Howdy Traipsers,

I survived my bike trip on the Oregon Outback! Other than some snow and occasionally heinous headwinds, we experienced mostly clear sailing. I even scored a dry sleeping spot under an RV one rainy night. Dreamy, really.

Well, I suppose a sleeping pad disappeared (briefly)…and a shifter broke…but that’s part of the fun! Especially for me, since all that happened to my friend. Perfect hazing for his first bike trip.

I’m working on the trip writeup. Overall, a quick adventure that left me with tired legs and an increased appreciation for the beauty of Oregon. Nice to return home to non-freeze dried meals and fresh fruit!

This week’s newsletter:

Difficult conversations, too-personalized ads, Pepsi's Navy, Wasteminster, and running a business vs. having a job.


Gas station pitstop at mile 40 on our first day. Happy to be drinking something cold, even if fake yerba mate isn't my fav drink...

The power of difficult conversations

Ever stood around talking to someone wishing the conversation would shift from banal to substantive? It’s not just them. The solution: go first.

Paraphrasing from this short piece by Mark Manson:

-Research says people fear asking difficult/sensitive questions far more than being asked difficult/sensitive questions.

-That means people are afraid to talk about the juicy stuff because they falsely believe other people don’t want to talk about it.

-Developing the ability to consistently broach difficult subjects benefits your own personal growth AND is incredibly helpful to other people.

-Go first! Ask the hard questions and entice (liberate) others to do the same.

Creepy, too-personal ads

The below ad from Signal, a encrypted messaging app, further solidified my conviction to stay off social media.

What is it? Signal simply took the targeted data that Facebook provides its advertisers and showed the seedy underbelly to people.

Ever thought about what your personalized ad contents are? Pretty sure mine would include piano crazy, van-owning, and T. Rex drawings.

Anyone else feel creeped out by this? At least Apple is doing something about privacy with their latest update, which Facebook of course hates. Mark Zuckerberg is quaking in his boots. I sure hope the poor guy can keep his $100mm house.

Pffft, T. Rexes. First radishes of the year from our garden!

That time Pepsi sported the world's 6th-largest navy

Pepsi didn’t start their Russian partnership trading for warships. The deal began with the Russian government paying Pepsi in a universal currency: vodka. That vodka (Stolichnaya) was rebranded and became popular in the States as Russia consumed a billion servings of Pepsi per year.

When a boycott of Russian goods hit during the Soviet-Afghan war in 1989, things shifted. Instead of vodka, Russians used warships as currency for the continued flow of Pepsi.

Talk about the power of international business relationships (and sweet beverages): at the peak of the Cold War, the Soviets gave the hated west TWENTY warships. 17 submarines, a frigate, cruiser and even a Destroyer just for the continued flow of Pepsi.

Read the entire short piece here (via Nick Yoder’s excellent “5-Minute History.”)


Burying Downing Street in plastic

One downside to bikepacking is that it’s heavy on the single-use plastics. Bars, freeze-dried meals, Sour Patch Kids, vegan jerky (yum!)...all wrapped in plastic. I get that it's a relatively small impact and that we all impact the planet with our daily actions, but I still don’t like the waste.


Hopefully the Plastic Gods absolve me if I share this excellent 1.5 min video, Wasteminster. In it, Downing Street (the UK White House) is buried in the amount of plastic that the UK dumps on other countries every day.

If you like the video, check out the behind the scenes (1 min long) which showcases incredible CGI and VR camera work.

Traipsing About Archives: Do You Want to Run a Business?


It's crazy to think June marks 13 years of self-employment for me. This came to mind because my companion for the Oregon Outback (Jono) was an intern at my first job out of college.
Anyway, it seems timely to
share the blog post I wrote about my experience leaving engineering to hew my own path. So much casting about before landing on a business that worked.
Did it always feel worth the pain in the moment? Oh helllll no. Did my mom think I was nuts to ditch a good job with great health insurance? You betcha. Would I do it again? Yes.

Cowboy camping under the pines by a burbling creek. The best.

Thanks for stopping by Traipsing About! Ask the hard questions, control your personal data, avoid corn syrup yerba mate, and catch you next week.

P.S. I learned a new word: Phubbing. It means maintaining eye contact while texting, but really means snubbing people while phoning. *sigh*

P.P.S. I missed the Eurovision pop showdown (as always), but did catch Icelandic band Dadi Freyr's entertaining YouTube video.

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