The Air Conditioned Hypoallergenic Life

It is amazing how much time we spend striving for comfort. In fact, I would estimate that most Americans work for many extra years searching for the moving target of incrementally more comfort. Since we all recognize that luxury is just another weakness, it is important to understand that living the air conditioned hypoallergenic life is an effort in futility and we are better off getting outside and learning to embrace real life. I would also guess you could probably measure someone’s overall satisfaction with life by simply measuring how large a comfort zone they possess.

cleanAn air conditioned hypoallergenic life is one completely devoid of any discomfort. But more than that, it is classified as this unnecessary longing for perfection, excess and superfluity. It seems that Americans are particularly affected. The main complaint is that we simply spend too much time and energy concentrating on perfection while missing out on the messiness and beauty that is real life. So, get out of your extra large air conditioned SUV and hop on a bike and enjoy the fresh air of life. Take a little bit of time to try something new and instead of running from discomfort- embrace the expansion of your comfort zone. Continue reading The Air Conditioned Hypoallergenic Life

Are You Building Or Buying?

School, Neighborhoods, Houses, Communities and Companies are bought, built and sold over time. Although the question is most often used in relation to housing, we all have the opportunity to buy or build certain aspects of our life and our community. For the items that are most important in your life: Are you buying or building?

3d-building-construction-image_1600x1200_78599Companies, especially in the tech sector, are often faced with the dilemma of when to build out a product or simply acquire a smaller company that is already doing or making something similar. While Apple often develops its products in-house, occasionally it buys firms and uses their skills and tools to expedite the developmental process. Apple purchased Siri, Inc in 2010 to help develop their voice recognition software. Although Apple could have started competently from scratch, they chose to take Siri, Inc’s product and develop it into their own iOS operating system. In essence, they chose to buy instead of build their own solution.

As individuals, we are often faced with balancing the satisfaction and customization of building with the conveniences and immediacy of buying. We don’t have the time, will and ability to build everything. So we are forced to make choices on what we are willing to build. The advantages to building are simple: you get just what you want, better customization, often less expensive (especially if you DIY), greater flexibility, and ownership satisfaction. The advantages to buying are: things are typically ‘move-in-ready’, less effort, convenient and known. Continue reading Are You Building Or Buying?

What’s Your Flat Tire?

Boom. Pop. Shaking. Loss of Control. That awful feeling you get when you hear or know when your tire is going flat. A few months ago I was taking a short ride out to get a few groceries. I was biking along the road and somehow managed to ride over some pieces of a broken taillight hanging out in the bike lane. My tire was slightly punctured and was leaking slowly. I wasn’t too far from home so I kept going for a little bit. My once easy bike ride suddenly felt like I was peddling down the road with a four hundred pound gorilla on my back. Even the small hill seemed terrible, like trying to run in deep sand. Eventually I did make it home. I gave the tire a nice little inspection confirming my disbelief that the tinniest shard of plastic had slowed down my life that much.2553583162_c700880aa8

The ironic part about a tire on a bike, car or plane, is that it is one of the least expensive, yet most vital parts of the vehicle. Of the thousands of parts that make up a car, a tire is often one of the simplest- yet, most crucial to its functioning. When it is not working- even though it is just a tiny part, it makes the entire vehicle almost inoperable. It doesn’t matter how nice the leather is or how big the engine, a car won’t go very fast or far on a flat tire. How about a multimillion dollar plane that can’t operate because it ran over some debris in the runway and punctured one of the tires? Or what about that bike in your garage with a flat tire waiting to not be ridden? Continue reading What’s Your Flat Tire?

Margin of the 3rd World

Despite our best efforts- and our accumulation of lots of stuff, I’m not 100% sure Americans have it all figured out. We do most things really well. But from my experience it seems like most of my friends, coworkers and acquaintances are still unsatisfied in one area. For all that we are doing right in the U.S., one thing still feels like it is missing: Margin. Although margin often is used in the context of money, I’ll jump in and throw out the incredible and often overlooked concept that is Time Margin.


I spent the summer of my third year in college studying abroad in Australia and Fiji. It was a pretty epic trip and one of the most memorable times that I can remember. It truly whetted my appetite for travel and exposed me to new and different parts of the world that are completely unique. I’m sure I read a few books and did several projects but I’ll never forget the culture I was exposed to on that trip. The sights and sounds of Australia were great, but I think one of the most memorable nights that I can recall was during a village home-stay in Fiji. As students, we were paired up with a family and spent our time walking around the village, drinking kava, relaxing, eating and talking. Continue reading Margin of the 3rd World

Ride Your Bike

What do you mean “You Don’t Have a Bike”?! That’s when the light came on. The ah-ha moment when I realized that personal finance, healthy living and efficiency can all be boiled down into one simple phrase: Ride A Bike.

2013-08-27 08.35.57I haven’t always enjoyed riding as much as I currently do. In fact, I actually took about a ten year hiatus from bike riding. When I was in elementary school, I spent hours after school everyday riding my sweet 12 speed Huffy through the woods near my house. It was pure joy. It wasn’t until gas took a nice little spike to six bucks a gallon that I decided to test out the two wheeled ride again. I snagged an old 80s road bike from the market and was surprised at how much I actually enjoyed riding. I was amazed how fast I was able to get around town and to work. I realized, I had been missing out for years because I had forgotten how great it is to ride a bike.

After you have been writing about saving money and living lighter for a while, you get the question in causal conservation: What is the first thing I should do? Or what is your best piece of advice? Or if you could only do one thing- What would it be? And now I finally have a satisfying answer. Ride A Bike. Except in America, I’m pretty sure everyone I know owns or has access to a bicycle. So, taking it one step further, take that old thing out of the garage, knock the dust off and actually Ride Your Bike.  Continue reading Ride Your Bike