Never Normal Newsletter

The Future of Remote Work, the History of Pizza, and How I’m Going to Educate My Children

Merhaba from Turkey 👋

Last week I wrote about… nothing.

I took a week off from writing this newsletter (for the first time) to travel here and celebrate my daughter’s birthday. 🎉

I’ve traveled much less over the past couple of years due to the pandemic. This trip has reminded me of a few timeless travel lessons — things that I had learned before, but that were no longer top of mind:

  • It’s good to break your routine sometimes. You lose some efficiency, but you gain serendipity and a fresh perspective.
  • Get what’s good where you are. I have a choice every morning. I can be annoyed that it’s more complicated to make my usual cup of coffee just the way I like it (something I can easily do elsewhere). Or… I can enjoy endless cups of delicious Turkish tea (which I could probably make myself at home, but here it’s abundant and guaranteed to be good). This particular lesson might be super obvious for other people (“do what’s easy, duh”), but as a high agency person who defaults to trying to bend the universe to my will, it’s a good one for me to keep in mind.
  • It’s easy to underestimate how much your surroundings impact your perception of reality. In Spain, I saw daily reminders of the pandemic (a few people still wear n95 masks outside) and the war in Ukraine (flags, posters, frontpage stories on the newsstand, and a steady stream of refugees arriving). Here, I see none of that.

The funny thing is, I didn’t plan to come to Turkey this summer. I was originally planning a trip to Montenegro.

But since the whole purpose of this trip is to have a little family reunion/celebration, I decided it was more important to focus on making the trip easy and enjoyable for everyone else vs. prioritizing exploring a new country.

This ties back to one of my favorite questions that you should always ask yourself when evaluating options: “What are you optimizing for?”.

If I ask you, “What’s the best car?”

You might be tempted to say, “Ferrari” or “Lamborghini”, but maybe I’m looking for the best car for a family of six. Or maybe I want the best car for surviving Canadian winters. Or the best car for my food delivery business.

Again, this might sound obvious, but it’s often overlooked. People argue about which option to choose, without realizing that they’re each optimizing for something different.

Lightning Round

The Future of Remote Work

George Mack recently shared 8 thoughts on the future of remote work. I agree wholeheartedly with every one his points. I’ve written about #’s 4 and 6 myself. #7 is a great business opportunity (there’s already a few of these for Portugal, like Rebase and Bordr).

How I’m Going to Educate My Children

I follow Ben Patrick (@kneesovertoesguy) on Instagram, where he’s known for his well-researched and unorthodox approach to strength and mobility.

But Ben’s affinity for alternative approaches isn’t limited to the gym. Earlier this year he shared a 12 point plan for educating his son Onyx.

Ten years ago I was facing a bleak and uncertain future. An unorthodox approach got me results, and I’ve been dreaming and succeeding ever since. But I got lucky. I don’t want my son to be 20 years old and already feeling like a failure in life, like I did.

I’ve written plenty over the last couple of years about what’s wrong with our education system, and pointed out some of the promising startups looking to reform the system, but I never actually sat down and tried to design a new curriculum myself. Ben’s list got me thinking…

Here’s #12 from his list (I like it, but I would scale up the distance with age):

Build Up & Maintain a 1 Mile Walk Each Day: We spend so little time in nature and so much time in front of screens. I believe getting outside and walking can help balance that out. Most of my best ideas have come about on walks. I want Onyx to grow up thinking of walking as part of life, rather than a chore.

Speaking of things that they don’t teach you in school…

Pizza Isn’t Italian

I went down a little rabbit hole a few weeks ago and I’ve been meaning to share this with you ever since.

Food history and the origins of various dishes and cuisines are some of my favorite topics, so this piece caught my eye.

I have to emphasize this, you couldn’t order a pizza in the vast majority of Italian restaurants in America prior to 1945. And the reason you couldn’t order a pizza in Italian restaurants is because pizza isn’t Italian.

Which also lead me to read more about the evolution of pizza and Italian-American food in Argentina (super interesting and some great old photos).

That’s all for this week… More soon.

Not a subscriber?

I write occasional emails to share what I’m thinking, learning, and doing. It’s all related to the idea of breaking free from the “default plan” in life.

Want to learn along with me? Join my Never Normal Newsletter: