My Book

Todd Wanderings in ShikokuThis is the story of my 900 mile walking pilgrimage to the 88 Buddhist Temples of Shikoku, Japan. Actually its the story of my second time around the Island of Shikoku at a point in my life where I was lost, looking for direction. By getting lost I ended up finding myself along the back allies and rural temples of one of Japanese most remote areas.

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Yes, you read that right, my SECOND time walking the pilgrimage and sleeping outside each night along the road, in bus stops, under bridges, on the beach, in tool sheds and just about anywhere I found myself at the end of the day. This isn’t just a story about the Shikoku Pilgrimage, or learning about myself, it’s also the story of a changing Japan. A country and society caught between the old and the new and the impossible contradictions that define the real Japan that the outside world rarely sees and misinterprets when the skirt is briefly blown up.

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Where I’m at: I’m still writing the draft manuscript and looking for an agent. I’m halfway through my story and could use all the encouragement and pressure you can muster to keep going and finish soon.

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More about the Book

I’ve had a midlife crisis ever since I got on my first airplane at the age of 21. I hid in Japan for five years until the real world tried to drag me kicking and screaming back home. Pressured by the demands of society to be normal, picket fence, good job, wife by 30 and personal debt to anchor it all in place, I did the only responsible thing I could, I escaped back to rural Japan.

I returned to Shikoku to walk the 900 mile Buddhist pilgrimage, the only place I ever experienced true peace, and had my pubic hairs stolen by a bar full of men. At the age of 28 I was determined to answer the classic question, “What do I want to be when I grow up?” The journey broke me both physically and spiritually until I was forced to reevaluate my life and finally accept my true nature as well as that of Japan: that enlightenment can be found at bottom of the bottle as well as the top of the mountain.

Along the way I examine the extremes of Japanese society as I walk through a landscape impregnated by the spiritual and sexual oddities hidden behind a conservative facade.  I am joined by a star studded Japanese cast never before assembled in one place, a group of naked Yakuza trying to shake me down, a wandering ascetic searching for enlightenment while hiding from the Freemasons, a Buddhist Monk who hates America, pubic hair zealots…and many more.  Yes, there were some normal people too, but not many!

Give me More

You can read all about one crazy experience that will appear in the book:   The Hermit in Seclusion

Or you can explore my other writings on the Shikoku Pilgrimage

How you Can Help!

Finding an Agent and getting published, especially in our weakened economy, is probably harder than actually finishing the manuscript. If you want to help here are four simple things you can do:

1) Please leave a comment below if you think you would buy my incredible tale of  modern day adventure

2) Connect with me on Todd’s Wanderings Facebook Page to keep up-to-date on my blog and book project, or subscribe to Todd’s Wanderings RSS feed. The higher the numbers the more street cred I have with Agents and Publishers…if they were petty gang members or high school cool kids.

3) Send Todd’s Wanderings to a friend. Its free and I like to think they would enjoy my rambling, do good lifestyle and stories.

4) Sign me if you are an Agent. There is nothing simpler than that!

42 Responses to “My Book”

  1. LissieNo Gravatar says:

    The world’s moved on Todd – you don’t need an agent – self-publish on Amazon ebook and physical book – promote it and if it gets attention the agents will notice – and by then you will have figured out that you will make more money doing it yourself
    Lissie´s recent [type] ..Deal of the Week – Travel Agent FAIL !

    • Todd WasselNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Lissie, yes, since I first started writing the book the world has definitely changed! I’m now crunching the numbers of a travel memoir to see if my current platform (blog readers etc) will reach more than through traditional publishing. After all, now that I have worked so hard to build a platform and create a following why would I give that away to a publisher so that they can profit more than me on the back of my hard work!!! We shall see. But there are other positives to the publishing world in terms of branding which is important for this site as well. Exciting times.

  2. Cindy CaronNo Gravatar says:

    How goes post-baby book writing?

  3. Andy WasselNo Gravatar says:

    Can’t wait for the finished product. Keep writing and I will keep reading!

  4. RoyNo Gravatar says:

    Hey maybe Chris G from×5/ can help you out, if you haven’t tried already. Friendly guy and just got his first book published.

    • Todd WasselNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Roy, thanks. I do know Chris from the blogging world and I agree he is very very friendly. I need to finish the book first before I start approaching agents and publishers. Although I’m more than happy to be given an offer right now as well :)

  5. SarahNo Gravatar says:

    I would definitely read your book. I live in Matsuyama and have visited some of the temples. One day, I want to walk the pilgrimage, but life just keeps getting in the way.
    Sarah´s recent [type] ..Care packages are more complicated than youd think

  6. Michael VogtNo Gravatar says:

    Hello Tod. I am very interested in your book about your pilgrimage. Given the great articles you write on your blogs, I am confident that it will be a very interesting read.

    Hope it will be available soon.

  7. Danial shahNo Gravatar says:

    Wow! I am looking forward to your book! The story seems really interesting :) I have always wanted to go to japan but couldn’t till now

  8. LaurelNo Gravatar says:

    I would love to read this and think it would be a fascinating story. For all agents out there, Todd is an inspiring writer and story teller. I would buy his book.
    Laurel´s recent [type] ..Expat in Germany Will Be Back Soon

  9. DavidNo Gravatar says:

    I had no idea you walked the pilgrimage twice!!!
    I can’t wait to do myself! (but right now I guess I’m too old to drop everything and just do it and too young to… well… drop everything and just do it…) :-)

    Can’t wait to read that book though, it promises to be amazing (and from what you’re hinting very different from the usual (boring) “Shikoku pilgrimage through the eyes of a Westerner”).
    David´s recent [type] ..The WTF Video of the day!

    • Todd WasselNo Gravatar says:

      I was nice and young the first time, and the second time I just had to make time. It would be very difficult to drop away from society for another 1 1/2 months at this point but I would love to walk it again.

      Great, now I have a lot of pressure not to make it boring :)

      • DavidNo Gravatar says:

        Don’t worry, your writing style is definitely not boring and just by the little adventures you’re alluding to, I really don’t think the book will be.

        Concerning the pilgrimage, yeah, that’s the thing, I should have done it before being married (oh wait, I had never heard of it before… too bad…) Now I’ll have to wait for my unborn kids to be out of the house… :-) (unless we end up living on Shikoku, then I’ll just walk it with them)
        David´s recent [type] ..The WTF Video of the day!

  10. I’ve been to the Zen Center in Houston, TX for almost a year before I had to move again – it’s what momads who work in certain professions tend to do & being in families of military movers before that doesn’t help the staying put part very much either?! Anyways back to the well spent time at the Zen Center trying to learn to meditate, which I never did well while there…but when I read your article about Petra & then came back to see who you were I see you’re writing a book & of all the things I find out in a round about way those 88 Buddha Ceremonies that were going on at the Zen Center I never attended were actually based on 88 real buddha’s in Japan?! Now I’m hooked right there, then all the rest is just icing on the cake–I’m ready to read man?! Keep writing, finish & I have a friend who does editing in Brooklyn, NY when the time comes if you still need some help with that?! Jingle, jingle…

  11. JasonNo Gravatar says:

    The book sounds interesting and I would definitely read it. The pubic hair thing sounds bizarre but those type of stories add depth and interest to a tale, mileposts in your narrative, so to speak. (spontaneous title suggestion: “Searching for a Merken”)
    Keep writing and keep positive! You can do it!

  12. Mark EgginsNo Gravatar says:

    Gidday Todd,

    I would probably read it – pls put in plenty of nice pix – I loved Road to Sata – you might also know that Don Weiss did a book about the pilgrimage some years back – I meet him when I lived in Tokushima. BTW you might want to fix up this though from:

    Sign me if your an Agent. There is nothing simpler than that!

    Sign me if you’re (or ‘you are’) an Agent. There is nothing simpler than that!

    • Todd WasselNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Mark,

      Thanks. I loved the Road to Sata as well. And yes, I do know Don’s book along well with the others that have been written over the years. I actually walked the first time back in 1998 and wrote my graduation thesis on the pilgrimage. Just can’t seem to get it out of my blood. And thanks for the editing :) sometimes my fingers go faster than my proofreading.


  13. LaurenNo Gravatar says:

    I would definitely buy your book–I feel like there haven’t been enough recent travel memoirs on Japan. I am very excited for it’s completion! I have an upcoming trip to Japan and hope that I will get to visit some of the wonderful places you have written about :)

    • Todd WasselNo Gravatar says:

      Thanks Lauren. I’m excited for its completion too :) I just spent 1 week in the Slovenian mountians only working on the book. Ok, I did some hiking too. Managed to get 3 more chapters finished.

      If you need any advice on your upcoming trip to japan just let me know.

  14. NorbertNo Gravatar says:

    Looking forward to read your book Todd! The best of luck for you!

  15. jamieNo Gravatar says:

    stick to it mate, the pilgrimage sounds wild and thats what im all about reading.

  16. I can’t wait to read your published book Todd. Sounds very inspiring and I know you will have great success

    • Todd WasselNo Gravatar says:

      Thanks for the support Caz. I’m heading into the mountains for a week of writing and all this energy is really helping me to get excited about it. It is definitely time to buckle down and finish this beast.

  17. Lisa PalinNo Gravatar says:

    I would buy your book in a second. If you want to talk (and/or commiserate, and/or share feedback) about the proposal/querying process, drop me a line. I’m not quite there yet, but have an almost complete proposal draft and will begin the agent research process shortly…

    • Todd WasselNo Gravatar says:

      That’s great Lisa. What is your book on? If it’s a travel memoir we have a great online group where share our information and struggles on everything from author’s platform to proposal development to words counts. You can find it here:

      • Lisa PalinNo Gravatar says:

        Mine is a how-to (with a little memoir for flavor) on solo hiking and camping for women who aren’t already serious outdoorswomen. If I go through with my plans over the next year, however, I may have a memoir (part travel, part career) book in me…we’ll have to see. I’ll check out the ning.

  18. MichiyukiNo Gravatar says:

    I read a lot about the Shikoku pilgrimage, but not much about first hand experience. Moreover, the perspective of a foreigner would be a lovely read, I think. Looking forward to it!

    • Todd WasselNo Gravatar says:

      Thanks Michiyuki! I hope to get it finished and published as soon as possible and that other Japanese will be interested in reading a foreigner’s account as well!

  19. EarlNo Gravatar says:

    I’d definitely read your book Todd!

  20. ConnieNo Gravatar says:

    Good luck with the project, Todd – I’d definitely read your book!

  21. AaromNo Gravatar says:

    I remember when you did it the first time.
    Yes i would buy your book of mystic ramblings.
    Good luck with finishing and finding a publisher.

  22. Dave*No Gravatar says:

    Keep at it. Work on your platform. This blog is a big part of that. You’ve got a lot to work with; you’ve had a unique experience, and the personal transformation angle works in a male “Eat Pray Love” way.

    (That might make a good tag line: “It’s like ‘Eat Pray Love’ for men!”)

    I’d be glad to read the draft when you’re finished.

    • Todd WasselNo Gravatar says:

      Hey Dave, thanks. Yeah, this mystical platform is a bit difficult at times but that is also what Todd’s Wanderings is for! Actually lot’s of agents and publisher don’t want you to compare your book to Eat, Pray, Love. There are lots of really great Travel Memoirs out there and its better to be more original and show that you understand the genre.

      Althought, EPL has certainly help to increase the popularity of the Travel Memoir field which is great for us all. And thanks for volunteering to read a draft. I will take you up on that.

      • Dave*No Gravatar says:

        yeah, I’ve heard EPL has a bad taste in some quarters. But look for books to compare yours to. It makes for good pitches.

  23. AnthonyNo Gravatar says:

    Good luck with this project mate. Look forward to it!

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