How Time is Fluid

Just as we settled into the hypnotic rocking of the gulf waters, the rod snapped to life. As the line whirred out, it was all-hands on deck. The Mexican crew yelled excitedly.

Although I had no idea what we had just snagged, my first thought was to offer my younger brother the chance to reel it in. This fishing trip to Baja was his graduation present from Dad and me for finishing medical school.

I remembered watching him busting his ass studying these past four years, and he had more long, intense hours to come for his residency. Still, my brother waved me off.

Shrugging, I settled into my seat at the rear of the boat. Calling it a “yacht” seems misleading. Seaworthy as it is, comparing this charter to something Trump wouldn’t be caught dead in is like comparing apples to Faberge eggs.

“Easy,” coaxed the deck hand. Alternately, encouragements like “mas” and “keep going” came at me in Spanish and Mandarin.

There! For a second or so the marlin jumped. “Oh, my god,” said dad with a mix of awe and excitement.

Eventually, reeling became easier and easier. Somehow I could tell that the fish was giving up. Slowly, we could finally see the magnificent creature – its brilliant blue and violet sheen breaking the dark gulf waters.

Finally, the 135 pound beast lay on the platform off the boat’s stern. Within minutes the light flashed out of its eyes. My elation at landing such a creature turned to sadness. I felt less like a victor than a murderer of something beautiful.

All in all, what took maybe twenty minutes felt like hours.

Later, we would catch a few blue bronze El Dorado, or what some call Mahi Mahi on their dinner plates. These had quite a bit of fight as well, but we would catch nothing else like that marlin. I was disappointed for my brother because he and my dad were much more fishermen than me.

I had gone on a few trips with them over the years, and only once or twice otherwise. Meanwhile, I know that they had gone on several other trips together and with other friends.

But one other trip we went on together was memorable for very different reasons.

This was a charter off the coast of our home state of New Jersey. Now the Atlantic Ocean is known to have rough seas. But this was summertime. So, usually that’s just a good time to catch bluefish because of weather and water conditions.

The initial chop caused the bow to go up and down like a roller coaster – as it went over its first hump over and over again. What started off as exhilaration soon turned to uneasiness and finally dread for my dad and brother.

At first the two turned quiet and still. Then, they both just turned a sickly pale, as if life had left them.

For some unknown reason the rocking motion had no effect on me. So, I proceeded to catch bluefish. My brother came up to see my first one, and promptly hit the side rail which only caused him to projectile vomit breakfast like something out of the Exorcist.

Later, we joked that he was chumming – the ritual spreading of bits of bait to attract the hungry fish.

This time hours of sea-sickness seemed to last forever.

 

Time can be elastic. Einstein talks, of course, about relativity in the world of physics. Jung discussed how we both perceive and create perceptions of what is. If God created us in His image, as the Bible says, then this is nowhere else this is more true.

Another way this comes out is how Marc Levy talks about the relative value of time..

“If you want to know the value of one year, just ask a student who failed a course.

If you want to know the value of one month, ask a mother who gave birth to a premature baby.

If you want to know the value of one hour, ask the lovers waiting to meet.

If you want to know the value of one minute, ask the person who just missed the bus.

If you want to know the value of one second, ask the person who just escaped death in a car accident.

 

When have you had moments that you wished would last forever? or other times that you couldn’t wait to end?

Camping Along the Oregon Coast – Part 1

The woman looked on confused. Finally she asked “what are you guys doing?”

“It’s tango,” I replied, “Argentine tango.”

Molly and I had been dancing to a Calo vals (a waltzy classic) while waiting for our clothes to finish drying. Amazingly this laundry mat even had wifi so I got caught up on emails.

Because the dryers were so loud, we simply plugged ourselves into my ipod – each sharing an earbud. So it must’ve been quite an unusual sight. Two people dancing to the beat of some silent orchestra.

This was day 7 out in the “wilderness” of the Portland coast.

We’d stretched our fresh clothes as far as possible. Heck, I was proud that we’ve been surviving on cooking by camp fires and managing to entertain ourselves.

What was really nice with staying in one campsite for a few days was not needing to break down and set up camp each day. Although we’d gotten down our routine, it was still painful to go through that same routine day after day.

Probably the most unusual part was that we had barely known each other before this trip. Sure, we had seen and danced with each other at annual tango festivals in Portland but other than a few phone calls and online chats, Molly and I went from spending no time together to nearly every waking minute. Yet somehow things clicked, and it felt very natural.

Now I have to admit that other than running around with the Marines on a few field training exercises, the most time I had spent in the woods growing up was a couple of overnight canoe trips with friends. And even with the grunts we just plopped down our packs and slept in our sleeping bags on cement slabs inside a prepared tent.

So, the first day out involved quite a learning curve. I had to learn 1) how to build a fire 2) how to set up a tent.

Building a fire wasn’t too bad. We had picked up some fat wood and firewood. Because fat wood was soaked with dried sap it burned pretty quickly and pretty hot. So, you use it to get the firewood going and thus have your base.

It was already late in the day, because most of the day had been spent on getting supplies. There wasn’t much time to find a camping spot – much less to set up a tent before nature was going to turn off the lights out.. literally.

Luckily, we found a spot right across the Columbia River, and had the same thought ”hey, why don’t we stay here? It also helped that Molly was already familiar with the tent. (Talk about anti-sexism, right? I was the helpless one!) She walked me through what we needed to do, so I mostly just followed her lead.

Further reversing roles I made myself useful by preparing a Caprese salad with the tomatoes, fresh basil, mozzarella, olive oil and balsamic vinegar we picked up. Some ripe avocadoes added a nice twist to this classic.

We toasted our first night in the wilderness with a nice, crisp Riesling kept chilled in the cooler. (Hey, roughing it doesn’t mean living like savages in my book..) A bright moon covered the campsite as fell sound asleep.

camping-moonlight

The next morning we woke to passing barges in the misty morning before stopping by the office and paying for our camp spot. Soon we were off again with no idea what was next.

To read more visit Part 2 of my camping trip to Oregon.

Easy Healthy Living as a Digital Nomad

simple-healthy-living

Healthy Living Can Be Simple

We all want to live a life of freedom and passion. Sure, how we make a living and who we spend our time with are a big part of this. But first it’s important to take care of ourselves.

Without our health, there’s not much point to all the fun and adventure of the digital nomad life. It’s hard to enjoy even a good meal if you’re struggling to simply feel good.

So, this article is a little different from what I usually write about. I’m going to share some of my personal secrets to a simple but healthy lifestyle.

Rest is Essential

For me it all starts with getting enough rest. I know, this seems too simple for many reasons. There’s so much to do as an entrepreneur. And even when we’re not working, we just wanna stay up late. But getting enough sleep is just a piece of the bigger puzzle, and that is testing how things feel.

When I was a kid, I would eat and drink pretty mindlessly. Eventually, consuming junk food and sodas turned into alcohol and even cigarettes. Now I’m not going to preach about vices. Some folks may even argue that they enjoy how recreational drugs feel. No judgment here.

Check In with Yourself

All I suggest is to start gauging how what you consume feels overall. Does it make you sluggish for most of the day? Are you walking around in a cloudy haze for hours?

Don’t just go by what I’m telling you. Tune into yourself.

I like to believe that we’re here to really feel and experience things. Sure, there are parts that suck. But the point is to have clear minds and bright eyes in my book – to really experience what life has to offer.

Finding Balance & Calm in the Middle of Chaos

Recently, I came across the idea that balance is a myth. There’s probably some truth to this. Yet it doesn’t mean that we can’t find peace in the midst of everything. Taking time to reflect or meditate is just as important as doing.

When I trained for my first (and so far only) marathon, I learned that the rest days were just as important as putting in the miles. Likewise if we don’t “empty the cup,” eventually we’ll burn out – whether it’s doing work, learning or anything we want to achieve.

I share how I avoid writer’s block here.

Experiment and Explore but Keep It Simple

In general I love to try different foods. Although there are some fall back basics like pasta or soups, part of the fun is to not only eating out and trying different restaurants but learning new recipes at home (wherever home may be at the moment).

When I went camping along the coast of Oregon a couple of years ago, all we had to do was stock up on a few essentials like bread, cheese and lunch meats then buy some ingredients for interesting meals.

Fresh basil, mozzarella and tomatoes made awesome caprese salads with some virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar and ground salt. Easy peasy!

Before I even knew it, I had already subscribed to the Julia Child approach towards that four letter word “diet” of trying different foods. Later on, I discovered Mireille Guiliano who wrote French Women Don’t Get Fat. She also advocates the same philosophy – all things in moderation.

julia-child-food-quote

Julia Child on Diet Food


Test and Evaluate

So, that’s my overall approach to health and fitness. Try different things but constantly tune into yourself and check how they feel. I’m still learning and experimenting. More recently, I’ve been more conscious of pro-biotics after a few nasty bouts of food poisoning on set. (But that’s another story for another day..)

Please share your own ideas and tips. I’d love to learn what works for you. Let me know how this helps you, and what you’d like me to write about in more detail.

Sunday Thoughts (03/15/15) – Blessing or Curse

Listening to a podcast of Entrepreneur on Fire, an inventor shared her story where she went to a trade show that was totally the wrong venue for her product. Thinking she had wasted her precious few start up dollars, this woman left in tears.

But, as she was leaving, the woman bumped into a man who had reached the same conclusion. It turned out that this man not only introduced her to the promotional products industry, which turned to be the ideal market for her product, but would end up being her mentor.

This reminded me of a classic old Chinese fable of a farmer who found some wild horses one day.

“What good fortune!” his neighbors declared. To which the farmer’s only response was “Sometimes what seems like a blessing is a curse.”

The next day his son tried to help tame the horses but ended up falling off one and broke his leg.

“What bad luck!” the farmer’s wife lamented.

“Sometimes what seems like a curse is really a blessing” was the farmer’s only response.

Not long afterwards the kingdom went to war, and all able-bodied males were drafted. But because the son was injured he was passed over.

Too often we fall into the trap of reacting instead of responding. What’s the difference?

In reacting we merely do what it seems like we’re “supposed to do” or “the way it’s always been done.”

To respond is to consciously make a choice. And sometimes the hard choice is to endure when we’d rather avoid all this with any number of strategies – hiding in busyness, running away and seeking escape, or simply numbing ourselves with food or alchohol.

But here’s an interesting aspect of willpower. In this TED talk the speaker shares how  success and delayed gratification are really closely connected –

So often, the very thing that we see as obstacle to having what we want in a moment may in fact help us to succeed later on.

In The Obstacle is the Way the author shares story after story of how history’s greatest leaders have turned some of their biggest failures into success. Lincoln himself not only faced early challenges – losing his mother as a child, a wife as a young man, and numerous elections until finally winning key offices that led to the presidency.

Little did Lincoln know that life was preparing him for the ultimate test of his character – the Civil War itself. Had he backed down from earlier challenges or given up, Lincoln would not be the man that ultimately led this nation to victory and finally end slavery once and for all.


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