So I’m sitting here at a Jazz cafe in Gothenburg Sweden, sucking down coffee and heavy cream (high quality I might add) like a vampire – and it’s 11 at night.
Why the late coffee?
Well, that opens up a whole nest of ideas and things to talk about – which is fine, more than fine actually.
Because sitting here in this Jazz cafe trying to relax from a long, long days work, makes me want to write, and reminds me that I have an audience on TDL that has taken a lot of time out of their lives to follow what I do and ramble about from time to time =).
In that sense, I hereby declare this post to be non work related, and only fun related. ‘Fun’ because if I did consider it ‘work’ – even work I truly love – I’d probably rip the hair out of my head right now. Sometimes we have to restrain ourselves even from the things we love and are truly dedicated to – and right now as I wait in a cafe writing on a laptop with a rapidly dying battery and no power outlet in sight, this is one of those times – the time when I remove myself for just a split second from focusing on The 21 Convention.
So, what have I been up to?
As you can see from the picture above, a mini-dream tour around Europe.
Jigga what you say?
Yep. It’s a risky move*, but I decided not long ago that if our first ever convention in Europe was going to pull through as a major success, it was going to happen not through blunt force, and not even channeling that blunt force in creative and highly effective ways – but by giving value, which at the end of the day is what this convention is really all about.
- Changing lives.
- Changing the course of a generation.
- And giving massive value.
Which, is exactly what I’m trying to do with this short notice speaking tour around Europe.
*As I spoke about previously, The 21 Convention 2010 of Stockholm Sweden was/is in a limbo. Lots of sign ups, but not as many as I expected in the time span I predicted. This spurred me to work feverishly on the event from the United States, but to little avail – which is when I decided to immediately travel to Sweden to ensure the success of the event, at any and all costs.
At the moment things are “looking up”. Sign ups are trickling in, and the word of mouth surrounding the event has really taken off, but we are still struggling to cover hard, non flexible event costs over here, despite a sky rocketing US event. As such, I am either heading this convention in Sweden towards certain doom, or a triumphant success.
Experience has shown me that events of this nature sell the bulk of their seats last minute, and as such it’s difficult to say what will happen over the next two weeks, but time will certainly tell – and in the end, I am doing my absolute best with what really matters to me: living my life truthfully, just-fully, and on my masculine edge in the clearest sense I know how.
Which translates practically as: doing what I believe is right, and making my dream a reality – my dream to make a difference in a moderately, mildly, or severely f*cked up world – depending on your personal world view and level of cynicism.
My travel itinerary looks as follows (in case you couldn’t follow the MS Paint/track pad/super tired/poorly color coded quality map).
- Orlando to London (layover)
- London to Stockholm
- Stockholm for just over 2 weeks.
- Stockholm to Gothenburg (first time riding a real train!)
- Gothenburg to Copenhagen (layover)
- Copenhagen to Amsterdam
- Amsterdam to London (maybe)
- Amsterdam to Munich (for sure)
- London to Munich (if Amsterdam to London works out)
- Munich to Stockholm
- Stockholm to London (layover)
- London to Orlando
When I decided to travel to Europe wayyyyy earlier than I ever anticipated (or told anyone) just a few short weeks ago, never did I imagine I would do this much traveling around Europe.
I would say I can only hope it has the desired effect of attracting the necessary number of people – which is a by product of really bringing some value to the table at the free talks – but I won’t say that.
Because the only sanity I’ll ever find – or anyone else as far as I know – is in my own actions. Certain factors for the success of this convention are simply out of my hands at this point, and have been for some time. That is my own fault, and I am OK with it.
Why would I not be? What happened is unchangeable. What matters is right now, and the effects those actions have on whatever potential for massive success are left for this event (a lot IMO, but who knows).
Worrying about things that are out of my control seems … increasingly silly. And worrying about what I do have very real and rational control over – damn, I feel powerful.
Every day that goes by it’s as if I am under more and more pressure to pull this event off – but at the same time every day that goes by I feel stronger, almost physically at times.
It’s a total paradox that is almost, but not entirely unfamiliar to me. In that sense, I am comfortable with being under severe pressure, and “pulling through” where others may not, but this specific series of events is new to me – especially the traveling part.
I feel like a legit ‘vagabond’ at this point, and I still have a lot more traveling to do. I actually tweeted at Tim Feriss today thanking him for writing The Four Hour Work Week – because without that book, I would have never even imagined any of this was possible.
Seriously, it’s a real mind fuck to be across the world doing what I love in a very individual and independent way (which isn’t to say that I have not been receiving massive help from organizations like Charismatic Revolution, various speakers from the convention, and individuals in various cities around Europe).
And my laptop is about to die… to be continued.
Okay so I’m ‘back’, continuing this stream of thought post in the Gothenburg airport. It’s now 2 am (my flight leaves at 6:30am), and I am armed with a free Red Bull from an American bartender, as well as my boarding pass for the flight that according to the information desk should be impossible to have at this time.
In yo face!
Yeah I really showed her checking in at a self service kiosk, woot woot!
What else do I have to share during this sleepless night? Couple interesting things.
One, I have amazed myself at how little sleep I can run on, without losing too much “brain juice”. How is this so?
Well, I believe it’s partially due to being keto-adapted, and frequently in ketosis. I won’t take the time to argue that ketone bodies are the be all end all, but I will argue that because I am keto-adapted – and a “fat burner” instead of a carbohydrate addict consuming 200+ grams of carbohydrate per day like the typical American – I am able to function quite well during long periods without food.
Today for example I went ~22 hours between actual meals, including a long awaited decent nights sleep.
During that time I had a single cup of coffee with about 500 calories worth of high quality heavy cream (which is about 98% fat).
I also sat on my laptop and worked in a feverish, but not frantic fashion, for a clean 8 hours, only getting up to use the bathroom a few times.
I’ll get off the subject before I begin to ramble, but the point is, as I became aware that I was going to get hungry (I really couldn’t say I was ‘hungry’ even when I finally ate around 10:30pm), I felt ‘light’, very focused, and free of any physical distractions aside from having to pee from all the coffee.
On a carbohydrate rich diet I do not believe this would have been possible. Breaks would be needed to eat, and if negelcted head aches, light headedness, stomach pains, etc would ensue. If you are passionate about what you do and there is work to be done, these are not necessaryily insurmountable obstacles, but they are unnecessary.
Why make things harder for yourself? I don’t see the point, so I don’t. Fat, protein, and a little carbohydrate for the win =).
In other news I’d like to pretend for a second that I am some sort of professional nomad and announce my favorite travel items thus far on the trip.
1. The Life Saver Ultra Filtration Water Bottle (4,000L model)
This thing wasn’t cheap, but it has saved me so much money it’s laughable that I considered not buying it at one point.
At home I use it to filter tap water resembling something in taste from a water park kiddie pool. This alone saves me a boat load of money over bottled water like I used to buy.
But how about while travelling?
Well, I used it right off the bat at the Orlando airport to continually refill my water bottle that holds more than the Life Saver bottle – including after I was forced to empty both bottles while going through security.
Up yours over priced tap water masquerading as bottled water in airports!
The same applied during my layover in London. I simply didn’t trust drinking water from the tap in London.
In Sweden? Some of the best tap water in the world from what I hear and taste, so it’s not necessary for daily use (but I still use it for slightly improved taste).
But, few things are that simple, and the Life Saver bottle came in handy when I was on a crappy train left over from the Regan administration between Stockholm and Gothenburg. I only had a bit of water by the time I got on the train, and it was soon gone as I entered into a 4 hour long conversation with a cute red headed Svenska flicka 😉 (that means “Swedish girl” but apparently it’s more akin to a cheesy pickup line than the formal translation of Swedish girl).
What did I do? Went to the bathroom and filled up my Life Saver bottle with “Do Not Drink” train water from the sink.
Considering that the bottle is capable of filtering out polio, the last thing I was worried about was becoming ill from drinking the water. Sure enough it came out crystal clear, delicious, and safe =).
Bottled water wasn’t even available on the train, so the bottle really was a life saver in this instance.
2.Vibram Five Finger KSO Treks
I originally purchased these to go hiking in North Georgia, but they have quickly become my official and beloved travel shoe =). They are exceptionally rugged compared to other models of Vibram Five Fingers (probably due to being made out of kangaroo leather), and perhaps most importantly of all, have thicker padding than other models.
The point of VFFs is of course to emulate being barefoot – which these still pull off as well as any other Vibram – the difference is there is just enough padding to walk around on concrete all day ( a la Stockholm) and only experience as much discomfort as the next guy wearing heavily padded shoes – or perhaps even less once your feet adapt to their birth right level of strength.
Sort of the go between to “as close to barefoot as humanly possible”, and giant marshmallow/cast like shoes that quite literally weaken your feet and corresponding musculature.
In any case, I still prefer to workout in my Sprints as you saw in the last WOW video from Sweden because they are just a tiny bit closer to ABSOLUTELY barefoot, but KSO Treks are simply better equipped for heavy and/or urban use.
3. Merino Wool Clothing
Well, I only took 1 ‘normal’ size backpack, and 1 smaller backpack on this trip, so I was kind of limited on space when you factored in the extra supplies needed to run The 21 Convention. My merino wool t-shirts however have stood up quite well to repeated use without washing, as well as merino wool boxers, partially merino wool socks, and merino wool gloves for the cold.
They are not immune to stinking, but have an impressive ability to repel odor – and I don’t even wear deodorant (it’s OK to smell like a man, deal with it! Haha).
And maybe it’s my imagination, but merino wool also seems to feel ‘fresh’ longer, despite repeated use. Cotton, or even polyester? Not so much. Wear it for a while and you can feel that it needs to be washed – not so much with merino wool (Icebreaker being my favorite brand).
4. MSR Pack Towel
Uhhhhhhh yeah, this thing is awesome. I got the extra large one, which was probably unnecessary, but never the less this towel has performed extremely well. For one, even the XL size is very portable, light weight, highly absorbent, and relatively quick drying.
For two … well, see above! No matter where I am this thing is with me and ready to roll. From my friends house in Stockholm (therefore not creating extra laundry to be cleaned), to a quick shower 15 minutes before a speech in Gothenburg (in a very randomly placed shower I might add), to the person’s house I stayed at in Gothenburg.
I just grab it from my bag and sha bam! I’m dry. Excellent investment and I could not recommend it highly enough for your travels.
5. The Tim Ferris earplugs and a simple sleeping mask
Two random, yet essential items for traveling (at least from my experience on this trip). The ear plugs aren’t cheap – and like Tim I recommend starting out with the sample pack to see which size fits you best – but they are a notch above the cheap foam crap available at Wal-Mart.
They come in use not only for high intensity training, but also for when your friend is hooking up with his girl friend in the next room and you are trying to sleep, as well as any other instance when you are trying to sleep or concentrate (sexual intercourse not required).
The cheapo sleeping mask (compliments of British Airways) is also extremely useful for a night owl like myself working like a maniac on something I love as much as humanly possible.
Basically in Stockholm, every night, I am up till 4, 5, or even 6 in the morning, working on the convention there, as well as the Orlando event. This is definitely not physically healthy, but hey it’s my choice.
In any case, the problem with this (besides only getting 3 hours of sleep some nights and consistently laying in bed for a solid hour with ideas for the convention) is that the sun sets late and comes up very early in Stockholm, like 4 am early.
So here I am, trying to go to sleep, trying to relax and just shut my brain off for a split second, and now the sun is coming up, or is already up, piecing the closed shutters in my friends room.
Anyway this is turning into a ramble but I am so glad I ‘borrowed’ this 25 cent sleeping mask from my fight over it’s not even funny.
Well actually it is funny because it took me a few nights to remember I had it, and that it would help massively with going to sleep (even for just a few hours before I woke up and hopped right back on my laptop) while the sun was up.
Okay so if you buy any of the above items from the Amazon links I get a small commission. Obviously I am strapped for funds right now, so if you were considering buying any of those items and were able to now, it would be much appreciated if you bought them through those links.
Then again, don’t buy something on Amazon from me if an item is better available elsewhere. I’m betting a sleeping mask is cheaper at your local drug store than Amazon for example.
BackCountry.com is a great site for buying travel gear to. Usually more expensive than Amazon, but they are very good at honoring a kick ass warranty (my room mate can attest to this with his backpack that he returned heavily used a full year later for a brand new one, simply because they sent him the wrong color).
Also, if you were interested in supporting The 21 Convention at a critical time in it’s growth, you can spam new agencies and do a few other non financial things at the following link.
Financially, you have a number of options.
- You can attend any of our live events, or more specifically, you can sign up before June 9th – allowing for some extra breathing room on my end with the hard costs for the first ever European event – and at the same time save a significant amount of money on your ticket since June 9th is the day ticket prices rise for all events.
- You can donate via PayPal (just scroll to the very bottom, big fat PayPal button). We are not a “non profit”, but as I’ve talked about elsewhere – and as is perhaps obvious at this point – we are “not just for profit”. This is perhaps most evident with the amount of time I pour into the convention for such little financial return, as well as our 100% free event and documentary footage. Someone donated $50 USD the other week by the way, which I consider large, but he did not (once I contacted him and thanked him personally). In any case, no amount is too small or too large, so have at it.
- Not everyone is able to attend a live event, finances aside, and not everyone is interested in donating – nor do I expect everyone to be. However there is another option that recently became available – event footage DVD.
As I see it, this is perhaps the best win/win right now for someone looking to support the convention that can’t attend live*, and also wants something tangible in return (nothing wrong with that).
*I should also mention DVD discount codes are being sent to all live attendees this week, and all future attendees of live events upon signing up. And by “discount codes”, I mean some serious friggin discounts for showing your support via attending live.
What is available you ask?
Quite an array actually. For one, you can order any speech ever given at The 21 Convention over the past three years on an individual DVD. Pretty awesome if you only feel like ordering your favorite presentations and not entire sets.
For those who do want entire sets though, you can get them by year at a significant discount (as compared to buying all of the DVDs individually). Each set also comes with a bonus disc not available for individual order containing rarely, or in the case of the 2009 twenty disc set, never before seen footage.
The prices are what I believe to be accurate as well when what else is “out there” is taken into consideration (dating and relationship products for men are notoriously overpriced), and the fact that you now own a physical copy of a presentation(s) in the highest quality currently available for offline viewing – forever.
Alright I feel like I’m selling used cars at this point – for some reason I am very poor at aggressively selling anything … maybe I am just a bad liar? – but never the less I believe I laid out everything pretty clearly (the DVDs are perhaps clearest of all because you know exactly what you are buying before you buy it!).
I need as much support as I can get right now, and those are some of the ways you can help. If you’re really messed up in the head you can also send me mixed messages of support/praise and extremely destructive/negative/you can’t do it criticism, because for some reason both seem to fuel my dreams (constructive criticism is also welcome of course).
Thank you and good night/good morning
-Anthony ‘Dream’ Johnson
~5am, Gothenburg Airport Sweden, off to Amsterdam!