Archive for January, 2012

Dance Dance Revolution and the Return to Fitness

January 27th, 2012 No comments

On New Year’s Day I awoke feeling a bit bloated, no doubt from all the rich food of the night before’s party.  I stepped on to the scale to see the largest number my tall and characteristically lanky frame has ever evoked: 203.

Wait–when did I pass 200?  I’m pretty sure I started December at around 195.

The situation inspired immediate action: I geared up to take the first jog in about 6 months, a half mile south to the Albertson’s grocery store.  The quest was to get replacement heads for the dish washing wand (ours had just fallen off and we had a slew of dishes to wash from the small dinner party we hosted the night before).  Continuing my fit of physical activity, I jogged back up Broadway, whereat I stopped inside the Goodwill located a block from our place.

It was there real inspiration hit: I resolved to find a cheap TV modern enough to hook up a PlayStation 2 to.  You see, I LOVE Dance Dance Revolution.  I rock 7-footer songs with ease, and 8-footers out of breath (when I say “footers” I’m referring to the difficulty of song steps, rated on a 1 to 10 foot scale).  I do so with flailing limbs and upper body flourishes that tend to make even people who generally respect and look up to me laugh with mixed feelings of awe and shame for what that grown man is doing.

Don’t care, love it.

But I haven’t owned a TV since getting rid of all my stuff before moving to Argentina back in October ’09.  Ergo, I’ve not enjoyed my zany passion in over two years.  Since moving to Denver I somehow always dismissed the idea of doing so because I didn’t care to integrate a proper TV into our living room and lifestyle.

Until this fine New Year’s Day.  Whether a matter of subconsciously denying myself the indulgence, or simply overlooking the fact that I could, it hadn’t ever occurred to me that I could just get a crappy TV sufficient to play DDR on.  And that’s just what I did.

Fifteen minutes and twenty eight bucks later I was proudly carrying out some dusty 21-inch gem from the 80s.  At home 5 minutes later I set it on my desk, dug out my neglected PS2, dance pads, and stack of six DDR games (Max, Max 2, Extreme, SuperNova, SuperNova 2, and X), and fired up my old friend for the first time in 26 months.

Joy.  Such joy.

The winter season creates a sort of cabin fever over time, and you bet my body noticed the gradual coming down in activity since all that biking in preparation for the century ride.  To return to vigorous, fun physical activity after a holiday season laden with my mother-in-law’s fab homemade cinnamon rolls (and other attendant rich foods) was just the ticket to feeling awesome again.

I’ve played DDR almost every day this month.  That, plus a bit more yoga, a little bit of running, and about two weeks doing the Slow Carb diet (out of the 4 Hour Body) has me weighing in today at 194.  DDR in the winter: such a good way to stay active through the cold months.

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2012: Year of the World Tour – Origins

January 15th, 2012 No comments

Tracy and I have a theme for this year: World Tour.  The gist is we’ll be finishing out our lease at our current place at the end of April, and setting ourselves up to live abroad in various countries as we make our way around the world for the duration of a year.

I’ll no doubt have plenty of tales to tell about this experience, but before it falls to far into the shadows of memory, I’d like to first recount the origins of this vision which has steadily morphed into a “wow, this is not just a cool idea, we’re actually doing this.”

It was June 8th of last year when a friend forwarded me a notice put out by one of his associates:

I’m converting my million-dollar+ mountain-retreat in Breckenridge, Colorado back into a members-only club for entrepreneurs.

We’re going to open the doors in September, so I’m looking for a host-couple (husband + wife) who would like to live
there rent-free as entrepreneurs come and go / hang out.

This is the perfect opportunity if you are either retired of if you have an internet business.

The ideal couple would have one person with entrepreneur experience and the other person who’s a friendly people-person or host.

I was struck by how good a fit Tracy and I would make, and that afternoon we spent an hour exploring if we’d actually be game to do something that cool and adventurous.

We ultimately agreed that we were.

I reached out to the fellow looking for his couple, proudly throwing our hat in the ring.  Four minutes later I got a reply that he’d already found someone, but appreciated my contacting him all the same.

Easy come, easy go, right?

Lucky for me, my fabulous wife had developed a certain affinity for doing something that cool and adventurous as a product of our lengthy consideration of the opportunity.  That evening she broached the subject directly: “So all this talk about living in Breckenridge for a year got me thinking: I want to do something cool like that.”

“Go on,” I replied.

“Well, we’ve been thinking about a trip to Thailand, right?  And we wanna make it long as possible, since it’s super cheap once you get there and already paid for the flight.”  “Yep.”  “And there’s a lot of countries we want to go experience, pretty much all of which come with that overhead of a flight to get there and back, making each pretty expensive.”

“I’m with you.”

“What if we took a year and just lived everywhere we want to experience, without having to fly back to the US between each country?  We could sell most of our stuff, put the rest in storage, have the kitty stay with my parents, and just travel and live abroad for a year, without all the carrying costs of having a place in the US.”

(I don’t know if her words went exactly like that, but that was the gist: it all sounded immediatly so clear, simple, and above all affordable.)

“Holy shit, that’s awesome.  Yeah, we should probably do that.”

(I don’t know if my words went exactly like that, but that was the gist: I was immediately sold, and stoked.)

The rest of the night we discussed in animated fashion the vision and logistics.  We further explored the feasibility of it all.  It felt like we were somehow cheating or forgetting something important: surely there must be some loophole we were exploiting or some pitfall we were failing to consider in order for this large-scale dream appear so doable.

But no, with our mutually entrepreneurial careers, my ability to do work and earn money abroad with just laptop and wi-fi (as battle-tested in Argentina), our lack of a mortgage (fuck yes), and Tracy’s super supportive in-town parents whom we then (rightly) assumed would take the cat, this dream was our for the living if we were so bold as to do so.

We were/are.

Today, over six months later, plans are coming along swimmingly.  Everything is falling into place, and for how much of an upheaval in lifestyle this is it sure doesn’t feel stressful.  Our intended plan around the world keeps evolving.  To track it, last week I made a map with pins and string detailing the plan, which you can see here.

Super big thanks to Tom Schaff with his simple email forward that sparked all of this.

Categories: Travels Tags: