Coffee and this blog have always been inseparably tied.
I used to be a machine. I used to roll out of bed, make a pot of coffee, pour myself a giant cup, sit down at the laptop and just grind. 8 hours? No. Try 10-12+. I’d just drink coffee and type, drink coffee and type, drink beer and type.
There was something about the rhythmic movement of reaching for a drink and taking a gulp that flowed with the beat of the writing process. Writing is like lifting weights for the mind. When you sit down to write something you rarely just blast it all out like you’re running some kind of ultra marathon. No, you shoot in spurts, taking breaks in between. The mind works better when it is used in reps and sets. Each sentence is a rep, each little break is a set.
When these breaks are spent reaching for a drink of coffee, I rest but I’m still engaged. Without coffee, I try to force myself to do too many reps at once, and my mind rebels, desperately wanting a break and coming up with some dumb reason as to why I need to go to some website / app and divert my attention somewhere else.
Whatever was the case, I stopped drinking coffee a couple of years ago … and what happened? I basically stopped writing. Granted, I was mostly focused on video and generated most of my income from this, but my writing projects were still profitable and should have provided enough personal satisfaction to keep doing. But I just couldn’t do it without coffee … I’d sit down … and then start doing something else … or would just get up and go do something else.
I used to wake up each morning scrapping my feet against the turf, rearing to go when the gate (my eyes) opened and shoot across to wherever my laptop was to begin the long day of writing and making money online. I loved it. My wife hated it. She wanted my attention but I just wanted to tell stories. And it worked out for me.
Throughout my career, I thought this extreme productivity was because of me — my dedication, my ability to endure long periods of sitting in a chair, my drive to be successful. I thought I was something special; I thought I had superior focus. The reality was that I was simply drugged out of my mind. I probably drank around two liters of coffee per day, and it got to the point that I’m not sure if the coffee was helping my writing addiction or the writing was just an excuse to keep drinking coffee. I even have a special category on this blog dedicated to coffee.
This probably begs the question why I stopped drinking coffee to begin with? It obviously filled a professional purpose, I enjoyed drinking it, and it’s supposed to be good for me.
I also had a bit of a romance with the stuff:
In Ukraine, coffee is sold almost literally everywhere, and I’d just walk around drinking it all day long.
I discovered these cool stainless steel one cup drip coffee makers in Cambodia.
I wrote about the history of coffee in Singapore.
I made a coffee filter out of a sock in China.
I explored getting free coffee refills in Iceland.
In Prague, I ordered the same cup of coffee at the same cafe so many times that they stopped taking my order.
I investigated the culture of drinking coffee, or lack thereof, in Guatemala.
I published many posts about getting cheap coffee on the road.
Even some other contributors have written about their romance with coffee on this blog.
This is all to say that coffee has been a big part of the Vagabond Journey experience, and it is something that is now … gone.
The reason is that I stopped drinking coffee was that I realized I was addicted to it … and that the amount that I drank would eventually have a detrimental health impact. On numerous occasions I found myself in countries without strong coffee drinking traditions ,where coffee is scare, expensive, or Nescafe… and I just got tired of having to search and pay for the stuff in order to function normally. Then I started becoming aware of how much money I was spending for it. Even in the US — the global ground zero for coffee culture — I was dropping around $10 on my addiction.
I realized that I was physiologically tied to needing to acquire something and pay money for it and I didn’t like it. It felt weak and I thought I could better spend that time and money elsewhere.
A few years later I think that may have backfired.
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