For The Curious: How I get strangers all over the globe to treat me like a welcomed friend and guest

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If you find yourself someplace new and want strangers to treat you like a welcomed friend and guest... here’s one of my secret tricks that has opened countless doors for me and my friends all around the globe...

While enjoying a day off in Manila, Jasper Nephew and I found ourselves wandering around hunting down local food carts.

Finding a busy one (pro tip that I learned from Andrew Zimmern, when confused ALWAYS pick the busiest vendor)

We realized we didn’t know how to eat this dish (it was some mystery fish, fried, and whole) so we bought a few plates for locals hanging near us.

INSTANTLY we went from a couple of random guys wandering alone, to sharing a meal laughing and hanging with our friends in the Philippines who couldn’t have been more pumped to share with us their local food scene.

“The Curious Guest Door Opener” - To turn strangers into hosts, and you their guest of honor, buy the bar a round.

Stay Curious,

-rob

“When Death Comes” (a poem about life)

There’s a cemetery four blocks south of where Sarah and I live that I like to walk to and through sometimes.

Memento Mori - “Remember that you will one day die.”

I like walking through this space. It’s peaceful. It feels like you’re walking in a dimension that exists between the living and the dead. When you leave, it feels like you’ve been given a second chance. Funny how quickly that gratitude can fade.

I’m glad that a reminder of this is only four blocks away. 

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 “When death comes

like the hungry bear in autumn;
when death comes and takes all the bright coins from his purse

to buy me, and snaps the purse shut;
when death comes
like the measle-pox

when death comes
like an iceberg between the shoulder blades,

I want to step through the door full of curiosity, wondering:
what is it going to be like, that cottage of darkness?

And therefore I look upon everything
as a brotherhood and a sisterhood,
and I look upon time as no more than an idea,
and I consider eternity as another possibility,

and I think of each life as a flower, as common
as a field daisy, and as singular,

and each name a comfortable music in the mouth,
tending, as all music does, toward silence,

and each body a lion of courage, and something
precious to the earth.

When it's over, I want to say all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.

When it's over, I don't want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.

I don't want to find myself sighing and frightened,
or full of argument.

I don't want to end up simply having visited this world.”

-Mary Oliver

 

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I Don’t Want To Become A Chillaxi

Behold, the Chillaxi.

Typically seen empty, circling downtown, hoping to can catch someone’s eye and get booked. 

Remnants of dying industry grasping at straws to stay in the game while misinterpreting the needs and desires of the current industry.

Only a few years ago, taxis used to be the answer to a problem.

The “Go To”

The “industry standard”

But then, someone came up with a better, faster, easier, more modern solution and, seemingly overnight, they became obsolete to an entire generation.

But it wasn’t overnight. 

Instead of doing the constant self (and external) examination that leads to a genuine understanding of where the industry is headed and where they fit in it, they woke up one day and realized the world around them had changed.

The phone no longer rang on it’s own.

In a panic, the ’quick fix’ was to put on a trendy outfit with the hopes of appearing hip and still with it.

The only problem is, once you open the door, it’s just an ordinary taxi.  

Good thing that never happens in the music world or other creative industries…

Let The Game Come To You

It’s 9am on a Wednesday morning and I haven’t eaten breakfast.

A half-liter of Paulaner Hefe-Weizen is in my hand and the only thing keeping me from questioning my life’s choices and thinking of myself as a complete lush is the fact that I’m surrounded by a bar full of business professionals who decided to spend their morning doing the same thing. Funny how a socially expectable thing like watching Germany play in the World Cup can turn adults into the equivalent of teenagers pretending they’re sick, skipping school and being careful none of their friends post a picture of them online in fear of indictment. 

As the match ended and the bar began to empty, defeated Germany fans returning to work with overcompensated posture and enunciation, I found myself sitting in conversation with a gentleman and his wife. Both in their mid seventies, their retirement allowing them not to feel rushed to leave, I became soberly aware of my career as a musician possibly meaning a decision to take my retirement in small segments throughout the week therefore lessening the chances of the possibility later in life. 

I noticed they’d been drinking the lukewarm-black-sludge most bars pass off as “coffee” all morning so I can only assume that the conversation ended up taking a deeper turn mainly due to the forwardness and courage my breakfast choice of liquid bread and hops had given me. 

I had asked about an offhand comment I overheard the husband make, saying that they had only been married for 3 years, but we ended up talking abut marriage, careers and life in general over the next half-hour when he said something that stuck out, hidden within a considerable amount of wisdom the rest of the conversation with them held. 

“As much as we force things in life to work out, I feel like the best thing to do is what your coach used to tell you if you ever played sports when you were younger. ‘Let the game come to you.’ Don’t feel like you need to franticly run around forcing things to work out the way you want them to. Trust things are going to work out and open yourself to the possibilities of the unknown, life has a way of working itself out.”

My buzz is gone but his words are still floating around my head, dulling the usual sharpness of my self-consciousness and worry.  

When staring down the loaded barrel of an empty day, week or month (a phrase I heard Pete Holmes say on his podcast and related to instantly) I find myself wanting to force things to happen, or worse, question the sanity of my decision to venture down this road of being an artist with the sole goal of finding my own voice in the world. 

“Calm down Morgan, ‘Let the game come to you’.”

Over the past five days, it’s become a sort of mantra I’ve used to remind myself throughout the day when I feel the fear creeping back into focus and I've decided to make it a regular meditation throughout this next month. 

Not as an excuse to be lazy, but as a reminder to take a deep breath, trust the process and

“Let the game come to you.”