Hello, my name is Zev. I’m a writer and world traveler. Originally from Northern Michigan, I have lived and taught in Perth, Australia, Gyeongju, South Korea. and Jazan, Saudi Arabia. My debut novel The New Punk is available on Amazon. You can catch me on the road, wherever life takes me.
Home used to be a place to avoid. Now, it’s a place to return. For the longest time I thought why waste money on a plane ticket to somewhere I’ve spent most my life when I could go somewhere new and fascinating. The thing with getting older, it changes you. You spend your earlier years looking at those older and saying no, that’ll never be me, but then you arrive to that very same age and you’re completely content with being that older, wiser, and calmer person.
The idea of home for me is the soothing solitude that comes from listening in on a conversation you don’t have to participate in. There are no expectations. It’s both familiar and comfortable, yet different because I’m different.
I no longer see home through the lens of youth, but rather through the eyes of a seasoned traveler, who left, came back, left again, and will continue to come back because in a constantly changing world we all need something to return to. The past will always remain that one thing that alludes us and sometimes the closest we can ever get to it is coming home.
People often ask how I afford my lifestyle. It’s not a matter of affording, but rather prioritizing. What works for me is that I’m a minimalist. I don’t own anything. No property. No house. No furniture. Not even a car. I can literally pack everything I own into a few bags.
On top of that, I prioritize experiences over possessions. Create do-now lists instead of bucket lists. Ask what I truly want out of life and then plan and take steps in that direction. Investing in myself is a top priority. On a daily basis I try to ask myself: What can I learn? How can I grow? What will I want to look back on while sitting on my deathbed? Is what I’m doing now going to matter 50, 100 years from now? And if not, then why worry about it at all?
Get on a scooter and go. No GPS. No map. Only an island to explore the old-fashioned way: by intuition and gut and the occasional road sign. Sure, the way is bumpy at times and more than once you get turned around or make a wrong turn and yeah, a tour guide would have gotten you there a hell of a lot quicker and more efficiently, but when everything is not handed to you, you tend to appreciate the accomplishment of getting there a lot more. So, explore. Get lost. Take chances. Make mistakes. What you discover along the way will be far greater than what you can ever hope to find by taking the direct route.
Truth reveals itself in layers, not all at once because that would be too much to bear. And when it finally hits you, it is complete, leaving doubts as immaterial.
Regret is something we carry, not as a weight but a reminder. So that when the times comes we may get it right and do better.
Fate means everything or it means nothing, all depending on your perspective. Either way, death is our shared destiny. It’s the getting there that counts.
Love is as simple as a good person willing to put up with your bullshit. The question is, are you willing to do the same?
The best part of vacation is losing track of which day it is. Having no plans. Doing whatever you want when the moment arises. The future coming at you in one-second increments. Time doesn’t exist. Only life does. That’s true freedom. We take pictures to capture these fleeting feelings so that later they can serve as a reminder, or catalyst, that momentarily returns us to that place where we truly felt alive.
But then . . . it’s back to reality. Our jobs. Our bills. Our norms. Our daily existence of punching in and punching out. We are good at taking pictures but not always being the pictures. Instead of imagining the life we should live, we should embody it
Shedding old skin can be hard. All births are painful and messy. The new, in its excitement at being born, tears and rips and cares less for what came before, while the old holds tight, clinging to familiar ground. Dylan said it best: he not busy being born is busy dying.
I often find myself stuck in the middle. Not entirely the old person and not yet the new. Feeling the pull of both future and past. Unsure of myself, I feel lost, confused, and lonely. In a lot of ways, I am like water. One moment hot, the next cold. High, low. Sinking, floating. Heavy, light. A single, solitary drop, yet part of an entire body, a whole ocean. Liquid. Solid. Gas. A shapeless being, taking form and filling into whatever environment I currently find myself in, constantly shifting and changing yet under the illusion of being in only one place.
With a little over 24 hours in Singapore, I had only one goal in mind: follow in the footsteps of Anthony Bourdain and try some of the same culinary dishes from his show Parts Unknown—a trip I had planned months before his death.
His untimely passing shook me for strictly selfish reasons. I was sad because I knew I’d never get the chance to meet him in person or share a burger and drink at my favorite hometown dive or have a roundabout conversation about life. It hit home because it was yet another artist who had lost their battle with the abyss; a struggle I’m all too familiar with. But unlike most, I don’t have a negative connotation when it comes to suicide. I see at as a way of going out on your own terms. When you’re ready, you’re ready. Neil said it best, “better to burn out than fade away.” Read More
Sometimes you have to venture and see yourself with the stars regardless of gravity or the obstacles along the way or whether or not you’ll ever get there because it’s not the getting there that counts, but rather the being there, in the moment along the way. The journey has all the plot points and action, but it is the lull—those moments of stillness and unexpected silences—where most of life’s intricacies are revealed and we find that most sought after inner peace.
I am often torn between the stillness of the present and the thrill of movement, but when there is no going and only being, it’s easy to take in the endless barrage of motions swirling around me and to be content with having no other place to be. It is in these quiet moments that I feel somewhat invincible, while at other times I feel that at any given moment I could shatter and splinter into a gazillion pieces. Life both moves and destroys me. Inspires and frightens. Uplifts and flattens. Exalts and humbles. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Earlier this year, I quit one of the most toxic work environments I have ever experienced and I can tell you firsthand, there’s nothing more liberating than walking away from something that no longer brings a sense of meaning or joy to your life. When you stop going through the motions, you start becoming the motion. Your life picks up speed, builds momentum.
Often, we have a long-distance relationship with ourselves and the only way to bring us back to our true inner selves is to disturb the universe and listen to that voice that screams for you to quit that passionless job, leave that unfulfilling partner, and risk everything for the sake of feeling alive again.
True freedom is living your personal truth. Doing the path that is right, not the one that’s convenient. We tend to forget we are in control of our own lives and come up with a thousand different excuses to hold ourselves back. The timing isn’t right. Don’t have the money. What if I fail? Well, what if you don’t? If you’re a lion, then be a lion and roar.
There is something about the unknown that is both thrilling and terrifying. As a child, I longed for the familiarity of home, and dreaded change, that great disrupter. Slight changes—new scenery, staying the night at a friend’s house, or an impromptu adventure—were always welcome, but lasting change, one hinting at forever or no turning back, was the monster sleeping beneath my bed at night. Divorce. Death. Moving. Growing up. Those fears were real and far more frightening than any scary movie.
As I’ve grown older, I find it easier to embrace change. Experience breeds confidence. But even now, whenever I embark on a new journey, I still feel a sense of my old childhood fears. What am I doing? How will this turn out? Taking the first step into the unknown is always wobbly at best and all you can ever hope for is that no matter how old you are or where you end up in life, you’ll always be willing to take the path closest to your heart, not the one closest to comfort.
That you will dare. Get back up from your failures and defeats and endure. That, when faced with unfamiliar crossroads and no easy direction, you’ll step out of the ordinary and discover something new about yourself. And when you stand atop that beautiful mountain you once feared climbing, you’ll look back and think to yourself, what was all the fuss about?