Just a heads up – as part of the new Random Embassy Club (more on that here), I’m making some changes to my newsletter. **Are you not already on the list? In that case, sign up here.**
It was a tough decision. I had to ask myself, why are you starting a new project? Why create more media? What will you contribute? What do you have to say that isn’t already being said? Why now?
In many ways this are questions any creative person asks themselves at some point in the lives. If you are like me, you will always find a million reasons not make your work. To keep quiet. To doubt the validity of a project and to pull the plug at the last minute. This is a mistake.
I could say I was sick of Facebook, sick of Instagram. That I wanted to make a more personal connection with people. That I wanted to experiment with more accessible and deep forms of media like podcasts and longer writing. That I wanted to challenge myself to see if I could set something up that would support itself financially.
While these motivations are true, the real reason I’m starting this project is that I had no choice. If I look back on what I’ve built over the years, all the best things came to life by simply taking the first step. Then having the discipline to take the second (often the hardest part).
It is unusual for any path to be clear from the outset. Despite this fact, we’ve got to set our aim at something and start walking towards it. Once we do this, the way will become clearer, and we learn how to adapt to new challenges and overcome obstacles we never thought we’d be able to. There is nothing to lose by keeping this open-ended yet single minded approach to life.
You’ve probably heard the cliche thoughtless people with lame ideas making all the noise and getting all the attention, while more the more thoughtful of us doubt ourselves, despite the fact that whats we have to say might bring something worthwhile into the world.
Well, it’s a cliche because it is true. I didn’t want to be that person. Instead, I said let’s take a small risk, put yourself out there. Don’t be afraid of failing and see what happens. More often than not, with a little patience and thought, you’ll be more than happy with what occurs. In the best case, someone else will actually learn something from what I have to say.
So…what’s up with the Random Embassy newsletter?
You will find the new Random Embassy newsletter in your inbox more regularly. Look for it every other week or so.
As part of this experiment with a new type of newsletter based independent publishing, I’m going to cover a lot of different topics in the newsletter. You’ll see new work that I’m making, both personally and professionally. I have some advice on how to close the distance between those two things. I’ll look at my path as an independent creative person, and offer insight into how to face challenges as a travelling freelancer and simultaneously thoughtfully build a small business.
I’ll talk about how and why to travel. I’ve spent a good part of the past 18 years of my life going to different cities around the world, travelling by boat, plane, train, car, van, camel and horse. Needless to say, besides taking more photographs than I can possibly ever look through, I think I’ve learned a few things that are worth passing on.
I’ll talk a lot about cities, particularly Philadelphia. Through stories about where I grew up, both fictional and non-fictional, you’ll get some insight into how I think about some of the big challenges cities face, how cities are changing, and what urban spaces might look like in the future.
I’ll also write about language learning, personal finance, and fitness.
I used to think that I had to keep all of these different things that I was interested in or doing separate. I wanted to have one website for my artwork, one for my client work, and yet another for my writing. Besides the inherent extra data entry work this created, the truth is none of our lives are like that.
They are not the rarefied curated spaces of instagram or tumblr. Thinking and viewing the world in a siloed way like this makes us weak. It separates us from reality and the opinions of others that might not be in line with our own. It robs us of vital feedback from reality. It tells us what we are doing is that only thing that matters and worse, that we are always right.
The most interesting artists are interacting with the world, pushing their ideas out into the wild, and taking a big risk in doing so. I am much more interested in these places where things collide with each other, for better and for worse, enabling us to discover new ways of interacting with each other the world. Consider this an invitation to join me in the process.
You’re just not into it
No problem! If you would to keep receiving this newsletter, just stay on the list. If the idea of hearing me talk about travel, publishing, design, tips on running a small business, riding through the Mongolian desert in a Russian UAZ van, or making a spreadsheet to keep track of your finances on a weekly basis sounds terrible, you can opt out here.
Help Me Produce More Projects. Become a member of the Random Embassy club.
Finally, the newsletter itself will always be free. But making content like podcasts, books, magazines, installations and newsletters takes time and costs money. I’m not looking to make a profit here, but I am hoping to partially offset the cost of these projects that I believe simply have to exist.
Your support in any format helps me find the time to make all of these projects better. Please take a look at the membership page.