For the most part they’ve been fairly generic, but nonetheless very heartfelt. Every year in November since I started this site in 2009, I’ve found myself in a very different situation than the prior year.
First I was unemployed.
A year later I was trying to figure out how to continue working on my own.
Last year things were starting to pick up, and this year, man, things are better than ever.
However I wrote out a couple paragraphs of this post and it started sounding just like every other Thanksgiving Day post that I (and many others) write each year.
So I wanted to do things a little bit different. I wanted a post that was a little more fun and gave credit to some of the people and things that I’m thankful for – which may not always get their recognition.
Hopefully this gives you a little more insight into who I am and the things that have gotten me to the point I’m at today.
Also, I know there are a ton of people and things that I left out of this list, so please don’t be offended if I didn’t mention you 🙂
1) My girlfriend Tate
Believe me, dating someone like me who works from home and is traveling a lot of the time is definitely not easy – but she makes it look like it is.
2) Anyone who has ever read Location 180
You have no idea how important this one is. This blog started out as a way for me to change my own life, and has morphed into something that’s become much bigger than myself. This community helped me quit my job, and now I’m doing everything I can do give back and help others in a similar fashion.
3) The entire Location Rebel community
When this launched it was one of the scariest things I’ve ever ventured into. Now over a year later to see the community members thriving and building successful businesses, is so incredible. It’s even better knowing that the best is yet to come.
4) Iphone 5
Call me superficial, but this thing has changed my life. I have a high quality camera everywhere I go, it’s fast enough to actually let me use my apps, and is the ultimate tool for the traveler.
This is without a doubt one of the greatest creations ever for music (lovers). I listen to it everywhere. On my computer, in my car, on my phone. Everywhere.
6) My Mom
Many of my best traits (and unfortunate quirks) I owe to her 🙂 I’ll always love you mom, and you have no idea how much your support means to me.
7) My Dad
One of my best friends, and biggest supporters I’ve always looked up to my dad and the older I get the more I appreciate our relationship and how close we’ve become.
8 ) My Twin Sisters
I’ve played the role of protective older brother for most of my life, but one thing I love about both of my sisters is they always seem to have a positive attitude. It doesn’t matter what happens, they always seem to have a glass half full mentality which is a great thing to be around.
9) My Grandmother (aka Grammie)
She tells me every time I see her that while she still doesn’t understand exactly what I do, she couldn’t be more proud of me. Support like that is invaluable and a constant reminder to keep working hard and continue making her proud.
You have no idea how many games of Yahtzee I’ve played on my phone and iPod Touch. When I don’t want to read and just needto kill time, I play Yahtzee. It’s seriously ridiculous, but one of the best short time kills ever and has saved me from days of boredom.
11) Air Travel
Talk about something we take for granted. To be able to be anywhere in the world within a day is a pretty remarkable technological marvel. Some of the best experiences I’ve ever had have been abroad, and without airplanes, let’s face it, that probably wouldn’t be possible
This is like the air travel of the internet. Wordpress has made it incredibly easy for anyone to start not just a blog, but a business online. If WordPress weren’t invented, my life trajectory would have been quite different (understatement).
13) Portable Hard Drives
With all of the photo and video I shoot these days on the road, without a portable hard drive I wouldn’t be able to edit and store any of it very easily. My Seagate 1TB has been all over the world with me and has become an essential tool for both travel and daily workflow.
More than any other activity this year, golf has brought me a lot of joy. There’s something about being outside in a beautiful place and driving yourself crazy with the most frustrating game ever invented, that just clicks for me. All it takes is one good shot a round to keep you coming back.
15) Made Wardani
One of the best experiences of my life (and one I think about all the time) was my 2 months in Bali. Made introduced me to people I never would have met that led to some of the most insane experiences of my life. See this and this – all thanks to her.
16) Max Spiker
Max designed my first product, and then became my business partner on HDR Software. He looks at things differently than everyone else and provided me a lot of opportunities at a time when I wasn’t sure if this whole lifestyle business thing would work out or not.
17) Ski Trips
I started this year with an epic ski trip to Colorado with my buddy Andy. Seems only right to finish it off with a repeat next month. Few things can match a snow filled trip to the mountains. (Please pray for snow).
18) The Opportunity to Go to Cuba
When I wrote this goal on my bucket list I thought it was a total pipe dream. However to see such a beautiful country and get to meet so many interesting people was one of the highlights of my year for sure.
19) Derek Johanson
Derek let me write my first guest post ever. He flew all the way out to Thailand to kick it back in the day. And was down to go to Cuba with me earlier this year. We talk every week as part of a mastermind and we do business consulting together. There’s a lot to be thankful for in there.
20) Clay Rodgers
Clay is one of the most down to earth people I know and almost everything that I said about Derek above (Thailand, Cuba, mastermind) also applies to him. He’s one of my go to guys for business advice, and more than almost anyone else I know, it’s impossible to say anything bad about him. Oh, and he’s totally ripped.
21) Kyle Durand
Kyle and I have gotten to know each other pretty well this year, and we’ve been working together on the upcoming Business Structure Blueprint for Location Rebel. He answers all of my business questions, no matter how stupid they are – for that, I’m thankful.
22) Final Cut Pro X
Or as I think of it”iMovie Pro” (thats a good thing). Almost all of my videos have been edited using this. It’s easy to use, yet still powerful enough for me to do anything I could want to do.
23) My health
I may not be the healthiest person in the world, but I could be a lot worse off. This is something we all take for granted, until it’s gone. I don’t want to take it for granted.
24) My former boss(es)
In my 2+ years at my old job I learned a LOT from my two bosses there. I learned way more about myself and what I wanted during that time than any other in my life. Even if things didn’t end as well as I’d hoped, I’ll never forget the things they taught me.
25) Four Seasons
Growing up in Portland you really get to experience all four seasons. While winter can drag on a little too long, I’m still appreciative for it. As much as I loved 7 months straight of 90 degrees and sun, a little diversity is never a bad thing.
26) My Guitars
I’ve played guitar since I was 10, and it’s been a solid staple in my life ever since. Regardless of my mood, playing has always helped me through the tough times and made the good times even better.
It’s not even about the caffeine, I swear! I love the routine of drinking a cup of coffee in the morning. This is one thing that is pretty consistent, regardless of where I am in the world.
You mean you can call people anywhere in the world…for free???
29) Good beer
Perhaps it’s because I live in the undisputed microbrew capital of the world, but having hundreds of world class beers at my disposal is something that I missed a surprising amount when abroad.
Speaking of things I missed while abroad…I had no idea how much I liked good cheese until I didn’t have it for 6 months!
31) Old Fashioneds
My favorite drink. When its made right, there are few things better.
32) HDR Photography
Some people hate HDR. Me? I’ve made a business out of it, and it makes me look like a much better photographer than I am. How can you go wrong with that?
33) Mike Pacchione
Last week I went and talked to one of his classes at Portland State and he’s the professor I wish I had in college. He helped me with my TEDx talk and has been huge at helping me get more involved in the entrepreneurial scene in Portland.
Speaking of them, I’m thankful they took a shot on me to give me my first real speaking engagement. Who ever thought I’d be on stage wedged in between a rocket scientist and the CEO of EA.
35) Chase Reeves
Chase is one of those people who knows how to ask questions. He knows how to get down to the stuff that really matters, and sometimes catch you off guard in the process. He’s not much older than me, but when I need to see things from a different perspective, he’s my go to guy. Oh, and he has the most baller-badass-beautiful designs in the entire world. I figure if I butter him up enough, he’ll do one for me 🙂
36) The Entire Wolveri Crew
Last January myself and 10 others descended on a Mayan Compound for a week and I think all of our lives were changed because of it. Every single one of these people has had a significant impact on me in one way or another.
37) Dan Andrews
I don’t even know what to say about Dan. The guy is freaking awesome. He’s been an incredible friend, mentor, and drinking buddy. If you don’t know him – you should.
38) Ian Schoen
I’ve given a lot of (well-deserved) props to Dan over the years. But something I haven’t mentioned much, is it was because Ian said yes to the idea (and to the idea of hiring me) of the initial Tropical MBA internship. I haven’t talked to him much lately, but bottom line is, were it not for him, I wouldn’t be here writing this. Or perhaps I would, but I’d be dreading going back to work tomorrow!
39) Chris Guillebeau
Like Dan, Chris has had a tremendous influence on my life. He’s the reason I started this blog, and he was the first person to show me that you can live your life a different way.
40) Nick Ramil
Nick got in touch with me through this site. Little did I know we’d be in business together and hanging out in China less than a year later.
41) Andy Drish
I met Andy at SXSW in 2011. He’s not only helped me a ton with marketing strategy, but he’s become one of my best “online friends” in the process.
42) Mac computers
I made the switch two years ago and have never looked back. Whether it’s durability, workflow, or applications, the Mac ecosystem has made my life much easier.
43) My car
Yep, I got a car this year. And you know what? For as much as I loved not having it, the freedom it’s given me has been so nice. I still don’t drive much, but to be able to drive down to see family in Eugene or go to the golf course makes a world of difference.
44) Public Transportation
Sure I’ve got a car, but I’ll still take the train or hop a bus whenever I can. Portland is one of the easiest cities to get around in with only public transportation and whenever possible it’s the best way to go.
45) Sunriver, Oregon
Easily one of my favorite places on earth.
I played competitive tennis all the way through high school. I practiced for hours each week, and I think that discipline while I was younger has translated nicely into much of what I’m doing now. Last night I actually played for the first time in over a year – surprisingly, I didn’t totally suck.
47) Matt Koenig
I’ve known Matt for a few years now, and he’s been through a lot. But his goal of moving to Indonesia with his family never subsided. This month he made that dream a reality, and it’s people like him who remind me that no matter how impossible something may seem – it probably isn’t.
48) Fancy Watches
Why I decided to pick this up as a hobby is beyond me. It’s stupid, I know. But there’s a certain confidence that comes with wearing a nice watch – that’s what keeps me wearing them.
My all time favorite meal is BBQ hands down. Ribs, brisket, pulled pork – I could eat it all day.
50) Smokehouse 21
Along the same lines as above, Smokehouse 21 is the closest bbq joint to my house and also some of the best I’ve ever had. If you find yourself in Portland, do yourself a favor…
51) Colin Pomeroy
Colin and I are working together on a cocktail niche site. He’s always down for a good time, and always fun to be around.
52) Ryan Martin
Talking to Ryan everyday on my lunch breaks gave me the motivation to finally leave my job. He’s still traveling around the world, doing his own thing, and loving every second of it.
53) Jacob Sherman
Jacob has been my best friend since second grade, even if our lives have taken very different paths – we’re still as close as ever.
54) Nick Gates
Along with Jacob, Nick was one of my roommates for pretty much all of college. He’s one of the most loyal guys I know and he’s even nice enough to read my blog on occasion 🙂
55) The Young Entrepreneurs Council (The YEC)
I joined the YEC last year having no idea what to expect. Not only is it one of the best group of entrepreneurs I’ve ever heard of, but they’ve helped me land mentions and posts in Forbes, Mashable, and many more.
Some of the best hotel deals I’ve ever scored have been thanks to Hotwire. It also makes it fun because you never know what you’re gonna get!
Talk about an incredible week. My time in Jordan this summer was truly a once in a lifetime experience, and I can’t recommend the country highly enough. It’s great for travelers because it’s so easy to get around – around 6 hours from the northern border to the southern.
58) Hot Showers
There are few things better than a long, hot shower.
For a long time I didn’t get why everyone was so into Evernote. Until I actually gave it a real shot. Now it’s an integral part of my workflow, and I still probably only use 5% of what it’s capable of.
60) Launch Effect
I think this is one of the most underrated online tools available right now. See this post for why.
All of these guys have forced me to step up my game. I consider them all friends and love everything they’ve done on the interwebs. Every time I feel like settling, I look at them.
62) Wishlist Member
An essential tool for creating a WordPress based membership site. This has been the key to seeing many projects go from idea to reality.
63) Pad Pongali Gai and Other Ridiculously cheap Thai street food
One of the best parts about traveling is the food. This especially holds true in Asia where everything is dirt cheap and five times better than anything you get back home. Pad Pongali Gai happened to be my favorite Thai dish and to this day I’ve never seen it on a menu in the US. Shame.
64) College football
Each year I get more and more into college football – don’t know why, but any excuse to eat, drink, and be competitive is fine by me. Saturday is one of the hardest days of the year for me – who do you root for when your two favorite teams play each other, and both have a lot on the line? #civilwar
65) JD Roth
66) Nicky Hajal
Nicky has saved my ass so many times it’s not even funny. He’s been my go to tech guy for awhile, and more importantly than that, he’s one of the coolest guys I know.
67) Andrew Norcross
Also has saved my ass countless times. Any time I break something in a catastrophic manner, even if we haven’t talked in awhile, he always seems to drop everything and help.
68) James Clear
James and I see eye to eye on a lot of things when it comes to blogs and doing business online. Thanks to him I got to hang out in NYC for a week and even attend a fashion week event – very cool.
69) Dan Jarvis
While on said NYC trip I stayed with Dan. Pretty much every time I’m in NYC I stay with him. He’s one of the few people I know who shares my passion for golfing, and he didn’t rub it in too badly when he kicked my ass on his home course in Brigantine.
70) Nick Reese
Nick and I sat down for one entire afternoon in NYC last year and he helped me completely tear apart Location Rebel and then put a plan together to build it up. Much of the core of the program is thanks to his advice.
71) Google Docs
The easiest way ever to share documents with people. Being able to create a document, and watch someone make updates in real time, is pretty freaking sweet.
72) Our Deal
Most people in small businesses don’t take the time to properly document their relationships. Our Deal makes it as easy (and fun) as possible to do this.
73) My ability to take (calculated) risks
Taking chances can be terrifying, however the old adage remains true: “nothing ventured, nothing gained.” Almost every time the worse case scenario won’t come to pass, and the things you stand to gain by going outside your comfort zone are huge.
74) Tate’s Family
Over the past four years Tate’s family has treated me as their own. Whether it’s vacations with them or simply going out to dinner, they are all incredible people that I feel really lucky to have gotten to know so well.
This is only getting cooler now that my iPhone can automatically upload photos I take to help me save space.
Tablets. I’d love to say my Kindle Fire (may it RIP wherever it is), but soon I’ll be a proud owner of an iPad Mini. Because of that Kindle I’ve actually started reading again. I can take it anywhere, and have an entire library of books and information at my disposal. That’s pretty powerful.
76) Apple TV
Let’s me stream Spotify to my stereo system. Enough said.
Yep, I said it. I’m still friends with people I met on my first trip out of the country and college nearly a decade ago. There’s simply no better tool for actually keeping in touch with all the people you meet during your journey through life.
78) Liz Froment
Liz is another Location Rebel with a great story. She joined towards the end of last year and a year later, she’s recently quit her job, and has helped me with a variety of aspects of my business.
79) Tristan King
Tristan was the first intern I ever brought on to help me. He was vital to the launch of Hacking the High Life, and has recently left his job and taken his own successful business on the road, as he’s managing it from South America for the next few months.
80) Gene Jennings
Gene invited me to do something earlier this year that I never thought I’d ever get to do: attend the Masters. He welcomed me with open arms having never met me before – and then as one more surprise, he invited me back again next year 🙂
While I love to travel, I love having Portland as my home base just as much. It really is an incredible city, and every time I leave I’m reminded of just how great it is.
82) The Internet
Seems pretty simple right? Once again, without the internet, none of this would be possible.
83) Charity: Water
Finally a charity that’s doing things the right way. They let you see exactly where your money is going and what it’s doing. Why more organizations don’t do this is beyond me.
84) Islay Scotch
Again another one of those weird old person quirks of mine: I like Islay scotch. The whole campfire in your mouth thing really appeals to me for some reason. If you ever want to get me a really nice gift a bottle of Lagavulin 16 year, is always a safe bet.
If you need to manage a team or project, and want a free tool to do it. This is the best I’ve found…and I like it better than the paid solutions I’ve used as well.
86) Jenna Forstrom
Jenna is basically like my little sister. I give her crap all the time, but it all comes from a place of love. She also seems to know everyone. Everywhere.
87) Grandmas Cabin
I try and make it up there every time I can. It’s right on the Mckenzie River and one of the most relaxing places ever.
88) All of My Experiences that Have Led to This Point
I’ve lived a very fortunate life, and each and every day I continue to feel more fortunate that I’m able to do what I do. This is only because of everything that’s led up to it in my 27 years of life. Good or bad, I wouldn’t change a thing.
Well there you have it. I could keep going, but I should probably save some for next year’s post.
Think about all the things you’re thankful for today. Better yet, if there are people who have had an impact on your life, go tell them. I promise they’ll be thrilled to hear it from you, and it’ll make you feel pretty good in the process.
And if you’re not in the U.S. and don’t celebrate Thanksgiving? Do it anyway!
What are YOU thankful for? Let me know in the comments!
Photo Credit: Jeffjosejeff