Life at a Quarter Century

Last month I turned 25, a quarter century. Since I probably only have two quarter centuries left (if I’m lucky), I wanted to write down a bucket list – a list of things to do before you “kick the bucket” so to speak. I’m sure I could think of a hundred – some of which I would do and some I wouldn’t get to. So here are my top 20 in no particular order. I also found an awesome website, where you can write down and keep track of all your bucket list items.

1. Plant a Forest

I’ve wanted to do this for a while now. Something about the peace and calm of nature, the environmental benefits of reforestation and the lasting legacy of trees that will live much longer than I will. They don’t know it yet, but Eden Reforestation Projects is going to help me do this


2. Write a book

Donald Miller’s honest, quirky style is what I try to imitate when I write. Like my blog, I would write some type of reflection on life, faith and the story of my journey. There’s also a National Novel Writing Month every November, which I think would be cool to attempt.

3. Scuba Dive the World

I need to get a scuba diving license first, but I would love to scuba dive wherever I visit.

4. Round the World Ticket

12 stops. One direction. All the way around the world. Once I figure out a bigger purpose for the trip, all I have to figure out are the logistics, cost and timing.

5. Work at a French Vineyard for a Summer

French intrigues me. The best way to learn a language is immersion, and I might as well become a wine connoisseur in the process.

6. Cinque Terre

This 5-village walk along the Italian Riviera is only accessible by footpaths. The villages look unbelievable.


7. Have a Family

This goes without saying I guess. I would love to have a family someday.

8. Create an Endowment Fund

I love the idea of giving a university education to someone who otherwise would have limited opportunities. Endowment funds use interest off investments to fund scholarships, so once they are set up, they should run forever.

9. Cooking Classes

I am a wannabie foodie. It would be cool to really understand different cooking techniques, flavor combinations, etc. and be able to make amazing meals from scratch. Also, I never want to work in a restaurant if I can help it.

10. Grad School

Education provides opportunities. I want to complete an MBA program because I think it will challenge me in important ways and open doors that might have been closed otherwise.

11. Hike Kilimanjaro and Mt. Kenya

The highest two peaks in Africa, these are the only mountains on the equator with year-round snow.

12. Speak 5 Languages

I currently speak 3.5 (English, Japanese, Spanish & 1/2 Swahili in that order). I need to brush up on my Swahili and French intrigues me.

13. Attend a World Cup

Brazil 2014 would be sick but it’s not going to happen for me.

15. Speak at a TED event

TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) is an awesome speaking format to share all kinds of information and ideas. I’m not sure what I would talk about yet, but while I figure that out, you should check out some of their free videos Here

16. Start a business that employs people.

Ultimately, helping people is what business is all about. I want to start a successful, responsible business that is used to enrich people’s lives (including mine)

17. Become a woodworker

I want to build cool stuff. I want to be able to take a piece of wood and carve it into something awesome that will last forever.


18. Trek Nepal

It doesn’t have to be Everest to be amazing


19. Learn to Dance… Well

Salsa, swing, tango. Dancing is fun when you’re good

20. Keep learning, keep adventuring.

“Far better to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checked by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.”

– Theodore Roosevelt


What’s on your bucket list?


Return to Africa

I came back to the States for the Holidays and it’s finally time to go “home” to Africa. It’s weird to say but it does feel like my current home is Kenya. My friends are there, my job is there, and it would feel strange living in the States. Having said that, it’s been great reconnecting with friends and family in the US. I started off with Christmas in Arkansas, a few days in Texas, work for a week in Colorado, then visited college friends in California. It was especially great to catch up on what’s been happening in my friends’ post-graduation lives, hearing about their aspirations and plans, or even the fact that they’re not sure. People change but I always look forward to reconnecting with friends and reminiscing about old times.

As for me, I have no idea what the next year will hold. My job with Paradigm goes until June so at least I have a few months planned. After that, I’m excited to start working on the chili farm with my business partner. There are a lot of obstacles and challenges before we become an operational business, but fortune favors the bold and we hope to create something truly great in Northern Kenya.  If my farming income doesn’t pay the bills, I’ve considered supplementing with guiding safaris for Japanese tourists, doing freelance journalism or photography, consulting and starting a water filter business (yes, I am a random person). Only God knows what the next months hold but I am convinced that if I trust Him, He will make life better than my expectations. More to come as I journey back to Africa and begin phase 2 of my adventure there.

Welcome to Kenya

I’m in Kenya!  It’s hard to believe that I am actually here and living in Nairobi!  Let me update you briefly on what’s been going on in the last 4 days… (Seems like I’ve been here much longer).

The first couple days of my trip I went to some meetings with Scott, our guy that handles the manufacturing side of our business.  Probably all boring stuff that no one wants to hear about but we got to go to one ceramics manufacturer outside of Nairobi that was really cool.  They mix all the clay there, shape it into cylinders that fit into our metal stove frame, then fire the liners for over a day before sending us the final product.  We are still trying to get the right consistency and density on those so that we an aesthetically pleasing, strong liner for stoves that will last a long time but it seems to be moving along well.

Yesterday Scott, Mathew (Our Kenyan business director) and I headed out to Meru about 4 hours North of Nairobi.  I got to drive across the equator so that was cool!  You would think it would be really hot, but the elevation where we crossed was around 5,000 feet so the weather was great.  On the way, Scott started feeling sick, then I started feeling sick too.  It culminated with me throwing up and both of us going to the hospital that night.  We got some medicine and survived, but the next day was pretty rough.  Hopefully this will be the exception.  The weird thing is we ate at a nice restaurant in Nairobi the day before… kind of disheartening.  Anyway, I can check that off my list of things to do while I’m in Africa.  Some of my others include;

Make African friends
See a lion, giraffe, hippo, elephant, zebra and anything in the wild
Eat something I don’t recognize
Swim in the Indian Ocean
Talk my way out of a bribe
See Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Kenya
Go on a Safari
Survive a packed bus (The more crowded the better)
See Lake Victoria
See the sands of Zanzibar
Go to the genocide museum in Rwanda
Visit the Ethiopian Highlands

I think that’s it for now, let me know if there’s anything else I have to do while I’m here 🙂

I’ll just share some general observations about Nairobi before I go to bed.  First of all, it seems like an extremely livable city.  I’m living in a nice apartment, there’s a gym down the street, traffic is bad but I’ve been in LA so whatever, and it’s really green.  However, I have been comparing it to Cairo so maybe it’s not saying much.  I just like the size, weather and lack of pollution way more than Cairo.  But I don’t like the fact that it’s not very safe at night.  One of my favorite things about Cairo was sitting outside at night and hanging out with friends.  Here you’ll get robbed or worse so that’s not such a good idea.  And before I make any conclusions about Nairobi, I really need to see Kibera.  It’s the largest slum in Africa with an estimated 1-2 million residents… crazy.  Anyway, that has been my life for the past few days, more updates to come!

I will add pictures soon but my computer is being weird