I’m going to go surfing on the east coast of florida… and, decisions.

For my sister’s birthday, we went for a beach weekend on the gulf coast at a resort. After a month of hanging out at my parents house, getting really ready to go do something, when I got there, my wanderlust kicked back into full swing.

So, I began to really crave travel.

Lately I’ve been thinking. I want to do something meaningful with my life. I want to live with no regrets. And my options are to find a town in America to settle down in and get a job. Buy a house. Make some friends, and engage with a community. A beautiful town, mind you. With nice people.

My second option is just to travel the world because, why not. Instead of settling down, I will practice my favorite skills (surfing, hiking, climbing, snowboarding), and instead of getting to know my neighbors I’ll be getting to know fellow travelers and locals. I’ll be attending meetups and nomad startup events.

I’m 27. I’m really hitting the ripe age for solo travel. I have always made decent money working remote, so the working thing is totally covered. My only question is, will I enjoy it.

If I use NYC for 3 months earlier this year as an example:

  • I didn’t attend many events (except in the first 2 weeks)
  • I loved exploring
  • I got bored after 3 months
  • It was a little too expensive
  • Living out of a backpack was interesting and not an overly negative experience.

If I use living in Boulder, Co. for 3 months last year as an example:

  • I attended plenty of events
  • I didn’t snowboard, even once.
  • I loved the coffee shop scene.
  • I met a bunch of cool people.
  • I got bored after 3 months
  • It was a little too expensive.

Truth is, I’ve never lived away from mainland USA. I think a 1 month commitment is plenty for any spot, and I’d want to make sure I can either Hike, Climb, Surf, Skate, or Snowboard every single day. I’d also possibly prefer to be with a group of people to avoid social isolation. But being by myself can be fun, too.

So, since my home base is Florida, and I have a wedding to go to in 20 days, I’m going to pack my bag in my car, go to the east coast of Florida, and go surfing. I’m going to head up and down the coast between Miami and Jacksonville, stay in AirBnBs (and hostels in Miami), and if I’m stoked after a week or two of surfing, I’ll head up to Asheville, NC to do some hiking and stay in hostels. Thats my stretch goal, I doubt I’ll get farther than Asheville in 3 weeks.

During this time, I’ll be exploring what it means to be a nomad in America. This is much different than being a nomad in other countries because it is more expensive and I have my car. But the similarity will be the novelty of being in changing surroundings on a regular basis, hostel living, and focusing on what I love (surfing and hiking.)

So, it’s another test, similar to NYC.

At the end of those 3 weeks I’ll be heading to a friend’s wedding in Vegas and then I’m free to either move to the west coast & get a job or to set my first destination for my travels.

Autoimmune Protocol | Day 6 // Wednesday

7 AM. wake up feeling puffy, like when you have too much salt the night before. It’s probably due to taking kratom yesterday due to feeling horrible. Sigh. Continuing with the diet.

8 AM. After my 100 mg pill of caffeine kicks in, a euphoria comes over me and I feel normal/good. My mind thinks towards working – building a project I’ve wanted to build for a long time.

11 AM. Was productive / organized my bedroom / realized I’m kind of being engulfed by malaise and depression, and that I must be incredibly wary. Don’t worry folks, I am confident I will get out of this one. I’ve done it many times before. Usually, the second I start medicating with caffeine, unhealthy food, and other things, the symptoms disappear.

But I’m not doing that this time. I am healing this time, which means I am going through this with an open mind, self love, and high consciousness. Who knows, maybe within a month or two I’ll be back to normal.

Discussed with the parents last night how every time I try to heal my body/mind, I end up giving up after about two weeks and running away. I ran away to colorado, I ran away to New York. I ran away to Arizona. But this time, I’m not running away. I’m going to stay here in this town which I don’t love. I’m not going to cover this one up with new business ideas or applying for jobs. I’m going to get past this.

“no mental state lasts forever”, “this too shall pass”, “bloom where you’re planted”.

5 PM Earlier I was feeling horrible. I went for a bike ride and felt like I was going to pass out. Which has never happened. Being 95 degrees out doesn’t help.

I read online that this might be due to not enough fat. At first glance, I thought, “of course I’m getting enough fat – I’m eating meat. Then I realized, I’m probably not getting enough fat to really use it as fuel, so I ate a bunch of coconut oil and olive oil (lol) on salad and in smoothies and stuff. I ate a absolutely gigantic salad about an hour ago and I suddenly became hyper focused on work and euphoric. Temporarily, there is no depression.

This is scary, but at least I’m glad I documented it. I was feeling horrible and then i literally ate salad and my mood changed.

I’m working through a lot of mental issues right now, lol.

Not just food issues.

“I eat because I am unhappy and I am unhappy because I eat” – fat bastard

9:30 PM I just had a realization so profound that I absolutely had to capture it. The reason I have depressive symptoms – in my life in general – is because I am subconsciously afraid of using my brain.

In my mind, somehow I have been programmed that to “work” (mentally) causes strain. This is most likely due to years of resentment towards being “imprisoned” in a school. I never felt good in school for whatever reason. This is most likely a combination of: poor diet, poor sleep habits, resentment towards being kept from what I love. So my response was to shut down my brain.

My brain was reserved only for those activities which I held dear (after school activities.)

But I think at some point my programming took over and I lost my ability to even enjoy these side hobbies. Suddenly my ability to enjoy everything was diminished.

It turns out that I fell into an engineering career despite myself, because during college I was given much more freedom. That freedom of when/how much/what I will study, combined with results-oriented culture (exams, projects) was great for me.

Yet there is this feeling deep down that all effort is bad. Perhaps this comes from incorrectly interpreting zen and taoist teachings as championing laziness.

I once mentioned this particular neurosis to a zen meditation teacher who I respected and admired. I told him that I am always attempting to “conserve” my energy.

He told me that there is infinite energy. You just have to tap into it.

This whole lifestyle of taking drugs, drinking alcohol and coffee, eating poor foods, and taking shortcuts – it is all on the assumption that there is not enough energy to go around. It is a “fighting for survival” type of existence.

My hope is that through this cleansing process I will eliminate this mental neurosis, and uncover further ones. To make clear, permanent progress towards developing a more sound body and mind. To transform my innermost psyche into one more willing to actually live life.

 

Dark Days

My current contract expires in 1 month. The product we spent 3 months building turned out to be a flop. I learned a ton of new skills, mostly design and frontend development skills, so it hasn’t been a total waste. I also got to spend time in New York, getting everything paid for.

But now I’m a little depressed. Not because I’m “losing my job”, but because I don’t really know what I want to do next.

I considered trading in a car and getting a van and traveling around, living in the van and hiking/climbing. This is a big maybe.

I deleted all my social media and my 4G cellphone plan in favor of having a throwaway phone.

I feel like I’m shedding all this baggage I’ve had in my life. Every month I shed more of it. But I have yet to find something to replace it with.

I feel most at peace when I’m walking/hiking/climbing/traveling. So I suppose I will do that until I figure out next steps. Currently, I’m spending 4-5 hours a day in central park, just walking around and climbing boulders (barefoot.) It soothes the soul.

I’m going to take a break from coding. I think being a coder is one of my biggest roadblocks to uncovering the purpose of my life, because I always feel pressured to join a new project. It’s time to start something different. Do some manual labor. Get some fresh air. Be a ski lift operator.

 

AirBnBing in Joshua Tree and Yosemite.

I just turned 27. My best friend Anthony works for AirBnB, doing social media stuff. Part of his photography job is to take pictures of sick AirBnB’s. So he invited me to come along with him to keep him company.

It was a very last minute arrangement, but I got a last minute flight from NYC to LAX and we jumped in the car. First, spending a night under the stars on a hill at Joshua Tree (pictured below), and second, spending a day in Yosemite.

When I landed in LA, my friend was at work so I ubered to Venice beach and proceeded to get day drunk (so glamorous.) In the bar, I met a fellow nerd and we talked about World of Warcraft and Skyrim. Hilariously enough, the bar tenders joined in and we had a rousing nerd conversation.

The next day, we drove out to J Tree. I was made anxious by the desert (PTSD from living in Southern Arizona without an A/C), but by the time I got to our AirBnB I was ecstatic. We took pictures of abandoned houses and walked through the rattlesnake infested fields. Joshua Tree does feel extremely peaceful, and it feels as though you can reach out and grab the horizon.

We drank a bottle of wine on the rocks under the stars and talked about our lives, as we are prone to do.

The next day we were off to Yosemite. It was a grueling drive through typical central Californian boredom. But when we arrived at the foothills of the Sierras we were once again lightened. The rolling green hills looked like something out of “Oh, The Places You’ll Go.” A completely surreal landscape, winding higher and higher into the mountains.

We listened to “Say Hi To Your Mom” as we ascended the mountains at sunset. It was my first time listening to that band, and I was completely taken aback by the combination of “basic-ness” and smooth-as-butter melodies. I’m glad I found a new band to listen to. Here’s probably the most catchy song on the album:

We took pictures of the AirBnB for work, and headed to Yosemite Valley where we spent the day winding through trails and seeking boulders to barefoot climb. The granite in Yosemite is extremely unforgiving compared to the boulders of New York.

That was my birthday. I was out of cell phone reception, so I was unable to receive calls from friends and family, but I received an overwhelming amount of facebook attention and it touched my heart as always.

I can’t say the experience this week has been wholly positive. I am exhausted from the heat and the desert. I was planning on spending summer in LA but now I am thinking twice. My friend had to leave early due to a family emergency which is definitely bringing down the mood and making me think twice.

I am sitting in his apartment in LA, waiting for tomorrow, when I will fly back to NYC by midnight. When I get home I just want to close my heavy blinds, watch netflix, and sleep for 24 hours, but I have work on Monday morning.

That’s okay – I know the exhaustion will pass.

I get exhausted easily. It makes me second guess living a nomadic lifestyle – but I know I am fine as long as I am slow traveling and not racing around the country, having 12 hour flight days multiple times per week. In fact, I find that kind of jet setting to be the epitome of anxiety for myself.

The reason I made the last minute flight was simply because I wanted to experience something amazing. And I did. But now I am tired.

There’s so much to this story that I was unable to recount here.

~ Good night from Culver City.

A Month in a New York City AirBnB

I’m writing this at 7 AM on the morning I leave my AirBnB. I woke up early due to drinking IPAs last night (I don’t handle hops well.) But it was just as well, because I’ve packed up and cleaned up my AirBnB and I’m ready to go.

A month ago I embarked on a journey to New York for 3 months to test my ability to live a backpacker lifestyle. At the end of these 3 months I am planning on going back to Florida for a bit, getting a passport, hanging out with a friend in LA before backpacking the summer in Southeast Asia or Europe (haven’t decided.) This trip is a test of my ability to slow travel with just my 40 Liter backpack (Osprey Farpoint). It’s also a test of how much I will enjoy living the digital nomad lifestyle.

So on to my month-long minimalist nomad/AirBnB experience in New York.

Where, and How, I Lived

I lived in Greenwich village, which is located next to NYU. Notable venues are the Film Forum, IFC theater, Washington Square Park, The Uncommons (boardgame coffee shop), and a host of cool bars. I lived in a 2 bedroom AirBnB with a work roommate.

I generally felt inspired. The energy of the city and the freedom of my life gave way to heightened creativity. I am now more interested in colors, design, art of all types. The world seems brighter, my brain feels lighter.

For the first time in my life, I allowed myself to relax on weekend days. “Wasting days” sleeping in, reading, etc. I believe the reason I could do this is because my apartment was very dark (since it is shaded by taller buildings.) Also, because I felt that I was “part of the action.” I never felt “cut off from society”. Rather, my apartment was my refuge, and I took it very often.

Contrast this to suburbia where I go stir crazy in my apartment after 8 hours.

I am chronically stressed, so this is actually a huge step forward in my life. I can nap and “chill.”

I worked hard. I worked out hard. I chilled hard. I socialized hard.

As an introvert, I am more social when I travel, and that feeling never left me. I met a lot of new people. I went to a lot of new venues. I had more than one hangover. I love /r/nycmeetups!

Backpacking Thoughts

I didn’t bother washing my clothes at a laundromat – I just did it in the sink. It was a fun experiment and the clothes came out pretty well. Will continue doing this.

It’s hard to be minimalist during winter. You need a lot of heavy clothes and various layers. It’s definitely possible, but I imagine having an all-year wardrobe that fits NY’s unstable climate would be a challenge. I suppose this is why most backpackers hang out in balmy countries (southeast asia).

I purchased a couple of things – a Nintendo 3Ds, an Amazon Kindle, some jogger pants, and a new shirt. I had to get rid of a pair of pants and a shirt to make room for the new ones, but it felt like a good  trade-off. Everything I bought was with the intention of being travel-friendly.

I had to be conscious of travel size while making purchases. This kept me from making unconscious/rash decisions to buy things, and saved me money.

It was very easy to eat well without any cooking supplies. I don’t foresee any issue eating regular meals as a backpacker, provided there are some restaurants and grocery stores around.

I started thinking about having a permanent residence. Some kind of hunger for a “house” to “settle down in.” I suspect this is a consequence of feeling transient. All things in good time, I suppose.

The 30-day residence quickly felt like home. I rarely felt out of place. I felt happy.

Final Thoughts

I definitely feel that this lifestyle fits with my personality. It will take work in order to make it work long-term. It may be that I need a bit more than just a 40L backpack to do this long term, simply due to the difficulty of having a varied, all-season, minimalist wardrobe. But maybe I’ll figure it out.

I am also realizing that I’m a city person. I have such a craving for energy. New York is the only city that enjoys walking almost as much as I do. Please don’t make me drive a car, ever again.

I feel focused, clear, and simple. My life does not feel stagnant right now. I feel that I am living in the Tao. No complaints, mannnn

~Om Shanti