Santa Cruz Mountains

I spent the last week house sitting in the Santa Cruz mountains spending time with Corsa:

Corsa

and Godiva:

Godiva

And 4 chickens that delivered me a fresh breakfast each morning:

chickens

I had hoped to do a bit of exploring, but the rain didn’t make that too conductive. We only got out for one short walk the entire time I was there. Instead, I spent a lot of hours in front of the computer trying to catch up on all the work that I needed to do. I did put a dent into some of it, but I also took on another short term project — like I really need any other work these days…

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I Need A Life

I have been spending way too many hours in front of the computer lately with no indication that anything is going to change in the near future. It’s not that I don’t enjoy what I’m doing, it’s just that I have a bit more on my plate than I planned to have. The consequences of taking on a new project.

This past Friday I had a full day to work without interruption because I was house / dog sitting for Dana / Dexter:

dexter

It worked out well (well at least if I want to continue not to have a life) in that I got a good deal of work done. It’s a good, quiet place to get things done. Now if I can keep up with this blog — although it isn’t all that exciting letting people know you are sitting in front of a computer all day 🙂

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Looking For Feathers, Finding Goose Crap

It’s a lot harder to find bird feathers than one would expect. I figured if I headed to the golf course where I know a bunch of geese were staying for the winter, I would have no problem finding a bunch of feathers (an artist friend had asked for some for a project she is doing and I said I thought I could find some).

As I headed off on my futile venture, I first came to a large oak tree that was filled with hundreds of birds chirping away. It was a bit strange because the other trees around really didn’t have many birds, but when you came upon this one, it was like there was a major convention going on with the noise that they were making.

noisy bird tree
Despite all the birds in the tree, not a single feather was to be found below the tree. I should have seen that as a hint of how the rest of the search would go. When I reached the pond, there were plenty of geese, plenty of goose crap (geese crap a lot more than you think they would and it’s not small). I took a couple photos of the geese and thought I’d spare you photos of the goose crap.

golf course geese
golf fairway geese
In the end, I came away with some of the fluffy down type feathers, but not the large feathers that I thought I would find. Anyone have hints on the best way to find feathers?

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Almaden Quicksilver Park Hike

This past month I feel like I did when I first started blogging and building websites. At that time I had a full time job and then I would come home and spend another 6 – 8 hours working on the blogs and websites. I was basically working two full time jobs.

Although the days were long, it was also a lot of fun because I really enjoyed what I was doing (I had to be since I was spending all those hours not making a cent with no prospect at that time of how I would ever make money from it). When I started Penny Experiment about a month ago, I unwittingly put myself in the same position of basically working two full time jobs.

With all that time in front of the computer, it was great to get a call from Dana Hughes to get together and go for a hike at a park in Almaden that she had heard about and wanted to check out. So we headed to Quicksilver Park:

quicksilver park sign

The trails reminded me a lot of San Antonio Ranch Park, but a lot steeper. Once we walked up a ways, there were some great views:

quicksilver park view

quicksilver park hill view

We also took some time to briefly rest at a bench along the trail – Dana didn’t want to be in the photo 🙁

Jeff at quicksilver park

We were going to try and get to the remains of an old mining town that is supposed to be in the hills, but ended up turning back when the trail we thought we could use to get there was under construction. That means we’ll definitely have to make another trip up there when we have a bit more time since I would really like to see it.

On the way down, the trail was covered with fallen oak leaves that looked like the path was covered in brown hands (the photo doesn’t do it justice)

leaves on path

I definitely need to make more opportunities to get out like this. It’s always refreshing to go on walks / hikes like this and just makes me that more productive when I get back to the writing.

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Most Days

Because I am able to travel quite a bit, it sometimes looks like I don’t have to work a whole lot. If only this was true. I end up spending a minimum of 4 hours a day in front of a computer, 7 days a week. Most days I spend a full 8+ hours. The sad fact is that even though I can work anywhere I want, I still have to work.

While I don’t mind working where ever I may be staying, I find that I end up being most productive when I get can get out somewhere like a local Internet cafe. The change of scenery always seems to help me focus more, especially in the afternoon. So I spend a good amount of time with a view, if not exactly like this, very similar to this:

Internet cafe

Welcome to the other 75% of being a digital nomad…

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Change of Plans – No Costa Rica In January

I had been planning to take off to Costa Rica sometime in January and do another month long stay like the one I did a few months ago in Mexico, but it looks like those plans have to be changed. The main reason is the new blog I started about a month ago – Penny Experiment – which will require me to be around to keep it going.

Basically, I have 100 pieces of postcard artwork coming in that I need to be around to photograph and put up on the new blog, and that would be difficult to do if I was in Costa Rica. I really don’t mind the delay as I’m enjoying the Penny Experiment challenge, but I will keep in mind the projects I launch in the future so that I don’t necessarily have to be around for them to be completed.

The other thing I have been thinking about is taking a multi-country trip to see how that works out with keeping up on all the blog and website maintenance that needs to be done. I’ve been resisting this because I’m afraid that constantly being on the move will make it difficult to get the work done (I really do need to spend at least several hours each day on the computer making sure things are running smoothly and cleaning up email and spam or it quickly snowballs out of control), but would like to try it out to see if I can find a rhythm that will allow that type of travel to work as well.

I’m looking forward to the New Year and really put the digital nomad life to the test…

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House Sitting For This Week

I’m spending this week house sitting which is a pretty good way to earn some extra money when you are a digital nomad. The fact is that I am going to be spending the majority of my day in front of my computer working, so it doesn’t matter where I do it. If I am someplace that is beautiful, I’ll make the effort to get our and explore it, but if the place is familiar like when visiting family, I’m going to spend most of the day inside. When that is the case, doesn’t it make sense to get paid for sitting inside?

I think that I will begin putting word out for the times that I’m back in the US and not traveling to to places I haven’t visited yet that I’m free to house sit. It’s a win-win situation for all. If the person has pets (the situation with the current house sitting situation), they don’t have to place them in pet hotel while they are gone saving them the money it would cost to board the pets. Plus it’s a lot less stress on the pet since they don’t have to go to a new environment. So even if they pay me, they still come out financially ahead.

I have been thinking for awhile about beginning a non profit website (which has nothing to do with the Penny Experiment blog that I recently launched), and I think I will use any money I earn from house sitting in 2010 to go toward getting that launched (a good New Year’s Resolution). What would be wonderful is to work out a way to house sit in all those wonderful countries I want to visit – I will definitely have to look more into that. I heard rumors that there were house sitting opportunities in Los Barriles when I stayed there, so it definitely is a possibility and something I should definitely look into.

The other thing I find when I house sit is that I’m much more productive than at other times. After the time in Hawaii where I basically did the minimum amount of online work I needed to do, this is a good opportunity to catch up a bit on those things I have been wanting to do. It’s always good when it works out well for everyone involved…

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Kauai Water Spout

We saw signs for a water spout called Spouting Horn a couple of miles from the place where we were staying and decided that it would be a good walk for one of the days were were there. The walk scenery varied along the way, but some portions were beautiful:

Kauai water spout walk

When the path met the ocean, it was a shoreline scene that combined of lave and sand.

Kauai lava beach

The water spout was a hole in the lava shoreline that shot out plumes of surf when the waves came in. Even though it was a calm day with only small swells coming into shore, the spout was still pretty impressive. I’m sure that it is magnificent right before a storm and during rough seas.

Kauai water spout

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Kauai Evening Stroll

These photos were taken the first night we arrived in Kauai. When we took our evening walk, we ran into a sea lion resting on the beach:

sea lion

As can be seen, I was still feeling the effects of the plane ride over:

Jeff at beach

But the sunset didn’t disappoint…

Kuaui sunset

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Hawaiian Palm

Hard not to have a good day when you look up and this is what you see…

Hawaiian palm

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