Hello! I’m Colin.
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, but I ended up segueing into 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, got a bunch of design and design-related jobs, and started my first business at age 19: a culture magazine.
That magazine did really well and then flopped, which gave me my first taste of the sweet-yet-bitter field of entrepreneurship. From there I worked much harder, taught myself all I could about how businesses are actually 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 work, then integrated web development and sustainability into the equation before refocusing heavily on branding, a field that hit the sweet spot between many of my interests (design, philosophy, communication, and sociology).
Things escalated quickly and my branding studio did pretty dang well, 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 an effort to pursue my world-traveling ambitions while still young enough to make a lot of mistakes and bounce back from them more or less intact, in 2009 I got rid of everything I owned that wouldn’t fit into a carry-on bag, scaled my business 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 would move, and they decided I would call Argentina home for four months.
In the six years since then, I’ve also lived in New Zealand, Thailand, Iceland, India, Romania, and Czech Republic, visited the 48 contiguous US states twice (once in just two months, traveling exclusively on Greyhound buses), roadtripped through South America, rode the rails through Southeast Asia, and visited about 30 other countries alongside my longer-term homesteading adventures.
Since hitting the road, I’ve pivoted from building brands for other companies, to consulting on branding, 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 also periodically teach classes, give talks at schools, conferences, and events, and run workshops all over the world.
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 very special, 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 am careful in how I consume. That doesn’t mean I’m anti-consumption, but rather that I think very carefully about how I spend my time, money, and energy. I tend to buy less but invest in quality when I do, 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.
Do you accept guest posts/submissions for your blog?
Can I buy an advertisement on your blog?
How do you make money, if not through advertisements and such?
I write books and sell them.