Friday, August 7, 2015

So...We Bought a House

I'm reviving this blog for the purchase of our first home, because I know that in 20 years, the feelings (nervousness and excitement, but mostly excitement), the renovation process, and everything that goes with it will be mostly forgotten. I probably won't do a good job (way too busy) at keeping up with this blog, but here we go anyway!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

"A ship is safe in harbor, but that's not what ships are for."

I've been skimming a book recently and wanted to share this excerpt:
Buddhists believe we live our everyday lives as if inside an eggshell. Just as an unhatched chicken has few clues about what life is truly like, most of us are only vaguely aware of the greater world around us.  "Excitement and depression, fortune and misfortune, pleasure and pain," wrote Dhammapada scholar Eknath Easwaran, "are storms in a tiny, private, shell-bound realm--which we take to be the whole of existence. Yet we can break out of this shell and enter a new world." 
...In leaving behind the routines and assumptions of home--in taking that first resolute step into the world--you'll find yourself entering a much larger and less constrictive paradigm.
You could say I've already taken my first step by moving from "home" to California 2 years ago, but does that really count as "breaking out of the shell"? I think it may be different for different people.  For some, travelling to a neighboring state may be the biggest adventure of their lives, whiles others aren't content after seeing every country in the world.

I think the most important thing is pushing your own boundaries, whatever they may be.  The world (across the state or across the globe) has so much to offer, and we are lucky enough to have a chance to experience it, if we choose to.

One of the biggest regrets I hear from older people is that they didn't travel much (or at all) when they had the chance.  In 20 years, who knows where I'll be, but I can almost guarantee that I'll have more responsibilities than I do now.  So I'm choosing to not make excuses, not ignore those thoughts in the back of my mind, and heed some Mark Twain wisdom:

Until next time, be well everyone.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Transience, Travel, and The Head And The Heart

I guess I liked them at first because their songs were catchy -- and there's nothing wrong with that.  I barely knew their songs the first time I saw them at Treasure Island Music Festival, which was amazing:

But I didn't start to really get into them until the Master's International kids got close and started to have jam sessions pretty regularly.  And by jam sessions I mean everyone drinking beers and eating delicious food off the grill while Scott played guitar and I sang too loudly (thanks Scott).

I've always connected to music primarily through their lyrics, and this band is no different.  Being a group of transplants ourselves (most with a Davis expiration date, thanks Peace Corps), we could relate to their themes of transience interwoven through their debut album.  Songs like Down in the Valley brought us together and Winter Song and especially Rivers and Roads (which Charity absolutely kills live, wait for about the 3:00 mark for goosebumps) sent everyone on their way to bigger and better things.

I got the chance to see them again at the famous Fillmore Auditorium (no pictures, sorry) and then again at Sophia's Thai Kitchen in a super intimate bar patio setting for only $15!  I showed up early (I was the first one there at 5pm), watched Charity pass me a few times before I mustered up the courage to approach her and ask for her autograph.  She was super nice and seemed very flattered; she shook my hand and asked my name before signing like 6 posters for my friends and I (we got the rest of the band's autographs after the show).

And that wasn't even the best part of the night.  To give you an idea of how close we were, here's a video courtesy of Abdul:

And then this happened.  Sorry for the quality, but yes that's me singing a chorus during the show with Jonathan Russell.

I've realized that excuses are the easy way out for a lot of people.  So easily can people find an external roadblock between themselves and their dreams.  There's always a convenient excuse to why you can't travel (or whatever your dream may be).  It surely isn't your fault, right?  I challenge you to challenge yourself and maybe reevaluate your priorities.  Unless you're happy sitting in your graves.

"All my friends are talkin' about leavin', about leavin', but all my friends are sittin' in their graves." - 

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Road Trip - 2013 Edition (Introduction)

It all started with a Dave Matthews Band concert at the Gorge Amphitheatre.  I'd had enough of hearing people tell me about how amazing it was and wanted to experience it for myself.  It combines some of my favorite things in life: camping, grilling, beer, and Dave. Not to mention the view, which speaks for itself.

After I found out that The Head And The Heart was opening for Dave, it was a done deal. (I might detail my background with both bands in a separate post).  I bought lawn tickets and a camping pass for the 3 day show and locked myself in to go.

My plan was to drive to the show from Davis and make a mini road trip out of it.  But after I booked a ticket leaving Chicago to Munich for my round-the-world trip (more on that later), Julia suggested we make a road trip out of it, starting in Davis, ending in Milwaukee (hometown).  It made sense for lots of reasons, but I think what mainly attracted me to the idea was getting to go on an adventure, of course.  A 3 week, jam-packed epic trip across the country with my girlfriend, culminating with a week in my hometown (she's hasn't met my parents or most of my Milwaukee friends yet).

And so, many months of planning commenced, leading to this beauty:

More than 12 campgrounds across state/national parks including Redwood, Olympic, Glacier, Yellowstone, Grand Teton, and Badlands National Parks.  Throw in some breweries and some cool cities plus the concert and you have the recipe for a pretty awesome road trip.

This was just an introduction, hopefully I'll have time to update the blog along the way.  If you have suggestions for my route, fire away.

Until next time...

Monday, July 15, 2013

First Post

I made this blog mainly to keep track of my travels (and keep everyone updated of course), but expect to see other topics interspersed throughout.

I've purchased a new domain and mapped it correctly (I think) so it should work if you go to  You shouldn't need www but let me know if you have problems.

I'm testing how posts show up with pictures so I'm going to drop a few here from past trips.
I forgot which Redwood Park in northern CA

Lost Coast, CA (Sinkyone Wilderness)

Oregon Coast

Sunset State Beach, CA

Until next time!