What traveling teaches

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Day one in Vietnam, 2018-11-18

Walk in a straight line at a consistent pace and do not hesitate. Eat eat eat. Smile a lot. Show respect. Be aware. Explore side streets. Ask questions.

Most importantly, take responsibility for yourself and conduct yourself appropriately, no matter the surroundings.

But my favorite: do something new and uncomfortable each day.

These are some things that traveling teaches. Lest we forget that every day is an adventure, no matter the surroundings.

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Have you ever seen the same car twice?

 

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Northern Virginia, 2018

Have you ever seen the same car twice? How did you know? It’s likely you remembered the license plate.

License plates have great marketing potential. It’s only around $30 a month to maintain a custom 6-8 digit message on a license plate.

You can bring awareness to your personal or business brand at a low cost.

Which would I pick?

BEAWOLF
B3AW0LF
B3AW07F
133AW07F

I’ll think of something.

License plates are awesome.

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May 20, 2017 — Cruising to the (west) coast

I really like license plates. They give cars a fun extra bit of uniqueness.

I often imagine what states people come from, why they’re here, and where they’re going. Especially if they seem out of place.

How is a Hawaii plate in the continental US? Or a European plate? Some questions don’t have answers.

But this one does. Did you know: I recently discovered that rental car agencies will often have cars with out-of-state license plates. Agencies re-allocate their supply due to shifting demand for certain car models in certain areas and times of the year. This explains why I get the impression of more out-of-state drivers driving to and from the airport…

Gratitude to the heroes

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“Grandpa’s 104th”

Heroes deserve encouragement and love before, during, and after their journeys. Veterans are examples of such heroes. They often leave the safety of home to seek out the unknown and bring order to chaos.

When we spend most of our lives stationary and digitized, we often forget how fast life moves around us. How quickly a fire can spread or an ambush can explode.

Check in on someone who may need you today.

Thank you to veterans everywhere.

What’s better than the open road?

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A momentous day on Sugarloaf Mountain, MD in 2017

A friend once asked me, what’s better than driving with nothing ahead of you but the open road?

I replied, maybe when I’m trailing someone ahead of me. That way, they’d get pulled over for speeding if there’s a cop. And, I can draft off of their slipstream and save gas. And, I don’t need to worry about directions.

Maybe I missed the point.

We face a multitude of existential possibility each day. When you go alone, you could get pulled over, or run out of gas, or get lost.

If that open road scares you, then find a mentor who’s driving fast to trail behind. Once you get enough experience (at least 55,555 miles), you can pull away and find your own open road.

We can use our self-worth equation as an ethical signpost.

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Biking, circa 2018

Purpose emerges from activities. Which activities create a valuable purpose? Extend our idea of self-worth to a combination of four ethical tools. When searching for a purpose, start with these.

If Self-Worth = (Self-Understanding X Ability to Influence X Giving Usefulness / Redundancy), then apply as follows:

1. Understanding: Integrate habits into greater narratives
2. Influence: Search for treasures and fight off demons
3. Usefulness: Teach others of their value
4. Uniqueness: Reframe old ideas into modern frameworks

Start with good enough and make it a habit.

What is our value? How about our self-worth?

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Mae Taeng Jungle – December 17, 2014. Here we see the magnificent elephant bushwhacking through her natural habitat.

What’s our Value?
Marketplace Value = (Experience X Skills X Demand / Supply)

What about Self-Worth?

1. Increase Experience = Understand your habits and tendencies
2. Increase Skills = Influence your surroundings more effectively
3. Increase Demand = Give people something useful
4. Decrease Supply = Differentiate yourself

Self-Worth = (Self-Understanding X Ability to Influence X Giving Usefulness / Redundancy)

Everyone should take 5 minutes tomorrow and give gratitude for the self-worth they have and the opportunity to improve it.

Put vegetables on your plate

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Sunset in Oland, Sweden – 2014

I am naturally open-minded, spontaneous, and adaptable. I operate most effectively when I have all the information in front of me. This means: “Out of sight, out of mind.”

Suppose we have vegetables with a short shelf life. I have to put them in the front of the fridge. I’ll forget to eat them if I don’t see them.

This is fine for perishable foods in a refrigerator. But what about tasks? Strategic objectives? People?

I manage daily, weekly, monthly, and annual tasks on a Trello board. I allocate calendar time to strategizing about long-term goals. I set recurring reminders to catch up with people. I recommend you do the same.

I will eat the vegetables if I see them on my plate.

In the unknown, I also have Time.

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Ergometer, 11/5/2018

I push a bit harder every day.

If I multiply myself by 1.01 of discomfort tomorrow, I’ll be fine.

If I do it again two days from now, same thing.

If I multiply yourself by 1.01 of discomfort every day for a year, I’ll be almost 3,700% further along in my hero’s journey than if I had floated along passively. So I start with small improvements and love the improvement process. Doing this enables me to move more effectively through the unknown.

In the unknown, I have two tools: One of which is Structure.

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Me and a nice man, in China in late 2014

Here’s a picture of me with the Chinese Terracotta Warriors in late 2014. The man next to me and I had lunch for an hour afterward. Neither of us could speak each other’s language. But we got creative and used gestures, pointing, and big smiles.

The things that have withstood time have significance. Humans naturally select for ideas, beliefs, and heroes that explain and promote life in the best way.

I rely on external structures like the Warriors and language as guides. I am incomplete, finite, prone to wander, and often wrong. I could delude myself to do some stupid shit. When I wander off the path and start doing stupid shit, structure draws me back.

These are the things that give stability to my known world. Complex yet extendable structures enable me to incorporate unknowns into my narrative.