You may have heard of TSA Pre-check, which gets you through the line faster and prevents you from getting groped by TSA. Last time I opted out of the millimeter wave scanner, I counted a total of 6 times where the guy rubbed his hands against my junk. Fortunately for him, I always opt out. There's also Global Entry, which not only includes TSA Pre Check, but also gets you into Immigration much faster at select US Airports. However, both of these services cost money, and even require personal interviews with unelected government bureaucrats. I was strongly considering purchasing Global Pass because of a recent return from abroad where we waited almost 2 hours in the immigration line. But during my last trip, I found a service you can get totally for free to speed you through immigration possibly as fast as Global Entry, and all you need is a smartphone!
Luxury Trekking to Machu Picchu
My partner and I just got back from a 13-day trip to Peru to visit one of the 7 wonders of the world! We didn't just fly to a tourist hotspot -- we walked to it via a 7-day 65-mile trek over centuries-old trails made by the Incas!
The Salkantay Trek is one that some do on their own while primitive camping or with an inexpensive guide, but we decided to combine the rigor of day-trekking with relaxation at night by adding gourmet meals, hot showers, and high thread-count sheets on soft beds with the Mountain Lodges of Peru. Budget travel is fun, but on the front-edge of the rainy season with the psychological tests of trekking at altitudes up to 15,000 ft, we were happy to drop extra cash so we could focus on walking the 65 miles while a tour company took care of the rest. Here is my review and photojournal of our Christmas 2018 trip...
Close your eyes and imagine the ideal vacation. There’s white sand, blue water, warm breezes and nothing to do but blow the foam off your drink. Actually, that’s just one of countless vacation scenarios. Whatever your fantasy getaway entails, you’re probably anticipating that vacation will counteract months of pent-up stress. Unfortunately, those hopes are often bitterly disappointed when a long-anticipated vacation falls short of expectations.
After a year of travels followed by three years of writing and editing, the story emerges of a yearning seeker who trades safety and the American Dream for fearlessness and a new way of living. Worn from the paradigm of a 9-5 office job, an early marriage, and a lack of spiritual connectedness, the author’s world is turned upside-down after an arrest, a divorce, and leaving the only career he knows in search of something more.
As a new paradigm of connecting with himself, his surroundings, and his experience emerges, the writer sets out on a quest to circle the planet, piecing together an around-the-world path with a series of one-way flights and hosts he finds online, who graciously offer nights on their couches to him for free. In the process, he discovers an efficient and groundbreaking method of cheap travel with technology and mindfulness, but more importantly, discovers how intention and unconditional love makes the world go 'round.
If you travel often you might’ve been to a beach with white sand, but have you ever tried climbing chalk white cliffs to enjoy stunning panoramic views of the sea? There aren’t many places in the world that have achieved this wondrous geologic formula, and the southern part of England is among these special areas.
The town of Seaford in East Sussex forms a part of a long coastline wherein the English Channel meets England. The village is where many adventurers begin their journey along what’s considered by many as the best walk in southeast England.
I am a big fan of traveling the world to pass the time. I'm also a big fan of traveling within myself to pass the time! These journeys within myself can often be even more enlightening than the ones to far away places. You can combine both types of travel by going to a meditation retreat, especially when it's one that teaches you how to meditate.
There are many meditation retreats out there, but the one offered by dhamma.org not only teaches you how to meditate, it's free. You can give a donation if you like at the end, or later. They not only feed you well at this retreat, but all the work you are doing is for yourself and your soul! Here's a blog about my personal experience at the 10-day retreat in Kaufman, Texas. Dhamma.org has retreat centers all around the world, so you can find one closer to you! I'd recommend this for anyone.
Atlanta on my Mind
After growing up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and living in Cleveland, Ohio for 7 years, back in the early 2000’s, I visited Atlanta when I was searching for my next home. Atlanta made the short list because it was a warm-weather city and a cosmopolitan hub with opportunities for techies like me. I ended up choosing Austin instead, and I’ve been living there for about ten years, but these past two Octobers, the Atlanta Visitors Bureau invited me to their annual SITSum conference, so that I could deeply explore the city and post about it. These experiences made me realize that Atlanta is a confluence of all the things I love about all the cities I’ve lived.
Head for the Hills!
In addition to playing ambient keyboards on Saturday with Robin Bruce for a yoga workshop, I'll be presenting a workshop on world travel at the "Head for the Hills" music festival this Friday at 12:15pm at the workshop dome!
Russell Eric Dobda, author of How to Spin the World Around: With Cheap Travel, Technology and Mindfulness shares a methodology and philosophy to help you go deeper for cheaper as you travel the world. If you've always wanted to travel, but thought you couldn't afford it or didn't know where to start, this workshop will show you how. With the 21st Century tools of smartphones and social networks along with the ancient wisdom of a mindfulness practice, you can have a much richer travel experience than ever before for less money than ever before.
I was recently interviewed by the SenseiProject, a social media group I met last fall in Atlanta at SitSum. We talked about how technology and media have rapidly changed over the last decade, and how they continue to change the landscape of travel and travel bloggers in the future...
Read the interview.
Philosophy Dialogue Series
Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas
Dialogue Room (Comal 116)
Monday, April 11, 3:30pm Presented by Russell Eric Dobda
I am very excited to be presenting a talk at Texas State for the philosophy department! Here's a synopsis; there will be Q&A. Everyone is welcome to attend!
As we embark on world travels, we have many choices on how our experience unfolds. With traditional tourism, we may be tempted to follow the herd and experience a package of sights touted as "must see" by our travel agent. With this approach, we often seek the comforts of home wherever we may go. This can make us feel safe and secure, knowing what we will get before we go, but there is another way. Online social networks allow us to truly connect to the cultures of far off places by introducing us to locals. This enables us to cast away our own layers of living so we can see the world from another perspective. This type of experience also enables us to see that the values we've been brought up to believe may not apply where we find ourselves. Bringing along a mindfulness practice allows us to perceive these differences, and it also helps us to understand that when things don't appear to go our way that they are actually working out perfectly.