Travel

My favorite travel bag

I travel a lot and usually have to carry multiple devices (MacBook Pro, iPad, iPod) along with an array of notebooks. My traveling habits includes a lot of walking; mainly because I enjoy strolling through cities and doing things by foot. I obsess of travel bags because of this, and finally found the perfect one. I bought a Muzetto bag per the recommendation of my good friend Josh. I've had it for about 10 days and am in love with it.

The bag is made by WaterField Designs based in San Francisco, California. I highly recommend them, and it definitely will not be my last purchase from them.

Note: This is not a sponsored post as I am not a professional blogger. I just like to share great products with people.


San Francisco + Launch 2013

The Launch Festival is one of my favorite events of the year. I got the opportunity to go last year because one of our apps was accepted into it. This year MailChimp sent me (thank you so much) so my co-founder and I planned a trip to meet up in San Francisco. This was definitely one of the best San Francisco trips I've been to in a long time. We usually stay in Haight-Asbury, but I wanted to mix it up a bit and stay at one of my favorite neighborhoods: The Mission.

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The Mission reminds me a lot of Brooklyn. I still want to keep the dream alive of living in San Francisco and New York and be bi-coastal. Without a doubt, I'd live in The Mission...maybe Oakland too.

The weekend was freaking amazing. I took a nap outside at Dolores Park—definitely a nice change from the New York weather recently. Everyone was out, talking, laughing, and just having fun. It was like a modern-day Seurat painting.

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No San Francisco trip is complete without getting a pour over at Ritual Coffee. I haven't tried Four Barrel yet, but so far Ritual is my favorite coffee shop in the city. The wifi is good and they don't mind if you hang and do some work or read. You meet great people there too. Contraband coffee is also great, but I didn't make it over there this time.

On Saturday we went to meet up with my friend Joe and his girlfriend Alissa at South Pacific Brewing. Some of their friends, Andrea, Trevor, and Sandy came with. It was the first  time I met them, but funny enough, they all knew my friend Sherry through work. The world is truly a small place. I advice you try to be nice to everyone...unless they are a dick, of course.

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Speaking of small worlds, we went to The Monk's Kettle to have some beers. Oh man, do they have beers. We sat down next to this girl. She saw me texting my friend Jen. Turns out they know each other and she lives in Seattle. Her name is Caylee and we have about 5,000 mutual friends.IMG_6792

Again, the world is small.

On Tuesday, we we went somewhere for the day that I can't tell you. It was awesome though.

After that, I walked by and texted my buddy Rich a photo of his office building to creep him out. He stepped out for about 10 minutes so we could grab a photo and chat. I wish I had 20 hours to talk to him, but it was so nice just to see him.

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We headed back to The City and had a chance to get dinner with my aunt. She is definitely one of my closest family members now. She has a passion for traveling and working hard, and I've always looked up to her. Now that I'm older, I can go travel and she lives through me. However, we're planning a trip to Spain to go on a hiking trip. I am so excited about that. It would be a dream to travel with her.

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Oh yeah, we went to a conference too. The Launch Festival is the best event ever. It is essentially a celebration (like Sundance) of startups launching their products. The energy is great and everyone is supportive. Jason creates an environment where it is supportive, helpful, and encouraging.

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I ran into one of the co-founders of Space Monkey, Clint, and we got to catch up too. Last year we were in the same rehearsal together. This year, Clint returned as a panel judge because Space Monkey won the competition last year. Seriously, watch out for  them. Amazing product.

Now I'm on the plane back to New York City. I can't wait to go home and see my cat and get back to working at the workspace. However, San Francisco always gives me good energy and the city is great to me. I need to keep focused so I can spend time in both cities.

I'll be doing a separate blog post for startups that really caught my attention. Stay tuned.


Coffee and code in Seattle, like the old days

When I used to live in Seattle, Damon, Colin, Ryan, Aviel (not pictured), and myself would often get together and drink coffee and work on projects. It was nice to have close friends who work hard. We often were able to shoot the shit together while getting stuff done. Last week I was in Seattle for (literally) 26 hours for a meeting.

Fortunately, there was time for the gang to get together. It felt really good—as if nothing really changed. You can tell you have close friends when 1) The quality of the time you spend is more valuable than the quantity of time 2) When your friendship doesn't skip a beat.

So glad to see these guys. It was really one of the highlights of my trip.


How to see the world and get shit done

I get this question a lot: "How do you go travel around the world and get work done?"

It's actually quite easy but requires focus, discipline and preparation.

You need to actually work!

Traveling and working isn't a fancy way of saying traveling without doing anything. You need to still get your shit done. This means there are some nights you will need to stay in and be available for meetings and work. The key to working and traveling is working as well! I like to block out four hour increments throughout my day of when I will be working, site seeing or hanging out, napping, client meetings, etc. Build a routine and treat your travel as if you were at home, not on a short vacation where you must do everything at once.

Prepare your clients

There is nothing more a client appreciates than to know where you are. No, it doesn't matter where you are, but it's good courtesy to let them know so they have an idea. Before any extended trip I BCC all my clients informing them my travel schedule and that I should be available at certain local times. Since they know I am abroad, they will know that you are traveling and the communication is usually pretty understanding.

Where to stay

I personally swear by AirBNB and if you can afford it, I really suggest renting through them. A lot of the flats will have a good wifi connection and you can rent your own room or an entire apartment. You don't want to try to get your work done while staying with eight other people in a hostel. Also, you might not want to be working while your Couch Surfing host is trying to be accommodating with your stay. With AirBNB, you can look for apartments or homes that really invite a good work environment; whatever it is you do.

Things will go wrong

Plan for things to go wrong. In Europe the wifi is not as consistent as it is in the states. When you settle in your place of stay, look for coffee shops or alternative places where you can work if you need to do it. "I'm sorry the wifi wasn't working" is not a great excuse to a client, nor should it be.

Tools of the trade

My workspace on the train from Paris to Florence.

This will vary for all of you but here is a list of the tools I bring with me:

  • 15" Retina Display MacBook Pro
  • Retina Display iPad
  • Unlocked iPhone 4S
  • Sketchbook
  • MagSafe 2 Adapters (in case mine goes bad and I need to bum someone's power)
  • Mophie phone carger

That's basically all I bring with me. It all fits in my small messenger bag. The less you bring and more inconspicuous you look, the less likely someone will want to rob you.

Remember what timezone you are in and working in!

Here are the timezones I've been operating in.

Hope this helps you consider things as you plan to travel and work.


I found the lock I left in Paris

I put this lock up last year when I was in Paris. It's on the 13th panel on the right of the bridge behind Cathedrale Notre Dame. There were not as many locks last year as they are now. People put the locks on the bridge symbolizing a promise to return to Paris. Typically, couples put their names on there.

I decided to write my own name and leave it blank, since I'm not married. My hope is one day to return to this place with my future wife so she can write her name on it. I have a copy of the lock, so when I know who she is, I can give it to her.

No luck so far though! I have to admit, there were times where I was really discouraged and was actually going to go take it down today. A girl walking by asked me what I was doing and I explained to her. She said to me "you should keep it there, no matter what happens."

I thought about it, and think I will, for now. Some day, I hope there will be two names on it. If not, at least there will be something that is evidence of my attempt to find love.


Invader Art in Le Marais

It's been quite nice staying in Le Marais again in Paris. I've been spending a lot of my break time walking around looking for Invader street art. The funny thing is the Space Invader one I'm looking for is actually on the building I'm staying in.

My favorite one is probably the Super Mario one.


Amsterdam

Amsterdam Trip

Hello from Amsterdam! This is our view from our apartment from AirBNB.


Meet Gato Guapo - Barcelona's Zen Kitty

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Every Sunday I walk by Santa Maria del Mar and see this lady on the street with her cat, who is usually wearing lays or other accessories. He just sits there and sleeps right next to her. Keira calls him Zen Kitty, which is totally true. He is so disciplined. If you give the lady money you can pet the cat.

One day I was standing there and a Spanish woman walked by, paused, looked at the cat and yelled "¡Que guapo!" which means "how handsome." It cracked me up because I've never heard anyone say that about a cat. I've called people guapa before but to human beings!

I asked the lady what her cat's name is and she said Noè, but pronounced "no-eh" which is the Catalan name for Noah. I told her that the word gato in english is cat, so Noè is CATalan. She laughed.

If you are ever near Santa Maria del Mar in Barcelona, go meet Zen Kitty and call him "Gato Guapo."

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