Let’s Talk About Regrets – Professional Lives

In my line of work, I deal with a lot of different people from different walks of life. From the wealthy driving a $50k SUV to those barely scraping by driving a 1990’s hoopty and everything else in between.

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To those customers who I’ve talked about my travel plans with, they usually always end up saying something along the lines of “Wow, that’s awesome! Good for you! You’re still young yet, I wish I can go travel like you.”

Well, sorry to burst your bubble, but you can travel at any age pretty much at any time. Provided if you have some obligations back at home, such as a glaring home mortgage, children, etc… you can pretty much just save up, pack up and go!

Let me ask you this: what’s really holding you back? For me, what held me back the most was the financial commitments that I had. Hell, I still have financial commitments now! Trying to pay off my car and motorcycle by September is proving to be very taxing on my bank account. I’ll be paying for both my car and motorcycle every week with each paycheck, leaving me with less than $100 to spend on food and gas for the week. Sure, it’s doable, but damn.

Not only that, but if I wouldn’t have ever bought my flight ticket to Kuala Lumpur, I would’ve never have gotten this far. The first step in location independence is forcing yourself to go. I’ve already invested a handsome amount of money to purchase my one-way flight out of the States, and I’ve also invested another $44 in the flight from Kuala Lumpur to Chiang Mai, Thailand as well.

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You gotta take your time in getting things taken care of. You’ll burn yourself out very quickly if you’re trying to do so much at the same time (which is what I’m doing). Pay off your debts and loans as quickly as possible without putting stress on the rest of your finances. Enjoy your last year or so until your new life as a location-independent, freelancing Digital Nomad.

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Your life may suck now, but wait until you’re stressing yourself to the point of working a 10.5 hour day every day, including weekends. Let’s see how quickly you get burnt out. Your life will really suck then, but then again, there’s such a great reward at the end of the tunnel. If you’re impatient like I am, go for it. Just know it’s really going to suck before it get any better. Only one way to go but up from here, right?

Don’t let regret hold you back. Let regret be that learning tool to light that fire under your ass and get things going! Don’t wait. Before you know it, you’re literally too old to travel with too many obligations to think about traveling around the world long-term.

Let’s Talk About Regrets – Personal Lives

Listen, I’m no guru on interpersonal relationships. However, experiencing loss really makes you think hard about your relationships with those you hold dear. From friends to family and even to your significant other, loss makes you “re-prioritize” for a lack of a better word.

I’m here to tell you that though you may have some regrets in your life, regret should be taken as one of the best learning tools in your life. It makes you rethink what went wrong and put into perspective what needs to be done to correct it. Please allow me to indulge myself and tell you a little story about my past. This post will not include any photos, just out of respect.

Four years ago, my friend Brian passed away from an automotive incident at Brainerd International Speedway during an event called “Proving Grounds.”

How Brian and I met was through cars. Specifically Paul Walker’s untimely death in late 2013. I have met some friends through the power of the automotive community on Facebook. One of those friends was the one, the only, Brian O’Connor. Brian was part of a new car group in Minnesota called “InCarNation.” They were in the midst of setting up a winter cruise/benefit in the name of Paul. We’d create this massive cruise for all Midwesterners, chip in financially where 100% of proceeds would go to Paul’s charity “Reach Out Worldwide.”

I joined in on InCarNation in it’s early stages and was pretty much the social media guy. I’d answer questions asked on Facebook, help coordinate some scouting of venues to hold the start of the cruise and some of the backend planning. Brian and I became quick friends.

The cruise went off without a hitch, save for some trolls here and there. If I recall correctly, we were able to raise $3,123 for Paul’s charity. It was such an amazing feeling and really got InCarNation off the ground and thrusted into the Minnesota automotive community.

Fast forward a few more months and we’re all hanging out, planning new events and the like. For some reason I had this huge falling out with the rest of the group where it felt like none of my opinions or suggestions even mattered to the rest of the group. So I halfway left, halfway stayed. I kept my distance from the rest of the group.

During that time, Brian contacted me and reached out to me multiple times asking if I wanted to hang out with the rest of the group. Hang out with him on getting some stuff done to his Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart. Reluctantly, I declined every offer he made, and I made this sad excuse that I was too busy working. Some of it was the truth, some of it was a lie. I didn’t want to hang out with my friends, I didn’t want to hang out with Brian.

When it came time for the group to head up to Brainerd for Proving Grounds, again I was invited to join in on the festivities. I was not slated to work that weekend, I picked up some extra shifts so I can say that I can’t go because I got scheduled to work.

That fateful weekend, I was browsing though Facebook sitting behind the front desk of a local hotel that I worked at, seeing some of my other friends post saying there has been an incident with Brian. Immediately I started to send messages around and make some calls. He had been airlifted to Baxter, and at that time was currently en route to St. Cloud.

After work, I drove straight from Medina to St. Cloud, which is about an hour’s worth of a drive. When I got to the hospital, getting inside the waiting room was so surreal. It felt fake. The feelings I felt was simply-put overwhelming. Immediately I felt awkward, saw some friends and immediately broke down.

Over the coming days, Brian showed signs of improvement and decline. Then it came to the point where it went so far down hill that his mom asked us (his friends) what he would want. Would he want to become a vegetable? Or would he rather go out with dignity surrounded by friends and family?

We collectively decided to pull the plug.

The moral of this long ass story is that no matter what happened between you and your friends — they’re your friend for a reason. Be there for them. Be there with them. Especially when he call out on you. Because one day, you’ll never get to say that you’re sorry, you’ll never get to tell them that you forgive them. You won’t be able to say anything to them besides in spirit. Don’t make that same mistake as I did, because it’ll follow you for the rest of your life.

Holy Traveling! A Taste Of The Nomadic Life

These past two weeks have been absolutely crazy when it comes to traveling and working. The combination of working two jobs and traveling to three different states in a span of a couple weeks has me running on empty pretty much the whole time. This will be a fairly long post with lots of pictures, so bear with me on this long-overdue update in my life.


Minneapolis to Las Vegas (2 Feb – 5 Feb)

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This trip was probably the most anticipated trip of them all. My aunt Chau invited me out to Las Vegas. Purchased my round trip flight to and from Las Vegas. All I had to pay for was some food I wanted to buy and some drinks. I had absolutely no intentions on gambling when I was out there. Too much money was at steak and I decided not to risk it. (Good call, Kevin!)

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My trip to Las Vegas was over Super Bowl LII weekend. Which was kind of an oxymoron since the Super Bowl was happening in Minneapolis. However, not having to deal with the shitstorm of traffic in Minnesota is something that I actually really enjoy. That coupled with the fantastic weather out in Las Vegas just made it that much sweeter.

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Along with the Super Bowl party at The Mirage, my aunt, her friend and I also scored tickets to see The Killers at MGM. It was absolutely surreal. I remember listening to their music when I was growing up in high school and here they are right in front of me — playing live!

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This Las Vegas trip was definitely one to put onto the books as one of my most favorite vacations in recent memory.


Minneapolis to Chicago (8 Feb – 11 Feb)

Myself along with the slashMedia group and Randy from Victory & Reseda were able to secure credentials as part of the media at the Chicago Auto Show 2018.

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Here’s what the initial plan was supposed to be:

  • After work on Wednesday, head down to a Minneapolis Park & Ride to drop off my car.
  • Rezal will pick me up from said Park & Ride and we’ll carpool down to Burnsville to meet with Josh and Veronica, the rest of our esteemed group.
  • At Midnight Thursday morning, we will head down as a group in one car to Chicago.
  • We will work as a group on Thursday at the Chicago Auto Show for the day on Thursday.
  • I will then take the Blue Line Metro in Chicago back to Chicago – O’Hare International Airport and fly back to Minneapolis, then take an Uber to pick up my car when I land at midnight.
  • Go into work at Mazda and work the day on Friday.
  • Immediately after work on Friday, I’ll drive back down to Minneapolis – St. Paul and fly back to Chicago, then get picked up my Josh or somebody else from the group.
  • I will then stay for the rest of the weekend and be with the rest of the group hanging out.
  • Sunday afternoon we will check out of the hotel and drive back home to the Park & Ride in Minneapolis and I’ll pick my car up, then head home.

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Here’s what actually happened down in Chicago:

  • I ended up leaving my Mazda at the Bloomington Walmart, accidentally unlocked.
  • We left Burnsville at around 1am to Chicago.
  • Upon arrival to Chicago by car, I received notification by text and push notification on my iPhone that my flight back to MSP was canceled due to extreme winter weather.
  • I alerted my manager at Mazda back at home of the update, and was trying to find other safe and viable options back to Minneapolis.
  • We checked into the hotel and everybody else was very tired, so we spent some time trying to recuperate before we headed over to the McCormick Place where the Chicago Auto Show was being held.
  • While there, we were still so tired and out of it, that we weren’t really very invested into our work whilst at Chicago.
  • I then realized that the storm that was looming Chicago in the evening was much worse than I initially thought.
  • Then it was suggested that I take a bus back to Minneapolis in the middle of the snow storm, to which I reluctantly declined.
  • Staying thru Friday in Chicago I radio silence was maintained between my colleagues at Mazda and I, assuming I’ve royally pissed them off to no end.
  • Being really stressed out with missing work on Friday and feeling monumental guilt, I was absolutely not having it with trying to work the auto show. Therefore unfortunately I was pretty much out of action all of Friday.
  • Attempting to redeem myself from the lack of action on the Media day on Friday, Rezal and I went back to McCormick Place on Saturday — the first day open to the public. Sweet Jesus was it busy!
  • That evening, to revel in my “success,” I went out alone to go bar hopping and drinking all evening until about 4am.

“Success”

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One thing that one can definitely take away from this trip: of all the things that could’ve gone that, that went wrong — you can sweat the details on the things that you can control. You cannot sweat the details that you cannot control, such as the snow storm and missing work.

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Editing some of the photos that I managed to take during the auto show, some of those photos actually came out pretty decent. So, at least there’s that.

Make no mistake, I still feel very bad and actually pretty upset about having my flight canceled and missing work on Friday, but what can you do? Being our first auto show coverage together as a group, also considering all the circumstances of what we all had to deal with, professionally and personally, overall we had a pretty fun time. All things considered.

Maybe we’ll have better luck at the Tokyo Auto Salon??

The Waiting Game – Is Time On My Side?

Big shoutout to Rezal Scharfe from GOJIRARS for the featured photo!

Alright. Save for some miscellaneous clothing items and some electronics, I pretty much have everything else I need. Extra batteries for the Sony a7S, travel plug adapter, a travel backpack, a daypack and most importantly – my passport!


Just A Side Tangent…

Purchasing the one-way flight tickets to Kuala Lumpur for this upcoming September was an extremely liberating feeling. Purchasing the flight from Kuala Lumpur to Chiang Mai was a little less liberating, but liberating nonetheless. Then along came the Passport. To have your Passport in your hands. A physical book of possibilities. Memories to be made. The world is now your oyster. The amount of liberation that I felt when I received and held my very own Passport in my hands rivals the moment I first got my unrestricted driver’s license.

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When I first got my license, I wanted to start traveling around everywhere. Drive anywhere. Go anywhere. Didn’t matter where. Just to travel and explore the world around me. This is how I feel about my driver’s license and Passport: my driver’s license gave me permission and the ability to travel around the United States by land. My Passport now allows me to travel internationally by air, land and sea. This just expanded my “travelability” tenfold.


Time Is Not On My Side…

Time is moving too damn fast! So many things to do! So many things to purchase! So many things to pay off. There is so much that is going on right now, it’s almost hard to even just stay still and breathe. Between working at Mazda, working for slashMedia, working as The Nomadic Tire, traveling around, going to Underrated events, hanging out with friends, any free time to just sit back and relax is difficult to come by these days.

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For example: My aunt wanted me to come out to Las Vegas as kind of a last-hurrah in the States with her, and to watch the Super Bowl away from all the chaos that will be Minneapolis that first week of February. I fly out Friday the 2nd of February after work. Then the flight back to Minneapolis will be a red-eye flight arriving at MSP at about 6am. Then, with slashMedia, we were able to work the Chicago International Auto Show alongside with Victory & Reseda this second week of February. We will be dropping my car off at a Park and Ride by the Airport, then driving down to Chicago. I’ll be working the auto show that Thursday, then flying back to Minneapolis that evening and picking up my car. From there, I’ll go to work on Friday, then immediately after work Friday, I’ll head back to the Park and Ride, grab an Uber back to MSP, then fly back to Chicago to hang out with the rest of the group in Chicago. We then will drive back up to Minneapolis, then pick up my car from the Park and Ride.

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Among the immediate traveling plans, I find myself still struggling to even save for the bi move. Paying off my Mazda and KTM along with my loans, credit cards on a weekly basis leaves me with less than $75 to work with a week for food and gas. Doable, but with my typical lifestyle, it’s difficult to muster. Gotta start pinching those pennies.

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As of typing this blog post, I have exactly $0.00 USD saved for the move. Just been so consumed with trying to pay everything else off before I start saving money. It’s maddening to say the least. Worst of all, it’s disheartening.

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Why is living in America so goddamned expensive?!

Readiness Check. 2 DTCs Found.

Much like a car, I perform intermittent readiness checks just to make sure I’m still on track, that there aren’t any glaring issues. There are some issues, and they will have to be addressed. Soon.


P0420 – Motivation Below Threshold

Recently, motivation has been a little hard to come by. With 218 days and 16 hours left until check-in, things really should be pretty much all set – oh but how they are not. I’m yet to make some form of online income through TheNomadicTire or slashMedia. The learning of programming languages such as CSS, PHP, Ruby on Rails, etc… has been half-baked at best.

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Trying to keep the motivation up, I’ve been watching a lot of YouTube videos on travel – which got me onto an idea of making travel videos. Yes, I know. Travel YouTube videos has already been overdone and the locations that I’m traveling to have already been covered to death. However, what I don’t see too much is coverage of cars while abroad. Brainwave.

Also, I gotta get back onto the mindset that if I don’t start learning these programming languages, when it comes to the 11th hour, I’ll be completely and utterly screwed when time comes to fly out to Malaysia.


P0401 – Income Flow Insufficient

Continuing on from P0420, Income Flow Insufficient is a struggle. Mainly coming off from my day job as a service advisor, I make some pretty decent money. However it’s not enough to pay off everything on time and save $10,000 for the trip. Ideally, $5,000 would be the absolute bare-bones minimum I would need to have.

At least I finally closed my Wells Fargo account, I’ve officially have made the long and arduous transfer to Simple! Unfortunately, Simple cannot keep my account open as I learned if I travel internationally long-term. So Simple for now, increase my credit worthiness then try and reopen a Charles Schwab Bank account as they are the best for aspiring American Digital Nomads.

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As stated before, there is no income flow from TheNomadicTire or slashMedia as of now. What needs to be done is more learning from SkillShare so that I can continue on with learning CSS, PHP, Ruby on Rails and the rest of the programming languages. Also on top of learning those programming languages, learning how to master and utilize the power of this MacBook Pro and use Final Cut Pro X to edit videos to upload onto a YouTube channel specifically for my traveling endeavors.

Underrated Dinner Meet/Photoshoot

It all started with a Facebook Event invitation to get some grub at Old Chicago. Actually, let me give you some background. Underrated is a car group mainly featuring Mazda vehicles, but open to other makes as well. We have several Chevys, a few Hondas, etc… We get together once a week for a meet just to hang out, maybe work on each others cars. It’s really like a family community. We all help each other. All that we ask is that you’re a contributing member of the group or at least be kind to one another.


Foooooooooood.

Dude, so usually I love pizza. For some reason, I was thinking to myself that the pizza at Old Chicago sucked and that was the only thing that they served. Oh, no, was I wrong. They had a lot of other foods too, not just pizza (which, by the way was delicious). I ordered some Mac and Grilled Cheese with a side of fries. Call me weird, but that Mac and Grilled Cheese dipped in ketchup was THE SHIT.

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It was great catching up with everybody else that I haven’t seen in months. Giving each other shit, talking cars and about life. It was pretty awesome. Good company combined with delicious food made for a pretty awesome time.

As you can see, we had little ones in tow as well sitting at the end of the table as well. So us car people aren’t completely horrible people.


Gone shooting.

The rest of the night consisted of me taking pictures and the rest of the guys hanging out and chitchatting in the parking lot. It was a very beautiful 26.8 degrees Fahrenheit in Roseville, MN. I was absolutely freezing my ass off wearing just a hoodie, with nothing else underneath. Okay, well I was wearing more than just a hoodie. That would be weird. Obviously I was wearing pants as well. Anyways — I was shivering while taking pictures in the parking lot at Old Chicago, so my kind Underrated family shared their warmth gear with me in the form of a jacket, scarf and beanie.

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After exchanging our Secret Santa gifts with each other, we decide to go to Roseville Mall to take some shots in the parking ramp that was just freshly built. This yielded even colder and stronger winds since we were at the top of the parking ramp out in the open.

We all lined up and had the whole ramp to ourselves so it made for some pretty awesome photography opportunities. Take a gander at some of the shots I’ve taken at the ramp!

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All in all, it was a very fun time with the guys. Unfortunately, a day after we had our meet, one of the members, David had an accident in his Liquid Silver Metallic Mazda3 2.5 s Grand Touring, which then proceeded to start on fire on the side of 35W South. RIP little guy. We have it from here.

2018! Happy New Year! What’s The Plan?

First of all, I just wanted to say Happy New Year!

2017 was a unique year of a lot of ups and downs, however as we grow older, we become more wise. Not to make the same mistakes as we did in the past, and continue on into the future making our dreams a reality.


Money, money, money…

We all know that it takes money to travel. Though the cost of traveling around the world, especially in South East Asia has dropped considerably, all thanks to new advances in technology and fuel economy. Seeing as I made more than I initially thought at my day job, my focus right now when it comes to financials is to pay off my Mazda and KTM as soon as I possibly can. Paying these suckers off with each and every single paycheck I make, I should be well on the road to paying these guys off in a jiffy.

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There are still a lot of things that I need to pay off, besides the Mazda and KTM. Such as my MacBook Pro, iPhone 7, credit cards.

All in the mean while, I’ll simultaneously be saving for travel/spending money. Ideally I’d like to save about $10,000 USD, but that’s a little optimistic. Here’s hoping, right?


Jobs? Nah. Just a job.

My day job is enough to allow me to pay off the things I need to pay off while saving little by little. Initially I thought I was going to need to get a second job, however thankfully that didn’t turn out to be the case. I made more than the average Minnesotan in 2017… (I really, really need to be cutting back on the splurges and spending…)

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Focus right now when it comes to the bigger picture once I actually get out to Kuala Lumpur is to learn. As I stated before, Skillshare is an absolutely amazing place to learn just about anything and everything you need. Right now I’m going to be focusing on CSS, HTML5, JavaScript, Swift 5 and Xcode in terms of programming and coding. I’ll also be taking some courses on business development and managing, since slashMedia and The Nomadic Tire are technically businesses that need to be ran.

Learning more about front end web development and iOS application development is going to allow me to help make me money while I’m abroad using freelancing services such as Upwork.com.


Exactly 9 Months!

It’s amazing how quickly time is flying by compared to my younger years. It seems that the days are passing by faster and faster, each week is coming quicker. Months are just going by like it was just last week. It’s unnerving.

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My last day at Mazda will be on my birthday, which is August 24th. I hope to have a huge gathering with friends and family celebrating my new adventure and to celebrate the anniversary of my birth.