Today’s Bonus interview on “Podcast Junkies” is called: “Rebelling Against Conformity and Finding Freedom Through the Arts”, and in it, Harry Duran and I cover my journey from pre-med college student to professional clown and recent podcaster. Along the way, Harry calls my work the “predecessor of flash mobs”. I’m not exactly sure that’s true, but it sounds good and it is Harry’s show.
My guest, Linda Ballou, is an accomplished travel and adventure writer - about whom world-wide explorer, Jim Dorsey, says: "Ballou takes the reader out of their armchair into the vast world as few travel writers can. Her eye for detail, combined with intimate knowledge of her surroundings, sets Ms. Ballou heads above most of the travel writing pack. In this age when everyone with a back pack proclaims him or herself a travel writer, it takes books like Linda's- to re-define the genre. This is just plain, great, travel writing.” Listen and enjoy.
Today we’ll be time traveling again - a long ways back… to 1988, when I ventured to Edinburgh, Scotland to perform for the first time in the Edinburgh Fringe, the largest arts festival, if not on the planet, then at least in the Western world. I was 41 years old, living in Santa Monica, and I was invited to perform my one man show as part of a theater troupe called “New Voices from America” that was created solely for the 1988 Edinburgh Fringe by KPFK radio theater critic Stefan Tater. I was the lucky invitee because I had been wishing and dreaming of going to the Edinburgh Festival for almost 2 decades. It had magic and wonder and international arts painted all over its Scottish kilts.
Ladan Jiracek, host of the Travel Wisdom Podcast, is my Behind the Scenes guest today because… I just love the question that his podcast poses: “Can travel be more than just a fun thing to do? Can it also provide a learning experiences for later in life?” Ladan believes it can be, and that’s why he’s traveled to over 100 countries... hoping to plant the seeds of wisdom from faraway lands in the hearts and minds of his listeners.
New York City — 1977 — “back in the day” — when Studio 54 was all the rage and the new TKTS half-price tickets booth on 47th Street and Broadway was still bright-eyed and bushy tailed. When my rent at the infamous and sometimes dangerous, Hotel Woodward was $55 a week, and I had to figure out a way to pay it. As you’ll hear, I was ingenious, and perhaps a little criminal, in the way I did so, but that’s what’s interesting about time travel, it allows you to look back on your life with perspective… letting you see the innocence and error of youth…. hopefully with a sense of humor.
Jen Ruiz is the author of “The Affordable Flight Guide”, has been featured in the Washington Post and on ABC news, and she documents her travel-hacking adventures on her website, jenonajetplane.com. She believes that too many people put off seeing the world until they retire, save up a small fortune, or find the perfect travel partner. She thinks that’s a mistake because those circumstances might never happen, and meanwhile, the world is out there waiting. So if you want to travel for less, and experience more, then speak to Jen. Or start – by listening to today’s episode.
Today I find myself at a cremation ceremony in Ubud, Indonesia, the cultural capital of the magical island of Bali. Thousands of locals and tourists are watching a Hindu-Bali ceremony… where the bones of Balinese men, women, and children, who have never received a proper burial, have been dug up, placed in giant coffin-boxes topped with carved wooden bulls, run through the streets, surprisingly like the bulls in Pamplona, Spain, and then set afire in a giant Hindu-Bali ceremony of flames and celebration. Amidst the humbling crowd are Susan Sarandon, Tim Robbins, and… me.
Roger Steffens is a reggae expert and collector extraordinaire. Also a poet, photographer, raconteur, and personal friend of Bob Marley. Which means… Roger’s been to Jamaica many times, mon. If you know anything about reggae, you probably know that Roger co-hosted “The Reggae Beat” on KCRW radio beginning in 1979, the first and only reggae show in Los Angeles at the time. And I consider myself extremely fortunate to be presenting some previously-unreleased Bob Marley music from the singer’s personal “Bedroom Tapes” that Roger has graciously allowed me to mix into our interview, “on loan” from “The Archives”….along with several original “dub tracks by The Wailers themselves. Enjpy….
If you remember, I last left you at the end of Part 1 getting off a hot, crowded bus which took me from Tetouen, Morocco to… Chechaouen, Morocco. It turns out that not all “ouens” are the same. I’m getting off the bus when I see a seated Islamic man dressed in all white, staring intently at me. He has a computer in his lap, and it’s not too long after 9/11. He points at me and I’m…. terrified… expecting the explosive worst…. only to find out that he’s pointing at my blue plastic CD player which I’ve left in my seat. “Shokrun”, I say, “thank you”, the only word I know in Arabic, as I get off the bus, the victim of my own racial profiling.
Chuck Jonkey is an adventurer, composer, and musician who transforms his off the beaten track travel experiences into sound, music and film. Chuck’s exotic adventures have taken him to the furthest reaches of the planet where he seeks out some of the world’s most isolated tribal groups, embeds himself in their cultures, and records their music. His musical explorations have taken him from the deep rain forests of the Peruvian Amazon to the Far East Asian jungles of Cambodia. Along the way, he sometimes has to steel his will and politeness to endure a special dinner…. of RAT.
This adventure — is about my trip to Morocco, after I finish my travels in Andalucia. I take a boat from the southeastern tip of Spain’s port, Algeciras, across the Strait of Gibralta, to the northern-most tip of Africa, Ceuta, still Spanish territory… until I cross the Spanish-Moroccan border – by foot – and end up in Tetouan…. Morocco… at the base of the Atlas Mountains. This is not your typical tourist trip to Tangier, Fez, Marrakesh, or Casablanca, but more like a Paul Theroux personal odyssey to see the green cannabis fields and rising moon over…. Chefchaouen.
Greetings from the Outback, Maties! Today I’ll be talking with James Michael Dorsey, explorer, photographer, lecturer, and award-winning author, who has traveled to over 47 countries in the last 15 years. “Jim” has been called a “combination of swashbuckling adventurer and spiritual seeker” because he visits and documents disappearing indigenous tribes by embedding himself in their cultures. He told me “when you contract with a remote tribe, you roll the dice on whether you’re going to come back alive.” Exciting travel, Maties!
It was a crazy idea. Loco. No, a good one. Bueno. Driving thousands of miles in my white Toyota Celica, which stood out like an automotive sore thumb… all the way from LA to… Ciudad Juarez… to Chihuahua… to Real de Catorce, an old silver mining town in the sacred hills of the Huichol Indians. Along the way, Miguel and I discovered many things… the most outstanding of which… was not only the immense beauty and variety of Me-hee-co herself, but even more striking — the ageless differences between ourselves, me, a 50 year old gringo… and him, my
Kate Erickson emanates all the sunshine and positivity of Southern California. She is passionate about helping entrepreneurs create freedom in their businesses and in their lives – through developing systems and processes that can help their business scale and grow. I wasn’t exactly sure what that meant, but Kate explains it all in this episode…. along with talking about plans for a new EoFire travel podcast about “audio walking tours of the world’s greatest cities”.
We’re back in Deadwood, South Dakota…. where you last left me in Episode 26…. in jail. It’s September, 1970 and I’ve been arrested for reckless driving,,,, by Sheriff Deadwood Dick McGraff. I’m in Wild Bill Hickok’s jail cell, on the day after Jimi Hendrix died of a drug overdose. I have long Jewfro hair just like Jimi, and my jail mates have taken a distinct dislike to me. I’ve just woken up the day after my arrest. I’m lying on a cot next to a gigantic Native American Indian named “Neck”. His arms are the size of tree trunks.
Mike Siegel is a professional stand-up comedian, fellow travel podcaster, and TV host based in Los Angeles, California. Plus… he’s an overall good guy. Mike created the Travel Tales Podcast in 2011 – which he sees as a lighthearted conversation highlighting the best, and worst, experiences that travel has to offer. I think Mike and I are both trying to do the same sort of thing on our podcasts…. bring the world closer together… one travel tale at a time.
I was doing one of the most patriotic things I’ve ever done in my life – going to Mt. Rushmore - to see George, Tom, Abe, and Teddy… whose Presidential images were all cracked and decayed… just like our country. I end up making a little detour – to the old cowboy and mining town of Deadwood, South Dakota… long before David Milch, Al Swearingen, and HBO got there. Rumor has that Wild Bill Hickok was Sheriff of Deadwood back in the day, and I… discover something about Wild Bill’s jail… first hand. And about the new Sheriff in town named… Deadwood Dick McGraff.
“I’ve always wanted to be an ‘ex-pat’, an American living outside of the United States. Never more so than in this tenuous time of Trump!” So at Podcast Movement 17 in Anaheim, I do a live interview with Shannon Moore Martin of Podbean, who lives in Shanghai. We talk of many things – like living internationally, and working for one of the biggest podcast hosting companies in the world.
This season, I’d like to start thinking about travel in a new way.Time and place, Maties. Because I think there’s something profound and universal about a good travel story, connecting us more deeply to a unique place at a specific time, to ourselves, and to the other people we meet along the way. At the end of this episode, I'll recall a tribal tale from the outback of Northeast Borneo in East Malaysia.... where you'll hear how Rungus tribesmen dealt with love, jealousy, and revenge back in the days of animism and black magic shamans.