Discover more from The Grappler's Diary
On the Road - Jiu-Jitsu Edition
"Nothing behind me, everything ahead of me, as is ever so on the road."― Jack Kerouac
In late February, I moved out of my apartment in Chicago.
With the help of my mom and dad, I moved all my things into their garage for temporary storage, and I set off on a bit of a journey.
Since then, I’ve been to New York, England, Ireland, Austin, Pennsylvania, Washington DC, and most recently, San Diego. Next week, I’ll be off to Toledo and then to Austin again immediately following. At this point, it’s too many days on the road to count.
I’m not sleeping on the street, but I have been living like a bit of a drifter recently.
Here are the most important things that I’ve learned about life from nearly 4 months of not belonging anywhere.
Traveling is not relaxing.
Vacation (or “holiday” as my English friends call it) can be wonderful and relaxing, but the process of getting to a new place is anything but.
There’s nothing relaxing about sitting in a Boeing 747 for 5 and a half hours. There’s nothing relaxing about eating airport food and paying $25 for it. There’s nothing relaxing about spending your day off of training driving for 8 hours to another new and exciting place.
A trip — the act of spending time exploring a new place or resting in a new place — can be exhilarating, life-changing, and beautiful, but it’s not a relaxing activity. I have learned to stop treating it as such.
I used to love traveling, but after 4 months of doing it non-stop, I’m kind of ready to be done for a while. I feel like I’m aging.
I feel like I want a home.
Obsessing about optimizing yourself is like buying a giant truck for your tiny weenie.
I wonder if the guys who are super into Andrew Huberman's content are happy.
The more I travel, the less biohacking and human optimization make sense to me.
Even as a competitive athlete who’s interested in getting myself to perform optimally, there’s something existentially flawed in the obsession with optimizing your optimizations. It seems to be rooted in anxiety — scarcity.
At some point, you just gotta say “fuck it” and get after it.
It seems like being obsessed with optimizing yourself is a sign you’re afraid that you aren’t good enough as you are. The best Jiu-Jitsu athletes I’ve met and trained with aren’t usually measuring their sleep and tracking every gram that goes in their bodies. The best guys just do the work they need to do to get the job done.
Tracking everything is for dorks who probably won’t get there anyway.
You should be interested in improving yourself and maintaining your health the best you can, but there comes a point where optimization is actually just compensation in disguise.
Friends are everywhere, you just have to find them.
If you do Jiu-Jitsu for a long time, you start to realize that you can make friends everywhere.
If you only travel to places for short periods of time, you will mostly just make filler friends. I did this for a time.
If you start spending a significant amount of time in new places — as I’ve been doing for the last few months, you will start to make better and deeper friendships.
I’ve never really been the kind of person who makes deep friendships right away, and I always had a lot of anxiety about moving to a new place and getting stuck with no friends.
What I’ve found is that if you just keep putting yourself out there, you’ll eventually find your tribe — wherever you go.
Spend money to make money.
Over the last few months, I’ve spent a lot of money on different things.
Whether that’s trips, writing courses, books, food, date nights with MJ — more on her soon :) — or those pesky car problems I keep having, I’ve spent more than $10k these last few months trying to “live my best life”.
Turns out my best life costs a bit more than the life I was living before.
However, in addition to spending money on these things, I’ve also made a lot of money as well. I’ve gotten new opportunities for writing, I’ve taught some seminars, and I’ve been slowly working on my digital Jiu-Jitsu platform on Patreon.
When I was living in my not-so-cozy studio in Rogers Park, I was terrified to spend money and invest in myself. Now, I see it as a necessary step for growth.
When you’re on the road and away from familiarity, you’re forced to make your money work for you.
No matter where you go, you will never get there.
At the beginning of this journey, I really thought that I’d find something I’d been looking for. I thought I’d solve some existential, physical, and emotional things I’ve been struggling with.
I was right, but only partially.
I’ve found a lot, but I’ve also realized that there's no peace in travel.
I’ve found romance, my physical and mental limits, great company and incredible food, agony and isolation, laughter, and dark depression. But even still after all of this, I don’t feel I’ve arrived anywhere. No matter how many times I arrive at a new airport or get another stamp on my passport, I’ve never felt like I’ve “made it”.
That’s because there’s no peace in the open road. Travel, adventure, quests, and accomplishments are not enough to quell the ambitious mind.
That’s a lesson that was drilled into me my whole life that I am trying to unlearn.
No matter where I go, what I win or lose, how many people read my article, or whatever the heck else happens, the only way to find peace is in my head and in my heart.
There’s always somewhere to go — and I’m going to keep going — but I don’t need to go anywhere to be happy.
“Maybe that’s enlightenment enough: to know that there is no final resting place of the mind, no moment of smug clarity. Perhaps wisdom … is realizing how small I am, and unwise, and how far I have yet to go.” — Anthony Bourdain
I read Jack Kerouac’s On the Road in the same manner in which it was written and in the same manner in which I’ve lived my life these last few months — furiously, in one sitting, and without a real understanding of the consequences.
That being said, I don’t want to feel this way. I don’t want to live a life that’s constantly full of movement and chaos. It was not my goal to live this life.
I don’t want to be “on the road” forever. I want to find a place that feels more and more like home.
I believe I’m close to something, but only time will tell.
For now, it’s time to pack my bag and hit the road again.
This week’s premium article (2 more coming next week!)
To support The Grappler’s Diary as it continues to grow across all platforms, check us out on Instagram and consider subscribing to the premium section of this newsletter. Your first 2 weeks are free with the button below.
Thanks for reading another issue of The Grappler’s Diary. If you enjoyed this post, share it with friends!