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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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…

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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:

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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.

Quick Review of Espresso Code Editor

Of the three code editors I’ve used, Espresso is probably the most feature-packed and easiest to use thus far.

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There are a lot of options out there. When I was doing some research on what code editor I should use, I came across Espresso. Decided to give it a try with the trial and fell absolutely in love.


Business In The Front.

Designed with front-end web developers in mind, Espresso boasts some very strong features, making even some PC owners gawk in awe.

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Espresso’s signature move: X-Ray. You can preview the website you are building in real time and use X-Ray to see what code is used for that specific element.

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Once you glance back onto the X-Ray widget, you can see how many different styles it calls. In this case, there is 10 styles that it calls. From there you can see what CSS is called and what you can modify to make the website look the way you want it to.

It’s a super strong tool.


Party In The Back.

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On the back-end: automatic indentations, suggested code, different types of code in different colors, a nifty little section next to the line number that shows how far that particular code stretches down the line. Say if you forgot to close something, that’ll tell you. It’s super organized and awesome.

Special shoutout to the Navigator pane to the right. With that also, you’re able to see your code, condensed. Without all the unnecessary text. Just the calling codes, and that’s it. It’s another very strong tool to help you navigate your thousands of line of code. Click on a calling/action code and it’ll bring you straight to it in your HTML doc.

Super Premium!


Should You Stay or Should You Go?

There are plenty of options out there in terms of front-end web dev apps. For myself, I find Espresso especially useful in what I need to do. For all of this goodness, you will need to invest in Espresso. $79 will get you unlimited access to the app and free updates thereafter.

If you’re looking for more of a cost-effective way to work with similar features that aren’t as robust, I’d recommend Brackets. It’s free to use, is open-source and has some pretty awesome features in itself that Espresso doesn’t offer.

Stay tuned for a quick review of Brackets for macOS!

HTML5, CSS, JavaScript & PHP – A Love/Hate Relationship

You know that one ex you had where you were madly in love, but you resented them for what they say or do to you? Yeah. That’s my current relationship status with HTML5, CSS, JS and PHP. It’s actually labeled “It’s Complicated” on Facebook. We’re Facebook-official.

Seeing as I have a Mac, there were some pretty decent options out there in terms of front-end web development. Here are a few:


The Hate Is Just Temporary…

Don’t get me wrong — we love each other. We have our fights, we have our struggles, we sometimes go to bed mad. Those moments are eclipsed by moments where we work things out. I mean, what relationship out there are without arguments and fights? Nothing’s perfect. We are all with our foibles.

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Espresso and I get along pretty well. The user interface is clean, it suggests lines of code to complete your request. Such as if you type in ‘border,’ you get suggestions like ‘border-bottom,’ ‘border-top,’ etc…

To keep things kosher between Espresso and I, I have to first understand Expresso. I have to understand HTML5, CSS, JS and PHP to start. If you understand the structure of how these languages work, you and Espresso will work out just fine. HOWEVER, I am not fluent in these languages. It’s like going to countryside Wales and not knowing how to properly speak Welsh. You can try to say what you want to say, but unless the recipient understands your request, you’re dead in the water.

All the above-metioned languages are very black and white. It’s not like German where you can combine all these different words and make a new word and most people would understand what you’re getting on about.

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There are times though where your request goes through and everything works just as smooth as ‘buttah.’ And it’s within those moments that you remember why you fell in love in the first place. And it’s those moments where you two create something truly beautiful, responsive and engaging to the user.

Learn the language, learn the program. You will do great and beautiful things. It will boost confidence in yourself. It will boost your creative juices. It will make you want to create more. Do more. Push the envelope of front-end web development.

Like Charlie Day once said at a college graduation speech: “because without these struggles, what is your success, anyways?”

Next Stop: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Thanksgiving evening at Perkins with my friends Rezal, Josh and Veronica proved to be one that was life-changing. In a positive way, though.

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Here’s what happened. After getting frustrated with Photoshop in trying to create a business card for The Nomadic Tire and spilling my ranch all over, I decided to take a break and search online for some cost-efficient options to travel to Southeast Asia. My friend Rezal is having his wedding in early September, so I figured that’ll be the day that I want to leave.


Getting Confirmation.

No, this has nothing to do with Church. Stahp it. Rezal and I are both sitting on one side of the Perkins booth. After searching on Delta.com, I found there was a decent price on a one-way ticket from MSP (Minneapolis – St. Paul) to KUL (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia) leaving September 1st, 2018. I nudged Rezal. “Hey, is this a good price?” He seemed really impressed at how inexpensive the ticket was. Also providing that the 2nd leg of my trip from Haneda-Tokyo Int’l Airport to Kuala Lumpur is using one of his favorite airline carriers, All Nippon Airways, he genuinely got excited like a little Japanese school girl at a Sailor Moon convention.

After confirming the departure date, was it a good financial idea to get insurance with the ticket purchase? For a measly $35 USD more, I opted in. Just for good measure. After confirming everything was all set and good for the thousandth time, my little Asian hands moved my mouse cursor to the “Purchase” button at the bottom of the screen. “Click.”

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No going back, now. I’ve officially purchased my one-way ticket to Kuala Lumpur.


All The Things To Do!

Holy shit, do I have a lot of things to do before leaving for Kuala Lumpur next year. First off is my financial obligations. Loans, credit cards, lines of credit, etc… Holy eff.

What’s worse is that now that I really put the dates into perspective, every day this year since September 1st, will be my last in the States. Jesus.

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Not only do I have to get my financial stuff taken care of, things would also need to be purchased to even get to Malaysia. Namely the Passport thing. Yeah, that needs to get done first and foremost. Next would be the other things I’d like to purchase with is low-maintenance sweat-free shirts like from Under Armour or somewhere. Pants, travel towel, a HooToo Travel Router and good travel underwear.

Seriously, Just A Quick Message

To those who have been with me since the beginning, and those who are just joining in on The Nomadic Tire, I thank every single one of you.

This sounds so cliché, but it’s so true. Without you guys reading my content, I wouldn’t have anybody to write for, no stories to share, no impromptu photoshoot sessions.

From the bottom of my heart, I thank you all!

You guys rock my world!