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

Buenos Aires Public Transportation

This past weekend we found ourselves in Buenos Aires again. There was a small ultimate tournament there that Matt and Asa both played in. Asa and I booked a hotel in the downtown area of Buenos Aires because we didn’t know the field location until two days before the tournament. Luckily for us, the public transportation in Buenos Aires is very extensive and includes buses, subways, and trains.

Buenos Aires is full of buses and anyone can take them for a small fee of about $0.25 US, and they go everywhere in the city. The following are a couple of problems with taking the bus.

1. Figuring out which bus to take. There are more than 100 different bus routes throughout the city. Luckily there is a nice website that can be used to find the correct route, that is, once you figure out how to use the website!

2. Finding change. There is a coin shortage in Argentina and the buses only take change. Stores will ask repeatedly if you have correct change and will sneer at you when you don’t. There are several card payment systems that have been installed in all realms of public transport in the last 5 years. On our last visit we obtained a SUBE card which helped us on our way.

3. If you’re in a hurry, forget it. Take a taxi! Traffic can be really bad in the city and the buses take forever.

The subway in Buenos Aires is fairly easy to take, but it is sometimes very crowded, only goes to certain locations, and can be a mecca for thieves who work together to target tourists. When my parents visited us in Buenos Aires their camera got stolen on the subway, despite being very vigilant.

Knowing these things, we decided that we would investigate train options this time around. We took the train the last time we were in the city and thought it was nice. Upon investigation, we discovered that there are not one, but three different train lines servicing parts of the city. Only one of these lines is included in the website (above) that shows the bus routes. We found the line that stopped near our destination and could get there and back for about $0.30 US each. Trains left every 15 minutes all day long and we could arrive at our destination in 11 minutes. The equivalent bus ride would have taken upwards of 45 minutes.

The train station at our destination

The three train stations are next to each other. Lining the streets outside the stations are vendors selling everything from donuts to alarm clocks to shoes. Beyond the vendors, in the street, is one of the most extensive bus stops I have ever seen. There were more than 5 lanes that buses could enter, which each had approximately 20 stops arranged adjacent to each other. It took up almost two whole blocks.

Only a small portion of the bus stop. Each covered area is the stop for a different bus line.

Here’s to public transportation making our lives easier and relatively hassle free!

 

Iguazu Falls – A trip to the edge

Excited to start the trip to the falls today, we shoveled down a few more (un)healthy servings of eggs and headed to the bus station. We found out the day before that buses every 20 minutes so we knew we’d have very little wait at any time of day. When we got to the station everything was running smoothly and in about 10 minutes we had started our 40 minute bus ride to the Falls. When we got to the Falls we grabbed tickets and headed into the park.

To start we headed to an overlook next to the main falls to see the full power in action. This required us to catch a train and naturally it pulled out just as we got to the station. Luckily it’s a slow train taking a circuitous route for the first stop and we were able to walk to the next station before it left and off we went to the main falls. From the station, there was a 2/3 mile raised metal bridge over the river. There has been a drought so the river level was a bit low and the water flow for much of the walk was very gentle. This allowed us to be able to see and even identify a number of fish and even a turtle along our walk to and from the falls.

At the end of the pathway, the bridge opened up to an amazing view of the main falls. We were at the top of the falls looking down and the roar was quite loud. We stayed there for quite a while, marveling at the various parts of the falls. It was incredible to watch the water go over the edge, turn into streams and then into vapor that hits the bottom with such force to send up a constant cloud of mist. It was raining off and on for most of the day but here the drops were raining up instead of down. We probably could have stayed here for the rest of the day but we had other views to see.

After this trip, we rode back and had some lunch. As is typical of parks, the lunch was quite expensive so we opted for the cheap fast food and Dick and Karen got their first hint of just how prevalent ham and mozzarella are down here. We got hamburgers and they came with a slice of ham and mozzarella (not advertised). After watching the painted jays get their fill off leftovers outside and finishing our own plates we headed on to other views.

Unfortunately, though the park closes at 6 many of the trails, trains and boats, close earlier. We had seen some of the closing warnings but not all of them and the trail that was highest on Karen’s list was already closed. This was the only trail that boasted a chance to see monkeys and tucans and while that might seem a little hokey, I would’ve really like to see a tucan outside of a zoo. We chose another trail and set off down the path to see what we could see.

The path we chose afforded many panoramic views of the larger falls and close ups of several lesser falls. It was a beautiful sight and I’m ¬†very glad we took the opportunity to go. When we hit the end of the last trail we weren’t ready to leave and Dick and Karen said they would meet us at the exit after a trip through the gift shops. When we separated ourselves from the waterfall we managed to go back up the wrong trail but finally found our way out. After meeting up with Dick and Karen we headed home on the bus exhausted from another awesome day.

As we disembarked at the bus station, the rain stopped and the clouds opened just a bit for an incredible rainbow that you could follow all the way across the arc. And just in case we hadn’t had enough beauty for one day as we left the bus station walking back to the hotel a vibrant sunset painted the sky.

For anyone considering a trip to the falls, I would definitely recommend going. Don’t let the water level at the falls deter you. When we were there the water level was very low and it was still quite impressive. You could see the wear of constant water flow on all the igneous rock. That said, I saw some recent pictures and it looks like some rains increased the level and they’re flowing quite nicely right now. Either way take the trip!

You can see more photos in the photoset on flickr.

A collection of travel experiences

After the tournament, Randi and I took a trip with her parents to Iguazu Falls. We took a taxi straight from the fields to the airport. ¬†After Randi prompted the driver, I had a great conversation with him for the 30 minute ride to the airport. We talked about everything from Ultimate, to the global recession’s affect on the US, to the area we were driving through and the history of it. It turned out he was a long distance cyclist; he competed in a number of century races. As we approached the airport, he also told us that the entire area the airport is on was filled in from the river. It was a really interesting cab ride and a great start to the trip!

After getting to the airport, we checked in quickly and got through security line very quickly. Security here was about like pre-9/11 levels in the US. It was nice to be in a place where people aren’t subject to so much Security Theatre. When we boarded the plane there were no boarding zones everyone just makes lines up and files in. Since there’s no charge for checking a bag you don’t find people battling for overhead compartments with their overstuffed bags. Although we boarded about 10 minutes before departure, everyone was comfortably seated and we pulled back from the gate right on time. Randi and I slept through the whole trip but apparently for the quick 1:45 minute flight they handed out little meal boxes with a sandwich and some snacks.¬†The flight on the way back from Iguazu, connected in Buenos Aires on the way to Montevideo. Most of the travel was a very similar experience with the quick, efficient security lines and boarding.

We had one little hiccup on the way home. We got in the wrong security line in Buenos Aires. A little explanation is due. There are two airports in Buenos Aires and we flew through the small one, serving mostly regional flights. There are 14 gates with one line for 1-12 and another for 13-14. There’s no signage that we saw saying what the difference is and flights don’t get gate assignments until they are close to boarding. So, when we saw a long line for 1-12 we just followed the crowd. That’s also the line we went through on the way to Iguazu so it was familiar if quite a bit longer. Even with over 150 people ahead of us in line (Dick counted), it only took about 15 minutes to make it to the front. Once there, the ticket checker let us know that since we were taking an international flight we would be leaving out of 13-14. Oops. There was absolutely no line through customs on the other side of the airport and Buquebus had already filled out our exit paperwork so Randi and I quickly made it through the checkpoint. Followed closely by her parents, we navigated the duty free shop and waited for the last leg of our journey. Again the plane boarded in about 10 minutes with very empty overhead bins. When we touched down in Montevideo, I had an unexpected sensation of arriving home. I guess I’m beginning to settle in here.

A trip across the river

Yesterday, Randi and I traveled to Buenos Aires ahead for an ultimate tournament here this coming weekend. We came early to spend some time in the city and see a bit without the time commitments of an ultimate schedule and the constraints of having meals that make 20 people happy.

We started the day yesterday with a leisurely departure time from the port at noon (right next to our vaccination destination). By the way, this is the way to travel. We spend a lot of time focusing on getting to a place so we can have time to do stuff once we’re there. Deciding to take a later boat so we could enjoy the travel and have a relaxing morning was nice. I digress. As with any international mass transit, the beginning of our Buquebus voyage was a game of shuffling from one line to another. The time spent at the desk at the end of each line was brief but there are a lot of people to serve. We waited for a while to check-in and get our ticket, then to get our passports stamped and finally a hot couple minutes waiting for boarding. I suppose they decided not to air condition the gate so that people would spend more time in the duty free shops below.

Buquebus Ferry

We were sitting in the middle of the bottom level of windows.

We traveled tourist class and once we got on the boat we realized the seating arrangement was some cross between an airline and an auditorium where everyone is arranged to watch various hungry patrons sate themselves on vastly overpriced consumables. I had envisioned some sort of boat with room for standing outdoors and wooden benches indoors so the reality was simultaneously an improvement and disappointment on my dreams. The seating was quite comfortable but there was no way to feel the breeze in my hair.

Buquebus Interior

A constant reminder of the delicious things we could be eating if only we would kindly come to the front.

Along the way we had plenty of time to talk and listen and felt an odd sense of relief hearing English from the family in front of us. We later heard them speak Spanish and felt a flash of pride at our relative mastery of the language. We eventually broke down and got some sandwiches and a brownie for more than we typically spend on food in a day.

When we got in there was a similar set of lines as everyone left the boat, collected their checked luggage went through more security and then waited for taxis, private drivers, buses, friends and family. We had selected a hotel on a whim which turned out, very conveniently, to be an easy walk from the ferry terminal. Between that and not checking any luggage we walked past all the long lines which is always very satisfying.

Our check-in at the Dazzler Tower Maipu was entirely in Spanish though we discovered later that the front desk employees speak fluent English. I guess our Spanish is getting good enough that for simple transactions people have decided that it’s generally easier to speak to us in Spanish that English. The more times we give it a shot the easier it is for us, too. Who’d have thought…

We got in early enough to explore the city in the evening after we settled in but that’s a story for another time.