Singing Off Key In Front of an Audience

Last week I attended my very first open mic night. It was a weekly event at a local boba shop/cafe where anybody from the audience could go up and perform. There I met an unlikely somebody who had a surprisingly profound impact on me.

His name is Steven, he must have been no more than 20 years old and by all first impressions, seemed like a shy and nervous person. When the shop owner came around for performance sign ups, he signed up to perform a song. When it got to his turn, he strolled up on stage, told everybody that there wouldn’t be any accompanying music track and it would just be him singing, and he proceeded to deliver his rendition of ‘God Bless the Broken Road’ by Rascal Flats to the sounds of awkward silences. It was bad by all accounts, it was off key and it was clear he did not know how to sing.

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Taking a Break in Bangkok

It’s been a while since I wrote about travel. Since I got back from my 6 month backpacking trip, I have been laser focused on building up my crazy new life back home. However I have a massive stash of travel stories I want to share before they fade into distant memories. So picking up from where I left off last time in Krabi, Thailand I headed to Bangkok, Thailand next. This is a look into the 5 days I spent there between December 14th, 2018 to December 19th, 2018.

By the time I got to Bangkok I was exhausted from moving around so much. I wanted a nice and clean place to stay where I could settle down for a few days, work on some personal projects and spend a couple days living ‘normally’ instead of being always on the go as a backpacker. I thought it was funny because I think most people come here to party and enjoy the nightlife in this vibrant city, but all I wanted to do was to slow down and find peace and quiet. Surprisingly I was able to find it here even though Bangkok isn’t normally at the top of people’s minds when they think of a ‘low key’ and quite place to stay.

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Identifying The Opportunity to Work for Myself

So far in my life the only work experiences I’ve had have been working a full time or part time job for somebody else. That changed recently when I voluntarily quit my job to travel for 6 months. Now I’m starting my own web and app development company because I want to work for myself. Here is the story of how I identified that I had this opportunity, took the leap, and how things are going.

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Slipping from the Present

It has now been over a month now since I came back from my big solo backpacking trip and I have firmly adjusted back to living in one place. I like it, I feel like I can work towards my next set of goals from here because it’s a stable platform, instead of when I was bouncing around city to city every few days. However now that I’m planning and executing towards my long term goals, there is something I have realized about myself that scares me a lot: I find myself slipping away from the present again.

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I Got Addicted to My New Good Habits

It’s been over three weeks since I’ve come back from my trip and they say that three weeks is the amount of time you need to get a habit going. So I can now say that I’ve successfully implemented some really good daily habits from my travels into my life back home. Some of them even surprise me because I could never have seen myself doing them before.

Also these new habits have become things I take pride in. Every time I do one of these good habits I feel a little spark of joy, a little dopamine rush. This has made it really easy to keep them up, and biologically speaking I think I’ve gotten myself addicted to these new good habits because of that feel good dopamine hit.

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Using Music as a Travel Memory Bookmark

On my first ever solo trip in 2017, I remember sitting by the banks of the frozen Yukon River in the middle of Alaska, listening to music. The sun was setting, there was nobody around. The landscape was peacefully still, except for the occasional cracking and popping sounds coming from the frozen half mile wide river covered by 5 feet of snow (I learned later that the loud cracking sounds were from the ice expanding and popping in the frozen river).

That is one of my most vivid travel memories and I have it forever bookmarked in my brain because for some reason that scene got heavily associated with a particular song that I was listening to at that moment. To this day every time that song comes up on my playlist I’ll have a flashback and remember that scene in incredible detail, including my thoughts and exactly how I was feeling sitting there over 2 years ago.

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My Crazy New Life Back Home

It’s now been 11 days since I ended my long term backpacking trip and came back to my life in Southern California.

The euphoria of coming back from travel is waning as expected, and it’s being replaced by the looming mountain of reality and responsibility that lies ahead. My 6 month journey was just part 1 of a huge chapter of change in my life. Part 2 is where I have to build up the job that I want from scratch, because I had originally quit my job with 2 goals in mind: To do the kind of travel I always wanted, and to have the job I always wanted: which is to work for myself.

The first goal is done, and that one was by far the easiest of the two. Now comes the hard part.

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My 6 Month Solo Backpacking Trip In Numbers

I used to build websites for a living, and still kinda do since I’m getting into freelance and starting my own business, so I built a little website infographic to commemorate my 6 month solo backpacking trip I just got back from.

The first day I woke up after I got back home, I distinctively remember wondering for just a second if the past 6 months was a dream. It’s crazy thinking back on my trip now that I’ve been back home for about a week. I’m still in a state of shock and euphoria about the fact that it actually happened, but enough rambling here’s the website that the point of this post is supposed to share:

170days.realisticwanderlust.com

I calculated a TON of stats from the past 6 months of backpacking and used only photos I took during my trip. There’s stuff like how much I spent, how many different places I slept in, how many cities I passed through, the farthest place I went, etc…

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