Last night I was on my way to meet someone, running late. I sat there waiting for a tram, stressing about the lateness, somehow forgetting the fact that I was back in Amsterdam, that my favorite city lay sparkling in front of me. Finally I copped it, my shoulders relaxed, my breath deepened, and once again all was right in my world.
Often while traveling you encounter other cultures handling things in different ways. And sometimes you can see that it’s no better or worse than the way you’re used to; it’s just different, and it works fine for them. Other times, you encounter a culture handling things in different ways, and it’s simply fucked up and wrong.
We go for a walk in the park, hand-in-hand-in-pocket, stopping off to mimic statue poses, and mess around in the playground. Big kids, the two of us. Always fun with her. And bittersweet, since I’m constantly leaving town – I’ll be on a plane in six hours – leaving her behind. But I’m at peace with that, and I think she is too.
There’s a saying in business that most companies hire too fast and fire too slow. Similar with me and friendship. I make friends quick and easy, but take far too long to cut toxic “friends” loose. Let someone go today, should have done it much earlier. Final straw was a casual insult he threw my way, and realizing that I’d gained zero value from being connected to him all these years.
My sublet here in Berlin is ending a week earlier than expected, so moved my flight to Tenerife forward and will be heading there on Tuesday. Berlin has been okay, but only okay. Doubt I’ll be back next summer. If I’m going to have a home base (or two), it should be some place I love living.
Describing my daily routine, and he’s a bit taken aback by how disciplined I am. “How aren’t you a millionaire already?” This coming from a guy who’s making six figures a year online. I laugh at his question, though I ask myself the same thing sometimes. Thought I’d be much further along financially by now. But hey, at least I’m taking the scenic route.
I’ve often felt nostalgic when leaving a place, thinking how this may be the last time I cycle past that church, or climb those steps, or visit that cafe. Not the same significance here in Berlin though. Feeling indifferent towards this city. That said, it’s been good to me. Met some great people, had some nice times.
You ever think that there may be something out there you’ve yet to try – some sport or activity, maybe even a job or a musical instrument – that you’re destined to love? Something transformative. You’d try it one time and think to yourself, “How haven’t I done this before? This is it! This is what I was born to do!” I reckon there’s something like that out there for everyone.
My most productive month this year, by far, was January. Had a tight deadline to finish the content for 3M1K and get the thing launched, and the only way I was able to do it was by not checking email or Facebook before 6pm every day. You’d think I would have kept that habit, but no, fell right back into distraction mode in February. Cal Newport’s latest is pulling me out again.
Tenerife is a big island. So big it takes 90 minutes for the bus trip from the airport to my new home town of Puerto de la Cruz. And I step off that bus into a tropical rainstorm, get drenched going to pick up keys and finding the apartment. But I’ve got a big stupid smile on my face all the while.
Walking home after dark, a solid day behind me. Got a routine figured out, put in a couple of high-intensity work sessions, explored several miles on the run, saw a spectacular view or two, met some cool people. Now catching sweet smells in the air and noticing Mars and Saturn shining bright in the sky. Think I’m going to like it here.
Settled now in Tenerife, experimenting with a 5:30am alarm and finished work by 1pm. This “fixed-schedule productivity” was one of the big recommendations in Deep Work. The idea being that restricting work hours naturally weeds out tasks of the frivolous variety. Plenty of time then in the evenings for Spanish study and surf lessons.
Tom from Wales. Ben and George from England. Anita from Canada. Sarah from Germany. Aarón and Santi from Tenerife. Orsi from Romania. Dan from Australia. And myself. All sat on a big balcony laughing and chatting and looking out over a swimming pool and terraced walkways beneath a clear night sky.
Hike to the westernmost point of Tenerife. There’s a lighthouse and steps down to a swim spot. I’m not much of a swimmer, but everyone’s jumping from the steps into the blue so I give it a try.
If they can do it…
Start low and work my way up, eventually jumping three times from the top, dropping a dozen feet, maybe more.
…so can I.
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.
Had a Spanish lesson booked this afternoon but teacher was a no-show. Spent an hour on Duolingo instead, but that won’t get me very far. It’s speaking practice I need most. Set a goal with my Mastermind buddy that I’ll do at least 3 hours of focused speaking practice a week. $150 penalty for every half hour I’m short.
In the comments below, let me know which of the above Momentos is your favorite. Which can you relate to?