Cote Divoire Travel Stories

Ivory Coast Uncomfortable Feeling by Holding Conflicting Ideas Simultaneously

I am hiding in a "Love Hotel" a short taxi drive from the Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, Airport. The country and culture has become a game of dice, it is not possible to predict which way the dice will land today, or tomorrow. It is, and would be silly to plan for the future, there is no future. I am not even sure which name I should use when writing about this country, the true name is Cote d’Ivoire, however the Anglophone world demands to call it Ivory Coast.

The people of this country, Cote d’Ivoire a.k.a. Ivory Coast are trying to win at this game of dice, where there will only be one outcome.
"Crapping out."
There will only be losers in this ugly game called "Cote d’Ivoire."

Ivory Coast, West Africa --- Thursday, March 3, 2011


Cote d’Ivoire is:

Cognitive Dissonance
"Cognitive dissonance is an uncomfortable feeling caused by holding conflicting ideas simultaneously. The theory of cognitive dissonance proposes that people have a motivational drive to reduce dissonance. They do this by changing their attitudes, beliefs, and actions. Dissonance is also reduced by justifying, blaming, and denying. It is one of the most influential and extensively studied theories in social psychology."

Is Learning "How to Travel" Important to Readers
God granted me with a mind that is inventive, impatient, insistent and incapable of accepting no for an answer. It was a great day when I learned the phrase "cognitive dissonance" in Psychology 101 at Indiana University, Bloomington in 1975, over 35 years ago. This phrase "cognitive dissonance" explained my malady, misfortune, and malformed brain, I was two inches closer to understanding my curse. I excelled in University, I majored in booze, babes, and bad behavior, I seldom studied, I would take a diet pill the night before an exam and pull and "all nighter."

My mind continually ask the question,
"Do readers care to learn how to travel, or is this travel Blog just entertainment?"

I have an insane part of me, I have a brain that refuses to stop processing questions. This question has been bouncing around in my head now for about 13 years of writing about travel. I am a recovering alcoholic and often people want to know why I became an alcoholic. I can give them many reasons, they do not care, it is just a good question.
"I drank too much, too often."
"It became a habit I could not stop."

What motivated me to drink, at first it was fun, but in the end, it was the easy way to shut off this brain of mine, to stop the insane need for answers, the never ending lack of harmony, I had a terminal case of cognitive dissonance.

I would say, my mind is one of the best equipped minds on the planet to explain, or try to understand Cote d’Ivoire, However, I have accepted there are some questions that will never be answered, they will always be a maybe. There are situations where one can make the optimal decision. Teaching people how to travel is difficult, they want yes or no answers, and every answer is a maybe.

To learn how to travel, the person must learn to make optimal decisions. This is more or less common sense, which is uncommon and rare to have by humans.

I came to Cote d’Ivoire, because of one firm belief about humans,
"It is not natural to kill."

I do think lying, cheating, and falling into the temptation to steal is natural.

I am leaving Cote d’Ivoire before killing become normal and natural here, this is not children, it is grown men acting like children. Soon the dam will burst, and people will accept that riots are normal, that killing is acceptable. There are people for which killing is normal and natural, they are coming to the streets today, while all the people who feel killing is unnatural are going into hiding. It appears that one day all the crazies will kill each other and the natural behavior of man will surface again here in Cote d’Ivoire. I pray the good people stay out of harms way and allow the crazies to kill each other.

The leaders of African countries like Cote d’Ivoire like to play dice with people life’s, they are bullies.

Ivory Coast Uncomfortable Feeling by Holding Conflicting Ideas Simultaneously

80,000 Dollars Verizon Phone Bill is a Bizarre End to my Review of BlackBerry

Warning: Please read this with caution, I am in a semi-war zone in the country of Ivory Coast, West Africa and under great stress.

Ivory Coast girl using BlackBerry Bold with "online" BBTran Language Translator (10 Dollars?)

Verizon Wireless has provided me free of charge, Andy Graham of a global travel Blog writer, three Smartphone’s to review in the last couple of years. I have used them in East Africa, Central America, South America, Asia and presently in West Africa. I am for sure a global traveler, I call myself a perpetual traveler, I manage two large websites completely location independent, by using Mobile Office skills.

1. BlackBerry Storm
2. HTC Touch Pro II
3. BlackBerry Bold - I have this one in my possession.

I loved these Verizon Smartphone’s; I was happy; overwhelming elated to recommend this service, that cost approximately 100 USD per month, that included the "Unlimited Global Email Access Plan for $64.99 monthly access." - (Press Release - Dec 08, 2010 (Close-Up Media via COMTEX) -- Verizon Wireless has been selected as the world's best wireless service provider in the 2010 Global Traveler's Tested Reader Survey awards.)

The global service cost $64.99, however, if I used the same today it would cost between $30,000 and $60,000 US Dollars per month,

Ivory Coast, West Africa --- Wednesday, March 2, 2011


Verizon Stops Service for BlackBerry Bold
Verizon did not contact me; therefore, I have been assuming I was using an Unlimited Global Email or Data plan. My free-for-me account was migrated over to the 2 cents per kilobyte, or 20 Dollars per Meg, and when the shared bills between Verizon and "West African" cellular providers arrived at Verizon, the Public Relations person for Verizon wrote me e-mail:

" BlackBerry usage. Month-to-date, your usage is at $21,913. In January, usage was at $61,000."

"I’ve asked for a 24-hour notice for you so we don’t leave you in a lurch. The device will be shut off at 5 p.m. EST on 2/23,"

I am here in Ivory Coast; I am in hiding, and will make an emergency escape soon from Cote d‘Ivoire, a.k.a. Ivory Coast where small civil war is in the process of ramping up. I cannot explain my exact location, when I will leave, I cannot explain, I am in the danger zone.

Seen with Computer
Because I started walking to an Internet Café with my computer daily, a few of the locals in Grand Bassam became suspicious and now believe I am a spy. I needed to leave Grand Bassam immediately and now am in an anonymous location until I can arrange for transportation out of the country.

I Learned the Unlimited Program Ended
I thought maybe I had used the Smartphone wrong, and then with great luck here in Ivory Coast I found an Internet connection yesterday while in hiding. I called Wade Shepard who used a BlackBerry Smartphone after my recommendations to try to understand what happened. Wade signed up and actually paid Verizon for the BlackBerry Smartphone in the past. We both looked at the Verizon internet pages together while talking on a voice over IP connection call, and we both said together.
"Wow, there is no longer a Unlimited Global Email."
"They want 20 Dollars per MEG!"

Wade quickly wrote a great article today explaining his view:
28 Thousand Dollar Per Month Phone Bill

I said,
"All Verizon would have needed to say, was Andy the cost is now 2 cents per kilobyte, and I would have stopped using it, as this prices is not even a little feasible for me, and I would never recommend."
(I only review travel gear, services, and products that I would consider buying or using.)

I thought that one day when the review ended; I would sign up, pay the approximately 100 Dollars per month; however, it looks like the cost is now right at 60,000 Dollars per month. I never suspected the cost would increase, I truly thought services would improve as they rolled out 4G - Fourth Generation.

Mobile Office Portal by Andy Graham:
Mobile Office

Adventure Travel Portal by Andy Graham:

In a funny twist, when I first came to West Africa, I wrote this:
Verizon Blackberry Bold Made Ivory Coast Trip Feasible

80,000 Dollars Verizon Phone Bill is a Bizarre End to my Review of BlackBerry

Readers can Publish many Profile Photos on

I am trying to keep the Blog post light and happy because it is not safe to report what is really happening here in Cote d’Ivoire, a.k.a. Ivory Coast, West Africa. I will soon be out of the danger zone, and will explain.

There is a fast growing community of travelers on the web site. It is amazing to me how many people are ready, willing and wanting to be part of this travel network. Boy Genius, my partner in India, the chief coder told me today, that readers can now:

1. Upload large profile photos.
2. Choose one for a default thumbnail photo.

"My Hobo" will allow travelers to see your profile, then connect with you safely by private messages. This is a way to become friends with people from all over the planet. Maybe arrange to meet your new friends, safely and with confidence, because you met them online before you left your country.

Sign up today and publish your profile photos.

Sign Up for My Hobo

Thank You,
Andy Graham of, somewhere in Ivory Coast, in the danger zone.

Ivory Coast, West Africa --- Tuesday, March 1, 2011


Readers can Publish many Profile Photos on

Did my Ivory Coast Girlfriend put a Voodoo on Me?

When Bah, my Ivory Coast girlfriend was leaving Ghana, she gave me a Bra, a Ring, then labeled a Stuffed Animal with her name.

I looked at her bewildered,
"Why give me a Bra?"

She insisted I take the Bra, and when I came to Ivory Coast she wanted it back. I admit, this is strange, I thought for a while she was marking territory, letting any girl near me know she was around. Voodoo is about a person putting influence into the mind of another person, it only work if peope believe. I do not believe, but I did return.

I made a joke here in Ivory Coast,
"You put Voodoo on me,"
She said,
"If I put Voodoo on you, you would never be able to leave."
"I go to Church, I don’t do voodoo."

Ivory Coast, West Africa --- Monday, February 28, 2011


This is the ring she gave me, I do not believe in Voodoo, but I admit, she has a hook cast into my brain.

Did my Ivory Coast Girlfriend put a Voodoo on Me?

Living Anywhere you Want Apartment in Ivory Coast

If you could live anywhere you wanted, where would you live? If you had enough money to live anywhere, where would you live? If your wife or husband did not refuse to come, where would you go?

These are not the benefits of being a World Citizen, the benefit is you can leave anywhere. There is never a reason to accept any location, culture, people or situation, when I learned this, I then understood the word nomad, I started always looking for a better, more optimal lifestyle. I am cannot pin it down to a specific year, but somewhere around 2008-2009 I accepted I could live anywhere I wanted. I became nomad, one of the extreme few on the planet. I was truly location independent years before it became trendy to say these words.

Bah looked at me about two month ago and said,
"You be Nomad."
(Please empathize, this is a French-speaking person, talking bad English, I am quoting.)

Bah is scared of me, here is the to three top reasons:

1. The possibility that I am married and have a wife somewhere.
2. That I am a nomad, and she know I can leave anytime I want.
3. The look in my eyes when I am dead serious.

Ivory Coast, West Africa --- Sunday, February 27, 2011


Travelers seldom live anywhere they want.
For the first eight to nine years of perpetual travel, I was still a tourist. I travel a linear path, starting in Mexico and went by land to Argentina, or I entered Thailand and went to Cambodia, Vietnam, came back to Thailand and went south to Malaysia, and Singapore.

Somewhere around 2008, I started making enough money to live in any country I wanted, including the USA or Europe.

What stops people from living anywhere?

1. Job
Normal jobs require you to come to work, even the people that work from home seldom live farther than maybe 50 miles from the main office.

2. Family
It is not love of family, it is withdrawal from family that stops people from moving away, the majority of people become homesick, insecure, and need to return to their roots.

3. Routine
People become radically angry at change, when people move, when any person travels the daily routine is disrupted. Many a traveler says to me,
"I came to see India; it is OK that my routines are disrupted."

This works for maybe three years, and this type of person goes home. I have an almost rigid daily routine, I practice it in all countries, I wake, drink coffee, work on computer, take a shower, then walk around for an hour or two looking for food and exploring. I then come back, read a book, watch a movie, take a nap, then around one or two, I take another walk. Normally, after the walk I find some trivial project to work on for the day, some need to do project, everyday of the week there is something on the list to do. At night is the problem time, I enjoy life most when I have a television in my room, because after reading for 2-3 hours in a day, I am tired, I just want to veg out and be entertained. This is the time when 99 percent of travelers go out and work on becoming alcoholics, it become an unbreakable habit, I am lucky, I kicked that habit 23 years ago.

Note, I have 250 movies recorded on a hard drive, this is wonderful, except they are in English and do not have French subtitles, living with a person disrupts my routine. Love has be spelled "C O M P R O M I S E"

4. Anger
Too many choices and people become angry.
Too many changes and people become angry.

The Myths of Change and Choice
I truly enjoyed, when Obama screamed out in his election campaign,
All politicians scream out change, and about the freedom of choice. I kept hoping that Obama was stroking the dream, and would give people what they truly want, security and safety. People want a leader that is strong, talks simple, understandable and makes them feel like they are a home under the protection of their parents.

Married adults like to return to their parent’s home for Christmas, it is a homecoming, there is a great feeling of coming home, to know you are under the control of trusted Mother and Father.

I think liberal could be translated to, "My parents are divorced."

Watch this Video to be Happy in Life
There is a myth that people want change, there is another false belief that the more choices the better. I watched a TED video on YouTube less than a year ago, where Barry Schwartz explains how people are not happy when there are too many choices, oops, they become angry, I am often angry because I have too many choices. I am frustrated; there is nothing that requires me to make a decision.

He wrote a book: The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less - Barry Schwartz

Internet Design
We are slowly simplifying pages, each page will have less information, and therefore lead to happy readers.

I 100 percent believe the mass majority of people in Ivory Coast are happier than people in the USA. 80 percent of the planet is happier than the people in the USA, which is because 80 percent of the people on the planet live in underdeveloped countries, the normal world, and not in the abnormal countries like the USA and Europe.

They have extended families, they never truly move away from the protection of their Mother, Father and family. They have few choices to make, they never earn enough money to be mobile, and they live within their choices. What truly makes them fat and lazy is the "resource curse." living is easy, food is plentiful, and they are in a tropical environment, there is no reason to work, a person can sleep anywhere.

Bah, I am not moving until it is obviously a good choice.
Now, if you keyed in on the operative phrase of this missive, you heard me write,
"The benefits of being a World Citizen is you can leave anywhere. It is not a benefit to have unlimited choices, that is a almost a curse.

Bah found an apartment, the monthly rent was ok, but they wanted six months advance, this would remove the benefit of my lifestyle, I would make a decision that took my money, I know me, I would still leave… hehehe

The more I studied her motivations, I realized she chose a neighborhood that was routine, she one time lived with her Aunt in the same area, she knew the area, she would be on familiar ground. I think living in the neighborhood would also be a higher status.

My comment was something like this,
"You want me to move away from a beautiful beach, where I can walk out my Hotel room and buy anything I need. There is a taxi that passes close every five minutes, and I can go anywhere?"

"I do not think that living outside of the city, on a high speed road, with a bunch of rich Ivory Coast idiots that drive cars and hide in their apartments is good. I do not care that some dysfunctional white men hide there also…. I do not want to take a taxi when I am hungry, I do not want to take a taxi to go eat, the neighborhood is bleak, there are no family restaurants around, and there is nothing, just a nice apartment."

I will not leave a good location until there is an obvious better location, there was nothing obvious, other than she could say to her friends,
"Look we are living in the exclusive area of Grand Bassam."

I sold real estate in the USA for 14 years, the majority of people wanted to buy a house in a trendy neighborhood, I would sometimes joke with them,
"You want to go live with a bunch of people you do not know, and do not want to know?"

Freedom is being able to leave, not staying, change and choice will just make you angry, strive to find routine, and walk away from stress.

My Hobo is now allowing you to upload unlimited profile photos.
Boy genius from India is working on profile photos, it appears that you can now put up many profile photos. Please look at my profile, I put up a couple more photos testing the system, however it is very much a work in progress, suggestions are wanted.
My Gadget profile on "My Hobo."

What are my Escape Paths from Ivory Coast


Go to the Abidjan Airport and fly to anywhere I do not need a visa to enter.
- A. Senegal
- B. Togo
- C. Europe

Where is possible for Bah

Go to Ghana, the country is about two hours away, I need a Visa and will apply for one on Monday.

It would appear Ghana is the cheapest, about 150 US dollars for a Visa, but to exit from Ghana I would just need to add the 150 dollars onto the price of airfare. Going to Ghana is just an easy way to delay my leaving this general area, not truly cheaper, I am not free, unless I want to go to Ghana.

Buy Anglophone to Anglophone Flights?
A flight from an Anglophone country to an Anglophone country is cheaper. I can fly from Ghana to England cheaper than from Ivory Coast to England.

Nevertheless, Francophone to Francophone are cheaper also, stay within the same language and life is easier and cheaper.

Abidjan, Ivory Coast to Senegal, Togo, and France is good.
Accra, Ghana to Liberia, Nigeria, and England is good.

Investing Two Months to finish the Book
I am committed to sitting here on my butt, for two months to finish my book. Providing I am able to stop arguing with Bah, a normal aggressive, demanding, selfish, self-center African woman, a normal girl here. Hmm, she is exceptionally pretty and twice as smart as average, all this is annoyingly dangerous and unpredictable. However, this is my normal life, an enjoyable level of chaos, and a room that is my sanctuary, my retreat.

Another Book Idea
Note, there is a stray thought that is telling me to jump over to a different book theme. Alternatively, more correctly, if I wrote a book, with a title something like
"The Special Travel Gear Needed to Travel the World." 50 Dollars worth of gear a professional traveler uses to convert any room into a home… because Home is where you are comfortable.

I am planning to write a series of books, as soon as I figure out and can implement the correct book formula. It is amazingly confusing, a book is written within extremely rules, formats and parameters.

I think this is the order I am going to use;

About the Author
Guide to this Book – Publishers Note
Table of Contents


There is one extremely unique problem for me, I commonly use about 300 specialized travel terms that nobody would understand. I must make a complete dictionary or glossary that will define these terms, whereby a reader can understand what is written.

I do not know how to work the references, glossary and all the rest yet, I am just coming to grips with he "Front Matter."

"The interior of a printed book usually comprises three major divisions: the front matter (also called preliminary matter or "prelims"), the text, and the back matter (or end matter)."
- The Chicago Manual of Style

A series of books builds on a similar theme; I am trying to break this down into building block or components. It took me 13 years to learn my lifestyle, it was the school of hard knocks, and many of the skills I possess I now take for granted. It is great to be with Bah, she has none of the skills and it is a constant reminder of the baseline knowledge I have, that others need to learn, to teach this, to write this guide, I need to start at the beginning, or it is just another travel book talking endless about a dream, but no clear methods or strategies on attaining the dream.

I guarantee this, I will not write anything that is not possible for all people.

People are happy living in rooms that are not annoying, people move out of hotels because the hotel is making them angry. I have a list of 25 types of gear I carry, with one goal, to not be annoyed by my hotel room, so I can accept more room, I do not need to search endlessly for a room with all the benefits I need.

Living Anywhere you Want Apartment in Ivory Coast

Ivory Coast there are Daily Surprises Good and Bad

One of my goals in life is to wake up surprised and happy everyday, I want to look forward to getting out of bed.

I love this frozen ginger drink, it cost 50 CFA, which is 10 cents US, it is made from raw ginger and is sold in many places in West Africa. Normally, I need to be lucky to buy this drink, when I see a girl walking by, I must purchase, I never know when I will see it again. This may be the perfect drink for me: I was surprised, I now have a steady ginger supply, I discovered a woman near my Hotel sell the drink, and she has never ran out of this wonderful taste sensation.

1. Low in calories, at least I believe it is, I am told she adds sugar, one day I hope to watch her making the drink so I can learn clearly the recipe and procedure.

2. Tart, maybe sour, it makes a sharp rush to the taste buds, this keeps me from devouring ravenously, and it is something you ingest slowly.

3. Frozen, like a Popsicle, there is joy in eating frozen ice, I am not sure why.

4. Liquid, it is hot here, I need to drink liquids and these bags hold just enough to quench my thirst, but not enough to make me break out in a shirt drenching sweat.

5. Cold, because it is cold, I feel cooler after eating, it is frozen; truly, this is a combination of eating and drinking.

Ivory Coast, West Africa --- Saturday, February 26, 2011


Unexpected Knowledge Maybe a Surprise
West Africa often feels normal; there are times when things feel out of place, I feel like I am on the moon. For example, Bah my Cote d’Ivoire girlfriend refuses to close the bathroom door, she becomes angry when I close the door, she said,
"What are you doing in there, that you need to close the door?"

I key in on the word "need," I separate my life into wants and needs, she got me, there is no need to close the door, and it is just my custom. Now, it is always a surprise to watch a girl stand at the toilet and urinate, and the West African women can stand like a man, well, not exactly the same as a man, I hope you get the idea.

One TV Channel for Gbagbo, and another for Alassane
The country of Cote d’Ivoire had an election a couple of months ago, the standing President Gbagbo lost in the eyes of world, and Alassane won. Gbagbo refused to step down, and the country now has two Presidents. In my opinion, it has two dictators, nobody in Cote d’Ivoire gives a hoot about the constitution, fair play, justice, all the those other words are not understood here.

Well, there are two dictators here in Cote d’Ivoire, please get a life….

I was watching Television here in French, most of the time it is soap operas, or news from France, complete with Frenchie commercials, it is amazing how many English words they use for emphasis.

There is a Gbagbo news channel, and there is an Alassane news channel. Truly, this is a kick to watch obvious propaganda that crosses all lines of my normal expectations. There is information, news, photos of that you would never expect to see on a USA news station. Dead bodies, people saying they are going to have a revolution, obvious treasonable statements, it is a dark comedy.

It is a stalemate, both President are able to have their own propaganda news channel, nither is capable of stopping the other side, truly.

Verizon is Shutting Off my BlackBerry Bold
Verizon Wireless has been providing various Smart Phones for my review free for the last couple of years, and I wrote this Blog post about my present trip to West Africa.
Verizon Blackberry Bold Made Ivory Coast Trip Feasible

Oops, what am I supposed to do, I am still here?

I received an e-mail from Verizon yesterday,
"I need to deactivate the line. I’ve asked for a 24-hour notice for you so we don’t leave you in a lurch. The device will be shut off at 5 p.m. EST on 2/23."

Ok, Ok, Ok, I am sure many readers are smiling right now; it is difficult to write, talk, or explain anything about a Verizon without someone telling me a war story of what Verizon did.

Hmm, that is funny, a war story, yes I am involved in a real war, I am in a country at war, truly an interesting time to have my service cut.

Never-ending New Moral Dilemmas and Temptations in Africa
Travel is full of never-ending questions, there is seldom a day goes by when I do not ask the question of myself,
"Should I take the photo, or not?"
"Should I be aggressive with this person, or let it pass?"
"Should I attack back, or walk the other way?"

Example of a photo I did not take yesterday, Bah and I was walking towards the beach. It is the custom for children here to take a very sudsy and great bath in public. They use a pot, a bucket, a pan, anything that holds water. I look down, two children had just screamed at me,
"White Man"

They speak Nzema here, and the children continuously are screaming and calling me "White Man." Nothing new, it is normal in Africa, when I looked over to wave at the children, I see an adorable small naked girl covered in suds, with a rag covered in suds cleaning what I assume is her brother. Glee, this is the word I think, they are full of glee, joy, happiness, and simplicity, and they are saying
"Hey, white man --- we say Hello"

I started to take my camera out, but decided not to, sometimes I am tired. I want to photograph unbounded joy; this is the type of photos that makes it all worth the time. Even though this is just simple joy, simple love, simple real life, I am tired, I know there are inherent and stupid problems when I take photos of children with no clothes. What is natural is considered bad, and what is unnatural is considered good, the world is truly confused.

Smartphone Problems
I always assumed that one day Verizon would shut me off, and I assumed at this time, I would purchase the service with my own money. I am ready, willing and able to pay the 69 U.S. Dollars per month for the unlimited Verizon Global Data Plan.

Surprise, or no surprise, I am baffled, the company has made me into a liar, what I thought I was recommending is not what they provide, and a person could have unfathomably high bills by accident. I will only write or recommend a product or service that I would be willing to buy with my own money. This is a sad day for me, I am truly sorry I ever took this smart phone; I truly thought the Global E-mail or Data plan was good to recommend.

They are shutting off the line because of extraordinarily high bills they need to pay.

Ivory Coast there are Daily Surprises Good and Bad

Travel Writing, a great way to make a dishonest living

Yesterday, Wade Shepard, the owner, and travel Blog writer for published a discouragingly honest explanation of Travel Blogging. This is a post reeking of frustration, discouragement, it is his admission he has failed to earn sufficient income by travel writing to support his vagabond journey with his family.
Vagabond Travel for Work Must Diversify Income

I wrote a comment on his post, in a moment of honest clarity.

Travel writing is a horrible way to make an honest living and a great way to make a dishonest living.
Andy Graham
Ivory Coast, West Africa --- Friday, February 25, 2011


Andy Graham Travel Writer
I am technically a travel writer, which is a distasteful label to accept. The only escape from this description would be to stop traveling and writing.

I am sitting on a hard chair, one of them upright wooded ones, typing slowly into my laptop computer in the dark at 5:00 am, whereby my Ivory Coast girlfriend can continue to sleep. We are living in the stereotypical Hotel room, which dominates the Hotel industry, a concrete room, one light, and an adjoining toilet. This description accurately describes 90 percent of the travel rooms on planet earth.

1. Concrete walls.
2. Small shower and toilet connected.

The difference between my 10-dollar room and a 100-dollar room:

1. Number of light bulbs
2. Number of electrical switches
3. Price, there is an extra zero.

Many people say, I would never sleep or stay in a room like this photo, and 99.99 percent of travel writers support your decision. However, it is not possible, if you travel the world, I guarantee you will often live in this exact Hotel room. The travel writers continuously lie, allowing hotels to collect 50 dollars for the same room, it some Ju Ju marketing magic, a travel writers voodoo.

I can live comfortably on 15-20 Dollars per day, Wade has a wife and child, and the travel math says to me, he needs about 40-50 Dollars per day to be happy. I am writing this book, explaining that living in Paradise starts at 500 dollars per month, this is for one person. If there are two of you, the number is 1000 dollars, please be open minded, if you have more money, that is also ok, however the starting price to live the dream is 500 Dollars per month.

Two People Family --- Needs 1000 per month / 30 days per month = 33 US Dollars per day is needed to be comfortable and happy.

Wades three person family needs 1500 / 30 days per month = 50 US Dollars per day is needed and he is earning approximately 20, it is easy for me to understand why he is discouraged.

Converting a 10 Dollar Room into a Five Star Room
Ok, I exaggerated, it is not that easy, but for sure my Hotel room is 2-3 stars, I always convert my Hotel room into a 50 dollar room.

I first choose a great location to construct my travelers nest. I look for good neighbors, convenient shopping, quiet and enjoyable people outside the door. I then arrange my travel eggs in the proper order; it takes approximately two hours to do a room conversion.

If it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, it is probably a duck. And if it looks like a 50-dollar room, feels like a 50-dollar room, maybe you arranged your travel eggs in the proper order.

I Pay 10 Dollars for my Hotel Rooms
I always have hot water for bathing. I always have adequate lighting. I normally have Internet access in my room, it sometimes take 2-5 days to set up in each country, after that, I have Internet in my Hotel room.

Cost of Hotel Room Conversions
To do the room conversion, I need to carry about 50 dollars in specialized gear, stuff not sold on travel gear sites. I can do these room conversions very fast, in the past, it would take me 5 days to convert a room, with practice I have it down to about two, the first day of discomfort is the price I pay for this dream life.

The world is an ugly duckling
If you want never-ending clean, quiet and an organized lifestyle, I recommend you move to Switzerland, Sweden or Germany. The real world is ugly, noisy, polluted and full of brutes called humans. The beautiful swan revealed by traveling the world is truth. I wander around the planet, and I continue to wonder if people can see that real life full of authentic people is truth, and that truth will set you free. I can only guarantee one thing certain about being a traveler, you will feel free, all the other aspects of your life is your responsibility. With travel there is no guarantee of happiness, only a feeling of freedom.

Walking down the road in New York City, Africa, Central and South America, Asia, any place other than my Indiana hometown is uncomfortable, because only 100 percent familiar faces and places are comfortable. I am grateful today, each day I open the door to my Hotel room, I look around, and a new movie is playing, I am an actor in this movie, and I have the lead role.

I make my living by being a great webmaster, not by Travel Blogging, writing a daily journal though is a great way to learn to write books…
"Life is good, a life less normal…"

Please Wade, having a wife and child is a great thing, but so is having money. To be a travel writer is often some form of ugly joke, please never aspire to be a travel writer, aspire to write about travel. I want to chronicle real life, this is not how a travel writer makes money.

Travel Writing, a great way to make a dishonest living

A New Baby is Born in Grand Bassam Ivory Coast

On Monday February 24, 2011, a baby boy was born in Grand Bassam to a special friend of mine here in Cote d’Ivoire a.k.a. Ivory Coast. The mother work is to sell prepaid credit for cell phones, you walk up to her, tell here you telephone number, and she transfers airtime onto your portable phone, this is her business.

While making my daily rounds, stopping at my normal haunts here in Grand Bassam I stopped under a palm frond shelter from sun, and was talking. Sitting there, I realized something was amiss, I said,
"Where is Benedict?"
"She had her baby."
I was excited; one of the local boys instantly stood up and escorted me to the new mother’s apartment. Upon approaching the entrance, I took off my sandals, walked in quietly, first, I check with Benedict, are you ok, are you fine, is everything good?

Hmm, she is from Ghana, part of the Nzema language or tribal group that lives here. Therefore her first language is Nzema; her second is English and third is French. As best I can discern, approximately 50-80 percent of this immediate neighborhood are semi-immigrants from Ghana. When I ask questions about Ethnic backgrounds, country of origin, languages spoke and general family history I seldom, if ever receive an honest and direct answer. If you accept statement, than you can understand that a census is not an accurate report, it is just a guide.

I needed to become an insider, I needed to be one of them, before I was afforded specific knowledge, and they needed to feel safe with me before being honest.

Ivory Coast, West Africa --- Thursday, February 24, 2011


I took this photo on the same day while standing at another huddle of locals; I was shaking hands with the owner of this bicycle wheelchair, when I realized the chain was off. Looking closer I realized he had a flat tire; eventually I put two and two together. He was waiting for a taxi so he could take the one bicycle tire to be repaired.

I had pangs of empathy, to become immobile and dependent on others for help is emotionally painful, you are never equal, your social status is always less than your friends.

When I was 23, I broke my femur, the large leg bone in four places in a motorcycle accident. I was in traction in the Bloomington, Indiana Hospital for seven weeks. Then proceeded to walk around on my armpits for another 11-12 months. I say armpits, because this is where majority of the weight of crutches lands.

I had a wheelchair, I had crutches, I was disabled for a couple of years of my life, people avoided me because I was half OK, I had special needs.

In a fit of empathy, I started to offer to help, than I stopped, he did not ask for help. There is no act of kindness as debilitating and harmful as telling another human they are not equal by actions. I never walk up and just offer money to a beggar, I do not make beggars, they do that to themselves, I do not rob people of dignity. Therefore, to treat the man as an equal, I shook his hand, gave him a nod of my head, and went along my way.

Quite by accident, we were in the same taxi returning, he hopped in back as does a man with no legs, he had with him a freshly repaired tire. I was in the front seat of the collective taxi. I had just purchase four frozen citron bags, an ice treat; I took one, held over my shoulder and offered. I did not look back because he is a friend, he took the bag, said "Merci," and we met as friends again as equals.

Truly my mother somewhere down the line has been working for years, I know what she wants, she wants me to overlook small differences in other people, to look the other way, I am learning. I am not sure it is possible to volunteer to be a good person, maybe we are called upon to be a good person, and we must be ready when opportunity to prove our worth arrives.

Proofreading that sentence, I learned an insight about myself; it is possible I consider people worthless who refuse to do good deeds freely without thought. Often people want the acclaim of others, to be celebrated as a good person, this is how they are paid, and it was not done free.

List of Homes away from Home
There are places on the planet, where everybody knows my name.

Grand Bassam, Ivory Coast
Panajachel, Guatemala
Orland, Indiana USA
Fort Wayne, Indiana USA
Bwang, La Union the Philippines
Pie de la Cuesta, Sunset Beach eight miles north of Acapulco, Mexico
Palolem Beach, Goa, India

I want to say Khao San Road, Thailand, but this is not true, there is no family of man there, I am just very familiar with the area. In many ways, I am a returning regular guest at the Platypus Hostel in Bogota, Colombia, but not a home away from home, it is a retreat of mine, and I know the owners and staff.

Home is a place where somebody will protect you from harm.
Does someone have your back, where you live? If you fell down, would someone pick you up without wanting money?

Expatriates are often loners, refusing to accept long-term friendships, and searching for places where they can buy friends. Volunteers and Missionaries want to arrange to have a group, organization or someone to protect them when they arrive, then need someone to pick them up at the airport. allows people to arrange friendships prior to arrival, with the hope by the surfing person that he or she is going to live in a home away from home.

I am guessing, but only about 1 in 500 people travels alone, by traveling with another person they have a mobile home away from home, there is somebody to pick up the pieces when things break. I always know my exit strategy, I know how to escape dangerous places, I am the 1 in 500, and I know where my homes are located on planet earth.

I probably and naturally came back to a place where people protect me, if the situation was really bad, I would return to Orland, Indiana to feel the best protection. I think about marriage, and its value, this social contract is an agreement to love and protect. To function properly, we need to know our spouse is capable, and willing to protect us from harm.

Many strong people and organizations spend all their time trying to protect small people from harm, then one day they have a problem, and nobody comes to their assistance. When I have a friend, I often ask myself, will this person stand up for me, or run and avoid me in times of trouble? There is a false sense of love felt by helping others, often a person is delusional, they are happy, they feel loved, because they gave love, this is fools love, it is not love, love is a two way street. Home must be a place where everyone knows my name, when I fall down, someone is there to pick up the pieces. Where even a person that spend 99 percent of their time taking care of others, has the loyalty of friends to help when not paid.

I am in an extremely dangerous country today, my situational awareness is higher than it has ever been in my life, this place makes my trip to Baghdad, Iraq in 2003 seem peaceful. My girlfriend help up the cell phone to my ear last night, she was talking to her brother, I could hear continuous gunfire in the background. This is not something you need to hear; maybe I should be avoiding this experience. I am not sure, I feel compelled to be witness, and somebody must keep his or her eyes open. Bah has started to sleep 10-14 hours per day, I know what this means…


Mom, I remembered to buy a gift for the mother of the baby; I kept my head about me, when everything around me is confused.

A New Baby is Born in Grand Bassam Ivory Coast

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