Howdy Traipser!

A friend recently complimented this newsletter: "These days, it's about leveling up your life."
He's right: my current aim is to share how I curate a balanced, satisfying existence full of varied, fulfilling activities. I want to convey my perspective on the world and share my stumbling beginner efforts to improve my creative skills.
If you discovered Traipsing About via my mountain biking or van life posts, you've seen quite the change. Sure, I've lost a fair number of "show me the van build posts!" folks, but attracted a fresh crew interested in the new me.
All to say: thanks for sticking around. I appreciate you!

Reminds me of this quote from the mega-popular book Four Thousand Weeks (<-summary), one of my favorite reads of 2021.

This quest to justify your existence in the eyes of some outside authority can continue long into adulthood. But “at a certain age,” writes the psychotherapist Stephen Cope, “it finally dawns on us that, shockingly, no one really cares what we’re doing with our life.

This is a most unsettling discovery to those of us who have lived someone else’s life and eschewed our own: no one really cares except us.”  The attempt to attain security by justifying your existence, it turns out, was both futile and unnecessary all along.

Teetotaling About, Edition 91 features:

-January portrait challenge, phase 1

-Who takes these amazing photos anyway?

-Digital hygiene to keep yourself productive
-Mr. T. Rex and his continued misadventures


BTW, if you missed it, last week I wrote a short (and useful, if I say so myself!) post about developing skills vs. goals.

It must be winter because I don't have any good photos from this past week! #insidetime Throwing it back to tiny La Gomera in the Canary Islands in 2019.

January portrait drawing challenge

I suck at portrait drawing for two main reasons: 1) it’s on par with rocket science difficulty-wise and 2) I’ve put exactly three hours of practice into it in my entire life.

Enough! January is my month to go from “is that a person?” to “hey, only the ears and chin are weird!”

How? I’m taking 30 minutes a day to draw a portrait. To make it easy to think of subjects, I’m drawing composers whose piano songs I’m learning, as well as performers I admire.

My goal is to improve my shading skills and generally work on perspective. I’m looking past my absolutely mediocre skills with optimism thanks to a Skillshare video I watched that said, “you don’t discover your talent to draw. You develop it.

Chelsea, always helpful, pointed out that drawing a bunch of dead white guys from past centuries is straight-up odd. Nice to have feedback to keep me from getting too strange, I suppose.

DISREGARDED. I shall soldier on in all my weirdness!

I posted my first 11 portraits on the blog. Next step is to add watching a 5-min Skillshare video each evening rather than just winging it!

The quirky composer Erik Satie. "The dandy cleans his monocle every day," he wrote. TRUTH.
Ponder this: "There are more people living in this circle than outside of it."

Digital Hygiene


I love this Seth Godin post on digital hygiene. It's from 2015, but applies even more these days.
"The provocations and habits you encounter in the digital world keep you productive (or drive you crazy):

-Turn off mail and social media alerts on your phone.

-Don't read the comments. Not on your posts or on the posts of other people. Not the reviews and not the trolls.

-De-escalate the anger in every email exchange.

-Put your phone in the glove compartment while driving.

-Spend the most creative hour of your day creating, not responding.

Each habit is hard to swallow and easy to maintain. Worth it.

COVID tests just aren't designed for short arms...

Grazie for stopping by for the 91st edition of Traipsing About.

This week's unsolicited advice: stop justifying your existence (if you are), don't read the comments and stay away from Omicron-carrying dinosaurs.

P.S. Once I figure out how to draw a "real" portrait, maybe I'll move on to something amazing like these colorful minimalist portraits by Brazilian artist Luciano Cian.

Luciano Cian's work. So cool. I bet he's great at regular portraits too...

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