Thursday, June 23, 2016

The inevitable problem of blogging in a life full of adventure, passions, and leisure.

As I sit at this moment on a plane flight from Bangkok, Thailand to Chennai, India I am pondering the fact that in the last year I haven’t touched my blog since leaving Colombia. I have come to a realization; blogging is damn difficult, as getting the time to write utterly collides with my other passions, a lifestyle chalk full of adventure, and the necessary moments of leisure (in other words, my need to waste time and blow off some steam). Throw in a family life with a loving wife and a 3 year old… can I say it again, “Damn, finding time to write is problematic for me.”

I need to find a system.  A way in which I can balance writing time by being efficient and doing it often enough to matter and to provide some reason for anyone out there to follow my endeavors. I feel like my life is interesting enough, that I am learning things I want to share with others…just how to get them into a form of prose consistently is the issue.

Here’s my problem laid out bare.  Take a read.  If you have any suggestions for me, be sure to leave them in the comments below this blog entry.

Adventure: That single word sums up my life.  I am traveling with wife and three year old daughter in tow.  In the last year we have spent 90 days in Colombia, almost 7 months in the Dominican Republic, visited Mexico, Belize, Roatan, and the Grand Caymans, followed by 4 months in the Philippines, one month bouncing around Thailand….and now, we are on a plane headed for India, in which yes, we will be jumping around to several locations before posting up in Ramashwaram, India for a few weeks.  (By the time I post this we will have also visited Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and will be living for 2 months in Bali).  So yeah, time is spent seeing new sights, eating new foods, meeting new people, and often times I am out late partying it up with our travel companion “uncle” John Ruffing.  Add to that just figuring out logistics like where to stay, how to get from A to B, and time disappears quickly on the road. Finding time to write amidst the travel is somewhat difficult….I always think “I will blog when things slow down”.  And sometimes they do…but then, passions compete for my time.

Passions: While I have several passions…my passions of kiteboarding and producing (aka making) music come first among the many.  Kiteboarding and producing music is something I do for me.  It’s not something I need to share with the world…outside of my friends taking a listen to my latest auditory creation...although I admit getting attention from outsiders is certainly gratifying.  Both kiteboarding and producing music take a considerable amount of my time.  When the wind is good…it calls to me.  I can’t pass it up without a huge dose of FOMO (fear of missing out). And after a good session I am spent physically, ready for relaxing with a beer in hand and chatting about the session with my mates.  Music, well, if you produce music you know any song can take 20-80 hours of time to finish in a professional manner. Secondary passions are DJing and photography. DJing is also something I still love to do…although with DJing there is the problem of finding places to do it for a live audience. DJing…well, it just isn’t as much fun if no one is there to hear it.  Photography takes time to get the shots, sometimes planning for them, and then afterwards processing the pictures using Adobe Lightroom to make them appear as close to what my human eye saw in person as possible, a process which can be extremely time consuming. Throw in a third desire to start making some videos with all the GoPro footage I have taken…and well, when to find the time is the question? 

Leisure: Leisure moments are those moments that I most feel I am wasting my chance to write.  But leisure is just that…a time for the mind to unwind.  These moments for me include reading (20+ novels per year) for fun and for knowledge, trying to keep up in a TV series like Vikings, Game of Thrones, or the Walking Dead, and simply watching a movie (on my computer typically).  It’s necessary I feel…but then again, it’s not. I love to read, I am addicted to the two shows I listed (although I have been good at refraining from adding any other to the list), and I still like to keep current on movies…especially superhero stuff, Star Wars, sci-fi flix and all that stuff.  Who can blame me?  Yet, I think I just need to work on balancing this realm a bit more.  Maybe a good method would be to reward myself with a show, only after I spend 30 minutes writing.  Can I be this disciplined? I would like to think so…but it is me we are talking about. Well, one step at a time.

Somehow I feel like the above three fundamental tangents of my life are somewhat balanced, (although I really wish I was producing more music!) in some ways with each other, and yet they all collide with my desire to write about my experiences.  Dare I also say that I wish I had a better reason to write?  I don’t want to write to simply brag about the cool things I am doing, seeing or experiencing.  That can’t be it or there is simply no reason for me to continue.  I want to inspire others to travel, break outside of the mold of their current life, and get out there on the road and truly find themselves while making everyday the life of their dreams.  This last 16 months on the road have been the most amazing, gratifying, and lovely months of my life.  And my daughter is growing up right now, in this moment, through it all.  That all being said, getting paid to write would be a nice little kick in the butt, making me beholden to someone else, "knocking my writing butt into gear"…and so yeah, maybe getting paid to write would really help.  But how could I go about getting paid to write if I am not already writing content worth reading?

So yeah, I need a system, a reason to write, a direction…I honestly don’t know.  The hard part seems to be taking the time to write, and then knowing what to write about.  Once I have both I feel as if I have a decent way with words and expressing myself.  So maybe that is it…sit, write whatever is on my mind rather than try to follow some sort of script.  Take this entry as an example.
So besides the above hurdles…what else do I need to overcome in order to create a system for writing more?  Well, first of all, Internet in many of the places we have lived just plain sucks. Forget having your USA high speed internet.  Half the time Skype can barely handle an audio call.  So my previous method of sitting on blogspot waiting for it to constantly save my prose, as well as waiting for pictures I want to share to upload (which can take forever) is a huge problem. Let’s not even talk about trying to upload a video to youtube or vimeo at this point.  Right now I am just typing in Word.  This seems like the first thing I need to change.  Use Word or OneNote or something like that to speed up the process of writing.

I am thinking when writing about an experience I should preview pictures on the computer and just slap them into my Word doc and keep writing…or maybe I write about whatever is in my head and then check out my recent photos and see which of them fit the given prose.  Hrmmm, I guess I may need some more time to think about this.  Or maybe I try out both and see if the different order provides a different outcome or whether one is more efficient at creating quality content than the other.

I guess what I am saying, and it seems funny it took me this long to think of it, is that I need to go back to “High School” by writing a rough draft on my computer.  Then I can load the prose onto blogspot quickly. From there I can load pics and them place them into the blog in the appropriate places as a second step to the blogging method.  Sounds good to me right now, so I guess I can see where that takes me.

Another question I have is whether I should go back and cover experiences from the past, like things that happened last summer in Caberete, Dominican Republic….or simply move on and cover the current happenings?  Maybe as I write more, if I can make that happen, some organic process will naturally flow and provide me with ideas....I will finally find my writing groove.

So, that’s about it at the moment.  Can I write more and bring more content to this blog on a regular basis.  I am sure wanting to.

For now I want to leave you with a little bit of everything from my passions created in the last 16 months:

  • some pictures I've taken (in no particular order and one photo of Avy and her friend from my buddy Will Hise), 
  • a few videos of Avy showing off on the flying trapeze and in the swimming pool in Caberete, 
  • a time-lapse sunset compilation I made with my music as a score, 
  • some electronic music I produced on the road, 
  • and a Dj mix I did in the Philippines.  
I hope you enjoy.


Pictures of our travels:

Me DJing in Goa, India,  Photo credit: John Ruffing

Avy with a friend, Caberete 2015, Photo credit: Will Hise


Avy on the trapeze, Caberete June 2015....

Avy showing off her lung capacity in the swimming pool, Caberete July 2015

Here is a compilation video a created of some of the sunsets we have been privledged to see on almost a nightly basis for the last 16+ months.


Here are some of the tracks I have produced and a DJ mix.  Also, I might add that the artwork for everything below is also of my own creation.  I hope you enjoy listening.

Here is one of my latest psybass tracks created in March of 2016 while living in Boracay, Philippines:

My latest collaboration, SETI finished in May 2016, with a great friend of mine Chuck Larson aka Bounty Hunter...It is a Breakbeat.  We co-produced this by sending the track back and forth over the internet.  Isn't technology cool!

Here is a track I produced in late 2015.  It is a big bass, trap inspired, glitch-hop track with a mangled sample from Two Live Crew, hence the title 2Life Party.

Here is the YUR E.P. I produced it during October 2015 while in Caberete and during time there wasn't much wind.  I then mixed into a 28 minute continuous mix.  It is comprised of 5 original breakbeat songs.

My latest DJ mix I did while in Boracay, Philippines comprised of psybass tracks: