This time of year is tough.
All my friends are in motion, and I’m staying put.
People are motoring through town on desert escapades; disappearing into deep wooded mountain ranges; dancing all night in each other’s arms; making friends, making art, making noise.
My phone pings every day with messages from people passing through town, passing out of town, disappearing into their experiences of a lifetime. Am I around? Am I coming? Am I free?
I am staying put.
Every summer for the past decade, I’ve had a big adventure of some kind. Mostly in the Black Rock Desert, where I’ve spent as much as two and a half months, some years, living and working for Burning Man. Another year I traveled the whole country with a backpack. Almost every year, I’ve tried to disappear, if only for a little while, into some other world.
This year I’m staying put!
And it’s hard, but it’s also not.
About a year ago, I realized things were really working for me. All of a sudden, all my years of writing and blogging and “content creation” had coalesced, like space debris gathering its own gravity, circling tighter, forming a new body with its own shape and rules. A body of work. My oeuvre. Planet Fearless, the land I built myself with half a lifetime of work and study.
I started getting work that I loved, alongside people I respected, in ways that challenged me but never made me feel weak.
People started remarking on what I was doing, and that they liked it.
Suddenly I started to wonder what my next adventure should be. Should I really disappear this year? Or should I stay, and try to grow something?
Maybe half a year ago, I was walking with a friend, scuffing our soles along the dusty weeds and rocks of a Northern Nevada washout, and he said to me,
“I’m really inspired by what you have accomplished. I want to do that too.”
I looked at him and said:
“Commit to your work.”
And when the words came out of my mouth, I realized I was talking to myself.
It’s like, after all these years of toiling and wondering and screwing up and scraping for pennies and prostrating myself for any paid work at all …
… After all those times when people advised me to get a real job, asked me if I really knew what I was doing, ignored my writing and judged me on my income …
… I finally found out why I was doing it all along. I do it because I am committed to my work.
Because I believe that, if I set my lifetime to a single task, I can accomplish something meaningful.
Because the more I double down, the more I level up.
And so, this summer, I am renewing my commitment to my work. In fact, I’m renewing (in the true sense of the word) the scope of my ambition and the quality of my vision. It’s like a god damn marriage, and I. Do.
Let’s see what this planet can hold.
Send me photos from your vacation, guys. I’ll miss you, and the FOMO will be overwhelming. But I’ll see you again soon, and by then I’ll have something to show you. Something from this year’s adventure, in a world of my own creation.