Trustworthy Companion

bikeI have realized while driving today that I always seem to get into some kind of trouble while driving around, but shockingly I still didn’t have a problem with my bike! Since someone reading this blog might be interested which bike am I driving I figured I would write about that.

For about last 16 months I have Trek Madone 3.5 and this bike is just a beast. Driving is insanely smooth, and the handling is very stable. I am not very knowledgeable about bikes but comparing to all others I’ve had in my life this one is better by far. I also have several gadgets.

For a helmet I use ICEdot Crash sensor, mainly because I enjoy driving long distances and this handy helmet sends alerts and my GPS location in case I end up crashing. Its nice to know someone will be aware and help out if things go wrong.

Wireless Bicycle Turn Signal is a must have for me because I hate flopping my hands around when I want to make a turn. I was very happy when I found out this existed.

Siva Cycle Atom is another must have gadget for me. As I travel long distances I might not want to stop somewhere to charge my battery, and that is where this little portable generator shines. It can charge any device over USB port, how awesome is that.

Lets see what else, I’ve recently added bikeSpike. Having such a pricey bike and all kinds of gadgets on it makes me want to secure it as much as I can. All in all bikeSpike makes me feel a little bit safer.I think that’s it. My trusty steed that has guided me for hundreds and hundred of miles.

Difficult Start

rainTalk about great luck., right from first day I encounter heavy rain as I’m passing Jersey City. Thankfully I am well prepared but that doesn’t mean it was comfortable driving during the downpour. As I’ve reached Parsippany  I decided to stop and get some rest, driving all day during the rain isn’t very fun after all. I took a cheap room for rest of the day and the night, hoping weather would be great next day and I could be on my merry way. I stuffed myself with junk food and went for my beauty sleep.

Next morning was absolutely terrible. I woke up with a headache and had to puke, barely even reached the toilet. Perhaps driving in the rain and then stuffing myself with junk wasn’t one of the best ideas I’ve had in my life. Thankfully I was informed by the motel manger that apothecary wasn’t very far from here. I walked there, stumbling the whole way praying for this agonizing pain in my head would stop. I picked up all kinds of pills, went back to my room and just fell a sleep from exhaustion. As I was waking up couple of times during the day to get some nutrients and medicine I kept thinking how this trip isn’t as fun as I was hoping it would be.

The next day, which would be right now, I felt quite a bit better in the morning. I’m quite certain I will be resuming my ride tomorrow, there are still tons of things I have to do when I arrive so no point in lollygagging.

A Surprising New Hobby I Found Out West

As you all know quite well, I love to travel. One of the reasons I do is that it provides me with a constant stream of new stimuli and experience, allowing me to learn and grow in ways I never imagined.

But, as many of you also know quite well, you can’t travel forever. Never mind the restraints of time and money; you just simply can’t do something forever. It’s human nature to eventually tire of even the things we love.

So that’s why I am back in San Francisco. I know someday soon I’ll get tired of being in the same spot and will head back out on the road, but until then, here I am. Yet my desire to find new things and experiences has not gone away. That will always be with me, and so even though I am staying put for a bit, I need to find new things to do.

The first things I tried were sports. I started playing some golf, joined a racquetball league and even signed up for some martial arts classes. These were great, but they weren’t all that different from some of the other sports I have played in my life. Of course the techniques are different, but the end goal is the same: winning. I just couldn’t motivate myself to try and get my score down by a few strokes or to improve my shot placement enough to be able to beat the other team—it didn’t seem new enough.

My foray into martial arts was rather interesting, though. I did some Tae Kwon Do, and the reason it was so stimulating is that it is a lot more mental than I ever realized. You have to really master yourself before you can even consider beating someone else. This proved to be a really rewarding experience. I still take classes and am improving, but unfortunately, I just don’t have the time to dedicate to this to get to where I would really like to be.

So when I was explaining to a friend of mine how I was looking for new things to do, he suggested I join him in one of his favorite pastimes: shooting. He took me to a gun range and we did some target practice, and I have to say, it’s great. To be an accurate shot requires both a solid knowledge of the machine you are using, as well as incredible self-control. You can make it competitive if you want, but it is an activity where personal improvement is really the ultimate goal. And these are always the most fruitful experiences.

However, I’ve never been much of a gun person. I never had them growing up, and I have a hard time justifying them being easy for everyone to access. So, I went out in search of alternatives, and I found something that allows me to practice this interesting sport without having to do something I don’t fully agree with: air guns.

These things work with pressurized air and plastic pellets. Mechanically, they function the same way a gun does, but they are far less dangerous and far less expensive. I did a little research and found some great air rifles to help me practice shooting. And since these things make a lot less noise, I can use it in my backyard and not worry about upsetting the neighbors.

I’ve set up a little target outside and a couple of times a week I head out and practice. It’s a great way to pass an afternoon.This is something I never thought I would like to do, but in the search for new experiences, you can never close yourself off to anything.

So, if you’re looking for something fun to do when you’re sitting around the house, grab an air gun and get practicing.




Locked Out And My New Addiction

I have a confession. I have an addiction. I think I’m in love the San Francisco startup scene. As the saying goes, “The first step is admitting you have a problem.” I wouldn’t call it a problem, but I didn’t realise it until my friend Stephen pointed it out to me.

I’m down in Sydney, Australia at the moment checking out the scene down here. I’ve been hanging out with an old friend from NYC. Stephen was like me and did the move the to San Fransisco before moving to Sydney, to be closer to his wife’s family in Oz.

Stephen is a bit of an entrepreneur at heart, and last Friday he wanted to introduce me to some of his friends in the startup scene after work. We had been out for a couple of drinks and didn’t get home till the early morning hours.

Luckily, Stephen’s family were staying the weekend at his wife parents place, so we wouldn’t disturb them in the middle of the night. Unlucky for us, Stephen had left his keys at the office.

We needed a locksmith to let us in so I ended up calling up these guys.

So there we were, in the middle of Sydney, sitting on Stephen’s front doorstep in the dark of the night as we wait for a locksmith to let us in.

Business was obviously on our minds, and we got talking with the vigour similar to the young go-getters I had met in San Francisco.

Talking to Stephen, I realised Sydney is very different to San Fransisco, but they also have a lot of similarities.

Sydney is mainly made up of corporate companies. There are a few exceptions such as Atlasssian, but it is very much the corporate lifestyle. As I had experienced, it is common to head to the pub and get a couple of drinks with workmates on a Friday night.

On the other hand, San Francisco has a more casual work lifestyle. However, if you are in a startup you are working long hours 6 days a week.

One thing I noticed is that the weather is pretty much the same as San Francisco. If you want to enjoy the sunshine, Darling Harbour is fantastic to chill and get some great food in the heart of the city. If the hustle-and-bustle is too much for you, there are always Sydney’s great beaches.

Stephen tells me that the Meetup scene in Sydney is strong and that there are heaps of workshops going on. I’m pretty keen to check out some of them over the weekend.

This when Stephen starts laughing. He points out that I’m very different from a couple of years ago. San Francisco is starting to change me – I would never have considered even starting a business let alone check out a workshop.

That’s when I realised I am addicted to San Francisco and it’s startup scene.

Travel Inspiration, Thanks to Netflix

how to watch Netflix overseas

As many of my readers must have realized by now, I’ve got a pretty good case of what the old-timers call “itchy foot” – my good friend, wanderlust! I feel like the world is open before me and all I have to do is decide where my trusty bike and I are off to next. The thing is, sometimes it’s just too hard to choose by myself, so I always appreciate recommendations for the best travel destinations!

During a few hours of downtime I enjoyed earlier today, I found myself browsing through the vast category of travel films, documentaries, and series you can watch on Netflix anywhere and anytime, if you have a VPN. Spellbound, I watched incredible footage of oceans, forests, cities, amazing landscapes, and enthralling foreign cultures presented by National Geographic. Then I got started on the Travel Channel’s series of food, tourism, and American legends, and I was lost in the possibilities.

Let me tell you, readers: I’m inspired. There’s so much out there that I’ve never seen and never done, so many places and people and experiences that I’ve only dreamed of encountering. And the potential adventures, right here on my home continent of North America, are virtually endless.

Should I cycle from Canada to Mexico, from the chilly northern tundra and pine forests, down through the Rocky Mountains, all the way to the deserts and the Gulf? Should I explore the hidden back roads of America, traveling only on my trusty bike (or maybe the ol’ thumb, when the weather gets a little too nasty)? Perhaps I’ll try every late-night diner along the way, visit every museum, or simply witness the array of oddities and range of geographies that North America has to offer.

Or should I brave a real pilgrimage and buy myself a one-way ticket to the furthest reaches of remote Asia, the narrowest streets of Europe, maybe the highest mountaintops of South America? Should I willfully strand myself in a strange land to face a whole new world of sights, sounds, and tastes? I know it’d only be a matter of taking that first big step, past that mythical “point of no return”.

I can’t shake the feeling that hundreds of countries, thousands of cities, millions of people, and countless new sights are waiting for me just over the horizon. All I have to do is take that first step and I’ll hit the ground running (or in my case: rolling!). Every day is a new chance to start something that will change my life forever.

San Francisco is Full of Beards, Flannel, and Fresh Food

beard oilThings have been going well, to say the least. I was right in assuming that my other half would insist on cleaning everything up to his white glove standards before we even unpacked a box.

Being unemployed allowed me to dive right into the housework and polish this place up.  It is such a beautiful home and James has decorated it perfectly.  He is so good at that sort of thing.  Give me a hammer and some nails and I know what to do, hand me a vase and I’ll just stare at it blankly.

We’re feeling more at home with being a gay couple now that we’re in San Francisco.  No one thinks twice about us holding hands when we’re shopping.  It is so nice being in an environment that is so comfortable with our lifestyle. You would think that people in New York would have been a little more understanding, but we didn’t live in the city.

Living in the city would have been too easy; we lived in an oddly conservative area in upstate. Once we unpacked I started scouring the web for a new job.  Luckily, while I was searching James landed a serving job in a swanky restaurant. We lived off of his tips and our savings for about a month before I found a job.  I ended up landing an even better job than the one we moved out here for. During the weekends we go downtown and look at the different shops and marvel at all strange people that make up the beauty of this town.

I noticed that a good deal of people have beards and wear flannel in this town, and they don’t even smell like garbage cans.  I think it is part of the hipster movement. I asked a particularly attractive server how he keeps his beard looking so nice and he told me he uses a product called beard oil from beardbrand. Maybe that’s what all these men are using. I still prefer the clean shaven look, but James seems a little envious of their facial hair.

I told James to just go for the beard.  I think it will look charming on him.

We planted a vegetable garden in our backyard this summer and we’ve been enjoying our daily harvests.  James is an amazing cook and nothing is going to waste.  The farmer’s market  in the area is amazing.  You can find the most unusual edibles there.  There is a mix of fruits, vegetables, salsa, jams and even honey that was harvested locally.  We didn’t have such a grand market in our old community.

We’ve been thinking about fostering a child and moving to possible adoption.  We have our first home visit with a social worker next week. James has gone into overdrive making sure the house is spotless.  We even set up a bedroom for a child using an awesome green palette.  If we end up fostering a boy we can mix blues in the décor, and if we foster a girl we can add pinks. I think we would rather have a child that is elementary age, than a younger child or baby.  In reality we’ll take any child.  We have so much love to give we just need a recipient.

Would You Sell Your Business to be a Writer? ?

nothing isworth itIf your best friend told you they were quitting their job or selling their business to become writer I’m sure you’d wanna smack some sense into them. One of my best friends has decided he wants to be a writer. And he’s selling his eCommerce business. I mean, why would someone leave a profitable business to embark on the uncertain journey of becoming an author? I love my friend alot, but he’s a stubborn asshole. What if he doesn’t make it? What if nobody likes his work?

I’m sure every aspiring author asks themselves those same questions. He’s just decided that it was worth it to try! And I support him 100%. You see, I’ve seen many people try their hand at writing in their free time, along with their regular day job. This is very dangerous. Writing is an art that simply cannot be pigeon-holed into regular “working hours”. So while you may have the discipline to write in your off hours, alot of people burn out really quickly.

Many people are under the misconception that you should just write when you feel inspiration. While that is great, it is not a good foundation for a business. If you treat your writing as a hobby and not a profession, you probably won’t do very well! I’m sure that if you invest your time and your imagination into creating something, you will have a much better chance of doing well than if you’re also trying to write, while worrying about the stresses of your 9 to 5.

The fact is, life is too short not to do what you love! This is one of the reasons I moved out here in the first place only to be turned down. It’s also the reason I haven’t settled for anything just yet. If writing amazing stories is your passion, there is absolutely no reason you shouldn’t go for it. So many people are concerned about the status-quo, that they don’t even realise that their life is ticking by. They miserably drag themselves to work every-day, silently wishing they could do something, ANYTHING else. Who wants to live like that.

Lots of people’s reason for not quitting is “job security”. Think about that carefully. How is your job secure when it depends on the creativity and the whims of someone else. I am the prime example of that. I had my hopes set on a job that wasn’t guaranteed for me. Not to mention that businesses fail every day. Remember Enron? That was a pretty big company! I wonder how secure their employees’ jobs were. What about those in the digital camera industry? Thousands of people are being laid off every day from businesses in dying industries.

Are you passionate about your job? If you are, then you should definitely keep working there. If writing as a hobby makes you happy, then go for it!

If you’ve read Tim Ferris’ book “The Four Hour Work Week” (haven’t we all!) then you know all about “Escaping the 9-5 and joining the new rich”. So many people are enticed by this dream, but they follow Tim’s advice blindly. So even though they may have set up online businesses, they’ve become trapped in a job that’s more difficult and even more time consuming than their 9-5.

Being the owner of a business, both on and offline requires you to wear many hats. You have to conceptualise, market, manage, and follow through with every single detail of your business or risk going under. My friend was pretty much drawn into the dream of operating a business, but deep down he  just wanted to write!

If you currently hold an unfulfilling, mind-numbing job, then the thought of leaving may not be so crazy! If you are the owner of an online business, you can read this great guide about selling your website profitably with a website broker here.

This entire post was just to say, don’t be afraid to follow your dreams. My friend not only inspired me, but showed me that life is just way too short to do what you don’t love, no matter how much money is involved. And don’t feel bad if it isn’t your dream to run your own business and hop islands for the rest of your life. I enjoy working with teams of great people and I don’t mind not being in charge. That’s all folks! Till next time.

Rant – Fines and iPhones

stressI had just arrived to Iowa City, got pulled over and fined $50 for not driving in bike lane. I wouldn’t have any problem with that if I was ABLE to drive on it. There was some kind of constructing being done which prevented me from following the line so I went on the road to avoid it, passing by a cop car. Naturally the bastard didn’t care and decided to punish me for not being able to drive through solid objects.

Police officer that stopped me should be educated in something called common sense. I don’t realize how someone who has sworn to protect and serve spends his time in car drinking coffee and pestering people.

After that I received a phone call that my new job position wasn’t available anymore, including apologies and excuses. What the hell I just bought a house and moved across the country for that job. Now I’ll end up with a huge house and no income. I have no idea how to deal with this situation. I guess I can pretty much spend every night on my way there applying for jobs. God I am so freaking upset, jobs are freaking hard to find these days. Lets hope lady luck will be on my side.

Whilst I’m ranting, HOLY SHIT – my phone carrier SUCKS! How hard is it to provide decent coverage?? Riding across the country is tough. The last thing I want to worry about is whether or not I’m going to be able to get reception and call my family if something happens to me on the road.

Which it did. And I couldn’t.

I tried demanding to be released from my contract but they wouldn’t do it so I just got my iPhone unlocked and left them. Yes, I technically still owe them money but if I don’t pay them, what are they going to do? Where are they going to get the cash from? Bill me?? They’ve got my old address!

TAKE THAT you piece of shit phone company. Maybe that’ll teach you to provide better service.

Rant over. I feel better 🙂

Looking into the future

houseAs I was driving today I kept thinking of all the things I will need to do with my new house as soon as I arrive.

Like cutting a huge amount of grass for example. Its kind of surprising but I’ve never cut grass in my entire life.  I hope there’s no way to screw it up, wouldn’t want to become the laughingstock of my new neighbors. Oh gosh I still didn’t really introduce myself to the new neighbors. I suppose it would be polite. Not to even mention moving in all the furniture and arranging everything.

The house was really clean when we were checking it out but I’m certain my better half will force me to clean every inch of the house before we put things inside. I guess it won’t be that much of a struggle since its pretty much just lots of empty space. I should purchase some speakers, listening music always makes cleaning easier in my opinion.

Lets not forget going to buy drapes and similar items. As a man best thing to do would be to stay quiet and hope she decides quickly. I wouldn’t want to end up like one of those men in stores that look like they’ve lost their will to live.

All in all lots of work, but I still have a long drive ahead of me, and several days before our things even begin their journey across the states. Hopefully I will arrive in time.


rosieI have reached Cleveland! Why Cleveland you might be asking. Well in short my grandmother lives here, and what kind of a person would I be if I didn’t stop by and spend some time with her, share some information of my glorious adventure. Especially since she was the one that pretty much raised me considering I’ve lost my parents at a very young age, and yet I’ve never became batman 🙁

My grandma is a strong sturdy woman. I was a mean little kid but she was meaner, always had something up her sleeve that would make me rethink my actions. What I am impressed the most by is that she never showed any sad emotions, like when our dog died. She had that dog longer then me back then. Spent time with it, played, slept, nearly even ate at the same table. And when he was gone there wasn’t really a big fuss about it, but you could feel something missing.

Recently when her husband died I figured she would be devastated, that I would see her cry for the first time. In her eulogy she said “He promised me he would stay by my side till the day I died, and that we would be reunited again in afterlife. I’m still here Harry, what the hell?!” Even in the most painful moments of her life she is strong, looks on the positive times, and makes everyone smile.

I hope my wife finds me half as strong as my grandma is. After all I cried like a baby during Bambi, not to mention Lion King.