Just fresh back from London where it looks like my new agency will be opening an office, (more on the agency a bit soon), and with only a week at home here in Boulder, I’ve decided to make a major and life-changing move — I’ve packed my apartment up, shipped and stored what matters most to me, sold what matters least and I am officially a nomad (read: Jetsetter). I’m feeling both terrified and a sense of freedom I’ve never really experienced before now. I’m off early tomorrow morning to Taiwan (didn’t get enough of Taipei those night markets last time around), followed by some downtime and exploring in Bali and Java with my brothers. After a few weeks in Indonesia, I hop back into NYC for a couple of speaking engagements, into London for a handful of meetings and from there the adventure continues — I’ll be living and planning my next stop (or not planning) on the go. I will live in hotels, friends couches, and hopefully, the guest bedrooms of rich and famous. My mission is to explore, meet new people, find new dynamic content for this site and aggressively build all of my businesses around the globe. Maybe I’ll even put up a poll and let you all decide where I should go next. I know I don’t often use this blog for personal reflection anymore but thought many of my readers would actually like to know what I’m up to as this site grows and widens the lens with a great set of new writers from around the world. As always, if you have any tips, contacts, etcetera in any of the places I’m going or want to engage me for some consulting/speaking in any of the places mentioned above, please feel free to drop me a line.
During our last stop through Taipei on our way back to the USA we spent an evening checking out Kwang Hua Market, of the most famous night markets in Taipei. Pure insanity– words can almost not describe the hustle and bustle, streets packed with vendors, shoppers, animals, and what seemed like every possible thing in the world for sale at dirt cheap prices. Vendors sold fake everything, from Calvin Klein underwear for $2, suits, polo shirts, fake watches, cell phones, sneakers– jeans and t-shirts literally lined the sidewalks. Even more interesting though was definitely the food– I’m not even quite sure what some of it was, although I could clearly make out the pigeon feet, liver, stinky tofu (a Taiwanese delicacy served with goose blood), snails, neck of some creature, and a handful of other body parts I wouldn’t even ever think of preparing on a grill, let alone eat! Every once in a while the street went into a panic as panhandlers and stands rolled their carts as fast as possible into side streets, hiding themselves behind dumpsters and other shops– which we later learned meant police were close. The experience was really something else, the stench of cooking meat, body odor, and truck loads of fresh vinyl fake Gucci handbags was strong enough to make you wheezy. If you have a chance to check out any of the night markets in Taipei, check them out– just make sure to scrub clean after. It was like a maze, a 10 ring circus, we could have walked around for hours and barely scratched the surface. Some more pictures of food and such from the street after the jump. I think the last picture is forever ingrained in my memory.
We hustled around Guanghua Market and the surrounding streets for a few hours before our flight out of Taipei. Electronics were definitely less expensive, laptops, monitors, audio equipment, etc. We spent a lot of our time in shops looking at cell phones. All the shops were cash-only, and as a ‘white guy’ it was pretty clear I was a foreigner and they raised there prices noticeably so. A little bit of bargaining and things were back down to reasonably good deals though. Everyone was armed with calculators to show shoppers prices–which made it easy to punch in a few numbers and bring it back to American dollars for sanity purposes. The real deals for electronics seemed to be on the no name products, the knock off mp3 players, iPod look a likes and Asian branded cell phones I’d surely never heard of (nor could I read). Shops were mostly divided into new and second hand equipment. I almost picked up a remarkably cheap unlocked Nokia 8800, but lost my chance when I opted to keep searching for a better deal and ran out of time. We did grab a few nice GSM phones and if we had a longer time there I think we probably would have gone crazy exploring these affordable markets!
I’m leaving on Monday morning for the next couple of weeks to Asia. I’ll be hunting around Taipei for a day and then on to Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto. I’m planning on hunting for everything from restaurants, stores to shops and studios off the beaten path. As always when I travel, if you have tips, must see stores, obscure but great places, restaurants, art galleries, clubs, you want to setup a meeting, show me your studio, or anything else– drop me a line!
This trip wouldn’t be possible without the air travel support of Malaysia Airlines, the luggage from Tumi and photo equipment from Pentax. Stay tuned for more from the other-side of the world next week.
Be sure to check the site on Monday, I’ve got a very, very special surprise coming. My team and I are packing our bags, Asia here we come!