The McCauley IPO

So, I’m pretty set on doing either a 6-month or year-long experiment where I give away (nearly) complete control of my decision-making. This will include everything from small things like diet, workouts, and new hobbies, to more serious choices such as which country we decide to move to after I graduate, which candidates I vote for, and what career I transition to…yes, seriously.

Continue reading “The McCauley IPO”

This millennial freelancer worked nearly four months to afford his dream van

Photo by Вальдемар from Pexels

This is an excerpt from our soon to be released ‘Out There’ book, which follows a group of individuals who have eschewed the tried and true for something different.

For years Mike Jonesy dreamed of traveling the open the road. However, his dream van -the Toyota Hiace- was admittedly out of his price range. But rather than settle for a cheaper, ubiquitius alternative like an E-series or used sprinter, Jonesy gritted his teeth and spent nearly four months working all the overtime they’d allow at the local coffee shop where he worked as a barista. He told us, “I wanted to stand out, and had I pulled the plug on one of the ‘normal’ vans, I’d likely have spent the rest of my time spent travelling regretting the purchase.”

During those months Jonesy also worked on cultivating his aesthetic, which he stresses is the key to standing out in the increasingly saturated van-life blogging scene. Soon he had a well-manicured beard, was a pro at using retro filters on his iphone, and had discovered a network of like-minded van-dwellers to collaborate with. As a result, he was able to build up a thriving Instagram account (as of today he’s up to 6000 followers). Continue reading “This millennial freelancer worked nearly four months to afford his dream van”

Barcelona was crazy

Viewed from above, Barcelona presents a stunning grid of asymmetry. At street-level the city seems far less uniform, with hidden treats to be found for any traveler: ocean access to a warm Mediterranean, successful sports teams, all night clubs, and stunning architecture consisting of Gothic and roman ruins, ultra modern builds, and considerably more chic than one can handle.  

Our co-contributor, Darrin, documents his travels around the world. This week he visits the beautiful, cultured city of Barcelona.

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By the time we touched down in El Prat on Sunday night I’d already been going hard for 6 hours. The flight attendant must have taken a liking to me, as he had slipped me two plastic shot bottles to go alongside the canned Modelo I had ordered shortly after take-off. Add that to the Jack I had managed to sneak on in my sports drink bottle (my own version of the infamous Tucker Maxx ‘Death Mix’ and I was lit in no time at all. I didn’t remember much of the taxiing or shuttle to the hostel, and while it was only 8pm when they dropped me off, I crashed immediately. Jet lag’s a bitch! Continue reading “Barcelona was crazy”

Three days in Tokyo blew my mind

Tokyo is the ultimate juxtaposition of old and new, a place where ancient temples squat in the shadows of neon-lit, contempo skyscrapers and riced-out, glowing Lamborghinis scream past ambling tuk-tuks. It might sound jarring, but when viewed at night, somehow it all meshes in a stunning fever-dream of lights and activity. Our resident travel guru, Darrin, is spending his gap year from Uni hitting as many countries possible. This week he documents his three-day visit to the extraordinary city. 

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Have you ever seen Lost in Translation? I touched down at Narita airport and I kid you not, I felt just like the guy in that movie. Floating through the city jet lagged as hell, neon lights everywhere, I could’ve been in that ASAP Rocky video with the Asian chick.

This was a work trip, and in Tokyo that can only mean one thing: Heavy drinking. I met my father’s business associates at the super sick hotel bar and of course we started drinking right away, as is custom at these meetings. By the time talk turned to business I was honestly in no state to negotiate, but I tried my hardest to keep my wits about me. They were pretty cool guys. Shortly after midnight I finally peaced out of there and went to my room. I’ve always been the guy with the iron stomach, but the whiskey had done me in, and this meant spending most of the night huddled near the toilet. Continue reading “Three days in Tokyo blew my mind”

This digital nomad lived out of a single bag for 3 years

May 5th of 2009 is a day that Jim Wilmer will never forget. A systems engineer by trade, Jim had spent the previous 3 years working night and day on a touch-to-pay payment system for a well-known Silicon Valley tech company.  A pre-cursor to Paypass, ‘Swyp-it’ had a strong buzz in tech circles and was supposed to disrupt the credit card industry in coming years.

Like so many others, Jim had lost his nest egg during the housing crisis, but he remained optimistic. Jim did have equity in the rising company, and he daydreamed of the day a 7-figure payout would allow him to leave the cramped office behind for an early retirement spent traveling the world. So when the app was abruptly shelved and Jim found himself without a job, he decided to forge ahead and chase his original travel dreams, finances be damned. Jim bought a cherry red Jansport backpack from Target, filled it with just the bare essentials necessary to make it through a weekend trip, and hit the road.  

Over the next 3 years Jim embraced the nomad life. He taught English in Vietnam, labored in Japanese rice fields, and eventually started a successful export company based out of Singapore. But never did he allow his possessions to outgrow his tattered backpack. 

In May bluehighways met up with Jim at an expat conference in Malaysia, and there he shared with us his tips for traveling (and living) light. 

BH: Why just a backpack? Surely that’s a bit extreme, no?

JW:  Extreme, yes. And I guess it was the whole point, you know- to show people more is not always more, I guess. Your possessions will grow to fit the space. This never changes. Backpack or mansion, this is true, and I’ve certainly felt that while living on the ‘other side of the tracks’ during my tech days. 

BH: Do you miss the corporate world?

JW: Well I did. I tried to run from it, but try as I might, I still found myself in a similar role (with NeXports) that utilizes my skillset. 

BH: Could you give us a list of your essentials?

JW: Certainly. Like I said, I don’t need much…. 

Continue reading “This digital nomad lived out of a single bag for 3 years”

Dubai Part 2- Bittersweet Views From the Top of the World

This recap is part photo-diary, part critique. For insight into the previous two days of travel and the race, click here.

By the time the awards were through it was already late afternoon. I was a mess: sweaty and covered with sand, mud, and blood, and beat from the previous two nights without sleep. In short, I was in desperate need of a shower and rest. Continue reading “Dubai Part 2- Bittersweet Views From the Top of the World”

Dubai, Part 1


Dubai has always been a bucket list item for me. I remember reading Popular Mechanics back in 5th grade and coming across an article on this far-away city that was in the midst of building the world’s tallest tower. It struck a young me as odd that the US didn’t have the world’s tallest building. We were the best at everything, weren’t we? It was my first glimpse at a world unskewed, I guess you could say, by the lenses of American and western superiority that we tend to grow up with here. Needless to say, I’ve been fascinated with the place ever since.

**Don’t care about the back-story? Scroll down until you see bold italicized lettering**

So when I saw a link that David Bohmiller had posted regarding an upcoming race in the Arab Emirates, I knew I had to go.

There was only one problem standing in my way-my fitness. I had a very underwhelming 2014 season, but after getting a couple of stadium sprint victories I was lucky enough to sign with Spartan’s Pro Team in November.  I celebrated by immediately getting injured.  I broke a toe during a heated beach football game during my west coast road trip in December, and didn’t do any training, cross training or otherwise, while it healed. In fact, if I were to race in Dubai, it would only be my 8th run or workout after almost two months of sitting on my butt.

Racing a 5k in less than ideal fitness is rough; racing an obstacle race in the same circumstances is just plain brutal. But there is an important difference between the two: in a track or road race fitness is the ultimate limiter, while in an obstacle race you can make up for lack of aerobic fitness and in doing so so run “above” your current potential. This can be accomplished by being smarter and cleaner through obstacles as well as being just plain tougher than the other competitors. I raced most of last season in less than ideal shape and eventually became used to gutting races out. In doing so, I beat some guys that I wouldn’t have been within a minute and a half of in a 5k.

2014’s experiences gave me a bit of confidence that I could squeak out a top-3 finish against a sub-standard field. But why I thought that there would be a sub-standard field in Dubai with its close proximity to Europe, I have no idea….

Continue reading “Dubai, Part 1”