Haters Are Going to Hate

For the past month I’ve been on the road with my brother, living in our Sprinter Van, traipsing about the southeast exploring cities, hiking trails, climbing rocks, and surfing cold waves. It’s been a lot of fun, despite the challenges, and we’ve even got some press for what we’ve been doing. We made the front page of The Orlando Sentinel, GrindTV loves our van build, and our alma mater featured us in their newspaper. You’d think all that press would be great, and in the form of website views, subscriber count on the website and YouTube Channel, and social media following, it is.Haters are Going to Hate

Being in the public eye though, that makes you a number one target for anyone looking to spread a little hate. When the writer at these news sources would shoot us the link, my eyes would go to the comment section after reading the article. I’ve noticed a trend in the comment section of every article. They start out super positive, strangers tagging their friends saying “Let’s do this” and “Inspiration for what we’re doing” along with a little “Way cool guys, keep it up!” Those comments get me feeling all warm inside until one person comes along to spread a little hate. It hurts, it gets to me when haters degrade what my brother and I are doing; saying it’s stupid and worthless or that the Sprinter Van we worked so hard to buy with cash and spent two months building out looks terrible. The one that hits home the most is when people say that we’re spoiled kids who mooched off their parents and that we’re just a couple of deadbeats.

Haters are going to hate…

Here are some things I’ve learned about haters that maybe you should know as well:

Haters are bullies

Just like in school. We gave them a new name.

What haters say, doesn’t matter

They spread hate to spread hate. Their words hurt, I know, trust me I know, but they don’t control you.

Haters are jealous

Often times they try and bring you down because they want what you have. They can have what you have by busting their butts for it (like you have), but they feel it’s easier to pull you down to their level and try to take what you have.

Haters are afraid of you

Since you’re doing awesome things, they feel they’re going to get lost in the mix and the best way to avoid that is to pull you down.

They don’t know your struggles

You’ve struggled and fought to get where you are. Haters only see where you are now and equate your success and happiness to luck and their misfortune.

…Creators are going to create

No matter what you do, you’re always going to have a hater. That really irks me because haters don’t see what we creators go through to do what we do and get where we are. While we’re working really hard, pulling all nighters, and breaking our backs to do what we love with only the hope that others will enjoy and be inspired by what we create, haters are out there spreading hate by typing mean comments, trying to degrade on our hard work. Just know that their pain is their life. Haters spread hate because they want you to feel the pain they feel.

 

Making Friends and Shaking Hands in the New Year

As this post goes live, we’re now 29 days into the New Year. Let me ask, how are your New Year’s Resolutions, excuse me, Goals. How are your New Year’s Goals going for you? Because remember, resolutions are stupid. Are you on track to following through on that action plan you set in place to achieve those goals or has it all been thrown to the wind?

Let me be the first to congratulate you if you’ve stuck to your action plan and are still on track to achieve your goal. Now if those goals have been thrown to the wind, not to worry. Why? There’s still time to get back on track. It’s a Leap Year and that means time is on your side. Rather than having 336 days left in the year, you’ve got yourself a whopping 337 days!Mike's Hard Lemonade

My New Year’s Goal is to have a conversation with a new person in every state I visit this year. Since I will be visiting every single state this year, that means I have to strike up a conversation with 50 random people! That may not seem like a lot to you if you’re the social butterfly of your friend group, but for the quiet, reserved one, that’s a HUGE deal.

Here’s how I’m working to achieve that goal:

My brother and I are taking a yearlong road trip. If you didn’t know that, you can head over to The Bro’d Trip’s website once you’ve finished reading this (it’ll still be there, I promise). We built out our van to be a “luxurious” home on wheels (more on that in a minute), but we want to spend as much time outside of the van as possible. We’re getting outside and doing as many things as we can. Surfing, rock climbing, hiking, exploring, taking photos, and making videos – those are the things we want to make part of our normal day, and so far we’re doing just that.Making friends with Mike's Hard Lemonade

Walking around taking pictures of what we might perceive to be ordinary has drawn a question or two, usually about camera/photo related things. Talking to a camera with a funny looking microphone on top has drawn a crowd, but none of that’s actually shareable. It’s awesome having a quick talk on the street, but none of that’s shareable in the sense that I get to learn more about someone. What is shareable is usually found at a local watering hole or in a refrigerator.

For centuries we’ve had conversations over a drink because it elicits a social atmosphere, a place to share stories, and learn about each other. That’s why my brother and I are keeping our refrigerator stocked with Mike’s Hard Lemonade. You see, we built out our Sprinter Van to be a cool place to come back to after a long day and share stories, hangout, eat food, and have a couple drinks with new friends.Mike's Hard Lemonade in the snow

Everyone has a different taste; some like beer and others like wine. One thing almost everyone can agree on is that Mike’s Hard Lemonade is a delicious twist that beer drinkers and wine drinkers will always make an exception for. The variety pack is an easy way for us to make sure everyone has a drink they like, rather than keeping multiple types of beer and/or wine on hand. That’d be irresponsible.

Have a New Year’s Goal that needs the help of some friends? Grab a pack of Mike’s Hard Lemonade and get to working on it!

This post is sponsored by Mike’s Hard Lemonade and all thoughts are my own. Mike’s Hard Lemonade, nor does The Weekend Warrior, promote or condone the consumption of alcohol by minors, nor do they condone the over consumption of alcohol.

The Grass is Always Greener Within

The last days, weeks, months, even a year or two leading up to my departure from my “real” job, I dreamt of living on the road. Everyday I followed other travelers, looking at their photos and reading the articles they wrote about their travels and the articles written about them, the whole time envying their lives. Now I kind of living their lives and I’m caught thinking that maybe, just maybe, the grass is greener on the other side.Justin Fricke riding an elephant brand skateboards downhill in Nort Carolina

Photo: Adam Fricke

What I’m doing, I love it. Not going to lie, the first four days were rough, but now Adam and I have navigated the valley and we’re reaching the promised land every day.

Last week I was talking to a friend back home, as we caught each other up on our lives I said “Man I wish I were back home. It feels like I’m missing out on so much.” To which he responded, “Well we all wish we were with you doing what you’re doing.” It’s kind of funny how it all comes full circle. For well over a year I dreamt of doing what I’m doing and now it doesn’t feel at all like a dream. Am I happy? You bet your bottom dollar I am! Do I feel like I would be happy doing something else? At times I wonder if I would be happy back home doing something else.

Going into this year I had this unrealistic thought that I’d be happy all the time. Driving—happy, being cold—happy, taking photos of places you only see on a postcard—happy, camping out in a Walmart parking lot—happy. What I didn’t think would happen is when my brother and I would fight, how we would never get into a sticky situation, or how tough it’d be to find reliable wifi.

As the saying goes: The grass is always greener on the other side. And the saying continues if you let it; however, I think

Essentially it’s us choosing to be happy and play the hand we’re dealt. Even when Adam and I fight or we’re sleeping in another Walmart parking lot for the 10th night straight, I’m learning to be happy. Believe it or not, these fights have actually made us talk more and become closer as brothers. And for Walmart? Let’s just say I have a newfound appreciation for the chain and I’ll always, gladly, feel indebted to Walmart.

While my life back home was safe and comfortable, this new phase of my life is fun. This whole experience is awesome and while at first I didn’t like having to be resourceful all the time or chill out a little more often, I’m learning to love being uncomfortable and find the green grass within.

Routine is the Enemy of Creativity

 I bet you have your daily routine dialed in: wake up, get ready for the day, have some coffee, go to work/school, come home from work/school, do something rad in the evening, maybe have a drink, and repeat Monday through Friday. If that’s your routine, we’re a lot alike, or at least we were. I don’t know about you, but I hated my routine. It felt like I was just going through the motions and not doing anything meaningful. It’s been a little over a week since I hit the road with my brother and within days I found myself missing my routine I had so carefully dialed in over the years.Routine is the Enemy of Creativity

Photo: Adam Fricke

We look for patterns in our daily lives. We’re taught from a young age to find patterns and utilize them to get things accomplished quicker, better, faster. It’s a wonder I was missing my routine. Since as long as I can remember I’ve been carefully trained to find routine and use it to my advantage and poof gone.

Finding routine on the road’s tough. So far we’ve been in virtually a different city everyday and come up with our plan for the day, if you can even call it a plan, in the morning when we get up or right as we’re getting ready to turn in for the night. For someone who has lived by a routine for years, it’s rough.

Living a life of routine kills creativity. 10 days in and it’s gotten easier. The initial shock of living in a van and always being on the move has subsided and it’s easier for me to appreciate the lack of routine. Without routine things look different, sound different, they are different. Everything stands out because our perception changes. Don’t believe me? Take a look at this.

We read left to right and when we scan across the ocean, for instance, we look left to right. When we do that we miss certain things because we expect to see what’s next rather than actually seeing what’s in front of us. When a good filmmaker is shooting a scene and the camera pans across an open area, it’s generally from right to left. It’s more dramatic for their audience since our routine’s to look from left to right. Search and rescue teams are trained to search from right to left so they break their routine and they have a better chance of seeing what they’re searching for.

Don’t go off berating me just yet. Some routine’s good, don’t get me wrong. Dental hygiene, wearing clean underwear, washing hands, those are all great routines to keep up with. You and anyone that comes near you will thank you. The same route you take to and from work/school, change it up! Take another route and keep an eye out for something new.

You’ll never find that golden nugget that’ll turn your day around if you keep doing what you’ve been doing.

Not Yet Ready, but Willing

For the past few months I’ve been listening to this song “Ready and Willing” by New Found Glory. In the song they talk about being the underdogs and being ready and willing to get out there, chase their dream, and lose it all, in hopes of achieving their dream.Not Yet Ready, but Willing

I can relate to the song, and I bet you can too. Truth be told, this song’s really helped hold me together. Anytime I feel like I’m going to fail on The Bro’d Trip, when fear takes hold and starts telling me this whole road trip is just a waste of my time, I hit play and let the words give me hope. Truth be told though, I’m not ready for The Bro’d Trip, but I’m willing.

Packing up my childhood memories from my childhood room, never to come back to the house I grew up in because my parents are moving was one of the hardest things I’ve had to do. I know it may sound petty, but I felt it was worth crying over, and I did. I wasn’t ready to say “see-ya-later” to my family and friends, but I did. It sucked and it still sucks. I’ve been on the road for four days (Adam and I missed our departure date by a day) and it still doesn’t feel real. Every day I think about turning our big Sprinter Van around and heading right back down to Florida, where I’m comfortable.

This is the biggest journey of my life, so far. I don’t know how I could fully ready myself for this. I’ve been told I’ve done everything right to be ready for this: paid cash for a van, saved up an emergency fund, got a couple of awesome sponsors, started building a small following, etc., but I still don’t feel like I’m ready for what lies ahead.

That’s the joy of a big journey. We can do everything in our power to get ready and be prepared, but we’re never fully ready. All we can do is be willing to take that big step and move forward, even though fear’s telling us to wait a while longer, until we’re ready.

Deep Roots | When Beer Makes Sense

Right after we got the van home my mom asked us if we wanted to have a party. A going away party/open house for our family and friends. People that have been in our lives throughout the years and the people we wouldn’t be seeing for the next year. Of course Adam and I said “yes” and we started planning for the party. Not really, we actually pulled all the details together just days before the party, but we did put the Facebook invite out about a month in advance.Deep Roots | When Beer Makes Sense

Party day came and I went to pick up our keg of beer from Red Cypress Brewery. It was called Deep Roots, a delicious ale with a fitting name. Right as I got that thing tapped our friends and family started flowing through the door and the beer kept flowing all day and late into the night.

The Facebook invite said 52 people were coming, but I reckon there were more than 52 people that came by throughout the day. Adam and I got to show off our van, hangout with everyone, and just have a good time. The van build had really beat us down the previous week and this was a great way to put it behind us and enjoy the entire journey we’ve been on.

As the party started to wind down our friends lit up a fire and we burned a ton of scrap wood pieces we had from the van build, along with some of the original pieces of wood from the original conversion. Adam and I saw the dimensions we had written down burn in the fire and as I placed the last piece of wood onto the fire, a piece of wood from the original conversion build, I got a little teary eyed. I didn’t cry because I’m a big strong man though.

Adam and I couldn’t have gotten to this point without everyone that played a role in our lives. The both of us have deep roots here and around Orlando and it’s hard to think that in a week and a half, we’ll be uprooting said roots and heading off on a new journey. As much as I poke fun at the suburbs and think that I hate routine, it’s also kind of nice. Without the suburbs or the routines I’ve developed I wouldn’t have been able to meet even half the people I know that have helped shape me into who I am today.

We have deep roots here and it’s hard to uproot our Magnolia tree like roots to chase a dream, but it’s worth it and it needs to happen. It’s time to go scatter new seeds and chug life. Plus it’s not like we’re never going to talk with our friends ever again. That’s what Facebook’s for, right?

We’re Fortunate to Be Able to Say “Eh”

The surf in Florida’s been killing me for the past two or three years. It seems like every time a great swell rolls in I have to work at my job, leaving me to only catch the tail end of that awesome swell and hear “Dude you should’ve been here two days ago” yet again. This past weekend was no different.We're Fortunate to Be Able to Say "Eh"

Adam and I drove to the beach after I got done with a (former) Christmas work party and it was awesome seeing everyone again. I hadn’t seen everyone since my last day at work, the day before Thanksgiving, and it sounded like nothing had really changed (always a positive). We woke up Sunday morning for his last surf contest. He graduates from UCF this week, or next I forget, and this was his last time ever competing for the UCF Surf Team. I know what you’re thinking, yes, UCF has a surf team.

The waves sucked, per usual. It’s Florida and it takes all the stars to align for the waves to be great. Rather than go for a surf in the semi-chilly water, I opted to post up with my camera in the bed of my dad’s pick-up truck and grab some video (which you’ll soon see in our vlog) and pictures of Adam and his teammates.

When you’re shooting video and pictures of people surfing other people come up to you. Sometimes just to talk, occasionally they’ll ask you to take their picture or if you got any pictures of them while they were surfing, but most of the time they ask “How are the waves, dude?” Most of the time my response is “Eh, it’s ok. I mean it beats a day of not surfing, right?” About that time they throw the hang loose sign and say “Right on, bra” as they walk away to their car, grab their board and head out for a surf sesh.

Ever think about how we’re fortunate to say “Eh, it’s ok.” I don’t think we recognize it enough, at least I don’t. I’m not the greatest surfer by any means. We’ll bring out the camera and take turns surfing and shooting video and pictures. Later in the day when the memory card’s dumped onto our hard drives I realize how good at surfing I’m not, but I have fun and that’s all that matters.

Deep down I know I’m fortunate to know how to surf and to be able to scoff at mediocre waves. I’m not fighting for my life on a daily basis or live in a war torn country where I need to carry a weapon with me just to go get a gallon of milk. Hell I’m fortunate enough to be able to go get a gallon of milk when I need my cereal fix.

You and I are pretty fortunate, I think. We have access to the internet and whether we get to complain about our slow internet connection or the less than stellar waves, that makes us fortunate to say “Eh, it’s ok.”

What You Can Learn From Building Out a Sprinter Van

There’s a lot that can be learned from building out a Sprinter Van. You can actually learn more than just carpentry skills. Life skills are also taught when you’re walking in and out of a Sprinter Van all day, cutting pieces of wood to specific dimensions, and assembling everything, only to disassemble part of it because your plan didn’t quite work out how you had originally intended.What You Can Learn From Building Out a Sprinter Van

Photo: Adam Fricke

If you’ve never had the chance to build out a Sprinter Van (or some other vehicle), I’d highly recommend it. It’s a lot of fun, extremely frustrating, and everything in between with lots of life lessons. These are some of the life lessons you can expect to learn, should you decide to build out a Sprinter Van or the vehicle of your choice at some point of your existence.

Art Class > Geometry

Math is not a strong suit for my brother, parents, or me. You’d think that you’d have to be great at geometry to properly build out a Sprinter Van, but you don’t. Geometry skills certainly help, but as long as you’re able to add, subtract, multiply, divide, and can make a stencil out of cardboard, you’ll be just fine. Turns out art skills trump geometry. In our case at least.

Communication Skills

Countless times I’ve wanted to shake Adam silly to let him know that his idea sucks and my idea’s the best idea. Good thing I haven’t done that yet because it turns out he has some great ideas and my way isn’t always the best way. Learning how to communicate effectively with whoever you’re working with saves you tons of time spent fighting and allows you to have effective dynamic discussions that result in forward progress.

Maybe if our world leaders and politicians would build out a Sprinter Van together they’d all learn how to communicate and actually get sh*t done. What do you think?

Problem Solving

All you need is a general idea. Simply an idea of the layout you want. As long as you’re good at problem solving and have some time to sit, stare, and ponder, you’ll be able to build out a Sprinter Van. Eventually you’ll begin to realize that one of your greatest strengths in life is your ability to problem solve.

 

Maximizing Strengths & Minimizing Weaknesses

There are some things Adam’s better at than me and vice versa. Take a look at our vlogs and you’re going to see more of Adam smoothing out the edges with a sander, getting proper measurements, and tracing out those measurements. You’ll probably see me using the power tools most of the time. We do that for a reason. Adam’s OCD kicks in and the kid’s able to get perfect measurements and I’m more comfortable, and faster, with the power tools. Playing to each other’s strengths allows us to get things done much faster with fewer headaches.

 

Discipline

Working on a Sprinter Van’s fun, but it also gets tedious when it starts to consume your life and it looks like no end is in sight. If you can find the discipline to get up every day and work on your Sprinter Van, you’ll feel like you can conquer the world.

Teamwork

Screwing a wood screw into some wood’s a pretty simple task. Now dress it up a bit and try to hang something that weighs 5 pounds on your own. There’s your problem. Having an extra set of hands is essential and you’ve never realized the importance of teamwork until you started building out a Sprinter Van.

Asking for Help

The Beatles said it best “I get by with a little help from my friends.” We can accomplish a lot on our own and Adam and I get an awesome feeling of accomplishment when all goes according to plan. There are some other small projects that if need to be done right, requires help from a friend. We’ve had to call on friends from time-to-time in order to get something done right like running the wiring or welding a patch in the floor. Asking for help is something the stubborn hate to do and when done right is a lot of fun to get a community to lend a helping hand.

What They Don’t Tell You About Being FUNemployed

The idea of being without a “real job” and being a freelancer, or starting your own business, is beginning to gain traction. As more and more of us millennials develop skills to take a stab at entrepreneurship and build our own businesses in whatever field it might be, the more we begin to romanticize the idea of being funemployed. It’s kind of become the new American Dream. There are lots of rewards with being funemployed like: working in your boxer shorts, getting up whenever you want, working whenever you want, surfing the web without repercussion, etc. The freedom of funemployement is what we seek, to say the least, but with that freedom comes a lot of headaches.

This is what they don’t tell you about being funemployedWhat They Don't Tell You About Being FUNemployed

Photo: Adam Fricke

Work Never Stops

Just because you’re busy having fun or doing something “important” to you doesn’t mean diddly squat to your clients. When they need something from you, you have to be able to deliver within their timeframe. You could push it off as much as possible or get it done according to your schedule, but your competition is always improving. In order to set yourself apart from your competition, you have to constantly be improving and providing better results, and service, than your competition.

You Have to Sell Yourself

No not that way. Be confident in your work and find a way to market yourself. Why should someone else believe in you if you don’t believe in yourself and your work? Just because your work is top-notch, doesn’t mean anyone else knows that. Getting in front of your future client can be a struggle, but you have to constantly jump in front of potential clients so they know who you are and what value you can add to them.

There’s No Sleeping In

Theres a saying that the early bird gets the worm and it’ll never ring truer than when you decide to become funemployed. I think one of the best qualities in someone is when they’re on time. The reason for that is that your competition is never on time, stand out from your competition and be on time. That means operating on your client’s time. Let’s say your client’s office hours are 9:00am – 5:00pm on the east coast, but you’re on the west coast. That means you’re 3 hours behind your client’s operating time, but in order to stand out, you could (and should) be on call and ready to go at a moment’s notice according to your client’s time.

Clients Come and Go

This point goes right back to point number 2 (You Have to Sell Yourself) because clients come and go. As fast as you gain a new client, you can easily lose an existing client. In fact, I lost a client today, but I also gained a client a couple of weeks ago. We all want a long-standing relationship with all of our clients, but businesses change and sometime cutbacks need to be made or maybe down the road you both realize you’re better off not doing business together. Whatever the scenario is, it’s ok, don’t take it personal, learn from the experience, adapt if needed, and start selling yourself again.

Distractions are All Over

You thought donuts in the break room were a distraction and hated it when you had to quickly close your social media profiles when you heard your boss walking by you. When you become funemployed you’ll wish you had your boss walking by again and think donuts in the break room were the least of your worries. Distractions are all over the place and it take a lot of motivation to beat those distractions. Much like finding the motivation to do homework in college, you have to find the motivation to get your work done. It doesn’t matter where or how it gets done, the work just needs to get done and the sooner it gets done, the sooner you can get paid.

Are you funemployed? What do you wish people would’ve told you about funemployment before you quit your job to become funemployed?

There’s No Such Thing As Luck

Ever since Adam and I made our Bro’d Trip plans known to the world a few weeks ago we’ve had a lot of people tell us how lucky we are that we get to take a year off to visit all 50 states by van. To be honest with you, it’s kind of irritating to me when I hear that I’m lucky to be taking a year off. We both busted our butts to be able to live this dream of ours and we’re doing anything, but “taking a year off,” but that’s another story for another day.There's No Such Thing As Luck

Luck is when success, or failure, just happens out of thin air. With luck there’s no work involved. The best way I can illustrate luck is when you stumble upon a lamp and a big blue magic genie that sounds like Robin Williams appears out of the lamp to grant you three wishes. That’s some luck and if it’s happened to you, I hope you used one wish to wish for an endless supply of wishes.

Rather than realizing it took a lot of hard work to see that someone got to where they are now, we just see where they are and associate it with luck.

Waiting on luck to happen isn’t going to get you anywhere; however, preparation will get you somwhere. Sitting around watching daytime TV in your free time, waiting for opportunity to come knocking at your front door’s not going to get you anywhere. Trust me. I’ve done that before and it got me nowhere. I wouldn’t recommend trying it either. It gets kind of depressing and lonely.

What I’ve found is that preparation tends to be met with opportunity. Almost every person that’s now living the life we wish we were living spent years preparing for where they are now. Preparation is practice for future success. It’s a lot easier to fall flat on your face when only a couple of people are watching. Falling flat on your face in front of a bunch of people sucks and really kills the self-esteem.

Adam and I could have left two years ago on The Bro’d Trip, and to be honest, I’m glad we didn’t. We’ve learned a lot over the past couple years. Working my day job has taught me some invaluable business skills: like being diligent about following up and making a phone call over sending an email when something needs to get done. Our photography and video skills have drastically improved and while you’re preparing, people eventually notice.

I think you know you’re doing something right, or you’re on to something, when preparation meets opportunity. Long hours and late nights tend to feel worthless until you catch a break and get noticed. And that’s what happened with us. We wanted to make The Bro’d Trip great, but we knew it could be even better with some help and low and behold, a couple companies noticed us and offered to lend us a helping hand to make this great.

To say someone’s lucky to be doing what they’re doing belittles all their hard work and preparation that it took for them to get where they are now. Maybe you know the feeling. You bust your butt to get the opportunity you want or to do something you’ve been wanting to do for what seems like an eternity and someone just diminishes all your hard work be equating it to chance, luck. Saying someone’s doing something special, outrageous, or something you want to do one day, now those are words that could be used instead of luck. Let’s be real, we can do anything with some hard work, dedication, preparation, and a little help from others in the form of an opportunity.

Luck has got nothing to do with it.