Maximizing post-travel inspiration

I’m just back from a trip where I spent time with my parents, a bunch of crew at our 17th annual yearly camp out, and my sister and her 3 awesome kiddos.

Here are 6 reasons I’m freshly hyped and how I’ll use these travel vibes to crush it.

1 – Coming home

Years of jobs, relationships, and everything life has thrown my way lead me to my current house in Tucson, living with my amazing wife and our dog and cat. As much as I love the vacay vibes – coming home is kinda the best. It represents returning to my intention – the space in the world I’ve worked hard to create.

Our place feels like vacation sometimes, from the homemade blue curtains my wife made out of fabric I thrifted in northern AZ flapping in the wind, to the outdoor cast iron tub in our backyard, to the shed my friends helped deliver, fix up, and paint into the trippiest/hypest creative space.  We laugh and remind ourselves “This is real life!”

Coming home is a reminder to maximize this inspiring place! Oh you have a rad recording studio? Use it! A dope bike – hop upon! An amazing parnter – hang out with them a ton!

2 – Unreal friend/family support 

Sharing space and time with a crew living vastly different but inspiring lives is like reading 2,000 self-help books at the same time while swimming in the coolest waterfall you found on a cross-country road trip with your dog.

It’s such a great challenge to do you to the utmost.  The crew isn’t going to check up on me when I get home – “Hey, Nick are you still feeling super inspired by your trip, I hope so!”  It’s more like – go forth and kill it – we believe in you, and that should propel dopeness until we hang again and re-up the hype.

A couple years ago at the same campout 2 of my main dudes took me aside and thanked me saying they might not be here if it wasn’t for me. Both are incredible artists, musicians, friends, and humans. Thinking about it still makes me shake a bit. When doubt comes up I go back to this memory and know if these 2 have my back this hard I’m 100% good.

3 – Kids

Kids are better at living in the moment then every adult who’s ever preached or read about it.  A couple years ago the first thing my then 6-year-old niece said to me after not seeing each other for more than a year was something like “If you close your eyes really hard it looks like a laser light show.” Hells ya it does!

Same kiddo this year was going super hard jumping off the dock and boat like it was no big deal. She didn’t brag about it – just wanted to do it over and over and over again! Reality is she humbly conquered a fear and it’s f’n incredible! Last year she was scared to do both. Now it’s second nature. Killing it ✓ moving forward ✓ and having fun ✓

4 – Sacrifice

Crew-ups like this get you thinking about people who couldn’t make it. As an avid hater of FOMO, I get inspired by the sacrifices they’re making to do what they need to do.

My brother is killing at work and couldn’t come. It would have been dope to hang but he needed to keep crushing it for his life and that’s exactly the choice he made. Same with my wife. I missed her a lot but what an amazing person she is to prioritize the incredible work she’s doing.

My sister had to take off to go run the summer reading program at the library she started – DOPE! My best bud had to roll early to get back to Detroit and prep for leaving to go cook on the Drake tour. Fun Professionally amazing!

5 – Passion

My 14-year-old nephew is so down for this new X-Box game its crazy. When I told him I didn’t know what it was he stared at me blankly for the weirdest 10 seconds we’ve probably ever had. Totally cracked me up and reminded me how down I used to be for stuff at his age!

I was into vids, basketball, Wu-Tang, and Tribe. I remember listening to every song on every CD I owned with a best friend – carefully deciding that Award Tour was the greatest song in the world. It was for sure the most important thing to do that afternoon – and we questioned it Ø!

6 – Parents

I’m incredibly lucky to get to learn from parents who’ve been married for 46 years. They’re so inherently down for each other at this point it’s one of the sweetest and inspiring things I witness.

They have a small sailboat and are the coolest team for getting it set up and out on the water. I got to be their boat hand which mostly meant watching them carefully rig the boat and make sure their partner stayed safe while hopping on and off during the process.

They eat together, volunteer together, and talk about the future together. They live each other’s dreams realizing how much one partner benefits from the other’s – whether it’s living on a lake in a small town, or traveling to a specific place to escape the cold Minnesota winter. It’s a version of compromise that isn’t really compromise at all, but being down for your partner and knowing them being happy will make you happy too.

What motivates you post-travel? How do you use it to do more of what you love? Comment or send that hype my way! 

Jam of the Week #37: I’m Alive

As literal as it is I love this song – especially this cover by The Clique. Original is off the 1969 LP Crimson & Clover from Tommy James and the Shondells

I was lucky enough to find this 45 at a Salvation Army in Yakima, WA – sleeveless and in a stack of random records. I remember putting it on in my hotel room and losing my shit, thinking this is incredible and it must be worth so much $$!!… Or you can get it on Discogs for under $5 (reality ✔)

Full Jam of the Week playlists are avail on Spotify YouTube

Church of Hype: Jam of the Week #3

This week’s Jam of the Week is Could Heaven Ever Be Like This from the legendary drummer Idris Muhammad. It’s a ridiculously uplifting journey, full of bouncing  positivity and an intro that completely changes your day (try it)!

I first heard it on this jazz cassette comp I thrifted in the early 2000’s. I’d bump it on a boom box in my Ford Ranger while driving around rural Minnesota doing lawn care saving the money to move to Portland.

Eventually I hit rewind too many times trying to hear Could Heaven Be Like This and the tape snapped : (

Still on the hunt for another copy!

I was reintroduced to the song last year on Today’s Good News (RIP), the radio show hosted by legendary Portland DJ Rev Shines and All Night Tong. I hit him up about it and he said you gotta get the extended 12″, the 45 version is too short!

Hope you dig this track as much as I do – Check out the full Church of Hype: Jam of the Week playlist here

Church of Hype: Jam of the Week #2

This week’s ultra-hype, ultra-positive jam is Koushik’s Lying In The Sun from his 2008 release Out My Window on Stones Throw Records.

I count on this track to pop in my head when I need a heavy dose of uplifting sound, and it has -at least monthly – since buying the record in 08′.

Koushik adds layers of unidentifiable qualities (live instruments, singing, samples, whistling) to his tracks, creating a mystery that feeds the magic of his timeless sound.

Lying In The Sun samples the famous lip-smacking drum break from The Stooges Dirtthe horns from Bernard Wright’s Spinnin’ (also borrowed by this little hit from 95′), and probably 20-30 other elements we just get to enjoy without totally nerding out!

I was lucky enough to meet Koushik last month in Hamilton, Ontario while visiting my friend MOTËM at the Gebbz Steelo Research Center for the Arts. Grateful for the opportunity, I thanked him for his music saying it has always been an uplifting listen for me. He humbly returned the gratitude for listening and feeling his intention behind the art. THEN I WENT AROUND THE CORNER AND FREAKED THE FUCK OUT BECAUSE I JUST MET KOUSHIK!

Hope you enjoy this tune 🙂

Here’s a link to the full Church of Hype: Jam of the Week playlist on Spotify.

^Back to the office…

Unplanned & Confident

You’ve worked your entire life to do whatever it is you are doing right now. So why worry about planning the next thing?

My favorite place to think and brainstorm is driving on a weird patch of road in the country, or coming across a bend of highway and finally seeing the Seattle skyline. I’ve spent months living and traveling on the road with friends and family  –  and found planning to be the major reason we had any rough times.

Not saying planning is a terrible thing at all, just remember you’ve already put the work in – enjoy your hard-earned ability to cruise in life! What should we do when we get there? When we get to this turn what will we do? Enjoy the now, and be confident in your ability to make the right decision when you need to, instead of filling your current moment with one you’ll be living soon ☮