Monthly Archives: October 2014

Coffee with 838 Friends

communitybuilding

While I was on my bike tour I spent countless hours thinking about community and how, when I got back to my homebase, I was going to spend countless hours actively working towards building and strengthening my own.

Then, upon returning, I felt myself ever so slowly slipping down into the rabbit hole of self-inflicted isolation. Again! Still! I am an introvert. A big fat type A introvert and it turns out building a community is even harder than conference networking.

I’ve been feeling like I am so close yet so far away from all the people surrounding me. Like I want to establish roots and build up and out, but I can’t wrap my head around how.

Then I heard a story on the radio about this guy who has decided to have coffee with all of his Facebook friends, and it hit me like an epiphany. That’s what I need to do!

I spend a fair amount of time every week having conversations with friends, family and acquaintances through comments and messages on Facebook, but I rarely get to have face-to-face conversations with these people — even though many of them live in the same city as me! It’s so easy to make excuses; to stay in a book (a real one, not the Face); to sleep in; to direct the conversation in writing from a distance. But, as I’ve learned more than ever recently, “easy” isn’t the way to live your life.

I don’t want to live an easy, default life. I want to live an active, thoughtful, connected, abundant life. I want to make myself available to those around me, and I want to be an active part of a community.

So,  I’ve decided I am going to actively work on having a face-to-face coffee date with every one of my 838 Facebook friends.

20 Ventura FriendsI’m scheduling coffee dates 2-3 times a week; preferably in the morning hours before work (from 6:30am-8am), but also in the after work hours (6:30pm) and on weekends.

I am starting with the people who live near me — those in Ventura County. After I’ve met with a good chunk of the Venturites,  I will branch out to begin having Skype dates with the out of towners (IE: a lot of people I grew up with in Michigan!)

Looking at my friend’s list, I’ve written down the top 20 Ventura County friends that appear and, as we speak, I am actively working on scheduling dates with all 20. (The people you see circled to in the image to the left are folks who I have on the calendar; those crossed out I have already had a coffee date with; and the rest are my next targets.)

The two dates I’ve had so far have been really incredible. Like, life-changing incredible. Not because anything out of the ordinary happened; more than anything it’s just the feeling of connectedness I already have — after only two face-to-face meetups!. It really can only be described as life altering. I want to write full blog posts about each of my coffee dates, so I won’t go into them too much here in the intro, but…. please keep an eye on the 838 Coffees section of the blog for more coffee date updates coming soon!

5 Resolutions For Fighting Post-Tour Funk

It’s been a month (to the day!) since Dustin and I finished our cross-country tour in Bar Harbor, Maine. After spending three days in Acadia National Park, and seven days with family in Atlanta, we’re back home in our rental nearish the beach in Ventura, California. We’re both back to work. Our bicycles have arrived on our porch in pieces and since been put back together. My cat is starting to not hate me again. The security deposit has been paid to the subleassors. Our long underwear has been replaced by shorts as the brisk fall of Maine has been shockingly replaced by a raging California heat wave.

We’re back home.

And it’s weird.

It’s like everything is the same. But we are different.

It’s funny; so many times on this tour we found ourselves facing discomfort — whether it was mosquito hell in Montana, waking up soaking wet with sweat in….every state up until the fall happened somewhere around Michigan, or grimacing through the burn of a mountain climb that feels as shitty as the elevation profile has suggested. Some days were just uncomfortable.

Now, being home, waking up in a bed, eating from a refrigerator, taking showers every day, we’re finding ourselves facing a whole new kind of discomfort.

The-disease-of-discontentment-e1331568466872

We understand living the life of a travelling bike hobo isn’t a sustainable option with our bank accounts looking as barron as they currently do, so our immediate task at hand is one we’ve always struggled with: fighting funk and finding balance.

I’ll admit, I’m in kind of a funk right now. My Western Lizard Brain is in full effect and I am having a hard time not feeling sorry for myself for no reason. So I am writing this blog post.

Here are three things I’ve found that really get me into a funk:

1) Putting things off.

“I’ll do that in an hour!”

No you won’t. Do it now. In an hour you’ll say another hour. And then you won’t do it. Ever.

2) Thinking about how green the grass is on the other side.

“If only I was in Portland! Then I could grow an amazing food forest!”

You can grow an amazing food forest here. Right now. Seriously. Just go outside and do it. There and That are not the answer. Setting down your cat, getting off your ass, and carpe’ing some diem is the answer. Being anywhere else other than where you are now is not going to magically create results; being active with what you have a la Picasso in his blue period is going to create results. The past and the future are both illusions; now is the time.

Another iteration of this experience looks like this:

While at home: “I want to be on a bike tour!” While on bike tour: “I want to be wake up in a room I can stand in!”

What an excellent lesson in learning to be happy just where you are when you’re there for however long you happen to be there.

3) Isolating.

“I’m an introvert. I don’t feel like being around people right now.” An hour later… “I am lonely. But I still don’t want to be around anyone.

In response to these identified funk factors…

Here are five things I am working on to create more funk-free balance in my life:

1) Do Not: Isolate

Do: Build community! It’s like jumping in a pool; once you’re in it’s fine. Don’t think so much about jumping in… just start running and let gravity do it’s job.

Another way to think about this: Show up! That’s how I accomplished my bike tour; I just showed up every day and put one foot in front of the other. Show up to be a part of the community; go to a yoga class; meet a friend for coffee; just do something.

2) Do Not: Consume like a maniac

Do: Find abundance in the things you have and actively work on wanting less, despite abundant resources abound

Just because there are two Targets within three miles of your house and they’re both open until 11pm (oh, sweet sweet Target…) that does not mean you need to go to either of them. Spend that time in the community (or your garden!) (or on your bike!)  instead.

3) Do Not: Find yourself overwhelmed by options and, in response, take no action

Do: Be decisive about how to spend your time. Make weekly commitments and stick to them.

4) Do Not: Get depressed missing life on the road.

Do: Live in gratitude for the time you had on the road; spend time planning your next adventure; make time for small adventures.

5) Do Not: Let your bike collect dust.

Do: Ride that bitch. The best ideas come from movement, so move [that bike].

Expect more [less emo] posts like this post-tour

I know this post isn’t like the posts I usually write, but I actually feel better having crapped it out. So, thanks for reading anonymous stranger out in Internet land. And thanks to my 35 loyal followers, who, I will not resent if you decide to un-follow me post bike tour as my posts begin to expand in focus (expect more posts on gardening and life off tour between miles).

blog-hug

Thanks for the creepy blog hug, guys. I needed that.

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