The last 24 days

I typically write 2 blogs a week. Those of you who are good at math may have noticed I’ve only been pumping out one per week these last few.

Here’s a timeline of my life starting from 24 days ago:

24, Took a weekend trip with a good friend to Iguazú Falls, Brazil.

21, Started working with a developer to revamp my website. (Here’s a sneak peek.)

19, Had my final Spanish lesson in Argentina. Said goodbye to my tutor and asked if we could continue working together online.

17, Took a couple’s retreat to Patagonia for the weekend with my lady, an Argentine, and a Brit.

13, Threw a going away party with all my Buenos Aires friends. Said my final goodbye to most of them.

12, Last day in Argentina. Said goodbye to the woman I was dating. Heartbreaking cab ride to the airport. Almost canceled my flight twice.

11, 16-hour return to the United States starting at 1am. Got a phone call that night telling me one of my best friends had killed himself.

8, Lunch with my mom, sister, and aunt for Mother’s Day. Tried to be present and loving while battling the emotional waves from leaving my favorite city and losing my friend.

7, Had several connect calls with friends from all over the globe who reached out in support. Refreshed and revitalized me.

5, Finished the first draft of my free YouTuber’s Guidebook.

4, Flew to Tampa, Florida for my community’s annual coaching retreat. Hung out with my mentor, met other coaches in person for the first time, and competed in various coaching challenges for four days.

2, Made $3300 in an hour and a half. Won the “Out and About” challenge.

1, Flew back to DC. Eighth airport in three weeks.

0, Sat down to type this blog.

After I email this to all of you, I will pack up my car, shower, and drive down to Virginia. There I’ll move into my aunt’s extra bedroom and live with her for the rest of the summer.

I’m doing this for three reasons:

  1. to live frugally
  2. to live close to family I don’t see as often
  3. to focus entirely on work, fitness, and family time

I’ve been bopping around without a technical home ever since I moved out of my apartment in February. It’s felt like a year’s-worth of experiences has been condensed into a single month.

I feel ambitious, sad, and sharp.

Underneath all the hardships and challenges, I can’t help but feel immense gratitude. For the people in my life, for the projects I get to work on, for the body and mind I’ve been gifted and choose to maintain.

I miss my friend. But I know he’d be proud of me.

I certainly am.

A season of Yes (in 3 questions)

Iguazú Falls, 2023.

My buddy and I went to Brazil this weekend. It’ll be tough to encapsulate every experience and insight I gained in those 48 hours but I’ll do my best.


Took an early flight on one-ish hour of sleep.

Stood in silence gazing at the most impressive spectacle of nature I’ve ever seen.

Finally found good pizza in Argentina.

Got spooked by some South American raccoons (coatis).

Found some more falls.

Swam in those falls.

Made friends with a Swiss, a Brit, and a German.

Got dinner with them.

Drank yerba mate next to the Paraná River—overlooking the three fronts of Argentina, Paraguay, and Brazil.

This weekend made me feel like I was 20 again.

Fearlessly asking strangers if they wanted to be friends simply because we spoke the same language. Jumping into strange waters. Staying up all night drinking beer and speaking Spanish.

I thought of the immature, blissful kid version of me who lived in Germany in 2014. This weekend I felt those same feelings of adventure and openness but in the mind of a 29-year-old with a business and his shit together.

Oktoberfest in Munich, 2014.

^^This guy was having the time of his life. But he was lost inside.

^^This guy is also having the time of his life. But he’s continuing to ask and answer some important questions.

Here are three questions I’ve been unpacking since I’ve been living down here in Buenos Aires.

What have I gotten most out of my time in Argentina?

In short: a ton of confidence.

Doing difficult things is a universally fulfilling feeling. Things like strenuous exercise, starting a business, or learning a foreign language.

Most of us can agree in conversation that doing this stuff would likely lead to an interesting and rewarding life. But it’s so unbelievably easy to not do them. Because well…they’re uncomfortable.

I’m reminded of this Alex Hormozi tweet:

It’s fun to tell people you’re moving to South America. It’s also fun to write blogs about your time there and to share photos of waterfalls that look fake.

What’s less fun is working tirelessly to get better at Spanish, maintaining relationships as fellow travelers come and go, and falling for someone you only have two weeks left with.

Starting is fun. Doing the daily work is hard.

In the last two months, I’ve…

  • cowered in my apartment for fear of speaking Spanish
  • cried from gratitude for my life
  • laughed until I cackled
  • built relationships I’ll have for a lifetime
  • become more of who I actually am: silly, adventurous, connected

The big lessons come from putting yourself in daily, unfamiliar, and awkward situations and seeing what you’re truly made of. Will you embrace this unease or shy away from it? Will you continue doing the grinding and unforgiving work when no one is watching?

The confidence I’ve earned has come from proving to myself week after week that I am in fact the kind of person who follows through.

“You don’t become confident by shouting affirmations in the mirror, but by having a stack of undeniable proof that you are who you say you are.” – also Alex Hormozi lol.

Why do well-traveled people seem to act 5-10 years older?

Between 18-22, I was a man-boy with long hair running around my college and beach towns getting wasted and trying to hook up with women.

Freshman dorm, Burnett’s Vodka, ~$18 per handle, 2013.

When I meet 18-22-year-olds who’ve been living in different countries, it feels like I’m talking to a seasoned 30-something. That’s because, as I mentioned in the previous question, this person is seasoned.

They’ve been on their own. Truly on their own. They’ve been forced to solve their own problems, find their own meals, and build their own communities.

I didn’t know how to do any of that consistently until I hit rock bottom at 23 and started taking control of my life. Because up until that point, all my problems had been solved for me.

High school was a joke. I gave minimal effort and passed just fine.

My mother is a saint and an incredible mom. But she took it a bit too far during my formative years by constantly cleaning up after my messes. She made the phone calls I put off. She requested extensions on deadlines I missed. She made sure I was always taken care of.

I sound ungrateful for complaining about it, but looking back I wish she had let me suffer more. You didn’t send in your application in time? Damn, guess you’re not going this semester. You didn’t call the doctor to set up your physical? Damn, guess you’re not playing soccer this season.

It sucks, but it’s through the suffering and the consequences that we learn a fundamental truth.

No one’s coming.

When you’re running a business, getting in shape, or traveling to a new country…Nobody is going to ride in on their white stallion and carry you to the promised land. No one will wave a magic wand and grant you clients, subscribers, friends, skills, a girlfriend, or abs.

It’s all on you. You have to stack the bricks to build the house. You have to find the raw materials. You have to build relationships and ask for help.

Growing up, I didn’t believe this to be true. I never told myself, “No one’s coming.” For me, it was, “My mom will probably take care of this.”

That didn’t sustain itself for very long.

I always cringe when I hear celebrities or athletes say their goal is for their children to never work a day in their lives. What an awful thing to do to a kid.

A better alternative would be to drop them in the middle of South America with a backpack, a passport, and $500. Then find them a year later and beam at their wisdom and grace.

I worry about the younger generation as I watch my little sister grow up.

GenZ is the first generation to be on social media before puberty. Preteen and teenage girls are experiencing skyrocketing levels of anxiety, depression, and suicidal ideation. Young boys are aging with increased levels of antisocial behavior.

I’m no expert, but I imagine spending 8-13 hours a day on a smartphone is not helpful. Constant stimulus. Food delivered in minutes. Infinite entertainment. Communication with anyone else who happens to be on their phone.

If we so choose, we never have to be bored ever again. We never have to wait ever again. It’s never necessary to be completely alone. We can open TikTok or YouTube and watch it from 8am to 2am.

When I stood gazing at the falls, I had completely forgotten what Youtube was. I wasn’t thinking about anything other than my friend and the water in front of me.

Anyway, I have no idea if traveling is actually making me a wiser person. But I certainly feel more aligned, more present, and more capable of handling whatever comes my way.

And finally…

Am I ready to go back to the United States?

Easy answer: absolutely not.

I mean no insult to my friends and family back in the States. I’m thrilled at the thought of hugging them and being in the same room as them.

But I’m dreading my flight in nine days.

People have been asking me how I feel about going home. Here’s how I feel:

When we flew back from Brazil this weekend, I told my buddy, “Man, it’s good to be home.” I smiled as I walked the cobblestoned streets to get to my apartment.

My return flight to the States feels like I’m just taking another trip to a foreign country. It feels premature.

But I have no choice. I have commitments. And all chapters, all seasons, have their end. Some are more graceful and seamless than others.

It’s been a season of Yes these past two months. I’ve agreed to practically everything.

  • dinners
  • people
  • wine
  • trips
  • cappuccinos
  • dates
  • barbecues

It’s led to more memories and insights than I had in the previous 12 months combined. And it will certainly go down as one of the most formative eras in my life’s library.

But I’m about to enter a season of No.

I’ll unpack this more in the next blog. But besides major events like weddings and bachelor parties, this summer there will be no:

  • alcohol
  • dating
  • coffee
  • late nights
  • distractions

I’m going full monk mode. My priorities will be growing the podcast, spending time with family, and publishing my book. Nothing else.

I have until September. Then I’ll most likely move back down to South America.

Then I’ll be back…home.

Permission to be silly

Dillan Taylor inside El Ateneo Grand Splendid
El Ateneo Grand Splendid, “the world’s most beautiful bookstore.”

I used to be quite silly. I would yell, play different characters, and commit to jokes for far longer than necessary.

I’ve always tried to maintain my sense of humor. I don’t take myself that seriously. I love making people laugh. And of course, I want to be laughing each and every day.

But these last few years have been way less focused on fun and way more centered around creating and growing.

I built a solo business from scratch. I’m in the midst of expanding a podcast. I’ll be publishing a book soon.

As I sit at this laptop for hours each day, develop my skills, and focus intently on bringing value to others…I’m reminded of something a client said to me at the start of the year.

“I feel like I’ve lost my silliness.”

He was sharing about how being laser-focused on his own personal and career growth made him act more serious. But his truest, most fulfilled self was one who was goofy and who laughed at the woes of life.

Me too.

So I asked myself, How can I be a fun and silly person while maintaining my love for learning and growing?

Cut to: today. I’m more than halfway done with my time living here in Buenos Aires, Argentina. It will easily go down as one of the most rewarding and impactful periods in my life.

A month ago, I…

  • spoke no Spanish
  • knew nobody
  • was feeling a bit overwhelmed and insecure

And since then I…

  • had numerous conversations in Spanish
  • became friends with people from the USA, Sweden, Brazil, Australia, Argentina, Venezuela, the UK, Austria, Germany, China, and Canada
  • organized a large dinner with many of these friends
  • met a woman
  • interviewed some of my favorite creators on my podcast
  • learned more about myself in one month than I did the entire previous year

All the while, I’ve been wildly productive and silly.

I’m writing the chapters of my book slowly and steadily. I’m sticking to the systems of my podcast uploading schedule as best I can. Potential clients continue to email me about coaching.

And I spent this entire weekend hopping around the city with a beautiful Brazilian woman, meeting friends for wine, and laughing until I couldn’t breathe.

So it seems I accidentally managed to answer my own question from earlier: How can I be a fun and silly person while maintaining my love for learning and growing?

Here’s how in 2 steps:

1) Secure the non-negotiables.

When I got into town, I spent the whole first week learning my neighborhood. Where will I spend my time?

I had to take care of the most important environments for my regular routine.

  1. gym
  2. coworking space
  3. groceries
  4. favorite cafes and bars
  5. parks for walking

In terms of the 80/20 Principle, these would be the 20% of places I’d spent 80% of my time. So I invested time in making sure they were close, enjoyable, and cost-effective.

On the micro level, I do the same every Monday in my Weekly Review.

I’ll write an entire blog about each step of my WR. But in a nutshell, I just spend two hours organizing all of my project tasks and to-dos and scheduling them for my week. The goal is to then wake up each subsequent day and never wonder what I’m doing that day.

In other words, I define what “done” looks like every single week. By Friday, if I did everything I said I would do (my non-negotiables) I don’t get to feel bad for not working hard enough. I’m done.

And once the non-negotiables are taken care of…

2) Leave plenty of room for silliness.

If I’m keeping the promises I make to myself, if I’m defining the work and then doing it…then I get to do whatever the hell I want.

Within reason, of course.

I’m not staying up until 5am snorting coke and letting my body erode away.

But this weekend was nothing but pure joy, wine, and lacking any responsibility. It was everything I loved about studying abroad in Germany.

Dillan Taylor at Oktoberfest in Munich
Oktoberfest in Munich, 2014.

Look at this silly boy.

He had nothing but fun living in Europe. But he was a mess. He never knew what his non-negotiables were. How would he take care of his health? What was he striving toward? What value did he want to bring the world?

No clue.

So when he wasn’t partying and meeting women, he was alone in his dorm room feeling wildly depressed and scared.

I don’t feel that way now. Not even close.

Because I have my answer to all those questions. Which means…

I get to have plenty of weekends like the one I just had. Next weekend I’m taking a trip with my buddy to Brazil and Paraguay. The weekend after that, I, my lady friend, and another awesome couple we just met are going to Uruguay. Then I fly back to the United States…which I’m quietly suppressing from myself.

Take care of the needs and leave plenty of room for the wants.

Today, I need to post this blog, do my Weekly Review, go to the bank, interview a guest on my podcast, and go to my Spanish lesson.

Once those boxes are checked, I can be as silly as I choose to be.

The Ravioli Lady

Palermo Hollywood, Buenos Aires.

A few nights into living in Argentina, I did a solo dinner at the pasta place near my apartment. Armed with practically zero Spanish, I mentally prepared myself for war.

When I got there, I peeked at a menu on one of the outside tables. As I was figuring out what I wanted, a young woman came out of the building, greeted me questioningly, and returned my menu back to its original spot on the table.

I felt like a child who just got in trouble for playing with a toy that wasn’t his.

She ushered me inside and I gave my order. I pointed and spoke slowly to make sure I didn’t mispronounce anything, praying she didn’t ask me any follow-up questions.

She did.

Her Spanish was so quick I genuinely thought she was messing with me. Her pitch went up at the end of her sentence so I knew it was a question.

“Si,” I replied. I had no idea what I just agreed to.

She could’ve asked:

  • “Do you want a job here?”
  • “Do you think I’m ugly?”
  • “Are you a silly little American boy?”

Yes, ravioli lady. Yes I am.

She then asked me, “¿Y para tomar?” Which means, “to take?”

“No, para acá,” I said, indicating I wanted to dine in.

She looked at me as though to say, Yeah…no shit. I thought she hated me.

But the real problem was my vocabulary. In that context, tomar didn’t mean to take; it meant to drink.

She was just asking what the hell I wanted to drink. And I responded by saying I was going to eat in front of her and there was nothing she could do about it.

I somehow managed to get my meal of ravioli, empanadas, and white wine. And I ate it in the corner like I was in time out. It was an embarrassing fear that came true when learning another language.

That was three weeks ago.

Since then, my basic Spanish has gotten noticeably better. I have no trouble going to cafes and stores and getting by.

This weekend, I ran into the Ravioli Lady at the local Irish pub. A few friends and I were watching the UFC fights. She seemed much warmer this time. Maybe it was the booze. Maybe it was because she wasn’t working.

I asked her if she remembered me. She smiled and said she did.

The first thing she noted was how much my Spanish had improved. I told her my side of the story from that night and how embarrassed I was. She thought it was hilarious.

She loved her new title as Ravioli Lady and said she would ask her coworkers to call her that. We fist-bumped and went about our evenings.

I sat there with my buds watching the fights, laughing with them, and drinking beer. And a thought occurred to me.

My brain had been perceiving that embarrassing night at the pasta restaurant as a bad thing. Painful. Discouraging. Something to avoid.

But that’s all such short-term thinking. When we zoom out, we see all the positive and rewarding results.

Even if that chance encounter with Ravioli Lady didn’t happen, the lesson is still the same: some of the deepest human connection comes from sharing what went wrong.

This blog, for example. The posts that get the most engagement by far are the ones about my fears, my travel goofs, and my insecurities.

Could you imagine how boring it would be if I just posted my wins every week? Setbacks and imperfections allow others to see themselves in what you’re sharing.

So back to my time here in Buenos Aires. Most days involve me putting myself out there in some way: asking women on dates, speaking grammatically incorrect Spanish, and saying yes to most invitations.

A lot of times, it feels as though I’m taking a risk. There’s a potential to look stupid, have others judge me, and get rejected. The fight or flight response begs me to avoid and hide in my apartment.

But I’ve learned that every risk has two potential benefits:

  1. a beautiful learning opportunity
  2. a captivating story

It’s usually both.

Per my ravioli story. I’ve told it many times here. It makes people laugh and encourages them to share their experiences with language barriers.

As for learning, I get to remember a time when I didn’t know what tomar meant. I can measure how far I’ve come with my Spanish by looking back at a fun and embarrassing moment.

All this to say: it’s crucial to not rob ourselves of future insights and stories. Take the risk. Do the scary thing.

The worst-case scenario is you have a funny story to tell in the future. Best case is you get exactly what you were hoping for.

Why do I take cold showers?

I take very cold showers three or four times a week. I dread it just about every time.

There are well-known physical benefits:

  • boosts immunity
  • reduces inflammation
  • combats depression symptoms

But the reason I torture myself in this way is for the mental effect. It’s a reminder that I can do difficult things even when my mind is screaming that I can’t. Here’s the process:

  1. dive into something wildly uncomfortable
  2. sit in it for a few seconds
  3. quickly acclimate to feeling just fine

This system also exists in our careers, relationships, and health.

I just finished my second week in Buenos Aires. When I got here, I mentioned in a blog that one of my goals was to “give my life a cold shower.” Here’s what I meant.

As my flight to South America drew closer, doubts and fears came pouring in. It was like I was standing next to the tub with my hand testing the freezing water. All you can think about is how miserable it’s going to feel. The benefits feel far away and are hard to imagine.

Then I got on the plane, unpacked my stuff into the apartment, and started to find my feet. I got memberships to a coworking space, a martial arts gym, and a weightlifting gym. I began Spanish lessons. I took taxis where I could only understand 20% of what the guy was saying to me. I went out and met entrepreneurs, beautiful women, and new friends.

It was all exhilarating, uncomfortable, and overwhelming. Just like taking that first step into the cold shower. There was homesickness. I just wanted to be back in a familiar setting. The first thought you have in a cold shower is, I need to get the hell out of here.

But then you just breathe. The water gets a little less icy. Your fight or flight mode calms down. And before you know it, you’re feeling relaxed and refreshed by this thing that felt like it was killing you five seconds prior.

That’s where I’m at now.

I’m typing this out while sitting next to some buddies in my coworking space. I have a routine down. I have a few favorite cafes and bars. I’ll sometimes even forget I’m in a foreign country. It just feels like home.

Before I came here, I was on the phone with a good friend and telling him about my anxiety. What he said has stuck with me ever since.

“There are people who are doing exactly what you want to do who have fewer skills, fewer resources, and less drive. They just care less and put themselves out there more.”

So now whenever I get down on myself for speaking Spanish like a two-year-old, not knowing the bus system, or sounding awkward when flirting…I just remind myself of those words.

There are people doing better than me who are less capable. Just relax and keep doing scary things. Most of life’s treasures are buried beneath uncomfortable actions and cold showers.

Two weeks down. Five to go.

I thought I would like Buenos Aires…

I’ve been living here for a little over a week now. Here are a few things I’ve done.

  • started Spanish lessons
  • done jiujitsu
  • started two meetups: one for working out/meditation, one for chess
  • made friends from Argentina, Sweden, and China
  • gone on two dates
  • partied Argentine style until 6am
  • got shat on by a pigeon (on my way to meet a woman)
  • gained 85 YouTube subscribers in the last 30 days
  • had one of my videos go viral
  • bought my first fanny pack

I thought I would like it here in Buenos Aires. But I don’t.

I absolutely love it. I already feel sad that I’m leaving in a couple months.

It’s everything I’ve wanted from living in a city. Yet my living expenses are around $500 per month.

I’ve made friends here I already don’t want to leave behind.

The adventure continues…

Buenos Aires: day 2

My main goal in these blogs is to be completely transparent. Day 1 of my living in Argentina absolutely terrified me.

I spent hours with an American buddy who showed me the ropes and that was awesome. But once we parted ways, I felt like a child lost without his parents.

The sole reason for this fear: my Spanish isn’t good enough to carry on conversations yet.

I felt too timid to go to a restaurant or store on my own. What if someone tries to talk to me? What if they throw things at me? What if la policia take me away because my Spanish isn’t good enough?

I’m ashamed to say that my first night was spent in my apartment trying to figure out how to get food delivered. None of the apps would accept my debit card, so I just didn’t eat.

I know. It pains me to admit that. I was even telling myself at the time, “Dude. You came here to get uncomfortable. What the hell are you doing sitting here in this room?” I began questioning how I’d make it a week let alone several months.

On top of that, I live right next to a major nightlife hub—La Plaza Serrano. Every Thursday to Sunday, the nights are loud and long.

I barely slept.

If every night was like that, I certainly wouldn’t make it. But then day 2 began.

I woke up saying out loud, “Fuck this. You do scary things. Go outside.”

So I put on my finest pair of crocs and went grocery shopping. The simple act of walking around my neighborhood made me feel 100x better. These people aren’t here to kill me.

In fact, I’ve never been around so many openly kind and social people in my life. Anyone anywhere will stop and talk to you if you ask questions or spark conversation. They might even invite you to dinner.

I got lost on purpose so I had an excuse to walk the many cobblestoned streets. I met two backpackers from San Francisco while waiting in line to exchange cash. I walked past some of the most stunningly beautiful women I’ve ever seen.

Then I bought some groceries. This whole batch cost $6.50. I could get used to this.

I also found a jiujitsu gym and rock climbing gym, both within walking distance. The BJJ gym has plenty of weights and equipment too so that takes care of where I’ll work out during the weeks.

In the evening, I attended a “workout and meditation” meetup. The organizer’s plan was to exercise and chat goals every Monday to start the week off right. I had to walk through the heart of my neighborhood of Palermo to get there.

I was in awe. I tried to balance basking in my surroundings with not looking too much like a gringo tourist. Not trying to get robbed, ya know?

Palm trees. Botanical gardens. Zero honking cars.

This place is beautiful. The people. The buildings. The weather…

I got to the park where the meetup was. There I met Edward and Mili.

Edward is a Swedish web designer traveling the world with his golden retriever Louie. Mili is an Argentinian product manager who wants to quit her job and work on her own startup.

We got along instantly.

After 40 minutes of an intense HIIT workout, we sat and meditated and visualized our perfect week. Edward would ask guided questions like:

  • Who do you want to be this week?
  • What do your mornings look like?
  • What does the best version of yourself spend time doing (and not doing)?

I pictured myself going to more events, rock climbing, doing jiujitsu, meeting more people. I made an internal agreement that I wasn’t allowed to stay in my apartment simply because of fear. I had to be working or resting or something intentional. No avoidance.

After all that, the three of us just sat there chatting for another two hours. We talked entrepreneurship, they asked about my podcast, and I was picking their brains about things to do in Buenos Aires. It was sitting there, legs sore and mind 100% present, when all my anxieties and doubts simply faded and disappeared.

We eventually started walking back. Mili and I hugged and kissed each other on the cheek (a cultural greeting I’m still getting used to). Then Edward and I continued walking with Louie.

He and I discussed finding clients, hiring people, and self-improvement. We share a mutual love for Joe Rogan. We exchanged book recommendations. He told me he wanted to try Brazilian jiu-jitsu.

I made a friend.

I’m taking him to class with me tomorrow. Mili and I are getting dinner and beers this weekend.

I feel at peace typing these words on my balcony. It’s 23 degrees (73 degrees Fahrenheit for you uncultured swines).

Now I’m going to go get breakfast a few blocks away, walk to my new coworking space, and meet a dude for coffee I met online.

A lot can happen in 24 hours.

Want to hear the craziest travel story ever?

Too bad. I made it here safely and smoothly.

(My trip to Vancouver Island was more action-packed.)

I got into Buenos Aires this morning at 5:30. Zero hours of sleep on the plane. Anticipation and anxiety. Dropping my luggage and laying in the apartment bed was as blissful as I imagined.

After a two-hour power nap, I met up with a dude I connected with on Zoom. He showed me around my neighborhood, bought me lunch, and helped me get a public transit card and exchange cash.

He was basically my guardian angel. I thanked him profusely for helping me land on my feet in this foreign city. He told me he was just paying forward all the guidance he got from people before him.

Now I’m sitting on my balcony typing away as I listen to pedestrians walk by saying things I can’t understand. Three men are playing hang drums and accordion. My space is small and peaceful.

I feel far away, which is exactly what I wanted. My two main goals in being here were:

  1. to give my life a cold shower, and
  2. to remove access to my friends and family so I could focus on my work and health.

Here are the first things I noticed today…

  • The women are gorgeous here.
  • Life is quite different when you’re the foreigner (when you don’t speak the language and when most people don’t look like you).
  • I haven’t felt this adventurous since I lived in Germany when I was 20.

I’m off tomorrow. The to-dos are: jiujitsu class in the morning, finding a coworking space, and getting a membership at a rock climbing gym.


Tomorrow’s the day

Tomorrow is my flight to Argentina. It’s also my grandpa’s birthday who passed away in December.

Last night, I had a travel nightmare. I tend to get those before big excursions.

I was sitting at my gate waiting to board the plane. There were about 30 minutes to go before I realized I had forgotten to get my boarding pass and check my bag.

Panic ensued. How did I make it through the terminal without accomplishing those essential tasks?

And that’s really at the heart of why travel makes me so stressed out: the fear of being incompetent.

My friend put it perfectly. She told me the story of immediately losing her backpack and passport when she went to Poland. She laughingly told me, “At that moment I felt like I was too stupid to be traveling alone.”

That’s exactly right. If I miss a flight, if I get confused by foreign public transportation, if I can’t find my way…my deep fear is that other people could figure it out but I’m too stupid to.

Yesterday was emotionally taxing. I said goodbye to some close friends, hung out with my family, and came home and crashed at 9pm. Today I’m armed with my first full night’s sleep in a week. Some work to do. Rock climbing with a buddy. Packing. Hanging with besties.

The next time you get an email from me will be from my apartment in Buenos Aires. All I have to do is make it there alive.

See you then.

About my flight…

Dillan Taylor's delayed passport webpage
What I’ve been staring at every day for the last two weeks.

I shared a few days ago that my passport got delayed, along with thousands of other Americans.

The problem? I’m supposed to get on a plane today at 2:40pm and fly to Buenos Aires, Argentina.

For weeks, my passport application status just said, “In Process.” I tried calling their toll-free number to set up an appointment at an in-person passport office. The closest ones to me are in DC, Philly, and the northeast.

95% of the time, my calls didn’t go through. It either went straight to a dead line, or the automated messaging system spewed these words that are ingrained in my head: “Thank you for calling the US Passport’s Automated System. Your call is very important to us. Due to high call volumes, we are unable to take your call at this time. We recommend you call back at a different time. Goodbye…*click*”

But every now and then, my call would go through. And it felt like I won a prize. Bursting with glee, I’d have to calm myself down and remind myself that the war was far from over.

Monday was the first time I got to speak to a human being. Her name was Lori. “That’s my mom’s name,” I said, hoping that would create a cosmic bond between us and force her to send me a new passport that day.

“I don’t give a shit,” Lori replied. Just kidding.

But she told me my only option was to make an appointment. If I showed up to an office without one, they wouldn’t even let me in the building.

“There aren’t any appointments available in DC between now and Thursday,” she sighed.

“I’m willing to drive,” I said. “Are there any openings in nearby states?”

After clicking away at her keyboard, she said the closest one was in…Buffalo, New York. Wednesday afternoon. Seven hours away.

“Book it,” I said without hesitation. She entered my unique code and phone number. I would’ve driven 15 hours. I just wanted a God damn passport.

“Oh shoot,” Lori whispered.

Oh shoot? Oh shoot??? Clearly she means, ‘Oh shoot,’ looks like we’ve actually made a huge mistake and your passport is being hand-delivered to you by Joe Biden along with a new MacBook Pro and free Chipotle for life.

Unfortunately, that’s not what she meant. “Someone just grabbed that appointment,” she explained. “They come and go pretty quick.”

Then immediately, “Oh wait! One just opened up in DC for Wednesday morning,” she cheered.

“Jesus Mary and Joseph, Lori book it!! Do it now! Send it!!!” I was elated.

“…It went away,” Lori said dejectedly.

My emotional state was being kicked around like a hacky sack. It felt like Lori was my only ally and at the same time trying to sabotage me.

“O..okay,” I muttered. Like a defeated and confused child who just wants more waffles but there aren’t any left in the freezer. Lori apologized and I thanked her for her efforts.

That day and the day after were two of the most stressful and anxiety-ridden days I’ve experienced in years. It was kind of a wake-up call.

I never really get stressed. My life is quite simple and highly rewarding. I mean, the thing that has brought me the most mental suffering in years is not being able to fly to a beautiful foreign country on time. What a glorious problem to have.

But I was still feeling it. There was sluggishness in my eyes. It was harder to laugh. I was tired when there was no reason to be.

This whole government passport system is slow and inefficient. But this whole ordeal was my fault.

I knew when my passport expired last year. I had all the time in the world to be proactive and just get a new one. But I waited until I actually had an international flight planned. I take full responsibility. Poor Lori was just doing her job and answering the thousandth phone call from some flustered American trying to leave the country.

New plan: I was just going to take the next open appointment within the next two weeks, then move my flight to whatever day came after that.

On Wednesday morning, I came down to this temporary office space in my friends’ basement. Coffee in hand, I opened up the page I’d been visiting every day. I typed in my info to check the status of my passport and get my unique locator number to give to the eventual person I’d speak with.


Big bold letters. My passport was approved, completed, and shipped.

A wave of peace flushed over my body. All was right in the world.

I called the airline to reschedule my flight. Her name was Sandra. She was super professional and had a lovely Hispanic accent. She told me that since I got the cheapest option, I’d have to just cancel it and buy an entirely new flight.

“Is that the absolute best option for me,” I asked like a sad puppy.

“Let me see what I can do,” Sandra replied. She put me on hold for 10 minutes.

When she returned, she told me she would break the rules and just move my flight. I’ve never felt more grateful for a stranger’s kindness.

My new flight is next Saturday. Nine days from now.

Thank you, Lori. Thank you, Sandra. My guardian angels.

Until then, my close friends are kind enough to let me continue living with them. So long as I scrub the mold and vacuum the ceilings.

I’ll let you know when I get to my destination. ✌️

Buenos Aires, we have a problem

I’m flying down to Argentina this Thursday afternoon. Or so I thought.

I renewed my passport in January and paid for expedited shipping. My new one was supposed to come in the mail last week.

It didn’t.

Apparently, passports are a hot commodity right now. The state department is getting slammed with requests and the nation is experiencing massive delays.

I spent hours on the phone last week trying to get through to someone. The calls either didn’t go through or they would go through and then the automated system would hang up after 30 seconds.

First world problem? Yes.

Incredibly stressful and unsettling? Very much so.

My sole mission today is to figure out how to get this stupid little blue book before Thursday. I’m going to the DC passport office. Even though my passport is being processed by the LA office. And you can’t just show up to an office without making an appointment. But you can only make an appointment over the phone. But there’s no way to get through on the phone.

So I’m going to take a shot in the dark and explain my situation. Maybe they’ll throw me in jail. Maybe I’ll get put on the No Fly List.

Whatever it takes. Stay tuned.