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Finishing Things

My past two weeks have been riddled with endings.

Jóna and I completed a road trip around the US, managing to set foot in all 48 continental US states in under 60 days, and doing it all in Greyhound buses.

Then, Jóna left the US, heading back to her home in Iceland, which ended our traveling together, and also ended the relationship we’d enjoyed for the past year-ish.

Finally, a few days ago I completed my newest book; a sequel of sorts to ‘My Exile Lifestyle,’ which is called ‘Iceland, India, Interstate,’ and tells the story of my past year, and all the adventures therein, using the relationship with Jóna as kind of a chronological meter.

Of these three completions, the relationship with Jóna brings with it the biggest lifestyle change. I didn’t plan to date her for a whole year when we first met — in fact, we had both only intended to date for the final month I was in Iceland! — but it ended up being an incredibly valuable experience, and the past year has been my best yet as a result.

Finishing up a road trip, especially one that goes on for two months, is a big lifestyle shift, as well. We spent about 60 days running from place to place, spending an inordinate amount of time in Greyhound stations, sitting on buses, staring out windows, interacting with incredibly impoverished and legitimately crazy people, and visiting folks in different parts of the country, all of which had different lifestyles and world views, which we had to adapt to while on their home turf.

When I was young, and a Boy Scout, I went on a few day-long canoe trips, and when they were over it would be tough to sleep, because I would still be able to feel the rocking of the boat any time I lay down. I’m in a similar state now: I find myself mentally preparing to pack my bag, grab my ticket, and head for the station, but then realize I don’t have to; I can hold still for a bit.

But in holding still, I found other things to fill my time. My new book has been knocking around in my head for a very long time, and being able to sit down and write it was therapeutic. After a few weeks of doing little but write, however, I’ve come to another ending. Although there are still edits to make and a launch to prepare, I feel my brain crying out for stimuli. I’ve been taxing it for so long, loading it down with adventures and projects and relationships that now, when I’m sans these things, it feels like I’ve hopped off a trampoline, and my legs are still accustomed to being able to take me higher.

This feeling won’t last, though, it never does. I have a new project that’s already been conceived, and is just waiting to be presented to the world, and two more books that I’d like to write before heading out to Romania in June; moving to Romania, of course, will be a new adventure that my excitement-hungry brain will revel in.

So for now I sit here in Columbia, Missouri, happy to have some time to visit with my family and sit quietly (a rare treat), but ready — always ready — for that next new fix: that new start, which will give me something to finish.

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This Post Will Be Short, Because There’s Cake

I turned 27 today, and although it’s one of those awkward numbers that don’t mean anything (not like 21, or 25, or 30), it’s also just old enough that I should feel old, but just young enough that I’m still youngish. Thankfully, I’ve been feeling younger and younger ever year, and arguably doing less-and-less ‘adult’ things (not a euphemism) every day. Take that, social expectations!

I tallied up the votes for the next country I’ll move to today, as a birthday gift to myself, and Romania came out on top; a shocking turn-of-events, because until just a week and a half ago, it wasn’t even in the top 5. I’ll write a post about this soon, but I’m already psyched to make the move, and looking forward to learning more about this country that got such lovely comments by the folks who voted for it. I’ll be moving there in June, so I’ll be seeing you soon, Romanians!

What am I doing until June?

I’m spending time with my family, which has been (and will continue to be) nice. I’m also finishing up my next book — a sequel to My Exile Lifestyle — and I’m planning on having it in pretty good shape by the end of April, on the e-shelves in May.

I’ve also started up a new business with a couple of guys you might recognize. Joshua Millburn, Ryan Nicodemus, and Thom Chambers. Perhaps predictably, this new venture is publishing-related. Less-predictable is the model we’re fine-tuning. You’ll be hearing a lot more about this from us in the very near-future.

Finally, Jóna and I have finished up our Greyhound road trip around the US, and though we’re still recovering from such a whirlwind tour around the country, we are proud to have seen such beautiful landscapes, met such wonderful people along the way, and undertaken such a brazen adventure for its own sake. I’ll be writing up a guide on how you can do the same (and what we learned along the way) once I’m done writing the above-mentioned book this month.

UPDATE: I’ve been getting people asking what they can get me for my birthday, and that is just frickin’ ridiculously cool, folks, so thanks for the thought! I’ve got everything I want at the moment, but if you want to put another smile on my face, maybe pick up one of my books you haven’t read from Amazon (they’re cheap!), or take a look at Exiles and consider subscribing (it’s also quite cheap! The next issue is being released tonight, too!). Otherwise, just keep being the amazing people you are and stay in touch :)

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Who Could Hire Me

Opting to work for myself — forever and ever — was one of the best decisions I ever made.

I started my first company at 19, and back then I had ideas, but little practical knowledge of how to run a business. I had a few successes and a lot of flops, and it was exciting, but it wasn’t sustainable. I ended up taking a job when I graduated from college, and after a year of that, decided to give working for myself another go.

Thankfully, by that time I had acquired a fairly large body of knowledge involving the nuts and bolts of business, not just big, bold, brash ideas of how I was going to do everything differently and better than it’s ever been done before. Melding my vision with reality has been a harsh pill to swallow sometimes, but I’ve found that certain supposedly-unbreakable rules can be bent, and in many cases, bending can be most satisfying.

It’s with this in mind that I present you with a list of reasons I would work for someone else.

I should note ahead of time that I’m not planning to work for anyone else, nor do I particularly relish the thought, but I’ve been asked the question, “Would you ever go back to working for someone else again?” in the past, and have always answered (incorrectly) that there is no way in hell I would ever do so…I love the freedom of what I do now far too much.

Giving it more thought (as I’ve been able to do with a LOT of things during this road trip I’m currently on), however, I’ve come up with some properties of a job that would convince me to work for someone else (at least for a while), rather than being an independent agent, answering to no one but myself, as I am now.

1. Temporary

I’ve found that the best things in life tend to be temporary. Relationships can be better, for example, when they have a time limit, because then both people stay excited, don’t get hung up on tiny issues, and are able to make the most of the time they have.

I see the same theory working well with employment. I feel that I would be far more effective and excited about the work I was doing if I knew when my stint doing that kind of work for whomever I was working for would end.

Ideally, this would be somewhere between 6 months and 2 years, though it would really depend on the work, and who it was with. I wouldn’t want to get started and leave before I could achieve anything noteworthy and cool, but I also want to know when I’ll be done, so that the little things that would normally bug me otherwise about such work situations can be back-seated, and the opportunity can stay firmly in the honeymoon stage for the duration.

2. Flexible

Remote working would be ideal, but I could even fathom doing something where I was stuck in one spot, so long as I had super-flexible hours.

Ideally, it would be something with loose hours but firm goals; I like reaching goals, but I also like to know that if I reach them in a clever, time-saving way, I won’t be punished for doing so with more work to ‘fill the hours.’

It would also be nice to have the opportunity to explore different facets of whatever industry I’m involved in, which is not always a possibility, especially in cog-meet-machine style work environments.

3. Game-Changing

There are a lot of ways to get into work you’re doing, but I make it a focus to spend my time on things that I consider to be epic in some way.

This can mean being involved with the construction or promotion of some industry-upsetting technology, working with people who are aiming to do something that’s never been done before, or even just getting to participate in a field that’s unusual or nifty.

Fields I think are amazing: private space travel, electronic currency, augmented reality, decentralized internet-style networks, higher-education alternatives, new publishing; there are others. You bet your ass.

4. Challenging

I can always make money, but challenges worth applying myself to are fewer and far between.

To work for someone else, I would have to know that what I was doing would challenge me to learn new things, push my limits, and, hopefully, solve some problems along the way. When I go to sleep at the end of the day, I like to know I made a difference in some way. The same would have to be true for any job I might consider taking.

 

Of course, this is all just speculation, and I doubt something will come along that fulfills all these requirements, and I’m totally okay with that. I like where I’m at and where I’m going.

But this is a list I think every entrepreneur should make for themselves and have handy, just in case an opportunity comes along to work for someone else that might otherwise be missed because of misguided dogmatism.

After all, rules can be bent, and sometimes it’s most satisfying when they are.