Wednesday, July 27, 2022

You, and everyone you've ever known, will one day die. And that's okay.

I’m listening to Brimful of Asha by Cornershop (remix version) in an Irish Pub in Reykeyvik. Iceland has absolutely changed me. I am not the me I was two weeks ago, and that's pretty cool.


So. I want to post something. And you might hate it. Okay, you're going to absolutely hate it. But, whatever. Iceland has made me much more outspoken about things and I'm not sorry in the least about it. Also, I'm in a bar and have had a few drinks (I've written in the past about the importance about getting drunk in a foreign city). So, prepare yourself.

This is in an interactive post where you'll play the songs I'm hearing in this bar as I write this. Before proceeding, please play that song in the background (here's the Youtube link). It just has to happen before you keep reading. Okay? Okay, I’ll wait.



We good? Cool. It'll set the mood - like mood lights via music.


I guess a proper warning first though? I’ve touched on this topic, in hints and pieces, for years and years now in this blog. But I’m older now and much more blunt than I used to be. You can stop reading if it makes you feel uncomfortable, which in all reality, probably will, but I really challenge you to keep reading. Growth in discomfort, right? Well, with this caution set, here we go:


You are going to die.  

Maybe not this moment, maybe not tomorrow. But this is a 100%, undeniable fact of your existence. Nothing, and I mean this, nothing else is more factual than that.


That's kind of metaphysical though, right? Concrete, that's what you need to hear. So, like, your heart will stop and you will absolutely cease to exist. You, your memories, your personality, your everything will end. And it will not come back. The you reading this, will be a memory, and in time, maybe not even that.


Sorry, but I’m going to keep going.


Your family is going to die (maybe some already have). They too will end and become no longer the current, but the past.


Your friends, your coworkers, Jerry across the street who eats clean and follows a strict no-carb, no-fun diet and ol’ Marge who is just the sweetest and has a zillion cats and reads too many romance novels and books about serial killers, she too will hit the bucket.


Every. Single. Person. On the planet. Right now. Will die and cease to be.


These words I’m typing now will most likely outlast every single person reading it.


You will die and your time on this Earth will end. And, even if you believe in a form of reincarnation or an afterlife, you will never, in the vastness of time and space ever relive the moment you're reading this right now (well, I guess that depends on if we see time as linear, which it definitely is not, but don't even get me started on that!). All religions I know of talk about the afterlife in terms of exactly that, AFTER. The life NOW will be the past - never, ever to be repeated.


I, personally, believe there is more after life here on Earth, and, at the same time, a lot of people I know don’t believe that in the least bit. That’s all okay, because, all viewpoints share the fact that the here and now will end and not repeat.


So, you and everyone you know will die.


(Side note, this is fantastic song, right? Upbeat and fun. But the lyrics, man, pretty strange...)


Can it be soul crushing and depressing? Yeah, yeah it definitely can be. It can be so very hard to hear, to acknowledge, to face that everything around you, from the screen you’re reading this on, to the finger your scrolling the page on, will one day just be gone and continue the recycled carbon cycle.

But. I’m not writing this to be sad.


In fact, it’s quite the opposite.


So, you got one life. One shot (Mom’s spaghetti?). We all do.


Here’s the most amazing thing though! Once you start to accept this fact, and I mean, truly look that fact in its eyes and stare it down, it’s pretty freeing when you know your time is limited. Like anything in life, when you really take the moment to be IN the moment, it means the world. The more you acknowledge that the moment you’re living in right this very second is special and unique and will never happen again, the more that moment can really, truly matter. There are no longer truly boring moments or wasted time.


I remember years ago I was having a conversation with my ex about my ADHD and how hard it is for me to be in the moment – my brain doesn’t work like most and it’s going a million miles an hour in a million different directions. Yoga, mindfulness, deep breathing – all of that is useless to me because I can’t slow down my brain down. So she had me have this expensive ass chocolate, close my eyes, and slowly describe every emotion, every flavor that I was experiencing. She forced me to slow down.


And years later, I STILL remember this moment. My life slowed and every taste, every melt of the chocolate, mattered. I was IN that moment and its one of the most powerfully vivid memories I have in my life. Kinda crazy, right? To be so connected to a moment in time that was really, just eating a single piece of chocolate.


So, since then, I've been trying my very best to replicate this in my daily life. It’s hard, but I’m trying.


I'm here in Iceland, doing my very best to slow my brain and take every second around me as, for lack of better words, sacred.


The song changed in the bar. This is what you now need to listen to in order to keep reading.

Play John Denvers' Take Me Home Country Roads now. It's a requirement.


And the great thing about living your life? You make what matters, matter. You and what you love are what make these moments special. I should say go travel, as that’s the point of this blog, but hey, that might not be your thing. Your thing might be to root down, enjoy every moment you can with the family, and grow your children into beautiful human beings. So, awesome. Do it. That’s okay, that’s you and you should 100% you in this life. Because if you choose not to be you, to follow others and change yourself to fit others and society, than you’re going to be pretty miserable. And to be miserable in the one life you have? That’s a truly depressing thought.


Whatever the case is, you will impact the world around you and live on in the people and things you create and interact with, even when your physical body and presence does not. What you do with each moment matters because it will affect all the moments others have long after you’re gone.


So, slow down. Notice this moment right now as you read - this moment is unique and special and part of the story of your life. It’s 100% yours.


We live in a culture fucking terrified of death. But if we embrace what scares us – if we hold the flashlight to the dark, even if what we find is just more dark – it’s somewhat less scary. Or maybe it’s not, but at least the knowing – even if it’s just more darkness – even the knowing what’s out there, compared to not knowing, is something. Right?


Take this all with a grain of salt though. On the moment of my death, I’m going to be scared absolute shitless. But, the lead up, how I want to embrace the moments of my life. I can control that. We all can.


This journey across Iceland has challenged me. Isolated me with my thoughts for hours, days, and weeks on end. I have made many mistakes in my life, both professionally and personally. I’ve fucked up relationships, I’ve made poor decisions, and countless other things I could whip myself about (I’d make a FINE, guilt-ridden Catholic!), but….




Oh well. 








Those moments happened and made me stronger and I learned lessons and I experienced moments, however shitty, that were mine and mine alone. That’s pretty special.


The point is this. And I hope I’m not sounding like Oprah. Or some self help guru. Or whatever. And maybe I do, oh well to that, too.


Now it's Don't Look Back in Anger by Oasis. Queue it up!


You will die. Whether you’re in Iceland, or the United States, or Australia or the middle of an African jungle.


So, when you look up from this page...


That moment?


That moment is yours. It will never, ever happen again.


You have a 100% freedom to do whatever you want with it. To appreciate that moment or not appreciate it.




Live your life. You got one shot and its pretty magical. It’s that chocolate. That expensive chocolate that has every flavor in the world. You could just chomp it down and move on and forget about it like the millions of other times you had chocolate.




Or you could roll it around, and really, really get the texture. Describe every note, every salivation. Take it slow. It won't last, you know this, but that makes the taste ever so much richer.


Look over to the people in your life, the people that you love and really matter. Go and hug the absolutely shit out of them. I mean it, hug them and really feel the love that they give you. They are in these special moments that make up your life. A billion different math equations had to happen and complete in order to have those exact people, in your life at this exact moment, be there. And that's so fucking special, you know?


If you know you will die and purposely do your best to breathe and be in the here and now and make the moment count, I promise you life will be that much better for it, however it is you appreciate the world around you. Whatever happens to us after we die, will happen. But at least we control our time until then.


You will die, but the moments between? Dear God can they be magical and beautiful and tragic and gorgeous and heartbreaking.


I’ve been in isolation on this trip long enough. Call me up and I’ll join you in that moment of appreciation.

Cheers friends, I cannot wait, let’s live it up together until we can’t.

P.S. Talk about death and life is hard. But The Myth of Sisyphus by Albert Camus is essential reading if you want to really embrace life and the existentialism of it all. Of all the literature I have read that has had an impact me, this is the one that guided me the most. It’s a tough read, but give it a shot.

Friday, July 22, 2022

Iceland is making me an asshole, and I hope one day it will do it to you, too.

I pull to the side of the road. I'm crying.


Absolutely fucking sobbing.

And I can't begin to stop it.

On my right are mountains that tower into the sky like something from Lord of the Rings, with dozens of birds swooping from them, dive bombing the sky and across the snow caps and cloud mixture that drizzle over the mountaintops like some hazy mist. On my right are endless fields grazed by goats and an ocean with jagged, bright, broken glacier pieces just bopping in place. I'm listening to shitty punk music and I feel sweaty from all the stops for coffee I've had at every stop I can manage.

Enough poetry.

I can't handle this.

I'm on the side of the road crying typing this on my phone. Wildly. Madly. Swiping tears away like a useless mop that can't pick up a damn thing.

I don't care how sappy this entry sounds. I don't care if you're reading this and thinking it's stupid and I'm emotional and over-doing it and blowing it out of proportion. One day I will die and so will my voice, so might as well write it out, even if it's laughed at. Writing my truth and all that jazz. So, fuck it, here goes.

This country and, specifically at this moment in time, this stretch of highway from Vik to Skaftafell is beyond my words. I have NEVER, EVER seen something so unbelievably gorgeous in my life then this stretch of highway in the sun. It's hit me at such a level and I can't remember crying this much. This drive is the more majestic things I've ever witnessed, ever experienced. I've been to a lot of places in the word and this land here is....God, I don't even have words.

Have you had a moment like this? Where everything just comes together for a perfect moment in time, one that quite simply steals your breath and life becomes intoxicatingly JUST TOO MUCH to handle.

This journey across the whole of Iceland has, so far, been life changing. And I'm sure I'll write further entries about a standard day walking around, what it's like to drive around and camp in the most furious storms one can imagine, almost hitting a million sheep, etc. etc.

But this moment here, right here, is my new Eat, Pray, Love moment (my first was pooping in front of holy monks) for next part of my life.

This country, Iceland, is the most beautiful place on earth. Hands down and I will fight anyone about it, any time. I had another blog moment like this, where I was sobbing as I wrote it, experiencing a very spiritual moment with a (yet another) holy monk in Thailand. Since then though I have become a lot less religious. In balance, I have become much more spiritual. And this is the kind of place that makes you believe in some kind of higher power/order to everything.

And this drive. This fucking beauty makes you believe the impossible. This is a place that no picture will ever do it justice.

As I cry and as I type, I'm realizing this:

I'm becoming an asshole. And I'm okay with this. I want this.

I'm going to preach. Not even sorry about it.

This world, man. This little rock we all live on is the most amazing, precious thing we have in our lives. And all the future lives beyond us and our children.

This little blue planet is worth fighting for. And, yes, that's why I'm becoming an asshole. Global warming is a real thing and I'm ready to be much more vocal about it.

In 200 years, or sooner depending on how we act toward global warming, Iceland - that has destroyed me on the side of the highway with its beauty - will simply not exist in it's current form.

Every, SINGLE, glacier in this ENTIRE country will be gone. This is a scientific fact. 

I could go on and on about how devastating that would be to this country. It would completely rob this almost magical place from the world at large (did you know Iceland was the 2nd to last country to be inhabited in the world? Fun fact.).

Now, if you're someone who doesn't believe in global warming and thinks humans (i.e. YOU AND ME) aren't's my asshole coming out. This is science, it doesn't matter what political party you happen to fall under. It's happening and if you can't behind the science...Get off this page. Seriously. And kindly don't come back. Just stop now because I won't social work this and be neutral with a line of thought that is killing this country and the world. I won't argue science with you - don't argue when, as I write this, all of Europe is burning down and species are becoming extinct left and right because of the rising heat.

When I get back home, I'm recycling more. I'm telling my friends and family to do so. When I get a house, I'm going to clean energy the absolute shit out of it. When I vote, I will make sure to put the environment first. When get the picture.

I'm asking you, reader, to do the same. Recycle, research and use clean energy more in your house/car/life, vote politicians in that believe that world warming is a crisis for the entire planet and it's future, use and support public transportation, and so on and so forth.

Yes, the cynic in me says, "This won't change anything Nick because a billion other people do the opposite and blah, blah, blah."

If I can make a difference, whether it be one year, one day, one second longer that Iceland can keep its beauty before humans and their world warming take it down, then damn is that worth it.

And come visit Iceland. Please. Buy a ticket right now (here's the website). Message me or ask me and I'll tell you things that will make your heart happy. Experience this world and hopefully you too can (further) grasp the importance of saving this planet. This country needs good tourists! Come here and shame the bad tourists that ruin it for everyone (don't let them throw their shit everywhere [such as in the picture] or trample through off-limit land for their Instagram likes, etc), support Iceland's local economy, and become an asshole with me.

Come experience something wild and untamed and gorgeous and hopefully you too will be become an asshole about the environment and protecting this place and the world at large.

We might make a difference, we might not.

But at least we tried.

That's all one can hope to do in life, you know?
Simply try.

Friday, July 15, 2022

Dicks, man. Dicks are everywhere.

Dicks, man. Dicks are everywhere.

I’m sitting here in the café of The Icelandic Phallological Museum, sipping my “Icelandic Penis Ale?” and listening to oh-so-smooth jazz. Because of course I am.

This place is classy as hell, even though it has more versions of penis’ (is that how you plural multiple penis at once? Seriously asking), in every shape and form throughout history, then I ever thought I would be exposed to. Like, ever.

But, this is really typical. I’ve only been in Reykjavík for two hours and already adventuring into the unknown.

But this entry is more than just what I’m doing now. It just so happens that this story starts with dicks.

Because everyone here is having a blast, laughing and playing along. I mean, an ENTIRE museum and cafe dedicated to dicks is ABSOLUTELY HILLARIOUS. The old couple that just went in followed by the screaming kids (yep, all ages here, folks!) all are having the time of their lives right now.

But…and this is where this will veer into the serious for a hot minute...I’m not having as much fun as I should. I should be channeling my inner child right now.

Instead, I’m here in the cafe typing away on a computer - a very solitary act instead of giggling, making a billion inappropriate jokes, and pointing at funny dicks with someone.

So, real quick. Story time. I’ve told very few people about this, but I’ll let the cat out of the bag in a nut shell (no pun intended).

After my adventure in Nepal six years ago with Lakpa, I went to Indonesia and hung out in Bali. I was there for a good 3 or 4 days and I haven’t really told anyone about it. I mean, it has come up in so very few stories and I never wrote an entry on this website for the time period either. But why, you might ask?

Because, for the first time in perhaps a dozen different countries across multiple different continents and dozens of years, I felt…what I can only describe as the immense feeling of being lonely. I felt alone. It wasn’t the first time I wanted to turn to someone next to me and say, “holy shit, dude! Isn’t this cool!” But it’s always been sort of okay because I had plenty of fellow traveler friends to bounce things off of.

But that was the first time I felt like when I went back home, I would utterly lose all those memories I made. Solo traveling is inherently selfish and inward, I get that. I’ve thought I’ve made peace with that. Sure, you meet cool people and new friends and then it’s suddenly not selfish anymore. You’re sharing memories! Come on now, that’s my favorite part of traveling by far.

Then something happens. Something that always happens. And here’s the deal: at the end of the trip(s), they go back home and so do you.

And just like that, you no longer have a shared story with anyone around you when you inevitably come back home. You can’t reminisce with friends at a party about a shared experience. Instead you always have to end each story with “you’d had to have been there." You can’t joke and laugh and cry and feel with your friends and family back home because the stories and memories are only in your head and shareable with those that experienced them with you. 2nd person adventure stories usually suck and are no fun. And that’s where they stay because you don’t want to always be that asshole bringing up exotic stories that people get tired of reallllll quick.

So I went to Bali. I had some adventures there with the people I shared them with. And I’ll never see them again to share those memories. End. Of. Story.

That was my last solo trip. Since then, I’ve only traveled with others. And I've loved it. Even if it flowed differently than a solo experience. But the key difference of this kind of travel compared to solo: after the travels were done, the stories and reminiscing were not.

So with all that said, I’m still typing away in an Icelandic dick museum. And I’m feeling that loneliness sorta, kinda, maybe creepin’ on in. Questions I can't stop begin to form, like:

-Why am I doing this by myself?

-Am I the same person I was in my late 20s when I did this?

-And if I’m not, what do I do about this new person?

-How do I convince that old part of me that this isn’t what I truly, 100% enjoy anymore? That I want to travel with those I love and are close to me more now?

-What is the travel experience, really, if you have no one to really share it with during and after it's done?

I’ve been traveling a lot in the last year or so with good company. And as much as I adore this trip right now, it's hard not to look forward to two additional trips I have this summer when I return with people I deeply care about in my life more than the current solo adventure. So, this...

This…I just don’t know, man.

At this moment in time, this is just me laughing at dick jokes by myself and, fun fact: I’m older than my last solo trip.

And, well, I think I’m getting old enough that solo travel maybe just isn't my jam anymore and I now just want to laugh at dick jokes with someone next to me.

Shared dick jokes with people I love and care about. If that’s not a telling sign of maturity, I don’t know what is.