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My Journal - Travis


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Day 250

Today, a post on potential bad habits. In the same way that working on foundations - healthy food, sleep, exercise, meditation, journaling - can create a positive upward spiral, there are some things that for me can cause a negative spiral of addiction. These seem to be sugar, caffeine, alcohol, porn, and games. I notice that if I start having more of any of these (except games since I haven't played them in 250 days!) I'll start to crave the others. They feed into each other somehow. Caffeine isn't as bad as the others, but it's easy to get carried away with it, too. This week I've noticed myself trending in this direction. It's just easy to go for cheap thrills sometimes. So, it's a good skill to be able to be aware of that and halt it before it gets out of control.

Another thing I'm thinking about today. I have always struggled with spending too much money on food. I'm starting to dial in some staple foods/recipes that I enjoy enough to eat over and over that are also healthy and relatively cheap. Now the work will be in shifting to cooking more for myself and eating out less. It's a difficult process for me, but it's one I've been slowly getting better at for months/years. This week I'm planning on making some slow-cooker Palak Dal :).


  1. I'm glad I went to the grocery store last night.
  2. I'm glad I went to BJJ last night.
  3. I'm glad I am working on eating cheaper and saving money on food.
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Day 251

Today, I'm going to ask for a raise. Probably right after I finish typing this, actually.

I am nervous. I've already kind of discussed it with my boss, but I have to talk about it with HR now and I'm going to make my case. I feel that I am significantly underpaid now, so I will be asking for a significant bump and that adds to the stress. There is a part of me that doesn't want to do it, because I am nervous and afraid. However, there is another part of me that knows that I must, and that I have no choice in the matter. Because: the alternative is to continue to feel that I'm being treated unfairly, and to know that I have done nothing to fix the situation. If I do that, then I lose respect for myself. I will minimize my own self-worth. Even if the talk goes poorly, at least I'll know that I did my best to stand up for myself, and I'll learn from the experience. I'll have acted in a way that I am proud of and have no regrets about.


  1. Choosing to ask for a raise today.
  2. Keeping up with my morning routine lately. Doing great!
  3. Keeping up with my daily commitment to coding. Also doing great!
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Really curious on how the discussion went and how you feel about it.Also have you ever read any of those "master" interview books? Perhaps they will be useful, although I havent touched one ever,just thoughts.

Edited by Guest
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Day 252

Yesterday's salary discussion went fine, and wasn't actually that stressful. Because of various layers of bureaucracy at my work place (I work in the public sector) I won't know what they'll offer me for a bit of time and it won't be approved until a few months from now. But, I've taken all the action I can and put my best foot forward, so I feel good about the situation.

I have a productive weekend planned out. I'm actually going to start applying for other jobs just to put some feelers out and get a sense of what else is out there. I think it will be good for me. As I'm going along in this process I'm gaining more confidence and a greater sense of agency in my life in terms of where I choose to live and what I choose to do in terms of work.

I'm also continuing to work on coding, and my podcast. I got some accessories for my podcast mic that should result in better sound so I'm excited about that :).

Also I made Palak Dal today: http://www.perisspiceladle.com/2013/10/25/slow-cooked-indian-lentils-and-spinach-served-over-basmati-rice-palak-chana-daal/ healthy, cheap, tasty, easy.

I'm going out swing dancing later tonight with a bunch of my friends. I'm not really into dancing but if I were better at it I'm sure I'd enjoy it more. Pushing the boundaries of my comfort zone in a good way I suppose.


  1. I recognize myself for planning productive activities this weekend and sticking to them.
  2. I recognize myself for taking the initiative to blend some of my friend groups by inviting them to hang out together.
  3. I recognize myself for sticking to healthy habits lately.
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Day 253

Short entry today.

First, new podcast episode, enjoy: https://soundcloud.com/travis-kirk-992919435/episode-4-science-and-religion

Second, I realized I have more things scheduled for today than I possibly have time for. Haha. I have approximately one hour until a social event, going to celebrate a birthday with some friends downtown. Last night I went swing/blues dancing with friends too and it was a great time. I was nervous at first but once I learned a bit it was a ton of fun.

I told myself I would look for jobs / continue coding work today but I may just not have time. I need to allow myself time to relax, too. I ended up doing 2 hours of BJJ today instead of just 1, so that threw my schedule off. So did sleeping in, since I got home later from dancing than I anticipated. All worth it though. The important thing is that I kept to my morning and evening routines regardless of what time I actually went to bed/got up at.


  1. I recognize myself for going dancing last night even though I wasn't looking forward to it. It was a really great time!
  2. I recognize myself for doing 2 hours of BJJ today even though I was only planning on 1, and with going 3x per week these last two weeks.
  3. I recognize myself for allowing myself the time I need to unwind, rather than working myself to death :).

Have a good day, everyone.


Edited by kortheo
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Day 254

Thoughts for today. Taking actions drives mental shifts, especially when the action involves new experiences. Specifically, stepping out of your comfort zone will prompt mental shifts. I picked up the idea from the Tim Ferriss show that "What's on the other side of fear?" is "Nothing" - meaning that when we step outside of our comfort zone into situations that we are nervous or afraid of, there is rarely any actual negative consequences. But, we gain the benefit of having had a new experience, which can give us new insights.


  1. Getting all my responsibilities out of the way early today.
  2. Putting myself in social situations I've been somewhat unsure of lately. (they turned out great!)
  3. Doing all the things!
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Day 255

Memorial Day! Today I'm going to visit an friend down in San Diego. She lives about 1 hour away from me. I'm probably going to spend the bulk of my day with her. Then I'm meeting Cam in SD for his birthday! Haha. Happy Birthday Dude! Excited to meet some of his friends there.

Kind of tired this morning. I've been very good about keeping my morning schedule (shower, 5 minute journal, meditate, make bed, breakfast) and my evening schedule (wind down, no screens, dental hygiene, read fiction before bed). I've slipped up on my daily coding yesterday and possibly today as well because I've been really busy with social stuff. The truth is that if I wanted to I could make time for it. But I'm enjoying the social things I'm engaged in. I will try to code today and certainly get back to it tomorrow.

I'm leaving for a trip to Hawaii for a family wedding this week. It will be challenge to maintain my healthy habits and routines while on this trip, but I will do my best. It's very important that I keep them going regardless of circumstance.


  1. I recognize myself for committing to and getting so much accomplished this weekend.
  2. I recognize myself for being vulnerable by sharing my podcast with someone who shared interest in it in real life. I don't know her that well, but hopefully she likes it haha.
  3. I recognize myself for allowing myself to sleep in a bit today :).
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Day 256

Weird day today. I couldn't sleep at all last night and ended up calling in sick rather than driving to work half-awake only to drudge through a workday and crash when I got home. Ended up sleeping until noon. It's really easy to end up feeling guilty calling in sick, especially since I had a commitment at work today today. But I realized two things - first, the sick hours are mine, I've earned them, and I am free to do with them as I please. Being too tired to function properly is a valid reason to stay home. I have no reason to feel guilty. If my organization wanted better coverage for my absence they would hire more than one of me. Second, if I restricted myself to only taking days off when something wouldn't be impacted, then I would very rarely be able to take a day off. In any case, this has some advantages - I need some time to prep for my trip this week and get chores around the house done. Thursday I leave for Hawaii with my family for a family wedding, hooray.

I've been up for a couple hours now and I'm trying to gain some momentum with this unusual day. Action cures the feeling of laziness in my experience. I had an extremely busy last few days and I need to process those experiences, probably through private journaling, since I learned a whole lot and stepped out of my comfort zone in a few ways. I'm doing laundry and once that's done, I'm going to pack for my trip. 

I need to get some more momentum going on my coding as well. I hit a wall because I'm at the end of the course I was taking and now I have to do a project - the difficulty just spiked and I'm feeling a bit lost with it. But that's not a good reason to quit.

I'm starting to feel a bit meh. Because I'm becoming more aware of the fact that I want a different job and possibly to live in a different place. But the prospect of changing those things feels huge. Doesn't mean I won't - I'm actively exploring and working toward these changes - but it will be a huge life change for me.


  1. Choosing to continue even when things are feeling tough.
  2. Allowing myself to take a day off.
  3. Looking to the future.

Have a great day everyone.

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Day 257

Today I'm back at work as I managed to sleep okay last night. It should be a relatively light day today - I just need to make sure everything is in place before I leave for a few days on my trip, and catch up on whatever items are left over from yesterday.

My perspective is beginning to broaden on what is possible in my life. Many months ago I was trapped in a very narrow headspace where I felt like I was stuck in this job and that if I left or lost it nothing else would ever work out for me. It was more than I had ever made before and I felt like an imposter. It was a very bad place to be. Now I'm beginning to see other possibilities - I have skills that are in demand and I can get another job without too much difficulty if I put my mind to it. I could take time off and travel for months if I wanted to, if I planned my expenses properly. There's no reason to stay in a job or a location if I don't want to. Critically, I am not in a job or living in a location that was chosen consciously and intentionally by me based upon my values and priorities for myself and my life. I am living where I do because I grew up here. I am in the job that I'm in because it fell in my lap and it was a good career move at the time - but now that I know what it's like day to day, maybe it's not what I want for myself if I'm honest. It's not a job that I consciously chose, I was promoted into it without warning. In doing some research, I'm realizing that hey, different cities cater to different kinds of people - the chance that I'm in the best place for me by birth is unlikely. Likewise, it can take some time and experience to find a job or career that works for you.

I'm experimenting with a notion I picked up from the Tim Ferriss Show of letting things break (I think it's called). Example - I'm accidentally going to be overbudget this year at work. Old Travis would have been super anxious about this and fretted and worried about being reprimanded. I have no idea what will happen, but while no one will be happy about it, it likely won't be that big of a deal. All I can do is minimize my spending for the remaining month of our fiscal year and wait and see what happens. It's out of my control at this point, so I'll just let it be. If I get 'in trouble' at work, I don't really care, because I know it's not a significant amount of money for the company and again, see above - I don't have to work here. And it's only one negative on my record amongst a bunch of positives. It's not going to affect my ability to get recommendations/references from coworkers going forward, etc. It's okay to let things go bad once in a while; not intentionally of course, but sometimes it's inevitable.


  1. Not worrying about my budget.
  2. Pushing outside of my old, smaller thinking.
  3. Putting effort into my vision for myself.
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Day 263

I spent the last 6 days travelling in Kauai. I went over there for a family vacation. I think it was the best trip I've ever had. I'm unhappy to be back at work. Haha. I won't dive into the specifics of the trip, but suffice to say I love that island and I'm already planning with my sister to go back in 6 months. Lots of good stuff.

This trip taught me a lot of things. It taught me that travelling isn't as difficult as I thought. My trip ticket cost me about $675, which I can afford a couple times a year if I wanted to. That would allow me to travel many places. But for Hawaii specifically, because I live in socal, I can very easily wake up in the morning, catch a 6 hour flight to hawaii, nab a rental car, and be in a hotel or rental condo or something all within the same day. Obviously money is a factor, but beyond that the actual process of going is quite easy. In my head I think I was working with the assumption that travel or vacations is challenging, prohibitively expensive, and not something you can do multiple times a year. I think I got this from my parents, and we didn't go on that many interesting trips when I was growing up. But now I'm realizing that those assumptions are false and that I can do more than I think I can. Hawaii is a pretty expensive trip too, I think. For less money I can do a lot more things in driving distance.

I met a few cool people on the trip and made a point to 'close the loop' by adding them on facebook so that they stay in my social world. I'm beginning to understand the importance of this.

I also got perspective on environment. The natural environment in Kauai is tropical and thus obviously different from socal, but it really worked for me. I loved being in that kind of place so much more than home, just because of the natural beauty alone. Just seeing the green everywhere is calming and grounding for me. The air is cleaner, too. If I want I can choose to live someplace that has a natural beauty that I appreciate. I can hear a voice in my head saying "No you can't" - I think I got this from my parents too, who kept my ambitions in check growing up. But the fact is I can! The guy who rented us our cars was originally from Santa Barbara, and moved there to start his rental car business. People do this. It's a thing. It may not be Kauai - but the point is that I can move some place I enjoy more than where I'm currently at. This is something I knew intellectually of course, but feeling it emotionally is different.

The other aspect of environment is social. Everyone in Kauai just moved at a slower pace, and it was the most chill relaxed place I've ever been to. Coming back to CA feels stressful. Obviously it's important to tell how much of this is due to the actual people/place, and how much is due to me having to work vs being on vacation, but it's still a notable aspect to be aware of.

More to come, but I have to go.


  1. Giving myself permission to dream a bit bigger.
  2. Actively working on rooting out negative mindsets that I have and replacing them with positive ones.
  3. Realizing the extent which negative mindsets I have are from my parents, and in a sense not my fault (but still my responsibility).
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 Day 264

I need to sleep. Short post.

Went to a PowerShell class today down in SD. Met some cool guys. It was nice to talk shop with other IT people, and learn new things too. The class was taught by a recognized Windows expert who has written multiple technical books, and he was a fantastic instructor.

Went to meetup today, trivia. I realized that our community is growing and that a lot of people want to do more stuff. So I really need to get to organizing new events! Possibly another bonfire and a trip to the SD fair.

New concept: Amor Fati. Love your fate. Don't waste time regretting the bad things that happen, instead love them because they are necessary for you to grow and to become who you are. I like it a lot.

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Day 267

Second day of PowerShell class today, back to a normal work day tomorrow. A lot of the content was review for me, but it also solidified my foundations and I think gave me good practice to learn to be a better scripter/programmer, and also allowed me to ask questions of a very knowledgeable person.

Scheduled three new events for the meetup group I run: This Friday we're going dancing. Next Saturday we're going to the SD Fair. The Saturday after that we're doing another beach bonfire. It's going to be an awesome month! I hadn't really been feeling the whole meetup organizer thing for like a month after the first event I did, but something clicked. I met some new members and I just generally got the sense that people wanted to do stuff together but they were really just waiting for me to step up into the role and make it happen. So I did. Looking forward to these.

Went for a run last night. I'm still working with Couch to 5k. I ran for 25 minutes straight, which is the longest I've ever run since my last real 5k, which was 32~ minutes. And this was with limited recent training. Turns out I'm still in pretty good shape (BJJ really helps) and I could probably just do another 5k at the drop of a hat if I wanted to.

Continuing to code and learn about tech. I heard several episodes of the Tim Ferriss Show featuring Kevin Kelly, a founder of Wired Magazine and futurist thinker. I might read his book The Inevitable which is about current significant trends in technology and their future. I'm still learning to code, too.

I'm continuing to work on finding simple, nutritious meals. I made Palak Dal (indian lentil and vegetable dish with spices - cheap, super healthy, super tasty, crockpot set-it-and-forget it for large batches, I could eat this every day hot or cold) and just baked some boneless skinless chicken breast. Dead simple and leaves me feeling good.

I haven't been to BJJ for like 1.5 weeks because I was out of town and then exhausted busy this week. But I consciously made a choice to not go this week in order to do other higher priority things (like scheduling these events and working on myself/coding). I need to keep doing BJJ because it's so beneficial for me, but sometimes you have to make judgement calls on what is most important to you in the moment.

Tonight I'm going to do 1 hour of Udacity coding, then do a personal life vision exercise, and then wind down the night with some reading.

Go forth and thrive everyone!

Quote I'm pondering:

"Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value." - Albert Einstein

Edited by kortheo
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One of my simplest favorit foods are cooked potato’s with spinach(spiced wit salt, pepper and nutmeg) and fried eggs(add some bacon if you miss meat in tthe dish.  Frozen spinach is fine and fast to prepare.

I like these! I will keep that in mind for next week.

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Travis does look like he appears in his new avatar. Can confirm.

Haha yeah... overdue. I should probably also update my Tinder profile pictures XD.


Day 271

So many things in life are like meditation. In meditation you inevitably get distracted, and you have to notice this and bring your awareness back to the breath. In life, with any habit or routine, it's normal to get thrown off of it. So we have to notice this, and bring ourselves back to them consciously, so that we continually practice living better.

This last week I once again had problems catching up on sleep - a common problem for me. First I was jetlagged, then I was out late with friends, and then I had insomnia. But last night I said enough was enough and I practiced good sleep hygiene and got a solid night's sleep. Back to the breath.

Yesterday I had a cool connection. I had messaged a girl on OKC who I thought had a great profile. She was set to looking for people 'anywhere', so she appeared in my connections even though she's a few hundred miles away in Mexico haha. She responded and we ended up chatting for most of the day and it was just really fun talking to her, kind of made my day. Chances are we'll never meet, but I just appreciate that the internet makes such connections possible. We are lucky to live in a cool time with powerful technology.

Lately I've been getting distracted and drawn into dopamine-heavy things. Today I'm trying to regain focus on work. My phone is on silent and in my backpack :P.

A few posts ago I mentioned morning pages. I've been doing those recently, and I'm really liking them. Starting the day with a brain dump really clears out the fog and helps with focus and concentration for me. It's a similar appeal to this journal, though here I feel some self-censorship because it's public. On a morning page, you have no audience, and can spit out whatever is truly in your head at the moment. Therapeutic.


  1. Getting to bed early last night.
  2. Getting to work 1 minute early today!
  3. Having the self-control to focus on work today instead of my phone.
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  • 2 weeks later...

Day 279

Okay. Big changes are coming.

In the work that I've been doing with Cam for the past few months, we have kept coming back to the issue of my career. I've made a lot of progress in pretty much all of my other significant life areas, but job stuff has been a source of resistance that I have struggled to get past. Of course, that probably means that it's the area that I most need to work on.

I did have one breakthrough this week though. I've finally admitted to myself that I'm unhappy in this job, and that I need to move on from it. Recognizing that in itself is huge, because it allows me to have motivation to move on from it. I'm realizing how crushing it is to live in the mindset of being trapped in one job, because the implication is that where you are is where you'll always be. Back in college there was always the awareness that it has a defined endpoint, so it was easy to commit to it knowing that end was coming. Similarly, my last job had a defined contract end date. This job is potentially 'forever' unless I actively work to move on from it. In shifting to a mindset where I realize that I will have many more jobs in the future, and coming from a place of proactively moving on when the time is right gives me control back instead of making me trapped in a scarcity mindset.

I still have a lot of professional development that I want to do - I've been learning coding for a while and I'd like to continue doing that. However, I don't have enough time/energy currently to devote to it properly while I'm still working full time. Ideally I'd like to take some time off from working to devote to this, and maybe slightly shift my job focus when I look for my next job. I am fortunate that I have no debt and have an emergency fund, so I should be able to last for about 6 months living here unemployed. I'd have to live frugally, but it's doable.

I actually don't know where I got the idea from, but on Monday I made the decision that I want to travel. I've wanted to visit China, south east Asia (Vietnam, Thailand) Australia, and New Zealand for a long time. Mostly because I'm interested in the region, but I also have some friends living in China and Australia that I want to visit. I can do my coding learning anywhere in the world so long as I have an internet connection. I'm in a perfect position to do some extended travelling because I'm young, have enough money, have nothing keeping me here, and am ready for a change. I think getting out of my routine and comfort zone and getting some perspective on my life would be perfect for me right now, especially after the massive changes I've experienced this year. The best part of it is that for a large portion of this trip it will actually be cheaper to travel than it will be for me to stay at home, which is kind of crazy. I'm naturally pretty frugal and budget conscious, so living out of a backpack for a few months appeals to me.

So the plan is to work for a few more months to save up a little more money, with the aim of quitting around early October. That will mark exactly 3 years at this job. Then, I'll head off to travel for 3-6 months. The longest I've traveled internationally thus far is 1.5 months, so 3 months is my minimum goal for myself. I think 4 months might be a sweet spot, 5-6 months if I really don't want to come back haha.

When I get back I'll have a wealth of new experience, technical ability, and personal growth, and should still have enough money to live at home for 3-4 months while I look for a job. I'll be able to act intentionally and pick a job that is a good fit for me (as opposed to the current position which was thrust upon me, without time for me to evaluate whether I would actually enjoy it).

It's an ambitious plan and sure, it may not work out perfectly. But I think I'm ready for it, and I have the discipline and ability to pull it off. We only live once, and it's time to take a step forward in my life towards what I want.

Currently reading this to prepare :).

Edited by kortheo
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