Wednesday, February 23, 2011

I saved my life by giving it up aka I quit my job and and started traveling

So I’ve been traveling through Mexico and Central American now for about 150 days, about five months now. I used to live in San Diego and now I live in the cleanest hostel I can find in whatever town I come across. Why did I do it? Well F, I was sick of my damn life, that’s why. Nine months before I crossed the Tijuana/SD border with too much luggage and my best friend I had quit one of the best jobs I had held down for two years. It was in pretty much the most laid back, coolest, funkiest offices you could work in. The kind where your boss gifts the office guitar hero to be played whenever and funds the annual Day at The Racetrack, a big boozy affair where money is no object. Even still, as manager of this dope creative design firm I was still relegated to sitting at a desk and staring at a screen for 8 precious hours a day. Now I know people at all levels and ages are hurting for jobs and I should have been grateful, that I had it so good. But I didn’t, several weeks before I quit I would have nervous breakdowns, bursting into tears while staring at the wall straight ahead wondering how much longer I could do it. I felt half alive and I could feel my dark mood affecting the people I had once taken pride in boosting up. See I had started to realize just HOW LITTLE of my life I was actually living. Here was my daily routine:

  1. Wake Up
  2. Drive to work
  3. Work
  4. Drive home
  5. Go to gym
  6. Sleep

And repeat five times a week…

My weekends consisted of spending my hard earned money on alcohol, weed, useless crap at stores, lackluster dinners out and vague mini-vacations. AKA rushed camping trips or jet sets to Vegas or San Francisco where I did the same thing I did in San Diego but in bars that had different names. More seriously, I was having back problems from sitting on my ass so much, even though I was working out daily. My doctor said even my two hours of daily workout couldn’t reverse the harmful effects of 40 hours per week spent sitting.

Health problems aside I felt like I hadn’t met anyone that inspired me lately, I had no new stories, I was watching other friends move abroad and travel and create new experiences and I just felt like I was living in the movie Groundhog Day where every day I woke up and did the same thing. I felt like I was in a life coma and it freaked me the fuck out. First order of business was quitting my job. I knew I’d never be crazy enough to leave for a big sojourn if I had the constant comfort of a regular paycheck resetting my finances every two weeks. It’s such a human emotion to be like, WHY would I quit this job, I have health care and money, oh and it’s also making me hate my freaking life every day. There’s nothing like the threat of not making rent to kick your ass into reality!

The reality was I ended up with about five jobs in nine months and a serious few months of poverty. I had to swallow my pride and borrow money from my Dad once and I had to say no to a fair share of nights out with the friends and my beloved pedicures. But here’s the deal, I’ve been traveling for five months and I have not regretted those tough nine months for a second. I’m living the dream that I had when I was freaking out and crying, shaking with sadness in my desk. It was all worth it. Shit even the process turned out to be fun as hell and prepared me the resourcefulness, ability to adapt and attention to budget that later helped me out while I was traveling. Here’s what went down in the nine months I saved money to save my life:

I became a mortgage lender:

1. My first job after quitting my desk job was working with my friend’s sister as a mortgage lender. I had no interest, or experience for that matter, in the trade but she made THOUSANDS and said I could too. I was able to work from home and on my own time. Truth was it never made as much money as I had hoped to be worth the stress. But I did learn so much from her, the closest thing I’ve had as a mentor. This brought out the assertive and confident side I’ve always wanted to discover and I learned a new trade.

I worked for the US Census:

2. As money got tight I started getting conventional with new ways to make money without just ending up back at a desk job. I worked for the US Census, one of the most fun jobs I had and paid pretty well too. I met lots of interesting people and got to work outside and on my own time walking around the neighborhood.

I worked at Comic Con:

3. I got to work for Comic Con which meant free access in the internationally acclaimed entertainment festival. I got lots of star sightings out of it!

I bartended at an outdoor concert series:

4. I took a job bartending for Wolgang Puck as part of the catering for The Summer Pops Series at the Embarcadero, this means I saw the likes of Burt Bacharach and more serenade us all under the stars ending every nights performance with fireworks over the bay. They sent us home with delicious dinners and leftovers every night (which helped during times where I’d been eating ramen noodles far too long)

I hosted at a karaoke bar:

5. I took a job hosting at the only place I’d party in the Gaslamp, Analog Bar, a super dope karaoke bar. They had me at karaoke! It was in walking distance to my house so no driving and I got to karaoke with fun crowd all night.

I started my dream of doing stand up comedy:

6..The coolest thing was I started my dream of stand up comedy!! I had all this spare time and also had inspiration from my new poverty and all my new job and people I was meeting. I was still reeling off my fearless move of quitting my job, what’s a little public speaking huh?

I scored three months free rent:

7. What really helped was the house I’d been living in got foreclosed on and law stated that my roommates and I had 3 months rent free. My and my best friend moved into one of the huge rooms together and rented out the other room. The desire to save lots of money for a trip really got out innovative juices flowing.

So after all that I sold my car and sold all of my shit (there’s nothing like watching all the usesless crap you’ve accumulated being bought for cents while youre want to kick yourself for ever buying it in the first place). I broke up with the guy I’d been dating for a bit and threw myself a KILLER bon voyage party. The thing I heard most that night?? “Oh my god I wish I could do what your doing…” How come nobody thinks they can!?! Im just a normal person that had had too much.

Here’s the deal: The year before I had lost 80 lbs and it made me feel crazy bad ass and like I could do anything in the world. Still, quitting my job was one of the scariest things I’ve ever done and the fact that I did it made everything else seem super easy. It made me feel bold, it made me fearless. It made me feel like travel in a foreign county with a friend and then alone for six months was gonna be a snap.

So here is my trip broken down so you can do it too, honestly just figuring it out yourself is the way to go but I won’t say I frantically searched blogs for answers along the way. Mostly I just hope it inspires you. If you’re about to lose your fucking shit at your job or your sitting around on your unemployment bored out of your mind or you’re a rich person with no inspiration or if you’re retired or if you want to take the wife and kids on a mind opening experience or you just broke up or you just started going out with someone or your HUMAN you need to fucking have a “walk about” you need to get out of your comfort zone and travel somewhere on the earth where you don’t know the language or culture. Travel for at least three months, more if you can because it teaches your things and more importantly it gives you perspective, a place to start making some rational decisions about what you REALLY want with your life. And it's fun and you meet people and you'll have some killer stories to bring back to your revamped life.


I just saved my life and I just figured out what I ACTUALLY want to do with my life (for now). I also learned more than I’ve learned in my 27 years to date, about life and about myself.

You can do it, you need to it, sell your shit and get out there, save your life.

Following this I will post regulary on the last five months of travel and then my remaining three weeks. EnjoyJ

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Oddness of W

Not the past president, the letter. Sure this is a thought induced by weed but it still stands true: The letter W is not a pair of U's if written correctly, it's a pair of V's. And furthermore, when every other letter in the alphabet get's it's own name, why was W just a rehashed version of some other letter, and not even the right one. It reminds me of West Virginia which is really just a direction and then some other states name. Anyway, sucks for W.....

The White Stripes Announce Break Up

The groundbreaking rock duo announced Wednesday they are splitting up and "will make no further new recordings or perform live."

Jack White and Meg White say there are a "myriad of reasons" for the breakup, but the main reason is to "preserve what is beautiful and special about the band."

Over the years, Jack White has focused attention on other projects, including the bands the Dead Weather and the Raconteurs, as well as his Nashville, Tenn.-based Third Man Records.

Famous Dungeons and Dragons Players

Dungeons and Dragons is probably the quintessential marks of a true dork, dweeb or geek. More than a pocket protector and more than horn rimmed glasses with tape connecting the middle the whimsical game represents the pride of loserdom since the 70's. But now time has afforded it ironic coolness as it has many many things once untouchable. And because of this famous D&D players have been able to come out of hiding.

And Here The Dorks Are!!
  • Bill Amend
  • Kevin J. Anderson
  • Noah Antwiler
  • Lee Arenberg
  • Stephen Colbert
  • Rivers Cuomo
  • Vin Diesel
  • Lexa Doig
  • Tim Duncan
  • Jon Favreau
  • Ethan Gilsdorf
  • Sasha Grey
  • Chris Hardwick
  • Matthew Lillard
  • Michelle Malkin
  • Marilyn Manson
  • Robert MacNaughton
  • Moby
  • Mike Myers
  • Patton Oswalt
  • Brian Posehn,
  • Zak Smith
  • Karl Urban
  • Mark Tremonti
  • Varg Vikernes
  • Gerard Way
  • Wil Wheaton
  • Robin Williams
  • Rainn Wilson

The Joy's of Beatboxing

Beatboxing can be annoying (when some asshole goes around all day attempting to beatbox but it really sounds like he's imitating a baboon who is trying to beatbox) but it can also be cool, take for instance the video below. If you don't like Dubstep (which I'm all but obsessed with) it might not be your beat box bag but at least appreciate that this is a tough electronic music to duplicate with the human mouth. A search through YouTube for more beatboxing can certainly cure some boredom! Check it out...

The Lady Men of South Mexico

I'm in the midst of a walkabout around Mexico and Central America and have been hitting up friends for any reccomendations of things to do, things to see, places to eat, bars to drink in and dancefloors to grace. Lo and behold a friend sends me an article from Turista Libre on his journey in Oaxaca where I ended up living for 2 months. His article had small mention on muxes, and although I didn't see one I was super intrigued about it, it was hard to find more info on it, even from the locals!

From Turista Libre Blog:
A sidenote on muxes ("mushes"): It's common for Zapotec parents who have no daughters to raise one of their boys as a girl in case anything ever were to happen to Mom. What's more, mothers of muxes often refer to them as their favorite sons and overall they're considered more as a third gender rather than transgender or gay. It's a cultural fluke in Mexico's notorious reputation as a macho paradise that's particular to Oaxaca. I didn't photograph any muxes because in tourist-heavy zones like this, I guessed they have to deal with enough of that.

By The Way, Turista Libre is also a super dope group that take these INSANE not to be missed trips down to TJ, they are always safe, always interesting, always boozy, and always filled with lots and lots of cool people. Check out and join their Facebook and take a break from your boring ass routine!!

The thing that could cure drug addiction is illegal

It's called ibogaine and I heard about it on an episode of Law and Order and thought it was fake. Then I looked it up. According to Wikipedia ibogaine is a "naturally occurring psychoactive substance found in a number of plants". It is illegal in many countries (most likely due to it's psychoactive nature) and used to cure addictions to all sorts of drugs in others including heroin, cocaine, meth, crack, alcohol and more. It has been very affective in aiding long term recovery in drug users including easing withdrawal symptoms, inducing "waking dream states" that ready a person to confront the recovery process and working very quickly in causing the patient to not feel the need for their drug in one day.

Oh but um, it's ILLEGAL in the US.....

The Fanning Army is Taking Over

Dakota Fanning is already the child star that probably most pops up in your head when/if the subject is broached (although you might wann stop bringing her up, she's friggin 16). But have no fear, the next in the Fanning Child Star Dynasty has arisen.

Elle Fanning, Dakota's only sister (guess the Fanning Factory ran out of "mojo") is also an actress, although she's a bit of a "silver fox" for a child actor at age 12 (Dakota rose to fame with I Am Sam at age 7).