1
Why stand on a silent platform? Zach de la Rocha yells out on Township Rebellion.

And I agree. This is the greatest time in history to get your voice heard around the world in whatever medium suits your fancy. Do you want to write? Start a blog. Do you want to make films or have your own TV show? Start a YouTube Channel. Do you like radio? Start a podcast! Do you want to be a photographer, a fitness model, artist, illustrator? Start an Instagram account. Do you Want to be a musician? Start a Soundcloud account. There is no limit on your means of self-expression.

I wrote my first blog post on the 8th of February 2004. There was a real sense of community then, in the blogging world, mainly because it was new and people were still trying to figure out blogging’s potential. It was more personal then too. But once someone figured out they could make money from blogging, the game started to change. And once people got more comfortable with e-commerce (giving they’re credit card detail over the internet) the game changed for good.

Then social media came along and like TV killed the radio, social media killed personal blogging.

Commercial blogging still managed to thrive. The likes of Huffington Post, Tech Crunch, The Dredge Report, Gawker (now defunct) and others like them, kept blogging alive, albeit with a different cultural flavour. The days of the solo blogger (alone in his or her room) bleeding their heart and soul out into the Internet were gone. The CopyBlogger crowd moved in with the promise that if you niched well and nailed your SEO, then you could quit your day job and be a full-time blogger. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

If you wanted to blog for the love of blogging, you took your game over to social media ‘cause that’s where the eyeballs are. And that’s fine too. But why not write from your own blog and syndicate out, which is what the IndieWeb Movement is partially about. There’s also the fight against having your data harvested and sold to any bidder and then fed back to you via algorithms designed to make you buy more goods and services that (in a Fight Club sort of way) you probably don’t need.

If you have a blog that is sat gathering dust because you fell for the rhetoric that blogging is dead or because you thought (in reference to social media) if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em and left for the promise-land of ‘likes’ and ‘hearts’ and ‘rewteets’, then dust it off, and join the IndieWeb Movement. Your blog deserves it!

Side note: Most blogs, these days, look the same -clean, neat, colour coordinated. Remember when they used to look like this?

2
Travel reminds me that people are pretty much all the same regardless of where you go or what country you’re in. Everywhere we’re trying to survive and that breaks down to 3 things – feeding, fucking, and fighting. Everything else is just a sideshow or a way to kill time between the 3 F’s.

These are the kinds of thoughts I have at 3:30 in the morning.

3
My journey to Madrid was not a direct one. For some reason, nothing was flying out of the UK and going directly to Madrid. My only options were to fly to Frankfurt or fly to Brussels and then onto Madrid. I have a soft spot in my heart for Germans. I lived in the country for 3 years. I grew fond of the people and the place and the culture. Plus I love pretzels like the Germans love pretzels. And since I had an hour layover in Frankfurt I thought I’d seize the opportunity to grab a couple of them:

4
So it’s day one of #blogpals19 and because I’m not one for always choosing the easy route, I didn’t hesitate to jump into this challenge knowing that my first 4 days of the challenge were going to be a challenge because I’m away from my home base on a business trip!

But that doesn’t matter. It’s a great opportunity to practice my mobile blogging chops. I’m using my iPhone 8+ to type this out as I taxi down the runway on LH 1112 to Madrid. I love having a small computer in my hand capable of being a one-stop media creation shop. I can write. I can record and edit audio. I can shoot and edit video. I can take pictures and edit them. I can broadcast live video and live radio. In short, I have the means of total media production in the palm of my hand. I know I’m not saying anything you haven’t heard already, but man this stuff excites the hell out of me. I get fired up every time I think about the power we carry around in our pockets!

5
We’ve done a pretty good job of domesticating humans. Law and order are prevalent in most of the civilised world. It doesn’t matter if I’m in Frankfurt or Madrid people, on the whole, behave the same – we greet each other, respect each other’s space and property. We stand up and sit down when we’re told. We stand in line. We pay for goods and services. We get up, go to work, watch a little TV, watch the news, complain about politics. We eat. We sleep. And we get up and do it all again the next day, until we eventually die.

We are well trained domesticated primates.

6
The only thing that separates us from the beasts is our imagination and wild ass capacity for creativity. So don’t be a robot. Create stuff. Express yourself in you’re own unique way.

The world doesn’t need another automaton.

It needs YOU – in all your beauty and glory.

Go make something!

Here we go, back in the game after a week’s worth of holiday. I need to unpack my time away, but the quick story is, we did a week-long camping tour, changing campsites every few days.

We started off in Skegness, then headed north to the North York Moors for a few days, then headed east from there to the Yorkshire Dales for 3 nights before heading south and home just ahead of the nightmare Bank Holiday traffic.

The highlight for me was the time spent in the Yorkshire Dales. We stumbled upon a great campsite just above Bolton Abbey. We were surrounded by rolling hills and cows.

One of my favourite things about camping is waking up at dawn to watch the sunrise (on the days it wasn’t raining or overcast (and there were a few)). I usually read in the mornings, but on this trip, I mostly just watched the sun come up while slowly sipping my coffee and doing some deep thinking and reflecting.

That tends to happen when I reach another birthday (I turned 51 on this trip). Instead of making New Year’s Resolutions in January, I think it’s more appropriate to make New Year resolutions on your birthdate, it is after all your true “new” year.

I got to thinking about how I want 51 to be different from 50. The truth is I didn’t have huge revelations, just a refining of previous themes like getting obsessive about physical fitness again. While I do workout most days, it’s usually only for about an hour, which is better than nothing, but when you consider the rest of my day is pretty much spent on my ass staring a screen, an hour doesn’t cut it.

I want to adopt some of Mark Sission’s Primal Blueprint ideas which are based on the Palaeolithic rules of living 10,000 years ago which is basically:

1. Eat lots of animals, insects, and plants.

2. Move around a lot at a slow pace.

3. Lift heavy things (hehe my favourite thing to do)

4. Run really fast every once in a while (I’ll struggle with this given that my knee is kaput at the moment)

5. Get lots of sleep (I’ll have to incorporate napping to make this happen considering I only sleep about 5 hours night).

6. Play.

7. Get some sunlight every day (speaking of which, I better hurry up and get out of this Starbucks and catch some rays before I head back to the office).

8. Avoid trauma.

9. Avoid poisonous things.

10. Use your mind.

The basic goal, as Mark sums it up, is to be healthy, energetic, happy, lean, strong, bright, and productive.

Worthy goals for sure.

Time out in nature reminded me of how much I miss being out amongst the mountains and trees. I don’t get out in the wilds anywhere near the amount I used to do. I cite work as the negative influence, but that wouldn’t be a fair assessment. I’m the real culprit for not making the time to take to the hills. So my commitment this birth year is to embrace nature with a stronger faith.

Once upon a time, my outings were focused purely on the physical. How far could I push myself? How fast could I climb? Then for a time, it was spiritual. I’d go to the mountains to disappear into myself and become one with Nature. And now, I’m returning with the intention of exploring natural history and perhaps even a little transcendentalism.

So these are just a few of the things I want to do with year 51.

 

Seeing how I just finished reading Harold Jaffe’s Paris 60, I thought I’d use it as inspiration for the style of this post.

16.02.2019
Socrates, one of my heroes, said the unexamined life is not worth living. But in this day and age rumor has it that people who don’t spend much time examining their lives are much happier. That doesn’t bode well for me. I spend way too much time examining my life and my place in the universe. Searching for what? Truth? Maybe. Happiness? Not really (happiness is not my bag). Then what? Damned if I know. I’m just hoping that I’ll know it when I see it.

17.02.2019
I’m going to ‘the pink city.’

Toulouse, capital of France’s southern Occitanie region, is bisected by the Garonne River and sits near the Spanish border. It’s known as La Ville Rose (‘The Pink City’) due to the terra-cotta bricks used in many of its buildings.

I’m sat on flight AF1065 on my way to CDG airport in Paris. I won’t be spending any time in Paris this time around. My onward flight is to Toulouse, which is suppose to be a lovely place. It’s not a pleasure trip though, so I won’t get to see much of the place,

I bought a GoPro Hero 7 Black from Dixons Travel. It was a bit of an impulse buy in that I didn’t decide to buy one until an hour before I headed out to the airport.

My flight in was as smooth as pie.

I’m in Toulouse at the Ibis Styles, near the airport. I checked in about 8. I had a repeat of Berlin. The check-in lady gave me a key to someone else’s room. Unlike the Berlin incident, the guest was not in bed fast asleep when I walked in.

I met the rest of the crew for dinner at the Leon de Belgium. The crew – John, Kim, Mark, and Claire. Tomorrow is the kickoff of a 3-day customer centric workshop we’re delivering for a group of up and coming leaders.

18.02.2019
Had to hunt down an ATM machine in the wee hours of the morning. Another example of me doing everything at the last minute! Forgot I needed euros. Actually, I didn’t forget, I just didn’t think about it.

How do any of us even make it through this gig called life?

There’s surviving and then there’s thriving. Just a few days ago I was thinking we should be content with surviving. But now I’m thinking, I’m here. In the game. Why not play to thrive?!

Why not maximise my experience of being human?

19.02.2019
Eye pleasant evening.

My table mates at dinner were fantastic.

One of my table mates was a former German infantry officer, he got out as a captain, same as me. We chit chatted about what we liked most about our time in the army and what we missed most. We shared the same sentiments. We both missed the camaraderie and the sense of brotherhood and knowing that your fellow soldiers had your back and that you could trust them with your life. We missed the clear sense of purpose and mission.

He has an interesting job in PR and seems to be making some good political connections with the likes of General Petraeus and other people of similar caliber. I like the story he told about one of his current work mates who has two PHDs, does combat tours with the German special forces during his reserve time, sleeps only 4 hours a night and so on. When I hear stuff like that it makes me think I could have played my cards differently and done so much more with my life. What kind of brain bucket has two PHDs?

Or like one of the other dudes on my table who has his side hustle selling baby clothes and is about to be bought be another company? Plus his coding and hacking, and volunteer work.

And here I am, a lowly blogger trying to keep the dream alive…

I’ve been here four days now and shockingly I haven’t been able to see much of the place. That’s often the case with work trips though. Essentially my time has been consumed with prepping for the day’s event. Running the day. Recapping the day, then prepping for the next day. The evening is spent networking with the delegates in the hotel where we are staying (which is outside of the city centre), so by the time the evening event is done, it’s time to get some shut-eye before starting the cycle again.

The event has gone extremely well so no complaints there. It’s been full on and intense, and pretty cool too be working with German, French, Spanish, and English folks all in one place. I don’t know about you, but whenever I’m with incredible people, it makes me want to up my game. So many people doing so many interesting things.

20.02.2019
Be curious. That how essaying gets done.

21.02.2019
I’ve got a stupid head cold, other than that i feel fine unless i also want to highlight my various chronic aches and pains like my lower back and knees…

I’m not in the mood to be around people today. I don’t want to play Mr Motivator today.

I need some decompression time from people…but that ain’t happening for another couple of days, so suck it up soldier and drive on with the mission…

22.02.2019
I’m not firing on all cylinders at the moment. I need some duvet time!

23.02.2019
I’m feeling a ton better now. The sauna and steam room helped.

24.02.2019
I started reading Mythologies by Ronald Barthes (a book recommendation i picked up Brian Dillion’s book Essayism) The first essay looks at the symbology (deeper meaning) of wrestling and what’s at stake while watching wrestling. Barthes main point(s) seems to be that wrestling is the epitome of The Spectacle… wrestling represents the battle between good and evil and takes the underlying principles of that and shows them at their extremes in an exaggerated play…