Hi. I'm Todd. I like traveling, reading, sunny days, and free porn. What do you do for fun? I'm also a slightly-to-moderately sarcastic middle-age white guy. There. That should cull the wandering "woke" herd quite nicely. I'm also all about simplicity.  

*Gump voiceI've worn lotsa shoes: 

-Naval Aircrewman
-Door-to-door salesman
-Radio Personality
-Factory Rat
-MLB Stadium DJ & Camera Operator
-Photographer (still am)
-Hitchhiking Adventurist (might still be?)
-Blogger (apparently still am; is that still a thing?)

In early 2018, Escaping the Cave became a podcast. It's difficult to describe what it's "about" other than to say that the title was carefully chosen. It's borrowed from Plato's Cave, and I see this podcast and my entire body of work, from traveling to writing to this, as my attempt to escape the contemporary Cave in order see the Upper World, reality, for what it is as best I can. That's become an investigation of both us and the common human experience. What I'm finding is disturbing. 

The podcast's topics include things like social media and its disease, tribalism and virtual mobs, a corrosive for-profit media model, ideological religions, conspiracy nuts, self-delusion, social psychology, evolutionary psych/biology, philosophy, and what, in my view, is becoming an increasingly inevitable dystopian future. 

ETC is an exploration and asks as many questions as it presumes to answer and is "targeted", loosely, to the ignored center, both politically and philosophically. I lay no claim to providing magical all-encompassing easy solutions. In fact, I sometimes openly wonder if some solutions even exist! There's a fine line between cynicism and realism, but there's also a distinction between hope and delusion. If you're delusional, my realism will sound like cynicism. If you need such things, you'll encounter firebrand preachers all over social media. Or, maybe find a church! Or join a political party! You have ample carnival barkers to choose from; my podcast is a waste of your time.   

Also, I have to reiterate that if you're looking for something ideologically soothing & pure or religious-grade assurance that Utopia or Heaven on Earth will soon arrive, this isn't your podcast. Still demanding a label, huh? Fine. Maybe I'm classically liberal. Maybe. Now, if you think that means I'm a socialist, you're definitely lost and should immediately phone a friend or call a virtual Uber to rescue you from this confusing place.

As for comments: I enjoy insightful exchanges and constructive criticism. Do I even need to explain why they're off? 

Try the Facebook page or my Twitter feed (@etcpod). 

On the Old Travel Material:

This is my fourth blog since I began "adventure" traveling in 2008. (The first three consolidated) The traveling began shortly after radio and I divorced and I had a Thoreauian vision of learning what I could do without and how that applied to "freedom." I intended to go Suvivorman, maybe even McCandless, but that changed almost immediately after discovering the "Monastery of the Road"; an organic observational-yet-introspective energy of life "lived" in the real world. Put another way, I figured out the meaning of the line attributed to Muhammed and paraphrased by my Muslim lifeboat while rescuing me from being stuck in southern Idaho: "Live your life as a traveler." Or, “Be in the world as if you are a stranger or a wayfarer.” Detatch. Keep moving. Keep searching. Even if you're not sure what you're looking for.

For millennia, travelers set off to learn more about themselves, humanity and the world in general. In some circles, it's still considered a divine quest; a search for something collectively lost. Here, and moreso on the other blog, is where I shared stories, ideas, insights, even organic and sometimes borrowed philosophy, occasional videos, and other things.

When I first stumbled onto that path in 2004, I was lucky to find someone walking across the country and providing an authentic account of the experience rather than just blowing mass-appeal glitter up the reader's ass. I wanted to pay that forward so refrained from sanitizing and/or glorifying the people, places, and things that ultimately become the heart of the narrative. 

You'll find the good, the bad, and yes, the ugly. In both me and the other characters. And hopefully you'll see, as I did, that, despite often paralyzing initial fear, the world in general isn't so frightening once you actually dive in using your own flesh-and-blood senses rather than relying on electronic eyes and hearsay to perceive and, worse, interpret reality. 

Despite grandiose delusions of snowflake grandeur, we're really not all that different regardless of cultural, religious, or *cringe* ideological preferences. A reminder of our commonality is something we desperately need these days, and I've still found no better way to reconnect to it than spending a few minutes, hours, sometimes even days interacting with random strangers, often at truck stops, in diners, public parks, on sidewalks, or just sitting on the side of the road. But most effectively: in their own cars speeding down backroads or the interstate.

In short, if you're seeking amateur Lonely Planet hackery you should ignore the old material. It will be a huge disappointment!