In life, it's often your darkness that defines your light. The binds imposed on an individual's soul become the most satisfying to escape.
My dad's childhood took place in a rotating cast of apartments. Growing up he had to tread lightly, turn the volume down, and find somewhere else to play the drums out of respect for those living around him.
He dreamed of living in a house—a place where he could blast the stereo, where he could wale on his drum set, where he could live without constant filtration of his experience out of concern for others. While working full-time, he attended night school to become a mechanical designer. And after a couple years of work, he and my mom got their very own house.
They bought that house in 1989 and still live their today. He loves it.
While backpacking New Zealand earlier this year, I met a constant stream of new people. More than daily, I had those get-to-know-each-other conversations where topics of discussion circled around where you're from, what you do, how long you've been in the country, and other acquainting question and answer dialog.
These get-to-know-each-other conversations are vital in understanding another human being. However, after a few weeks, a hunger for more meaningful conversation grew within me.
I began to see this basic, everyday conversation as outer shell conversation that masked the inner shell conversation that we could be having of things deeper and more representative of who we are.
In life, we each get a few shocking, external events that shake us.Life-quaking events that cause us to stop and question, that force us examine our lives from another perspective. It might be losing a job we've long held, the death of someone close, or dancing with death ourselves, but when tragedy strikes, awareness often results.
A good analogy might be swimming across a great body of water.
We put our heads down in the water to swim. Stroke by stoke, we move along. We focus on making progress in the direction we're heading. And maybe we are making great progress in that direction! The problem is, we can't see where we're going while swimming with our heads down.
I just returned from 4.5 months in New Zealand. I added up all my expenses to find that I only spent $21 per day backpacking around both islands!
Among travelers, New Zealand is known as an expensive country, but approach it right, and it can be surprisingly affordable. Over 136 days, I spent $2,875 including flights and a week-long stopover in the Cook Islands.
In this post I'm going to lay it all out for you—what I did, why it was so cheap, and some tips for getting the best out of your own venture into "the land of the long white cloud."
This is a 10 step guide to taking back your time and freedom and discovering how you want to live. The norms that guide us through life are highly negotiable. If you're bold enough to break a couple key societal conventions, you can free up your time and money and learn to move to the rhythm of your own drum.
Here's how to take back your life, in 10 simple, yet not so easy steps:
With no idea of what to expect inside, each of my last steps up to the rim of the volcano allowed my line of sight a step further down into the crater. The world revealed was glacial snow surrounding the milkiest blue lake, a waterfall pouring over its edge running on through ice caves and out the eroded far side of the crater.
Assuming the crater would merely be a hole full of rocks, I stood atop, utterly stunned.
All alone and in my element, my body tensed into a slight crouch, drawing power as I took a couple rushed steps toward the edge. It was as if I were taking a half court shot with a basketball, and all this energy and wonder and excitement came out in this wild, charged, “YHHHHHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEWHOOOOOOO!!!” across this mammoth scene before me.
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.