Something wrong with my feedburner widget…

Trying to figure out this whole feedburner thing… The widget seems to come and go… I’m not sure why.

More post coming regarding my upcoming London Trip.

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Travelling Obsession Thoughts

After listening to a great story on SPARK radio, I figured out I might be a xenophile.  Actually, I think xenophilia might be a character trait for a lot of Travelers, or in my case want to be Traveler.  Some of the definitions I’ve seen are simply bizarre, however, I like the way Ethan Zuckermann has branded the Term.  Listening to the story, I was reminded of how my world view has changed in the last 15 years.

Why do people develop an obsession for traveling? I think my passion has always been there, I just didn’t understand it or did I even realize it was there.  I don’t remember anything specific, as a child, that would have fostered such grand ideals in my head.  But I’ve always been attracted by the idea of just going on a trip, as I grew older, and business required traveling, My eyes became wide open.  Contrast that with the fact now, that I live in the same town I grew up in, and have lived here the majority of my life.

Is it healthy to have such an obsession? Another question I ask myself all the time.  We Americans, and perhaps other developed nations, have gotten very comfortable in our lives.  You read about Weird people and their obsessions all the time.  But Traveling as an obsession seems to be about something bigger, an idea that exploring is learning and Traveling the world is an amazing Classroom.  It does boil down to some basic priorities, responsibilities to your children, debts, etc.  I still struggle with this question everyday, what is important for my kids vs. what is life really about?  Can I give them the things they need to become good members of Society, if I’m obsessed with my own Travel desires?

What affect is it having on my life? This is another deep discussion and related to the above question.  I definitely changed my priorities as I’ve gotten older, and Traveled more.  Now that I have figured out that I’m a  Xenophile, I’ve really reduced the things I buy in an effort to save more money for some point when I will have the Freedom to just go where I want to go.

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Twas the Night Before Christmas…

What makes Christmas Special?  okay, I mean other than the stuff we learn as kids, celebrating Jesus’ Birthday, the magic of Santa Clause, the Shopping, The Big meals, and getting to stay home from school, and play with your cousins.  There is something more than that.

So there we where, the Eve of Christmas trying to wrap up a few Santa gifts, when we remembered that we needed to stop at the local Hardware Supply and get a sheet of Plywood for “Juniors” train set that Santa would be bringing.  Well of course, the store was closing in 10 minutes, and we quickly picked out a Nice Sheet of Smooth Plywood.  Now a Honda mini-van can hold a lot of stuff, But a 4′ x 8′ sheet of plywood just will not go!  When Suddenly, at that very moment from out of nowhere appears a Fella with big ol Truck, and a knowing Smile.  “Let me help you folks with that… “.   Since I had not had time to think about it, I have no idea what we would have done next had he not showed up.  So next time the wife thinks that we can just put the seat down :), I’ll think about this Fella.

In my opinion, it is the Spirit of the Holidays that really brings out this time of Year.

Happy Holidays, Cheers!

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Great Documentary

I wanted to mention a great documentary that I just watched about Two guys who set off on an amazing adventure… following in the footsteps of Marco Polo.

You can watch the video online or catch it on a local PBS station here in the US.

http://www.thirteen.org/marcopolo/

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Around the World in 80 seconds

If your as old as I am, you might remember life before the Internet.  Not that I’m that old… but lets just say I’m still fascinated with the fact that our World has become so ‘Global‘.   Every morning one of my favorite things to do is take an 80 second tour around the world.  Here try it out…

Stockholm – one of my favorite all all time views of the Stockholm harbor

Venice – who wouldn’t enjoy coffee at this place?

Germany – This is also a very nice View

Ireland – The Emerald Island.

Tokyo – Busy, busy Tokyo.

Australia Snow cams – Love it when it snows in Australia, it is usually during our summer.

Melbourne – this could be a better cam, but I’d love to visit this city.

Africa – This is an awesome view of the water hole.

Capetown – Wish I could be in Capetown!

So as I sit in my PJ’s sipping my Coffee, I can virtually see the chilly air in the Stockholm Harbor, or the warm sunshine on a Capetown beach,  and many other places in-between.

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Dreaming of a World of Travel…

The holiday season has officially kicked off, and while most everyone else is “Dreaming of a White Christmas“, or at least find themselves humming along as they mad rush through the mall looking for bargains, I find myself dreaming of far away places.   While I ponder how to make a permanent move out of cubicle life, I thought about what type of Journeys might work for me and their pros and cons.

GAP YEAR – This is one of my favorite Ideas.   I’m not sure why, but for some reason Gap Years are not very common in the American Culture, however it is very popular in other countries, especially in England.  Mutter the phrase ‘Gap Year’ at a Party in London, and everyone will know what your talking about.   Many cultures have a ‘rite of passage’,  marking that journey from the young adult years to grown up years, and I consider a journey around the world to be a splendid rite of passage.  It is an idea I sure wish I had thought about when I was younger, there was a period in my life of about 5-8 years out of college, before I met the wife, that would have been a perfect time for me to be traveling (and growing up).

The Great thing about a Gap Year is, typically, you will not have a lot of money so it forces you to make do with what you have and make your own way.  You will learn a lot about yourself packing up all your belongings into a backpack.   Also, It is a real core way of seeing the world, breaking down the barriers of stereotypes because you will get to meet many other nationalities and learn from their perspective.  You will meet some fantastic people and make good friends for life.

It is so much fun to put a bunch of marks on a map, and dream about packing it up for a year, but for now this idea will stay in the dream realm, however, It is something I will encourage my children to consider when they get older.

FAMILY RTW TRIP I like this Idea also, it is much more appealing to me personally, if not downright frightening, considering my situation.  Family trips can be a terrific bonding experience or an incredible nerve racking, white hair journey.  Currently there are several Families that I am following, like the James Family (www.thewidewideworld.com).  Of course this type of trip is a totally different animal than a solo trip RTW.   Transportation, Lodging and Eating for a family of four on a Budget could be a real challenge with tired, hungry and growing kids in tow.  I’m certain the educational experience would outweigh the challenges, but I can’t help thinking about all the different challenges we might face.   I really wonder how my kids would manage with this type of demanding trip.  I think my kids (both 5yrs old) are still too young to really benefit from a journey like this… However, Soultravelers3 seems to be making it work with their young prodigy child.

LONG TERM Location Independence – This may be the ticket! This is really a broad category, something between working on the road, or picking a new place and then working from there.  I would think this also depends highly on a revenue stream.  There are lots of folks that I follow that are doing it, like location independent guru’s Lea & Jonathan Woodward .   Then there is Kristy who has a bunch of sites and manages to keep it going on the road while volunteering also.   I think this might be the best bet and something for me to shoot for.

There are some potential downsides to this, that I have to consider.  One is the kids, with young kids like mine, it is important to give them a stable environment… right now the Grandparents are nearby, and that provides a great support network.  Another is a Home, I consider our home as our base, while I would love to live somewhere else all the time or most of the time, I always want to come home.  For some people, this is not that big of a deal, since they may or maynot be that attached to a specific home.  Suppose we did go on the road and lived in Spain for six months, do we rent our place while we are gone, or sell it and pick up the pieces when we come back.  Last but not least, Taxes and government regulations about working overseas…  I know very little about this other than it seems to be different everywhere, and the impact can be significant.

The EXPAT – traveling for work can be a real bonus, and the best part is generally the Employer is helping pick up the bills.  I’m not sure about the rest of the world, but I know that many US companies are not even considering Expat arrangements anymore.  If your lucky enough to get an expat deal, then you know.  I think generally they run about two years, but can be longer.  You get to keep a good job, and explore a new culture at the same time.  I would consider this in a heartbeat.  It could provide the avenue for me to keep the family together and travel longterm at the same time.

Shorter Trips Traditional Vacations – this will continue to be the mainstay for most Americans.  It seems that more and more Americans are traveling, but for most of us we work all year for that paycheck, and then we get two weeks to go somewhere, see as much as we can and come home Tired, Grumpy, and Broke.

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Where the hell is Matt – Inspires Me

you know how some cars have a bumbersticker that says “my other car is a (insert favorite car)”, well if my life had a bumbersticker on it, this would be it:


Where the Hell is Matt? (2008) from Matthew Harding on Vimeo.

To learn More about Matt Harding www.wherethehellismatt.com

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You Just Have To Start Somewhere

That is what this post is all about… I’ve discovered I’m like a lot of other folks, who one day woke up from their 9-5 coma and realized there is a whole world out there.  You could say I have taken the ‘Red Pill’, and now I am hooked by that obsessive Travel Bug.  how will I free myself from the daily doldrums that bind so many of us? My journey has become a personal voyage of discovery.

This is very complicated, you see I have a family (two young children, wife, dog, etc…), There are lots of issues to work out, and I’m not sure how I will get there.  Oh sure lots of folks will tell you – “it’s easy”, “there is nothing to stop you but you“, “Lots of family’s travel together, if they can do it, anyone can“.  And for the most part, they are correct and I believe it to be a matter of priority and choice… hold on there what are you saying?  Well, as we move forward on this journey, we have to figure out these priorities without compromising other responsibilities.

Perhaps it would have been more ideal had I been bitten earlier in life?  there was a period of time in my history that I could have spent several years on the road and “gotten it out of my system”.  Even though I think it never really gets out of your system.  But that is neither here nor there, it is time to move forward and figure this out.

So Welcome to this quest, a pursuit to free a man from the cubicle, teach two children to explore the world, and somehow satisfy those travel demons that haunt him…

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