about this site

Welcome to travelhead.com. My name is Rick and this website is mostly filled with my travelblogs from random wanderings around the globe, and a way-too-detailed description of every car and motorbike I've ever owned. I don't know quite how this website got so out of hand. It all started a long time ago....

In the winter of 1996, some friends and I decided to throw a rave. With a budget of $30,000, it was the largest party that I have ever been involved with throwing. Back in 1996 websites were mostly for businesses and schools, so we thought having a website about a party would be ultra-cool. So we registered ldopah.com (our company was called L-dopah, named for the chemical in your brain that causes happiness) and I got put in charge of designing a webpage. So I looked up some info on HTML on the web and learned how to build a webpage. The page I built sucked, if I recall correctly.

The party went way over budget and a snowstorm on the night of the event caused us to lose a lot of money, and L-Dopah went bankrupt (The Fed doesn't typically have $700bn set aside to bail our ravers). We never paid the bill on ldopah.com so it expired and the website that I spent about 2 hours building was floating somewhere in cyberspace.

About a year later, we got the absolutely brilliant idea to resurrect L-Dopah, throw another party, and re-registered the name. This time we had a professional designer design the website for it, complete with flash. A friend gave us free unlimited server space and our own IP address to host it on. After the party was over I was left to maintain the website, although without immediate plans for another party it didnt need much updating.

Later I got involved with some car discussion groups and rather than attaching photos of my cars to my posts (attaching photos didn't always work well with discussion forums back in the 90's) I found it easier to post the photos to my server and then just put a link to that file in the post. So I created a directory called www.ldopah.com/rick and it was where Id put any photos I wanted to attach to my postings. "/rick" was never designed to be viewed by the public. No search engines would ever lead you there.

All the same, people would chop off file names to see what was at www.ldopah.com/rick and it was blank. So I put up an index page with a list of everything on there.

I guess the point at which that little site turned from a directory in to a real webpage was when I created the EuroWander page. I went to Europe for about 5 weeks and had 2 weeks off of work when I got back. I took my handwritten journal, typed it up, scanned and added photos and made the EuroWander webpage. I sent it off to about 50 people, some who Id met traveling, others I worked with who wanted to hear all the stories. A lot of people read it all the way through, despite its length, and many forwarded it to friends.

By this time, the "/rick" part of the l-dopah website was getting more traffic than the rest of the page. I ended up staying late at work one night to make up a cleaner front page. I started with a menu style layout, breaking my ramblings in to 4 or 5 sections. Then I decided to do a standard yin/yang with just cars and travels, but I wanted the site to be a little more, so I came up with a 4 way yin/yang.

Then, in about 1999 when the other members of L-Dopah agreed that we'd never throw another party and therefore didn't need our website, we took it down, and I took control of the server space and registered travelhead.com. I picked travelhead because I envisioned a day where I could make a long world trip, taking a laptop with me and update the site as I went along. It was the reason for choosing that name and what really pushed me to make my own website.

Then I just sort of went nuts on the rest of the site until I could make the big trip. There were already photos of about half of my old cars, so I decided to scan in photos of the rest of them and make a complete list of every one I've owned. I'd add other little bits and bobs whenever I had the time or the urge. Whenever I got a new car, it promptly got a new page.

I had planned to take my big trip sometime in 2000, but the tech stock market crashed right about the time I planned to go, so that delayed my trip until 2002 until I had the cash. But amazingly, against all odds, the trip actually happened. I got myself a cool little Sony Vaio 505TX (made in 1999, a netbook truly ahead of its time) and traveled the globe for 2 years and a month. I sent out journals weekly and posted photos monthly. By the end of the trip in 2004 I had over 1100 people signed up to recieve my weekly journals, and those journals when printed out are over 600 printed pages long.

And I was exhausted. For over 2 years I had updated my website religiously. I just didn't want to do it anymore. So I didn't. For the next 6 years it sat mostly static. I took several trips during those years and had all intentions of posting the journals from those trips, but I'd come home, go back to work and never find the time. Sometime in about 2006 I got an email from a guy offering to buy travelhead.com for $5000. I figured I could get travelhead.net and be just as happy, so I counter-offered with $7000 figuring anyone willing to pay $5k would be willing to pay $7k. He didn't go for it and got a different name. Maybe it's my destiny to be travelhead.com forever.

Finally, in about 2010 I decided the website needed to be freshened up. I've never used any program other than notepad to design my pages. It's all coded by hand. I enjoy the challenge. I tried to use a WYSIWYG program once, but it fustrated me, so I went back to coding. However, my HTML skills haven't progessed much since 1996, so that produced a bit of a dated looking site. I've never even learned Java or Flash. But looking around it seemed like CSS was the new thing. And it seemed easy. And so far it has been. I've taken a renewed interest in freshening up the look and content of my site. And so far I'm happy with the results.

And thats the long story about why I have a monsterous website all about me.