68 Comments

Hey Substack friends:

Who are you?

- I’m C.A. Green, an Orthodox Jew steeped in movie references and previous LSD trips. It’s been 8 years, 1 marriage, and 3 kids since I last took acid and I’m still reeling from finding G-d and integrating Him in my life. I’m a ball of uncertainty and trust, more questions than answers, and a dreamer with roots in responsibility.

What season are you in your life?

- It feels like fall. Everything is kind of dying but not in a depressing way. It’s more like it’s dropping leaves of my past and shedding colors from days bygone. Winter is coming but I’m hoping that the steely white and gray will come across distinguished and not death like.

What popular food do you despise?

- Corn. This is one of the craziest things that I hate, but I can’t stand the color, smell, taste, and the fact that it comes out whole. You know what I mean.

Where is home for you?

- Home is where my family is. It’s a feeling, a fleeting feeling of being comfortable enough to take off my socks and put my feet up, regardless of if I’ve trimmed my nails or not. We live in NJ but we’ve lived in 4 different places in the last 5 years so where’s home? Wherever we hang up our mezuzahs.

Is there a place you’ve never been to but feel like you belong?

- This is more of an ethereal place. I don’t think there’s a physical place that I can relate to with this but I’m still looking for my ‘place’ in the world. I want to fit in with my whole self but that could be under a rock, in an alcove, or somewhere in the stars. Location TBD.

What brought you here?

- I want to continue to express my creativity through writing, through work, through conversation, and through exploration. I want to be connected to like minded individuals who want to grow into better people, better writers, better artists, and better overall.

What are you currently procrastinating on?

- Writing everyday. I’m looking for work to support my family and have benefits but I also want to write everyday to get better at what I’m doing here, on Substack. I want to have my writing pay the bills but I’m secretly lazy (self talk needs improvement too) and I have to push myself to get my thoughts into formulated sentences that convince you to pay me.

Expand full comment
author

😂😂😂 I love the passion with which you expressed your disdain for corn - especially your issue with it coming out whole. I'm not a corn-lover either but I think it'd be weirder if it came out looking less than whole haha.

I hear you on connecting with fellow writers and artists. What does your week look like in this regard? Are you doing any co-writing sessions or do you have an accountability buddy?

Re using writing to make money, have you considered seeing Substack as an entrypoint top-of-funnel for subscribers/readers and indirectly offering them services?

Expand full comment

I’ve been taking this cohort of Write of Passage so I’ve had the pleasure of having a peer group and other editors taking a look at my pieces. I also joined Foster and we have a weekly writing time. I’m trying to write everyday but that hasn’t happened yet.

I’m always down for more accountability, I can’t do it alone :).

I’ve thought of that with Substack but I don’t know how to position myself and fall short on thinking what those services would be.

Expand full comment

Hiii Tobi. Funny, I'm also a Tobi - Oluwatobi. Although nobody calls me that, it's sitting pretty on my birth certificate.

I'm Jesugbemi Adedeji, a psychology student and a writer. Substack is my baby, I hope to make explore ideas and make friends with it. Usually, I'm interested in many things at a time but right now, I want to delve into screenwriting, comic script writing and data visualisation.

This season of my life I'm trying to do whatever I can do because apparently I'm still young and I maybe won't have the time and energy to do so down the line. I'm trying out quite a number of things and I hope something sticks.

I'm not much of a food person but I think Jollof Rice is... overhyped. Not overhyped per se, but many people make Jollof Rice the sole 'food personality' of Nigerians.

Home is Ibadan, Nigeria because I have lived there all my life. It is usually associated with brown roofs - which points to how ancient the city is...

I think I belong somewhere random in Europe...

There's this thing I do where after I complete a movie, I scroll through the credits looking for a Nigerian name. When I do find a name, the excitement I feel is unmatched. That's how I found you... well not quite. One of my Substack friends plugged in your article published on Every, and I was "Ouu, Nigerian name! I must read and stalk this interesting fellow!" I desire to travel and experience somewhere other than my home and just seeing someone who bears my name do it sparks hope in me.

I'm procrastinating on finishing a SEO course, and writing a short story.

Expand full comment
author

Sorry for the late reply here, still reeling from your unprovoked ATTACK on jollof rice. What did jollof do to you oh fellow Tobi? Where did the beef start?

Okay now that I've pretended to uphold the honor of jollof, I'll confess that I secretly agree with you. I mean, I love jollof. But I hate average, middle of the week jollof. Like that Tuesday jollof that doesn't knock me off my chair. Love jollof but agree it's only one part of the story.

I hear you on the Nigerian name stalking thing. I do my own version of that. I think we all do tbh haha. I'm glad you reached out and I hope you get to travel to find your random spot in Europe. Curious, where in Europe, do you think it might be?

Expand full comment
author

also curious about the short story, what's the inspiration behind it? where is it gonna be?

Expand full comment

I have a few story ideas and inspo but the biggest is about a boy who spontaneously runs away from home never to be seen again. First, I can't decide if it should be an actual novel or a short story. Second, I have a general idea of the trajectory of the story but I haven't been successful putting it all together. I need a concrete motive as to why he runs away, I need to know what happens after he runs away.

I know writers don't usually have it all ready in the beginning but I thought it'd be nice to have it all ready in the beginning. Either way, I want to write it and I will... eventually

Expand full comment

I love Jollof rice but I don't fancy it being the only dish the world knows Nigeria by. I especially don't fancy when I read a book by a Nigerian in diaspora, and Jollof Rice is the only food the characters eat. I also don't care for the Ghana/Nigeria Jollof war... I know it's friendly banter but let's wrap it up already. That's just me ;).

Most people secretly agree with me...

I'm glad I reached out too. I have no idea where in Europe, but I just love the idea of walkable cities/towns. I figured that when I want to travel, I'll most likely visit African countries first. Senegal, Cape Verde, Congo, Ethiopia, Rwanda, and Kenya. Maybe Egypt or Morocco.

Expand full comment
author

OK I totally agree with this perspective. I never cared about the jollof wars...it's a tired trope. What do you think is the most underrated Nigerian dish then?

Ooooh I love the idea of an African tour. Take pictures!

Expand full comment

Who are you?

I'm the only Lyle McKeany in the world (I think): https://www.lyle.blog/p/some-thoughts-about-lyle-mckeany

What season are you in your life?

I often feel like my season in life matches the actual season I'm in right now. It's fall here and I'm feeling like my proverbial leaves are changing (hopefully for the better).

What popular food do you despise?

Not sure if this counts, but coffee. It's dirt water, plain and simple.

Where is home for you?

Sonoma, California. It used to be a small town I passed through to get somewhere else, but I'm happy to be settled here and plan to be here for a long, long time.

Is there a place you’ve never been to but feel like you belong?

I've been to a lot of far-flung places in my life, but I've always felt like a Cali guy visiting somewhere else. I feel incredibly lucky to have grown up here. It's home and I can't imagine living anywhere else for an extended period of time.

What brought you here?

We're Foster friends!

What are you currently procrastinating on?

At this very moment, I'm procrastinating putting a second coat of paint on a cabinet in my daughter's room. I was really hoping one would do it. Otherwise, I've been procrastinating on writing a book for roughly three years now.

Expand full comment
author

Woow didn't take you for a coffee hater haha. Do you drink any tea? Or you completely avoid caffeine?

Love the image of your life matching up with the actual season in life....but that makes me a tad worried for winter. I hope you're bundling up!

Oooh what's the book about? Maybe...just maybe...you could write about it in an authoring session sometime. I heard Foster runs a couple

Expand full comment

I drink too much Zevia these days, although I'm on the caffeine free cola flavor now.

It's a memoir book and it's maybe 1/3 done. I honestly started it too close to the events that occurred, so I'm fine with it taking longer. But I would love to get it going again. I like the idea of dedicating at least one of the authoring circles I host to working on it each week. That's a doable goal for sure!

Expand full comment
author

Yep, funny enough, I did a similar thing. Started writing about a book called "dance before the director cuts the lights" about leaving work, grief, regret, creative rebirth etc. But like you, I was way too close to the events and didn't have sufficient time for the post-events realizations to cement. It's still somewhere in my google drive attic

Expand full comment

Jealous of your Cali self Lyle!! If I had the income I’d move THERE in a second!

Expand full comment

Such a cool idea Tobi! I’m keeping this in my inbox to periodically check back on comments. My real persona is Katie and I write/draw with a pen name because I’m in a Season of Hiding, afraid to put my work in the world because I’ve failed before (if I fail this time, it’s E.L. who sucked!) Underneath that though, I’ve fallen in love with creating my Bonesick Tarot comic/novel thing 💀. It’s different this time. I live in Milwaukee WI but I’m trying to move to Albuquerque NM. I’ve never felt at home where I live. I’m hoping I’ll find home in the umber, ochre, amber, and azure of the southwest. Also I hate lasagna 😳

Expand full comment
author

"I’ll find home in the umber, ochre, amber, and azure of the southwest" is so beautful, Katie!

I'm glad you're enjoying the process of creating your comic. But I have to ask...if you don't mind. What would be failure for you? I ask because this idea of what we do with our creativity has been on my mind recently. One of my upcoming posts is an imagined conversation between Writing and I, where we ask each other what we want from the relationship. So I'm curious do you have specific writing goals or is it a general feeling of getting recognition for your craft?

Expand full comment

Ok I can't WAIT for that conversation! Man, I'd love to try something like that. Because "failure" is actually Me Vs. Me (rather than Me Vs. Everyone Else). It has less to do with audience/recognition and much more to do with me falling out of love with my project du jour because I'M the one who suffocates it or abandons it. Like any relationship, you WILL fall out of love if it's conditional. So for the writing/drawing metaphor: "I will only love you if you make me happy/fulfilled/satisfied/awe-inspired every single day" is a recipe for disaster. That's how I approached my projects in the past, and when I wasn't feeling those things, I felt like I let myself down (so ya know, the meta emotion of feeling bad about feeling bad). THIS TIME WILL BE DIFFERENT. "In good times and bad, in sickness and in health, in joy and sorrow." That's what commitment to a craft is truly about. Anyway thank you for asking because I finally put that feeling into words! I'm so excited for your Convo Post!!

Expand full comment
author

I hear you on this Katie. Especially the conditional love thing. I never said it explicitly but my behaviors suggested I was expecting writing to take me to a place called "success" in some way. Like back when I used to check my subscriber stats and likes often. That's obviously a trap. I try to remind myself that commitment to the craft is most important. And it often yields results you care much more about than the unsatisfying fast-food nature of likes.

I'm going to take my time with that essay...my hope is that it'll be my "masterpiece" of the year. So I want to give it enough time for creativity to do its thing :)

Expand full comment
Nov 2, 2023Liked by Tobi Ogunnaike

“Fast-food nature of likes” Yes! Tastes so good at first but leaves you wanting more always, never satiated. Good luck on your masterpiece!! Take all the time you need (but I can’t wait!)

Expand full comment

Hi Katie, ironically I just stopped using an online persona in the last 3 months, enjoyed the anonymity for so long, but now I want to know how it feels building in public with my name.

Let's see how it goes.

Expand full comment
author

Interesting, I also thought using a pseudonym for writing certain kinds of stories but I worried the admin of maintaining both identities would drive me nuts...

Expand full comment

Oh wow! Was there an impetus that motivated you to make the switch??

Expand full comment
Oct 29, 2023Liked by Tobi Ogunnaike

I think what made the change for me was 2 things; one, the majority of all the money I made from offering services with the skills I have accumulated over the years was offline(only the Discord Moderator gig was online).

Two, I want to transition to getting foreign gigs so I can earn in strong currencies and protect against inflation, and I believe people will want to see who they work with.

Expand full comment

I see! You’re right about the transparency…excellent decision!

Expand full comment
Oct 29, 2023Liked by Tobi Ogunnaike

Who are you?

I'm Matt Yao. Everything beyond that is what I'm still trying to figure out. I like to ski, surf, cook, backpack, and do yoga. I'm 10 months into my sabbatical after working as PM in a past life. Currently I:

- write a personal blog: https://gameofone.substack.com/

- write a climate tech newsletter: https://buildinclimate.substack.com/

- run a subletting service: https://subletter.substack.com/

- occasionally podcast: https://ontherisepod.com/

- also started coaching some friends of mine who are founders

What season are you in your life?

I'm in the season of simplification, intention, and focus. Trying to do more with less. Have been living off savings for the past 10 months and don't plan on returning to traditional employment. So I gotta figure things out. I only recently started to feel like things are starting to "work" so now I just gotta do what I know I gotta do.

What popular food do you despise?

Not a huge fan of any plain flavored foods unless with seasoning or sauce: rice, classic Lays, croissants, bread, etc. It's gotta have flavor for me!

Where is home for you?

Originally northern VA, now it's been a combination of the Bay Area, NYC, Tahoe, and Honolulu. Haven't had a lease in 4 years and don't plan on signing one anytime soon.

Is there a place you’ve never been to but feel like you belong?

I haven't spent much time in San Diego or Seattle but feel like I could fit in there pretty well.

What brought you here? What are you currently procrastinating on?

Tobi and I met in person in Bangkok earlier this year and shared some lamb spine together. I gotta write my next blog which is about luck that will come out on Tuesday. This was a good procrastination tho ✌️

Expand full comment
author

I was with you on popular foods you despise until you mentioned croissants. I can live inside a truly buttery croissant cage haha.

Congrats on launching the subletting service man. Looks really cool. How is it going?

Wish you success on your focus and intention with your work projects. We should probably get on a call sometime soon :)

Expand full comment
Nov 2, 2023Liked by Tobi Ogunnaike

I'm down! The subletting stuff is going, still trying to make it work, not yet figured out

Expand full comment
Oct 29, 2023Liked by Tobi Ogunnaike

For an overthinker like me you sure asked the hardest question first, who am I? A question that has spurred tomes.

Answering that has to be a life-long endeavour so let's start with something easier.

My name is Adekunle Gbadebo, a 39 year old resident of Lagos. An avid reader which has fuelled my unending curiosity to plow through many seasons of creating: Web Design(Wordpress), Video Editing, Writing(non-published), built a Niche Website(which made me learn SEO), Graphic Design(Canva), was a Discord Server Moderator for a bit.

Now I am in my coding season(Just finished a Course on Building AI Chatbots with Dan Shipper)

I am very sure my curiousity brought me here and your writing has made me stay, and since you asked, I still don't know why I don't like Pizza, in conclusion, I must have lived beside the blue waters of the Bahamas in a former life because I long for them too much.

Expand full comment
author

I also don't love pizza and anytime I mention that someone looks at me like I personally offended them. Like I've never craved it...ever. But I'll hold my judgement till I have "proper Italian pizza" in Naples someday.

I hear you re "being an over thinker". These days, I think of myself as multiple inner selves that sometimes align and sometimes deviate. I find it easier to accept their different feelings that way.

Wow, you've learned a lot of skills. I want to learn video editing someday. What's the easiest way to start?

I'm crossing my fingers for you hoping you find your Bahamas!

Expand full comment
Oct 29, 2023Liked by Tobi Ogunnaike

Hmmm, eat Italian Pizza in Naples, that will be something nice to put on the bucket list.

Nice approach of looking at yourself as "multiple inner selves", might have to adopt that.

Primal Video was my gateway drug into Video Editing, when you sign up for their email list their Lead Magnet is Workflow Checklist which I believe helps a lot.

Will definitely send you a picture when I finally dip my feet in the Blue waters of the Bahamas.

Expand full comment
author

yeah, it's helpful for me to distinguish my "Creative" self from my "Engineer" self or "Ambitious" self. Sometimes they want the same things but they're like siblings who share a house. There's bound to be conflict.

Thanks, I'll google those resources.

Send it ooo🙏🏾

Expand full comment

Hi everyone!!! I am Riley Reign, author of the Good Light journal — https://rileyreign.substack.com/

This current season of my life is one of deep focus & preparation, I’m honing my craft (especially here) and planting many seeds for the future to be a paid writer & community builder, which I’ve been craving to create for a very long time.

I can’t think of a popular food that I despise right now, honestly.

As a (currently) full-time nomad, everywhere is home to me.

Something has been calling me to Portugal, lately. Every time I see clips of it online, something in my body is like, “yep. that’s where I need to be.”

What brought me to substack was me finally deciding to get out of my own damn way, and for the love of all things good & beautiful I am SO HAPPY that I am in that process now.

Currently procrastinating on…. Nothing right now? Like I said, I’m committed to deep focus right now.

I’m loving reading through everyone’s introductions here & am really eager to connect with more of you beautiful creatives & uplift your work. Thanks for the invitation for us all to connect, Tobi!

Expand full comment
author

Oooh I spent a week in Lisbon earlier in the year. It's beautiful and I need to return for a longer stay. I wrote about my week there: (spoiler alert, it miiiight involve a doctor jabbing me with adrenaline at a bar). read it here: https://www.tobiwrites.com/p/last-minute-to-lisbon

Love the spirit of deep focus and preparation. How is the journey going for you?

How long have you been nomad-ing? I did it for five months or so and am about to set some roots down in San Francisco. Is this your preferred lifestyle for the foreseeable future or do you think you might get a lease somewhere?

Expand full comment

Can’t wait to read about your wild adventure in Lisbon!

The journey is going so well. I’m impressing myself & just continuing the momentum.

I’ve been nomading for almost a year 1/2. It’s been an absolute dream, and I do plan to keep going a little while longer. I keep saying, “I’ll stay on the road until something tells me it’s time to stop.” But I do have a feeling that whisper to stop is on its way.

Are you planning to continue your travels with SF as a base? If so, where is next on your list after getting settled?

Expand full comment

Hello Riley,

I love Portugal. I visited Lisbon, Porto, and Madeira exactly a month ago. Such a good, safe, and nice country. Love to hear your experience on nomading for almost a year and half.

Nice to e-meet you, cheers!

Expand full comment

So good to e-meet you as well! Thanks for the encouraging words about portugal as well!

Expand full comment

Loving your vibe 😎

Expand full comment

Thanks for the kind words Kunle!

Expand full comment

Who are you? Michelle “Varghoose”

What season are you in your life? Building and very excited about it! Also happy to have writer friends like you to encourage me on this journey.

What popular food do you despise? *whispers* Italian (I don’t despise it but I think a lot of it - likely the Americanized version - is overrated)

Where is home for you? My heart always feels Michigan is home but I haven’t lived there in a decade.

Is there a place you’ve never been to but feel like you belong? So many places. What a great question. Portugal seems cool. Tokyo. Boulder. I think I could enjoy living in so many places.

What brought you here? Tobi and I met via Substack actually. We were both writing about sabbaticals and escaping the golden tech age.

What are you currently procrastinating on? Responding to my own comment section. My next essay. Lots of texts and DMs haha.

Loved this exercise and per usual, enjoyed your essay!

Expand full comment
author

Loool don't whisper it please, I hear you on this. I think Italian food has great PR but in reality, at least for me...it's not as groundbreaking as it first appears.

I think you'd like Lisbon since you spent time in SF. Tokyo is also on my list for sometime, maybe for our future writer conference when building season is done.

Haha go respond to your comments section. I'm sure there are some gems there

Expand full comment

Hello Tobi. Thanks for tagging me. This is such a brilliant idea. I also have a visitors book which has been a real success in brining subscribers together.

I’m currently at home in Rickmansworth which is a commuter town just outside London. I’m currently working on a project to bring the various parts of the UK railway back together. It’s a real challenge but the benefits will be massive for passengers if we can do it.

My background is in commercial strategy and building teams in that space. It’s this experience that I share in my newsletter along with whatever I’m learning in life at the time.

Got to run now as I need to cook a roast chicken for the family. Roast potatoes and my signature gravy. 🍗

Speak soon all!

Expand full comment
author

Oooh love the idea of a visitors book! I'll have to check that out Martin.

How did the roast chicken turn out? Do you have any gravy secrets to share to the class or is it all trademarked and hidden under lock and key?

Expand full comment
author

Also jealous that the UK which has great rail systems is getting even better haha. Can you bring your talents to connect us in San Francisco? We would kill for a smidge of the station density in London haha

Expand full comment

Nice to meet you, Saalik! Permaculture can do a lot in a beautiful time frame for you, the birds, bees, herb gardens even when they are in pots (to add nutrition and holistic healing globally), and it creates resilient landscapes that are exponentially beneficial for all. Thank you for considering learning more about it ~ I'm always learning from its wisdom, and I'm inspired like a kid about it all. Great to share and meet you. I have some haikus with photos on the Medium link under PeacefulTurtle's bio, and I will try to post a couple here as well when I can. Have a great week ahead. You are a kind soul.

Expand full comment

As I was perusing your newsletter and came across the part where you began listing names, and I spotted mine, my reaction was, "Oh, you didn't!" 😅😆. For someone like me, who thrives on staying in the shadows, dreads being singled out, but somehow still gets called out, I probably should have seen it coming.

Who are you?

I'm Itunu, pronounced as E-too-nu, although my friends affectionately call me Itunes, a fitting nickname given my deep love for music spanning all genres. I find immense fascination in score composers and many other beautiful aspects of life, including the wonders of nature. I hold a special place in my heart for friendships that develop organically, and I believe everyone should experience "The Sound of Music" at least once in their lifetime. I must admit, I struggle with writing bios, but I hope this suffices?

What season am I currently experiencing in my life?

I'd describe it as a season of unlearning and relearning many things. I'm learning to relish my own company and shed any guilt associated with my quirky interests. I'm also in the process of letting go of unhealthy and toxic friendships that I clung to out of fear, choosing what is genuinely healthy for me. Ultimately, I'm on a journey to find validation in God.

Is there a popular food I can't stand? Fufu. Ugh, the smell alone. I still don't even get what the hype is and isn't it heavy in calories?

Where do I call home? The concept of home remains elusive for me, especially with dual nationality. I believe home isn't tethered to a place but to people. Even in the most picturesque of countries, it wouldn't feel complete without those who matter most.

Is there a place I've never been to but feel a strong connection to? Tokyo is one such place for me, likely influenced by my deep affection for anime. The second place that beckons is England, which happens to be home to many of my literary favourites, including Charles Dickens, C.S. Lewis, and Tolkien. London eerily feels like home, almost as if my memories of my Master's program in England still haunt me, calling out to me to explore the bustling city and the diversity once again. I would absolutely love to visit again.

What led me here?

Your name and your desire to explore the world. It's something I've always yearned to do, so witnessing someone else embark on that journey piqued my curiosity.

For Substack, my desire to create more intimate moments with my readers and my exhaustion with chasing social media algorithms led me here.

What am I currently procrastinating on? The completion of my Young Adult trilogy and all the other book ideas swirling around in my head.

Thanks for the mention, and thanks for always looking for ways to connect with others. May you never lose your wonder!

Expand full comment
author

Haha I'm glad you decided to come out of the shadows Itunu :). And I hear you, I struggle with bios too but yours was beautiful.

LOOL I don't know anybody who likes fufu. It's been so long (13+ years) since I've seen it but when you mentioned it, the smell just leapt off the page and slapped me :(.

Love the idea of Tokyo, it's also on my list to visit someday. When I was in SE Asia, my return flight to SF was originally meant to stopover in Kyoto for 16 hours (long enough to tour the city) but then the airline changed plans :(.

England too feels like home for me. I was born there, and did A-Levels and uni there, but I grew up in Lagos sha. But every time I'm back in England, I feel totally at home. Until it starts raining...

Oooh please share your books when they're out. Would love to check them out. I've never written a book but I'd like to do so someday :)

Expand full comment

You see this part ehn "For someone like me, who thrives on staying in the shadows, dreads being singled out, but somehow still gets called out"........ this has been the story of my life.

Always been the one that my spotlight-loving, ambitious friends call on, when they need advice on strategy, but they always wonder why I actively seek being in the background.

I so much enjoy the feeling when I see their moves play out in public and know I had a hand in it (I think my middle name should be "Behind the Scenes"), but sometimes I still can't hide.

Expand full comment

Hi Tobi ~ Beautiful Thread. I have to mix it up ~ like others, "Who are you?" is daunting unless I am listening to The Who, which was my first concert along with the Clash.

Oddly, I see myself at the moment as 'An Observer,' but Lurker is an interesting frame that might be true for me at the moment. Even though I have been writing for many years as a journo and poet, and did a bit as a teacher of literature and creative writing, I am learning so much from other writers on Substack that it's been oddly satisfying to know this community of like minded souls, exists. It often makes me happy to read your work and the creative flows of others ~ in words that are hard to describe, but are Elemental to my disposition.

Currently, I live up in the mountains in the Hudson Valley with a name that is Native American, and I believe that those spiritual vibes still exist here, in many forms. I am very passionate about Permaculture, which is a fancy term for aligning with nature and communicating with it one yard, one farm, and one community at a time ~ without chemicals, working with the leaves and the wildlife and reducing electronic pollution ~to weave a web that welcomes all of positive life in a holographic and harmonious tone for now and beyond. Please forgive this esoteric meandering...

One thing I am procrastinating on is consulting with people who want to learn more about aligning with nature for inner and outer harmony and well being. My creative projects have at times caused some momentum beyond myself, and so I've basically been "A Mute Witness" for quite a few years, yet ambivalence is a default that I am working to heal. It's not always helpful, but sometimes, it is.

Honestly, although I eat mostly organic food, there isn't really a popular food I don't love except I don't really like pickles that much, unless they are very fresh and without too much vinegar. I do love Snickers and even Strawberry Shortcake ice cream, not for its health benefits, but just because it's fun to eat once in awhile. I also love fried Chicken made with wholesome ingredients (don't dis me I'm a Vata!). I love Indian food and Mexican food and Italian food and American food.

I love the ocean and wish I could afford to live there again.

A place I felt at home was in Oakland, California and oddly, Rome. And I feel at home here at times, too, which I value a great deal. I also like cloudy rainy days, like Seattle weather, and that's a bit different, I guess.

Everyone on Medium was talking about Substack, and that's what brought me 'here,' and frankly, it is a highlight of my reading life and internal existence. The idea of feeling the pressure of subscribers waiting for me to 'say something profound' has kept me as more of a reader at this point here, which I am okay with, for now. These days, I like to spend time with family, friends, solo and I also enjoy taking micro-photography photos of nature's expressions.

Thank you all for this amazing community and for the opportunity to learn more about others and myself, and you, Tobi, thank you. I love your writing, and your beautiful spirit, but no pressure. Nice to meet you all. (Erica)

Expand full comment
author

Nice to meet you Erica, thank you for this thoughtful window into who you are. And your kind words about my writing! I hear you on Lurking - I see it as an active posture to observe and take things in. "Re" the pressure of your subscribers waiting to say something profound- I feel you, but I can say from my experience that

1) your readers are usually understanding and will wait for you if you need breaks

2) you don't need to "be profound" every time you post, sometimes I get into this trap too. but there are other ways to provide value to readers. I've seen writers post lists, short notes, a quote, a poem, a single paragraph sometimes. And often times, those posts connect just as much as the deeply-researched, profound posts.

3) a Substack writing coach once told me most people can only write 2 good essays a month, if you write more than that, you'd dilute the quality of your stuff. The number is obviously arbitrary but it's a helpful idea to consider quality vs quantity. So maybe consider doing other kinds of posts when the deeper stuff is still marinating.

Lmk if I can help

Expand full comment

Nice to meet you! Micro-photography is especially beautiful, imo. If you have a link to any photos, I'd love to check them out! And reading this feels like another reminder to learn more about permaculture 🌳

Expand full comment

I knew it couldn't be only me that Ioves "cloudy rainy days".

It's like a state of flux, that transitory feeling.

Expand full comment

Totally agree, Kunle. It's a peaceful feeling, too ~ a time when it's okay to dial down the noisy world, go inside, have a cup of Java, and think one's own thoughts. Thank you for the sweet reply.

Expand full comment
author

I love a good cloudy rainy day, BUT only when it's not the norm. I'd be miserable in London when there are weeks of dark, cloudy, sad, windy days. Or in certain parts of San Francisco too. But if nature gifts me a reset during a week of sunny or neutral vibes, then I treasure it.

Expand full comment

“[Subscriber numbers are] a bad proxy for what I really care about.”

I’m with you, Tobi! I value the connection my newsletter creates with people over the number of people reading.

Love the prompt to get to know people. Here are my responses to your questions:

Who am I: Alexandra (my friends call me Ali), and I write about professional development, online teaching, and well-being at alexandraallen.substack.com.

(If you want the full rundown on my career, feel free to creep my LinkedIn profile: https://ca.linkedin.com/in/alexandra-allen-b5075355)

What season of life I’m in: Embarking on my latest adventure. After 2 years and 2 months of solopreneur-ing, I’m excited to be joining a new company as a full-time employee on Nov 20th.

What popular food do you despise: Shrimp (or prawns) because I’m deathly allergic. I used to love them and then randomly developed an allergy at 13.

Where home is for me: Mainly Montreal. But I’ve also lived in London, Sydney, and Paris and consider them my second homes.

A place I’ve never been to but feel like I belong: Lately, I’ve been intrigued by Buenos Aires — the “Paris of South America” sounds like my vibe.

What brought me to Substack: I love writing and I’ve been enjoying sharing my journey, and the lessons I’ve been learning along it, with other people.

What I’m currently procrastinating on: Going for a walk which is a rarity but the temperature dropped significantly overnight and I’m dreading the cold. 🥶

Expand full comment
author

Loved the authenticity and honesty of your posts where you shared your reflections on trying solopreneurship and decided that season was over for you. It's a bit shortsighted when people pitch them as dire opposites or enemies. Neither is "salvation". Totally fine to weave in and out of them as you see fit. Good luck with the new gig

Oooh I met someone from Buenos Aires when in Barcelona. The way he described it made it sound very appealing.

Ah, I hear you on the cold, that's my absolute no-go when it comes to deciding where to live. I just can't do cold places. It sounds like I'm dramatic but my body breaks down with welts and hives 😅. I hope you manage to survive the winter and get your walks in!

Expand full comment

SUPER Late to this but better than never!!

Who are you?

Hellooo, my name is Caryn, a multi-hyphenate trying to not spend my life consolidating the chaos that is my interests across painting, drawing, longboarding, bodywork, movement, writing, somatics and deepening my spiritual and non-dual journey of letting things unfold and not having expectations.

What season are you in your life?

I fluctuate between hypomanic states and lows where I question the purpose of anything, I am getting better at putting in routines, self-care and love to be in the middle. I think this is the biggest seasons of my life as they affect me so much.

I am hoping my seasons shift into season that follows the weather - time spent outside, time spent wintering and time spent celebrating!

What popular food do you despise?

Hmm, I am not a fan of alcohol!!

Where is home for you?

I am Malaysian-born Chinese and grew up in Australia but I think I feel most at home in London. More specifically, I feel at home in spiritual communities where people are conscious in their actions and ways of being, fun and light but real and deep also.

Is there a place you’ve never been to but feel like you belong?

Burning Man for sure!!!

What brought you here?

I always wanted to write as a reader, and in 2021 I found Foster.co, I started writing with them then at the beginning of this year after our second season of writing, I committed to sharing my writing twice a month so I am still here doing just that :)

What are you currently procrastinating on?

my taxes haha! and doing my Saturn's Return while on a sabbatical, so I think I am quasi procrastinating on growing up and getting a job lol

Expand full comment

Great post Tobi, I might have to borrow this idea from you! 😉

Who are you?

I was born in Budapest, Hungary but moved to the US at a young age and spent most of my formative years in Florida. In 2015, I graduated with a Masters in Engineering, I already had a job lined up and was set to go into the cooperate world. Before starting that job I did a 2 month backpacking trip across Europe. My first stop was Barcelona and within a few hours I knew that this was the place I wanted to call home for the rest of my life.

I worked that cooperate job for 3 years until 2018. In that time I saved up enough money to be able to move to Barcelona without a plan and survive for at least a year. I figured I would give it a shot.

Worst case scenario: I end up learning Spanish and then moving back to the US.

Best case scenario: I figure out how to make money online and stay for the long haul.

I’m happy to say that the latter happened, this Sunday will be my 5 year anniversary of living here and it’s been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

What season are you in your life?

Now that winter is around the corner, I'm in a season of building/creating. I'm one of those people that tends to say yes to everything but I'm slowly learning the art of saying "no".

I launched my Substack this year and I'm completely hooked, all I want to do is write: https://brianwiesner.substack.com/

What popular food do you despise?

Seafood. I can't even take the smell of it. (Unless it's fried or drenched in sauces, then it's okay 😂)

Where is home for you?

Barcelona is home base but I still frequently visit Budapest and Florida to see friends/family.

Is there a place you’ve never been to but feel like you belong?

Rio de Janeiro or Tel Aviv (One of the reasons I chose Barcelona as home is because it's a major metropolitan city with beach directly in the city center - To my knowledge, Rio and Tel Aviv are the only other major cities that also have this quality, if you know of any others please do share!)

What brought you here?

Tobi & I met inside of Paul Millerd's Pathless Path Community. I identify with many of the topics he writes about and I love meeting others who are on a journey of self exploration.

What are you currently procrastinating on?

I've been procrastinating forever on starting a YT channel. The reason I started writing is because I thought it would be a good way to start testing ideas and seeing what resonates. Now that I have a backlog of articles I really want to start turning those pieces into video content.

Expand full comment
author

Oh please steal this idea. The people want to connect, I'm sure they'll be happy if you did a similar thing.

Jealous of your home base in Barcelona, I need to return. I loved Montjuic, playing football in Barceloneta, walking randomly around the old city. The hexagonal grids. The cafe con leches. Being paranoid about pickpockets. Afrobeats at Jamboree bar/club. I didn't love the beach, but honestly I spent a rushed 20 mins there and I didn't go to the right part of it.

I made a friend there who spent a lot of time in Budapest too. He met his wife there. And he was so adamant that I had to visit Budapest. So based on his recommendation, it's been added to the list to visit some day.

I'm also in building season, man. What are you building? And about the YouTube channel, I hear you. Thought about doing that so many times, but I figure that the editing load might drive me crazy haha. What would your channel be about?

Expand full comment

Yes you definitely need to hit up Budapest at some point! It's a great walking city and the culinary scene is insane.

As for the building it's mostly staying consistent with articles and I just enrolled in a course to learn about KDP so I'm going to explore that avenue as well.

The channel would be focused around similar topics to what I write about in Serendipity Lab. So exploring ways to increase our "luck surface area" whether that's through our environment or relationships. I believe it's a skill that can be cultivated if you can train yourself to look out for the signals :)

Expand full comment

This is so cool. Thank you for creating this wonderful corner of the web, Tobi! Hello, Substack friends! 👋

Who are you?

I'm Saalik, a wanderer, software builder, writer, and human being who wants to learn stuff and make friends.

What season are you in your life?

I'm in a season of exploration and discovery. I just started a sabbatical abroad in Asia (we've been here for a couple weeks). It's exciting, mundane, and scary. I'm encountering myself in vivid dimensions.

What popular food do you despise?

This is so hard to answer... I love all food! Maybe oysters?

Where is home for you?

This is a question I'm actively seeking an answer for. Hence, my verbosity:

In my being, home is where the people I love are, and where I can feel my breath.

In the world, home could be many places. I grew up north of Boston, Massachusetts. I'm American, but ethnically I'm Indian and I connect to the subcontinent culturally. I spent two years in Pakistan during middle school. For the past two years I've lived in Austin, TX, which definitely felt like home when I was there. Now I'm on sabbatical and completely untethered from a single location. I'm rediscovering the meaning of home.

Is there a place you’ve never been to but feel like you belong?

This is kind of how Malaysia felt to me before I got here (I've been here a couple weeks now, so I can't say I haven't been here). I've felt a pull eastward, having lived most of my life in US. And that pull feels validated now that I'm here. Southeast Asia speaks to me in so many ways -- culturally, spiritually, and culinary-ly 😋

What brought you here?

Internet friendship! I jumped on a call with Tobi a couple months ago, and it's an honor to get to know him.

What are you currently procrastinating on?

I'm in a rare moment where I don't think I'm procrastinating on anything?! I've often felt deep guilt for not doing enough, fast enough. Some of that mindset is beginning to unwind with the open space I've found myself in...

Expand full comment
author

Oooh I'm with you man, I'll never understand the hype of oysters, especially when I consider the risk-to-pleasure ratio. If I'm going to risk brain-eating bacteria or some fatal virus, the food has to be damn tasty - I wouldn't risk it for pasta, but for a delicious biryani or crispy pork belly, maybe!

Glad you honored your body's call to vesture eastwards. I miss it over there! How are you finding the difference in values vs the US? Do you have a rough sense for how long you're gonna be there?

Expand full comment

You’re so right. Gotta know what dishes are worth the risk!

Feels really hard to explain the differences, other than the very obvious things like good food and friendly people. It’s something I’m certain to write more about. For now I guess I’d say it feels more community oriented, and I feel that even as a foreigner here.

Been in KL for almost a month now. We’re going to Taiwan for the winter to be with my in-laws, but will likely be back to Southeast Asia afterwards. We’ll see how long that trip will be, cause we love it here!

Think you’ll be back in the area soon? Any favorite spots of yours outside of Bali?

Expand full comment