PRE NOTE: This is the original home page I put up for from 2001 until 2003

This is my page .......
I KISS YOU !!!!!

Mahir Playing the Accordion with admirer.

There was a time in the late 1990s when I thought Mahir -- that Turkish accordion and ping-pong playing swinger dude -- was a pretty interesting character with a personal website to beat. It was all too easy to laugh at the guy as some pathetic goofball, but in the end you really had no choice but to admire him. I mean, this guy was getting thousands of hits per day and was quickly becoming the Internet's first true celebrity. What's not to admire? Mahir got on talk shows like David Letterman -- Mahir became a surprise guest at tech expos to standing ovations -- and Mahir soon had websites all over the world devoted to his cult of personality. He was the geek to beat. Women were all over him and he started getting sweet endorsement deals. Sheeesh! This all from producing one very basic website with bad English and cheesy photos.

ET Highway sign near Area 51, Nevada.

In the enduring spirit of Mahir, I give you my own personal homepage. I also kiss you. Like Mahir's site, may this page be blessed by the cyber gods who will bestow upon it many hits, endorsement proposals, and hot women. But beware ladies, I can be a piece of work too.

Some call him "Santosh," a tall lad in San Francisco with a penchant for anything extraterrestrial. Little Ale'Inn, Rachel Nevada 8/2000

For those of you who came to my home page because you know me as Brad Olsen the travel writer, you may be interested to hear my life story and see how my path led me to this job. Like Mahir, I feel compelled to tell you about my upbringing, my personal hobbies, my social life, as well as my professional associations. Here is a brief life history of my life (1965-2001), and some excerpts from my first book World Stompers: A Global Travel Manifesto, now in its fifth edition:

World Stompers; A Global Travel Manifesto  ( ISBN # 1-888729-05-8 Newly Revised 5th ed. $17.95 / 288 pages)

This subversive travel book does indeed combine practical advice with a definite philosophy about travel. Author Brad Olsen sets the tone with his "Author's Karma Statement," which supports the idea that individual actions can make a difference; Olsen believes it is the traveler's responsibility to "go out into the world and observe the monumental changes our collective humanity faces. Gain a universal awareness. See how the other half lives. Have a great time. Let it change your life." Intended primarily for young travelers on a shoestring budget, World Stompers covers options often not mentioned in more mainstream guidebooks--from overland bus tours of Africa to getting temporary work on a cruise ship--and it even includes chapters geared toward travelers with an interest in drugs and booze, since it is "the way people travel."

This is the bestselling 5th edition, already into a second printing. This edition contains the most recently updated information, including visa requirements, contact phone numbers, and revised addresses. Reformatted, easier to read, and containing more illustrations!

Burning Alien 9/1996 Burning Man Festival

From Boy Scouts to Bombay

I had the travel bug from the time I was a little kid, going on family vacations and attending summer camp as most Gen X kids experienced. I joined the Boy Scouts with my brother and our neighborhood friends to get out into nature and horse around. We changed our name from Apache patrol to the Salamanders much to our leader's disliking, taunting him by being alternative. The Salamanders enjoyed blowing off merit badge duties and going off on our own adventures that were "not allowed" by camp elders. We were just in it for kicks and when the bureaucracy became too heavy, we bailed.

The best thing I got out of the scouts was their motto, "Be Prepared." Just turned 16 at my first desk 9/1982

In high school we missed going on summer camping trips, so the Salamanders reunited and began doing our own "advoyages." We chose our favorite place from scouting; the Warren Dunes State Park in southwest Michigan, only two hours from our native Chicago suburbs. We continued going to the dunes well into our college years until the summer we were busted for sneaking in three kegs of beer to our favorite lakeside spot. At that time the guys started giving up on adventures (along with their adolescence) for the job search. Sure, everybody needs to make money, but what's the hurry to grow up? Jobs look for experience, right? So couldn't a few months on the road qualify? It seemed to me then that just being out of college offered the most freedom a lifetime was going to offer, so why not use it? This was a chance to travel wider and farther than ever before, maybe even out of the U.S.

Hanging out at the Warren Dunes with older brother Chris and Tommy Peloquin.

The "Tanning Dune" with fresh beers on tap.

In college, only one friend from that group saw things the way I did: Tommy Peloquin was my roommate at Illinois State University (ISU) and best pal growing up. For spring break, just before I finished my marketing and art degree, he and I decided to hitchhike 3000 km to Matamoros, Mexico, and back. We hitched for the alternative experience, not to mention we were broke. The 11-day trip was very exciting and some of the rides we caught were absolutely classic. Our total cost was out of pocket $75 each. It proved to me that high adventure need not cost a lot of money. When we returned to our school in Normal, Illinois, we became instant celebrities after our travel tales were written up in the student newspaper!

"Don't worry about what's gonna happen next, just roll with it." -Tommy Peloquin

Early celebrity exposure with Courtney Cox in the mid 1980s, now she's a on the hit TV show "Friends."

Shortly after college, I painted a few houses and saved money for my next dream Europe. Tommy still had two years in college to finish up, so he couldn't go, and another friend chickened out at the last minute. I wasn't too crazy about going to Europe alone, but that "roll with it" saying from the Mexico trip kept popping up in my head. Throwing caution to the wind, I arrived in London, England, without knowing anyone and without hotel reservations. I made some calls from the airport and determined the cheapest place to crash was a big complex called Tent City on the rough side of town. Tent City was a great mix of characters: skinheads, punkers, lunatics, hippies, and a wide assortment of travelers from all parts of the world. I met an Australian chap named Richard who had a station wagon. We teamed up and shared car expenses and proceeded to criss-cross our way up the country. To save cash, we cooked meals on a portable stove and crashed in the back of the wagon. After two weeks of touring the beautiful countryside, we arrived in Edinburgh, Scotland. Unfortunately, the car was vandalized while we were in a pub, and both of our backpacks were stolen. The police caught the thief a few days later when he tried to pawn my camera, but our packs were never recovered.

Aussie pal Richard and I play fighting in the Pompeii Coliseum, 8/1988

Richard and I decided we were not going to let this bastard-thief ruin both of our adventures of the old country. Instead, we resolved to carry on without any luggage (we were wearing our money belts the night we were robbed). I got my camera back, bought some clothes, and quickly routed myself south to the warmth of the Mediterranean. Traveling light took on a whole new meaning. Even with hardly any luggage, the next two and a half months were a total rip-raging good time partying and talking to people from all walks of life. The coolest aspect was by the time I returned to northern Europe, I had met so many people, I had free places to stay just about anywhere I showed up.

Life is like a roller coaster. There are ups and downs and spirals. Priest king at Knossos, Crete 9/1988

All you can do sometimes is just sit back and enjoy the ride.
Winter time snow ski pals, summertime water ski pals on Lake Tahoe, summer 1990.

After Europe, I returned to the U.S. high on a total travel buzz. I emptied my savings account and bought a one-way ticket to Lake Tahoe, California, for the beginning of the ski-season. In two days, I found a place to live and landed a job selling skis for Heavenly Ski Resort. That job allowed me to ski for free and buy top of the line equipment for half price. When the season ended I got a much better paying job as a time-share rep. I stayed for the summer and another ski-season raking in the cash. At that time I hoped to begin my fabled world tour, but my girlfriend talked me into moving to the coastal town of Santa Cruz, California, then a move to Maui. We broke up on Maui. I stayed on the island for seven months until my brother was to be married and returned to Chicago.

On Maui with my Mom, sister, and ex-girlfriend, 3/1991. Time to bail and go on a world tour.

On my way to Chicago, I stumbled across a woman who suggested I go to Japan and teach English. After my bro's wedding, I had no plans and that sounded like an ideal way to fund my long dreamed of world tour. I painted a few houses again, packed a backpack along with my mountain bike, and set off for Japan on another solo voyage. I soon discovered the best travel advice comes from other travelers who have been there. On a suggestion I decided to live in the ancient and beautiful Japanese city of Kyoto. Through word-of-mouth, I found a great job teaching English and a decent place to live. At first it was awkward living in an Asian city, but after I made some foreigner friends I really began enjoying my new life. For the next year I focused on working full-time, getting in top physical shape, and saving the mighty Yen for my long awaited world tour. That trip took me on an epic three-year world tour and inspired my writing career. The complete story is on my first website:

Fast Forward to the New Millennium!!!!!!!

Laying low on Ibiza, Spain 3/2000

Older brother Chris, your storyteller, my Dad, and sister Marsi in the British Virgin Islands, 6/2000

Writing partner Bruce Northam and I have taken a dozen press trips together,
like this one in Big Sky,
Montana 10/2000.

What a great expanse of time 2000-01 has been. I've been traveling just about every month for the past few years to places far and near. I have five published books and am currently working on my 6th title, called Sacred Places North America: 108 Destinations which came out in 2003.

Here are the links to my already published travel titles:

Click on any book cover to go directly to the book description on

I am the longstanding Executive Director of the:
World Peace Through Technology Organization.

For an overview of the CCC artist space see:

The annual How Weird Street Faire is here:

Blurred Author photo, fuzzy technology. 9/2000

Consortium of Collective Consciousness
e-mail: info at

a new techno warehouse is in the works ...

POST NOTE. Another techno warehouse never happened ... Although I live most months of the year in San Francisco, I am looking forward to traveling extensively once again. (7/2003)

Alcatraz always was salt.
Speed extracted -- why?
Mt. Davidson