blogsherpa » Lifestyle Strategies, Travel, Adventures--Todd's Wanderings
Trusted Travel Questions and Answers

Trusted Travel Questions and Answers is my monthly chance to answer reader questions about travel and destinations. It can be hard to find trusted advice on travel from people who have actually been there. Every week I get a number of questions from readers asking for specific advice. This is my way of answering them but also sharing with others who might be looking for the same information. 8 Days in Sri Lanka Daniel (sorry but you didn’t actually leave your name!) is heading to Sri Lanka for 8 Days and asked the following: I am planning a trip for 8 Days in Sri Lanka. Going straight from the airport to Sigiriya, then Kandy the next day and after that driving to Kitulgala. From there I would like to go to a beach but I am trying to find the shortest most direct way to a beach and I am Read full article…

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European Castle Goodness- What European Castle Town is the Best?

Travel Porn delivers visual stimulation from around the world each week (most likely Fridays when I’m not stuck in a backwater somewhere). If this doesn’t get you hot, bothered, and fantasizing about your packed luggage (carry on, roll on, backpack, whatever turns you on) you might not be a traveler… The Castle Town of Bled, Slovenia In honor of my upcoming trip back to Slovenia this weeks travel porn is all about the BEST castle towns in Europe. Yes, I’m going out on a limb here by putting Bled in the Top 10 Castle Towns in Europe. I’m going even further out on a bending branch by not showing you a picture of the Castle! What town in Europe do you think has the best Castle Town? Put your vote below in the comments and feel free to link to an article, pretty picture or the comments of a supportive Read full article…

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Can Travel Make the World a Better Place?

Is travel an inherently selfish indulgence or a vehicle to bring about world peace? The travel and tourism industry is huge, and in 2010 over 940 million people traveled outside their own country as tourists and generated $919 billion dollars in global revenue. That is a lot opportunity for both mischief and genuine interaction. So the question comes back to: is the opening of borders leading to greater understanding or a hardening of stereotypes? I’ve been on the road for the past 12 years, both teaching children and working in international development. I’ve been a traveler, a tourist, an expat, and an undocumented worker (yup). In all this time I’ve become convinced of the power that travel has on people, both good and bad. The Bad in Travel Yes, let’s get this out of the way. Bad things happen when bad people travel. But, then again, bad things happen when Read full article…

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Travel Porn: Fresh Seafood, How Brave a Traveler are you?

Are you a brave enough traveler to ignore the dead head and focus on the fresh tuna? Travel Porn delivers visual stimulation from around the world each week (most likely Fridays when I’m not stuck in a backwater somewhere). If this doesn’t get you hot, bothered, and fantasizing about your packed luggage (carry on, roll on, backpack, whatever turns you on) you might not be a traveler… Fresh seafood in Split, Croatia‘s fish market. It may be my years in Japan, or the fact that I grew up on an island but a fresh chunk of tuna really gets me going. If you are traveling down Croatia’s Dalmatian coast you are obligated to eat the fresh seafood available everywhere. Skip the touristy areas to make sure you are eating local fare and not frozen shrimp shipped halfway around the world. I usually post pictures from my travel porn box, but Read full article…

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Dragash Kosovo Backcountry HDR Photo Trip

Recently I took a mixed group of diplomats, aid workers and tourists on a hiking trip to Kosovo‘s most remote region, Dragash. Not only is the area the focus of my upcoming first guidebook (The Mountains of Dragash, Kosovo: Hiking and Nature Tourism Guide) but is now the area where I’m working for the United Nations to develop a rural tourism strategy for the Municipality. How to Take Stunning Travel Photos With your Iphone The trip and guidebook are secondary to my true secret, how I use the Iphone to take amazing photos. OK, OK, I think they are amazing anyway. While I’m also guilty of lugging around a proper camera, many of my most beautiful shots come from my easy to pocket Iphone. I use a photographic technique (is it a technique if it is an app?) called High Dynamic Range (HDR) which takes photos at varying light levels Read full article…

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Experience Tokyo's Creative Youth Culture in Yoyogi Park

It is hard not to drool cliches when writing about Japan these days, especially when talking about the eclectic youth culture located in Harajuku, Tokyo. Just about every guidebook (this site included 10 Free Things to Do in Tokyo) recommends “people gawking” along the Jingu Bridge where you can usually catch Japan’s insanely strange youth fashion. You’ll find everything from Lolita to goth, french maids with a sweet spot for fake blood, to cross dressing little bow peeps. At times the Jingu Bridge area just next to Harajuku station feels a bit contrived, teenagers dressed up waiting to have their picture taken by photographers, hoping to land in a fashion magazine. Don’t get me wrong, it is fun to gawk, and if you are headed to Meiji Shrine you have to pass over the bridge anyway (this is another must see in Tokyo). But if you are looking for a Read full article…

How I Paid for 12 Years of Continuous Travel

Recently a number of people have written me to ask EXACTLY how I have been able to travel the world for the past 12 years. After reading a friend’s wonderful post explaining in detail how he has traveled for over 10 years as well at Wandering Earl (yes, people with Wandering names have to stick together) I decided to post my own account. For those of you who don’t know my background, I left the US in 1998 to visit Japan. Coming from a middle class family, it was my first time on an airplane and I was 21 years old! Over 40 countries (I’m sure I’ll forget to mention a few below) and various different jobs later I’m still on the road, now with my wife and my recently born son. WARNING: This is a long post.  For word nerds, it is exactly 2,382 words long. For time nerds, Read full article…

A Night with a Sri Lankan Gangster

Some names and circumstances have been changed to protect my ass. Not too many things get your heart beating like downing a half a bottle of Black Label whiskey and being hugged by a killer… In the bathroom I called my friend who worked for the Sri Lankan government. It was 3 am and yet somehow he answered. “Where are you?” “Have you ever heard of (name to remain anonymous)?” “Of course I have. Where are you?” “I’m in his suite at the (fancy hotel to remain anonymous).” “What? Get the fuck out of there! I’m coming to get you.” Whiskey does strange things to people, and after downing a half a bottle the world seemed like a gentle, gummy bear filled place. A night out, or rather in, with a group of gangsters sounded like a great idea. I hung up on my friend with assurances I was OK Read full article…

Drinking in the Back Alleys of Shinjuku Golden Gai

Just about every visitor to Japan searches for that stereotypical traditional atmosphere where they can sit and breath in the “real” Japan. The truth is that this “real” Japan is fading fast, and has been relegated to the shadows and corners of mainstream Japan. One place that still pulses with the traditional back alley street culture can be founded tucked into a corner of Shinjuku Tokyo’s red light district, Kabuki-cho. Drinking in Golden Gai Golden Gai is a small city block east of Shinjuku station made up of over 200 shacks, formerly brothels. The area consists of just 6 narrow alleys with even smaller passageways connecting everything. This atmospheric drinking area is renowned for the artists, actors and directors that frequent each nomiya (bar). Each small bar is big enough to fit a counter, stools and between six and fifteen patrons. The seedy image of Kabukicho, with its strip clubs, Read full article…

Japanese Hambagu Recipe (Japanese Gourmet Hamburger Patty? WOW)

This post is by Kay, who writes the K’s Kitchen section of Todd’s Wanderings. She also happens to be Todd’s lovely wife! First of all, I have to apologize for my looong absence from K’s Kitchen. Here is my excuse…I was on bed rest from February to June due to some complications for my pregnancy and I couldn’t use use the computer much. The good news is that (A) our son was born in good health 4 weeks ago; and (B) K’s kitchen is back now Today, I would like to introduce you to a ‘Japanese Western Food’ called ‘Hambagu’. Basically this is a dish made from ground beef and is similar to a rounded meatloaf or a salisbury streak. This dish originates from ‘Tartar Steak’ in Germany. It is not known exactly when this dish arrived at Japan but it’s sometime during Meiji Era (1868-1912) that similar dishes started Read full article…

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