If you're looking for adventure and to fill up your bank account this summer, now is the time to apply for a seasonal, summer job on CoolWorks.
CoolWorks is the most badass, awesome job board on the internet. Employers are screened beforehand with the requirement that they offer "cool jobs" or jobs in "cool places." Opportunities are listed for national parks, ski resorts, cruise ships, rafting companies, summer camps, travel companies, beach towns, ranches, and an endless variety of other uncategorizable cool gigs.
This is an interview with my great friend, Alex Chmiel, who began earning the nickname, "Yesman" two years ago when we met WWOOFing on a farm in Hawaii. Since, he's continued earning his nickname saying Yes to things from winning concert tickets from radio stations, to spontaneous hot air balloon rides, to college graduation speeches. He's about to set out on a five and a half month walk across the United States from Mexican to Canadian border through the mountains, so I was ecstatic for the opportunity to interview him about his relationship with the word Yes before he drops off the grid for a while.
There once was a city with a big mountain in the middle.Hundreds, sometimes thousands of people climbed the mountain every day.
When the sun went down, though, a funny thing happened. The top of the mountain became the most beautiful place in the entire city, but nobody knew because nobody climbed the mountain in the dark.
People didn't climb the mountain in the dark for a couple of reasons. One reason was that everyone believed hiking was meant to be done in the daytime. The second was that the city decided it was too dangerous to climb mountains in the dark and would fine anyone caught a large sum of money.
So when the sky got dark and the spectacular electric grid of the city turned on, stretching for miles and miles and miles in every direction from the top of that mountain, nobody climbed up to look.
This article is a follow-up to last week's Letting Go While on the Road. Then, I was in the midst of an experimental road trip, aiming to just let go and drift without plans or control for a couple weeks. Near the end of the road trip, though, and after publishing last week's article, I blatantly broke the rules of my experiment.
To explain why, I have to back up to ten days before the incident to a conversation that planted the seed of dissent in my head.
It had been raining all day in Queenstown. In a packed campground kitchen, I sat down next to a guy I'd briefly talked with weeks before in a hostel in Greymouth and in striking up a conversation, quickly realized we were kindred spirits. A teacher and writer, Jeremy was in the midst of a backcountry exploration of the South Island on foot while documenting the journey through his website. A remarkable conversation ensued for a couple hours, most pertinently exposing one major difference in our approaches to travel.Both Jeremy and I held no rigid plans, but I had literally no knowledge of my surroundings while Jeremy was loaded with more information than any traveler I'd ever met.
I'm two weeks into a road trip around the South Island of New Zealand. In my two months here leading up to it, I've been dedicated to reading, writing, and The Living Theory, but the past two weeks I've tried to do the total opposite—to just let go.
I'm naturally an organized, stick-to-the-plan kind of guy. But in the name of adventure and bending against my nature, I've let go of structure, plans, and literary ambitions for a bit. Not just for a break from a year-round focus on doing what I love, but to allow myself to drift in an unusual direction and see what I might discover. Instead of steering, I'm just enjoying the ride for a while.
Maybe once a month, or even less frequently, I have these moments. Moments that last anywhere from five minutes to an hour. They're sublime moments—moments of elation, verging on ecstasy. Moments when I find myself utterly moved by my surroundings or by an experience.
I had one of these moments today.
Rain was falling all day and after spending one too many hours inside, I needed to escape. I grabbed headphones, pulled my rain coat on, and stepped out into the cool, heavy air of late afternoon. Grey clouds hung overhead and as the Interstellar Soundtrack eased into my ears, I walked west out of a small New Zealand town into farmland and pastures.
I don't know anyone who thinks there's too much time in a day. It's rare that we accomplish everything we hoped to. We begin the day with great intentions but, come the end of it, finish with tasks we intended to but didn't reach.
The problem is that the tasks we don't get to are often the most important ones. We don't hesitate to begin what's urgent or easy, which often leads to putting off the more difficult and important things later in our day.
As a writer, my hardest task to accomplish is, paradoxically, writing. For me, writing is difficult, deliberate work. When I think about beginning, everything else on my "to-do list" becomes very attractive. I spent months relying on sheer discipline to write for The Living Theory, until eventually discovering something much more effective: eliminating less important ways I spend my time.
If you were me a few years ago, this would be the best page on the internet you've ever landed on. It's a list of people and websites that have had the greatest impact on me, with links to the pages I've found most profound or taken the most from.
There's a lot here—if you're into it, bookmarking this page might be a good idea.
Without further ado, my 12 favorite people and websites on the internet: