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.

AIP Day 19, Tuesday

Well over the past few days I took kratom again for some reason, which caused me to get kind of stressed out. I took it on saturday and sunday and I can still feel the residual stress. As my sleep patterns get back to normal and I decompress, I feel myself returning to the “new normal” state.

Still doing chi gong multiple times a day. I cant feel the chi. I can feel a slight improvement and relaxation with each time I do it. It isn’t like lifting weights where you immediately feel amazing and filled with endorphins. Or it is but I’m just not there yet. All I’ve been doing is the eight brocades practice. It’s time to move onto a new practice.

I did find that doing chi gong is much more pleasurable outdoors.

AIP Day 16, Saturday, In shadow of mount hood

Woke up and recorded this:

I just like making little diddies in 1 take on garage band


I think my depression is going away because I seem to enjoy doing things I used to do – programming, playing guitar… reading. I still have no interest in being social. Shrug.

I’ve been thinking a LOT about moving out west. For one thing, I absolutely can’t stand hot summers. I love cool weather, darkness, and rain. As much as I care about my family and friends in Florida, I don’t see a future here. There is not much tech industry, there’s no bicycle-friendly streets, it’s just suburban sprawl.

I used to think maybe I could live in Orlando and surf. And that’s my #1 option if I stayed in Florida, but it feels like death. I think I’ll take tree cover, mountains, and the pacific ocean over that.

Only thing that bums me out is, I’m not a huge fan of big cities. Boulder Co was perfect size for me. I’ve looked into Bend, but I am not willing to live on the “other side” of the mountain range where there isn’t so much precipitation. So that leaves me to explore the willamette valley, portland, seattle and Tacoma. Tacoma looks the most promising because it’s not as expensive as seattle, you can still commute to seattle in a pinch, and it has a climbing gym and art house theater as well as multiple museums and a UW campus.

So its a small little city where I can actually buy a house, and it’s in the PNW. Most likely in 10-15 years it will start growing, if Seattle becomes the next SF it could be the next Oakland. Maybe.

Anyway, that shit’s been wearing on me. Where to live? Do I buy real estate? blah blah.


 

Climbed at the gym today. Realized it’s 3 PM and I only had 50 mg of caffeine. I could take a 25mg to finish the day and feel fantastic. Im going to take like 10mg and I’m sure that’ll be great.

I definitely have a mental attachment to caffeine. Even at the 50/75mg level I’m fiending for that one HIT.

I have an addictive personality. I love modifying my body. I suppose this is fine as long as I find healthy ways of doing it rather than using drugs/alcohol/bad food/coffee.


 

AIP Day 15, drank last night

Welp, drank last night.

Had 4 angry orchards.

What happened is: I ate too much THC oil, got really high, and decided alcohol would calm me down. It worked. I was reaaally baked.

Glad to say that I feel good today still. Don’t feel hungover at all. Did my chi gong twice today already, still taking 75 mg of caffeine and eating a healthy diet.

I expect my body to take a little bit of a beating from this event over the next couple of days, but I am sure I will bounce back. It’s definitely something I’m not going to do again. If I take THC oil, I will make sure to take a small dose and not (literally) bite off more than I can chew.

That’s the problem with edibles.

Aaaanyway,

This was an exercise in mental, emotional, and physical resilience. I am not beating myself up about this, I’m learning a lesson.

The chigong as well as the diet seem to be doing wonders for my anxiety, energy, and focus. I am able to work a full workday with a few breaks for chigong, food, and just relaxation. I am noticing that when I work I don’t breathe right, so I’m looking through possible biofeedback solutions to this problem.

Basically, my goal is to “go back to work.” I want to get healthy enough that I can work a 40 hour workweek, in an office, and not feel like I’m slowly dying.

Truth be told, I like my career, but it has been impossible to pursue while unhealthy and erratic.

I see this diet as “calming the stormy seas” of my mind and body. My goal is for balanced focus and energy, independent of external stimulants (caffeine, drugs, alcohol), powered entirely by healthy foods. I want to work for at least a couple more years

Today, at the halfway mark to 30 days, I can say that so far the results of this exercise have been worth it. I feel much better than I normally do. That much cannot be argued against.


Recorded a bunch of covers today, “he doesnt know why” by fleet foxes

https://soundcloud.com/unstimulated/he_doesnt_know_why

 

AIP Day 14, Calm after the storm

Two weeks of AIP today! I started out my morning with chi gong, 50 mg of caffeine, and some spaghetti squash!

An update on how I feel right now:

  • currently (at this second) my stomach is functioning much better than it was a few days ago, and much better than before.
  • I am able to work again (I can focus on my work with 50mg caffeine.)
  • I am less depressed, more excited about the future.
  • I am worried that I may not be able to keep this diet up outside of the house… sometimes I fret about prep time…
    • But it feels like something I can handle. Something that needs to be made a priority
  • I’m off the sleeping pills.

There has always been a lurking feeling that I am “oh so very tired” on the inside, even when I feel stimulated. I always called it my “energy drain.” It severely affects/affected everything I do, the way I live my life. I don’t live my life with an “abundance” mentality in terms of energy, I am always “conserving” energy as if it were finite.

The goal of this project is to make energy feel free and infinite, so that I can use this energy to build beautiful things and make the world a better place.

I literally can’t make the world a better place being tired and sick all the time.

I feel that a corner has been turned, as slow going as this is.

I still get a bit sleepy in the afternoons/evenings… but I do have faith. This can get better.

And thats why I’m doing chigong.

AIP Day 12, Why my blog is called nick is dead

Decided to have informative titles in my posts so people know what they’re reading. First off this blog is just a journal. Second thing: Nick is dead started as a morbid joke and a catchy phrase I bounced around in my head. But this blog has come to signify a rebirth.

The “Nick” that is dead is the one I grew up as. The person who lives an unhealthy, unbalanced life, and isn’t very open minded. He was not the best person to be around.

Recently, I was driving through “Van Ness” california and the name Ness coalesced in my thoughts. I have some sort of interest to the Nintendo character Ness, from my days growing up playing Super Smash Bros and Earthbound.

Ness is a white kid who is a little weird (has psychokinetic abilities, wears striped shirts and shorts and tennis shoes with high socks.) I guess he reminds me of myself. So I kind of decided to take his name.

I’ve taken Ness as my new nickname, which I call myself. I like it. Has a ring to it.

Nick is Dead -> Ness Lives.

~ 12:30 PM, had 100mg of caffeine already, 75 upon waking and another 25 an hour ago. I am feeling able to focus on my code, which is great, I’m making the most of it. At least there are a couple of hours during the day when I can focus right now.

Who knows, maybe someday I’ll be able to focus for 8 hours a day.

I think I have a slight “headache” and a bit of “nausea” today. I don’t often get these symptoms, so they’re a little weird to me. Most likely low carb flu stuff. It’s not bad though, ever-so-slight.

3:30 PM,

Been working for the past 2 or 3 hours. That means I got in like a three hour workday! This is insane. I never thought I’d be able to work again. I just kind of sat here and wrote some code. It’s been really nice!

I am feeling relaxed today. My stomach is feeling good. I can tell a lot of the bloating is gone. Excited to make a doctors appointment within the next couple of weeks. The goal being to see a GI doc and have him tell me I’m not going to die.

Honestly, most of my GI symptoms have gotten better, which is why I’m betting on “not going to die” versus “terminally ill.” But we’ll have to see. :praise hands:

9 PM,

A friend messaged me today and he was super stoked on playing music. I used to play a little bit, but I told him I haven’t done anything in a couple years. He was sad to hear that and suggested I make something. I decided to pop a little cover out of garage band… with my djembe and acoustic nylon guitar, recorded on a macbook pro in about 20 minutes, so its not like… “finished” or anything. But im cool with it. lol.

song: Boomer Etc. by  Walter, Etc.

I cant bring myself to try to really perfect any music I work on.. but garage band is pretty cool for throwing something together.

AutoImmune Protocol | Day 11 / Monday

Woke up, slept in, did chi gong, had 75 mg caffeine. Felt pretty good.

Had stomach issues again, no idea why. Perhaps due to still eating fruit and raw vegetables. I am not going to “get rid of them” until after I go like 30 days and still don’t see improvement. After 30 days, i can cut out the fruit and raw stuff, but who knows, may be an adjustement.

Going to do my second chi gong exercise of the day. I like chi gong way more than yoga. Don’t ask why, I have no idea, but I resonate with it.

Noon,

It’s noon and I feel absolutely hyped in comparison to my normal state of being. Feel like I just drank a ton of coffee, but I didn’t. In fact, I’m going to go work from a coffee shop (and have an herbal tea.) just to get out of the house and enjoy the bright sunshiney day.

Not sure if I’ve reached the promised land of “unlimited energy” / come out on the other side of “low carb flu” / adjusted to this diet. Or maybe it’s just beginning. Either way, I’m really happy for some relief. Side note: did not have any CBD oil today (that stuff may have made me a little sleepy actually…)

1:30 PM,

Damnit, I’m sleepy. I went for a drive and instead of going to the coffee shop I just got groceries and came home. It’s so damn hot outside that I just feel like sleeping. Had another 25 mg of caffeine to finish off my daily caffeine dose.

Still havent started working for the day and I’ve been up since 7 Am, LOL! Where has the time gone? I am completely 100% useless these days. ugh. Will I ever be able to work again?

730 PM,

Welp, sad to say that I got about an hour of work done. Maybe less. I just dont *feel* like working. I am getting a little scared that I’ll “never” get better – but then I think: gee, the brain is very resilient, and someone cant suddenly “lose their magic”

It’s like in Kiki’s delivery service where she can suddenly no longer fly.

She gets it back, and I will too, one day…

Autoimmune Protocol | Day 9 / Saturday

I suppose I shouldn’t expect too much of a change within 9 days. I mean, most people say it takes 30-90. With 30 being the early side.

I am still tired when I wake up. My caffeine dose is being lowered today to 75 mg in the morning and 25 mg in the afternoon, down 50 mg from this past week. I will probably try to keep it below 100mg for the next week, and then get down to 50 mg the week after that.

I dont want to give up caffeine. I am extremely mentally attached to caffeine. I feel like I can’t work without caffeine. This is entirely not true, but it’s how I’m programmed to feel. I am taking my time with lowering my caffeine intake because, even at this rate (going from 300 mg a day to 200 to 150 now to 100 over the span of 3 weeks), I am feeling the effects I believe. In general I don’t feel as stimulated as I usually was. I keep telling myself that this stimulation was completely artificial and not indicative of good health.

I do hope I get back to that point where my brain is pumping with happy chemicals, the way a tall starbucks coffee makes me.

During my morning meditation, rather than saying “thought”, when I hear a thought, I’ve started saying “programming.” As in, my brain has been programmed to think that. For some reason, when I liken my thoughts directly to “brain programming”, it makes it a lot easier to forgive myself for having those thoughts. A common mistake with meditation is to actively slap yourself on the wrists for thinking. But the truth is that thinking is okay, it’s just programming, and we’re just becoming aware of that programming.

I’ve not been a regular meditator ever in my life, but I am finding that regular meditation is fun and causes me to randomly become conscious at more points throughout the day. Particularly when I get a moment of quiet time. During those moments, I often play the “wait for a thought” game, and it’s pretty fun.

Around noon, I got very sleepy. I had gone for a bike ride, had a bunch of fats & bone broth this morning, but still was very sleepy. It could be that I took a little bit of CBD. Either way, I ended up laying in bed feeling “defeated”, thinking “oh god i have chronic fatigue syndrome dont I”, and “i’ll never work again” and “maybe i have crippling depression and thats why I can’t function like a normal human at noon.”

So while I was thinking those self defeating thoughts and pretending to sleep, I started doing breathing exercises for no reason. I took some deep breaths and started to feel better. Still tired, mind you, but I started to feel the tingle of energy flowing through my body that is the opposite of tiredness/depression. As the chinese would say, I felt “chi” flowing through my body. I’ve always loved this feeling, and have noticed it often when doing acupuncture.

After about 10-20 minutes of relaxation/chi/breathing exercises, I got up and felt better. But not 100% better. I will admit I took another 25 mg of caffeine (bringing my total today up to 125mg), which could explain why I feel better. But I also ate a big salad.

Together the combination of a big salad, some caffeine, and relaxation exercises brought me back from the brink of sleepiness. I am not sure what this means. Perhaps I needed a bit of fresh vegetables to turn on my brain. Perhaps it was the normal circadian rhythm of early afternoon sleepiness. Perhaps it was from lowering my caffeine intake. Perhaps it was because I was stressed subconsciously, which then causes a subconscious “sleepiness” reaction.

All I know is I’ve had “sleepiness” since I was a young kid. The second I figured out how to self medicate, I began to self medicate my sleepiness as much as possible. I remember being sleepy at recess because my lunch didn’t agree with me. Combine that with the fact that I had epilepsy growing up and something spells “food intolerances since day 1.”

So I truly believe my entire life has been one big food intolerance based shit show. On the outside, I look reasonably healthy. I am fit, muscular even, but I have achy joints and I get sleepy a lot. I get mood swings. My stomach doesn’t work like it should.

It would be a dream come true if I could overcome these things. I am glad I’m going down this path, but I will confess that deep down I have my doubts that I can ever “feel better” than I’ve always felt. Depression and sleepiness has honestly been the norm for my entire life. Boo hoo.

What if there were another way? That would be worth any amount of sacrifice. That would be worth taking a couple months off from my work just to focus on it. That would be worth taking years off.

If I could have boundless energy.

“There is unlimited energy” – some guru guy I once knew.

:praise hands:

AutoImmune Protocol | Day 7-8, Thur/Fri

I skipped posting yesterday. I’m not sure why. I have started to up my fat intake. I moved off of the fruits and into the high fat diet. I was using fruit as a crutch but finding that I felt very lethargic.

Now, eating high fat, I can tell that I feel different. I feel very satiated all the time. And eating high fat meals is delicious. I have to say I’m a huge fan of meat.

Maybe the low carb flu will come in the next week, maybe it won’t. Right now, my daily dose of caffeine is 150mg, planning on getting it down to 100mg next week. I am not feeling tired today, but I can’t say I’m focused at all. In fact I didn’t really do any work today. It’s not that I couldn’t do work, but rather that there was nothing to do.

My main “job” is really more of a part-time, internet-based job. Other than that, I’m just learning little bits of technology, preparing for my next career move (after I feel better.) I’m deciding between settling down in Oregon/Washington or the SF bay area. I know I want to have property in Oregon/Washington to prepare for climate change, but the SF Bay Area holds a special place in my heart as a startup guy. It will all depend on my ability to handle stress without caffeine. Perhaps I will just end up in the suburbs outside of Portland working part time 😛

(Sorry Pacific northwesterners, you will have to make room for me.)

So I’m trying not to focus on my work. Trying to focus on health and all that. Feeling a bit stir crazy in my house, so I make sure to get out and exercise at least once a day.

By the way, since I stopped the fruit most of my IBS symptoms have disappeared. That includes constant gas. We will see if this continues. Suffice it to say, I was having constant stomach issues every day.

Got invited to a friend’s wedding in 2 months. I’m a bit confused on how I will handle my new diet while going to a wedding for 3-4 days (with bachelor party), but I will cross that bridge when I get to it.

I acquired some cannabis yesterday, as well as hemp CBD oil. I’ve never done a hemp-derived CBD oil, I may be a little spoiled from Colorado/Washington state. I did find that it produced a relaxing effect, although I am a little worried about the possible solvents which may be in the oil. I also bought a cheap vaporizer for my cannabis but it broke so I smoked out of an apple (lol). I’m actually a little high right now.

The main effect of the cannabis/CBD combo has been stimulatory as well as slightly anxiety producing. This is most likely due to not being a regular smoker. It is nice to not feel like I have to nap during the day. I think I have decided to take CBD in the morning / throughout the day and only to smoke at night, since it seems to affect my cognition beyond the point of being able to work. Instead I just binged on Silicon Valley and drank bone broth.

I posted a little post on /r/stopdrinking today and got 50 upvotes. I’m feeling pretty cool! I haven’t drank in 22 days, and I’m glad that AIP does not allow alcohol.

As you can see the format of my posts have reverted from a “list” to more of a journal. I figure it’s more important to have a free-form way of relating my day.

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.