Monthly Archives: January 2016


With Sunday in the rear view mirror I feel like some reflections are in order.

I have committed very conscious energy and thought into personal well-being and mindfulness. There are only a few here who, given other options, would choose to stay here, so I feel this is applicable. Even if you aren’t deployed to DJ, I suspect most of us could gain from what I am going to share.

During a commencement address in 2005, Steve Jobs offered to reflect on death, and in the morning ask yourself, “if this were my last day alive, would I do what I’m about to do?”  After a few too many days in a row where the answer is “no” you must take action. Watch his address in its entirety and I promise you you’ll thank me, assuming, that is, you haven’t already.

In my own reflections I am torn between money and lifestyle. If I could wake up tomorrow to go tend to my animals, my crops, my woodshop or my machine shop and then make quality breakfast for my family, my answer to the above question would be yes. I don’t think I fell off the track, I’m not sure I was really ever asked the question and not wise enough to consider it deeply enough on my own. My parents might take objection to this, but I think I was raised to think that money leads to happiness, rather than happiness leading to money. What if money was no object? Watch this video to hear it put in better words, and with more inspiration. Then watch this video on what Ben Falk with Whole Systems Design is doing in Vermont. That, to me, is inspirational.

Systems engineering on the homestead and farmstead. That’s brilliant. I could burn 12 hours a day on jobs like that and my only bitch would be that there’s not enough time in the day. My conscience tells me there’s no money in it. What’s a man to do?

A friend of mine sent me the Complete Short Stories of Earnest Hemingway, a great bedside book. During the last two decades of his life, Hemingway lived at Finca Vigia, or Lookout Farm, in San Francisco de Paula, Cuba. That struck a chord for me, Lookout Farm. My ‘stead overlooks the pasture of an old dairy farm, my street is one of the most scenic farming roads in the NH seacoast, so taken literally, the name applies. More figuratively, applications of permaculture farming techniques are looking outside of the box of conventional modern day farming. What if you can improve the quality of soil by growing crops? Big Ag would say it’s impossible. Lastly, once people discover that all the food in the US is grown by 1% of the population, and that most of those 1% are above the age of 60, lookout for the revolution in the agriculture industry. (PS It’s already underway.)

Final Tip: courtesy of the Tim Ferriss. If you implement one thing into your daily routine to improve your mindfulness and quality of life. Make your bed. Easy, just do it. So now you can do two things to improve your mindfulness and quality of life. Start a Five-Minute Journal. Call attention to the world around you and take advantage of every opportunity to steer destiny in the direction you need it to go.

PS Tip: use the time you were going to read meme’s on Facebook today to follow and read all the links above. Then say thank you in the comments section.


Ringing in the New Year – Djibouti Style

As I was rinsing off in my own shower on the first day in 2016 I got the urge to share my day with the world in the hopes it will illustrate the caliber of people I’m here with.

The day truly started at the Wardroom with champagne and a packed room of mostly dudes singing to music loud enough to provide the good fortune of not being able to hear the guy singing next to you. Shortly afterward, Big Steve and I crashed a Gunny and Metoc date at Subway. Yes, Subway is pretty much always open.

Sleep in. Day off. Well, for most of us.

I eased over to Green Beans to work on my latest entrepreneurial venture (Ball Caps) and to take advantage of the generous “Cup ‘O Joe” program. I agreed to meet some dudes for lunch at noon and on my hike back I crossed paths with Braxton, he was burning some time with a sunny stroll around Camp.

The lunch party grew pretty quickly as we all seemed to inadvertently have the same idea so we reserved a table for 6 at the finest restaurant in town. Following chow I had some downtime to read before hitting the gym for a quick kettlebell and ab workout. PVKeith and I had a Frisbee date at 1800 before my jogging date with Streak and Gunny at 1900. On my walk home I crossed paths with the Gioe and Mack Attack and agreed to meet up in the minutes following at the galley.

Blah blah, I zoom through that to get to the point. The conversations about what all the dudes are doing on the first day of the year! How we spend our days, is of course, how we spend our lives. (-Annie Dillard)

  • Gunny wrote a budget and wrote down his New Year’s resolutions, which include fitness, scheduled random acts of kindness, and personal and professional growth.
  • PVKeith spent his time on the horn with friends and family and did a lump sum deposit into his IRA, maxing out his annual contributions before most of you even knew it was 2016.
  • Streak took one for the team and hit the office. Our Colonel is a Brit and, for boring reasons, someone needs to be in the office with him. Thanks Streak!
  • Big Steve has 4 youngsters so he took the available time to tune into his family.
  • At the gym I crossed Tiny, Smiley and Mudder. Use the time to get fit.
  • I wish I could say something for Mack Attack and Gioe, but I guess someone has to be the outlier. Oh wait, they met up for a run before dinner, you’re off the hook fellas.

I hope that illustrates the point that the dudes who have become my next best thing to family are a motivated group and a positive influence.

Ok, that concludes the hug show. We have a GWOT to win.