Headed Back Home

That’s right, you heard it. I’m on my way back stateside. In just a few hours I’ll do a quick stop in Qatar and make my way to the U.S. from there. Why would I do such a thing (is what you should be asking) when I am out here having the time of my life, publishing books, taking amazing photos, interviewing awesome guests for my podcasts and making epic movies on countries the world over?

I’m glad you asked. I’ve made a video to answer that very question.


Hi Travel Geekers, This will be my last update from Southeast ASia for the foreseeable future. I know that many of you have become accustomed to getting my updates from this region, but I’d like to reflect on some of my past successes as well as to talk about the upcoming changes that will be taking place on the Travel Geek network.

In the past five years I’ve grown from a simple travel enthusiast, to something of an entrepaneur in culture and international concerns with media coverage spanning more than three dozen countries.

My growing library of books from this and other regions of the world focus on anthropology, geology and even the traditions of various different cultures of the world.

My blog, which started out as a journal to chronicle my bicycle trip across the states with a handful of readers, has grown to a frequented location for travelers seeking experiential advice and which is constantly attracting marketing and advertising from all over the world.

Produced more than 120,000 images, 85,000 of which are fully edited and released on a rotating gallery of photography from 40 countries.

Started a podcast show in which I’ve talked to radio hosts like Mark Vogler in San Francisco, Web hosts like Chris Christensen, of Trip Advisor, Rights advocates like Adam Kokesh, the host of the History Channel’s Hidden Cities, Anthony Morse, and a ton of other very influential people around the world.

My videos have been aired on network television in the U.S., like KVMD Los Angeles and others; my footage has been seen on the BBC in the United Kingdom and used in everything from hotel chains and government websites to charitable organizations and tourism bureaus. And I have even entered into an agreement to have my current six films as well as my upcoming seven other films represented by a worldwide distribution company that will begin work on putting them on networks all over the globe like Canal+, Eurosport, Sony Entertainment Network, MTV, Fuel TV , ESPN and others.

In addition to that, my films have also been listed on IMDB, a place of esteemed recognition and a highly sought-after listing for any filmmaker in any market. Four of my current six films have been listed, and they’ve already approached me about listing the remaining films as well.

On top of all this, I’ve launched my latest and greatest venture so far, the Travel Geek Magazine which includes all of the above, and brings it all together in what has become a very popular travel and research resource for people the world over. I have actually met people on the road who have said that they have heard of and visited my website. It’s amazing to hear those kinds of comments about my work.

In fact, the last decade has been an amazing and wild ride altogether. Each year of the last five years has been better than the one before. But because of what’s around the corner, it’s actually just beginning.

And that’s actually why I’m making this update. In the spring of this year, 2014, I was told by a very prestigious university in the U.S. that I was nominated for a full scholarship to attend classes free of charge and pursue a dual program MFA/PhD. I did not solicit this nomination, it was offered to me outright by the university. But what’s even better, I was also offered a fellowship with this university in which I will be teaching visual media — things like photography, videography, documentary filmmaking and journalistic integrity and media ethics, are all on the table throughout the time that I’m there.

What’s more, I’ll also hope to be taking my students all over the world to film and photograph and document their media in the places where culture meets creativity and share the insights that I have learned in the last decade of being a digital nomad.

Okay, all that is amazing, and I’m hugely humbled by all of that. But probably the most significant thing for me is that during the MFA portion of my degree, I will be using the last ten years of media creation and putting them to work in my magazine. I am going to try and make a magazine that is completely unique, something that’s never been seen before, something that combines global interests and experiential travel insights and a personal perspective that bonds it all together.

Driving all of this content will be an entirely new way of consuming online content. It’ll be more than just a magazine. It will combine all my books, photos, films, podcasts, journals and blogs, and drive them in a vehicle made up of a host of new apps, interactive platforms, vivid visuals and prepped for technologies that don’t even exist yet. It’ll be a blogazine for the next generation of tech-hungry consumers. And I can’t wait to get started on it.

So, what does all this mean for the Travel Geek Magazine, the Travel Geek Blog, the Travel Geek Podcasts, the Travel Geek Documentaries, and the Travel Geek Channel? I will be scaling back my releases of videos and blogs, as expected during this busy time. But remember: I’ve just finished collecting footage for seven brand new films from Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Brunei and North Borneo. So while my studies continue, and I find myself in a collective of media enthusiasts, I’ll also be editing on the world’s most advanced software, using studio quality components and in an environment where I’ll be sure to have the best advice on how to really make an impact with it when it’s all released.

So… Stick around. If the last few years haven’t kept you on your toes, I hope that this next step will be a very impactful one. I hope that it will be something that makes the world a little smaller, a little more accessible, and a little more real to those of us hoping to learn more about our amazing neighbors.


Travel Geek: Documentary Penang (Full HD, Feature Length)

In the heart of Penang lies a recent but rich history of colonial British culture. And through it, I explore in style and with a long time local.

This film is part two of the Travel Geek: Documentary Malaysia series.

So stay tuned and be sure to subscribe to get the videos when they are released!!

You need to watch cool videos; I need viewers. So if you enjoy my videos, please pass around the links. It’s a win-win!!

For all the extras from Travel Geek: Documentary Malaysia, visit http://www.MovingStillsMedia.com.

Friend me on Facebook: facebook.com/thetravelgeek

Read the blog at http://www.cyleodonnell.wordpress.com

Follow me on twitter: @cyleodonnell

December 16, 2013 Update

Hey Travel Geekers,
Next week I’ll be back in Malaysia for the umpteenth time for a short weekend doing visa paperwork. But while I’m there, I’ll more than likely run into something cool to film. So maybe I’ll do an update from the road. Those of you who caught the documentary that I filmed in Penang might enjoy seeing more of it from a different angle.

In other news, for those who have been following my video and Facebook updates on my recent filming junkets in Northern Thailand and Laos, I’ll start editing the footage from the Phuket Vegetarian Festival and northern hill tribes of Laos and Thailand after I return.

It will be fun finally getting these out since, all told, I’ve been back and forth filming in this area since the end of 2009.

These won’t start releasing until after the New Year 2014, and will only be about half of what I have planned for my docs in Laos and Cambodia.

Then, hopefully around March, I’ll finally complete filming down the Mekong, through the Ho Chi Minh Trail (and other war-torn areas that I talked about in my latest Laos update) and down into Cambodia where I’ll be completing a focus piece on the freshwater Irrawaddy Dolphins living just south of the border.

Their numbers are in huge decline. So this will be a bittersweet trip, encompassing not just the awe of seeing freshwater dolphins for the first time (not to mention a rare opportunity), but also to film these creatures in what may well be their remaining years in existence. Hopefully I will be able to add my footage to the pool of collective media behind this wholly necessary movement to save them from extinction.

It will be as important as anything I’ve ever done. And so when that time comes, I’ll hope to call on my 35,000 readers and friends and social networks and contacts and those who have enjoyed my efforts in documenting international cultures and causes these last ten years.

Help me get the word out and maybe we can help the impoverished people of Cambodia and these amazing creatures in one fell swoop, by increasing the eco-tourism to the area and decreasing the need for net fishing along this fragile strip of waters.

More to come on that. It’s going to be an exciting year!

Thanks for spending it with me!

Journal 54: Back from Macau

So I just returned from the Macau and Hong Kong trip and I feel like I have been walking through the desert for weeks.  I can’t believe how exhausted I am.  I don’t know if it’s because I am getting older or because the area is so small that visitors feel they can walk the entire thing and not be completely wasted afterward.

But I can assure you, I am completely wasted.

Having said that, though, I can also say that I have seen the entirety of what Macau has to offer and, as always, I enjoyed my time in Hong Kong.

I only spent one day in Hong Kong this time, but it was great to get out and do a photo-walk of my favorite places thereabouts.

I visited an old friend in the market north on Nathan Road and I got to do one of my favorite things on Hong Kong Island, which was to ride the double-decker buses and shoot the views from above.  And I even ate at one of my coveted places – Agave.

I haven’t eaten good Mexican food in a long time.  So it was a welcomed visit to the restaurant.

As always, it was very expensive.  But I think that I came away with some great experiences.  And the film that is currently in post-production will be released soon – hopefully by Sunday.

Well, this is just a short journal to highlight the upcoming media from the trip.  And I also wanted to make the point of apologizing that I have not been able to release my book as planned.

I guess I just bit off more than I could chew with everything going on and also trying to stay on top of the release.  I will hopefully be able to squeeze it in there with all my edits (photo and film) for the upcoming documentary.

And then, of course, there’s the long-awaited Taiwan Documentary that I have been filming for and working on since January this year (2012).

So there’s lots happening.  And I hop that this weekend greets you all well and that I can get this film out, get the book released, give away my free copies to all promised recipients and then get on to finishing the Taiwan documentary.

Until then, I will be steadily and dedicatedly working!

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!

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!