2016 – A Year in Review

What Happened

January

We started the year in a city called the Gold Coast, Australia. If you want a tour, you can have one for free here.

We took a trip up to Far North Queensland to horse ride, scuba dive, SUP and eat ice cream with some of our favorite people the Rumneys. They also make ice cream and it’s really really delicious.

We went to a billabong near Brisbane with some international friends. There we found a rope swing that we monkeyed around on.

Then we flew to Chiang Mai, Thailand. That’s a great way to start any year, right?

From Queen Sirikit Botanical Gardens outside Chiang Mai

February

In Chiang Mai we met a lot of new friends. Ben showed us a secret local waterfall spot.

Justin showed us around the Night Bazaar.

We went to the Nomad Summit. Big thanks to Johnny for inviting us and organizing the event. Also for inspiring this post. Here’s his year-end wrap up post.

We drove some big motorcycles to the highest point in Thailand.

Then we took the sleeper train to Bangkok. It was fun. We made a movie about it.

Bangkok was a lot of fun. Johnny Ward showed us around his favorite spots and to a roof top bar. Thanks JW.

Then we took another train and bus to Krabi. There we rented a motorcycle from Moto Krabi and drove it to Ko Lanta where we found a place to live for a month.

March

In Ko Lanta we did a lot of CrossFit with Robert at Fit On Lanta.

We toured the Tiger Cave with Norwegian Ninjas.

We went SCUBA diving with Johnny at Hin Daeng.

Drove around the island and went to more caves with Daniella.

Drank a lot of coffee while working at KoHub.

Rented dirt bikes and drove all around the island with David, Johnny and Max.

Then we learned how to cook Thai food.

We met Chris and Sam for the first time. We became fast friends and knew we’d see them again soon.

We drove our motorcycle back to Krabi, then we went up the Coast for a 5 day Live-aboard Scuba Diving trip in the Similian Island National Park. We made a movie about that experience too.

Then we took a long tail boat to Tonsai and spent a few days there with crazy looking monkeys, paddling around the islands and jumping off cliffs.

I don’t remember how we got to China, but we did it for a visa run. You’ve got to leave Thailand every once in a while if you want to live there for more than 1-2 months.

Macau was really crazy. It’s the Las Vegas of China.

April

We flew back to Chiang Mai to kick it with Sam and Chris during the Songkran Festival. We spray painted our big guns gold

We drove a scooter from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai along the way visiting the Sticky Waterfalls. We got stuck in the biggest rainstorm of the year. We made it, but it was uncomfortable.

We toured around Chiang Rai with V’s father for 2 days and then drove the scooter back to Chiang Mai. Wow. That was a huge drive on a scooter.

We spent the rest of the month working and getting strong at Chiang Mai CrossFit. After 3 months in Thailand we flew to San Francisco, California.

May

Our good friends Kimi and Declan had an amazing wedding in wine country, Napa Valley. Seriously, they have a cool group of family and friends and it was a magical celebration.

We then enjoyed horseriding and croquet with family and friends in Reno, Nevada. Also wakeboarding at Pyramid Lake.

I don’t know how everything worked out exactly, but next we flew to St. Maarten in the Caribbean, because my friend Dane was marrying Miriam. It was great to see old friends and explore the beauty of the island.

June

The Nomad Cruise picked us up from the capital and southern part of the island, Phillipsburg. We spent the next 10 days cruising from St. Maarten to Lisbon, Portugal. On that ship we met a LOT of really, really cool people.

David, Lily, V and I had a really massive power tour around Lisbon. Miles and Melanie joined us for some of it too. That was an epic day. I haven’t even made that movie yet.

We took a massive journey from Lisbon, Portugal back to Reno, Nevada because we thought we were needed at a party that had been cancelled unbeknownst to us. That was hilarious. V didn’t think so.

Next we moved to the Bay Area to house and dog sit. I met Seth Godin in San Francisco during Udemy Live. We explored the city and flew David’s drone alot. That was really neat.


July

We spent quality time with family after my grandfather passed away.

Then we moved to San Francisco and our good friends Jel and Sam visited us from Australia. I also studied really really hard to get into App Academy in San Francisco. Software Engineering is not easy.

August

I was accepted into Hack Reactor and App Academy in San Francisco. All that work studying software engineering paid off. It was a tough choice, but I went with App Academy. Getting accepted into that program was a really proud moment.

The program wouldn’t start till November so we took a road trip down South to Los Angeles and Huntington Beach after David invited us to the Magic Castle. We had a really great time. David took V on a private plane and I went surfing with John. We did a lot of cool stuff. Thanks for being the host with the most David. You Rock!

September

After we got back from So Cal V’s twin sister Vanessa and her husband Mark came to visit us in Reno. We celebrated the twins birthday and had a really fun week.

V went riding with her sister, I went riding with my sister.

We wakeboarded at Pyramid lake and did high speed aquatic push up competitions.

Then we went rock climbing with friends, Roxy, Jake, Brian, John, Vanessa and Mark.

We decided to take another road trip to Las Vegas, The Grand Canyon and Sedona to see Miles and Melanie. We met them on the Nomad Cruise, so the next logical thing to do would be hang out in the desert in Arizona right?…. right….

October

I got back into video editing in October and finally caught up on making the movies for the year.

On the way back from Sedona we stopped at Zion National Park, Utah before chilling out at the hot springs in Austin, NV. That was a fun drive.

We began V’s citizenship process.

Then we lost a friend. 🙁

November

Things got weird in November, but I wrote about what I’m grateful for that election cycle. But a lot of cool stuff happened too. We spent alot of time with family and friends. We also went on a boat ride around the Foster City canals with the family for Thanksgiving.

December

Despite studying as hard as I could, I failed out of App Academy. That was a big bummer, but life goes on.

V and I got caught in a snow storm but managed to make it back to Reno just in time for the holiday festivities. That was the first Christmas we had with my family in a really long time. Three years to be exact.  We spent Christmas Day skiing with the family. It was a blast.

We’re back in San Francisco Bay Area for the time being.

That’s how the year went. Wow.

Happy New Year everyone!

Personality Test: Myers-Briggs ENFP “THE CAMPAIGNER”

(‘hat tip’ to Johnny FD. His article inspired this.)

diplomat personality test

As much as I can, I try to think deeply about the things that I am not seeing. What are the beliefs which I carry that are driving me to do things on a subconscious level.

Here are my results:

Personality Results
I really enjoyed taking this test. They have an elegant User Experience (UX) so it’s fun and easy to click through. It takes about 15 minutes and the results are 100% free. So why not take the test and examine the results?

This blog will just be a way to think through the results of the test. Let’s get started:

Managing Monotony

ENFPs are fiercely independent, and much more than stability and security, they crave creativity and freedom.

I can’t argue with this. I mean, my social media handle is ‘independentian’. It’s striking how adverse I am to top-down management. There is an internal repulsion that I can’t help but feel when I have to do something that has detailed specifics.

When I get specific orders, I literally feel physically repulsed. I love working hard, but being forced to do monotonous stuff is like eating cardboard. I physically struggle with it.

Strengths

Perhaps this is just flattering. All of the strengths resonate with me… but I’m not sure that they are always the case. I’m just sort of feeling in agreement here as a way of sort of nodding…

‘Ok got it.’ Energetic, friendly, observant and able to relax. ‘Yup, that’s me.’ I like to think I’m these things, but perhaps I’m unaware that I’m not.

Weaknesses

The challenge for ENFPs is that they live in a world of checks and balances, a pill they are not happy to swallow.

This is unquestionably my experience.

The test explains that ENFPs can find it difficult to focus, though I spend most of my days intensely focused on specific projects. When I’m editing a video or writing code, I forget to eat and can easily work on a project for 6-10 hours a day.

Though the focus aspect is perhaps a little off the mark, I’m independent to a fault for sure. My wife says I’m not highly emotional either. Alas! Who knows. It’s fun to think about.

So long as they get to use their people skills, identify and achieve their own goals and inspire their colleagues and followers, ENFPs will be happy.

That definitely resonates with me too. Perhaps each page is an attempt to rewrite similar ideas in ways that resonate differently with people. Each  separate section (friendship, relationships, career, etc.) is saying the same thing in different ways.

This section mentions that ENFPs struggle with ‘carrot and stick’ style management. But many people thrive in that environment. It’s important for me to recognize this idea going forward.

Here’s Kristen and Johnny talking about their experience. Notice how each of them are always saying things that match their personality type:

If you’re reading this and think it’s worth a chin wag, feel free to share your personality type below. I’ll be happy to compare my great personality type with yours. If we are the same, we can sit back and gloat about how great we are.

Before the Flood – Thoughts

Before the Flood!

This is a heroic achievement in the craft of storytelling. Even if you’re a climate skeptic and you’re confident in that position, I recommend watching this movie. It’s a beautiful piece of art containing stunning videography, fascinating scientific insights and a look at the global community.

Merchants of Doubt

I’m currently reading Merchants of Doubt. Elon Musk recommended it during his long conversation at the Baron’s investment. This book tells the story of the scientists who fought the scientific community when they concluded that cigarette smoking was bad for your health.

Apparently, this same group of thinkers are selling doubt around climate change. The term, “Merchants of Doubt” was found during the investigation of a cigarette company. The cigarette executive used that term to define how they fought back against the scientific community.

So, if you want to go deeper into this subject, listen to this book on audio.

If you’re a climate denier, PLEASE READ MERCHANTS OF DOUBT. I’ll read any book you suggest and we can share notes. I’m always open to changing my mind on things. Please, it needs to be a book or some other referenced document that is based around scientific inquirt.

Some Strange Pieces of Information

The film is called Before the Flood, but the story of the film uses The Garden of Earthly Delights as it’s visual metaphor.

While doing some research, I mistakenly became nervous after I googled “Before the Flood.” As you can see, Before the Flood is a different painting than the painting which is a center piece for the movie’s story.

The Garden of Earthly Delights

The Garden of Earthly Delights Hieronymus Bosch

The World Before the Flood

William Etty's The World Before the Flood

Respectably, Not a Great Title

Why they named the film Before the Flood rather than The Garden of Earthly Delights is beyond me. Before the flood signifies inevitable disaster. This is a negative emotion. Wouldn’t we better call this movie The Garden of Earthly Delights? It focuses the attention on the abundant future we will continue to work towards.

Politics is the art of the possible.

I think proponents of an environmentally sound future should express excitement, optimism and abundance thinking to invite more into this global mission.

Kevin Kelly

If you’d like to fall in love with science, watch this movie about why Kevin Kelly loves science.

Kevin Kelly is confident that the earth is NOT doomed. I believe that we can win the climate conversation when we focus on optimism and abundance that Kevin talks about.

Taking Action

 

WHAT YOU BUY | WHAT YOU EAT | HOW YOU GET YOUR POWER

It’s easy to start. The best thing we can all do is to stop eating beef and pork. Chicken is delicious anyways!

Brined in Buttermilk, and dredged in two coatings of seasoned flour.
Brined in Buttermilk, and dredged in two coatings of seasoned flour.

Going Deeper

So at the end of the film, the following URL comes up:

www.carbotax.org

When you go to the above URL you take a quick 30 question survey that helps us get a sense for the carbon impact of our day to day lives.

The website then suggests an amount that you can pay to offset your greenhouse gas emissions.  But is it ok to trust them with funding? How could I feel safe in knowing the money will be well spent?

Can we Trust Our Payment?

First off, the money goes to The Forest and Sea Fund which appears to be a pass through organization for Natural Capital Partners and the Sustainable Markets Foundation (guidestar). Jay Halfon seems to play a critical roll in the finances of the organization. They use REDD funds as a way to implement carbon credits. REDD is a smart model developed in partnership with the United Nations to fund carbon emission reductions.

There are some harsh, well referenced critical thoughts for the Sustainable Markets Foundation, but the arguments have a political tone rather than a scientific tone. Most of his arguments were unconvincing to me.

So I’m going to say it’s trustworthy enough for me to make a substantial donation to feel that I’m doing my part (and my podcast production company’s part) to become carbon neutral.

I hope you join me in doing that.

Unfortunately, I’m a big part of this problem. Click below to get your score.

Offsetting the carbon

At the end of the day, I think Before the Flood was a great film and the world is better to have it here. Thank you Leonardo for the great work. Also, please go visit our friends in Australia. They are experts on the Great Barrier Reef.

carbo-tax-badge

Zion National Park

Zion National Park in Utah is my favorite of the national parks in the USA. This is a bold statement when we consider Yosemite, Yellowstone, Badlands and hundreds more. The contrasting look Zion has is the most astounding in my experience.

If you’re planning a trip to Zion, check out the video below. I tried to make it interesting for those planning their trip.

Zion National Park Camping

Finding official camping in Zion National Park is expensive and there is a very low inventory with a lot of demand. Making a reservation through the Federal Government’s reservation website is also a painfully slow process.

Zion National Park Camping

It drops queries all the time and I couldn’t find a single opening this year. Also, I think it’s kind of a bad deal to spend $30 to go camping. The good news is that this doesn’t matter.

It’s 100% legal to camp on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land. The government calls it dispersed camping and you can learn about the specifics of the regulation here. The area around Zion in Utah is full of BLM land.

Camping Near Zion National Park
The Yellow Overlay Signifies BLM land, which you can camp on for free.

BLM Land SignsWhen you’re getting close to the park. You can pull off the main road and drive down a road with less traffic. From that road, you can pull off to a dirt road. Many of these dirt roads have signs like the one pictured to the right. If you find these, you’re in good shape and can camp there legally.

We did our backcountry camping about 15 minutes outside of Zion for free. It was quiet, we heard coyotes and owls and in the morning we drove into the park and were able to go to the Narrows and Angel’s Landing.

That makes for a really good trip.

Zion National Park Images

Angels Landing Hike - Zion National Park Tossing a stick in the narrows - Zion National Park Springdale just outside Zion National Park From Angels Landing Zion National Park Zion National Park Virgin River - Zion National Park On the way to Angels Landing in Zion National Park

 

Zion National Park Hikes

I’ve only done two hikes at Zion National Park, but they were both two of the best hikes of my life. Here’s my breakdown of both.

Narrows

To do the Narrows you need to go to the last stop on the shuttle. To get to Narrows you take the Riverwalk, which is a lovely walk alongside the river. Narrows is a river hike so be prepared as you will get your feet wet. You can rent shoes at the park which are specifically for trekking through water, get your own sneakers wet, or do what we did and go barefoot! It’s beautiful and it’s alot of fun. We hiked deep into the canyon, just beyond the first fork in the river.

If you watch the video above, we mention the specifics here.

Angel’s Landing

When hiking to Angel’s Landing you’ll experience a very fast change in elevation. The reports say it’s a 1,488-foot (454 m) climb. It’s a very well trodden path so there is little to no chance of getting lost or going the wrong way. Even though there are some REALLY scary spots because of how tall the cliffs are, there are no places where you need to be an expert climber.

There are chains on the last .5 miles, along all the portions that are more dangerous, but I don’t think I ever actually needed them. You can easily walk the whole thing without using the chains.

That said, it is scary, especially if you’re afraid of heights. V was a bit freaked out up at the top of the landing, being that we were standing on a ginormous rock nearly 1,500 feet high and overlooking the entire valley.

Zion National Park Shuttle

The shuttle is actually really great. There is an audio recording telling the history of the park so you get to learn while riding. The shuttles run so frequently that you never wait more than 10 minutes to get on one. It’s an excellent system and it takes away all the hard parts of driving your own car around and parking. Honestly, I would take the shuttle over driving from place to place. The shuttles are actually the only mode of transport to get to each trail during high season, so this makes things really easy.

Puerto Rican Muscle Breakfast

Surf Breakfast in Puerto Rico

Here’s a powerhouse recipe to get your wife’s adoration while eating like a true warrior:

Puerto Rican Muscle Breakfast

Serves 2 athletes who love to eat

Ingredients:

    • 1/2 Onion
    • 3 Tablespoons of butter
    • 3 Tablespoons of coconut oil
    • 4 Leaves of Racao (AKA: “Mexican coriander,” “Puerto Rican coriander,” “thorny coriander,” or “culantro”)
    • 1/2 Can of habichuelas (AKA: red beans or kidney beans)
    • 4 Eggs (Get the Puerto Rican eggs, not the eggs shipped in from the USA with a stamp on them)
    • 1/5 Cup of coconut milk
    • 1 Tomato
    • 1 Fistfull of fresh basil
    • 2 Teaspoons of sesame seed oil
    • Lots of Salt
    • Lots of Pepper

 

Preparation Instructions:

1. Dice up the half onion and slap it in the frying pan with the coconut oil and butter

2. Cook the onions until they become clear and slap those habichuelas in there with the racao. Add salt until it tastes awesome.

3. Dice up the tomato, basil and slap it in a bowl with sesame seed oil, salt and pepper. Mix it up really well with your hand and set to the side or in la refrigerador until your done cooking

4. Break 4 eggs into a bowl, pour in the coconut milk and beat with a fork until well mixed

5. When the beans are starting to break down and the onions are well cooked, pour in the egg mixture

6. Use a spatula to break up the scrambled eggs into bite sized chunks. Then allow for some browning on the outside of each bite.

7. Taste and add salt until you say to yourself, “she’s going to love this.”

8. Serve the scrambled eggs in a pretty mound in the middle of the plate and spoon the cold tomato/basil concoction on the top so it looks really pretty.

Nutrition notes:

This should meet the requirements of Tim Ferriss’s Slow Carb Diet. It’s a high fat, high protein breakfast which will last you most of the day and make you think to yourself, “wow, that was delicious.”

This breakfast is named Puerto Rican Muscle Breakfast because of the delicious racao herb which causes food to jump off the plate and slap you in the mouth. I’m pretty sure it’s a unique herb to Puerto Rico but I don’t really know. The muscle part owes to the fact that we ate this while building a business in Puerto Rico and doing CrossFit 6 times a week. After working on the business all day, we religiously went to the gym to increase weightlifting max lifts and finish intense workouts. With this breakfast, we generally skipped lunch so I figure it must be a muscle breakfast.

The best thing about this breakfast, it makes you feel awesome. Go tackle the day.

Want another recipe? Please say so in the comments below.

Maker’s Schedule – A Discussion On a Paul Graham Essay

I’d like to discuss this article: Maker’s Schedule.

Let’s use the comments below to open up a dialogue and see what comes up.

Are you a maker or a manager? Do you suffer from trying to play the different roles?

Do you produce your value from a manager schedule or a makers schedule?

What is a speculative meeting to you? Damaging or empowering?

Thanks to Ryan Holiday’s article for brining this to the forefront.

2 Years Worth of Immigration Bureaucracy to Get My Wife into My Country | Ended Today

Australian US Embassy Approves Partner VisaMy Australian wife and I married 2 years ago (July 20th 2011) in Hawaii and for the first time in our marriage, the US government will allow her to enter my country.

Over the past two years we have been dislocated to New Zealand, The Philippines and finally, we relented a year ago and moved to Australia where I gained my Australian residency. It cost me $4,000 but I was granted my bridging visa the day I applied (wheras the USA visa takes about 2 years.)

Our lives have been completely derailed by this process and I though that when it was over, I’d be elated. The truth is, I’ve just fizzled out of caring. The costs of the paperwork and the bullshit medical screenings completely drained me of all my wealth. It’s been such a long and arduous process that I gave up trying a few months ago. A piece of me that believed that I would never return to the USA to live again, because my government wouldn’t allow my wife across their boarder.

It’s great that we will be returning to the USA, but I can’t help but think how depressing it is that the process of bringing loved ones to the USA is such a mammoth, expensive and terrifying process.

It’s a damn shame.

My wife and I constantly joke that we should have never got married. We probably should have flown to Mexico and crossed the boarder like true outlaw immigrants.

Regret Minimization Framework and Starting Every Day

Have you ever thought, “I wonder what would have happened if?”
Regret Minimization Framework

“We regret the things we don’t do more than the things we do.” – Mark Twain

I have. I remember when I was about 16 years old and I thought back on the past 5 years of my life and had a stark realization that I had spent far too much of my life doing things that didn’t make me better or happier.

Since then, I’ve decided to make the most out of every moment I have. Naturally, I’ve failed a few times with activities like:

  • Watching YouTube All Day
  • Playing Call of Duty for hours
  • Getting Beer Boozy All Day on a Sunday Afternoon
  • Spending Money on Meat Pies and McDonalds
  • For me… there are plenty more…

Because I’ve realized this, I have the power to live a more conscious life.

Every Day is an Investment

I recently read a blog post by Seth Godin that describes this exactly.

In it he says, “Your boss is lucky to have you.” It’s not the other way around. You’re special damnit. Each day of your life is an investment and it’s important that you use that time wisely.

“Investing in the wrong place for a week or a month won’t kill you. But spending ten years contributing to something that you don’t care about, or working with someone who doesn’t care about you… you can do better.” -Seth Godin

Most importantly, you have to start every day.

IMG_1393Everyone must make a conscious decision to start every day. The only difference between people who are really good at it and those that haven’t started is just that the the people who are really good at it are really practiced at starting.

When Lewis Howes was interviewing Bob Harper, Bob Harper made the point that Lewis makes a conscious decision to drink protein shakes after his intense workouts. Lewis (who is a successful entrepreneur) has the same number of hours in a day as the rest of us and he has the same desire as ALL OF US to spend the afternoon eating cake and watching the entire 3 seasons of King of Thrones.

Despite this same feeling, Lewis exercises his hustle muscle and makes something happen. He knows that once he gets started he’s going to be far happier with himself. That’s what happens with the successful cats. They simply start every day.

A Tool for Starting

Ramit Sethi and Ben Chasnocha discuss a video by Jeff Bezos (founder of amazon.com) in which Bezos describes his decision to leave his job and start a company called Amazon. He came to the decision based on what he called his Regret Minimization Framework. Essentially, the idea is to make decision based on how you expect you might do if you were looking back at your life when you were 80.

IMG_1391In the Sethi video, Ben Chasnocha continue with “It’s the things that you do everyday that matter more than what you do once in a while.”

So the point is, start everyday. In fact, if you got this far, start right now. Please feel free to write me a message or a comment below and lets build something useful and make the world a better place.

Much Love,

Ian

P.S. These photos where taken from a recent trip to Sydney. We got to spend some great times with our family living there and also some great friends who live in Rose Bay. They we’re simply beautiful times and that city just blew me away with how beautiful it is.