Welcome to wanderbbq.
wanderbbq is a site hand made with love and lots of text by two friends dedicated to connecting with (and hopefully educating) like-minded humans of the internet. We have both set out in our respective ways on a journey of travel, freedom, remote work, adventure, hardship, friendship, and love. Through this site, we aim to discuss some of the places we’ve been, the tools we’ve used (both for travel and remote work), and experiences that we have had along the way.
I’d like to dedicate my inaugural post to introduce a little about myself and explaining what led me to decide to pursue this lifestyle. I’m a mid-to-late twenties dude from America who has been fortunate to live most of his life in California. In addition to that privilege, I’ve also had the opportunity to live in several different countries. I’ve worked at some semi-impressive start-up companies (even including a few Y-Combinator companies) and have been involved in the tech industry for around ten years.
During my tenure in Silicon Valley, I served my start-up lords in mostly customer support, inside sales, and operations capacities. I worked with software-as-a-service, physical products, ad agencies and services, and even tried starting my own small company with my best friend back during our naive college years. That company didn’t end up going anywhere but we were able to land a client by posting some poorly written advertisements for our company on Craigslist, and then convince said client to send us a check through the mail without having ever met us. That was invigorating. I think we probably only made about $1-$2 dollars an hour but just the fact that we had a paper check in our hands from some Craigslist stranger was mind-blowing to me. This was in 2011 so it wasn’t as normal as it is today.
My first experience with contributing to the internet was learning to code HTML and CSS so that I could add in custom rainbow graphics and MIDI songs (mostly Sum 41) for my Neopets store. I was a proud neo-millionaire (1,000,000 Neopoints) by 10 years old, having made my fortune by rapidly refreshing my web browser and being the first to buy and then resell Slushies (basically limited edition Slurpees). As some rich people may tell you, fortunes are made and lost in an instant, and my Neopets nest-egg was frivolously blown on scratch cards (a very ahead of its time version of a loot crate) during a forty-five minute period of weakness. At ten years old I felt the power of eCommerce, limited-edition virtual items, and of course scratch cards. Unbeknownst to me, all of these would play a role later on in our shared world.
My next internet foray was an online community built around a specific map on a game called CounterStrike: Source. I would spend basically every free moment of my life playing with my friends and cracking jokes about nothing, and eventually
, a small but strong community developed. We decided to turn our community into a ‘clan’ and become a little more formally organized. My mom drove me to the bank to set up a bank account, and I somehow convinced PayPal to allow me to link that account and accept money from internet strangers. We somehow bought a website and at fourteen years old I was running an online forum and charging grown adults $15 a month for premium administrative access to our group of servers. It was a crazy and fun time, but I missed too much school and that was that.
After that seriously nerdy phase, I got to spend some quality time outdoors, and lead a little bit more of a balanced healthy lifestyle. In high school, I mostly hung around with friends and watched low-quality pixelated YouTube videos on the old iPhone – at least for as long as its primitive battery lasted. We were constantly passing the AUX cord back and forth but with everyone eventually getting a car there was a definite sense of freedom.
I got a job at a trendy coffee shop where I worked with a bunch of friends and various beautiful people and met many accomplished noblemen and -women of the tech industry. While working at this coffee shop, I became buddies with many adults in the throes of caffeine addiction and through my enabler relationship with them was introduced to the buzzwords and flashy venture capital money of the start-up scene at a young age. I got a few internships and held some minor jobs, but I was younger and quite frankly even more of an idiot than I am now. I wasn’t very bright or serious, and eventually got bored with the whole machine. After leaving my roles in tech with varying degrees of success, I decided to embark on a crazy journey that ended up with me living in Portland, Boston, New York, China, Poland, and Ireland.
My life background has given me a slight advantage in my jump over to fully remote work. To sum it up, here’s my current philosophy about the world and my place in it – and why what David and I are working on is so important:
In these turbulent times, we are constantly pulled, poked, prodded, and persuaded into living and existing in someone else’s world. That means getting sucked into a rabbit hole of whatever political jargon infuriates or makes you feel validated. Or sinking an hour and a half into Instagram and only realizing it after you finally look up at the wall clock and notice that you’re going to be late for work. I live in someone else’s world whenever I am goaded into giving my thoughts, attention, labor, spirit, time, or money into supporting someone else’s (usually a rich corporation’s) vision or dream.
So, what is the takeaway? My takeaway is that I want to maximize my time spent in my own world. Not for entirely selfish reasons, but because that is truly living, and I wish to reclaim more of my life. Writing this article or working on this website is existing and growing within my world, the same can be said for writing a short poem, sharing a meal and happy conversation with family, or catching up with an old friend. If we can share our experiences and empower others to do the same – even better.
Jumping back into it – here is the plan:
Currently, there are several remote irons in the fire, and I am well on my way to reaching my goal of a fully independent lifestyle in the gorgeous and wonderful year 2020. Here are a few goals to help define what “a fully independent lifestyle” means to me:
-Work less than forty hours a week “on the clock”
Now this one is one of the most important goals on this list. Living life on one’s own terms requires enough time for one to… you guessed it – live life. I don’t buy into the idea that in the world we live in now you need to work a minimum of eight hours a day five days a week. I do believe that one’s life should be full of meaningful work, but oftentimes when starting out in remote work
– the worker is just looking for enough hours so that they can get the money to cover their bills.
NO COMMUTE, ZERO, NO EXCEPTIONS. It goes without saying that one of the greatest advantages granted to those who work remotely is the ability to wake up, roll out of bed, shower (or not), put on professional attire (or not), and immediately begin work. If you happen to have the kind of job where you are paid based on a time-tracking app (such as many gigs on Upwork), you will be able to turn that clock on and receive those sweet United States Dollars while sipping your morning cup of coffee.
Roommates are a curse that affects many of us millennials. The symptoms of this plague seem to stretch even into the mid-thirties for some afflicted by the affliction of being born in the wrong generation. All joking aside, it is truly difficult to be able to afford your own apartment this century. In Silicon Valley, it is about $2500 to $3000 dollars a month for a one-bedroom apartment. Thankfully, the roommate dilemma can be solved via two avenues
. : A) Make more money through learning in-demand skills that one can perform remotely, and B) using one’s new-found sense of adventure to move to a significantly lower cost region.
-Save a meaningful amount of money
One of the realities of life is that Cash is King, and the term “savings rate” is his dutiful advisor. Many students, workers, and professionals are finding it harder and harder to save any meaningful amount of money. With rising costs of living and stagnant wages, more and more pressure is being applied to the common worker. Luckily, there are ways to throw off the shackles of modern consumerism and voluntarily leave the breadlines of our dystopian reality. This looks like a hard and fast tightening of the belt (read: no car, no brand name clothing, and – sorry – no iPhone 13 or whatever model number people are buying on credit
–Fuel your travel addiction
What’s the point of existing in the world if you do not get a chance to really see, hear, touch, taste, smell, and experience it? Independence means freedom, and freedom of location is one of the cornerstones of living life the way you want to live it. Personally, I do not subscribe to the idea of the quick trip where one visits four or five different cities in a whirlwind single week trip. I like to take in a specific city or region, typically over a period of one month or more. Remote work one hundred percent allows me to do that.
-Have the time and opportunities to work on new projects, start new businesses, learn new skills, and generally flourish
All the time savings listed in the other goals all lead into this final one: Tweaking the parameters of your life correctly to maximize your ability to pursue ideas that you might love. Maybe you wanted to write romance novels – well good news, now you can. Using this new time to work on alternate streams of income or to try out a new business concept that might yet not be viable. You will now have the time, freedom, and ability to devote more of your time to living your truth and pursuing genuine and interesting things that move you forward.
Thanks for making it to the end of this post – we’re excited to have you along with us on this journey. In the coming articles, you can look forward to topics about remote work, tools, trends, tips, travel, and more. We’ll try our best to deliver value and sprinkle in anecdotes where applicable. Please do not hesitate to be vocal about what you find valuable, and please get in touch with any questions or comments. wanderbbq is nothing without its community of very lovely and very hungry bbq-ers.
You may find our styles slightly different and that probably has to do with the fact that David is an accomplished and published writer. I highly recommended that you check out his latest book here – World Citizen: Allen Ginsberg as Traveller