Hey there; I'm Jay, a lifestyle artist and rogue bureaucrat based in Washington, DC. 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)
I'm currently designing and constructing a tiny house in Northeast DC as part of the Boneyard Studios tiny home community. Upon completion, the Matchbox will be 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 recently 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. Start here for a full itinerary, here for a final mapped route, or check out the full set of Scooter Diaries posts.
east of edinburgh (May 2014 — August 2014)
I'd never been to Europe, so this May 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. Photographs and more wrap-up writing to come soon; in the meantime, here's a full set of posts to date.
untitled island adventure (February 2015)
Perhaps my ultimate adventure in simplicity, I will find an uninhabited 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. More to come.
chari(ty) (May or October 2015)
Chari is Japanese for bike. Next spring, I'll head to Japan to chari for charity, cycling a thousand miles across the island to raise funds for two youth non-profits on opposite ends of the world: half to the Homeless Children's Playtime Project here in DC, and the other to the orphanage in eastern Japan where I'll end my journey. This one's still very much in the works, but here's what I have planned so far.
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.
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