My work/play life pendulum swings with mighty, inescapable momentum. To the left it’s travel, wanderlust, elation and new experience. To the right it’s hard labor, long hours, feeling incapable and repetition.
These are the hard working traveler blues:
The highs are astronomic. The lows are tough and dirty.
Inevitably, that fun pendulum comes to it’s apex and with this pause commences the working lull. A not so subtle message that you are broke and had better start hustling.
Soon enough everyone has to tolerate the swing. Time to dive into whatever society you are currently marooned in and commence the hustle.
Once that hustle wraps up you get another pendulum pause. That is the best fathomable time. Your supplies are stocked, the plane tickets booked and the next chapter is staring you down.
But first, you gotta endure the inescapable working lull.
I’ll see ya on the other side beloved reader.
More excitement to come… I promise.
I was driving over the Sierra Nevada mountains on California State Route 108. Driving through California mountains is a privilege. The views are utterly astounding and the road is reclusive and wild.
It’s a turbulent road that seems to be on the losing end of a battle against the wilderness that encompasses it. The heavy snows of winter assail the roadway mercilessly. The spectacle of elemental power freezing and thawing, heaving and releasing. The ice moves rocks, dirt and trees around unconcerned with the hard work and organization required to build the road. It’s a wild natural place that doesn’t give into the whims of human order. A place where mother nature still rules with overpowering dominance.
The Sonora Pass tops out at 9,624 ft. (2,933 m.) Tioga pass to the south (State Route 120.) The nice thing about Sonora is the solitude. It is far less visited and it isn’t a National Park so you don’t have to pay to cross.
The best time to take this drive is in spring (May/June.) Do not attempt it in the winter.
-You can not do this all year round. When the snows come these passes become 100% impassable. Check the weather before you go.
-Drive very carefully and consciously. This is no place to rely on speed marker signs. If you are trying to go fast, go up to Interstate 80 through Reno, because this is a steep and tempestuous road.
-Make sure you are self reliant. Have a spare tire, a few tools and spare food. There is no cell phone service for much of the drive and the road has few visitors.
This is an introductory post. Over the next four days I will be reading Seth Godin’s new free book Stop Stealing Dreams (you can download it here.) I invite you to read it with me. I’d love to discuss it via the comments below.
Godin’s blog has been a huge motivation over the past few months. The new title inspired me to review my thoughts on my education history and take action to begin a discussion on my blog.
Subtle Unconscious Feelings
As I grew through the school system in Northern Nevada, I had a subtle unconscious feeling that something was awry with the process that I was being subjected to. Though I had a subtle consciousness of the discomfort, I never had the capacity to explain this feeling in a productive way. School was very difficult, not because it was challenging, but because it was often dull and prison like.
I had some fantastic teachers. They left an unforgettable positive effect on me. They were not overly strict, and they were capable of inspiring me to desire development. They focused their efforts on keeping us fascinated with the subjects, rather than in line with regulation.
My worst teachers were always the authoritarian rulers. I have terrible memories of them and I feel like much of my capacity for development was stunted by the experiences they provided.
I graduated from the public school system and found much more success at the University of Nevada. The freedom to select my classes, show up for classes, and the choice of extracurricular activities allowed me to drive my own development. I found this system to be far more productive.
That subtle understanding that the compulsory school system had failed me remained dormant in my mind. I knew it was there, but I couldn’t productively explain it. Somewhere along the line, I watched this video:
You can watch more of Sir Ken Robinson here and here.
This made it all clear. I believe Ken Robinson is right, we need a education revolution.
Exploring this idea inspired me to read Seth Godin’s new book. Please read it over the next few days with me. Please feel free to discuss it below. I imagine a few teachers will read this and I hope that they express their thoughts.
Teachers are the experts and I think their voices on this matter carry more clout.
Thank you for visiting and reading my blog. I look forward to hearing from you.
I spent long days picking apples while living in the Australian mountains. A departing French guy gave me a giant, beat up, old novel that was partially being eaten by black mold. This novel changed my life. It’s called Shantaram. Every evening after tremendous days of fruit picking, I would pull my lawn chair from the van I was living in, brew a cup of instant coffee and read this amazing book as the vibrant sun set across the enormous Australian sky.
This novel was my savior. I was enthralled. It wrapped me in so many layers of intrigue: adventure, adversity, travel, language, drugs, war, death, poverty, purpose…
I can’t recommend the book enough. I think it played a pivotal role in my decision to continue travel working. If you’d like to buy Shantaram on Amazon, please us my affiliate link (?) to support my writing. Thank you.
In the video below, Roberts talks about some of the stories that he writes about in the book. Enjoy ->
I recommend you watch all eight of them.
Notice how Roberts mentions that he became a doctor not because he went there to save people or to help, it happened inadvertently; the job became him. This is a key understanding to long term travel. You can have your goal, but expect that your travels will change you. You will meld to the circumstances and in this transition, you will learn invaluable life lessons.
I’ve heard rumors that Johnny Depp bought the rights to the book and plans to make it a Hollywood move. I’m a big fan of Johnny’s and him doing the character of Linbaba sounds like a dream.
“The contours of all our virtues are shaped by adversity”
Warning. Don’t watch this video if you have a weak heart. You might die…
I first saw Mike Farris at the Strawberry Music Festival. The guy has that sort of voice that rips your heart out. That’s one hell of a strange analogy, but by god…. just listen to this:
Really, the video speaks for itself. Listening to Mike doesn’t even make you feel inspired. It makes you want to shrink down into an groveling Samurai in front of the Emperor style bow and proclaim “glory to the master of all great noises.” YES!
Anyways, I hope you like this guy too. Best of luck to you champ.
Jack White continues to be the author of my life’s soundtrack. Everything he touches turns to gold constantly morphing with new exotic sounds and arrangements. His music carries a omnipotent soul slicing theme and I’m constantly left awestruck with his work. He is a deep inspiration to me. His new song Love Interruption is no exception:
When I left the USA bound for the Southern Hemisphere in late 2009, my goal was to develop a greater understanding of where things come from; especially food. Most of my life had been spent in the suburbs of Northern Nevada either working in an office or building houses/home remodels. It troubled me that I had spent my life eating food (grains, meats and veggies/fruits) that had come from a place that I knew nothing about. I feel deeply insecure about being so reliant on something that I have no control over. If I’m honest, I had next to no understanding of the processes needed to produce food! I needed to learn more about the world in order to understand my role, I needed to get dirty.
So I flew to Australia and got a harvest job out in the orchards around Stanthorpe, Australia. My first gig was cutting broccoli from the ground and placing it on a tractor that carried a conveyor belt which hung out over the enormous veggie patches. I would awake at 5:30 with the rising sun and work until late in the evening, bending over and cutting broccoli all… day… long… It was backbreaking work. We worked barefoot because it was simply the best way. After about 2 weeks I was exhausted, my feet were rotting from from the moisture and the repetitive work.
Luckily, for the first time in my life, I was fired. Apparently, I wasn’t harvesting fast enough. Honestly, I think it’s because my heart wasn’t in it. Vegetable harvesting is brutal.
My next job was harvesting apples. This was far less harrowing than the broccoli but it was none-the-less very demanding physically and even more taxing mentally. The repetitious nature of picking thousands of apples a day, day after day, 5-6 days a week was very challenging. The skin on my fingers split, I got blisters on my feet, my sweat drenched shirts would fall to pieces visibly every day. I couldn’t buy sacrificial shirts fast enough to keep up with the degradation.
I learned a good amount about vegetables and fruit, I took a vacation and went about understanding where meat comes from. My friend and I found station hand jobs at a super isolated cattle station in the middle of Outback Australia. Just like the fruit picking and the vegetable harvesting, we’d awake with the rising sun and work until the sunset. There was lots of filthy diesel engine work, welding, fence repair and horse work involved. I learned so much, and each day I’d come back to the ranch house a filthy mess. Showers never felt so good.
The value of all this experience is incalculable. Not only did I learn about how food is produced, I gained a fundamental respect for farmers. I learned to weld, build fences, harvest vast areas and I got the fundamentals for what it takes to provide enough food for hundreds of people. The world would be a better place if everyone had a more fundamental understanding of what it takes to provide for their subsistence. I recommend you do something to produce your own food. Everyone should get a little dirty.
I’m constantly blow away with the complexity of this new world… enter Luis von Ahn:
What a tremendous accomplishment. While we are hesitantly authenticating ourselves as human beings, we are simultaneously developing the power to digitize difficult to read books at an unheard of rate. This is how fast the new smart economy is going to develop. Attention will become a new source of productivity and wealth.
Tiny little fractions of peoples attentions can be harvested from these enormous fields of data to produce real value. If these fractionsattention can be harnessed to digitize books. Don’t you think you can get some incredible value out of your attention?
I urge you to turn off your TV and look into something amazing.
Thanks for reading, please leave a comment if you think this video is inspiring.