Lifestyle Strategies, Travel, Adventures--Todd's Wanderings
A Free Lonely Planet Book Just for You

Today I’m really excited to announce the launching of my first ever book. Not only is this my first book, but it is done in partnership with Lonely Planet, it is FREE, and it features 39 other co-authors who happen to be some of the best travel bloggers around. Around the World with 40 Lonely Planet Bloggers has been my baby for the past year, from conception, to design. I was the project manager for the book and I poured a lot of blood and sweat into it over the past year. I think I also lost a little more hair as well. The ultimate aim of the book is to provide you, the reader, with a tour of not only the world, but also a vetted list of professional travel blogs to help inspire you and your next trip. The concept is simple, put 40 long term experienced travel Read full article…

The Statues of Mt Takao

Recently I wrote about a beautiful hike up Mount Takao in Tokyo. Two of the amazing features of the hike are the Buddhist temple and Shinto shrines along the way. In fact one of the wonderful things about Japan in general is the large number of Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines that dot the country along with the hundreds of thousands of statues that live along road sides, in little houses, and in just about every nook and cranny you can think of. The hike up to Mt. Takao is filled with religious and everyday statues. The forest is packed with them, either reminding you of Buddhist precepts, celebrating a piece of nature like a waterfall or a large tree, or just being cute and adding to the neighborhood character. A lot of people have written to me since my last post asking for more pictures of the hike. As Read full article…

Where in the World? Extreme Child Line Discipline

Welcome to the weekly Where in the World? Travel Photo Contest! We have a great list of travel photos and bloggers lined up to challenge your world travel knowledge each and every Friday. 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) either from a featured travel blogger guest (see below for details on how to guest post) or from my own travels and you guess where it is. Due to the popularity of featuring other travel bloggers I plan to host other peoples’ travels and photos for as long as there is interest (get in touch!). This week’s photo comes from Kyle and his great around the world blog The Inquisitive Travelers. The first person to guess where this picture was taken (Country, Region, and nearest Large City) will win a link back to their Read full article…

Hiking in Tokyo- Mount Takao

I bet you didn’t know you could hike in Tokyo! I bet you didn’t know you could hike with mountain gods (well ok they are minor mountain kami)! Most people only see the hip (or crazy) fashion of Harajuku, the stately Emperor’s Palace and the blinding neon signs of Shinjuku at night when they think about Tokyo. Packed trains ferrying 10 million people in and out the city each day, name brand department stores, and tourist swamped temples either excite a visitor or make them run screaming away from Tokyo. But there are more things to do in Tokyo than meets the eye and the visitor or resident can have both the packed cultural experience of the world’s largest city and a nice day of hiking out in the mountains. Just 2 days before the earthquake and tsunami struck Japan I was enjoying views of Mount Fuji from the top Read full article…

Where in the World? Dangerous Driving

Update: The winner is Leng…who guessed, Bangkok, Thailand! Personally, I wanted more street guesses! Thanks again to Kelsi for this great shot and making us all dream we were in Thailand right now. Here is why this place is so special to her: This place is special to me personally because it is the capital city of the country where I serve as a Peace Corps volunteer and it is a place I can meet up with my friends. I love this picture because it reminds me of the rush of soaring through the streets of Bangkok with the open night air against my face. Leng gets the prize this week. So check out Globe Nomads, and follow his journey around the world. Welcome to the weekly Where in the World? Travel Photo Contest! We have a great list of travel photos and bloggers lined up to challenge your world Read full article…

Cherry Blossom Viewing in Japan

This post is part of the Blog4Japan campaign helping to raise donations for the survivors of the earthquake and tsunami. Please share it and considering donating to one of the worthy local Japanese organizations responding to the disaster. This year will mark a different type of cherry blossom season. Usually each year as these transient beauties reveal themselves to the country the Japanese gather together with friends, family, and coworkers and party under the blossoms in a custom called hanami. It is by far my favorite activity in Japan, eating delicious food and drinking into the wee hours of the night celebrating life and beauty that we all know will fade shortly after. In fact it’s the short time period that makes us appreciate the beauty all the more. In the wake of the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake and Tsunami the cherry blossom parties will be understandably subdued. But I Read full article…

Beautiful places to visit in the North of New Zealand

This is a guest post by Craig Martin and is a part of the Blog4 New Zealand campaign to raise awareness that after the Christ Church Earthquake it is perfectly safe to visit New Zealand. In fact your tourism will help them to rebuild and keep people employed! There are plenty of places to explore while you travel through New Zealand. Here are five of my favourite spots to stop and spend some time. Auckland The country’s largest city, and likely the city you fly into. Auckland is cosmopolitan but it is spread out over countless suburbs. Make sure you explore further than the central city – heading out towards Mission Bay for coffee and gelato on the beach, or the Waitakere Ranges for instant escape from the city into a series of forests and reserves. Matakana A weekend escape for many Aucklanders, Matakana is home to amazing farmers markets, Read full article…

How to Help Japan's Earthquake and Tsunami Survivors by giving to Japanese Organizations

This page is dedicated to helping the survivors of the Friday 11 March 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan by channeling international donations to local efforts. The earthquake and tsunami have caused extensive and severe damage in Northeastern Japan, over 9,500 people have been confirmed dead and another 16,000 are missing, and millions more affected by lack of electricity, water and transportation. The images of the destruction and suffering have shocked the world. However, with the World Bank reporting over 300 billion USD in damages and families torn apart there is a need for everyone to help both financially and emotionally. A few weeks ago I posted about my Experience During the Japan Earthquake and made a plea to my readers to spread the word about helping Japan recover. My wife is from Tokyo and we are both professional aid and recovery workers with the United Nations. We have seen Read full article…

Where in the World? Stunning Lake

Follow the posts down to the lake. Do you know where you’re going? Update: The winner is David…who guessed, Lake Baikal in Russia! Thanks again to Magda for a beautiful photo. Here’s what she had to say: This photo was taken on the Olkhon Island on the Lake Baikal in Russia. Lake Baikal is world’s oldest and deepest lake as well as the largest source of fresh water on the planet. Olkhon is the largest island on the lake and for centuries the local people have believed it to be a spiritual place. Shamanism is a very strong cult on the island up to this day. Olkhon is not only mysterious but also a very beautiful place. David gets the prize this week. So check out his great blog Ogijima that is all about the beautiful islands in Japan’s Inland Sea. Personally, I love this area of Japan. Welcome to the weekly Read full article…

My Experience During the Japan Earthquake

The Japanese Earthquake On Friday 11 March 2011 just before 3:00 pm the largest earthquake in Japanese recorded history hit with a magnitude of 9.0. I was in Tokyo at the time visiting my wife’s family. As I sat at the kitchen table, happily posting pictures of Japan on Facebook, the room began to shake. The quake started small, but with a sudden jolt. When the shaking didn’t stop I started to worry as the large cabinet rattled at my back and the light above me began to swing violently. I moved to the middle of the room, away from anything that could fall on me. The preparation drills tell you to get under a table, put a cushion over your head, and open the door to make sure you have a way out if the house collapses. You are also supposed to shut off the gas to prevent a Read full article…

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