Hi. I'm Todd. I like traveling, reading, sunny days, and free porn. What do you do for fun?

In early 2018, Escaping the Cave became a podcast. It's hard 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 in the age of the Social Media Disease and boutique "realities" is disturbing. Both collectively and in myself.

The podcast's topics include, but aren't limited to, things like:

  • Social media and its disease
  • Public Relations: it's literally (proper use!) propaganda
  • Distraction addiction 
  • Political and social division, tribalism, and our virtual mobs
  • An exploitive, cynical, and corrosive for-profit media model
  • Ideological religions 
  • Social & evolutionary psychology and its unwiring
  • What, in my view, is dangerously close to becoming an inevitably dystopian future. 

Yes. Thick material. "Guys We Fucked" is the podcast down the hall. Tell them I said hello; they do a great job!

I ask as many questions as I presume to answer and is loosely targeted toward those itching a Splinter in the Mind. People who are either curious or wary of what the sudden flood of technology, data, and constant propaganda is doing to us physically, psychologically, and socially as we've blindly immersed ourselves in it. 

Politics now comes up everywhere. When it does, I typically try to speak to the ignored center, both politically and philosophically, and regularly eviscerate both political cults. Often brutally. You've been warned. 

I lay no claim to having an all-encompassing Grand Design. In fact, I suggest blocking those who do and sometimes openly wonder if 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 happytalk and Sausage Party Hope, you'll encounter firebrand preachers all over social media. Or, maybe try a church? A political party? If you crave something ideologically pure and soothing, or religious-grade assurance that utopia or Heaven on Earth will soon arrive, there are literally millions of carnival barking social media influencers to choose from; my podcast is a waste of your valuable time.   

Ads: No. I'm not hunting clicks so random eyes see dick pill banners nor am I running ads or "mentions" for VirtualHorseshit.com in my podcast. I'm not striving to build my "brand's" "revenue stream." It costs me money to do this; always has and I'm fine with it. When I'm not? I'll put it behind a paywall. Or, far more likely just stop. Money=brand=product=pandering. When the customer thinks they're "always right" and demand to be catered to with a "satisfactory" product? Well, you're Mammon's slave and maybe it's time to end the customer model. 

Try to remember the product/money relationship, dear visitor. It will make you a better informational consumer. I highly suggest the Media 101 episode if you're new.

Comments: I enjoy insightful exchanges and constructive criticism. Do I even need to explain why they're off? Try my Twitter feed: @etcpod, just don't elevate your digital avatar's expectations.  ;)

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!