Tonsai Longtail

The Gripping Fear of Reality

Escape to Thailand

When I left for Thailand, I made no secret about the fact it was a one-way trip with no end date in mind. That wasn’t meant to say that I was going to stay here forever, though I think some people thought that.

Who am I kidding? That’s what I thought too.

Fire Wall Tonsai

My social media updates and conversations with friends made it seem that way. I truly thought I could.

But I think I just wanted to live the lie that I could do this for as long as I wanted, no questions asked.

When I first set out, I had ideas of lasting a year+ while traveling. Plans and timelines changed at least 17 different times during my trip. My original statement, “no end date in mind,” was still correct. It’s just that my hypothetical end date far into the future is now a real date and approaching much sooner than I intended.

The Original Escape

When I quit my job, I also somewhat jokingly would pass off comments of how long I could live on my own just in the U.S. without the security of a real job. I’d say, “yeah, I’ve got enough for a year [lol].” As if that lol was meant to mean, “sure, I could do nothing and live for a year, but I know I’m going to be successful so it doesn’t really matter.”

That was another lie I wanted to live.

VanLife Roadtrip

Lies Don’t Last Forever

I’ve lived below my means here in Thailand, but I’ve not done the hardcore budget backpacker thing. I save money when I can and when it’s easy, but I don’t skimp on things that are going to make my life much easier while here. Coupled with ongoing expenses like health insurance, student loans, software packages, and a little credit card debt, and my savings aren’t going to keep me afloat forever.

I have picked up some nice freelance writing gigs while here, but they would still only be a nice little side income if you already had a full-time job. Even as cheap as this place is, and as cheap as VanLife will be, that’s not enough to sustain me. Along those same lines, I haven’t had any time to devote to building my freelance marketing portfolio. That is, gaining more clients.

No Regrets

Despite my lies cashing in all at once I still have no regrets about my decisions. How many people in the U.S. can say they went on a 4 month vacation, and for the most part, “lived” in another country? There is no way I can look back on this time and think of it in anything but an extremely positive light.

Chiang Mai Grand Canyon Jump

The Last Stand

I have decided to cut my trip short and return on Sept. 23. But that doesn’t mean I’m giving up. I have enough savings to keep me afloat until 2016, but that doesn’t mean I’m giving up and only relying on that. I still have money coming in, albeit small, and other opportunities that have presented themselves, so I’m not giving up without a fight.

I’m coming back because I need to be in a place where I can focus and have the resources (internet) available to capitalize on the things that can prolong my time of freedom. I need to re-focus on freelancing. I need to make my final push in making this life of mine sustainable for the long-term. Because the fear of going back to Corporate America is much greater than the fear of failure at any one of the things happening for me currently. And that’s no lie.

A Life Worth Sharing

Live your Life tattooWe all know my personal mantra:

Live Your Life

I have it tattooed on my ribs.

It’s just three words.

On the surface it’s pretty benign.

Live Your Life

Winter Mt. Audubon SummitWhat the hell does that even mean? Whom else’s life would you live? Why would someone tell me to live my life, you pompous ass?

But I choose to look at it more deeply.

Live Your Life

It’s just three words.

But what do they mean?

©Columbia Sportswear, photo by Mark GoingI live my life to live experiences. Not other people’s expectations of what my life should be. Not what other people think I should experience.

But my own life.

My own experiences.

You are the representation of your life decisions.

Zeal Optics Brewer
And right now, my life decision is to live it as though it will someday be a story. A story for my children or grandchildren or just some random stranger reading a book.

But those decisions come with consequences.

Wadi Rum Camel RideI’m not single entirely by choice.

It’s hard to fall for someone that wants to live a story. Of living all the stories this world has to offer. That lives by unconventional means.

VanLife RoadtripIt’s hard to find someone that is willing to put up with my decisions. To support me even if their life path isn’t the same as mine. And still wholly be there for me.

It’s even harder to find someone that is already on this path and can join along for the ride. Not that it’s a requirement.

My life is the representation of the decisions I’ve made.

Longs Peak KeyholeAt some point, I will have to ask myself, if I can’t find someone to share this life with, who will actually read my stories?

Who will I tell?

Are my stories worth it?

Ultimately I love living my life this way. Right now.

Wadi Rum SunsetAs I continue to get older, the desire to share my life with someone is growing stronger and stronger.

I think everyone reaches this point, but we may not reach it at the same time.

But I am currently struggling with the question:

Is a life filled with stories a life lived well without anyone to share them with?

Friends in Vedauwoo


If You Want Change, Take Action

Several of you, including friends from the real world, have told me how much you admire the fact that I just make things happen. I get an idea in my head, and then I go to work at making it happen.

The big thing is that I don’t sit here and “put energy out into the world” or “manifest something great for my life.”

I go do it.

I take action.

Once I’ve accomplished something, the spiritual people in my life may tell me, “that’s because you manifested it. You put it out there and the universe responded.”


Did it?

Or did the fact that I said I was going to do something, and then followed through with my words and actions, have more to do with it? My desire to see something done. My desire to achieve something.

If I want to walk across America, I have to take the first step. I have to take the first step and every single subsequent step after that until I’ve reached my goal.

I cannot talk and talk and talk about something I want and put it out in the universe and it will magically happen.

You have to take action.

You have to take the first step.

And I think that is the part that a lot of people lack these days.

People expect things to happen.  People feel they deserve something to happen.

They’ll talk about their goals. They’ll talk about the life they want to live. They’ll talk about a few minor obstacles in their way. But in the end, it’s just talk. Talk, talk, talk, talk, talk.

Talk and belief and the idea that you deserve something get you nowhere.

Action begins your journey. Action carries you throughout. And action is what ultimately satisfies your goal.

As I get older, I run into more and more people that just want to talk.

Talk about the plans they used to have. Talk about the plans they’re working on now. Talk about their plans for the future.

Ultimately, everything falls through. Because it’s just talking and planning.

They never took the first step.

They never put any talk into action.

So how did I get to where I am today?

When I won a completely random monthly giveaway from Arc’Teryx, they didn’t say, “here’s your pack, and oh, by the way, would you want to be an ambassador for us?”


I took action.

I emailed the contact. Discussed the idea. Wrote an informal proposal and eventually a formal proposal and a deal was done. I was an Arc’Teryx ambassador.

Did Evolv notice my superhuman ability to crush 5.10’s? No.

They had an application open to the public that any of the 10’s of thousands of climbers in the world could have applied for.

I knew my odds, but I didn’t care. I wrote my proposal, filled out the application, did all the same things all the other applicants did, and somehow I got chosen.

Now, some of you may think, “exactly, you put it out in the universe and it came back to you.”


What if I had never applied? What if I didn’t go through the trouble of filling out the application? Evolv still wouldn’t have known who I was. None of the other climbing companies would know who I am.

You either get noticed through legitimate athletic prowess, magazine covers, and podium placements….or you take action, in any way available to you.

And as I become this old curmudgeon of a guy, I find myself not wanting to be around people that just talk.

I will support you and be incredibly enthusiastic and help you out in any way possible to help you accomplish your goal.

But as soon as I realize you’re just talk, and you don’t have true ambition to follow through with your words, I’m out.

Actions, as they say, speak louder than words. But words, are a lot easier to say, and not actually do.

Stop talking. Start doing.