A big, unshaven Spanish man is asking me to show him the other thing I mentioned. I hesitate for a second, then drop my shorts and underwear, turn around and bend over.
I’m doing a free giveaway of my book this week. And I paid a total of $26 to get it listed on some big websites and newsletters (links and details below). That was enough to make it a best seller.
Leaving Lisbon, in traffic on a bus to the airport, and a little girl in the backseat of a car next to us turns and smiles and waves. And we smile and wave back. And then she’s gone. And that’s most likely the only time our paths will ever cross, the only moment we’ll ever share in our long lives on this small rock in a vast universe. It was nice.
I’ve heard said that the opposite of a truth is a lie, but the opposite of a great truth is another great truth. Here are what I believe to be two great truths: you must always keep working to improve yourself, to become better, wiser, stronger. And at the same time, you must believe that you, in this very moment, are enough.
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Try to keep in mind that we are surrounded by magic. All day, every day. I can speak at length with my girl three thousand miles away at zero cost, then think of a recent blockbuster and be watching it in bed two minutes later for the price of a cup of coffee. We are kings and queens, all of us, better off than any human could have ever hoped to be not so long ago.
On Thursday I’ll fly two thousand miles to meet a girl I’ve never met before, a girl I never knew existed two weeks ago. I’ve done some crazy things in the past, but this might take the cake.
Waves are rough and the tide is low. After twenty minutes fighting to catch one, one catches me, hard. I face plant on a sandbar, my head staying put while the rest of me keeps going. I hear and feel my neck crack and a previously unimagined future flashes through my brain. A minute later I’m sitting on the beach, body intact but mind a bit shook. That’ll do for today.
Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!”
Had $1,500 worth of free flights to play with via a credit card bonus so was online looking for an adventure this morning. Had in mind Bali at first, but somehow ended up booking flights to Taiwan, will be there April and May. $638 the cost of the tickets so I still have more than $850 to play with. Travel hacking for the win!
Heart racing, waiting in the wings to go speak in front of 100+ people. Practiced this talk a bunch and met enough of this crowd the past few days that it’s like a room full of friends. But I found out twenty minutes ago that I can’t use my on-screen notes as planned. Thankfully I’ve got backup notecards with the whole talk written out. Actually, you know what? Fuck it, let’s try it without them, too.
About nine in the evening as I’m strolling through old-town Puerto, on the way to meet friends but not sure I want this walk to end. You ever have those times when everything seems clear and perfect and beautiful? You notice and rejoice in all the details, wouldn’t change a thing. That’s me this eve, floating through the streets, violin music and ocean waves, a shining moon in the sky.
Been thinking of a night in Kathmandu a few years back, walking home from the cinema having seen The Dark Knight Rises. I felt a sense of urgency, responsibility, like I needed to do more, be better. Because there are people in this world – real-life Banes – working hard to bully and destroy and separate. We need more real-life Batmans to counter them.
Sunday morning, at a black sand beach before the sun breaches the hill. Like I said, I’m not much of a swimmer, so best make the most of living here and practice some. Stretch and run some rocks first, then a half hour in the water, breath work mostly. Slow progress, frustrating at times, but it feels right being out there.
Today definitely a dime on the contentment scale. Got organized for the week this morning, then a tough 2-hour Freeletics workout in the park, followed by an afternoon wandering around town with a friend, chatting up a few nice ladies. Drew some smiles, had some fun. Finally chilling out at home this eve and I get a surprise call from a NYT best-selling author.
On a flight to Belgrade, you ask if you can sit in business class (no), you ask for a tour of the cockpit (no), you ask the fidgety lady beside you if she’s okay (kinda). On the bus from the airport, you ask people how to say hello and thank you in Serbian (zdravo, hvala). At the hostel, you ask to check in two hours early (yes) and if you can climb out on the roof to look at the view (yes).
It’s about 7:20am as we hop a high fence into an abandoned amusement park on the outskirts of Berlin. I brought gloves for climbing and pepper for dogs, have my cards hidden in my pack so they can’t ID me if we get caught. We’ll find broken dinosaurs, a rusty roller coaster and a lonely ferris wheel. And we’ll only have to run once.
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The Olympics are happening. You’re probably hearing names you’ve never heard before, stars are being born. But consider this: there are athletes elsewhere in the world right now, not in these Olympics. They’re training hard for the next. Endless mornings in empty gyms, four more years of sweat, toil and sacrifice before we’ll know their names.
A little before 8am at Hotel Casa 400. I’m laying in bed, she’s in the bathroom, getting ready for the day. She’s listening to some comedy show on her phone, in a language I don’t understand. And she’s laughing. I love that laugh. I love when she’s happy. She deserves to be happy. I’m leaving again tomorrow.