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Like a happy wandering monk that will say hello to your dog

About Me

Who am I

I’m an author (check out YOU ARE NOT A ROCK here), meditation teacher, and I focus on helping individuals and organizations successfully make and sustain complex changes. I worked with some of the world’s largest, and most innovative companies as a business strategy consultant for more than 10 years. That work informed what I do in mental health and was a huge support with my own journey of recovery from several mental illness diagnoses. Now I have the immense privilege to work with a community of people around the world, helping them use design thinking and change management tools to navigate the difficult changes involved with recovering from mental illness and building great mental health and fitness. 

Mark Huashan 1914 Creative Park
Sitting by some tenacious trees at the Huashan 1914 Creative Park in Taipei
IDEO HQ health design workshop Med X
A pilgrimage to IDEO HQ in 2015 to co-design a better mental healthcare system

How I got here

I’ve been an exchange student in Japan, driven a support trailer across Australia for the World Solar Challenge, filmed and edited an Arabic-language documentary on youth unemployment in Cairo, and I was South Korea’s first foreigner homeroom teacher (briefly, until the press found out). I traveled the world by land (mostly train but, once, a surly donkey) and sea (freighter). For the past few years, I’ve focused on improving healthcare systems. I ran a peer support charity, was an ePatient scholar for Stanford’s Medicine X, helped assess healthcare technology and write anxiety and OCD treatment quality standards for Ontario’s healthcare system. I’m passionate about how we improve systems. And there is no bigger systems change than the one the world now faces with climate change.

Where I'm going

I don’t know precisely where I’m going in a literal sense. But in terms of direction, I know I want to help people fall in love with the world, and the people in it, and the cultures that thrive here, and the places that give us so much. We live on a perfect planet surrounded by a lifeless void. The changes we need to embark on, and the difficulties we’ll face as communities, are similar to the challenges an individual learns to handle when they’re working on recovery from mental illness and cutting out self-destructive compulsions. A major support with leaving behind the compulsions, is to see a different way to interact with ourselves and the world. This project is about exploring those different ways of moving through life. 

You Have Enough - Thich Nhat Hanh calligraphy at Son Ha Plum Village
Thich Nhat Han's helpful reminder you have enough, at Son Ha, Plum Village, France

Connect

I have a very active, engaged community of over 50,000 followers from around the world, spread across several social media channels. Click the badges below to connect on whichever platform is best for you:

How I Travel

There could always be some unexpected adventures, like that time I got removed from a train in China and had to hitch a ride on a dirt bike through the jungle to the Vietnam border, but here are some things you can expect this Guide to focus on:

Eating

I love taking cooking classes and visiting markets in new places. It’s an amazing opportunity to learn and nourish. My hobbies are very active–I always factor in gym locations when I pick a place to stay–so I need to fuel that. When I’m not cooking, it’s either the cheapest street food, or the fanciest restaurant in town. At home, I cook vegetarian and mostly vegan. I’m more flexible at restaurants, but I’ll be sharing tips on how you can access great plant-based options on the move.

Moving

How we move in the world has a major impact on the environment and it shapes the experience of any journey. When we move more slowly, our transportation isn’t just an inconvenient logistical issue, but it becomes part of the experience. We’ll explore how to travel well, from hikes to trains to freighters to planes, and how to pack for it. I’m a dedicated member of Team No Checked Bags, so I pay close attention to each piece of clothing and gear I pack. Reducing my life to carry-on luggage will test that!  

Meditating

One reason for becoming a digital nomad is that it frees me up to pursue my meditation practice more rigorously. It’s easier to sit for a three-month silent retreat when you’re not paying rent in one of the world’s most expensive cities. My practice is in the Soto Zen tradition but not everybody likes to stare at a wall all day without moving, so I’ll explore various traditions and share those with you. How to bring mindfulness into our day-to-day journeys will shape much of the content in the Guide.

CHECK OUT MY FAVORITE STUFF IN THE WORLD

Click below for an evolving post of my favorites, from the best snack to the best place to canoe.

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