Matt’s 2012 in Review

A Year of Uncertainty and Adventure

In January 2012, I left my job, sold almost all of my belongings, and said bye to family and friends to embark on a journey that I had no clue where it would take me.

In January 2013, I’m still on that journey, living on the opposite side of the world. This journey is transforming into a way of life, and different way of seeing the world.

We’re at a point in time that the internet allows us to create our own jobs, live anywhere in the world and work whoever we choose.¬†Luckily, I’ve been able to keep in touch with friends and family online no matter where I’m at in the World. Skype, Google Hangout, social media, and this blog have been great at helping us keep in touch. PS: Thanks Randi for writing so much and pushing Asa and I to write a couple posts! ūüôā

Here it is…

January was a month of getting rid of the last of my belongings (thanks to advice from Joshua and Ryan) and saying bye to friends, family, my job, most hobbies. Luckily, friends are always willing to throw a party, especially if it means it’s the last time they’ll see you in many months if not years.

bonvoyagecookiecake

Thanks for the yummy cookie cake Michelle

I moved down to Palermo, Uruguay with Asa and Randi. They were pretty much the main reason I’m doing this. If they didn’t decide it would be alright for me to join them, I might have never made the trip. Asa and Randi, I owe you guys the World. You guys freakin’ rock! I hope you will come visit one day!

This is a good hair day

This is a good hair day!

I became conversational in spanish down there. We could have probably been fluent in spanish in 3 months, but making fun of each other in English was so much fun.

I was bad at taking pictures in South America. I’m blaming it on the fact that I didn’t have a working camera most of the time since the lens’ dinner of choice was sand.

Carnival in Uruguay!!

carnival

Candle Festival in Montevideo, Uruguay. They send boats with candles, flowers, and decorations into the water for good luck.

candlefestivalmontevideo

I met Carlos, JuanMa, and Maru in Palermo after finding out there was ultimate frisbee in Uruguay. Luckily they spoke enough English to communicate with us.

12-hour travel to play in the Bahia Blanca Beach hat tourney

8hrbustrip

I sang karaoke with 4 others in front of hundreds (it was the US National Anthem)

nationalanthemkaraoke

Champions!

campeones - pink gazzo

I wrestled an alligator (crocodile)

wrestledanalligator

Hey Mom! I’m a foreign TV star… in 2 countries!

tvuruguay

I played in 4 Ultimate Frisbee tournaments outside of the US

uruguaybrazilultimate

argentinasavage

3v3minitourney

In the voice of 300 Spartans…¬†This is CIMARRON!

cimarronsudaka2012

The AFDC and Spin Ultimate made it possible to donate 80 discs and jerseys to help South America further Ultimate Frisbee as a sport

discs

I learned to salsa in Argentina at 4am. (I wouldn’t call it learning, more like drunken wobbling side to side)

dancedsalsa

We played fun tournament games

I learned how to play the piano… with my feet!

IMG_0226

I had another going away party. This time it was for leaving Uruguay.

despidiendoamatt

Viva Las Vegas!

I got back together with the family in Vegas. I went to my Sister’s and Blake’s (now brother-in-law!) wedding. It was a gorgeous and awesome wedding. It was a lot of fun. I lost money at poker (it was overdue) but had a blast with Derek, Blake’s family and my family! So many good times and fun things happened.

tiffandblakewedding

Yum! In-N-Out Burger with a creeper in the background.

inandoutburgervegas

Ziplining with Dad in Vegas!

IMG_1405

Off to Puerto Galera

After too much excitement in Vegas, I headed out to Puerto Galera, Philippines to get together with a bunch of people from the DC¬†and the TropicalMBA. Joining the DC was probably the biggest game changer this year as far as business is concerned. I won’t talk about that now.

In Puerto Galera, I caught some amazing sunrises, had a birthday applechicken with the crew at Badladz and tried to swim with Dolphins.

amazingsunrise

Birthday chicken apple lunch!!

birthdayturkeyapple

Taking a short break from work!

horsegoatreindeer  junglemountainhike

Beautiful view of Puerto Galera from the top of the jungle trek

amazingislands

jungletrek2

Rented a villa with 2 friends for half a week in Puerto Galera. Our Dive master picked us up from our dock!

rentedavillaaccessiblebyboat

Survived a water buffalo ride!

rodewaterbuffalo

tmbaexploration

The crew chillin on the beach

tmbapgbeach

Tuk tuk transportation

tuktuk

Trying to swim with some dolphins

After this, I headed back to Manila for a few days to meet with some friends.

I slept on a boat in Manila

sleptonaboat

Enjoyed the Manila Skyline at night

manilaatnight

Off to Bangkok, Thailand!

After the Philippines, I flew over to Bangkok for a big meetup of about 70-80 Dynamite Circle members from all around the World.

This was my view for three days in Bangkok.

conferenceinbangkok

We met for three days in a convention center. I met people who hide from the public, well-known influencers, people just starting out on their entrepreneurial journey, and established ballers who are all living the lifestyle of their choice from wherever they want around the World.

I was bad at taking pictures here.

In Chiang Mai

Posing at a temple

dancedatatemple

Words of wisdom at a temple

mistake

Met up with Joel within my first few weeks in Chiang Mai. I was introduce to Melina and Orn then, two awesome people. Robert was laughing so hard he forgot to open his eyes.

Sick mustache, Joel.

joelandcrew

Marvin was traveling through so we went to the sticky waters where you can climb them. We decided some sort of Yoga pose would be best.

yogastickywaterfallmarvin

Cliff jumping in Chiang Mai.

jumpedoffcliff

Lantern release – sending bad thoughts away. Bringing in good thoughts.

badthoughtsgo

Thousands of lanterns released at Yi Peng lantern festival during Loi Krathong. This moment was incredible. At one point in time, I couldn’t even see the sky there were so many lanterns right above my head.

yipengloikrathong

Celebrating Turkey day with Apple Pie Shots

celebratedturkeyday

Temple in Chiang Mai

templeschiangmai

Manila Spirits 2012

Cabs R Here losing the 3rd place game to Derek Ramsey in Rock-Paper-Scissors

 losinggamesinrockpaperscissor

Was introduced through a Sam to Sam. Played with him in Manila

metsam

Dancing with the Aussies and Canadian!

dancedwithaussies

Photobomb #1 – Beer me!

photobombed1

Photobomb #2 – epic makeout scene

photobombed2

Photobomb #3 – Like a Boss

photobombed3

Surviving the Mayan Apocalypse in style!

survivedinstyle

Taking pictures of myself… as always

tookpixofmyself

Cabs R Here!!!

cabsrhere

What the Deuce in Chiang Mai’s first ultimate frisbee league.

wtdchiangmaiultimatefrisbee

Family sent me awesome christmas presents!!

celebratedchristmas

White elephant present – awesome Thailand Tshirt

bestwhiteelephantgiftever

Meeting up with cousins Jimmy and Janie and friend Sandy after their domination runs in Chiang Mai.

metcousins

Coffee at Ristr8o with the #DCCM crew on Christmas day

coffeewithdccmcrew

White elephant gift exchange

giftexchange

Christmas day street food dinner with cousins Jimmy and Janie!

Christmasdinner

Some lessons learned:

People all around you have a strong influence on who you are as a person. Surround yourself with people you look up.

Different cultures around the World can take a while to adapt to. By having a strong core, open eyes and ears, and the ability to see other’s points of view, you can go extremely far in life and be extremely successful (no matter what “success” means to you).

When you let yourself be open to opportunity, doors start showing up in front of you and you just have to choose which ones your going to open and which path your going to go down.

Learning a language is hard, but you’ll get a lot more respect and your stay will be easier if you learn some basic language and show you’re trying. You’ll also get good mental benefits from learning to speak a new language.

Leverage your hobbies to create strong and lasting friendships wherever you go.

There is something unique about Ultimate Frisbee and spirit of the game. If you play ultimate frisbee, make sure to look for ultimate everywhere you go. You will instantly create awesome friends and people all around. I have made so many friends this past year through ultimate and everyone is awesome in their own way. Whether I was partying in Uruguay at 6am with you, dancing/drinking in Argentina, surviving the Apocalypse with the Aussies in Manila, or playing league in Chiang Mai, you guys have been freaking awesome!

This journey would not be the same without ultimate and all the people I’ve met playing ultimate along the way. If there is anything I can ever do for you guys, you know where to contact me!

The same can be said for anyone in the DC. #DCCM, you guys rock! I’ve had a blast in Chiang Mai. Now, it’s time to move it to #DCPai and get more serious about health, fitness, work, and productivity.

It’s not as easy as it seems…

Going out and traveling sure does seem like fun, but there are a lot things that make it difficult. In the beginning, you have to give up on a lot of things like going out and drinking with friends a lot, skipping over to another country for fun, doing expensive dinners. You really have to be the boring friend sometimes who sits inside on a Friday evening and throughout the weekend getting the work done. Your good friends will understand, but most won’t.

Whatever you do, just make sure you follow Derek Sivers’ motto: it’s either “HELL Yeah! or no.”

Most people won’t understand what you do. They see the great pictures, the travel, the fun, but they don’t understand the struggles and the work you do.

Leaving friends is hard. Sure, I’ve made great friends along the way, but with everyday I make a new friend, that’s a day that’s passed that I haven’t seen an old friend from backhome.

The hardest part is probably leaving family. Luckily I can video chat and skype with my family back home, but it’s definitely hard celebrating birthdays, holidays, especially Christmas without the family. Technology doesn’t always work and frustrating times come along that. You just have to accept the fact that s#!@ happens sometimes and there will be another time to say hi!

You have to be like water in a stream, flowing over and around the rocks, the hard times. I think there’s a Chinese proverb about that.

The biggest lesson I’ve learned this whole trip, and it’s something I knew and learned from Mo, quality relationships are pretty much the most important things in life. Without trust, friendship, support, prodding, and pushing from peers, mentors, mentees, friends, family, others, life can be A LOT harder than it has to be.

Go out and create great relationships. Keep in touch, help others, and connect people when you can! Be good to others.

I could write this post about business stuff, finances, etc, but the most important thing to me is connecting, helping, and having fun with people.

2012 was a year of travel and creating incredible friendships. 

I’m looking forward to 2013 to be a year of creating and deepening relationships and fine tuning my habits and rituals to be more productive and grow my business efforts this year.¬†
Don’t worry, Mom! I’ll work on taking more and better pictures and keeping everyone updated!

2013 is a year for shipping. Get your work out! Go big or go home (going home isn’t an option here). Do something that matters and the world will reward you for it.

Advertisements

Reflections on Communication

Communicating efficiently with other people is one of the hardest things to learn how to do. Language has so many nuances that are hard to interpret and convey. A simple conversation can be hard to have if two people come from different backgrounds or have different interpretations of life. Communicating can be difficult even when both parties are speaking the same language.

Communicating in a non-native language can be hard, full of misunderstandings, and fairly stressful. During our time in Uruguay, we knew that communication was hard, but we were learning, and it definitely got easier the more comfortable we became with the language. It wasn’t until we got home that we realized how stressed out we had become about communicating with people.

For months we had prepared for every conversation we needed to have with anyone. We prepared for new vocabulary. We prepared for “what ifs”. We prepared to sound as natural as possible. We did this for everyone, from the check-out lady at the grocery store to our land lady to people in retail stores. We combed the internet for phrases that might make sense in the situation we would be in. We reviewed what we would say, how we could explain things, how to ask questions. And we did this constantly.

When we got back to the states, Asa and I both found ourselves still mentally reviewing possible conversations with people in Spanish. One morning, Asa even decided not to get a haircut because it would be too difficult to explain the type of cut he wanted in Spanish… only realizing later that he wouldn’t be speaking Spanish with the lady at the barber shop. Doh! I even spoke to a waitress at the Miami airport in Spanish because I heard Spanish around me.

Once we finally convinced ourselves that speaking to people in English was easy, it was a pleasure to talk to people. More of a pleasure than we had ever realized it could be. Being able to communicate to someone exactly what we wanted, and do it easily was so gratifying. It was fun being able to talk to people. It was nice to not be stressed out about communicating with people. We no longer had to prepare for conversations, we could make last minute decisions.

Our time in Uruguay has made both of us appreciate communication in a whole new light. We commonly take communication for granted, forgetting that at some point when we were young we actually had to learn to communicate with others. The ability to communicate should not be taken for granted. It is our window to the world and without it, I imagine, we would be very lonely.

So the next time you’re at a restaurant or the check-out counter think about your ability to communicate, and do it with ease!

The Next Steps

So now that we’ve returned home, some of you may be asking what we are going to do now.

Well, Asa has made his way to Atlanta to play ultimate frisbee for the club season with his old team, Chain Lightning. Having been a part of this team for the last 4 years, and the two of us not having any grand plans arranged, it was a must for Asa to play another season. He is still in the same wonderful job that he can do from anywhere! He will be doing a lot of traveling for the frisbee season, making appearances in Santa Cruz, Washington D.C., Orlando, and hopefully Sarasota at the end of October.

I am currently in California with my parents and our pets.

The view from my parents’ balcony. It sure is a tough life!

One of my goals during our stay in Uruguay was to find a job for when we got back. Yeah, that didn’t happen, but not for lack of trying. Apparently the academic and science fields are super hard to find a job in right now. So, that’s one of my main activities now: job searching. I am also hard at work continuing to publish work from my PhD dissertation. While in Uruguay I got two papers published and have a book chapter and another paper in the works. For the first time in a long time (almost 10 years), my athletic ambitions do not involve frisbee. Instead I am going to have some fun running and get back into triathlons with my dad.

The next question you’re probably thinking about is what is going to happen with the blog. Well, at least for a while, we’ll continue to post thoughts and reflections from our trip to Uruguay. We learned a lot that we definitely want to share.

We will also start posting some of our adventures in the states. Our friends in Uruguay can get an idea of our life in the states and our friends closer to home may get some awesome ideas for places to go or things to see.

Things We Won’t Miss About Montevideo

– The construction across the street. The jack-hammering at 7 in the morning is getting very old. There is a ton of construction everywhere. A person couldn’t walk two or three blocks without encountering some kind of construction (although this varies by neighborhood).

– Uneven sidewalks. They are out to kill people, or at least embarrass them.

– The air quality. One of the main ways to heat homes here is via fireplace, hence lots of soot in the air. Also, no regulations on vehicle emissions doesn’t help.

– Trash on the beach. Although, city workers usually do a thorough cleaning of all the beaches once a month or so.

– Dog poo on the sidewalks. People in some neighborhoods seem to pick up after their pets while others do not. Regardless, there ends up being poo everywhere.

– The high electricity bills.

– High prices for imported goods. Its a little ridiculous having to pay $40 US for a pair of insoles for my shoes, although much cheaper than buying a new pair altogether.

– Olives. They put olives in everything here.

– No right of way as a pedestrian. It makes crossing the street seem very adventurous at times.

– Waiting forever in the check-out line at the supermarket. There are some down sides to such a laid back attitude.

Things We’ll Miss About Montevideo

Public transportation and walking, and the fact that public transportation is cheap (about $1 to ride the bus and about $7 for a 20 min taxi ride).

– Fresh pasta.

– The Ramblas.

Fresh produce and farmer’s markets.

– The new friends that we’ve made.

– The laid-back attitude.

– Being able to pay for everything in one location. Paying bills, charging cell phones, and buying tickets to events can all be done at the Abitab. And there is never a shortage of Abitab locations.

– Well behaved dogs everywhere. They don’t harass people, they run around without leashes, and they even know how to cross the street without getting run over (which is sometimes challenging for their human counterparts).

Game night group.

– Face to face time with coworkers (Asa).

Empanadas!

Uruguayan greetings.

– Lack of excessive rules, regulations, and safety measures. People generally seem to be smart about what they do like driving, walking down sidewalks laced with construction, or traversing near open windows in 9th floor apartments.

Things We’re Looking Forward to Back Home

**These are not in any order of importance.

– A nice long soak in the jacuzzi. It’s freakin’ cold here!

– Extra sharp cheddar cheese.

– Having a dryer. I want some nice, warm, and dry clean clothes.

– Meat other than beef. Don’t get me wrong, they’ve got some darn good beef here, but that’s really all they have.

– Family, friends, and pets. It’s really hard being on the other side of the world, although I really like SKYPE!

– Warm(er) and drier weather… here we come summer!

– Kitchen utensils that work!

– Body wash. Yeah, they don’t really have that here.

– Quiet and natural places. It’s a bit hard to bond with nature in the middle of a city without transportation.

– A wider variety of food and food ingredients. I could really dig some pannang curry right now and I could use some spice in my food.

– English. Although we learned a lot of spanish and can communicate here, there’s nothing like the native tongue.

– Debit and credit cards. Much easier than carrying cash everywhere and easier to track expenditures.

– Recycling!