If a tree falls in the forest, and no one is around to take a selfie with it, does it really matter? In today’s society, the answer seems to be no. So I decided to take a selfie in each of the 50 states and compile them together in this video.
If you want to check out the individual pictures, you can see them here on Flickr.
I recently wrapped up 18 months of being a nomad. During that time, I lived primarily out of two carry-on bags. Here’s what was in them.
My fully packed Red Oxx Airboss ($275.00) bag weighed in at 22 pounds.
It included the following (pictured in the featured image):
- Homage Zip Hoodie. One of the softest hoodies I’ve ever worn and a main part of my wardrobe. It’s great for fall and spring temperatures, plus air-conditioned summers, and is a nice added layer for really cold winters. $65.00
- Next Mileskin Jacket. It took me going to Scotland to find a coat that looked good on my slender frame. This is a great winter coat that layers nicely and isn’t too heavy when carrying it. £90.00
- Tommy Hilfiger Rainwear Jacket (now discontinued?). A very lightweight jacket that repels the rain and can easily be folded or scrunched into a bag. Also makes a decent make-shift pillow.
- Clarks Leather Sandals. A casual pair of sandals for beach days, laundry days, and quick errands. $29.99
- Nike Downshifter 6 Running Shoe. $49.94
- Aldo Men’s Boot (similar to these). The first pair of boots I owned were great but started to fall apart with all of the walking I did, so I switched to a pair of Aldo Men’s boots that are comfortable for most of the day and look nicer than gym shows. $109.95
- Aldo Edoewin Oxford Dress Shoes. A nice looking pair of dress shoes to go with the navy suit I have for events. $79.95
- Going in Style Travel Laundry Clothesline. A must-have for drying out clothes in hotels and AirBNBs. $12.95
- Metolius Carabiner. A carabiner I used for attaching said clothesline to things. $9.95
- Travelon Inflatable Hanger. For hanging up clothes when a hanger isn’t available; I never used it. $10.00
- Microfiber Travel Towel. A compact towel that dries quickly. It doesn’t feel nearly as nice as a real towel and can start to smell quickly, but is a must for when you’re crashing somewhere that doesn’t have an extra towel for you. $14.95
- Parachord Bracelet. A combo chord and whistle; luckily I never had to use it. $8.99
- Inflatable Neck Pillow. Always better in theory than in practice, I tried using it periodically and never really enjoyed it. I still travel with it just in case. $13.99
- Bounce Dryer Sheets. These served more than one purpose, including their intended use when drying clothes, but also to prevent shoes from smelling, and to (supposedly) prevent mosquito bites. $15.99 for a big pack you don’t need.
- Small Lint Roller. Useful for cleaning off hairs and fuzz from your clothes, particularly helpful when you crash at someone’s place who has a cat or dog. $7.99 for 4
- Uniqlo Men Heattech V Neck T Shirt Long Sleeve. A long sleeve shirt that is thick enough to provide extra warmth but thin enough to be used with other layers. $14.90
- Woolly Men’s Merino Wool Short Sleeve V-Neck. A staple of any nomad wardrobe is merino wool and this is a cheaper alternative than a lot of other brands. I replaced an Icebreaker shirt that started gaining holes with this one and was happy with it’s performance. It’s odor resistant, easy to wash in the sink, and quick drying. $39.99
- Icebreaker Men’s Anatomica Short Sleeve V. The second merino wool shirt I bought and worked great in alternating with the other shirt. By switching between the two daily, I could go at least a week between washing if I wanted to. $51.99
- Uniqlo Men Heattech Tights. Uniqlo calls them tights, I think of them as long underwear, but either way they provide a nice base layer for the legs when the temperature drops below freezing. $14.90
- Ex-Officio Men’s Give-N-Go Boxer Brief (x3). Another staple of a nomad’s packing list is the underoos. These boxers are odor resistant and quick-drying. With three pairs, you have flexibility and can do your washing every other night. Hang them up while you sleep and you’re good to go in the morning. $14.99 each
- Darn Tough Men’s Merino Wool No Show Socks (x2). The final staple of the nomad’s wardrobe is socks. These Darn Tough socks work great while wearing tennis shoes. Also odor resistant and quick drying. $15.95 each
- Darn Tough Men’s Warlock Crew Light Cushion Hiking Socks (x2). A long version of the Darn Tough Merino Wool socks that go great with boots or dress shoes. $19.95 each
- Suitsupply Sienna Blue Suit. An incredible well-made suit with a tailored fit and a professional look, perfect for the presentations I give and more formal affairs. $599.00
- Olivers All Over Shorts. Multipurpose shorts that can be used for casual attire, workout shorts, or swim trunks. They’re probably more expensive than what they provide, but nice to cut down on space. $65
- Uniqlo Slim Fit Straight Leg Jeans. Fashionable jeans that fit well but also stretch when moving around. They aren’t the most rugged–I went through 2.5 pairs during my trip–but there may not be a jean that exists that can survive the wear and tear of nomadic living. The plus is that these are cheaper than alternatives from places like Bonobos. $49.90
- Adidas Performance Training Pants. Comfortable pants for lounging around or working out in colder temperatures with the added benefit that they are part of the ComedySportz uniform. $29.99
- J.Crew Slim Washed Shirt (x2). A slim fitting button-down shirt that works great for business casual situations and is part of my standard jeans+button+hoodie look. $19.95 each
- J.Crew Thompson Dress Shirt (x2). A nicer quality button-front shirt that goes well with a suit. $34.50 each
- American Apparel 50/50 Crewneck T-Shirt. A casual t-shirt for summer days. $20.00
- Ohio State Buckeyes Shirt. A casual t-shirt for rooting on the Buckeyes (or showing off Ohio pride). I’m not sure of the price because my mom got it for me.
- Various Toiletries (see below).
In the Red Oxx Bag was a Tom Bihn Clear Quarter Packing Cube ($32.00).
I used to used toiletries, including:
- Travel sizes of: toothpaste, hair gel, shampoo, lotion, sunscreen, body spray, and cortizone.
- Regular sizes of: bar soap, deodorant, fingernail clippers, cuticle scissors (surprisingly TSA compliant), thermometer, and beard trimmer.
- A “switchblade” style toothbrush (much better than the ones you put into the long tube).
- A small plastic soap holder and a small empty spray bottle.
On my back was a Tom Bihn Synapse 25 ($200.00) that carried my electronics along with a few other tools (and snacks!).
- Microsoft Surface Pro 3. I started out using a Macbook Air and enjoyed it. Then I got the Surface Pro because I doing an event for Microsoft and I didn’t look back. All the benefits of the Macbook Air plus I never had to put it away on flights because it’s also a tablet. $799
- Seagate 1 TB External Drive. For backing up large files and for carrying various media with me. $57.99
- TROND USB Hub for Surface Pro. A USB hub for the surface pro so I can connect multiple devices at once. $13.99
- PNY Mini Displayport to HDMI Adapter. To connect my Surface Pro (or Macbook Air) to projectors. $8.99
- Rakie Mini Displayport to VGA Adapter. For older projectors. $9.99
- Cmple 1.5ft HDMI Cable. A short HDMI cable for hooking up my laptop to projectors and hotel TVs. $5.99
- Logitech Professional Presenter R800. A remote for my presentations. $47.99
- Zoom H2n Handy Recorder. For picking up audience sound and for recording audio interviews. $159.99
- GoPro HERO4 Silver. For recording video for shows and general adventure (like snorkeling in Hawaii!). $399.99
- Joby Magnetic Tripod with Smartphone Mount. A gorillapod-style tripod for the GoPro / my smartphone. $22.99
- Stony-Edge Simple Lav Microphone. A lav to record audio straight into my phone for videos. $59.95
- Anker Lipstick Sized Portable Charger. A rechargeable charger to maintain phone battery on long trips with no power source. $19.99
- Travel Surge Protector. For when outlets are sparse, particularly great at airports when someone is using all of the outlets, you can ask to replace it with this for more spots. $12.99
- Universal Travel Power Adaptor. For international travel. $21.95
- iPod Touch. They no longer make the version I have but it has 60GB worth of music on it.
- Audio Technica Over the Ear Noise Canceling Headphones. So you can actually hear music or a movie when on an airplane. $99.95
- Petzl Tikkina Headlamp. To scare off bats in Idaho. $19.95
- Light My Fire Titanium Sport. To consume delicious food when utensils aren’t available. $13.95
- Various cables including: iPod cable, spare phone cable, 3.5″ mini cable, and micro USB cable.
- Various travel accessories including: EZpass for NYC, FastTrack for Bay Area, and USB car adapter.
- Various health items including: Advil, diarrhea pills, and first aid kit.
- Various snacks often including: Pop Tarts, protein bars, and candy.
- A plastic water bottle.
- Various travel documents.
Check out pictures all of my gear in this Flickr album.
Today’s the day. After being a nomad for 550 days, I’m hanging up my traveling shoes and settling back in NYC (Brooklyn to be exact).
From March 1, 2015 to September 1, 2016, I lived out of two bags, traveling the world for work, fun, and selfies. After 18 months, I decided to return to the homeful lifestyle (though I’ll still be traveling quite a bit, including a 3-week stretch that starts in 3 weeks).
To honor the closing of one chapter in my life, I decided to take a quantitative look back at the experience (much like I did when I surpassed 1,000 performances).
Travel by Month
In total, I traveled an estimated 159,023 miles (that’s 255,922 kilometers).
Note: This is only the miles it took to get from one place to another; I didn’t track distance traveled within a destination (such as all the walking I did in Texas when PokemonGo came out).
159,000 miles is the equivalent of roughly 6 trips around the globe (given the Earth’s circumference is measured at 24,874 miles), or one circumnavigation every 3 months.
I averaged nearly 8,900 miles per month. A few notes:
- The most I traveled in 1 month was 28,910 miles in March 2016 (18% of total miles traveled). That involved visiting New York, Madrid, Lisbon, Dallas, Los Angeles, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, and San Francisco. 8 major cities in 5 countries in 31 days isn’t bad.
- The second busiest month of travel was this last month, August 2016, at 12,165 miles, which included trips to London, Edinburgh, Oxford, Chicago, Fort Lauderdale, Cincinnati, and New York.
- The least I traveled in a month was July 2015 at just 3,240 miles. Even though it was my lowest total, I still hit Cincinnati, Philadelphia, New York, DC, Chicago, and Detroit.
Not all time periods were equal when it came to traveling.
I definitely traveled the most at the beginning of the year, nearly 50% more than the other quarters. The summer was (barely) my lightest travel time, mostly due to a slowdown in work engagements.
Tuesday was by far my busiest travel day at 47,609 miles or 30% of all travel coming on that day. That likely has to do with the fact that flights tend to be cheapest on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
The next busiest was Friday at 28,476 miles (18%). My most relaxed day (at least when it came to travel) was Sunday at 11,084 miles (7%).
Naturally there were ebbs and flows to my travel.
The most I ever traveled in one day was 9,130 miles, which included a flight from Singapore to Los Angeles and then on to San Francisco.
I did some form of significant travel on 247 out of the 550 days (45%). On the 303 days I didn’t travel, I often did local trips to restaurants, parks, and theaters, I just didn’t move from one location to another.
A few notes:
- Over the 550 days, I had 247 stays. 54% of those stays (135 total) were for a single day. 84% were for 3 days or less, 97% were for 7 days or less.
- The longest I stayed in one place was 18 days, in January 2016, when I stayed at my girlfriend-at-that-time’s (GATT) place in Palo Alto.
- The most consecutive days I traveled was 17, during my summer 2015 road trip with my brother, when we covered 8,027 miles (6,000 of which were via car), hitting 39 cities in 19 states.
Travel by Location
In those 150,000+ miles I went to a lot of places, including 142 different cities, all 50 states, 14 countries, and 3 continents. (You can check out a list of all the cities if you’re interested.)
All told, I had 609 “visits,” where a visit means I did something in that place, whether it be leading an event, going to a local attraction, or sleeping there (hey, sleeping is something). So if I was driving through and stopped to do a show and then moved on, that was 1 visit. If I stayed in a city for 5 days, that was 5 visits.
Despite having left NYC, I still found myself back here quite a bit, thanks in large part to working with companies based here and it being a great launching point for European travels.
The #2 and #3 most popular spots weren’t that surprising, considering my mom lives in Ohio and it gave me a spot to crash when I wasn’t headed somewhere specific, and the Bay Area was where my GATT was and was a potential destination when I decided to stop the nomadism.
On the flipside, I visited 81 cities (57%) just once.
The top three states weren’t surprising, considering what I just mentioned about the top cities.
#4 wasn’t a surprise either; my brother lives in Texas and I visited a few times to guest teach his classes, as well as had a couple of events elsewhere in the state. Arizona at #5 seemed high, but it was popular due to conferences and wanting to see the Grand Canyon (which I did twice on these travels).
USA! USA! USA! accounted for 89% of my visits. Second was Norway and Singapore where for both I spent 10 days doing events and sightseeing. I was only in Belgium and Malaysia for one night each, still managing to do an event in both.
Travel by Transportation Method
Planes, Trains, and Automobiles isn’t just a 1987 comedy, it was also how I got around during my nomadic journey (plus buses and a ferry).
I took 66 flights (not including layovers), 181 car trips, 47 trains (not including subways), 8 buses, and 1 ferry. A few notes:
- 72% of distance covered was via flights (114,709 miles). If the average plane speed is 575 miles an hour, that’s 200 hours in a plane, or 8 days. That doesn’t count taxi, take-off, landing, or waiting for the boarding doors to close.
- 24% of my mileage came by car at 38,936 miles. If I averaged a speed of 60 miles an hour (which is generous considering the amount of time I spent in LA traffic alone), that’s 651 hours, or 27 days, in the car.
- 3% of travel was by train (or subway) at 4,596 miles, 0.7% by bus (1,077 miles), and 0.00% by ferry (1 trip for 5 miles).
- My longest flight was 8,800 miles from LAX to SIN (Singapore). My longest car trip (in a day) was 685 miles, driving from St Louis, MO to Burlington, CO (en route to San Francisco).
Travel by Companions
I had the pleasure of seeing and hanging out with hundreds (maybe thousands?) of people throughout my trips. Being nomadic gave me an opportunity to visit friends all over the world, attend a variety of conferences and festivals, and of course meet tons of interesting people along the way.
That said, a majority of my time going from once place to another (e.g. flights) was done alone. 88% of the miles traveled (140,807) were done by myself. As an introvert, I didn’t mind this at all.
5% of travel (7,869 miles) was done with my brother, including our epic road trip in the summer of 2015, and 4% (6,505 miles) were with my GATT, including cross-country drives to and from Palo Alto.
Accommodations by Place
While most of my travel was done on my own, most of my visiting was not. I certainly could not have pulled off this adventure without the help and support of some incredible people.
I mean that on an emotional level, but that’s hard to quantify, so here’s the support some provided on a “you can sleep here” level.
There were a mix of different types of accommodations, including staying with friends, family, friends of friends (FoF), AirBNB, while in transit, and at my apartment.
Which I guess now is a good time to confess something: though I’m ending my nomadic journey today, I’ve technically had an apartment for about a month. BUT I barely spent time there this last month, which was also my second busiest travel month of the entire experience. Plus 18 months sounds a lot better than 17…
That said, here are a few notes about where I stayed:
- 38% of my stays (208 nights) were with friends. 86 nights were at my GATT’s place. 28 nights were with my now current roommates, and 25 nights were with my best friend since 7th grade.
- 32%, or 176 nights, were at hotels. A majority of stays were split at either Wyndham properties (47 nights) or Marriott brands (44 nights).
- 19% of the time (103 nights), I stayed with family. 72 of those nights (13% of all stays) were at my mom’s. I also stayed with my brother David, my grandma, my cousin Jean, and my cousin Stephanie.
- 4% of stays (23 nights) were via AirBNB, including 2 nights on a houseboat in Amsterdam.
- 2% (13 nights) were with friends of friends, including friends through CSz, friend’s parent’s places, and someone’s office.
- 2% (13 nights) were spent sleeping in transit, including 5 flights, 3 trains, 3 stays in a Walmart parking lot and two different nights in a rest area.
Like I said, I couldn’t have done this alone.
A Few Final Pieces of Data
As of this line, we’re sitting at over 1,400 words for this post, so I’m going to wrap it up. Here are a few random pieces of data that I couldn’t fit anywhere else:
- I did 151 engagements for work and 136 performances over the 18 months of being a nomad.
- I traveled with 33 pounds of stuff. On average, I wore 6 pounds worth of clothing, had a backpack with 11 pounds worth of gear, and a carry-on bag of 22 pounds of clothes.
- I spent $44,000 on travel over the course of the journey, an average of $2400 / month. A lot of that money was reimbursed by clients when they brought me in for various events, the rest was out-of-pocket.
- On January 1, 2016, after 9 months of traveling (and getting through the holidays), I was statistically the fattest I have ever been. I weighed in at 151 pounds with a 33″ stomach. I’m now back down to 144 pounds with a 32″ stomach.
Over the course of 18 months, I went to 142 cities in 50 states, 14 countries, and 3 continents. Here’s the master list of all the places I went.
Bold = when the story takes place for that state with the (#) denoting the order.
Italics = international countries that are outside the scope of the book.
New York, Ohio (1), New York, Switzerland, Italy, France, New York, Virginia (2), Maryland (3), DC, New York
New York, Ohio, New York, Norway, Netherlands, Belgium, New York
Ohio, New York, Massachusetts (4), Vermont (5), Maine (6), Rhode Island (7), New York, Ohio, Tennessee (8), Alabama (9), Mississippi (10), Arkansas (11), Louisiana (12), Alabama, Florida (13), South Carolina (14), Pennsylvania (15), Ohio
Ohio, Illinois, California, Illinois, Iowa (16), Nebraska (17), Kansas (18), Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma (19), New Mexico (20), Colorado (21), Wyoming, Utah, Idaho (22), Montana (23), Wyoming (24), South Dakota (25), North Dakota (26), Minnesota (27), Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio
Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio, DC, Pennsylvania, New York, Illinois, Michigan
Michigan (28), Ohio, Missouri, Illinois, New York, Georgia (29), Texas (30), Arizona (31), Utah, Arizona, California
California, Alaska (32), Canada, Illinois (33)
Illinois, Oregon (34), Washington (35), Ohio, Indiana (36), Ohio, New York, Connecticut (37), New York, New Jersey (38), New York, Ohio, Kentucky (39), Ohio, Canada, New York
New York (40), California, Nevada, Illinois, Wisconsin (41), Illinois, New York, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Delaware (42), New York, Ohio, Alabama, Louisiana
Texas, Ohio, New York, Ohio, Missouri (43), Ohio, Missouri, Colorado, Utah (44), Nevada (45)
Nevada, California (46), Georgia, West Virginia (47), North Carolina (48), Georgia, New York
Maryland (49), New York, Alaska, Hawaii (50)
Note: After I finished all 50 states, I continued to live as nomad until September 1, 2016, going to: California, Illinois, Ohio, New York, Spain, Portugal, Singapore, Malaysia, Arizona, Washington, Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, Kansas, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Texas, England, Scotland, and Florida.
Nomad City List
Amarillo, TX. Amsterdam, Netherlands. Anaheim, CA. Anchorage, AK. Ann Arbor, MI. Athens, OH. Atlanta, GA. Bakersfield, CA. Baltimore, MD. Bandalier, NM. Barre, VT. Baton Rouge, LA. Berlin, CT. Bessemer, AL. Big Sur, CA. Bismarck, ND. Boston, MA. Bozeman, MT. Brooklyn, NY. Brussels, Belgium. Buffalo, WY. Burlington, CO. Cameron, AZ. Cheyenne, WY. Chicago, IL. College Station, TX. Colorado Springs, CO. Columbia, SC. Columbus, OH. Craters of the Moon, ID. Dallas, TX. Denver, CO. Des Moines, IA. Detroit, MI. Dijon, France. Dillon, SC. Dubois, PA. Durham, NC. Fargo, ND. Flagstaff, AZ. Geneva, Switzerland. Goodland, KS. Grand Canyon North Rim, AZ. Grand Canyon South Rim, AZ. Gulf Shores, AL. Helena, MT. Highland Heights, KY. Hoboken, NJ. Hollywood, FL. Honolulu, HI. Houston, TX. Huntington, WV. Huntsville, AL. Hutchinson, KS. Indianapolis, IN. Jackson, MS. Juneau, AK. Kanab, UT. Kansas City, KS. Kasha Katuew, NM. Kent, OH. Kirkcaldy, Scotland. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Labelle, Canada. Lancaster, PA. Las Vegas, NV. Lincoln, NE. Lisbon, Portugal. Little Rock, AR. London, England. Long Island, NY. Los Angeles, CA. Louisville, KY. Madison, WI. Madrid, Spain. Manchester, NH. Manhattan, KS. Mason, OH. Milan, Italy. Mill Valley, CA. Milwaukee, WI. Minneapolis, MN. Moab, UT. Montreal, Canada. Mt Kisco, NY. Mt Rushmore, SD. Nashville, TN. New Orleans, LA. New York, NY. Newport, RI. Ogden, UT. Oklahoma City, OK. Omaha, NE. Oslo, Norway. Oxford, England. Page, AZ. Palo Alto, CA. Philadelphia, PA. Phoenix, AZ. Pierre, SD. Pikes Peak, CO. Pine Falls, AR. Pocatello, ID. Pomona, CA. Portland, ME. Poughkeepsie, NY. Pringle, SD. Provo, UT. Quad Cities, IL. Queens, NY. Rawlins, WY. Richmond, VA. Rock Springs, WY. Sacramento, CA. Salina, KS. Salt Lake City, UT. San Francisco, CA. Santa Fe, NM. Savannah, GA. Scottsdale, AZ. Seattle, WA. Sedona, AZ. Singapore, Singapore. Somerset, PA. St Louis, MO. Stavanger, Norway. Stevensville, MI. Stuart, IA. Sturbridge, MA. Tarrytown, NY. Topeka, KS. Toronto, Canada. Turin, Italy. Venice, Italy. Washington, DC. Wheaton, MD. White Plains, NY. Williams, AZ. Winnemucca, NV. Yellowstone, WY. Yorklyn, DE. Zion, UT.
Note to future self: I need to visit cities that start with E, U, and X.
On March 1, 2015, I left NYC to become a nomad. On September 1, 2016, I’ll be returning to NYC to stop being a nomad.
Over these 18 months as a nomad, I’ve traveled to all 50 states, 14 countries, and 3 continents. And I’ve spent 114 nights in the city that never sleeps (often times very much sleeping).
Returning to my former home of seven years was never a foregone conclusion, I anticipated that the allure of warmer weather would draw me to the west coast. But then fate stepped in. And by fate, I mean chance and choice.
During a recent trip back to the city, I visited Brady, Ian, and Matt, three fellow OSU / 8th Floor alumni, and friends who have hosted me countful times (28 to be exact) while nomadding. They just moved into a four bedroom apartment in Brooklyn with another friend from comedy, who stayed a whole month before promptly getting a writing job in LA.
So, they were in need of a roommate. I was in need of a room. Fate? No, but it sure was convenient.
And that’s basically the reason. I mean, yes, I had already done my research and had narrowed my eventual destination to NYC, SF, or LA, and yes, NYC is a great choice for professional, comedic, and personal reasons, and no, it has nothing to do with the fact that Chick Fil A is now in the city.
It really comes down to the fact that moving back to NYC means: I don’t have to find an apartment, I don’t have to research a neighborhood, and I don’t have to figure out roommates. Plus I get to live with three hilarious dudes who root for the Buckeyes (both the OSU athletic team and the delicious chocolate / peanut butter treats).
I look forward to eating $1 pizza and $15 milkshakes, seeing beautiful skylines and ugly subway stations, interacting with passionate people and aggressive jerks, and using efficient grid layouts and streets that smell like trash in the summer.
All that’s left to do is load up my New York playlist. (And complete the lease paperwork, rent a car, drive to Ohio, remove my stuff from storage, load the car, drive back to New York, unload the car, go to Ikea, buy Lincoln Log-esque furniture, return to the apartment, put it all together, return the car, and take the subway home).
In my 1,000th performance in my 50th state on my 32nd birthday, I shared the journey of what it was like to live as a nomad, why I did it, and what I learned from the experience.
A big shout-out to Civil Beat in Honolulu for letting me tell this story and for putting on an incredible storytelling event.
To learn more about the journey, check out my other travel posts.
Traveling can be stressful. There’s planning to be done, pictures to be taken, social media to be shared, and relaxation to be had.
Here’s a list of the apps I use to make that all easier:
The most important travel app for me Google Maps, followed closely by the combo of Foursquare / Swarm (though I’m still not entirely sure why they separated the two).
Foursquare allows me to check out what’s good in a new city and gives me personalized recommendations based on what I like, and Swarm allows me to remember where I’ve actually been.
The full list of travel apps include:
- Google Maps – For figuring out how to get to where I want to go. (Android | iOS)
- Foursquare – For personalized recommendations of what to see / eat in a new city. (Android | iOS)
- Swarm – For checking in so I can remember all of the places I’ve been. (Android | iOS)
- Trip Advisor – For finding the super popular things to do and get some tips on how to make it better. (Android | iOS)
- Orbitz – For checking out the prices and availability of hotels and booking flights. (Android | iOS)
- AirBNB – For finding a local spot to stay in. (Android | iOS)
- Budget – For getting a rental car when needed. (Android | iOS)
Even if you are anti-social websites, social apps are vital to staying connected with friends and family while traveling the world. Facebook is still probably the top dog (mostly because the majority of my friends and family are connected there) but I only use the mobile site and not the app. Instagram has also been a lot of fun for me.
The full list of Social Apps include:
- Facebook – For staying connected with people and serving as a hub for all of my other social media. (Android | iOS)
- Whatsapp – For chatting with people from other countries and avoiding texting fees. (Android | iOS)
- Twitter – For making jokes and reaching out to people I wouldn’t otherwise be able to contact. (Android | iOS)
- Instagram – For sharing “1,000 words” in a single image of what I’m up to. (Android | iOS)
- LinkedIn – For making business connections and finding additional engagements while I’m traveling. (Android | iOS)
- Snapchat – For silly quick jokes with friends. (Android | iOS)
Being on the move means that you have to learn to be productive on your phone as you won’t always have the luxury of your laptop right in front of you. Evernote is the supreme king when it comes to Productivity Apps because it basically serves as my memory.
The full list of Productivity Apps include:
- Evernote – For capturing all of my thoughts, including training outlines, meeting notes, and blog post drafts (like this one!). (Android | iOS)
- Perfct Day – For tracking my daily habits. (Perfct Day is currently private beta, launching soon!)
- Tasker – For automating certain tasks to free me from unnecessary key strokes and app selection. A future post will share some of my top automations. (Android | iOS not available)
- Gmail – For getting through the slog of the minimally productive business necessity of eletronic mail. (Android | iOS)
- Trello – For capturing todo lists in a Agile-like method (I’m still working on using this well). (Android | iOS)
- Dropbox – For accessing presentations and proposals on my phone for review. (Android | iOS)
- 7M Workout – For a “it’s better than nothing” workout when you’re short on time and space. (Android | iOS)
Fun and Relaxation
All work and no play made me very stressed out. There are some great apps for strategically disengaging, including my favorite, Word Mix, a fun word game that makes you feel like you’re maybe-kinda-learning something?
The full list of Fun and Relaxation Apps include:
- Word Mix – A scrambled letter game where you find all the words. (Android | iOS)
- Quora – For reading / answering questions that make you feel semi-productive. (Android | iOS)
- Amazon Kindle – For catching up on business books or the occasional fictional tale. (Android | iOS)
- Pocket – For reading long-form articles that sometimes make you feel smart. (Android | iOS)
- Dots – For mindless creation of squares to try to get points. (Android | iOS)
I’m sure there are a few other apps that I use but none on a regular basis. Have an app you enjoy? Let me know so I can check it out!
11 May 2015. Somewhere outside of Portland, ME
I awoke at 06:30 in the morning. It wasn’t the most restful sleep I’d ever had, but that’s somewhat expected when you are sleeping in a Walmart parking lot in a Ford Fiesta.
I had done a standup show in Montpelier, VT the night before and had driven through state of New Hampshire on my way to Maine, and decided to stay the night in my rental car. I certainly could have gotten a hotel room, but I was curious about what the “car in a parking lot” experience was like. That and it did save me a bit of money.
I had done a little bit of research online before attempting the non-luxurious slumber, at least enough to learn that Walmarts were among the most popular car-sleeping destinations. They’re typically a safe spot to set up car camp as they’re regularly patrolled and have a policy that allows for overnight stays.
Despite my research, I had made a couple of rookie mistakes, the biggest being that I had forgotten to confirm that the Walmart was of the 24 hour variety. This one wasn’t.
I had been surprisingly productive before going to bed. Thanks to the mobile hotspot on my T-Mobile plan, I was able to send emails and catch up on a few things that I’d missed during the day because of all of the driving.
Around midnight, I looked up for my work just in time to see some employees locking the front doors to customers. I hadn’t brushed my teeth yet and needed to use the bathroom, so I had to start the car and find a nearby gas station.
Once arriving at the gas station I decided to skip the “brushing my teeth part” for the night as it somehow felt dirtier to open my mouth in the bathroom than just letting the night go by without a rinse.
I finished up and headed back to the Walmart parking lot, trying to find a spot that was reasonably away from other vehicles, not too directly under a light, but also not so far away that it was easily accessed by creatures of the night.
I had woken up a few times in the night to turn the car on briefly to get the air going a little bit, crack the window some, change positions, use my hoodie as a blanket, throw it off as a blanket, try it as a pillow, try other things as a pillow, etc. But in between those moments I actually got some rest. Again, not the most restful of sleeps but it did seem to suffice.
In the morning, as the sun shined through the windows, I awoke. I got out of my car/hotel room and made my way into the now open Walmart so I could brush my teeth, go to the bathroom, and grab a box a Pop Tarts for breakfast.
19 April 2015. Stavanger, Norway
I swallowed the last of my homemade ice cream and set the spoon down.
I was seated at the kitchen table of a near-stranger’s home, with two near-strangers as tablemates.
To my left was Amanda, a Vietnamese woman who had recently moved to Norway for a job. To my right was Tina, a Norwegian woman, whose home we were currently in, and who had prepared not just the homemade ice cream we had just consumed, but also the fish dish I ate prior to that.
I was there in the Norwegian home because the night prior, I was performing at the touMAZEing Comedy Festival. After one of my sets, the two had come up tell me that they enjoyed my jokes.
We talked and I discovered the two were close friends from work and had come to the festival because they thought it would be fun for an entire group from work, but rest of them had already left.
They decided to stick around and saw me perform in the Random Room, a stage setup for “random comedy.” I had decided that “random” meant I shouldn’t perform anything pre-planned, so I did an improvised set using a suggestion from the audience and the text messages of one of the audience members.
It went well, mostly thanks to years of improv training and having played a similar style game of “Texts from Last Night” while in ComedySportz.
While talking after the show, I brought up being from Ohio. Surprisingly they had heart of it; unsurprisingly they had never been. I told them that if they ever went, they should go to Graeter’s ice cream because it’s some of the best ice cream in the world and one of the best things you can ever put in your mouth.
Tina, the Norwegian and more talkative of the two, mentioned that she herself made homemade ice cream. I was impressed as that was was something I didn’t really think you could do, or at least something people did.
She said that she was a very good cook and she and Amanda often got together; Amanda would host while Tina would cook.
I said, “That’s crazy because while you may be very good cooks, I’m actually a very good eater.”
I said it jokingly to make small talk, but Tina took it as a possible invite. She replied, “Amanda and I were actually thinking about getting together tomorrow to cook. You’re more than welcome to join us if you want.”
I had decided recently that I was gonna try to say yes more, especially during these travels. Having talked with a fellow comedian who had a number of ridiculously fun stories, he had mentioned that they all came about because he was willing to say yes. So I thought, “why not?”
Sure, it might be a little bit strange, to go over to a complete stranger’s house in a foreign country… but they seemed nice enough and homemade ice cream was up for grabs.
Now, having finished that ice cream, I was happy that I said yes.