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DaedTech Digest: How Does All of the Travel Affect Your Diet?

Another week, another slow travel question.  This one is pretty straightforward.

How does all of the slow travel affect your diet compared to leading a normal life?

First of all, let me say that you’ll probably get a slightly different answer to this question if you ask Amanda than if you ask me, even though we share a lifestyle.

The reason is that she puts a lot more effort into considering food from a number of angles, from more concern with macro nutrients to being a person prone to “hangriness.”  I, on the other hand, can forget to eat all day without really noticing hunger, and then wash down a giant steak with red wine and tortes or something.

I pay attention to calorie intake, but for the most part food isn’t a huge priority in my decision making about anything.  In a sense, I kind of grow where I’m planted.

It’s important to understand this in order to understand how travel, in general, affects my diet.  If I had to sum up the effect briefly, I’d say “not the best.”

I gained weight some years back when i went into 100% travel management consulting.  It’s hard not to.  You go from leading a normal life to eating all of your meals expensed, at places like Outback Steakhouse.

I eventually managed to shed some of those pounds, but then we left that life in favor of slow traveling.  Not all of the pounds returned, but some of them did.

When we slow travel, we do stock our AirBNB with groceries, the way anyone might.  But there are three healthy eating hitches with that:

  1. We’ll disproportionately stock up on local “can’t miss” things, and those usually aren’t healthy.  “What’s a King Cake?  Welp, when in New Orleans, do as the New Orleanans do.”
  2. When our time in an AirBNB is winding down, we don’t want to throw out a bunch of food, so the last week or so starts to involve a LOT of dining out.
  3. Even when we’re not winding down, there’s natural pressure to try all of the local restaurants and carry out places.

So, in the end, slow travel is sort of like a junior version of traveling consulting life when it comes to (poor) diet decisions.  You have an option other than dining out every night, but there’s a lot of pressure to go sample local stuff so you don’t miss out, like this shot from my birthday, where Amanda found us a gourmet gelato place in Atlanta. They made you gelato flowers, which, as you might imagine is hard for an experience collector to pass up.

Picks

  • With all of the Youtube videos I’ve been doing these days, I’ve looked for ways to add interesting features to the videos.  This includes little movie clips under fair use.  And I’ve found this service, Streamable, that’s free and lets you grab and download little snippets of Youtube videos.
  • I’m going to throw some love to Leanpub.  It’s a platform for self-publishing books in a lean fashion, letting you get beta readers and feedback as you write the book.  They also handle all of the eBook formatting concerns and do some marketing/promotion for you.  It’s great for self-publishers.

The Digest

And, as always, have yourselves a great weekend.

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Reader Question Round-Up: Approaching Execs, Micromanagers, and Scaling without Job Interviews

I’ve fallen off a bit with creating video content.  But don’t worry; I recently remedied that.

We left the Florida Keys, stopped in Raleigh for 10 days or so, and finally landed back in Michigan.  But, upon returning, it wasn’t as simple as setting up the ol’ boom mic and tripod and letting ‘er rip.  We returned to a house in a state of flux.

You see, before leaving for the winter, we’d sold our former primary residence and basically just dumped a lot of that stuff here and in storage.  So it was like returning to a house that was in the middle of a move.

But, fast forward a few weeks and I’m relatively settled.  The office looks office-y, and the aforementioned boom mic and tripod are ready to go.  So I’ll get back on the horse with video content.

This Week’s Round-Up

To start that trend, I tackle another four reader questions.  Those are as follows:

  1. 1:20 How to approach executives if you’re “scruffy and nerdy looking?”
  2. 5:43 How did we scale up Hit Subscribe without doing job interviews?
  3. 11:50 Is my manager a micromanager?
  4. 17:39 Can I keep my 401K after leaving the company?

This episode featured several topics that sent me into mild rant mode about organizational scale, realpolitik, and job interviews.  If you like that sort of thing, then you’ll like this video.  If not, well, ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.

One thing I’ve really come to understand over the last few years of professionally brokering content is that if the only reaction to your content is positive, it means you don’t have much reach.  The content game is about finding the audience that resonates with your message and not sweating the rest.  So, let’s do that.

And, before I link the video, let me offer the usual note about more reader questions.  As you can see, I’m actually committed to turning all of them around these days, so please feel free to hit me with more.  Comment below, comment on the Youtube video, DM me, email me — whatever.  I’ll get ’em in the backlog and get ’em answered.

 

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DaedTech Digest: Do You Have Friends Anymore?

Alright, I’m picking back up with the theme I announced last week.  That is, I’m going to go back to answering questions about slow travel that people ask me since we are firmly ensconced in our lake house for the next several months.

I’ve got an interesting and kinda blunt topic this week.

Do Amanda and I really have friends anymore?

The short answer is, yes, of course we do.  We just don’t see them very much anymore.

But the more nuanced answer is that our friends tend to come in two (non-mutually exclusive) varieties:

  • Old friends
  • Internet friends

We’ve made a lot of friends throughout life: high school friends, college friends, work friends.  And the rise of the internet and social media in particular has made it amazingly easy to stay in touch with those friends.

So we do just that.

We keep in touch with close friends via text, email, social media, etc.  Although, truth be told, we don’t always do the best job of keeping in touch.  But, we do tend to make up for that as we travel, figuring out who we know that’s in a city and making it appoint to grab dinner or drinks.

And then we do a good bit of socializing online.  Our business, Hit Subscribe, has a lot of folks, a vibrant Slack community, and weekly, digital hangouts.  This provides a nice supplement to the aforementioned media interaction.

But, in spite of keeping in touch with old friends and virtually hanging out with new friends, I’d be lying if I said we had the social lives that many of you probably do.  There’s no neighborhood crew, mutual children in school, drinks at the bar after work, etc.  Our lives are solitary, relative to most people’s, as we wander around.

So, we have to opportunistically make new friends wherever we can, with whomever we can, regardless of concerns like mutual interests, similar backgrounds, or even species.

Picks

  • Last year, we sold our primary residence, put all that stuff in storage, and promptly hit the road.  Now that we’re back at our house by the lake, we find ourselves with two houses’ worth of stuff for a single house, which includes a bunch of extra beds.  I recently learned that Goodwill and a number of other places won’t, for sanitary reasons, accept mattresses.  But, the Salvation Army will.  So if you want to donate something like a mattress (in good shape), give them a call or a visit.
  • I recommended this recently on the Freelancers Show, so I’ll give it a nod here.  If you’re an aspiring or new free agent, I’d give Million Dollar Consulting a read.
  • And, finally, this is kinda weird, but I can’t recommend my new dentist enough.  If you’re in the South Bend/Mishawaka area, give them a call.  The dental aspect of the practice is great, but so too are the bedside manner and patient experience, which includes a TV on the ceiling to watch during cleanings and massing chairs for patients.

The Digest

And, as always, have yourselves a great weekend.

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DaedTech Digest: What Destinations Are on Your Wishlist?

After my retrospective on vagabonding for the cold season, we’re in Michigan for the summer.  And, because we’re done traveling, I guess I have two options:

  1. Write about our house in Michigan as if it were a slow travel destination (which I might actually do at some point, because this is totally a place I’d slow travel)
  2. Go back to answering questions people ask me about slow travel.

I’m going with (2) for now.  Let’s start with a fun one.

What Destinations Are on Your Wishlist?

There’s nothing quite like pining for the future, eh?

Historically, Amanda and I have limited our expeditions to roaming all over the US (with the exception of occasional forays into Mexico and Canada).  Mostly, this is because we’re traveling with two cats.  Throwing them in the Jeep is a lot easier than maneuvering them through customs and quarantines.

That said, we might bite the bullet next winter or in subsequent winters.  We might, in fact, do all of the micro-chipping, certification and whatever else required to fly them to international destinations for six months or whatever.

So, with nothing off of the table due to logistics, here are some of the options that have interested me the most.  (And I’m speaking only for myself here — not Amanda).  Also please note that the pros and cons are based on my limited understanding and preconceived notions, and not all that much actual research.

Thailand

First up, I’d love to go spend some time in Thailand.  I’ve done quite a bit of international traveling over the years, but Southeast Asia is an area of the world I have yet to explore.

As I understand it, not only is this a warm, scenic, culturally vibrant place, but there’s also a large expat/digital nomad community there, making it a relatively gentle landing spot for a first overseas slow travel situation.

Pros: The slow travel community, easy visa situation, the digital nomad community, low cost of living, a chance to really range out in a new part of the world for me, the food (I can only assume).

Cons: I don’t deal well with sweltering weather, apparently reserving the right to euthanize pets in customs if we don’t get everything right with their paperwork.

Costa Rica

Costa Rica is a destination I’ve long pined for.  I think from the first time I became interested in slow travel, that was a place that I wanted to head.

It seems to be just the right mix of interesting culture, cosmopolitan living, mountains, sea, scenery, and temperate places to make me extremely happy.  Unlike Thailand, I do have some sense of the area, having once spent a week or ten days or something in Panama, which I loved.

Pros: Climate, variety in a relatively small space, idyllic beaches, mountains, cool wildlife.

Cons: I’m not sure what we’d do about a car (and we’d want one, because we’d want to spend part of our time on the beach).

Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico is another place I’ve never been and would love to check out.  I’ve been to a fair number of countries in the Caribbean, but always for a vacation week or on a cruise stop.  I’d love to spend a season or two, because slow travel is a lot different than normal travel.

Just as I learned what it was like to live in the Keys, I’d like to learn that about a Caribbean island.  Plus, Puerto Rico has some amazing tax incentives to entice business owners to establish residency (as in, you pay like 3% income tax total or something), so that’s probably worth scoping out.

Pros: Idyllic beaches, ease of access as a US citizen, I can only assume food is great.

Cons: Rumors of spotty internet, not sure what things are like since the hurricane.

Hawaii

Last up, Hawaii.  This has a few things going for it in my book.  First of all, it’s far, far away, but still the US, so this makes basic logistics like the mail easier.  Secondly, I’ve been to 49 of 50 US states, and Hawaii would appease the set collector in me.

But, beyond those purely superficial concerns, it would be a slice of Pacific Island living, which I’d enjoy.  The scenery/landscape is also fascinating, with volcanoes and impressive land and sea scapes and whatnot.

Pros: Climate, outdoor activities, access to US logistics stuff, living for a while in a place everyone goes for their honeymoon.

Cons: High cost of living, surprising difficulty bringing the cats, a timezone that would put us out of sync with everyone we work with.

Wherever life takes me, “resort casual” is as nice as I ever want to dress.

Picks

  • I talked about this on the latest recording of the Freelancers Show, but if you ever have to send money overseas or receive it from overseas, check out Xoom or Transferwise to avoid high fees.
  • I just installed Visual Studio 2019.  (I’d been dragging my feet because of them relegating all of the plugins to a single menu.)  I must say, I find its splash screen beautiful.

The Digest

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Hustle or Work-Life Balance: What’s the Right Answer?

I have a rich annual tradition that I only just became aware of this year.

Every year, around this time, Apple has some kind of conference or announcement or something.  It’s the time of year when, for a day or two, an iThing getting smaller or losing a USB port makes everyone absolutely lose it and flood my news feed with opinions for a few days.

And I’ve only this year realized that this seems to happen annually and that it’s probably a pattern.  But every year, including this one, I’ve mustered a strong, festive sense of complete apathy.  I think.

The Nights and Weekends Platitude Heard ’round the World

This year, the event rocketed into my awareness not because of some new product or service, but because half of my Twitter feed started retweeting things like this:

Whoah, okay.  Curious, I spent some time looking for the transcript of wherever he said this, but to no avail.  I couldn’t even find a video of it.  (Though I did learn that this annual apple thing is called “WWDC.”)

The closest I could find was this Tweet with a quote, from someone who, presumably, had listened.

So, from what I gather, Tim Cook, during the course of the obligatory shout-out to the little people, gave them thanks for working their little tails off during their little nights and their little weekends.  And the world subsequently had opinions.

I Have Deep Ambivalence about Hustle Culture

Long time readers of the blog might remember this viral post about “sucker culture.”  I let a CEO, “Victoria,” have it for bemoaning her employees’ lack of desire to work extra hours for no pay.

In fact, I’ve written at length about the standard corporate hierarchy and how it involves a cultural tricking of many people into over-performance in exchange for no value.  Obviously, in the posts and in my book on the subject, I don’t treat this as a positive.

And, perhaps most compelling of all, I own a business with employees.  And, along with my wife and partner, hold work-life balance as a non-negotiable governing principle.  We view this as humanistic and simple, good business.

If we’re building a company that requires heroic efforts to exist or scale, we’re building something unsustainable and with artificially inflated value.  It’s the corporate equivalent of wrestlers cutting weight just before a weigh-in.

And yet, I work a lot.  Last week was a 4 day week, following Memorial Day weekend, and I managed to work a 49 hour week from Tuesday to Friday.  In my management consulting life, I used to put in 40 hour weeks, run the business that would become Hit Subscribe in the evenings from my hotel, and still do things like write a book.  And sandwiched between Sunday night and Friday night flights home.

So what’s my deal?  Am I a hypocrite?  Some kind of would-be martyr?  I’m honestly asking myself these questions non-rhetorically, and this blog post is my attempt to figure out the answer.

Because I think it’s none of the above.  I think, instead, that I’m fortunate enough to have continually hacked my career into situations where I both enjoy and benefit from work, thus rendering it all a sort of work/hobby mish-mash.

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