DaedTech

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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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DaedTech Digest: A Vagabonder’s Winter Season Retrospective

Last week, I teased the idea of a winter retrospective on our vagabonding adventures.  This week, I suppose I’ll deliver.

Now, when I say “winter,” I loosely mean “everything from when it starts to get cold until it stops being cold.”  So, we headed out from our Michigan place at the end of September, and traveled pretty constantly until last week.

I will note that we did return “home” (ish) in November and stayed in the Midwest until New Years.  The purpose of this unplanned return was to sell our old townhouse in the Chicago suburbs, so we actually spent a good bit of time staying at that townhouse, and then hotels in the area.  So, with the logistics, transit and moving, and the fact that our original plan involved Key Largo in November and December instead of a Michigan-Illinois mish-mash, I’m just rolling the whole thing into one giant ball of transit.

Whew.  With caveats out of the way… Everyone likes to take a data-driven approach these days, so let’s do that.

Our Vagabonding Season, by the Numbers

Alright, here are the raw stats of our travels.

  • 2 countries
  • 22 states
  • 233 days of moving around
  • 4 homes occupied (5, if you count the place we own in Michigan, and 7 if you count places we stayed for ~10 days instead of a month)
  • 1 property sold
  • 0 bomb cyclones or polar vortexes experienced
  • 8,211 miles driven
  • 1 scorpion slain
  • 1 anteater walked
  • 2 outstanding, distinct styles of US barbecue sampled in-depth
  • All 127 mile markers of the Florida Keys driven past.
  • 0 cats eaten by alligators

Let’s break that down now, with a qualitative analysis.  And, if you’re so inclined, you can read back through the digest history and see me blog about all of these places.

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DaedTech Digest: Our Glorious Return to the Frozen North

I am typing this from home.  Or, at least, I’m typing it from a house that we own.  We’ve always thought of it as our lake house, despite opting to make it our primary residence as far as various municipalities are concerned.

This puts in southwest Michigan, kind of in the middle of nowhere, and definitely in the woods.  And it’s nice to be back!

I was going to do a winter retrospective this week, but I thought I’d tackle the subject of coming home instead.  Maybe I’ll do the winter retrospective next week.

The Trip Home

As I mentioned last week, our last vagabonding stop was the Florida Keys before spending a week in Raleigh to visit a client.  So the final leg of our cold season journey involved a single (long) day trip from Raleigh to here in Michigan.

That was a minor adventure.  The vent system in our Jeep is on the fritz, and it crapped out an hour or so into the trip.

Now, this might not sound like a big deal, but when you’re traveling with cats, you can’t really roll the windows down.  And, even though it was probably 40 degrees or something for you northerners, Monday in North Carolina saw highs around 90.  So we sweltered.

But, as luck would have it, the temperature dropped 50 degrees during the course of that drive, as we headed north and the sun headed west and down.  So, by the end, we were actually cold in the car, with the window cracked to prevent the windshield from fogging, rather than to keep us from dying of heat stroke.

But we made it.

We made it to a house that was more or less in good working order.  Eh, give or take a weird smell from mineral deposits in the water heater and a sagging deck by the lake there.  The place held up pretty well for a house relentlessly attacked by ice-nadoes and bomb cyclones and whatnot all winter.

So we did what anyone used to 80 degree weather, beaches, and sun for the last bunch of months would have done upon arriving in the frigid north.  We made a fire.

Luckily, the cold spell lasted only a day, and now I’m out jogging in the 75+ degree weather to which I am accustomed.  And, I’m doing it back home where I can take power tools to anything in the house that displeases me, rather than calling an AirBNB host to come fix it.

Picks

  • On the return trip, Amanda and I started listening to the audio book Ready Player One.  I haven’t finished it yet, but as someone who grew up RPGs and reading fantasy books in the 80s, it’s a real laugh-shot of nostalgia.
  • I’ve historically had a… complicated… relationship with Quicken.  I’ve relied on it heavily to keep my books for 2 decades, but its user experience is somewhere between that of the DMV and the business side of a rumble strip.  But as of Quicken 2019, you can sync your finances with their server, giving you the ability to quickly log a receipt from anywhere, as if using Expensify.  I no longer keep receipts in my wallet, and consider this a game-changer.
  • Amanda and I visited the Duke Lemur Center while we were in Raleigh.  For something like $25, you can wander around visiting the different lemur exhibits, and there are tour guides stationed everywhere to answer all of your questions and talk about the different animals.  If you like cute cat-monkeys, you will not be disappointed.

The Digest

Now that I’m home, I plan to make good on my threats for more content.  But, since that didn’t apply to the past week, here’s another embarrassingly sparse digest.

  • We published a video on the Hit Subscribe Youtube channel, where we talk about the case study website we’re building with Hit Subscribe.
  • And, badly in need of a haircut (I would get it literally the next day), I joined Amanda to do some Q&A with common questions for digital nomads.

And, as always, have yourselves a great (holiday, in the US!) weekend.

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DaedTech Digest: A Business Trip and Detour to the Research Triangle

A week ago, I was watching the sunset over the Florida Keys.  As I did that, I wrote a post summarizing my take on the area, in detail.  What I didn’t mention is where we were headed next.

It was Raleigh, North Carolina.  And I’ll talk about that, briefly.

A few weeks ago, Amanda and I faced a logistical problem.  The drive from Rarmod Key to our house in Michigan takes something like 24 hours, which, given our cat situation, does not lend itself to a single trip.

So our logistical issue was, “three legs of 8-ish hours or 2 legs of 12-ish hours” and, in either case, where might we enjoy stopping for a few days.  We thought about places like Jacksonville, Savannah, Charlotte, and… wait a minute.  Charlotte is fairly close to Raleigh… and we have a client/partner in Raleigh!

On kind of a whim, I reached out to see about a visit.  And, before I knew it, we’d not only decided to do it, but scheduled some useful sessions to lay out some new mutual opportunities.

With that scheduled, we decided to make a week or so of it.  We arrived last Saturday night (Sunday morning) and have been enjoying local sites, warm weather, delicious barbecue, and walks through the piney woods near our hotel.  Oh, and Amanda and I each had to shop for some business casual clothes because our vagabonding life is pretty much shorts, flip-flops and T-shirts.

So we’re here enjoying the area for a few more days before completing the journey back to Michigan.  And, that’s the story of how a couple of slow travelers turned a random stop-over into a fun business trip.

Picks

  • I recently discovered that Gatorade makes a zero calorie drink, and I like it a lot more than I would have thought.  I historically liked to drink the zero calorie Sobes and Bais, so if either of those is up your alley, give Gatorde Zero a try.
  • I’m going to throw a pick to the idea of taking some time each morning to have coffee and let my attention wander.  Instead of immediately trying to be productive, I’ve started to allow 30-60 minutes to socialize on Slack, read random articles from my feed, and generally just poke around the internet.  Rather than being wasteful, this has actually really help me get all distractions out of my system and focus for the rest of the day.

The Digest

  • On the Freelancers Show, several of us discussed the subject of using a CRM for your freelance practice.  You should give it some consideration, even if you think it might be overkill.
  • In this video, I talked about why we started a remote-only company and why slow traveling is important to us.  I was taking time off when we recorded this one and had just gotten done swimming, so I was a little looking a little rough.
  • And, in another Facebook Live, we talked about the site we own, makemeaprogrammer.com.  This includes why we built it, what we hope to do with it, and what this has to do with content marketing.