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Old man bowing in Japan

Don't worry, everything will be OK

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I think apologies are in order. No, no, not you to me. I owe YOU an apology.

I thought I was being honest with you

You see, I have always tried to tell you the truth about my life. I have tried not to hold anything back…even my finances.

I thought I was revealing myself through my wit and story craft

By giving you Travel Narratives I thought my personality would shine through when you read about my adventures in far off lands (well far off for you). I worked hard to embarrass myself, or share stories that might get me fired from work, accounts of when I almost died, and even times when I have saved others from dieing.

I thought that you would get updates on my Facebook Page

You see, I started my Facebook Page to help fill in the gaps here in on my website. There is no way I can post every place I visit, every strange thing that pops into my head, or every wonderfully odd picture I take. Trust me, if I posted everything that came into my head you would get overwhelmed and would run for the digital hills.

I thought you weren’t interested in learning more about my life

Sure, you might say your interested, but really you just want to read pretty words, look at beautiful pictures, and discover wild adventures. But it turns out that many of you want to know me better, and that the details of my life abroad are in fact interesting to you. All I can say is:

Thank you and I’m Sorry

Many people believe that saying sorry is a sign of weakness, or that it signals that you were wrong and thus you deserve to be blamed. Many people at work think that saying sorry is a liability. That Evil Bob will use it against you to get ahead, get the higher paycheck and score with the cute secretary. But really, you never had a chance with the cute secretary. Plus all she is interested in is your money so let Bob lose it all while you work on making your life better, happier, and filled with people who love you.

Starting today I’m going to start giving you more personal updates, let you in on the ups and downs of living this kind of lifestyle. I’m actually going to tell WHAT this type of lifestyle is!

Take a Deep Breath and Let’s get Started

A few months ago I offered my advice on how to Manage Uncertainty- Don’t. Instead of freaking out about losing my job at the same time my first son was born, I took a different route. I decided to enjoy and be thankful for what I had, rather than worry about what I didn’t. Many of you are probably wondering how that worked out for me.

Today I’m here to shine some light onto my life for you, and show you what has happened in an incredibly short but eventful 3 months. At the very least you can guess that I still have internet access, but are we homeless, are we able to pay the bills, are we still in Japan mooching off my parent’s in law?

The Baby and Japan

Traveling with an infant

I've been to Japan, Kosovo and Greece! I like to Fart too.

First things first! On June 22nd, 2011 we welcomed Kaito Andrew Yamagiwa Wassel into the world. He is by the far the best thing that has every happened to me in my life. After spending 2 wonderful months living in Japan with him, we moved back to Kosovo (more on that below). He did great on the 11 hour flight from Japan, 4 hour layover, and 2 hour flight from Vienna to Prishtina. Soon we are heading for a family vacation to Greece. That means he’ll have 3 countries under his belt in 3 months…such a good little traveler :)

Living with your in-laws can be difficult in general. But living with in-laws in a different country and in a different language is especially difficult. Our visit could have turned into a darker Lost in Translation but it didn’t. My Japanese Parents are wonderful people and we all had a great time. It was not all roses and I did get tired of a strict structure of Japanese living. But we managed and learned to find the gems amongst the stress.

At times I had to work, even though I was not getting paid (more about that below). We were exhausted at times due to lack of sleep. Although, in general Kaito is a mild mannered kid who seems happy with his lot in life. I also used the time to see more of Japan and catch up with friends.

Work and Kosovo-Getting Paid to Hike

Not having a source of income and welcoming a new baby to the world can be stressful. Insurance, international flights, and buying expensive baby items can make any worry. Instead of stressing I took action. I worked to finalize the Hiking and Nature Tourism Guide to Dragash, Kosovo. It will be available (right here!) around September 19th. We were always committed to returning to Kosovo even if a job was not waiting. After all, we left our stuff in our apartment and let’s face it, living in Kosovo is MUCH cheaper than living in Japan without a job.

Working for free has paid off and I’m happy to say I’m about to enter into a new contract with the United Nations in Kosovo. The twist is that I’m now blending my travel writing with my peacebuilding work. Sounds impossible…right? I will be taking the hiking guide a step further and will develop a rural tourism and mountain strategy for Dragash, Kosovo. I’ll be working with the UN and the Municipality to develop strategies to increase tourism and protect their natural assets at the same time. Basically, I’ll be getting paid to hike and write. This consultancy is a direct result of this site (ToddsWanderings.com, yes, this little website right here!) and my willingness to take action for free with the guide book.

I will also be helping the UN to manage the change in my old peacebuilding program in Northern Kosovo. If you have been paying attention to news recently this summer has been difficult up there (riots in the North). I’ll be evaluating the past 3 years of work and helping them with raising 11 million dollars (yes, you read that correct) for the program that I co-developed on my last contract.

So, I have “stability” until March 2012. After that I have no idea what will happen. I have plans (yes, you will be hearing about them soon) to take this site to the next level. I’ll need your help as this site is nothing without you. Well, that is not true. It is still something, but it would be a lonely, sad place without your sexy, well traveled, and witty eyes.

It All Works Out in the End

So, what are the lessons you should take away from this post. I’ll be so bold (yes, it is my site) as to offer a few myself, but I’d love to hear your thoughts down in the comments.

1) Don’t worry about what you don’t have and instead focus on what is in hand. You’ll just waste energy that can be used to enjoy what is around you.

2) Work hard on the opportunities you do have. I could have complained about working for free but instead I focused on providing value.

3) If you work hard and are passionate about something you will attract attention and work.

4) Without my website none of this would have been possible.

5) My son is super cute.

6) Everything in life is not as simple as it is sometimes presented on this Blog (due to editorial constraints). My wife and I have been tired, we have fought, we have snapped at each other, I have been stressed by lack work, she has been stress by lack of work etc etc etc. But through it all, everything has worked out in the end.

So, what are your lessons from this adventure? Do things really work out in the end or am I just a biased upper middle class American who had the world handed to him?

Photo Credits: Bowing in Japan, My Son

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30 Responses to “Proof it All Works Out in The End”

  1. baxNo Gravatar says:

    Very thought provoking. Your consistent willingness to face facts and take action are clearly part of your success.
    bax´s recent [type] ..Oh, crap!

  2. I just hopped over here for the first time from Yakezie and it seems as if my timing couldn’t have been better…Man, this is the juiciest most interesting (and yes, thoughtful) personal finance blog I’ve read in a while.
    I agree with all points-good luck! And babies…the are the BEST!
    Molly (Mike and Molly’s House)´s recent [type] ..Softie Owl

  3. NLMNo Gravatar says:

    Yup, the baby is cute! So glad you are getting to combine the things you love to do.
    NLM´s recent [type] ..Making the Ordinary Extraordinary

  4. KatrinaNo Gravatar says:

    Thanks, Todd. Sometimes I get caught up in the crazy and forget to breathe, relax, appreciate — and read your blog. I really do appreciate what you do for the world and I’m glad you’re here. Thanks.
    Katrina´s recent [type] ..Missing Mermaid

    • Todd WasselNo Gravatar says:

      WHAT?! you forget to read my posts? :) I’m glad that my posts help spread a little perspective on the crazy ups and downs of life. Not sure I’m doing much for the world other than being myself and sharing my thoughts. But I’m glad I’m here wandering the world as well. How are your Thailand plans going?

  5. Sounds great Todd! Looking forward to seeing how everything goes. :)
    Matthew Karsten´s recent [type] ..The Betty & Barney Hill Incident

  6. SageNo Gravatar says:

    This is great Todd. The suspension of anxiety and uncertainty – I guess that is just “positivity” – is paramount. In the life of a mobile entrepreneur or world explorer, there is little certainty and no guarantees. Yet, somehow, it all keeps rolling.
    Personal experiences from others are often the best way to be reminded of this, so… thanks for sharing yours!

    ~Sage
    Sage´s recent [type] ..ARRIAN YVES WHEELER: Entrepreneur / Vagabond

  7. Hey Todd!
    Man I love your “glass-half-full” view on life.
    First of all – yes your son is super cute and I am so jealous he’s done so much world travel so far haha :-P
    Second of all – I couldn’t relate more as to just how much having a blog that you’re dedicated too and grow can do. THis summer I went on a sponsored road trip all over the West Coast because of my blog!!! It’s also gotten me tons of design clients for web design. And I’ve met SO MANY amazing people that inspire me through it.

    I can honestly say that starting my blog has been the biggest window of opportunity and the most wonderful door I’ve ever opened in my life!!! I’m thankful for it everyday!

    Enjoy getting paid to hike!!!!! Keep rocking it!
    - Lauren
    Laur @ The Mad To Live´s recent [type] ..LIFE EQUATIONS: The Only Answer You’ll Ever Need to Life’s Wild Questions

  8. HazelsmumNo Gravatar says:

    Of course everything works out in the end. That old adage about whenever one door closes another one opens is so true…. but you’ve got to have your eyes open to see it!!!!

    He sure is cute!
    Hazelsmum´s recent [type] ..Impatience

  9. HerbsterNo Gravatar says:

    We are now back to civilization, which means the internet. Catching up with your post and as always, most enjoyable and enlightening. Hiking Kosovo sounds great, how late is the season? Will be waiting for the guide. Congrats on the wee little one.
    Herbster´s recent [type] ..Don’t Leave the Dock Without ‘em, The Dreamspeaker Cruising Guides

  10. Amazing how we can find words to live by anywhere we look! Great insights for all of us to ponder. Best to you on your new adventure.

  11. JohnNo Gravatar says:

    I have to agree in you that everything will work out in the end because it usually does! Not always, but often enough that it’s possible to take some comfort in that. It doesn’t necessarily work out like you must have it, but that’s what makes life interesting. We have to admit the fact that It’s always worked out for me, but often in some surprising ways!
    John´s recent [type] ..Droid Bionic: Brand New Droid Series from Motorola

    • Todd WasselNo Gravatar says:

      Hey John, yeah this is what makes life so interesting. It is easy to forget how fortunate we are to be able to travel and see the world (even when we are not working). It is a luxury and a gift to be worried about being able to do something we love rather than just focusing on surviving like so many people are in the world.

  12. MariaNo Gravatar says:

    Fantastic news Todd! You’ll be able to blend travel writing with peace-building work? No small accomplishment there! Pat yourself on the back. Minus the child, I am unemployed now too and I get what your saying about a do it approach and don’t freak while doing it.

    Your posts are great and they do make a grey day brighter. Thnx and I’m on the edge of my seat with anticipation to hear/read about how this all continues for you.
    Maria´s recent [type] ..Bird’s-eye View

    • Todd WasselNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Maria, thanks for the kind words and it really makes me happy to hear that my experience is helping you out, even if only through some encouragement! I will be able to blend my peacebuilding with travel writing. It is such a great feeling to combine all of one’s interests AND get paid for it. None of this would have been possible without this blog and it just goes to show you that blogs can earn money in many different ways.

  13. SheilaNo Gravatar says:

    I believe that all things work out in the end, too and I totally agree with you on #1! It’s less emotionally stressful and burdensome when we just focus on NOW.
    Sheila´s recent [type] ..CNA Certification

    • Todd WasselNo Gravatar says:

      Yes, this is the one lesson that has been the hardest to learn over the years. Figuring out how to stop worrying and enjoy where you are now. I have found that making an action plan (and actually taking action!) really helps with this.

      You don’t agree with #5 as well? :)

  14. One of my favorite mottos is that everything will work out in the end… because it usually does! Not always, but often enough that it’s possible to take some comfort in that. It doesn’t necessarily work out like you must have it, but oh well… that’s what makes life interesting. =)

    And I think you were understating things a bit when you wrote that your son is super cute.

    • Todd WasselNo Gravatar says:

      Ha! Ok, he is SUPER cute :) One of the main reasons I call my site Todd’s Wanderings is because I never really know what will happen to me or where I will end up. I never would have planned to live in Timor Leste, Sri Lanka or Kosovo. But I wouldn’t have it any other way.

  15. I think that things work out in the end, but not without hard work. You put in the work, and things worked out. And yes, your son is super cute :-)
    Stephanie – The Travel Chica´s recent [type] ..First Week in Ohio

    • Todd WasselNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Stephanie, yes hard work is the key to all things. I really believe that as long as you work you hardest then things will settle for the best. It might not seem like it at the time but many down periods actually help to make room for better things. oh, and he is getting cuter by the day!

  16. SatuNo Gravatar says:

    I believe it all works out in the end… but sometimes not in the way you expected. It’s always worked out for me, but often in some surprising ways!
    Satu´s recent [type] ..Questions and Answers about India Travel

    • Todd WasselNo Gravatar says:

      Hey Satu, I agree. Every time I tried to get someplace I always ended up somewhere else…and completely happy with the new random place that I never would have known about if it was all up to me.

  17. This post resonated with me a lot! I also had a baby, lived with the inlaws for several months in a foreign country… then lost my job!
    Nearly two years down the track I’m in a much better position — have quit my new job to travel! So you are right – things do all work out in the the end. (And you’re baby IS super-cute!)

    • Todd WasselNo Gravatar says:

      Great for you Barbara! I love hearing stories like yours and it is so close to mine that it is nice to know there are others out there :) We never know where we will end up in life, but as long as we have the right attitude along the way we can only end up in good places.

  18. jenjenkNo Gravatar says:

    That’s a lot in a 3 month period! I can understand how hard it is to live in Japan w/your wife’s family. I *love* my family in Japan but there are certain rules that you must abide by – it’s an unspoken and you just do it. Luckily, my momma raised me to *know* what i’m supposed to do. It’s exhausting. :)

    It’s great that you’re doing something that you love to do! Not everyone takes that path. I do believe that things really do work out the way it’s supposed to!
    jenjenk´s recent [type] ..Visiting Japan: Gift Giving Customs

    • Todd WasselNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Jen, thanks, and yes it can be very difficult at times doing everything that is expected of you in Japan. That being said, Ioved my time there and would not have it any other way. Plus now I have lots of new blog material ;)

  19. DavidNo Gravatar says:

    So three things:

    - Congrats on the new job (I already knew about it, but it doesn’t hurt to congratulate you publicly)
    - I always thought it was a corny expression, but I can’t find any other so “OMG, Kaito is so cute!”
    - “I have been stressed by lack of work, she has been stress by lack of work” You American and Japanese people… Made for each other. Personally, the only thing that will ever stress me as far as work is concerned is the prospect of work, not lack of thereof… (just kiddin… kind of… maybe…)
    David´s recent [type] ..Hello world!

    • Todd WasselNo Gravatar says:

      Hey David, thanks. I see that you are using the new David + World url, congratulations. Yes, we are quite happy with the cute little guy :) As for stress, well I was more stress that she was stressed…if you know what I mean. I have rarely been stressed by a lack of current work as I know it will always come. Plus I try to only do “work” that I enjoy so it doesn’t really feel like work.

      • DavidNo Gravatar says:

        Yes, I need to start spreading the word if I want to take over the world… (big big plans this year, world domination and stuff).
        Yeah I agree with you on the work+stress part (and my wife is the same, the less she works, the more she’s stressed and the more that stresses me), I just found the thing funny.

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