January 5, 2012

Here are some individual songs I bought on itunes last night:

Get the Party Started – Pink
Wicked Game – Chris Isaak
Who Will Save Your Soul? – Jewel
Hot in Here – Nelly
Are You Gonna Be My Girl? – Jet
Low – Flo rida

Ahhhh yeahhh….


2012 y’all!

January 4, 2012

Facebook has tried to ruin my blog but I’m not going to let it win! I have my own existence that cannot be contained by it. I’ve gots to break free of the chains of doing just enough. Just enough to get by. Just enough to be happy. Just enough to be content. Just enough is enough, but I want more now. I know that I can do more with my life and the truth remains, I’ll never know unless I try.

Ideally by my 40th birthday (2.5 years from now), I’ll only be working a couple of jobs teaching English and more of my money will come from writing and photography and motivational seminars. I have what I need to take it to the next level. All I need to do now is implement.

I got another job today. That means that I have about 12 jobs now. 2 of them are not running right now but will start next month. It’s more than enough work. I don’t need a lot of money. I want to have a more independent life where I work less for the same amount of money so I have more time to do what I want to do. I’m happy to be a teacher maybe 10-15 hours a week but the rest needs to be for me.

I’ll be in Edinburgh in 23 days. I plan to take at least 100 photos in 2+ days of shooting, hopefully the weather cooperates.

I’ve done some prep work for my next motivational seminar, this one entitled “Yes You Can!”. It’s going to require work but it interests me. Yes I can!

I’ve got a meeting this week about my website. Ideally by spring I’d have over 50 prints available for purchase in Europe and then in summer find an American printer. I want people all over the world to buy my photographs printed onto canvas and I’m in effect just the middle man. I want to sell things while I’m sleeping.

In the next 3 weeks I’m going to focus on a few things:

*Trying to finish editing my second novel, “Using Toonies” and prepare it as an e-book.
*Focus on the next few weeks of work as they will make the end into February smoother.

Other plans for the spring now include putting together an event for my e-book/photo website that will have my buddy Alex as a DJ.

I’m going to Macedonia and Kosovo next month and New York and Boston in May. I’ll be in California in September. I’ve got plans.

Now this year is about putting all these little snowballs into motion so that by this time in a year I’ll have a few snowballs mashed together into one bigger snowball that maybe can even begin to roll on its own.

Happy Holidays!

December 20, 2010

Well, a friend of mine in Germany sent me his holiday greetings letter describing adventures his family had been on and progress he had made in the renewable energy field he works in.  This all got me thinking.  I hadn’t planned on writing a holiday greetings letter this year for a few reasons but he inspired me so here goes.  I should warn you, however, that this will not be a normal Holiday Greetings Letter.


Happy Holidays from rainy southern California!

2010 has been insane to say the least.  Aspects of it were typical Jason and other parts of it included terra incognita.  This year was about understanding who I am, finding my place in the world, dealing with rejection and new hope.

The year began with a kick ass New Year’s Eve party with some good friends that had me taking a tram home at 4.30am, the one day a year the trams runs that late in Freiburg.  Less than a week later I was single again.  The breakup came as a shock to me but I’ve had a year to process it all and it’s for the best.  In fact, I’m grateful that she broke up with me because it put me in a position where I had to take stock of my life and figure out what was important.  The first few months were a bit rough, but they were necessary for me to get myself ready for whatever else may come in life.

As far as travelling, it was a somewhat typical year for me.  I was in California for 3 weeks in February, then Romania for a week in late March, Bosnia and Croatia in May/June for 2 weeks,  10 days in Estonia in August, then California for 5 weeks in September and finally almost a week in Lleida, Spain near Barcelona.  Romania and Spain were my first two business trips ever, teaching at universities there.

Teaching continued to go well enough. I currently have 8 employers and I’m planning something new for 2011, that being a seminar based on the book “How to Win Friends and Influence People”.  It’s still teaching but moving in a slightly new direction, that being part motivational speaker and part life coach. I’m excited about it because I’d like to branch into new things but it’s not so easy once you are well-established.

Speaking of branching out into new things, I applied for two masters’ programs in May of this year, one being Renewable Energy Management and the other Environmental Governance.  Much to my shock and chagrin, I was rejected from both of them.  I had planned to move my life in a new direction and the universe let me know that studying Renewable Energy wasn’t my destiny.  I didn’t give up easily, however, still doing a few internships for renewable, including a few days at a wind turbine company in Estonia.

I finished writing my fifth novel, “The Newropean”. It’s about teaching English in Germany and also about some of the problems I had with the foreign authorities some years ago and I mashed up different experiences into a fictional plot.  I think I would like to work on it more next year and possibly send it to some publishers.

I also had 4 exhibitions this year: March in California, late March in Romania, July in Germany and just yesterday here in California.  The two exhibitions here in California were to raise money for charities so it feels good to give back to society a bit.

One aspect of my life that is not as easy to write about is my love life because it’s a bit up in the air.  I’ve fallen in love with a woman from Poland named Karolina.  She’s a nurse in a senior living facility.  We met at a couchsurfing meeting in March.  We have an amazing connection and I hope in the next couple of months we’ll be living together and we’ll officially be a couple.  It’s a very exciting time for me but it’s also hard because of the complications of getting a relationship together sometimes.  However, I have a good feeling about it and I can’t wait to be with her.

As for next year, it’s going to be a much different year than I’ve been having the past years. First off, I plan to travel a lot less.  The past 11 years I have travelled more than anyone I know but I had plenty of time to think about it this year. I still like travelling but couchsurfing has become a bit more difficult because I find myself wanting a bit more comfort when I travel.  That means getting a hotel room which increases costs which means travelling less.  I accept that.  I don’t mind travelling less.  As I said, I hope Karolina and I will be living together and she’s such a fantastic girl it will feel like an adventure just being with her.  I do plan to go with her to California in September and my parents are coming to visit in May and we’ll try and make a family vacation to Prague if possible so there is still some adventures out there waiting for me, just fewer new countries and exotic places and I have to be honest with you.  I’m totally ok with it. I have changed this year and travelling is not the most important thing in the world to me anymore.

Also in 2011, I hope to earn my German driver’s license, to finish writing my 6th book entitled “The Couchsurfing Stories” while improving “The Newropean”.  I also want to put together a photo book, to serve as a portfolio but also as a coffee table book that I could sell.  Other than that, I’d like to improve my German but my main goal of 2011 is to get together with Karolina and start a life with her.  That doesn’t sound toooOOoooo cheesy, does it? 🙂

So I want to wish you all Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year and I hope our paths cross again soon!

i’m still amongst the living

October 7, 2010

i’m still here, facebook has ruined this blog because people just wanna know what you can say/represent in 50 words. Oh well…

My life is in a much different place than it was a year ago. I’m single, 20 pounds lighter, fewer hairs on my head, 4 new countries since then, some crazy experiences along the way in berlin, freiburg, los angeles, mostar, luxembourg, estonia, etc.

New stuff:
California this summer was awesome but I spent about 500 more bucks than I had budgeted, so it goes, as Vonnegut would say. bought a shitload of stuff, had to have a lot of drinks everywhere all the time and now i’m back in germany.

Until tuesday and then i’m heading to Lleida, Spain for 3 nights and 4 days to teach at a university there on business media.

The week after that starts many of the jobs, including the university which I’m really excited to pick up again, I like that shit, it’s fun.

I have no official plans for travel in 2011 yet though a more than tentative plan to go on an Alaskan cruise with my folks is in the works, this to celebrate their 40th anniversary and my mom’s 60th birthday, good times!

Back to your regularly scheduled program…

St. Christopher

August 24, 2010

I’ve got my St. Christopher necklace on and that can only mean one thing: I’m travelling again…

The necklace was a gift from my mom when we were in Santa Barbara in October 1999 at the beginning of my first real trip, 2.5 months alone around the US and Canada.  The necklace has been with me on pretty much every trip since, including a month in greece, two months in south america, six weeks in central america, “countless” one and week two trips around Spain, Turkey, Norway, the Baltic States, Romania, Holland, etc,  and approximately 40 times across the Atlantic.  Talk about temping fate…Cheers.

I’ll be using my new passport tomorrow, my second trip with the 2.5 month old baby that only lives to be ten.  The first was the just completed 12 trip to Berlin and then onto Estonia.  No stamps were entered in the passport on that trip, didn’t even always see a passport control, what a world I live in.

I was wearing shorts, sandals and a polo shirt when it was pouring on my 10-week walk to the train station from Karstadt shopping center today.  It was one of those moments that reminds you that your awesome, kick ass life in Europe humbles you into walking in the rain with an umbrella and then you think, who cares?  It’s such a real experience walking for ten minutes, under-dressed, feet soaked carrying work bag while walking to the station to take a 25-minute train south to teach a class.  And the bam! I’m done working for 6 weeks.  Life is good, my friend, I’m happy to walk in the rain for that life, weissch? oder vielleicht doch nicht…schade, dass du wahrscheinlich kein deutsch kannsch, so ist das Leben, na?  Wenn du deutsch verstesht, shick mir deine Adresse und du kriegst eine Postkarte aus Kalifornien…cheers!

WM – Sommer – Alles

July 5, 2010

The World Cup has more or less shaped my life the past 3 weeks. I’ve cancelled classes, changed class times, gone to work with a hangover, all of it in the name of the glory of the World Cup.  And Germany has done their part.  They have kicked ass in this tournament, along with the summer having come full blown in the past 10 days or so.  My roommate was saying how she felt she shouldn’t complain about summer but…it’s hot and humid.  We live in the apartment under the roof and it’s hot as hell up here.  I have all the windows open and the fan on me.

I had two visitors this weekend, a guy from Oklahoma and a girl from Finland but they both are living in Luxembourg this summer.  I love living in Europe for reasons just like this.  We had a great time at the Winefest around the old church, then saturday enjoyed the cultural spectacle of a german beergarden at the height of summer with Germany beating Argentina 4-0 in the quarter final to move into the semifinal to face Spain on Wednesday.  My week is shaped around that game.

The internship in Estonia is more or less set, I’ll be flying August 7th to Riga, Latvia and then travel via bus/train to Tartu most likely.  What’s crazy is that I could also leave for the airport a little earlier, like 2 days earlier.  I could stay in Karlsruhe for a night to visit a friend of mine who lives there, or even back to Luxembourg for a night or two, it was fun hanging out there and had a good vibe.  I could go to Frankfurt or Trier.  I’ll work one week at a wind turbine company in Tartu.  I’ll also go to my buddy’s first ever music festival for his hometown 50km away.  On Monday August 16th, I’ll be flying from Riga to Duesseldorf, take the train home, work a bit for the next 8 days then fly to California for 5 weeks.

That last paragraph shows you on what level I live my life.  I’m not worried as much as I appear about my future.  I was told last week that my mid-life crisis has started after I told some friends about not getting into the master’s programs, and then wanting to do something good for myself so I bought a big flat screen TV.  As I ponder what life means at 36 and in a job that more or less makes me happy, I can watch the Simpsons on a 37-inch TV to help me forget to ponder.

Where do I see my life in one year?

*A new book finished writing, “The Couchsurfing Stories”

*”The Newropean” sent to 20 publishers

*Possibly accepted to a program that interests me.  Would I really live somewhere else?  What if I could go to Salamanca, Spain for a two-year master’s program that really interested me? Or Maastricht, Holland?  Or Marburg, Germany?  Or Coimbra, Portugal?  Would I move from Freiburg?  I have trouble trying to find a reason I would leave Freiburg.  The only reason I could possibly see me leaving Freiburg at this moment in my life is if my parents are not well and I need to take care of them.  I feel like I am in the absolute best place for me in this long phase of my life.  I have lived in different two apartments on opposite sides of the same street corner. I found my spot, ya know?  I have my headquarters, even if it’s living with two college students.  I mean, who cares?  I’ve decided that living alone is not that important o me.  It’s more important that I can afford my life.  Having my own place would make it more difficult for me to have the same life.  That’s an easy sacrifice for me at this juncture.  I’m happy with my living situation.

*I will have visited my 50th country by then.  I’m at 48 right now and probably I’ll try and get to Africa somewhere for 2-3 weeks and will either visit a couple of countries there OR I’ll make sure that my birthday trip for next year is to a new country.  I will achieve 50 next year and I’m proud of that.  It’s superficial in a way but I have seen a little stretch of the world and it’s taken a lot of work, effort, stress, energy, money, time, I’ve gone places most people don’t get to (ex. Semuc Champey, Guatemala; Tilcara, Argentina; Selcuk, Turkey; Gaspesie Peninsula, Canada) and it’s given me my art.  I write about places I’ve been and I take photographs of things I’ve seen.  How can I put those things together to help pay for my life?  Should I write a travel article about Freiburg and try to sell it? That’s a great idea, I think.

So in some ways my life will be a continuation of how it’s been the past 7 years.  These past 7 years have been the best of my life.  Why shouldn’t I rejoice in that, right?  I guess my mid-life crisis is freaking out that i’m not more worried… hahaha 🙂

Crisis, opportunity, blah blah blah

June 15, 2010





Which is the worst of those words?  Rejection, of course, especially if the rejection in question is not from  a beautiful woman you want but in a faceless email from an underpaid student  in department from a university.  Fuck.

I’ve spent the past 200+ days putting together effort to get accepted into “Renewable Energy Management”.  It seemed so ideal, an interesting topic, an idea I could believe in, realistic skills to learn, in English, in my town in Germany, part-time.  It was all lined up except I was 10 years older than most applicants, had the wrong degree (Psychology instead of an engineering degree) and possibly American. I’m not sure, but this is what I thought.  It’s an international program where not being German was a plus.  However, probably many of the 250 applications that came from foreigners were from Americans.  There were most definitely more qualified Americans than me for that position but what if they accepted someone from Cambodia instead?  Or Bolivia?  Or Finland?  Diversity is key for them, and perhaps I was more qualified than some but…

It’s over.  There is nothing I can do about it.  Acceptance of the situation as it is.  That little sentence is one of the hardest things in the world to do, and probably it’s a certain percentage of Acceptance and no one is 100%.  Even Buddha would have been 99.9%, ya know?  I like to think about 75-80 percent Acceptance rate.  Some things in my life I probably look at more like I don’t really want to know or understand, they’re small things but I like to have a bit of fantasy in my life. 🙂

So I accept things as they are with regards to this particular topic.  I was rejected from two programs.  I will not be doing a masters program starting this fall.  Ok.

What does this mean?

1)I have a long ass day of work tomorrow, 5 classes in 4 different locations, 3 of the locations are within 1 km of each other but the 3rd/4th classes are a 25-minute train ride away.

2)I have to get through the next 2.5 months without fucking up my life/lifestyle.  The next month will hopefully easier because of the World Cup which will give me some cover not being so on top of it.  Ok.

3)It also means that I can go home to California for Xmas earlier, but even more importantly, that I’ll be home for my dad’s 60th birthday which is really cool.

4)It also means I can travel somewhere in February 2011, 3 weeks possibly.

5)It also means I will do my damndest to travel 100 days again next year, that will be the 7th year in a row.  I still have to get to that this year but now that I can go home for Xmas earlier which should put me over the top.

6)Next summer I am going to do something epic.  I don’t know yet what it is but here are some possibilities:

  • volunteer somewhere like Namibia for a month and then travel around that area for one month
  • get a job for Aug/Sep somewhere else in the world, with teaching like Brasil or Thailand or Portugal, teach english there or something new, though going somewhere that speaks Spanish may be good so I can communicate with the people, OR I’ll go somewhere partially to learn a new language.
  • rent a room somewhere for two months, and write a book.
  • develop an idea for a book, having to do with travel and try and sell it and then do the trip.
  • travel for two months, through Asia or Africa, or even a big Europe trip, using some flights to cover huge areas like the Atlantic coast of Europe and also SE Europe

7)I will work on a coffeetable book of photography.

8)I will edit The Newropean and decide whether to self-publish or send it to twenty publishers.

9)I am going to do a photo exhibition here in early August.

You see?  My life is not over, it’s just going to test my attitude that it’s all good and I’m doing good.  I’ve gotten almost everything I’ve wanted (except women) in the past 7+ years and so it’s been easy for me to have this attitude.  Now I’ll be tested and see if I can overcome.  How should I overcome?  I’m already near the top…

I’m going back to watching Brasil/North Korea World Cup soccer.  Go back to living your lives.