Row With the Flow

I was catching up with my best friend a few days ago and we started talking about my new chapter of life in Wilmington. Settling into a home for a couple of years was not on my life plan four months ago and he was curious how I was doing. I told him I was doing fine and that changes like this don’t really effect me that much, you gotta just roll with life sometimes. He told me that he admired my ability to “row with the flow” (which I find kind of funny because I admire that about him).

“Row with the flow” is kind of a mantra for me (and probably many others). I first explicitly encountered the concept through a YouTube video (see below) by Halcyon when I was preparing for my first Burning Man. My application of the concept kind of goes like this…. we are floating down this river of life and we can either fight the flow, row with the flow, or pull in the paddles and just let the river rush us along. “Row with the flow” is kind of the golden mean of how to approach life.

There are certainly times when we should bunker down and fight the current, but that shouldn’t be our default position. So much of life is outside of our control and if we exert all of our energy trying to fight things out of our control we just end up too exhausted to safely navigate the river. Energy should be applied efficiently to help us reach our goals and not just used up because “we have to do something!”. No, we don’t have to “do something” if that “something” won’t bring about positive change.

On the other end of the spectrum is just letting life push us along. Instead of fighting the river the whole way, we can just let life push us around. This is victimhood and defeatism, we can blame everyone else and every circumstance for the good and bad in our life. This view is to accept that life is based on luck, fate, or God’s plan, and all we can do is forfeit our free will and suffer through it. Every success and failure is pre-determined, so why even try?

Fuck that, I’d rather row with the flow.

Rowing with the flow is to pay attention to your life and alter your course to your desires, but it involves more than that. It involves recognizing that we can only see a short way up the river and someday new bends and splits and opportunities may arise, so we may need to alter course. It means that yesterday’s notions of what will make us happy or bring us success may not apply to today. It also means that sometimes you need to navigate around blind turns into unexpected territory if you want new experiences. Sometimes, you gotta row off the map when the river gives you the chance to get out of the main current and check out an uncharted tributary. It might lead to another river or the ocean or it might dry up and force you to trudge back to your previous course… but no matter what, you will learn something if you row away from the mainstream.

Now that I think about it, I guess we have a fourth choice. We can find an eddy and just paddle our boat into the safe, calm, comforting water and die in stagnation. We can find a place that poses no risk (and thus, no reward) and is “good enough”. We can stay in shitty jobs, never leave our hometowns, and stay in relationships that aren’t good. The fear of the unknown can be overwhelming, I get that, but the unknown is where you create the life you want. You can’t change your life without making changes. You can find an eddy that has some shade and won’t allow you to get harmed, but you’ll be stuck staring at the same rocks for the rest of your life. That might be comfortable, but it certainly isn’t living.

Almost There…

In about 42 hours or so we will be on our way to Wilmington, and I am so freaking excited. We’ve had quite a memorable time here in Myrtle Beach living with our friend, but it is time to roll out. We don’t have a house secured in Wilmington yet, but thanks to an amazing friend that we met via Couchsurfing (we live in a wonderful time y’all) we have a place to sleep for a few weeks while we shop around. This is the first time my partner and I are going to truly be living in a house and city of our own choosing, and I feel like a child waiting for Christmas morning. So. Fucking. Excited.

So, what am I excited for? Many things. Here is an incomplete list:

  • A backyard that I can sunbathe nude in, have a fire pit, meditate, put up a swing, and practice fire dancing (maybe poi instead of staff?), compost, and a vegetable garden
  • A kitchen where I can experiment with food
  • Storage space for bulk food items to save money, extra bikes for guests, and to build up some Playa gear for Burning Man and festivals
  • A spare bedroom for our friends to visit and to return the love we received from strangers on Couchsurfing and Warmshowers
  • An office area to work, create art, write, read, and brew beer
  • A master bedroom to sleep in, have foursomes, and get kinky in
  • A living area to host parties in (dinner, MDMA, brunch, board games and/or D&D, New Years, etc)
  • A city where I can get back into yoga (and get into acroyoga), bike to the beach, volunteer with organizations I care about, go to festivals and events, make friends that I won’t need to leave after a year, take classes, get into therapy, and is centrally located to visit Charleston, Savannah, Richmond, and Asheville

What it really comes down to, is this is a new chapter that is so wildly different from the last two years of my life (and my relationship with my partner). It is a new adventure with new challenges and new rewards. I’m just excited. I feel in control of my life in a way that I haven’t really ever felt. Since joining the Army I haven’t really lived in one place for more than a year or two at a time, there was no opportunity for community or the growth that requires deep roots. I wouldn’t change my past at all, it brought me to my present (which is awesome) and opened the door for the future.

I hope everyone reading this blog comes and visits us someday. Seriously. Our door is open for you.

Will I Have Regrets?

The modern philosopher T.K. Coleman recently published a blog post that really struck me. The whole thing can be found here and it is really short (as his musing tend to be). It is this final paragraph get me thinking:

When your time on this earth runs out, you don’t want to be one of the ones who say “I wish I hadn’t spent so much time making nuanced arguments in the comments section of a Facebook post I didn’t really care that much about.”

It makes me wonder, is this what the new generation is going to regret in the future? Our parents and grandparents lament spending so much time at the office, but we seem to have traded the work office for social media. Instead of grinding away like a cog in a machine in order to make money to buy things we don’t need, we sit in a chair and scream at a screen in order to try and change minds that won’t listen.

The generation alive today has more access to leisure and a higher standard of living than has ever been seen in the history of humankind, and many of us (myself included) spend time and mental resources trying to change minds or surrounding ourselves in a like-minded online circle jerk where we feel superior to the dumb masses who won’t listen to our wisdom.

There are exceptions, of course, as there are with all things. Social media can be an amazing tool that makes our lives better. I have been exposed to incredible conversations, met some amazing people, and had my life expanded in uncountable ways because of the internet. I wouldn’t have the political and spiritual beliefs I have without the internet. I wouldn’t have found comfort when I was struggling with my bisexual feelings without the internet. I wouldn’t have found a partner who desires sexual variety that can include other people without the internet. I wouldn’t have discovered the healing power of MDMA and other drugs without the internet.

But, the internet (and the social media it includes) is a tool that can cut both ways. It is a chef’s knife that can cut vegetables to provide nurishment for the body or it can be used to slit the wrists of yourself and others. Dosage matters, intention matters, and how responsible and healthy we are when we use this tool matters.

I won’t be giving up Facebook, but I do know that it can be a drug for me that damages my life. It can make my life worse, so I put up blocks to prevent me from having future regrets. The app on my computer keeps my time on Facebook to less than 45 minutes and I’ve deleted Facebook from my phone. I know my areas of weakness. Maybe if I lived 50 years ago I would be a workaholic and my life would have been a shadow of what it could have been. Today, I could easily be a Facebookaholic and neglect my relationships and my own life for the short-term positive feedback of seeing  a new “like” or the feeling of superiority that comes from having people agree with you in an echo-chamber.

Recognition is half the battle. I know my areas of weakness and who I desire to be. I know that my life will be better off if I go for a walk on the beach, read some books on science or poetry or Buddhism or evolution or psychology, meditate, write, exercise, make new friends, flirt with new people, or try some new sex stuff. Life should be experienced with all the senses, our energy should go towards maximizing our potential, not staring at a work ledger or refreshing Facebook newsfeeds.

Too Many Paths

I am sometimes obsessed with finding ways to “hack” my life and make the most of it. I listen to podcasts like Tim Ferriss that have successful people who talk about ways they made their lives fulfilling. I listen to audiobooks that discuss nutrition, happiness, productivity, and sex. I research nootropics and fitness routines and the writing routines of successful authors. But, the more I research the less I tend to do. My wheel’s spin as I am overwhelmed with all the information available.

I think I have a problem with just “doing” in this area of my life. Most of the time I pick a plan that is “good enough” but for some reason I never actually commit to trying any of the plans others lay out. I realize that none of their plans will be perfect for me, but adopting a good plan and tweaking it over time is a better option than researching and reading and listening to plans until I die. I know this, but I still have a hard time sticking to something.

I’m not sure what the solution is. I know that if I pick some sort of plan (writing, fitness, meditation, life philosophy, etc) and try it out the odds are pretty good I will see some of the improvement that I want. If I don’t see any real improvement, then I can tweak the plan or abandon it for something else. I think the simplest plan is one mentioned by Isaac Morehouse with a Tim Ferriss tweak. I’m going to put simple systems in place that can train habits (Morehouse) and pick one bad habit every six months to work on removing (Ferriss). Instead of goals (do 50 push-ups a day) I’m going to have something broad like “do exercise daily”. Even if I only do one push-up right before bed that is considered a successful day. Hopefully, as the systems become habits I will become the person who can knock out 100 push-ups a day.

Here are the systems I’ve come up with. I am not going to start them all at once, instead just a couple at first and add more as the systems solidify.

  • Yoga or stretching daily
  • Meditation daily
  • Write daily
  • Exercise daily (does not include cycling)
  • Foreign language work daily
  • Bad Habit: Eliminate frivolous alcohol consumption within six months

I’ve made a handy excel document to track my daily progress on the two I’m choosing to start with (Yoga or stretching daily and writing daily). I don’t have an official goal, but I think I’d be happy with 80% success. Though, I don’t want to beat myself up or feel disappointed if I don’t reach an arbitrary number. The real goal is to improve myself, not try and perfect myself (which is impossible).

Congenital Stoic

Marcus Aurelius... looking all stoic.

Marcus Aurelius… looking all stoic.

I finally finished “A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy” and absolutely loved it. Reading it made me realize I have a lot of stoic tendencies, or I am what the author called a “congenital stoic”. Sometimes books seem to come into your life at the perfect time, and that is the situation here for me. I’ve always had an interest in philosophy but never pursued it much, partly because of my own ignorance and partly because modern philosophy seems overly stuffy and pedantic. I am finding that early philosophy was different.

Stoicism falls into the category of “life philosophy”. Stoics, like many Greek and Roman schools of thought, look to find the best way to have a good life. They don’t get stuck on definitions like what “good” or “life” means, instead it is an observation of the human condition, and then applying the lessons learned from observation to your life. While much of human existence has changed in the last two thousand years a lot of it remains the same. Stoic pursuit of tranquility may be even more important in the modern world where society tells us that joy comes from owning certain things, making a certain amount of money, becoming famous, etc. Stoics believe (and I gladly count myself as one of them) that tranquility comes from the inside only, and that consumerist pursuits are fleeting and bring no real lifelong happiness.

The author, William B. Irvine, wrote the book in a format that would be perfect for teaching a college course on Stoicism. In fact, as a professor that was precisely his goal. It starts with some history, then moves on to techniques Stoics advise to reach tranquility, then comes the application of these techniques to specific circumstances the ancient Stoics faced, and finally using Stoicism in the modern world. Personally, I found the history part to be interesting but unnecessary, it was really the five techniques that serve as the “meat and potatoes”.

The first technique is called Negative Visualization and is something I have found myself naturally doing ever since my time in the military. Practicing Negative Visualization is simply taking a few moments throughout the day, maybe when you are driving to work or in the shower, and think about how fleeting the things in your life could be. It is thinking about the “worst case” scenario so that you can appreciate the blessing in your life. If occasionally I think about how my life would differ if my wife died tomorrow or if I was hit by a car and became paralyzed from the neck down then I can really enjoy the blessing in my life. This isn’t dwelling on things to a point of paralysis, it is just meditating on things for a bit to get perspective.

The author uses two hypothetical fathers as an example. The first father never things about the possible death of his daughter, and because of that he thinks there will always be tomorrow to teach her to ride a bike, enjoy some time bonding, or to express his love. The days will go by quickly and with little appreciation for this father. The second father weekly meditates on what life would be like if his daughter became ill and died. He takes advantage of the limited time he has to play with her, learn about her interests, and express his love. The second father has a much more joyful existence due to negative visualization.

The second technique is the Dichotomy of Control. It is recognizing what is in your control and what is not, with the former category breaking down into things completely in your control and things partly in your control. Things that are out of your control completely (the weather, other people, traffic, a brain aneurysm coming out of nowhere and killing you) you shouldn’t even think about. It is a waste of mental energy and will only bring about disappointment to focus on those things.

Instead, we should focus on the things that we have at least some control of. Our own emotions, our response to the weather, preparing our property for our death, etc are all things that we control in some way. In fact, we should work on shifting our perception of events that are partially in our control so that we are only effected by things we can change. For example, if you are in a tennis match with someone you are in control of your own performance but can’t do anything about your opponent or the weather. So, the stoics believe that instead of focusing on winning the match you should focus on doing your best. Your best performance is completely in your control, winning the match is not.

The third Stoic technique is to practice is a type of Fatalism, which is the idea that things happen because of fate. The modern practice is more of a Buddhist belief that you can’t change the past or the immediate present so it does no good to focus or worry about it. The past is already done, all you can do is impact life moving forward so you should focus on that. It reminds me a lot of the economic principle of “sunk costs”.

The fourth technique is Self-Denial. Basically, we benefit when we deny ourselves things we could have. For the ancient Stoics this meant going around without shoes, living in poverty occasionally, and wearing clothes that don’t block the cold instead of being comfortable. I struggle with determining where I am with this practice. My current bike ride and minimalist lifestyle could be considered Self-Denial because I could surely find a better paying job and make my life more comfortable, and my current life puts things in perspective because I know I can survive periods of time without a stable food and water supply, no shelter, bad weather, being stranded, and unexpected changes to my life. But, I don’t find the ride difficult or really a challenge, I am not attempting to deny myself anything. So I guess I need to work on this a little more in my practice, though Irvine does explain this is kind of an advanced technique and shouldn’t be practiced early on in a Stoic’s journey

The final technique is Meditation, though it isn’t the type of meditation we normally think about. This would be more properly called Reflection. It is looking back on our past and observing how we handled situations. We shouldn’t look at them with regret or desire to change the situation, but instead we should coldly observe what we did and what we would do if the same situation came up again.

The application of these techniques to specific scenarios, both modern and ancient, is discussed for many chapters. They are a great read but really only one stuck out at me at this time, and when I made the realization it caught me by surprise… the application of Stoicism to luxurious living. While I don’t have a luxurious life I have found myself in the trap of being a “connoisseur” in two areas, sex and beer.

The problem with being a connoisseur is the pursuit of richer things prevents you from living a life of tranquility. If you are a foodie you may have once enjoyed a bowl of macaroni and cheese, but as you experience more things and desire greater experiences you are no longer satisfied. Soon, a $2 box of pasta tastes disgusting and you are dedicating more and more time and resources for a “refined” palate. Instead of being satisfied and content to have all the nutrition you need to survive (which is the purpose of food) instead you want more and more and more. That is kind of how I stand with beer and sex, I’ve had probably a wider variety of both than most people but I find myself wanting more. I need to stop focusing on the “new” and enjoy what I have easily available to me.

All in all, I really loved the book and plan on reading it again soon. I am also going to jump into the reading recommendations the author provides. Admittedly though, reading this and/or practicing Stoicism isn’t for everybody. I have a particular disposition to this way of life at this point and many people don’t, which is fine. There is no monopoly on the “right” life philosophy, though I think everyone would benefit from having one. Finding a philosophical standpoint allows us to navigate this world using our ability to reason instead of just our evolutionary urges to increase pleasure and avoid pain. So, at this point I call myself a Stoic with some sprinkling of Hedonism, though I haven’t read anything about ancient Hedonism which means that might be the next step.

Look at Those Leg Titties

Pre-PostWell, despite my half-ass efforts I have not really maintained this blog in addition to the other two I’m running. I think I will just start posting the same thing here that I post on the blog for our 2-year bike ride, Barely Functional Adults. This was originally posted on May 3. As a reminder,this is pretty much an uncensored version of the events of our bike ride. If you are uncomfortable hearing about sex, drugs, profanity, etc you should check follow our PG-version at . This is a warning. If you don’t want to hear about these adult actions please leave now

Technically we had arrived in San Francisco, but we didn’t have time to explore yet, we had to get back to LA to finish some last minute appointments that we couldn’t do elsewhere. So, we dropped our bikes off at the shop to get some maintenance, rented a car, and retraced redid our bike ride in reverse and fast forward.The drive back and time in LA was rather uneventful, expect we got to crash at one of our friend’s houses for two nights. It was lovely to see them and the more time goes by the more I miss them. It is kind of funny, we didn’t hang out with them much when we lived in the same vicinity but just knowing that it is no longer an option makes me sad. We should have made more time for them in the past, it is rare to know a couple that you can be completely open with. They are awesome.

It was really kind of interesting to retrace our steps via car. Small events and feelings popped back into our heads as we drove. It is such a different experience on a bike instead of on the road. Driving in a car numbs your senses and you live life in only one dimension. You have forward and backwards, no left, right, up, or down, when you are driving. It is just point a to point b. It feels different on bicycle, you feel the option to take different paths and really appreciate how elevation, terrain, and temperature effect your body. You exist with less filters on a bike.

Anyway, we got back to San Francisco from our little side-trip on Wednesday night. Sadly, we only had Wednesday evening and Thursday to explore the city, which is too short of a time but we did our best. Wednesday evening we met up with one of my old college friends, Dagny, for coffee. She was basically my partner in free-market economic crime while in college. We interned together, hung out regularly, sexually harassed each other, and a few of our professors assumed we were dating. We weren’t though, we were just great friends who grew intellectually together but ended up going separate ways. She will probably end up the CEO of some major organization and I’ll just keep being the crazy nomad hippie, but I know we will always be able to get together for a beer and reminisce.

After coffee we went to a bookstore because I needed a new book. One of these days I’ll buy an e-book but until that day I will just keep picking up one new book whenever I finish one. I love going to bookstores, it can really be an insight into the culture of a city. Unsurprisingly, San Francisco had some unique sections and books available. The anarchist in me loved to see a full shelf of anarchist literature, but I have never quite understood the anti-market bias of the city. Much of the creativity and prosperity of the city is due to people’s ability to openly create and trade their labor as they see fit, not as society sees fit. I understand, and share, the anger people have against the corporatist crony assclowns who have basically bought the tyrannical asshat politicians and distort the market to allow a few to profit at the expense of the rest of us, but the answer isn’t eliminating the ability of free people to trade, the answer is to remove government.

Anyway, after the book store we grabbed some food and drinks at an Irish Bar and Curry House. This city is amazing for combining wonderful things like the laundromat/coffee house/bar and the kinky coffee shop that we visited. We never really did hit many touristy sites, instead our time was spent walking the city and kind of soaking in the culture. We did notice that there are a ton of fucking hills though, our legs were burning by the end. The locals who walk or bike must have incredibly powerful calves, thighs, and asses. I bet many San Franiscans are incredible lays with all the muscles needed for thrusting getting a daily workout.

Overall walking was a great way to see the city. We wandered through The Castro, the Golden Gate Park, and everything in between. We saw 710 Ashbury, ate at some food trucks, and chilled in a couple parks. We didn’t really hit any touristy things… not really our style but it was a wonderful time. We all agreed that living in San Francisco at some point would be awesome, but it is unlikely that will be our next base. It is a little too big and way too expensive for us at this point in our lives.

Friday morning came around and it was time to start the next leg of the journey. We packed up our bikes and hit the road. The next two days we are staying with cousins (Anna’s on Friday and mine on Saturday), and after that we drift towards Santa Rosa.

Post-Post 1: Also, we have set up a GoFundMe account for our ride. If you enjoy the adventure or just want to receive a post card, booty pic, or vegan meal check us out here

Post-Post 2: If you would like to see all our pictures you can check out our Facebook page at

Holy Cross to Saint Francis

Pre-PostWell, despite my half-ass efforts I have not really maintained this blog in addition to the other two I’m running. I think I will just start posting the same thing here that I post on the blog for our 2-year bike ride, Barely Functional Adults. This was originally posted on April 28. As a reminder,this is pretty much an uncensored version of the events of our bike ride. If you are uncomfortable hearing about sex, drugs, profanity, etc you should check follow our PG-version at . This is a warning. If you don’t want to hear about these adult actions please leave now

Waking from our comfortable church campsite was far from easy. With only 27 miles ahead of us motivation was a little slow to come but eventually we got ourselves together and hit the road. The ride into Santa Cruz was pleasant with roadside fruit vendors (where we bought oranges) and the first view of the ocean we had had in almost two weeks. We arrived at my friend’s (Maria) house with a lot of daylight yet and plans to explore a bit but we just couldn’t motivate ourselves. Instead we smoked a little weed, caught up on some emails, took showers, and let our bodies rest.

Hanging out with Maria and her partner, Michael, was an incredibly positive experience. Meeting up with an ex after many years can often be a stressful experience but it was obvious that everyone involved was happy and healthy, and I felt great compersion for what they had going on. Maria and I had not seen each other in 3-4 years and our last interaction wasn’t particularly positive, but that was all under the bridge. We spent hours reminiscing about time in college, Michael and the Anna’s (who are all from St. Louis) discussed their home town, and we finished off a fair amount of beer. Adult relationships, friendships, and everything are fucking amazing. Maria and I influenced each other a lot in college and shaped how we view society and relationships today, it was great to reignite that friendship.

We left Maria’s house pretty early and planned on grabbing food and coffee in Santa Cruz before hitting the road. We had breakfast at Saturn Cafe and had our first real vegan restaurant stop of the trip, and it was amazing. The food, service, and atmosphere was wonderful and we highly recommend it. If I lived in Santa Cruz it would probably be the hangover diner of choice, much like Swingers in LA was for us.

With food in our stomach we went to grab coffee and internet to plan the day. During this time we had our first experience with the tension in Santa Cruz that can be felt in the air. There was a clear distrust going on in that city between the three groups we saw, the older local residents who probably had a lot of money, the houseless people who seem to live in a lot of California beach communities, and the younger post-college crowd of hippie surfer types. The older residents seemed to resent and stick their noses in the air at the rest of the groups, there seemed to be a sense of entitlement and superiority these locals felt towards others. To these older residents we were part of “the other” and were often scoffed at or looked at oddly.

The houseless residents, on the other hand, were nothing but friendly with us. They often provided us with tips about where we can store our bikes safely, how to navigate the city without getting harassed by law enforcement, and such. The younger crowd also seemed to see us as part of their group, in fact two surfer types overheard us talking about needing a place to camp because of the windstorm and immediately offered us a place to sleep at their home.

Our plans to leave were stopped twice. The first day after leaving Maria’s we didn’t even get out of town. The wind was unmanageable and we had to bunker down in the city at a local cheap hotel. The next day we got 8 miles out of town when the wind and rain convinced us to return to Santa Cruz to stock up on cold weather and wet weather gear. We were obviously unprepared. It turns out turning around was not necessary, the sun came out in the afternoon and it was a beautiful day, but we decided to be prepared instead of risking an unneccesarily cold, wet night in the woods. We finally left Santa Cruz after three nights.

We wanted to love Santa Cruz. Badly. It was a beautiful city but it clearly had problems. The division between groups was very obvious, even to outsiders like us. It really was so thick you could practically feel it in the air. There were certain neighborhoods on the west side that seemed much calmer and peaceful but the downtown area was uncomfortable for us. I’m not sure who the older, wealthier group is… long-time locals who resent a younger crowd or snowbirds who moved to their favorite vacation spot and now want it to lose the appeal it had when they were younger or something else entirely. Overall, I don’t think I could live in that city. The idea of feeling unwelcome or looked down upon based on my age or bank account is not a place I could call home.

Finally leaving Santa Cruz behind was a relief. The day we left was sunny, though windy. The headwinds we faced were no joke but we were in a good mood. We had not put many miles down the last few days and our bodies were feeling good. With 90 miles in front of us spread over two days we hoped to divide it evenly… of course that didn’t happen. Our first day we got about 38 miles in but that included a pleseant stop at the Highway 1 Brewery to get a few beers, our first brewery stop of the trip. We love beer… we really love beer… and there will be lots of stops like this on the trail. Even with a deadline we will stop for beer.

We left the brewery with only a little sunlight left. We rode through some forests and a few hills before finding an open field on the side of the road. It may have been private property but it wasn’t labeled so we just claimed it as our own and we slept surprisingly well. Our bodies and minds are getting used to sleeping in random places without permission. It feels good… an adult life being lived doesn’t involve permission. Asking permission is for servents, not free people.

The next morning was more foggy grossness and hills. We pushed, we rode, we pushed, we rode, we pushed, we rode… but we made it back to the PCH where life got a little easier. We got our first tailwind of the trip and it was god damn amazing. It was incredible. It was like getting your ass licked while on ecstasy. I want it every day of my life.

That slight tailwind pushed us into Half Moon Bay where we stopped for coffee. Sometimes the only reason you need to stop in a town is because the name sounds like something out of an old RPG like ChronoTrigger, Final Fantasy III, or Dragon Warrior IV. We pushed on and finally found ourselves mentally close to San Francisco. There were beautiful sights that can’t be properly shown in pictures.

Taking pictures on a journey like this is an interesting task. We want to capture what we see but photos don’t do things a damn bit of justice. Maybe it is our lack of skill or the lack of quality of equipment but anytime we review the pictures we remember but they really don’t show what we saw. There is something to be said for just enjoying the moment and the memory. Afterall, we are sharing this journey with many friends and strangers but the audience is really ourselves. Sometimes when we rush to capture a moment we actually miss it. We are surrounded by nature porn all the time… mountains, rivers, lakes, oceans, forests, badlands, swamps, and a thousand other environments but it serves as more of a trigger than actually showing what we see. These photos remind us of what we saw, they help the smells, feelings, sounds, and taste return to us, but they don’t really convey that to other people. I hope others will get out there, I hope maybe these photos show the beauty that our world has to offer, but unless you see it and experience it yourself all we are is a tv show. It is fiction in a way. Our reality is little more than a show for others… and that is kind of cool. Our reality belongs to us and no other.

Eventually the hills and burning legs ended and we drifted into that incredible city on the bay, a city that we felt we earned. The people we are staying with are friends of friends, but they are cool as hell. They live in two warehouses that remind me of places I lived in Los Angeles. There are over a dozen people living in this artistic community and it feels a lot like Burning Man. They are clearly used to nomads travelling through and have a guest room with four beds and keep track of guests with an excel document. It was so good to get a hot shower and to sleep in a bed. Anna and I even got some sexy time in the shower… intercourse wasn’t happening due to the layout but some assisted hand jibbers put a smile on each of our faces.

Note: We are driving back to LA to tie up some loose ends so there probably won’t be much to report for about a week. I will try to type up a summary of our days exploring San Francisco on Friday or Saturday but our itinerary is really fluid so that may not happen.

Post-Post 1: Also, we have set up a GoFundMe account for our ride. If you enjoy the adventure or just want to receive a post card, booty pic, or vegan meal check us out here

Post-Post 2: If you would like to see all our pictures you can check out our Facebook page at

Pulling the Trigger

I really enjoy autobiographies. I find them incredibly inspiring and often use the lives of others to inspire me to act. Whether it is Karl Hess, Ke$ha, or CG Jung I have noticed certain patterns in the lives of influential people. These patterns may exist in “normal” lives but they get lost in the commonality of the actions.

I don’t particularly want to be known or famous, but I do want to live my life for all it is worth… And that means taking action. I don’t really live vicariously through others, I’m just not built that way. I am a tactile person, I need to feel the breeze, the rush of adrenaline, see the sites, and feel the terror. My imagination just isn’t strong enough, even with photos and videos, to even remotely replace the experience.

Luckily I seem to have a trait that other adventurers do, once my mind is set I act with a ridiculous focus and my mind sets very quickly. When I decided to ride my bicycle across the country the decision was made quickly and I just did it. I’ve applied this to big things like trips and tattoos, and small things like meals (much to the annoyance of my partner, at any restaurant I’ll pick my meal in 60 seconds and she mentally tastes each option over time… in the end I think she has a better dining experience).

Something incredibly striking to me about the people in autobiographies is that they aren’t that special. They are normal people who made decisions to take chances and risk disrupting what is “known”. They wrote their ideas down, they cut loose bad baggage, and they made a personal commitment to do what they think is right, all things that we are all capable of if we try. As Chris Kucher says in the below video “everything around us that we call life, was made up of people no smarter than you.”

Lifestyle Change


I’m out of excuses and I’m high on motivation. It is time to actually make some changes to become healthier (inside and out) and accomplish the things I want to accomplish. For the last couple of days I have been resetting and planning out my schedule a little more so that I won’t drift into procrastination. As part of that I am hoping that making this public will help me stay accountable.


I will be working out multiple times a week after work alternating between yoga and weights. I’ll also be putting cardio into my routines either through morning bike rides to work or running at the gym after work. Some friends are also talking about doing P90X as well. I stuck with P90X before my first burn and it worked really well for me. In addition I need to start eating better. I’ve decided to cut out all drinks except for water and black coffee during the week and am trying very hard to get back into a plant based diet. Cooking meals for the week is tough but I think I can make it happen.


In addition to my yoga routine, which includes Restorative and Hatha Flow + Qigong, I am adding meditation to my daily routine. I’m still trying to work out a time of day that I can stick with this consistently, it looks like in the morning upon waking is the best time.Sleep is also a big issue, I want 7-8 hours a night and that means in bed by 10 when possible and up at 6ish. I also want to do more reading and writing, reading has been easy but writing has not. Blog updates have been pretty steady but real writing has been difficult. I think I need to really block off time in my schedule for this on the weekends or something.


I want to spend my time going to festivals, Burning Man, camping, and other events with friends. That means saving cash and not wasting it on meals, Starbucks, or out at bars very often. Cooking for myself is a main way to save some cash but I really just need to be able to say no when tempted. It isn’t easy but if I keep focused on the other events I want to do I can pull it off.

Sex and Love

Continue with giving and receiving.


So, what are the things I want to prepare for and do this year? Burning Man of course… but I’d also like to go to Lucidity as well. I’d like to be on the way to running a marathon. Saving money for my next adventure is also a goal, I’m not sure what that adventure is yet but I have a couple ideas including hiking the Pacific Crest, travelling around Australia, and a trip to Patagonia. My education is also something that I want to focus on which means getting my GRE scores up, finding some programs, and getting some applications out there. For a while I’ve been focusing on the LA area but that may change depending on how my job pans out in the next few months.

A quote that caught my eye…

“We realize that by always orienting ourselves toward future achievements, we have never lived in the present and, in a sense, never really fully lived at all. The larger the scope of various existential crutches we have managed to accumulate, the more we have to let go of, and the harder the process of dying will be for us.”

– The Ultimate Journey, Stanislav Grof