Hey there; I'm Jay. Sometimes I write about life, and sometimes I go on wild adventures and write about those. Below are a few of my recent, current, and planned adventures—explorations and expeditions in leading a simple, deliberate, examined life.
the matchbox (June 2012 — present)
Starting in 2012, I designed and constructed a tiny house in Northeast DC as part of the Boneyard Studios tiny home community. It's called the Matchbox, and it's a 140-square-foot, carbon-neutral, entirely off-grid and self-sustaining structure supported by a solar array, rain catchment system, and onsite greywater management. To learn more about the project, start here for the Matchbox's in-depth inaugural post, browse through the blog's Matchbox-related entries, head on over to Boneyard Studios for more on the tiny house community.
In the spirit of Che, I took my scooter cross-country, city-to-city and town-to-town, to see the nation, its people, and its landscape firsthand—camping and climbing and couchsurfing and chronicling my way 15,000 miles to the California coast and back.
east of edinburgh (May 2014 — August 2014)
I'd never been to Europe, so a few years back I headed east of Edinburgh to give the Old World a visit. Armed with an unlimited rail pass and very little gear, I rode the rails for the better part of three months, meeting great people, great cities, and great adventures along the way.
bhārata (January 2015 — March 2015)
Five weeks on the Indian subcontinent with a messenger bag and a pair of Chucks. Featuring long bumpy bus rides, devilish macaques, a fortnight of blindness and E. Coli, and some of the greatest, kindest people in the world.
the great american road trip (June 2015 — July 2015)
A brief return to the West.
where the wild things are (December 2015 — January 2016)
Four wheels and five thousand miles through Namibia and South Africa in search of the uncaged.
zen and the art of bicycle maintenance (February 2016)
Travel doesn't get much simpler than a bicycle, a tent, and a good book. After a series of delays, I'm finally set—and terribly excited—to bring my breakaway bicycle abroad for a month of pedaling and camping around southern Morocco.
part-time retirement (May 2013 — May 2056)
Retirement's a funny thing: You work until you're 67, only to secure 132 months of actual freedom in life before you die, on average, at 78. I'd prefer to (a) not put all my eggs in the I'm-definitely-going-to-survive-the-next-forty-years basket and (b) allocate my 132 months of actual freedom more evenly throughout life, when I'm healthy and able to use them to the fullest. So for the next forty years, I'm setting aside three solid months per year for, well, fun and relaxation and adventure. So far, all's well.
Perhaps my ultimate adventure in simplicity, I will find an uninhabited, undeveloped, and unnamed island, and I will row to it, and I will live on it for thirty days, maybe learning a thing or two in the process. Deferred for the moment.
El Camino de Santiago de Compostela is an ancient pilgrimage trail to the city of Santiago in northwest Spain, traveled to by millions for more than a millennium. I'll be picking up the trail in southwest France and hiking through the Spanish countryside for the better part of two months, traveling over five-hundred miles by (bare)foot before reaching the Atlantic Ocean. Setting this on the back burner for the moment.
“Make a radical change in your lifestyle and begin to boldly do things which you may previously never have thought of doing, or been too hesitant to attempt. So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity, and conservation, all of which may appear to give one peace of mind, but in reality nothing is more damaging to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future. The very basic core of a man's living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun. If you want to get more out of life, you must lose your inclination for monotonous security and adopt a helter-skelter style of life that will at first appear to you to be crazy. But once you become accustomed to such a life you will see its full meaning and its incredible beauty.” — Christopher McCandless, Into the Wild