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As long as I've remembered, I've wanted to buy a private island. Having a random patch of land somewhere holds almost no appeal, but an island is totally different. An island is like your own little country, with complete control of everything within its borders.
I'd looked at getting an island before. As it turns out, they're not much more expensive than buying normal property. There's a site called Private Islands Online that has a ton of listings, which I'd pored through on many occasions. A problem always arose: the cheap islands are in far away inconvenient spots, and the close islands are all crazy expensive. Buying an island remained a fantasy.
Then, six weeks ago, a good friend of mine sent me a listing to an island in Canada. Wouldn't it be cool to buy an island, he asked? I clicked and was shocked-- Canadian islands are cheap AND close. They may not fit the archetype of the tropical private island, but the climate wasn't why I wanted the island. I wanted to share a miniature country with some friends and see what we could build.
"I am literally 100% on board," I replied back.
I may have an ego about some things, but diet isn't one of them; it's too important. I'm happy to be wrong about what I eat if it means that I can improve my diet, and thus improve my health and my longevity. So I read the critique carefully and left it thinking that I'd likely start eating meat again.
I don't have the time or inclination to become an expert on diet. It takes a lot of time and focus, and the research just isn't interesting enough to me. So instead, like many other fields, my approach is to find the person who seems to be the most knowledgeable and follow their lead. Until I read the critique, that person was T Colin Campbell, author of The China Study.
T Colin Campbell is an easy choice because the China Study is the biggest study on human health ever conducted, and he was one of the scientists who conducted it. I'm not sure what sort of credentials could exceed that.
One of my projects I'm working on right now is a new productivity/accountability system. I have modeled it after my own method of getting things done and have been using it for forty five days as I built it.
Roughly two weeks ago I invited some friends and members of my forum to use it. None of them use it in the same way I do. Many of them stopped using it because it was too different from how they get things done.
So, I'm curious. How do you get things done? Do you schedule your whole day in Outlook? Do you keep a running Todo list and do what you can? Do you write down three things that MUST get done that day? Do you just meander through the day and do things as you think of them? Something else?
We've lived in three countries now, which has given me some perspective on America that I didn't have before. Sure, I'd been to a bunch of countries before (only 15 total!), but things are different when you live there.
You learn how the city and the people in it tick.
When I left I expected that everything I'd find in other countries would make me like the US less. This has been true for some things, but there are also many things that I now really appreciate about the US.
A quick preface to say that a lot of people are in real poverty through little or no fault of their own, and that's a sad thing. I would like for them to have it better, and agree that to some degree it's worth forcing the richest to pay for them.
That said, I think that there's way too much focus on wealth inequality, and not nearly enough on how great we have it, even at the lowest levels.
Earlier this year, I visited a couple castles in Romania. One was new and it was truly beautiful inside and out. The ceiling in the main hall was a retractable stained glass window, a happy overlap in timing of the last of the castles being built and the earliest mechanisms of that sort.
Across the country, though, I also visited an older castle. It was built some time around 1400, but was in use until 1920. Now it's a museum, so you can see it as it was last used. And I'll tell you-- castle or not, I have a lot more luxury than that in my RV.
We grow up being told what to do and what not to do and can't wait until we're adults and can do whatever we want. When we finally get there, there are new people like bosses, cool people on TV, and the government who try to tell us what to do again.
I don't mind getting into a little trouble here and there, so I tend to push the envelope a bit. However, even if you want to stay on the right side of the law, here are a few things that you probably THINK you have to do, but don't really.
Have any more to add? Put them in the comments and I'll add good ones here!
At last! I'm going to start this gear post with a promise, since everyone's been so patient: the 2016 Gear Post will be out on or before the Monday following Thanksgiving of 2015.
The bad news is that I fear my gear posts are going to slowly become more boring over time. While my main goal is to have the very best gear to travel with, my secondary goal is to have as little of it as possible. At this point my backpack is half empty, and a handful of items are being eyed for removal for next year.
But that's the great thing about great gear. It fulfills a need so wholly that nothing else is needed to share the burden. And, in some cases, like clothing, the gear is of such quality that spares aren't necessary.
So, without further ado, the 2015 Gear Post. As usual, many of these links are affiliate links, as this is one of very few posts that I make money on. Some products are given to me for free. While I do try more gear because of this, I never list anything that I don't think is necessary and the best in its category.
To say that we packed light is an understatement. We packed super light. Someone recently told me a saying that stuck in my mind.
"No one ever wishes they packed heavier."
So true. With fewer baggage comes more freedom, and that's exactly what we're after. Still, when Todd suggested that we take only a small backpack each, I thought he was crazy.
I'm writing about this because we sidetracked a post in the forums and I thought it was interesting to warrant a full article. It's not so much that I want to ram my opinion down the throats of those who disagree with me (I do), but that I feel like my position is misunderstood and I probably didn't do a great job of explaining it.
I don't ever get angry. That doesn't mean that bad things don't happen to me (they do), but most people I know will tell you that they've never seen me angry.
The common misperception is that I don't deal with anger and I stuff it down somewhere. The theory continues that eventually I won't be able to contain it and I will unleash my rage. Or that I'll suddenly become depressed.
Previous birthdays never really meant much to me. At eighteen I could buy cigarettes and porn, but I didn't because I don't smoke and know what the internet is. At twenty one I could buy alcohol, but didn't because I don't drink. I could gamble, too, but had already been doing it for years online. At twenty five I could rent cars at a discounted rate. That was a little bit exciting, but not exactly a life changer.
So when thirty rolled around, I didn't expect much. And, of course, the actual day didn't really change anything, but the increasing comprehension that my twenties were over did change something. I got serious.
My first ten years were spent filling diapers, and then drawing with crayons. It's tough to expect much from a 0-9 year old, and I'm sure I just about met those expectations.
My next ten years were spent learning, mostly. I learned how to make money, how to write, how to do math, and how to speak some Chinese and Spanish. A lot of my good friends were met during these years, too. So the 10-19 age range was mostly experiencing the world and building up a collection of reference experiences to help me understand it. The foundations of who I "am" were built during these years. I became a nerd, I became interested in Asia, I neglected social skills to the point that I would later have to become a pickup artist, I gained a deep understanding of risk and reward, became an entrepreneur, and I started exploring things.