Starting To Say My Good-Byes

Holy moly does time fly by fast! A lot has happened since my last post. Here is my status update!


Work Place Changes — Again.

The service department at my dealership is basically playing Musical Service Chairs. First it was moving from Service Advisor to Warranty Administrator. Then Warranty Administrator back to Service Advisor, then from Service Advisor to Service Greeter/Bitch. My buddy Jesse is getting trained in to take over my position as I prepare to leave the dealership in about 1.5 months. Once he’s fully trained in as a Service Advisor, I move to a Service Greeter/Bitch position. I’ll be greeting customers while other advisors are trying to wrap other things up and preparing to check in a new customer. I will also help with shuttle rides, parts pickup from various other dealerships around the Metro area. What a way to end the dealership life with a bang, eh?!


48 Days, 12 Hours Until Check-In.

Holy shit. this is it. This is seriously the final moment here in the USA. As it starts to hit me harder and harder with each passing day, I realize that some of my most favorite customers from the dealership, I’m going to miss a lot, not to mention my colleagues. I swear to God that I’m going to be an absolute mess when my birthday/last day of work comes along.

To my dearest customers, I seriously thank you all for being truly amazing and helping make my hectic day at the dealership an absolute peach. In a highly stressful and fast-faced environment, your amazingness has really helped me get through the day without a mental breakdown. The words, laughs, handshakes and hugs shared between us is something that I will never forget. Trust me when I say when you congratulate me and wish me well on my endeavors whilst giving me a handshake or a hug, you guys have literally brought me to tears. I truly will miss you all!!

To my esteemed colleagues at Mazda Mitsubishi, I know that some of you actually read my shit that I post on here. I don’t know why you would want to read such a stale piece of article. Anyways, you guys are like my second family. We’ve been to two holiday parties, a housewarming party, a few birthday parties as well. We’ve all laughed, (I) cried, and we’ve said some extremely awkward things to each other in the past almost-three years. I know this isn’t my swan song with you guys yet, but damn, it certainly feels like it. With you guys, I’m either super happy, super tired or super stressed. Behind all of those facial expressions now lies a mind full of bittersweet memories. It’s almost kind of like facing mortality, except with leaving you guys and the USA to pursue a life-long dream. You guys have been an amazing support structure for me as I grew and matured. My last day with you guys I swear to God I am going to be a) absolutely useless, b) cry a shit ton and c) give you guys a lot of hugs. Yes, I will hug you guys. Get over it. You guys are truly like family to me, and I’m damn proud of it!! P.S. I’m still bitter that shortly after I leave, you guys will move into our brand new building. I’m expecting a lot of pictures posted on Facebook!

Lastly to my friends and family, you know that I love you all. I’m sorry that I haven’t been there much the past several months. Work has been hectic and I’ve been trying to learn and get as much done as possible. So many things to do yet and I only have 7 weeks left!! I will honestly try to be to as many events and gatherings as I can possibly muster. I apologize if either I’m too tired to go or I have something else planned. Do all the things!! I’m still trying to figure out where I’m going to host my going away/birthday party. I think I’ll just do an open invite to anybody who would like to join me at Cowboy Jacks in Plymouth.

I have to get back to other pressing things as I try to get my ducks in order so that my transition to freelancing and nomadic life goes as smoothly as possible.

The Final Countdown

Before I get started with the rest of the post — 4 more months! 1/3 of a year left. Still tons of stuff to do! It’s been 5 months since I’ve purchased my life-changing one-way flight to Kuala Lumpur! Since then, I’ve been working on expanding my knowledge of different programming languages such as HTML, CSS, PHP, Ruby, Python and Xcode. Along with that, changes to my health and employment has thrown the rest of my game plan off a bit. More on that below.


Changes With My Employer?

Yeah. My job title changed. Long story short: my employer knows that I’m moving out of the country later this year. Eventually they’ll need to find my replacement as a service advisor. Well, they found one. Which is perfect because the warranty administrator that was working for us quit. So I ended up being moved to warranty admin, and new Jen now took my place.

DSC03915

This all started about a couple weeks ago, so it’s definitely been a learning curve when it comes to coding, closing and submitting warranty claims.

Decrease in pay, decrease in stress. I guess it’s a double-edged sword. New schedule, which is nice. I now get all weekends off.


What’s Wrong With My Health?

A lot, actually. In short, I’m just a broken down old (albeit still young) mess. Just had a surgery a couple weeks ago, so I’ve been recovering from that. So far it’s been a painful ride, that’s also quite itchy as my incisions are healing.

29872959_10211297667618997_810419561343014052_o

That being said, looking for travel insurance when traveling abroad is hella expensive! World Nomads and IMG Travel Insurance are both asking for quite the premiums – hovering around $3-4k annually. Ouch!


Why TF Am I So Poor?

DSC03580

Lemme tell you why. Car, motorcycle, insurance, loans, credit cards, gas, etc… Not to mention I’ve been paying on the Mazda every week. Total monthly contributions to both the Mazda and KTM including insurance and fuel is just about $2k a month. All this financial hardship so I can get everything paid off before the big off in September.

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.

DSC05946

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.

Screen Shot 2018-01-29 at 9.17.40 PM

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.

Screen Shot 2018-01-29 at 9.19.09 PM

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)

27368375_10210789311110402_2468449513054335710_o

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!)

27503584_10155524772152830_1051891741119622385_o

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.

27503604_10155522555707830_7854322761076146880_o

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!

27708092_10155522718437830_2037926639_o

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.

DSC05909

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.

DSC05935

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”

DSC05894

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.

DSC05928

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.

IMG_0829

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.

Screen Shot 2018-01-29 at 9.26.14 PM

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.

Screen Shot 2018-01-29 at 9.16.42 PM

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.

Screen Shot 2018-01-29 at 9.17.40 PM

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.

Screen Shot 2018-01-29 at 9.19.09 PM

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.

Screen Shot 2017-12-03 at 3.07.30 PM

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.

DSC03580

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.

DSC04942

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.

DSC05029

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!

DSC05043DSC05010

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.

DSC03580

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…)

12642693_10205500970145183_7915484848670009551_n

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.

Screen Shot 2017-11-24 at 12.19.27 AM (1)

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.

That’s A Wrap! Riding Life’s Rollercoaster

With 2018 coming within the next week and Christmas coming tomorrow, figured I would write a year in review and tell you about the life I lived in 2017.


Q1 & Q2 2017

The first half was a tough sell for 2017. Going through an already tough time with my ex that I stupidly moved in with was a bad idea. Always putting me down, and making me believe that I needed him. I also got slapped with a judgement in the form of a wage garnish for an old credit card I closed several years back. That was my bad. Totally the case of out-of-sight, out-of-mind. This happened a couple months after moving in with my ex, so that put a lot of strain on me financially and emotionally.

Q3 2017

19756490_10209295579648049_8320838991352202224_n

This is where things really started to look up for me this year. I left my abusive ex and moved out of the apartment. That in turn made me much happier overall and I started to sell more work at my day job, which in turn gave me more disposable income. Not just that, but the wage garnish has ended, so that’s even more money back into my pocket. I had planned a solo trip to Los Angeles and was supposed to pick up some of my ex’s things while I was out there and bring them back home. I said to myself “NOOOOOPE.” I will finally do what I want to do and enjoy my time out in Los Angeles. I don’t need to do things for him. That’s not the purpose of my vacation out west.

Unfortunately for me, I didn’t have anywhere else to store my motorcycle, so I left it in the underground parking garage we had at the apartment. Right before my trip, my ex vandalized my poor helpless KTM. That solidified my feelings for him. The attraction and love I felt was completely gone, replaced with spite and motivation. Motivation to better myself. Never again will I stoop so low as to make myself unhappy with myself. To never accept the fact I was treated poorly was acceptable. I will make myself happy. Nobody will ever take that way from me again.

DSC_0322

After my road trip out west, it was just a few days before my birthday in August where my life literally turned around and took a completely different course. That is where through fateful YouTube watching I found the Digital Nomad movement. I knew deep in my heart this is ultimately what I wanted to do. I just haven’t unlocked that from my heart, yet.

Since then: I’ve gotten back into photography and programming. I created a medium where I can showcase my abilities as a photographer, blogger and freelancer. That creation is what you’re reading here, The Nomadic Tire.

confirmation

I’ve met some friends who have pushed me to create this better and new life for myself. And it’s because of these friends that I am finally doing what I’ve never thought I’d do in my lifetime. Travel the world. Just a couple days before Thanksgiving, I booked my one-way flight to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. That one-way ticket slated for a Sep 1, 2018 departure forces me to get my affairs in order here in the States before heading out and exploring.

You can say that this is part of my post-breakup “Keep Moving, Don’t Look Back” program. And it’s working absolutely fantastically!

Q4 2017

As I’m wrapping up on the rollercoaster of a life this year, I’m working close to 70 hours a week, making this new life happen for myself.

The Nomadic Tire and slashMedia development is in full-swing. Photography and coding is at full throttle. The struggles in the beginning of 2017 has really pushed me to become the person I’ve wanted to be. To live the life I never knew I wanted.

I will not stop. I will not falter. I will be happy and live the life I’ve always wanted to live; and no douchebag, narcissistic, manipulative controlling asshole will take that away from me.


In Closing…

I really want to thank you guys for sticking it out with me as I figure out what the hell I’m doing with my life. If there’s anything to learn out of this post, please let it be this:

The life you live — right now — are you truly happy? Or are you just settling and thinking you’re happy? Take the reigns on this rollercoaster ride we call life and OWN it!

“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t–you’re right.” – Henry Ford

Don’t let life’s downs define your life. Don’t wait until it’s too late. Live the life you’ve always wanted to live while you still can. Life’s short. At a moment’s notice you can be gone. Just like that. Don’t live with any regrets. It will never be “I wish.” It will always be “I will” and “I did.”

Douchebags Carryall 40L Review

What a unique name for a company that wells travel gear!

“Founded in 2012 by the Swedish freeski legend Jon Olsson and the Norwegian product designer Truls Brataas, Douchebags has established itself as a globally recognized brand – winning several well known awards for both design and functionality.” – Douchebags.com

Watching some of Jon’s YouTube videos on the Gumball 5000 Rally across Europe, it was pretty cool that he is the founder of this company that sells quality bags and other travel accessories for a fair price.


You’ve Got Style.

Seriously. The style of this bag is bitchin’. Rezal and I agreed to purchase our bags at the exact same time. We both got the 40 Litre Carryall in Limited Edition Black Camo. And it is GORGEOUS.

DSC04526

This is the front of the backpack, and as you can see, there are no outside accessible zippers to the main compartment. The only outside accessible zippers would be the top compartment which is usually used for small items, and the rear compartment that is designed for shoes/sandals. This means that your main valuables are inaccessible and out-of-sight. Because…

DSC04527

The bag is accessible only in the back. It’s perfect because unless you’re not wearing your backpack, it’s literally impossible for would-be thieves to gain access to your valuables whilst you’re on your travels.


“It’s Not What’s Outside, But What Is Inside That Counts.” – Aladdin

40 Litres. FOURTY. LITRES. That’s a whole lot of stuff you can fit inside! What you can see below in my picture are my clothes I was wearing during my employer’s annual holiday party. Pictured are dress slacks, dress shirt, tie, boxers and belt. It may not sound like much, and it doesn’t look like there’s much room left, but lemme tell ya.

DSC04528

If I actually folded my clothes and packed them neatly, all of my clothes inside it right now would probably take a quarter of the interior space. Maybe. If that. This bag was designed with maximum cargo and practicality in mind. This meets the IATA (International Air Transport Association) standards for a carry-on dimension for air travel.

DSC04530

Here’s a picture of my clothes moved slightly away. There is so much space in there, it’s actually pretty difficult to really show you. As you can see inside, there are internal pockets to make organizing much easier. Place socks on one side. Upper half for clean, lower half for dirty.

On the back side of the main cargo cover, there is a huge section of netting. Perfect for underwear or other larger items such as dress clothes that cannot get wrinkled. Jon really thought of it all for adventure travelers and business persons alike.


The Bottom Line (Literally).

A fantastic bag that is supremely practical. Can be transformed on demand from a backpack to a duffel bag, and back again within seconds. I left mine in backpack form because I don’t want to be carrying this sucker in my hand all the time. Let my shoulders and back do all the work.

This bag looks great, it’s practical, it fits the IATA maximum carry-on limits, and is made of a durable construction. What more could you ask for in a bag, you ask? Well, the only caveat — price. $219 USD, shipped. Sure, it’s a handsome amount, but for a piece of travel kit that does the job, and does the job well. I firmly believe it’s a worth-while investment.

Quick Review of Brackets for macOS

For a front-end web development tool that is free and open-source, Brackets has a lot going for it! Not only is it a very powerful tool to help with your web development endeavor, but the fact that Brackets is open-source makes it a very powerful community as well with the addition of add-ons.

Screen Shot 2017-12-05 at 9.01.51 PM

Brackets and Espresso for macOS both are pretty similar in terms of features. Let me explain how Bracket work with my workflow.


Live Preview!

Though Bracket’s Live Preview and Espresso’s X-Ray are both very similar in terms of what they do, each has their strong points. With Brackets, the kicker is with the live clicking on the elements in Live Preview.

What I’m trying to say is that instead of opening X-Ray in Espresso, you click on Live Preview, Chrome opens up, then you can click on an element straightaway on Chrome and it’ll show the corresponding line of text in your HTML.

The only fault I see with it is that it only works with Chrome completely. You can copy the URL into Safari, but the live updates you do with your HTML code will not automatically and instantly reflect in the Safari Live Preview window. So unless you’re a hardcore Safari user like I am, you’re stuck with Chrome with Brackets.

Screen Shot 2017-12-05 at 9.37.58 PM

The unfortunate part of Live Preview, even when using Google Chrome, is that yes, your changes to your HTML code automatically and quickly reflects into Live Preview. HOWEVER, CSS code will not automatically reflect into Live Preview. You’d have to save the CSS, then close Live Preview, then reopen. Quite the hassle, indeed.

Then again, with Chrome as your Live Preview window, you can open ‘Inspect’ and it’ll pull up the HTML, CSS and a nice cool visual cue on the amount of padding and margins that you have instilled into your CSS based on the element you clicked to ‘Inspect’ with. That’s pretty nice, but for my workflow, it’s quite cumbersome.


Down To The Nitty Gritty.

In terms of cold-cut code, Bracket’s code editor is quite nice. The layout is quite similar to Espresso in terms of navigation, but the thing that Brackets has over Espresso is the ability to open two different pages of separate code in the same window. Let me show you:

Screen Shot 2017-12-05 at 9.41.50 PM

The multi-page code window is quite useful when editing both CSS and HTML in tandem. Like I stated before, it’s unfortunate that the CSS changes you make don’t automatically reflect into the Live Preview like Espresso does.

However, if you’re a visual programmer, this will work perfectly. You can instantly visualize what you’re coding in. That takes a lot of skill, but it’s definitely possible. Then again; if you’re not that talented like I am, you’ll rely on saving your CSS file, then closing and reopening Live Preview or to make those changes in Chrome’s Inspect element where it does automatically reflect your changes, then make those changes into Brackets.


However You Slice The Pie…

The thing is that Brackets is an amazing tool that is very cost-effective for those who are pinching pennies (like I am). Definitely worth a look and try if you’re in the market for a powerful, feature-packed front-end web development tool.