My entire adult life, I’ve tried to avoid being labeled.
When I wrote my retrospective on a year of full-time travel, I included a section about my distaste for the label “digital nomad”:
It became immediately clear to me upon leaving that I’m skittish about labels. I’ve used the phrase “digital nomad” when referring to my lifestyle, but the novelty is gone. It feels clique-ish — like calling yourself a “jock” or “goth” — and creates this illusion that there’s a secret Digital
For a year or so, I lived on the top floor of a fancy building in Portland’s Pearl District.1
This place was dope: giant balcony, concrete floors and walls for soundproofing, a 24-hour concierge — this was the kind of apartment I signed a lease on and thought to myself, “Clearly I’ve now arrived, and Jay-Z will be calling any minute to discuss how our lives are very different but equally awesome.”
If you can see past my buckets of class, this is the view from the apartment we’
For the last two years, Marisa and I have been living outside the United States, staying exclusively in Airbnbs. In strangers’ homes.
When we first set off on our grand travel and remote work experiment, we had several hypotheses about how things would go. Here’s a quick recap of what we expected: We don’t have to wait until we retire to start traveling. It’s possible to be productive during sustained periods of travel. It’s just as cheap (or cheaper) to live abroad. It’s healthie
I didn’t make any New Year’s resolutions for 2017.
Honestly, I wasn’t really planning to say anything at all about 2016.1 Then Nate wrote a retrospective, and I decided that was a good idea.
A good idea that I intend to steal outright in this post.2 Why a Retrospective? (Also, What Is a Retrospective?)
Nate being smart.
One of the more valuable strategies I picked up from my time as a contractor for Precision Nutrition is the idea of holding a retrospective3 af
How do we know when we’re successful?
There’s no formal award ceremony denoting success. There’s no set quantity of stuff we can acquire and suddenly we’re sure.1 We can’t inherit our parents’ success — only the results of it. We can’t buy or steal success, either.
This guy felt like a goddamn champion for all of six seconds.
Worse, what feels like success now can slide out from under us and feel like stagnation or failure, like a kid who feels so proud of her B+ on th
In high school I wanted to be a rockstar.
In the pursuit of that goal, I eventually managed to drop out of college, become more or less unemployable,1 ruin most of my relationships, and — most notably — utterly fail to become a rockstar.
It might be tempting to consider 2004–2007 “wasted time”.
After all, I set out with a goal to make a living as a musician. And despite hundreds of days touring the country, living in a van, and making ramen in styrofoam cups,2 aft
If I’ve had one Big Idea™ in my life so far, it’s this: careers and income are tools, not goals.
Currently, my goals are: to live a life where I’m not obligated to do anything I haven’t chosen to do; to have the personal and financial freedom to do the things that sound interesting to me; to live a life where every day I’m saying, “I can’t imagine any way I’d rather be living right now.”
That idea wasn’t born whole. For anyone who’s been reading along, I’ve slowly built this i
You know how we always want what we can’t have?
And how once we can have it, we lose interest?
Have you ever wondered why that happens? Logically, it doesn’t make any sense: if I want a thing, and that thing becomes available to me, I should be happy that I now have that thing.
But that’s not how it works. The Thrill of the Chase
Before my adult morals had grown in, I was addicted to the problem-solving challenge of convincing someone to date me. I loved the ch
As simple as it seems, taking the time to recognize the good stuff can have a huge positive impact on your relationships with colleagues, significant others, friends, and clients.
NOTE: This post originally ran back in 2013 on S2B.1 I’ve updated it to reflect some of the changes in my life since it was first written. Marisa and I in Barcelona. Credit: La Boutique de la Luz We Take a Good Thing for Granted
As much as I hate to admit it, I’m kind of a shitty person by default.
The first time I left the United States, I was so excited I could have hung my carry-on off the front of my pants.1
This was a trip Nate and I had been talking about since high school — it was supposed to be the big trip after high school graduation — and after years of “saving up”,2 delays, and excuses, I finally had my ticket.
My mood improved steadily as the trip grew closer, dipping slightly a week out when the “why am I not leaving neeaaooooowwwww” fit of whinery kic
Last week I sent out a newsletter about balance.1
The email centered around finding your own perfect balance, rather than the idea that there’s a perfect, externally-defined balance out there somewhere.
I got quite a few responses back, but one in particular stuck out to me. It came from a guy named Alex Mullan, who recently started a new fitness company called MASSthetics. He’s still in his first year, and that’s keeping him in a dead sprint:
On a day-to-day basis, I
There’s this idea in American culture1 that’s so pervasive we tend to accept it as fact:
In order to get ahead, you’ve got to be willing to hustle harder than everyone else, and grind it out through long hours and late nights.
We see it everywhere, celebrated as the highest virtue: t-shirts and posters that just say HUSTLE in a cool, hand-lettered font. This design is really cool, but what type of culture is it reflecting? Credit: Nick Slater Hustle & Grind can be poi
I was nineteen or twenty, working at a pizza place for this Really Nice Guy™ named Tim.1 I was a manager, sort of. I worked six hour shifts, three or four days a week, and I’d be the last one to close the restaurant, count the till, and drop off the day’s earnings at the bank.
The employees at Cheesy Express Pizza came in three flavors: a) people so dim and solipsistic it’s surprising they survived to adulthood; b) people barely scraping by, shipwrecked by their own bad decisions or t
Not so long ago, I was in a pretty dark place: my work had taken over my life, and I had zero balance. I was feeling lost, like I’d lost sight of who I was supposed to be somewhere along the way.
I had the sinking feeling that I was betraying a part of myself. Somewhere along the way, the innocent, hopeful, earnest kid living inside me — the one who believed I could change the world and make a difference — had gone inside to grab a snack at a truck stop, and I’d driven off without eve
At breakfast a few days ago, Marisa and I were talking about her transition into freelance copywriting over the last year, and the twists and turns she’s dealt with along the way. There was a twinge of despair around the edges of the conversation, and when I poked at it1 she started talking about time.
“I worry that I’ve already wasted so much time. What if I start working on one of these ideas and it doesn’t work? I’ll be even further behind,” she sighed, and gave me her best exasper