The 2014 Weblog Awards!

Friends, I need your help!

As most of you know, I’ve spent the last decade publishing books, producing photos, directing films and creating multimedia, conducting podcast interviews with influential travelers from all over the world — all of which I happily give away for free.

I’ve asked for help in the past and received a very warm response in return. And with each new time I ask for help, I am reminded of just how many people are enjoying my work enough to take a few moments and show their appreciation. It’s a very moving experience for me to see people offer me their time.


My magazine, Travel Geek Magazine (TGM), my blog, the Travel Geek Blog, my podcast show, TG Travelcasts, my photography gallery (, my movies website, (MSM), and my books are all a part of my world of blogging. And a very prestigious blog nomination is currently underway. So I would like you to nominate my many blogs for the win!

My blogs can be nominated more than once. So I’d like to be considered for as many categories as are appropriate. I have selected all appropriate categories and provided all the necessary information for you below.

Here’s what to do (it looks like a lot, but it’s really just copying/pasting):

1. Go to

2. Scroll down to “Best Travel Blog” and enter the following:
1st line: Nominee: Cyle O’Donnell URL:
2nd line: Nominee: Cyle O’Donnell URL:
3rd line: Nominee: Cyle O’Donnell URL:

3. Scroll down to “Best Photography of a Weblog” and enter the following:
Nominee: Cyle O’Donnell URL:

4. Scroll down to “Best Entertainment Weblog” and enter the following:
1st line: Nominee: Cyle O’Donnell URL:
2nd line: Nominee: Cyle O’Donnell URL:

5. Scroll down to “Best-Kept Secret Weblog” and enter the following:
1st line: Nominee: Cyle O’Donnell URL:
2nd line: Nominee: Cyle O’Donnell URL:
3rd line: Nominee: Cyle O’Donnell URL:

6. Scroll down to “Lifetime Achievement” and enter the following:
Nominee: Cyle O’Donnell URL:

7. Scroll down to “Weblog of the Year” and enter the following:
1st line: Nominee: Cyle O’Donnell URL:
2nd line: Nominee: Cyle O’Donnell URL:
3rd line: Nominee: Cyle O’Donnell URL:
4th line: Nominee: Cyle O’Donnell URL:

7. Put in the “Captcha” code, check the box to be on the list of finalist voters (very important), and enter your email address. Then click “Submit.” You’ll have to verify it via email, so be sure to put the right email address.


Once you’ve voted, comment below so I know who helped out!!

And if you would like a free copy of my latest book, Portraits from the Pavement: Slices of Life in North America, shoot me an email ( and let me know.

Thanks for all your support!

So you think you’re busy?


Many times I’ve wondered why so many people like to sit and complain about something and then, when the option comes for them to get up and do something about it, they remain seated and seem to come up with a reason that they are disinterested in action.  And this is after moaning and moaning about this thing or that stuff or “those people.”  And it was just so important that it’s worth taking up all that time and energy to talk about.

This is probably where phrases like “bark is bigger than bite,” and “walk the walk, or talk the talk” came from.  And it stands to reason that those doing the most talking, or barking as it were, do the least walking… or biting.

Well, I’m proud to say that I’m a biter.

Hey, before you put your head in the gutter, you know what I mean.  I’m talking about putting action behind my lust for adventure and for producing a world of media for us all to share.

When I was growing up, I always threatened to do things.  Normally they amounted to the more annoying things related to being a stubborn and unruly child.  But as my mother somberly recalls, I’d always actually do them.  So she grew to know my claims as solemn promises rather than empty threats.  And there have been only a few, very purposeful times in my life where this has not been the trend.

I can’t recall if it was for the satisfaction, or if it was my plan all along.  But I like to think that I have always been a man of action because this is just something we should all embrace: doing what we say we will do.

Having said that, I have always talked about the traveling and the writing and the photography that I’d someday publish.  And I always knew that I’d be doing it, too.  But until I started traveling, all I could do was fantasize.  Of course, my family traveled a lot when I was younger.  And I got to see a lot of the states.  But when I’d write in my journal or take my video camera and make little mini-movies with my brother, they would always be firmly grounded in our current location.

And so I’d wait.  Wait until the time of my life when I could finally break free from the shackles of normality and trade the mundane for the magical.

And I have realized with growing profundity over the course of the last nine years that I have finally made good on my youthful promises.  I’ve finally been able to climb over this giant challenge that I made to myself (and indeed to the world I’d consigned myself to explore) when I was younger.  And I have gone out into the world, produced a heap of photos, published several books and made a library of movies — all while traveling and seeing the grand planet that I knew was out there when I was a kid.

Why this whimsical trip down memory lane in an otherwise travel-focused blog?  Well, apart from releasing the blogs in January, I have been focusing on my latest film.  And along with taking up much of the time that I’d normally be blogging, it’s taken a lot of effort, too.

So much effort, in fact, that I have not gotten much sleep since the turn of the new year.  And the process for this film started even farther back than that.

In the last year, I spent nine months gathering footage for my feature length film in Taiwan. In doing so, I covered more than 5,000 miles on trains, cars, motorbikes, planes and boats — not to mention 20-or-so miles of hiking — while gathering 70-plus hours of footage, on which I spent the last two-and-a-half months and hundreds of hours cutting, composing, recutting and editing so that I could release it by the due date of February 28 (the official anniversary of the last day of filming).

And in that time, I’ve sifted through 114 Gigabytes worth of data spread out across 2,866 files from 68 folders of completely original media; and composed and added 15 musical themes and 215 soundtracks; all to produce one full length, two-hour film and more than four hours of extras and outtakes.

And this is in addition to editing dozens of photos, revamping two websites, editing 50-plus pages of my latest book, keeping up with this blog and shooting two weeks worth of footage for future media productions here in Malaysia.

In my personal life, last but not least, I was dealing with a lengthy personal challenge, moving halfway around the world and getting a job working as a college professor in a new place with very limited accommodations and still being expected to be at work on time and perform as I would under much less demanding circumstances.

Whew! Now THAT’S busy!

In any case, I’ve finished the film as of 9:30 last night.  And I am now awaiting the first render to finalize, which takes about 16 hours on my computer.  I will watch it for the first time in its completed form tonight and check for errors, transitional problems, good flow and all the other things that a good director should be watching for.

And when I am satisfied that it is worthy of the global audience, I’ll be releasing one more of my childhood dreams to the world.

I am very excited about this latest release.  It will be twice as long as my longest documentary to date.  And while that’s not necessarily a good thing in today’s fast paced, watch-on-the-go, five-minute YouTube videos, at the very least it will hold the potential to bring me into the realm of serious travelers and respected documentary filmmakers.  And that’s the exciting part — among all the other very fulfilling parts that come along with the finality of a year-long project.

This latest film was captured more like a journal than either of my two preceding films.  It wound up being 1:58 (1hr & 58m) and I was the only camera operator for most of the footage.  So many of the shots are handheld, pointed at myself and I even had to coordinate shot sequences so that I could later edit with that sequence in mind.  So not only did this project require a lot of forethought and planning, but it was also the result of a lot of introspection and taking lessons from what I learned in my journals and my previous filming expeditions.  I wanted that “gonzo journalist” style in this latest one.  And I think that my planning helped me achieve that.

And while I did keep journals from all of the places and experiences in this film, I never released them here on my blog.  So this latest doc also has a sense of nostalgia in that I am able to blog through one of my videos.  Trust me; it has the personal touch that comes through in this blog.  So I am happy to finally see it come to life.

As always, the film will be available for free as a 720/30p YouTube video.  But if you’d like to purchase a Full High Definition 1080p copy, it will come with all of the extra short films that were created, many outtakes that were not used in the feature, lots of HDR photos and trip journals.  And because you’re a subscriber of this blog or because you are subscribed to my YouTube channel or follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you’ll also get all the production photos, planning and script notes, a PDF of a signed script (originals available) and photos from the road that will never appear online.  It’s all ready for immediate download; all for $8.99!

Please visit the Travel Geek: Documentary Taiwan film page for more details and to view extras from the trip.  And when the film becomes available, I will update the blog and post the final details.

Thanks to those of you who have commented, shared, sent feedback throughout the filming and subscribed to my YouTube channel.  I hope you continue to share, comment and enjoy these as much as I enjoy making them.  I like knowing that I have created something for people to share and that makes the world a little bit better during the time that I happened to have visited.

Headed for Macau

Greetings all.

As the journals from the Philippines unfold, I will be headed to yet another filming trip in the Chinese Special Administration Region (SAR) of Macau.  I hope to be taking a chopper over to Hong Kong.  But that might not be in the cards.  But that might pale in comparison to the plans I have for diving off the tallest bungee experience in the world — the Macau Tower.

The video below details the gear that I will be bringing along for the ride and using for filming, blogging and hopefully releasing a video while I’m there.

The journals from the Philippines will still be released.  In fact, the last journal is slated for April 4 at 1pm EST.  So at that point I should be prepped to announce the book release and be finished with all the journals from the Southeast Asia portion of the blog.

Far East Asia is being filmed and documented now and I hope to have much more of that by the end of the year.  But until then, enjoy the rest of the SEA journals and I will see you stateside!

Update on the upcoming e-Book

My trip through the Philippines will be coming to a close soon — at least in this journal.  And I wanted to let you know that there is more to look forward to in the coming week.

Along with the upcoming journals from my travels throughout the islands of Taiwan, I will also be releasing the various parts of my next film, Travel Geek: Documentary Taiwan — just as I have here in the Philippines section of the blog.  However, before I get on to that, I wanted to announce another very special treat — for the readers of this blog and for me as well.

After the final day that the last of the Philippines journals are published, I will be releasing my new book, Postcards from the Pavement: Southeast Asia, the book that follows my Southeast Asian travels all the way through to the beginning of this blog.  So if you ever wanted to enjoy the entire ride and read about all the places that I have visited since moving to Asia — and all in one sitting — this is the book for you.

Publishing a book is not easy business.  But the process has been made much easier in recent years by the free market competition against the Big Six publishers.  And in even more recent years, the big wholesalers like Barnes & Noble and Amazon have even come into competition of their own.  The ePub market has exploded with independent writers like myself.  And we’ve created such a demand for easy publishing, that the response has been overwhelming.

But before the book gets its ISBN and goes on the bigger distribution websites, I wanted to offer it here to my subscribers first.

This book — released here in PDF so anyone can read it without the eReader, Nook, Kindle, etc. — comes with fully interactive links to videos hosted on the site.  So as long as you’re near an internet connection, you can watch the videos right from the book!

It’s also completely collated with jump-to-chapter and jump-to-page links and search options.  You can even highlight, mark, bubble-text and page-save just as in the latest PDF options!

What’s more, I have added scores of new photos that aren’t offered on my blog or on my photography website.  So when you get the copy of the book, you will literally have a collection of my photographic works that aren’t available anywhere else on the web!

There are nearly 1000 external reference links in the book as well.  So you’re guaranteed to get everything that I have online, plus all the additional content that is only available in the book.

But probably the best part is that, because it’s available for download right to your computer, you can print off an entire copy for yourself, buy one and print it to give away as a gift, or just pick and choose which photos you would like to print and hang them as a memento from the last few years and many thousands of miles we’ve spent together.

When you buy the book, you can also be sure that no big corporations or production companies will benefit in any way.  They have enough money already.  This money will go right back into the blog.  There’s something big that I have planned, but up until now, I haven’t been able to talk about it.

But, since we’re already talking about it; I plan on a monumental trip in the fall of this year, including a documentary filming excursion that will cover ALL ELEVEN COUNTRIES IN SOUTHEAST ASIA!  So the funds gathered by this book will be given right back to you in all the films, photos and journals that will be created throughout that trip.

It’s a very exciting time for me.  I am one of the few media professionals that is completely online.  Of course, if you want hard copies, those can be created.  I only print books and photographs from my commercial website,, when orders come in.  So there is no paper waste, no stockpile of cardboard and plastic packaging sitting around in a warehouse somewhere, no chemicals from printing — nothing but my green books, blogs, images and articles.  Even my website is hosted with iPage, a company whose servers run from wind-generated power!

I am setting the cost of the book at just $4.99 — and only for the readers of this blog — because I want everyone to be able to afford one.  The later release on the ePub giants will cost more because they take a cut right off the top.  So you get the cheapest rate, the freedom to print off the book and you get it BEFORE anyone at Amazon or Smashwords even see it!

And if you’re a friend on my private Facebook page who enlisted in the recent event to sign up for the blog,  don’t worry I will be announcing the free password on that event to get your copy as soon as I release the book later this week.  I haven’t forgotten about you guys!

But having said that, I can honestly say that I need subscribers more than I need the money.  So if you’re reading this and can think of a handful of people who might enjoy my blogs and photography, I will give you something too:  If you can get five (5) people to subscribe to this blog, and they send me an email verifying that you got them to sign up, I will send you a free copy of the book as well.  But it’s gotta be pretty fast because the offer ends as soon as the ISBN is assigned and it’s published in the commercial market.  (that email is

Remember, this is just the first book in a series of many more to come.  In fact, before the end of next month I plan on having released more than 50 short stories — all within the collection of stories from the Mishaps in Motion series, which includes this upcoming book, Postcards from the Pavement: Southeast Asia.  

Watch the video below, and see what I have planned for the future.

Until then, enjoy the last journals from the Philippines!

All-Time High! Thanks everyone for my 50th ‘Like’ on the blog.

Hi everyone.  I wanted to send out a very special THANK YOU for your support in recent days.  Enough people went on and checked out my blogs and thought enough of it to show their support by clicking the ‘Like’ button more than 50 TIMES!!  My current total now sits at 52.  To give you a reference on this, I only have less than 47 journals on travel.  And because I have been adding more to the blog lately, I think that’s a great motivator to keep branching out and creating more interesting content.

Maybe now I might get nominated for one of WordPress’ coveted blogger awards…  [fingers crossed]

Thanks to everyone who came on and read the blog.  You can be sure that I will be keeping up the hard work to bring you the best in travel photojournalism diligence.

New Photos from the Philippines, 2nd album

Okay, so here is the second album of recently edited photos.  This is the rough draft editing stage of the photos.  The final drafts will be edited all together in a batch process and then uploaded to the commercial website.  So you’re getting the sneak preview before the photography page gets updated.

In this album, the elderly people taken in HDR are from the hill tribes living in the mountains.  The beautiful lady trying to hide her face from the camera was so shy that her friends made her take the photograph.  She very reluctantly and uncomfortably sat as I snapped these shots of her.  I gave her a warm thanks and a fist full of cash afterward.  And they wounldn’t let me leave without getting a shot of the tattoos that she acquired in her time in the hills.  The tribes people decorated themselves back then and are strangely embarrassed of it now.  The older gentleman sat proudly and let me take this shot even though the youngsters around him were laughing and pointing.  He seemed not to mind.

Be sure to click the images and make them larger.  The detail that comes out in HDR when you’re looking at the larger image reveals much more detail than a thumbnail.  Tremendous range is exposed in this technique of photography — which is responsible for giving the photos that “dreamy” feel to them.  The mountain shots have so much old-worldy feel to them in these shots.  There are many more that will make it to the commercial site, but these will have to do to start.

Take a look and be sure to leave me comments on what you think!