Hello! I’m Colin.
I travel full-time, moving to a new country every four months or so, my next home determined by the votes of my readers.
I’m originally from the Bay Area in California, but spent most of my life in central Missouri; a fairly stark contrast, but one I feel richer for having experienced.
Growing up, I couldn’t decide if I wanted to be a chaos theorist or comic book illustrator, and I ended up pursuing a combined journalism-and-fine art trajectory in high school.
Writing a news analysis column for local papers on the side, my first year of university was as a painting major, but once I got a taste of design — and the magnificent collection of European and Asian professors who were hiding out at the state school I attended in Southwest Missouri — I changed my major, dual-emphasizing Graphic Design and Illustration.
I kept writing for the paper on the side, was hired for a handful of design and design-related positions in several industries, then started my first business, a culture magazine, at age 19.
My magazine did quite well and then flopped, which gave me my first taste of the sweet-yet-bitter field of entrepreneurship. From that point onward I worked all the harder, taught myself what I could about how businesses are run, graduated, moved to LA, and worked for a production studio for a year before starting up my own multidisciplinary practice. I did some generalist design, web, and UI work, integrated web development and sustainability into my recipe, then refocused heavily on branding: a field located right at the overlap between many of my interests.
Things escalated quickly and my branding studio was a professional success, which resulted in more than a little navel-gazing, which led to a fantastically successful breakup party that marked 1) the end of a wonderful relationship with a girl I was fortunate enough to date and live with for a time, and 2) the end of my somewhat-conventional, entrepreneurship-focused lifestyle.
In 2009 I got rid of everything I owned that wouldn’t fit into a carry-on bag, scaled down my branding studio so I could run it from the road, and started up a blog called Exile Lifestyle. I asked my readers to vote on where I should move, and they decided I would call Argentina home for four months.
In the last seven years I’ve also lived in New Zealand, Thailand, Iceland, India, Romania, Czech Republic, and the Philippines, spent time exploring about 60 other countries, visited all 48 contiguous US states twice (once over the course of just two months, traveling exclusively on Greyhound buses), roadtripped through South America, rode the rails through Southeast Asia, and have partaken in numerous other world-romping adventures.
Since hitting the road in 2009, I’ve professionally pivoted several times. I went from from building brands for other companies in LA, to consulting on branding from the road, to building brands for myself. I’ve started and run nearly a dozen medium- and small-scale endeavors, in industries ranging from sustainable product design to subscription-based publishing technologies.
I currently make my living by publishing books (nonfiction and fiction) through a publishing company called Asymmetrical Press, which I co-founded with two fellow authors, Josh and Ryan from The Minimalists.
I speak to crowds around the world at schools, conferences, events, and businesses, and I periodically teach classes and workshops.
I’m fortunate to have a wonderful family. My parents live in central Missouri, and my siblings (all three of them) are scattered around the US, doing various interesting things and living happy lives.
I date as I travel and am fortunate to have some truly amazing and inspiring people in my life. Non-standard relationships make sense to me, for me, on a practical and philosophical level.
I’m a minimalist in that I own very few things, and I am careful about how I consume. This doesn’t mean I’m anti-consumption, but rather that I’m very careful about how I spend my time, money, and energy. I tend to buy less but invest in quality, and I trend toward the same in relationships, business endeavors, and just about everything else.
I’m left-handed, blue-eyed, scary-good at Tetris, and can’t cook worth a damn (yet).
Some Other About-Ish Links
Want some photos of me for some reason? Here you go.
Want to read or watch some interviews I’ve done? You got it.
Want to know which companies/products/services I use to do what I do? Here’s a list.