I ‘met’ Bill Loundy on the internet in a weird convoluted way that I won’t bother going into. I found his website and then emailed him – because that’s what I do now. No social media – I just cold-email people. We’ve exchanged a bunch of long emails. This is my new philosophy. I’ll email anyone if the mood strikes – I really don’t care if they respond or not. It’s going fantastic.
He’s a twisted paradox – he is CEO of a smartphone app company, ReadUp, that he’s currently running while traveling around the United States in a camper he calls Sputnik with no fixed address and a flip-phone, only accessing the internet predominately at public libraries. We have some similar viewpoints and values – we are probably ‘kindred sprits’ – depending on your definition of the term. I have been enthralled with his tales from the road both out of envy and a sense of discovery. His recent post, ‘Slow and Steady Wins the Race’, did not fail to deliver the goods. A few nuggets:
Slow is like patience, gratitude, maybe even love. Slow is the mindset behind so much of what makes life better: intentionality, mindfulness, focus, calm. Anything that can be done can be done just a little bit slower, and that makes it better. Slow means more time. If you can drink a coffee in eight minutes instead of three, that’s five bonus coffee-drinking minutes. When time extends, awareness extends.
What I’m learning is that attention is the mack-daddy of all skills because it’s the path to all other skills. And the best part is that it only has two ingredients: time and focus.
Universally, I think that people are careless with their attention. They give it away without thinking – to other people and increasingly, tragically, to corporations and tech gadgets. To reclaim your attention for yourself is to reclaim yourself for yourself. Think about that.
That last one – bam.
Some of the best parts of Bill’s posts revolve around people he meets on the road.
I instantly hit it off with J. Born and raised on the Keweenaw Peninsula, he’s a 72-year-old with drifter vibes, but he never really drifted, geographically at least. He’s a bonafide free-thinker, who described himself, first and foremost, as a draft-dodger. He was a high school physics and English teacher (of course) who hated high school himself (also of course) but ended up finding his way to college (you get the point). I latch onto the fact that he doesn’t have a cell phone; to him, this fact is barely worth note. He looks like Jack Nicholson, but balder, with a pristine dome of shiny nothingness on the top of his head and long, grey hair cascading down the sides. He wears a Hawaiian shirt and bucket hat.
Bill says on his About page, that one of his two life-long goals is to write a novel. I look forward to that, but in the meantime his non-fiction blog posts are both compelling and fascinating. Check ’em out.