that divides the nation. If you’re by the sea or a fish market look for the seafood versions as they’ll be the freshest.

2) Okonomiyaki

Japanese Okonomikayi

Usually called a Japanese pancake, but so differnet this should stop as its nothing like a pancake other than being flat and fried.

It’s not really a pancake, or a pizza, definitely not a crepe but it’s certainly delicious. Made with batter, egg, and your choice of vegetables, beef, pork, seafood and even noodles, you have to do the work here. The ingredients usually come out raw and you have to cook them on the large teppan (hotplate) that you sit around. There’s a variety of ways to make it depending if you are in Tokyo, Osaka or Hiroshima (my favorite) but the basics are: cook the fillings, pour on the batter and beaten egg, flatten the mixture on the teppan with the metal spatula provided, and flip over after five minutes. Aim for a browned outside keeping the inside soft. Finally, add the sauce with the brush provided and/or mayonnaise, and sprinkle on the fish flakes…if you’re into that sort of thing.

3) Yakitori

Japanese Yakitori

Grab a beer and enjoy.

Literally grilled chicken, there is so much more to these skewers that can contain the full range of chicken bits, meat, liver, heart, cartilage and skin. Prices are usually by the skewer, even if more than one arrives, so be careful. They are cooked to order over charcoal and come with either sauce (tare) or salt (shio) seasoning. Nothing goes better with it than a large cold beer and good company. Yakotori can be found everywhere, from specialized restaurants to street stalls. In either case pull a seat up to the bar and be prepared for your orders to be yelled around the room, repeated by everyone from the server to the cook.

4) Ramen

Japanese Ramen

Feel free to slurp all you want. How else are you supposed to eat noodles with chopsticks!

These long Chinese noodles have become the staple of the Japanese fast food industry. Pop in for a quick and inexpensive bite during lunch or after a long night drinking on the town. Ramen shops are on just about every corner in Japan and you’ll be able to find one easily. More difficult will be trying to decide what type you want, from curry to miso to chicken broth, topped with marinated pork to an extra helping of spring onions. Honestly, you can’t go wrong with any choice, it’s all delicious. Add in a plate of gyoza, Japanese fried pot stickers, and you have one great meal.

5) Izakaya

Japanese Izakaya

Ok, technically it's not a food, but it IS an experience with plenty to delicious food.

This is the ultimate Japanese communal eating experience that can only be described as Japanese tapas. They are a great way to experience a wide variety of Japanese food, and drink copious amounts of beer, sake or chu-hai (shochu with flavored carbonated water. I like ume-chuhai, plum flavored. Yum!

These are friendly places that are like the local pub on the corner. Japanese come after work to share food, stories, and bond with each other. The portions are usually small and the variety of foods can be staggering, as will be your bill if you try to have a proper meal. Use your time in an Izakaya to sample different dishes, get to know those you are with, or even sitting next to, and then decide on a cheaper option for the next stop in the night.

What are you favorite Japanese foods? Need more suggestions or help reading the menu? Comment away below.

November Japan Blog Matsuri, hosted by Surviving in Japan

(Photo credits in order: singingbeagle, Smaku, TenSafeFrogs, wonderferret, SpirosK, nicolacassa)

I know what you’re thinking: “Slovenia, where the hell is that?” Or possibly: “What, only 2 reasons, is that all you’ve got? Are you getting lazy Todd? I mean all the other Top [insert arbitrary number] Lists have WAY more than just 2.”

Island Church Bled Slovenia

Ohhh, pretty picture. Ready to listen yet? The Church of the Assumption on Lake Bled

Truth be told, I never thought about visiting Slovenia until recently. My other little secret is that there are more than 2 reasons to visit this amazing country but you shouldn’t need any more than these two. Bam! How do you feel now? Feeling silly? Ready to trust me? Huh? Huh?

Also, this is not a post about everything Slovenia has to offer. Over one week I only went to two places. Turns out it was enough to get me itching to head back. I took a week off work and headed into the mountains to work on my Shikoku Pilgrimage book. I’m happy to report that I got three more chapters finished and still had time to hike the incredibly accessible Alps.

First things first, where is Slovenia

Slovenia Map

Map courtesy of http://www.icannga.com/icannga11.php

Somehow this little country does not receive the attention it deserves. It’s one of Europe’s smallest and shares borders with Croatia, Italy, Austria and Hungary. Sounds centrally located to me. Add a small coast, the stunning Julian Alps, and about 500 castles, manors and ruins, amazing wine, food and the infrastructure of any major European country and you start to wonder why more people aren’t talking about it. Oh, and did I mention it’s still relatively inexpensive? Well it is. So much so that I found it cheaper than my recent trip through Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast.

First Reason

Bled Castle Slovenia

The Autumn colors only added to the magical feel of this place.

The thousand year old Bled Castle sits majestically  on a rocky outcrop 139 meters above the lake of the same name. In the middle rests and island holding the Church of the Assumption, evoking further images of fairy tales and dragons that haunt the capital city of Ljubljana, a mere 45 minutes drive away. Imposing mountain peaks surround the lake valley to round out the incredible charm of this little town and making it a must for any serious Europe traveler. The only down side is its so beautiful that the crowds can get quite thick so it’s best to visit in the Spring and Autumn.

The best way to appreciate the natural and architectural beauty of Bled is to walk around the lake. A walking path circles the lake and at an easy pace takes about 90 minutes, longer if you get stuck taking one breath taking picture after another. Not even the ugly Yugoslav era concrete hotel monstrosities can take away from the magic of this special place.

Second Reason

Lake Bohinj Slovenia

Do I even need to write anything here?

Don’t get me wrong, I love Bled. But too many people can ruin a good thing. Luckily all you have to do is drive a pleasant 26 kilometers to the south to reach the glacial lake Bohinj. Resting in a near vertical mountainous embrace lake Bohinj is the perfect get away to commune with nature and experience amazing Slovenian hospitality. Hiking paths start from just about everywhere around the lake, leading both the casual and the extreme hiker into the heart of the Julian Alps.

Church of Saint John the Baptist Bohinj Slovenia

The Church of St. John the Baptist in Bohinj. Amazing views from of the lake and interesting frescoes from the 14th century. Some of the angles inside of what look like fangs for teeth!

I spent 7 days here and loved every minute of it. The lack large hotels is not a negative at all as there are plenty of apartments in traditional house for rent (called sobe). The peace and quite, as well as fresh mountain and lake air can rejuvenate any soul and get you itching to explore the paths that bring you along impossibly green rivers, through sight gorges, and to the top of rocky peaks.

So, did you like my 2 reasons. Of course I slipped a few more into the mix without you even knowing. You were probably too distracted by the pretty pictures :)

If you go

Whoa, if? I haven’t convinced you yet. Well here are couple more reasons.

Getting there

Simple and easy. Just fly into Ljubljana airport, gather you bags and then walk across the street to the next building that houses the rental car agencies. There is about 8 of them so shop around to get the best deal. My first offer was 430 Euro for 7 days…at the “budget” car agency. I finally settled on 190 Euros. Coming form Kosovo where you pay 60 Euros per day, this was like heaven.

The drive to Bled only takes about 45 minutes on a nice highway. Drive another 40 minutes in to reach Bohinj. This is a perfect trip even if you only have a weekend.

Where to stay

Bohinj Slovenia

The view from Pension Stare

This is a bit more tricky. I wanted to avoid large impersonal hotels so I just drove to the end of the lake and found a pension. There are lots of apartments and rooms available and you can learn more at the tourist information center. But be warned they are not so helpful other than giving you a book of the places available. Having a car to search them out helps.

I stayed at Pension Stare, at the end of the lake, and would recommend it to anyone. I usually don’t promote individual places (for free that is :) , but they treated me so well I can’t help it. The Pension boats a delicious dinner, simple but comfortable rooms, and incredible views of the surrounding mountains. It’s family run and has been in business for 25 years.

Have you been to Slovenia? Tell us what you loved about it, or what you are dying to see.

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