Category Archives: Feature

We’re All Full of Shit – David Duchovny Would Agree

90705344 7fd0ce01ee d Were All Full of Shit   David Duchovny Would Agree

Live any honestly self reflective life and you’ll have this thought:

“I’m full of shit.”

Occasionally paired with this thought:

“I hope no one else notices.”

I know I do.  More often than I’d like actually.

So where is all this coming from?  Clay brought it up when we met up for brunch on my roadtrip.

“People are full of shit.” That’s what he said.

I laughed.  I knew it was true.

Look at it this way.  There is this epic joke that one day people are going to catch on to.  That I’ve really no clue as to how to live and have just been ranting and raving lunatic things.  That’s how I’m certain it looks.  We’re on the edge – our unconventional lifestyles, vagabonding, freedom businesses, liberation manifestos, working for no man…  we teeter very close to lunacy (not that I mind).

So we’ve got to push the joke past the limits.  You’ve got to believe your own joke.

Really, that’s it.  Being the real deal is doing it even when you don’t believe yourself.  You’ve got a mission, the hard facts of life, and the road before you.  If the words that come out of your mouth feel fake – fake it.  Sometimes to be the real deal we have to act it, like David Duchovny.

That’s right.  You’ve got to be so full of it that you can fool yourself into believing it’s possible.  That’s your game.  It isn’t just positive affirmations and productivity tools it’s about action in the face of self doubt.

Once you’ve got that.  You’ve got it.

As long as you’re the only person to catch on – good – the longer you can get away with it.

Cause, really, we’re all full of shit.

Flickr photo courtesy of danny.hammontree.

Also, this post in no way has been endorsed by David Duchovny – even though I think it should be.

Today I Am Lost Again

lost Today I Am Lost AgainVagabonding is a life of letting go.

Of things.  Of places.  Of people.

Each day is new, unique, fresh.  Yet the day before is gone, a shadow, a memory of the road you can’t turn around on.  As a wanderer of the globe you are not rooted in one place.  You will meet amazing people, you will love them, then you will leave.  Your life is not there.  It’s out on the road.  One you have chosen, perhaps one that has chosen you.

That road calls.

It is not about falling asleep content at home.  It is collapsing – exhausted – wherever you may be because you have spent all you have in the world.

“When will you understand that being normal isn’t necessarily a virtue? It rather denotes a lack of courage.”

One day another road may call, it may reunite you with a world you once knew but the time is not now.  It is not time to step off your road.  Instead…

Strive to break the world.  When it shatters a new one is revealed.

Embrace the impermance.  Love the temporary.  Live it fully.

Vagabonding is about losing yourself.  Then finding yourself.  Then getting lost all over again.  Without the lows (the letting go) the highs (the experiencing) would never be revealed.  We only know what we had once it’s gone.  And for vagabonds, we are always going.

Vagabonding reveals to us that which a stationary life cannot for we are always in the process of losing something.

Today I am lost again.

Epic Roadtrip 2k9: 17 States, 13 Cities, 27 Days Later

ER2k9 Map Epic Roadtrip 2k9: 17 States, 13 Cities, 27 Days Later

The life of a vagabond is one of shifting cities, hours in transit, waiting, boredom, loneliness, excitement and the unknown.

But that’s not always the case.

The past 27 days have been a fast forward blur of cities as a friend and I road tripped from Massachusetts out to Denver then down to Atlanta.

We have stayed in 13 cities (or metropolitan areas) and passed through 17 states in less than a month.  Generally an advocate of stays lasting at least a week (usually 2 weeks) this rush of scenery was a drastic change from city hopping via planes.

Traveling in a car through the U.S. as an American is an experience that so few of us actually take the time to do.  Had we been in Europe we would have passed through as many countries as we had states with their flags, culture and language.

In short the U.S. is massive and diverse in culture, landscape and even language.  The experience of driving through Nebraska end to end with a detour along a state highway towards Chimney Rock was one of the most gorgeous things I have ever seen.  I would never have called Nebraska beautiful but driving through the windswept plateaus and ravines, kicking up dust and rolling through towns with nothing but a water tower, a gas station/grocery, and dirt roads changed that opinion.  Admiring the country that you live in is something so few Location Independents do.  Most of us are technological nomads accustomed to urban centers with the occasional wilderness jaunt to sate a cultured desire to “get away from it”.

Yet the miles of cornfields, empty highways, decaying farm and industrial towns that I have passed through and stopped in has given me an appreciation that I think only an older generation of vagabonds and nomads understand.  There is a hint of Kerouac in the true cross-country road trip.  Kerouac saw the road as a spiritual journey, whether you are 300 miles into the middle of cornfields or in the heart of Chicago, it is a journey which changes you if you are willing to be conscious of it.

There is no getting away from it, it is always there.  Those cornfields go on for miles.  Those people work to feed hundreds of people.  Those roads are vacant with the occasional semi screaming through at 85 MPH.  The vistas of wind carved stone are populated with cows and rattlesnakes.  The world is always there – vast, living, growing, dying – whether you are there or not.

Consider that vastness.  It should make you feel small.  Then the vastness is in you. You are as much a part of that vastness as the dust, the windmills, the mountains.

Before you consider leaving the country you live in, take a moment to consider if you really know it or just your little corner of it.  Then, go out and journey.

Are You A Tool or A Voice?

3294583250 ecefc97012 b d Are You A Tool or A Voice?

Tools are indispensible to share your voice.

In the world of gadgets and social media and network it’s easy to mix up the tool with our voice.  Wrapping ourselves up in the tool we forget it is our message, our personal voice that gives value and not the tools we use to broadcast.

For a while I’ve been writing most of my posts in the wordpress editor and if that isn’t quiet enough I use WriteRoom or Typewriter.

Writing on the computer is much faster for me than writing by hand.  Yet that speed sacrifices the care I take with each word that a pen affords.

This is something I’ve noticed before in my interactions with people.  In online chat my hands fling out words and my dialogue appears hectic and scattered.  I come off like an ADD chatterbox.

Offline I speak slower and usually only after sitting back and considering things.  It’s quieter, a little more reserved and more certain.  My speaking voice is more my voice than the 90wpm clatter my hands deal out.

And so, I’ve transitioned to writing my posts, my copy, by hand.

Sometimes our true voice takes more effort.

My effort is in deciphering my hand writing since it is not easily legible (I gave a magnifying glass to my 6th grade teacher along with a paper once).  Yet I’ve found the tools which more clearly carry my voice. A pen and a yellow notepad.

Think about it the next time you carry on a conversation with someone.  Examine the rhythm of your speech, how you pause or ramble a bit.  Which words do you weigh, what do you focus on, what is just filler.

Then examine the tools you use to write, to convey your message.  Do your tools help or hinder your voice?

Your voice is your message.

What are you saying?

Flickr photo courtesy of ForeverDigital.

Life In A Backpack: An Exercise in Minimalist Living

100 Items or Less

When was the last time you considering the things you carried.

I’m not talking about emotions and the past, I’m talking about the objects in your life.

Even if you don’t carry them around with you everywhere you go (as I do) – you carry them with you in life.

Possessions weigh on you by attaching you to the world, to a place, to things.  The modern brand of Western consumerism driven by the cradle-to-grave philosophy encourages status by possession and not status by merit.  And when those possessions are no longer interesting it’s time to stuff them into corners and leave them forgotten.

Yet they are still there.  They weigh upon your freedom.

Examine the things you carry with you in life.

Are they necessary?  Do they contribute to your life in a meaningful way?  Are they just a way of showing status to others?

Cut the cords of attachment to possessions, reduce the clutter, and go on with a minimalist living.

My Minimalist Living Story:

Recently I re-considered the things I carry when my suitcase died.  I sought out a replacement and settled on the 22″ E-Motion 4.0 Trek Pack Plus.  It is quite a bit smaller than my old suitcase which forced me to minimize.

And so my 100 Item Challenge is underway.

My initial list was around 90 items.  I was already under 100 items – a surprising fact.

So, when I ended up in Maine for a week long respite from the world, I thinned down my travel gear once more and below is the final list.  Some of the items are listed as collections which made the challenge a little easier.

My final total: 77 items.

  • 4 Ties
  • 3 Scarves
  • 1 Belt
  • 1 Set of Suspenders
  • 1 Pair of Florsheim Dress Shoes
  • 1 Pair of White Leather Keds
  • 1 Hat
  • 1 White Linen Jacket
  • 2 Pairs of Dress Pants
  • 1 Pair of Jeans
  • 1 Pair of Shorts
  • 10 T-Shirts / Short Sleeve Shirts
  • 5 Dress Shirts / Long Sleeve Shirts
  • 2 Sweaters
  • 1 Black Pin-Stripe Vest
  • 1 Sweater Vest
  • 7 Pairs of Boxer Briefs
  • 7 Pairs of Socks
  • 1 Travel Towel
  • 1 External Hard Drive with Cable
  • 1 MacBook Pro with Cables, Extra Battery and Bluetooth Mouse
  • 1 iPhone 3G with Cable and vModo Duo Headphones
  • 1 Extra Internal Hard Drive
  • 1 LED Flashlight
  • 1 Wallet
  • 1 Washboard with Thimbles and Brushes
  • 1 Book Collection
  • 1 Pen Collection
  • 1 Journal
  • 1 Moleskin Pocket Reporters Notebook
  • 1 Pad of Graph Paper
  • 1 Pad of Yellow Notepaper
  • 2 Small Pilates Balls
  • 1 Set of Exercise Bands
  • 1 Bar Soap
  • 1 Shaving Kit (Merkur Safety Razor, Brush and Shave Soap)
  • 1 Stick Deodorant
  • 1 Bottle of Pain Relievers
  • 1 Toothbrush
  • 1 Container of Hel Gel
  • 1 Passport
  • 1 Thermos
  • 1 Victorinox 22″ E-Motion 4.0 Trek Pack Plus
  • 1 Chrome Metropolis Messenger Bag

What Do You Carry?

Are You Afraid of Being the Small Fish in the Pond?

40000271 b29376caf1 b d Are You Afraid of Being the Small Fish in the Pond?

Just because you’re not the biggest fish in the pond doesn’t mean you have to leave the pond.

Trust me; there are always bigger fish, smarter people, more established experts, better dancers, savvier marketers out there.  It doesn’t matter.  They’re not your market.  They’re not your enemies either.  You only have to worry about them if they come after you, and if you’re the small fish in the big pond they probably won’t even notice you.

If they do, remember this: you are younger, more agile, less tied down to history and expectations.  You can get into those tiny niches that they could never go.  Being the small fish in the big pond is better than the big fish in the small pond.  Your potential is vast whereas the big fish has already outgrown the pond.

So don’t feel pressured to hold off your ideas cause it may have been done better or by someone more established because they way you do it, because it is YOU doing it that makes it unique.

My point is this:

don’t let your fear of not being the best hold you back from giving it your best.

Flickr photo courtesy of EssG.

Do We Pretend to Be Lifestyle Rockstars?

43145184 9c437dc091 b d Do We Pretend to Be Lifestyle Rockstars?

We’re a bit of an overachieving community as lifestyle designers.  We want to live exciting, rich, over-the-top travel-the-world in a single suitcase lives.

We can slip into this idea that we’re Lifestyle Rockstars (guitars not included).

Yet we can’t be rockstars all the time.  The interesting rockstars in most fields are honest, down to earth, simple people who just happen to have worked their ass off to get where they are.  Sure they’ve got talent and a bit of flair which separates them from others but is that all?

Surely not.  They believed in their idea when it wasn’t popular, when their friends thought they were crazy and they still struggled to maintain momentum when they woke up everyday.

Believing in yourself when it is only your idea is a hard thing to do, yet when we make it (in some form or another) we should take care not to flaunt our idea as if it were always better than sliced bread.  Despite how awesome your lifestyle is and how many hours you’ve spent designing it and hacking it, there are millions of other people in the world living exceptionally happy lives that are entirely different from our own.

Being a lifestyle designer, liberation artist or vagabond is not necessarily the better life choice, it is merely the most fulfilling for our place in our life at this moment.  The world might come around in the long run to agree with you but you can’t change peoples minds you can only sway those who are already looking for change.

So while you may be a rockstar in your positive thinking, personal development, location independent mind it’s good to take a reality check sometimes and realize that on occasion you’re only playing the air guitar.

Are you driving along a pale imitation of your dreams?

paledream Are you driving along a pale imitation of your dreams?

Then you should probably change gears.

All too often we accept a certain position at work, relationship circumstance, or home believing that it’s a foot in the door to our dreams.  Yet days pass, months pass, years pass and you’ve only got your foot in a door.  And it probably hurts a bit for being stuck there so long.

Shouldn’t you say it’s time enough?

Unwedge that foot, kick open the door and see the world.

Be not afraid of life. Believe that life is worth living, and your belief will help create that fact.

William James

To rephrase William James: believe that dreams are worth living.

Now that you believe. Act. Belief without action is empty.

It’s not a matter of time that you’re dream will come to you once you believe in it.  Regardless of how much The Secret tells you otherwise, or how much positive thinking you put towards it.

391759360 88e636bc8c Are you driving along a pale imitation of your dreams?

Belief is only the key in the ignition.

Someone has to turn it, and that, my friends, has to be you.

Start by getting out of the driveway.  Nice and easy.  Don’t gun it if it’s your first time at the wheel.  Pick some easy hills to climb so you can learn to shift.

You will have to learn the road along the way because dreams don’t come with turn-by-turn GPS navigation systems.  You’re best off with a rough map and some directions from trusted friends and advisers.

Map out some landmarks as you go.  Noting your progress is important so you can remember where you came from.  The sense of accomplishment at recognizing these in the future will only be more rewarding.

Soon you’ll find yourself driving with confidence, navigating unknown terrain with ease, and realizing that you are on your own road to the vistas in your dreams.

Title Flickr image by Gabriela Camerotti.

How To Find Your Purpose In Life: The Infinite Step Program

58409848 f7110ae9ae b d How To Find Your Purpose In Life: The Infinite Step Program

So often we go through life living the way other people tell us to.

Our parents.  Our teachers.  Our coaches.  Our significant others.  Our friends.  Our bosses.  Our colleagues.

Yet none of these people are us.  Our purpose in life isn’t what other people tell us.  Often times it’s not the things we tell ourselves.

Why?  Because we’ve been conditioned to believe that what other people have told us is really us.

We’ve learned to listen to the buzz and the hype and not our hearts.  We’ve lost touch with ourselves because we’ve blanketed ourselves in the myth of convention and expectation, in the wisdom of the masses.

So how do we find ourselves.  How do we turn off the buzz and the hype and the voices in our heads.

You have to seclude yourself.  Shut off the noise.  Close the blinds.  Throw the phone out the window.  Throw what other people have to say out the window.  Cut yourself loose and bury yourself in silence.

In the attitude of silence the soul finds the path in a clearer light, and what is elusive and deceptive resolves itself into crystal clearness. Our life is a long and arduous quest after Truth.

Mahatma Gandhi (1869 – 1948)

Only in silence can we hear ourselves breathe.  Only in silence can we hear ourselves sing.

So set yourself up without others.  It may take a day, it may take a week of silence.  Cause at first it’s never silent.  At first our heads are filled with the clamor of other peoples voices, they are full of the voices we’ve listened to for years.  Even our own.

Write down everything they say.  Type it out.  Make it into notes.  Collage it.  The goal is to purge them all.  To do so you need to put them into the world.  So they get out of your head.

Then answer this question: what is my purpose in life?

In cosmic terms, it doesn’t matter.  We are small and insignificant in the universe.

In biological terms, it’s to procreate then die.  It’s that simple.

Yet we don’t want it that simple.  We want it to matter more than a simple biological imperative.

Life matters because we live it.  What we do matters because it is all we have.

In perspective knowing that, knowing that you are going to die, that you are insignificant in the world helps to understand your purpose.

It gives you meaning because whether you make a million dollars in your lifetime, bereak a world record, or world work in a mail room it won’t matter in the grand scheme of things.

So you might as well do what you damn well love.

Now go back to that question.  What’s your purpose in life.

Not your goals.

Not your career.

Your purpose.

Here’s an exercise that I’ve taken from Steve Pavlina:

  1. Take out a blank sheet of paper or open up a word processor where you can type (I prefer the latter because it’s faster).
  2. Write at the top, “What is my true purpose in life?”
  3. Write an answer (any answer) that pops into your head. It doesn’t have to be a complete sentence. A short phrase is fine.
  4. Repeat step 3 until you write the answer that makes you cry. This is your purpose.

You’ll most likely end up using lofty abstract language to describe this.

But that’s okay because:

Fulfilling your purpose is never possible.

It’s not about success in a yes or no check box.

It isn’t a wake-up one day and count to ten and poof you’ve got your purpose.  Finding your purpose isn’t a ten step program, it’s an infinite step program.

Each step is often small.  Minuscule even.  The leaps and bounds that get touted as sparks of genius or inspiration are an accumulation of hours of minuscule steps both forwards and back.  They’re the moment you can put what you’ve been feeling for years into words.

It’s about living as an experience, a process, which aligns with your very beliefs as a person.  With your core self.  With your soul.  Or ego.  Or heart or whatever word you choose to bandy about.  But all the same it is what you would create a revolution about.  It is your purpose.

What is your purpose?  How did you go about finding it?  How long did it take you?

Flickr Photo courtesy of M Kuhn.

Vagabonding as a Radical Life Choice – Video Blog 9

Vagabonding is a radical life choice which departs greatly from the stationary communities and homes of conventional society. However, while people may not understand the path and may look negatively upon the choice to break from the norm vagabonding is a personal, almost spiritual, path and not one of elitism or superiority.