Bart with Fidel and Hilary on Cozumel

Hi, I’m Bart Nedelman.  I’ve always loved to travel and at the beginning of 2001 I decided to start a business where I traveled a lot – importing. What did I know about importing at the time? Absolutely nothing,but missing a few caution genes helps.

One month later I head off to Indonesia and start importing high end designer furniture by 40 foot high cube containers.  I traveled Indonesia and Southeast Asia for seven years. Fun biz and great stuff – see my Imports page (to be built).

Prior to importing, I’d had a long career in business and appeared for five years on the Los Angeles Business Channel speaking about investments and tax planning.  Then I entrepreneured about for a bit, wrote, produced, and appeared in an infomercial and a commercial, put together private investment offerings, then started the small jet cargo airline …. right before 9/11. Win some, lose some. Jet cargo was not one of my better ideas.

A rut is a grave open at both ends. It seems I’ve done something completely different every seven years of my life. No matter how hard I flogged my mind, it simply would not and could not wrap itself around a doing investment advising full time.  Importing and traveling seemed the way to go and I’ve never looked back.  Although I did close my import operation during the recent economic crunch, I may start it up, again and combine it with my travel. It was fun, I got into some very strange places, and a few scary ones, too.

Teak table makers on the island of Java, Indonesia

I sold everything, but clothes and computers, and decided to start traveling full time while starting a this travel blog and a humor blog. Right now I’m still Newport Beach staying with a friend while setting up this blog and tying up loose ends. Recently, I wrote two books and a screenplay, and am looking for an agent. My great American novel is still unwritten, lurking somewhere in the depths of my heart, its feet stuck in the tar pit of my mind.

Time has mellowed me out and I have nothing left to prove. Here’s how I see life and travel now:

Many keep score with money, others with the trappings of power, while some measure their value with a yardstick of accomplishments – more valid, I suppose, than the former.  I have some regrets for the things I could have done better along the way and take a small measure of satisfaction for some of the things I’ve done well. I’ve been very lucky much of the time and have had a lot of love come my way over the years.

Ultimately, though, I think it’s the love we share in our brief journey that endows our lives with value and meaning. So, my friends and readers, take long draughts of love along your way, jealously guard the wellspring of your creativity, receive a full measure of abundance in your life, and most importantly, hold on to a child-like wonder and curiosity of the world.

Odds and Ends:

I grew up in Bexley, a small suburb of Columbus, Ohio. 125 kids in my graduation class. Going hunting on the first day of rabbit and pheasant season was a legal excuse to miss school and I ate what I shot. I try not to kill anything, now – not even spiders.

Graduating from Ohio State with a degree in zoology, minoring in physiological chemistry, was always an iffy thing as I flunked about as many chemistry courses as I passed, but enjoyed myself, capitally, none the less.

I love the movies, especially old black and whites with dialogue missing the F-word. Now, I’m not prudish, far from it, but have you ever noticed there’s an inverse relationship  between the number of F-words and plot…. you know, the more F-words, less plot?

I recently finished two non-fiction books and a screenplay, a romantic comedy/action adventure. Funny as hell and a good, exciting plot, too. Since writing my screenplay, I’ve found that little happens in the Hollywood without an agent. I might serialize it in my blog for the fun of it if I don’t pick up an agent.

The idea of traveling, writing, scuba diving, eating with the locals, making videos, and doing new things just sounds like a good way to spend some of my life. I hope you enjoy my blog and comment/twitter/email me at any time. I’ll try to answer within 72 hours.


Q. What countries are you going to?
A. First stop, my favorite diving spot, Cozumel.  Maybe Thailand afterwards, or Europe…. or Bali? Don’t know and don’t care. I’ll make friends along the way.

Q: And how much planning are you doing.
A: Not a lot. I’m traveling light, planning on doing a lot of writing, diving, blogging, and video/picture taking. I like traveling without an agenda because there are fewer schedules to keep, less stress, and fewer disappointments. Finding new things to see and do at the spur of the moment is great fun. That’s hard to do when you’re keeping a tight schedule with an agenda.

Q: What are you taking?
A: A bag of dive gear, a small backpack more geared for my laptop, cams, and necessities, and one REI CO-OP  bag that will just make the 62” size-dimension limitation on most airlines. Packing:

  • 3 swim suits/shorts (cut the liner out of swimsuits with pockets to make great lightweight, double duty shorts)
  • 2 pants with zip-off legs
  • 2 light-weight, easy wash/no-iron button front, long sleeve shirts
  • Keen’s hiking shoes
  • Keen’s sandals
  • light, slip-on Puma’s for plane and security checks
  • small (2’x4”x6”) medical kit in clear zipper bag to fit in back-pack
  • 5 T’s & 2 tank-tops
  • 7 pairs of socks and underpants (I hate to do laundry every other day)
  • light-weight, rain-proof shell jacket
  • lightweight fleece sweater
  • small bags of Costco trail mix – beats the crap meals on planes
  • baseball cap and beach/sun hat
  • toiletries kit

See my Excel spreadsheet packing list that you can download and modify.

Q: Do you every worry about some of the places you go?
A: No, not really. Cozumel is very safe anywhere on the island and the locals are great. But I have been in places that can be dangerous, like Indonesia, a Muslim country, especially Java during the Bush years. The Indonesian people really are very nice, I like them a lot, but they do have some Muslim fundamentalist crazies – the Bali bombing and the Marriot Hotel bombings in Jakarta, for example.

A taxi ride from the Jakarta airport got a bit hairy. The taxi driver drove off the standard route, driving along side an bad slum area far from the hotel.  I knew we shouldn’t be there and it crossed my mind that he might be planning to sell me to Al Qaeda or some other crazies.  I moved closer to and behind the driver and without showing him, took out my pocket knife as a final bargaining chip in case he started to pull into the slum area. Got rather exciting for a while, but that’s another story.

Q: Where do you like to stay?
A: If possible, I like staying in a place close to or on the beach, if there is a beach. I do admit to liking a fridge in my room and internet service. But, I’ll stay in less than primo places if that’s what’s called for. I hate to admit this, but there’s nothing wrong with amenities, a private bathroom, or kicking back with a good book and a cervesa on a breezy balcony overlooking the ocean with the sun going down.

Q: What blog set-up are you using.
A: StudioPress Genesis framework with the Lexicon child theme, hosted by Hostgator. This set-up allows for changes or updating to the frame or basic theme, without interfering with content. I’m new at it, so I know I’ll keep making mistakes. But Genesis seems to be forgiving and saves me from myself, and the service people at Hostgator have been nothing short of terrific. I recommend them highly.

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