I couchsurfed with Keith Ferrazzi – Author of “Never Eat Alone” and “Who’s Got Your Back?”

Couches, Interviews 3 Comments »

Setting off alarms, dealing with cat piss, partying with celebs in the highest home in Los Angeles, mingling with some of the world’s top CIOs, and more….

I filmed “a day in the life” – I stayed at Keith’s home, went to his office, saw him lecture at the CIO100,  and rode with him to the airport.  Since that’s got a lot of video, I have to edit it- so I’ll post the whole story soon.

I think Keith is an amazing person, and one of the few who definitely walk the walk as well as talk the talk.

While I’m editing the whole story, here’s what Keith had to say:

The Rescues

adventure, events, Get to know Ori, music, photography, rant 1 Comment »
Couchsurfing Ori with Kyler England and Adrianne Gonzalez of The Rescues after the show

Me with Adrianne Gonzalez and Kyler England of The Rescues - <3

Writing a book doesn’t have that much to do with writing a book.  It’s been more about organizing information, filtering through it, and learning about the publishing and self publishing industries.  So far, that’s the case.  I had a friend come into town, and she wanted to catch some live music on Friday.  I thought I’d be suave, and make happen what I had happen with my friend Joanna, while I was couchsurfing with John and Julia (whom I met at Burning Man)— we took out some ocean Kayaks, food, and booze, and saw Crosby Stills and Nash over at Humphreys.

Humphreys however had no one playing on Friday, which I found odd, ’cause they usually have quite the lineup .  I don’t mean to be spoiled… but watching a concert by Kayak is more fun than just going to a show.  I like things to be new and exciting, or at least unique. I don’t know any of the San Diego performance spaces, nor do I know who’s playing.  Sure… there’s Google for that, but Google can land you in an outletless coffee bar with no internet (such as Living Room in La Jolla). So, we just went for some good Mexican food.

The next night however I was as giddy as a little girl at a Justin Bieber concert!  I saw Kyler England post on Facebook that she’s recovering from a midnight milkshake, and that the band is on their way to San Diego for the last show of their tour

The band is “The Rescues”.  I’m a huge fan!  They are 4 members in size, and every single one of them Read the rest of this entry »

Tools and Lessons for Unplugging and Writing

Information, Inspiration, opinion, product review, Tutorials 9 Comments »

This is a really information packed post about the processes, tools, and philosophies that I’ve learned about writing over the last few weeks.  I’m sure they’ll help you whether you’re writing a play, a novel, or a blog post. Please share this post, as it will help a lot of people overcome writer’s block, focus, be productive, and much more.

I admit that I often don’t know what day of the week it is. Couchsurfing takes me around to different people in many places, and I keep growing because of it.  Day of the week… not important most of the time.  But now that I’m actually working with a goal (remember:  Goals are dreams with a deadline) of writing my book, I am racing the clock.

The first lesson is probably the most important, and that is

Read the rest of this entry »

What to write?

adventure, announcements, Get to know Ori, rant, summary, travel 17 Comments »

In this post, I actually give you a real set of stories from my travels… but I’m not 100% sure how to format my book.  I’d really love your feedback!

ARGH! Who knew a book was tough to write? Well, I guess everyone, ’cause not everyone does it… but once you get started, all these little details come up: Read the rest of this entry »

My big announcement!

adventure, announcements, Get to know Ori, News, opinion, rant, summary 16 Comments »

Dear friend – yes you!

I have something really important to tell you. It’s very exciting, and very difficult for me all at once.

I’ve arrived here in La Jolla, CA where the weather is truly amazing, and I am house-sitting for the next 5-6 weeks.

On my drive here from Austin, TX I had a lot of time to think, and if I’ve learned anything, it’s that the best answers come from asking the right questions. My question that I chose was “How do I make the best use of house-sitting near the beach for 6 weeks?”

I came up with many ideas, but the ones that made the most sense are also the most difficult, and I’d like to share them with you.

I have completed 3.5 years of couchsurfing around the USA.  I’ve met the most incredible people that I could ever imagine.  I have had amazing adventures, where Read the rest of this entry »

I’m going back to Cali… Cali…. Cali…

adventure, announcements, Couches, party, travel 2 Comments »

La Jolla Beach- Where I'm going to be living for a whileI’m going back to Cali… Yeah, I do think so! My last 2 posts were kind of sad, so here’s a happy one:
“Open invite to surf by beach spot for 6 weeks from june 12th till mid/late july.  Must watch Webber though.  Trying to find someone.”

Ummmmm….  6 weeks, with a 1.5 week notice. Wait,  I’m already packed up!  I had cleared out everything (‘cept Read the rest of this entry »

Serendipity strikes again!

good deeds, Inspiration, photography, slideshow, travel No Comments »
Me picking Angel up- she's 4'10

Is that not an awesome outfit for the airport?

(I’m writing this one on a plane- dumbass (me) didn’t check the flights, just clicked… and ended up getting a flight from the OC to Austin, by flying from California, to Atlanta, and THEN to Austin… nice one)
“Are you gonna make it out to our event?”
“I’m not sure…”
“Well, of course you’d be our VIP guest.”
“I’m pretty booked, and I’m not sure about flight funds right now. You guys need a photographer?”
“I don’t know… you’d have to talk to Larry about that.”

That was the conversation on Skype with one of my awesome couches, Caleb Jennings.

The next day the phone rings, “You’re NOT going to believe this! I woke up at noon, and had a Skype from Larry, ‘Can Ori shoot our event? How much?’ – I hadn’t even talked to him”

I spoke to Larry, we ironed out the details, and it was on.

If that serendipity hadn’t been enough, check this out:
I was supposed to be at a 10 day silent meditation (Vipassana) center during these times. I got put on the waiting list because I waited too long. They called me up the day before, and said I can go… but I was already booked with projects.

My flight was Thursday at 6:30am. That means I need to be at the airport at 5:30am. It’s about a 20 minute drive (there’s no traffic in Austin at 5am), so we figured we’d leave at 5am.

I figured I’d stay up all night, and just sleep on the flight.

At 10pm (CST) on Wednesday, I tweeted that I needed a place to crash, and by 2am I got a text from Angel- compliments of Aron Bender. I now feel like Angel and I are old buddies, even though we barely spent time together. That’s one beautiful aspect of Couch Surfing by the way. (You can see our photo shoot at the bottom of this blog post)

4am… I’m starting to drift off, or display symptoms of what I like to call “Keyboard Head” (’cause you fall down, and your head hits the keyboard, leaving imprints of the keys in your forehead).

“I’ll just take a small nap. It will be fine, ’cause I set my alarm, and Craig set his alarm, and he’s responsible….”
“We’re not going to make it.”
“Huh?”
“It’s 6am.”

Oh crap… guess my alarm didn’t wake me after all. *sigh* Well, no reason to stress. It was $150 for a new ticket to California for the same day. Back to sleep.

Now, instead of arriving at noon, I would arrive at 7:30pm (PT). Angel was fine with that.

This gave me time to ride with Craig to his office, pick up a paycheck for some of the recent web and design projects I did for them, and even do a quick product shoot for them. No problem on making it to the airport on time at 2pm (as compared to 6am).

The Best Part

Angel came and got me. We’ve never met. How would she find me? The traditional approach “I’m wearing a brown and white striped shirt” didn’t seem like it would make it fast enough. Angel joked around that I should be doing jumping jacks between 7:45 and 7:55. I did, and she found me very easily!

I gotta tell you, that was semi embarassing. I was nervous about doing it, being concerned about “What would people think?” and “I’ll look like an asshole”- which are great reasons to do something! In fact, the jumping jacks warmed me up, as the outside air was getting frigid. Most importantly, Angel will never forget me, and I have a funny story now!

We made it home, ate some dinner, I got my ass kicked in Super Smash Bros on the Nintendo WII by her 12 year old, and then Angel and I just sat around until 2am (4am for me) exchanging travel and adventure stories. Angel has been around the world too.

The next day was amazing, and unexpected.

I had no car. Registration for the event begins at 4:30pm. I like being early, and scoping out the scene. The Hilton (where the event woas taking place), was out of the way for Angel, as her job (Massage therapist) is the other direction.

I had Angel drop me off at “The Corner Bakery” – a coffee shop/restaurant that was near her home. There would be internet there.

The weather was so nice out! Cloudless blue sky, a high 60′s, a cool breeze, and plenty of shade from Palm trees (the only downside, the breeze kept knocking small flowers from the trees, and into my hair).

The bench I was on had WiFi reaching it in full strength. I was Facebooking, when Adriana realized that I was in California. We connected, and she figured out that I was in the OC, a few minutes from her job. She was going to meet me for lunch… ‘cept that she already ate lunch, and I wasn’t hungry.

I had already moved inside The Corner Bakery, and gotten a coffee before Adriana showed up. That would be all that I ordered from there. I got a text from Angel (who was supposed to be working until 4pm), asking if I’d like to meet up for lunch at the beach.

How perfect?! I was thinking about what a shame it is that I’m in California, at the OC, and will not be hitting the beach. Here was my opportunity.

Angel showed up, and I introduced her to Adriana (who had to go back to work) — they’ve hung out since then (I would’ve gone with, but my phone broke later in the trip, and I could not call or text).

Angel took me to her favorite beach. We had the most amazing Ahi-Tuna Sandwiches with a Wasabi Mayo sauce, and Pineaple. The view was spectacular, and I spent most of lunch doing the consulting thing, telling her the steps she can use to get many more clients,as well as raise her price.

We then went down the stairs to the beach. The tide was low, and we were walking (barefoot) along the rocks and the sand, checking out crabs, shells, and tidal pools. I even got to play with a sea snaemone (which was kind of creepy– little bugger latches on to your fingers, and tries to eat you).

Angel wanted to show me her other favorite beach, and we drove there… but I wa sgetting antsy about the time.

It was almost 4pm, and I wanted to be punctual.

We got to the Hilton.

“Do you have to go right now, or can you stick around a few minutes?” I wanted to introduce her to some of my other couches who were there– Craig Allen, Caleb Jennings, and Jason Moffatt. I called Craig, and they were at a restaurant near by called 118 Degrees.

118 is a raw food restaurant that’s upscale, and wonderful. When we arrived, our Clan (people attending the Longevity Conference) had taken up a majority of the restaurant.

The food was delightful, and very healthy. I (and most people) had ordered a coconut. The Miso soup was the best I’ve ver had. The various drinks were delicious, and the conversation was a trip. I even videotaped a light-sabre (app) battle between Steve Pavlina and Caleb Jennings, as one was on an iPhone, and one was on an a Droid.

I made sure to get a photo of Craig, Caleb, and Angel — 3 of my couches from across the country (Orange County, Las Vegas, and Austin), in one place. The energy was great- we rearranged the restaurant, and even invited people from other tables to come join us. That was because we’re talking about Twitter technologies, web trends, and marketing, while someone 2 tables away was reading a book on using twitter.

“Come, join us, I have 11,000 followers.”

I was bummed, ’cause Angel couldn’t stay– but she had already gotten a new client because of joining me…. Craig… who reported that his massage on Sunday was absolutely amazing.

The even was packed! I believe there were 500 people in attendance, and many crew. Even the internet broadcast was sold out at 500 seats. Apparently, many people care about living a long time, and David Wolfe is the industry leader.

I put my bags up in Caleb and Adam’s room. I met Adam for the 1st time at 118 Degrees, but he was one of the few people I hung out with this weekend, and before lunch was up, he had already invited me to couchsurf in Vegas. We may be doing a roadtrip to Sedona, AZ.

We checked out Larry’s room, the presidential suite. Don’t you think that it looks like Craig is peeing on the door? (he’s not)

Hanging out is fun, but I take my work seriously… so, surprisingly, I did not make a scene, wear my furry hat, or tell too many jokes (In fact, as we said our goodbye, Larry said “It sucks! We didn’t get to spend more than 2 minutes, and you didn’t get to make me laugh once!” — which is not true, ’cause I did make him laugh once, to get a nice smile from him and his stunningly hot girlfriend, Oksana, as I took their photo).

Small note- Caleb went to his first Burning Man, as did Larry and Oksana, and that’s where I met Larry and Oksana…. That’s how they knew my photography skills are so great, and that my humor so corny, witty, and mildly entertaining.

I was in professional mode. I skipped some meals, I skipped going to Au Lac (which is this amazing Vietnamese / Raw restaurant, where the head chef, Chef Ito, has taken a vow of silence, and has not spoken in 10 years. He would rather communicate what he communicates with words, with his amazing foods) multiple times, while all my friends did go.

I can not emphasize enough the importance of going to events…. they are a great way to learn what’s going on in a particular industry, but more importantly, a great way to meet like-minded individuals that can become friends, or business associates. I did not get to network too much this time, as I was way more concerned about doing a kick-ass job.

How kick-ass of a job did I do? More than 4,000 photos! Sure… some of them are blurry (I did not use a flash 98% of the time), and some are of repetitive content, but the event organizers were certainly thrilled! I got all the speakers, all the exhibitors, all the logos, all the standing ovations, all the hugs, the pushups, the book signings, the tastings, the lines out the door for the tonic bar, the folks at the tonic bar making their tonics, the production crew, the giveaways, and of course, people mingling. I was not afraid to cut through the crowd to get the shot I needed. I used my collection of lenses to get closeups when needed, and a wide-fisheye view to show what a sold-out room standing ovation looks like (Larry’s comment when seeing that photo, “Holy crap dude, it looks like there’s 5,000 people here!”– isn’t that the point? :) ).

I’m jumping around of course.

The days were long. began from 7:30-8:30am. I did not photograph that. I slept. I was pretty tired, as the doors opened at 9am, and the lectures went on until 10:30-11pm. People stayed for the whole thing.

Day number one, one of the first things that were lectured about was the importance of grounding. The short version is that shoes are the most lethal invention that humans have made. Basically, as humans, we’ve done everything we can to block ourselves from the Earth’s energy, which regulates a lot of our biology. We insulate ourselves from the ground by wearing rubber soled shoes most of the day and night. We have windows to block us from the good radiation from the sun (UVB, which helps the skin create Vitamin D), but does not prevent UVA, which causes cancer. Funny enough, until recently, that’s what sunscreen did… block out healthy radiation, but let in the bad stuff. So, by grounding yourself (walking barefoot, amongst other things), you are shielding yourself from solar and electronic radiation. They actually took some blood samples from these 4 ladies, and showed how blood clumps together when it is not grounded… but when you are grounded, blood flows better. They had scientific charts showing all sorts of other things that happen when you are grounded. Let’s say it this way— I want to be grounded! Of course, they sold grounding kits- bed sheets that are interwoven with silver fabric… wristbands… stomach bands… a ground pad for your feet. Many different products that you can use to ground yourself.

There were many speakers who spoke on many topics. Vitamins, Minerals, Probiotics and fermented foods, mushrooms for immunity boosts, the digestive brain vs the cerebral brain, and much more….

Since I was there shooting, I didn’t get to mingle as much as I normally do at events, but I’m cool with that. I feel great about a job well done. The event organizers love the photos, and I do feel a sense of purpose at a job well done.

— writing from the ground now –

Since my phone broke, I couldn’t text people, or call people. I didn’t even have everyone’s numbers! Since I introduced Craig and Angel, I was able to contact her through Craig’s phone on occasion. We decided that after Monday’s Elixir Masters class, I’d get a ride, and we’d do a shoot Monday morning, and then she’d take me to the airport.

The ride I got was from Carlo. Who’s Carlo? He’s my new buddy. We met recently through Facebook / Twitter– he had found me through the LiveOffGroupon contest… he made an entry, saw mine, and was sure I’d win (as was I). We chatted about it a bit, but I can not emphasize how much easier it is to get to know someone in person than over Twitter. Use social media to open doors, but then talk to people on the phone, or meet up with them.

It was really neat… we had a lot in common, and he’s just an interesting fellow. The funny thing was that he’s got this beard, and this long dreaded hair… and he felt a bit odd, as his normally odd looks blended right in at the conference.

If I hadn’t said it– this was the best looking crowd I’ve ever seen at any event… and I attend any events. I suppose it’s ’cause they all do what the speakers say, take good supplements, take a barefoot walk, exercise, watch what they eat…. and of course, now, ground themselves.

Being there certainly inspired me to eat healthier, and exercise some. But it also inspired me to focus on my goals… which are not so much business as they are travel and adventure. I thrive on consulting. I am wired for it. But, exploring new places, doing death-defying things, having new experiences… that’s what really lights me up…. so… I’m looking for travel opportunities that will inspire me. Since I realized that, there’s already talks of me going to document someone’s humanitarian efforts in Uganda. More on that when I know more.

The Elixir Masters workshop was mindblowing. It’s amazing how many herbs people can fit into a smoothie… and they know exactly what each does… you had to see all the things that these people have cured with just a good diet, and herbal drinks. This guy Truth Calkins was constantly citing Doctors, and research, and studies… He owns http://www.erewhonmarket.com/ – where they make these drinks and foods all the time, and of course the supplements and herbs that people need to make this stuff at home. I spoke to Truth, asked how he got started, and it was an amazing story. This wasn’t just a smoothie maker… this was a guy that nearly killed himself (literally) with junk food.

His parents were health nuts, and as a child he wasn’t allowed to eat processed foods (smart!). He later made up for that, by piling it on…. he got fat, ran low on energy, and suffered from depression, candida, and all sorts of other things…. he was just waiting to die– actually trying to do it by overeating the worst kind of food. He had also burnt out from being an actor and a graphic designer…. and then realized it was all in the knowledge….

Truth read everything he could… over and over… he cut out his sugars, he ate fermented foods…. let’s say it this way, he’s now 40, and I bet he gets carded for alcohol.

After the Elixir Masters, Carlo dropped me off at Angels. Seth was there, Angel was there, her kids were there….. we had dinner, and then just sat around chatting. I made Seth (Angel’s boyfriend) a website, and demonstrated how easy a WordPress site is to control. It already looks better- he took to it like a fish to water.

The next morning we did our shoot… in a very little bit of time.

I’ve been really productive about catching up on work. Perhaps that healthy food has me thinking more clearly?

Crap…. forgot to hit Publish… ’cause I wanted to add the gallery… lots of separate projects, aka.. distractions.  So, here’s the gallery– and I’ve lost a few pounds already by just eating healthy again, jogging a tiny bit, and I feel great.  When I did my 30 day raw, I also made sure to get a full night’s sleep each night (Which is generally not the norm for me).

Packing my bags at 2am…

adventure, Couches, events, Get to know Ori, Inspiration, travel 1 Comment »

This is one of those brief blog posts (they all start like that).   I don’t need to go into every detail, but I feel like 2 different people… and each has its strength and weakness.

In December/January, I was reaching the cusp of a period of period of distraction.  I was uber-creative, more than usual… but also hlongad a bitch of a time focusing and implementing.  I’d get stuff done… it was just getting started.  My bank account felt it.  That’s some of the stuff I haven’t been posting.  It really sucks when you get hit with an overdraft, get funds again, and keep racing the credit cards.  Not a good feeling.

Then, out of the blue, I just get hit with all these projects.  Some public speaking (which I truly enjoy – let me know if you need a speaker for your company/event/conference), some graphics, some photography, some scriptwriting/filming/editing (my favorite kind too!), and some consulting.  It seems there’s no time to sleep… the other day I blew off a midnight party when I woke up at midnight with indigestion… but I was a happy camper, ’cause when I went to sleep at 5pm, we had just celebrated getting our week’s worth of sleep-sacrifice out at FedEx at 3:57, when 4pm was the absolute deadline.  What a rush!

So, there’s hippy Ori, and yuppie Ori. Craig says I shouldn’t say “Workaholic”, as it has a negative connotation… try “really motivated” instead.  So… I’m back in my “really motivated” state now, and I don’t know if I’ve changed lives, saved a kitten, or waht… but each gig is getting cooler and cooler.  Check this out for example:

The other day, my buddy Caleb Jennings catches me on Skype.  Caleb is working with David Wolfe, and they are throwing Longevity Conference.  Caleb invited me to be their VIP Guest… but as you recall, my funds situation was not the best… I was not sure about Travel Funds, as I was busting ass to get caught up.

I’d love to see my friends, and learn new things, but is that the responsible thing to do?  “Do you guys need a photographer?”  “I don’t know… you’d have to ask Larry.”

The next day I get a call “you’re not going to believe this-  I woke up at noon, had a skype on my screen ‘Can Ori shoot the event for us, and how much?” He hadn’t spoken to Larry… it just so happened that I partied with Larry at Burning Man, and he got to see my badass photo skills, so had me in mind.  What luck?!

So, I worked all day.  I worked all night.  I worked the same the previous day, etc… I took a break to go running.  I’m in “really motivated” mode, so I’m listening to more audio books again, and exercising is easier.

Friends are great, the weather’s great, and I’m spending some time thinking forward.  Expect some interesting changes soon….

Anyways, it’s 2:10.  I haven’t packed.  At 2am I got a text confirming I have a place to stay.  It was actually Aron telling me that his friend Angel will text me.

Angel heard about my photography, and she lives right next to where the conference is.  She’s meeting me at thae airport. She sounds really cool… I don’t know much about her though, as I only asked at 10:20pm

twittering to find a couch in another state- couchsurfing

last minute couchsurfing shoutout

In 4 hours, someone got a hold of me, and I already know that since she’s friends of Aron, she must be interesting and fun.

I feel I haven’t blogged in a while…. maybe that’s why I’m blogging at 2:30am, while my bag is unpacked.

Oh yeah, clothes.  I bought a bunc of new ones over the last few days.  Mock me if you must, but I’m looking schnazzy, and I did so very affordably at Ross. I love my new Kenneth Cole belt.  Anything Kenneth Cole looks amazing on me.  I don’t know how or why that is.  If Kenneth reads this, and wants to sponsor my journey, I will wear Kenneth Cole all day, all night (but not ALL of every night… if you know what I mean.)

So, yeah… feel I haven’t blogged in a while.  I’ve certainly been swamped with work.  So, now I’m making up for it.

Ok, seriously- gotta go pack! Stop reading!  I mean it, I gotta go!  Well… ok… I’ll just write more from Cali– it’s bound to be interesting!  Check out where I’m going.

I think I may do more event photography- it’s a fun way to travel, and I like events.  Give me a few days, I’ll organize an album.

Rock climbing in Yosemite on 9/11

adventure 9 Comments »
Rock Climbing in Yosemite

Rock Climbing in Yosemite

Going to Yosemite is always amazing…. The plate tectonics or God, or whatever else is responsible for that area’s formation has done an absolutely fab job.  It’s just gorgeous.  You feel tiny, compared to the canvas of mountains that surrounds you.  Being with friends is even cooler.  Being with great friends that you’re really close with because you’ve couch surfed & traveled with them for 6 weeks is even better…. and them being ex Yosemite employees, experienced rock climbers, and in possession of good rock climbing gear and experience… that’s even cooler!  So… check out our little adventure. Read the rest of this entry »

Keith Olbermann said it much better than I did (California Prop 8)

News, opinion, rant, video No Comments »

I said my piece on Prop 8 before it passed.  I donated money to help “No on 8″, but I don’t think I did enough to promote.  I never said anything about it on my blog after it passed.  I think Keith Olbermann said it best in this video: Read the rest of this entry »

CouchSurfer smashes into concrete pole! Concrete wins! You can help!

adventure, photography 1 Comment »

IMG_0989 *sigh* When I used to spin out, crash into something, get hurt, fall, or anything that scares most people… I used to say “Adventure!” and smile about it. Smashing into stuff is getting old. I might do it all day long, if it weren’t for the costs involved! I wrote about how I traveled through a blizzard, and didn’t get injured, despite spinning off the road into a ditch. I thought I won, but in actuality, nature won again….

Read the rest of this entry »