Music on the edge

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Summertime in Brooklyn, mustard on your lip. I knew I loved you by the bottom of the fifth.

There is that moment of impact when a song starts playing, you hear a few chords, the downbeat drops in and your mind naturally travels somewhere else.

All cognitive friction is gone. You feel a rush go through your body and for a brief moment everything is tranquil. Your mind is absolutely focused on it’s subtle chord progressions and rich tapestry of words that have now formed a detailed picture.

For three minutes you share that composite character’s experience.

I’m sitting in East Nashville right now, my head is with David Nail in Brooklyn at a Cyclones game, sharing his perfectly detailed heart break. His life is becoming a blur, it’s the end of summer and mascara is running down his lover’s eyes as she ends their relationship.

Isn’t music bloody awesome?

This post was written on October 18, 2013 at Barista Parlor

Drawing from railroads and Kerouac in Nashville

I have been exploring Nashville for just under three months now, lending my own moments to the narrative of the city.

It is a beautiful place, impossible to capture on a single list: micro-breweries, music venues, parks, coffee, custom denim, exquisite BBQ and musicians on Broadway that could be easily mistaken for vagabonds.

The spaces I am drawn to are mostly open, splashed with remnants of 1950s Americana, industrial design and caffeine. They are throwbacks to images described in a Kerouac novel, carved out with their unique individual look and feel.

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imogene willie is a converted petrol station doused with antique motorcycles and a weathered leather couch. The designs speak to rustic Americana, constructed and handmade in-house, each pair custom made to fit the individual human figure.

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Barista Parlor

Barista Parlor is a warehouse space that has been gutted. The roll up doors still operate in the summer, the concrete floor has been sanded (the cracks still apparent) and the the walls covered with worn American flags and mounted deer heads. With long wooden planks acting as tables, Barista Parolor was not built for customers to sit en masse over a Sunday brunch. They also adhere to the conventions of Williamsburg coffee, more commonly known as  known as the 6oz Stumptown flat white.

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Michael Burcham”s Office

Michael Burcham office at the EC is covered in industrial design. While he is a figure that represents the “new” Nashville in the business world, his desk by Railyard Studios is customised and sourced from rail road iron and timber, a subtle salute to an industry that helped build the South.

Committing to the curve

When I decided to pack everything into a suitcase and head to Nashville for a few months, I took an educated risk. I thought it would be an experience that I would walk away from with some life lessons learned.

I didn’t expect to fall in love with the city or the lifestyle of building ideas. Within the first week, I felt like I had arrived.

The reality of life outside a large corporation is confronting on a few levels. There is never a guaranteed paycheck. You have moments of bringing in large sums of money and moments where you experiment, iterate and fail hard (and often). This requires a serious adjustment to your mental model and no choice but to grow thick skin very quickly.

When you commit to embracing a curve in your career, you also commit to the unwavering instinct that everything will fall into place because the common thread seems to be that innovation and outcomes are spurred when one’s back is against the wall.

When I return to Melbourne next week I’ll be heading back to family, friends, amazing coffee and the city I call home. Logic would have me settle there for a while. Fortunately I left logic at the gate when I boarded the flight back in July.

I am in a unique position where I have nothing but time on my hands, so committing to a bootstrapped life isn’t crazy. I am most tranquil when I am delivering a meaningful piece of work and drinking coffee. The good news is that this feeling is not tied to any location. It just requires the attack pack, Macbook Air and Lucchese boots.

Committing to the curve is a scary prospect, but it yields a payoff that I’m not sure can be found in Melbourne right now.

Packing for range and agility: the attack pack and the mothership

I have enjoyed decluttering over the winter. Now that I am heading overseas for a while, I want to travel smarter and a little lighter. The idea of the attack pack and mothership was then sketched out.

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The approach: the attack pack and the mothership, ensuring maximum range and agility.

The mothership is the Rimowa Salsa Air. I picked this up in New York last year. At 2.9 kgs it’s super light and a multi wheel, making it awesome for airports and longer travels on foot. It has maximum range, acting as a hub for my belongings on the long haul of the trip. I won’t be packing my entire wardrobe, but I am no digital nomad so a suitcase is necessary. In Nashville and San Francisco it will be great to have access to some fancier threads and when I’m on the move it can be stored in a train station locker or with a friend.

The attack pack is the Crumpler Tondo Outpost, 25 litres with maximum agility. The pack is small enough to carry my day to day working gear: laptop, camera and notebook and expands enough to last me on shorter trips with the essential stuff like clothes, travel items and The Alpine Review.

I will continue to refine as I get ready to fly out Sunday, so if you have any thoughts please share them with me now.

Three days sans GHD

This week I am heading up to Sydney for three days.

In the spirit of going without (and against my female instincts), I will be traveling with my backpack and laptop bag. No carry-on luggage this time.

The following items will be included:

  • Leather jacket
  • Two tops
  • Skirt
  • T-shirt
  • Jeans
  • Heels
  • Thongs
  • Dr Dre Beats headphones
  • Lenovo T410 laptop
  • Toiletries

No outfit variables. No iPad. No GHD hair straightener. No books. Just 7kgs.

The goal? To see if less luggage equals less drama.

The logic? If I remove the mental weight of needing to cater for every potential situation then I can just feel focused and have a rad time while traveling/working. I can also save on some major packing time.

I can always go shopping, right?