Road Trip 2013

February 20, 2013 - By 

It’s February again and that means it’s time for my annual road trip across the country to find the best snow to ski in, meet up with friends, and, most importantly, think about and plan this silly life of mine. This will be my fourth year driving out west and it’s always been some of the most fun and productive few weeks of my year. Here’s why:

Alone Time

I prefer to drive alone so that I can think, learn, and study as I go across the country. Seventy hours in a car is a great place to really think about the last 365 days and plan for the next. This is where I think about what I want to happen in the next year. For me, if it’s not planned, it doesn’t happen.

Hours Of Learning

Being alone in a car is also the best time to learn and catch up on things that I’ve been meaning to read, or things that have been recommended to me over the year. Audio books and podcasts are my favorite way to learn about everything and I really rely on this trip to learn about interesting people and ideas. Here are a few of the things I will be listening to this trip:


Audio Books

  • Nikola Tesla Biography
  • The Singularity Is Near
  • Stumbling on Happiness
  • Thinking Fast And and Slow
  • The War Of Art
  • Winning: The Jack Welsh Bio

Friends and Fun

Of course, there is more to this trip than a long car ride. When I arrive to all these places, I get to ski, drink, play pinball, and catch up with all my friends. Some of them live in the city I am visiting, and some are meeting me there to hang out. I can get pretty busy during the year, so it’s nice to catch up with my friends and have no distractions as we ride up the chair lift together and talk about life. It’s often at ski resorts where my best ideas, friendships, and stories start.


This trip doesn’t mean I can stop working. Sure, I don’t work normal hours during these few weeks, but it’s definitely not a full on vacation. Besides, I gave up the idea of “normal” vacations 4 years ago when I decided to start my own business. There is a lot to do including customer support, writing and making tutorials for the blog, doing the podcast, working on a new site design, getting ready for NAB, and a ton of little things to keep up with while I’m away. Just because I’m away from my desk, doesn’t mean my business can stop. Good thing I like what I do for a living.

Where To?

Here is a tentative list of where I will be heading this trip. I usually try to keep my schedule a bit loose. I may not hit all these spots, or I may head to a new place if I find out a friend is there, but here is the rough itinerary for 2013. If you’re nearby, I will be waving out my window the entire trip. I promise. πŸ™‚

  • Chicago, IL
  • Portland, OR
  • San Francisco, CA
  • Salt Lake City, UT
  • Denver, CO
  • Chicago, IL

Follow Along

If you want to see where I am or what I am up to, follow along on Tumblr, Twitter, or Vine. Also, if I’m heading to your town, keep an eye out on Twitter for a potential meet-up for a beer or two at the local dive.

What’s Your Plan?

It’s hard to express how important this trip is for me. I try to get a lot done every year, but most of those things come from planning during these next few weeks. I hope you save some time this year to reflect and plan your year. Every action starts with a thought. Plan time to relax and think about what you have done and what you want to do. It may just be the most productive time you spend this year.

Posted In:  Ideas
  • great man ! thank you for sharing . you are amazing . you are a legend for me.
    thank you.

  • Thans for reminding me to take a break sometimes;)

    Have a nice trip, enjoy.

  • If you do a meetup in Portland.. I’ll certainly be down for having a drink with ya. Hopefully you get a chance to check out Mount Hood as well. She’s about an hour drive from downtown.. but always worth it.

  • It sounds like a great trip! In 2011 I made my first roadtrip inSchotland. For me this was an experience like no other. I can definitely agree that this is a time to reflect and at the same time line up some plans for the future. I work with three year plans which got me into television and a job abroad. Now it’s time for the next three year plan. In May I will do my first US roadtrip traveling around California for three weeks. Thanks for passing on the audiobooks, they look interesting.
    Have a great trip!

  • Rajashekhar Adukani February 20, 2013 at 6:26 am

    Enjoy this trip my dear friends,
    u’r a great my hero………………..
    i flows u’r tutorials only——————————–
    it’s very very very very very very very very very very vary………………………..
    rely ……..
    thank you…..

  • Awesome ….
    btw its……….. The War Of Art.. ?

  • Man, tank you so much. You make me think about what I’m doing with my life, and for that I am gratefull.
    Have a nice trip!

  • Enjoy your trip! It’s really hard to take a trip like this when you’re self-employed. Thanks for reminding us how important it is to spend time with friends and reflect. There’s more to life than work!

  • Radiolab is awesome! Have fun on the roadie!

  • Have a great journey Nick !! And don’t travel without…

    01. Magic Bus – The Who
    02. Doom And Gloom – Rolling Stones
    03. On The Road Again – Canned Heat
    04. Time – Pink Floyd
    05. Berlin – Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
    06. Woodstock – Crosby Stills Nash & Young
    07. Got My Mojo Working – Muddy Waters
    08. I Feel Altight – Steve Earle
    09. Gimme All Your Lovin’ – ZZ Top
    10. Shoot To Thrill – AC/DC

    Have fun !!!!!!!!!!

  • If you drive past Coors Field here in Denver give me a wave, have a great trip.

  • you should try freeride ski’s for those powder days.
    it’s a whole different feel with them.
    thumbs up for the ’11 session.
    have a nice trip!

  • No plans to go to Vegas and check out the largest digital LED screen in the world eh? πŸ˜‰

  • When your in Denver I’d like to buy you a beer (Not in any creepy, stalker way.) It’s the least I can do for all the years of inspiration and knowledge you’ve dropped on me.

  • Man i like how this trip sounds man. Hope you have a great time. Btw by how your writing this post(“my life”), it sounds like your not married anymore ?

  • Nice! Have some nice days there!

  • Awesome! I’ve always wanted to do this. Alone time can usually only be found in the bathroom and the car. You’ll be passing through my northern California town, Eureka!

  • You might want to make a trip to Sundance and Park City, UT. I haven’t been there, but I hear it’s great.

  • Be Safe Brother!! I just got Vine so I will keep track of Where ya At! I know this trip will be very enlightening and you deserve it for all the great Teaching and Material you have given all of us Grey Scale Gorilla FANS!!! Hope its the Best TRIP EVER!!!!

    I just went on my yearly Brain Cleansing and let me tell you after the year I have had, I needed it!!
    Nick is Right, everyone should take time out to be themselves by themselves and just explore your own head and REFRESHHHHH!!!

    SEE YA SOON!!!

  • Are you really going ALONE? Leaving your beautiful, talented wife at home for 4 weeks??

  • Bon Voyage Gorilla! I’ll keep up with all those adventures on Twitter. Happy trails to you!

  • If you’re on a snow trip, you should detour slightly and come visit us here in Jackson Hole. I promise you the skiing will blow your mind, we have a giant red box that takes you over 4,000 ft in 10 minutes to access some of the best terrain in North America.

  • Yep Nick ! A beer would be nice… Do you plan to drive around Paris ? ^ _ ^
    (There’s not enough snow in there)
    have a good trip and thanks for the idea, i’ll keep in mind for myself in the future !

  • Hey Nick, glad to see you are taking a break… well sort of. Anyhow, I’d like to meet up for a beer whenever you get to S.F. Drive safe and enjoy brother!

    – Tony G.

  • When in Portland, give us a call and come by our studio to see our work on Nike and Grimm using C4D with hair!

    – Jim C

  • Great stuff man, enjoy πŸ˜€

  • Nick, Hit me up on your way through Boise. I’ll buy you lunch.
    Safe travels!

  • have a great trip, you deserve it

  • Thumbs up for Nikola Tesla Biography

  • If stopping in Omaha, I will buy the drinks for all that you have done for me this past year.
    Thanks a bunch and have an enlightened trip.

  • If you want some good skiing, swing by Montana or North Idaho!

  • If you stop for lunch in Des Moines, be sure to check out B&B Grocery. They have fantastic sandwiches, also if you do, tell me, I’d love to meet you.

  • Hey Nick, if you ever decide to make this road trip a plane trip, come to Mauritius πŸ˜‰

  • Wow looks like a ton of fun, I am so jealous.

  • That’s great news Nick! Please let us buy you some Nor Cal Ale when you are out here. Some of the best microbrews there are here in the SF area! Keep us updated so we can buy you a few pints before you hit Tahoe.

  • Awesome. I’m huge believer in travelling and that’s why I do it quite often =)
    Have a good time and btw The war of art is very good book =) It won’t be a mistake to read it =)

  • Nick — Follow the forecasts for Colorado, but at the moment it’s North and South of the central mountains that have the champagne powder; check out Steamboat, Wolf Creek, and Monarch for the best conditions — we’ve been having another below average season in Summit County/Vail area but it’s improving.

  • So happy to see that Star Talk is on the list!!!! Sometimes I feel like the only ‘creative’ who’s interested in science and bringing design and science together πŸ™‚

  • Hey Nick you probably already know about this place but there’s an amazing pinball spot in Lyons just north of Boulder. I’m sure you’d drool over their collection.
    Thank you so much for the podcasts! Great choices. Enjoy the trip.

  • We are in Denver if you want to grab a beer and see the shop

  • When you come through SLC hit me up! I’d love to tear it up one day on the mountain with ya’ll. I know all the best lines, hikes and runs in the Wasatch. It’s snowin right now! If you need deals on tickets and equipment or lodging (or my couch) let me know I can usually find something…


  • I see Kurzweil’s magnum opus made the “reading” list. Might take the entire trip to listen to the whole thing! I put the book down at around page 400 and never finished it, so let’s talk about the second half at the next Hopleaf outing. Have a great trip!

  • That’s pretty damn cool. Wish I could do that. Always wanted to do a Road trip. I’ve traveled a lot but not in my own country. Your words are really inspiring:) Keep up the amazing work.

  • What about Mexico? We might dont have cool snow, but I promise you a wonderful tan by the end of your trip in Playa del Carmen. Give me a call if you consider it someday Nick πŸ˜‰

  • Hey Nick,
    You should check out 99% Invisible as part of your on-the-road listenings. It’s a design/architecture online radio show.
    You won’t be disappointed!

  • get your freak on at Crazyflippers? the pinball tournament and we thought you flew, and then we saw you are on a road trip. Kool Beans, Like wow, we did not know. who knew, You represent Chicago well . Wish we were there, our pinball player Josh not 21. Enjoy.

  • WHAT !!!!!!! no trip to SE Texas? we have great snow to ski in.
    alright alright, we don’t know what snow is, but what we do have steaks as big as your monitor and good beer to wash it down. or a side trip to San Antonio and have the biggest pizza you’ve ever seen, 42″ pie – yep fourtytwo inches of gut busting pizza pie

  • I’ll be waiting to hear about a meet up in Denver while you’re out here. Keep us posted. Lots of good beers to chose from, and plenty of creative pros to mingle with.

  • Been following you for years and glad to see you enjoying some free time. I spend a lot of time driving and really enjoy audiobooks and podcasts. Thanks for all of the great content.

  • Nick, good on you for stocking up on audio for the trip. For some reason, I never get around to doing that. So far, I’ve driven New York to LA, LA to Denver, Denver to Chicago, Chicago to Miami, Miami to LA (twice!), and New York to Houston. You’d think I’d remember by now. πŸ™‚

  • You should make your last stop in LA!

  • Hope you don’t get lost and are eaten alive… because that would be a crying shame to the CGI industry…


  • Hey Nick…hope you’re having fun…Next year…youshould head EAST…caome spend a couple days at my ski house in Killington VT! Be safe on the slopes AND on the road!

  • Nick! When you are in the SF Bay area, check out the Pacific Pinball Museum. They have stuff from the 40s on through the 70s – an amazing place you won’t regret visiting:

    Let us GSG Fans buy you a pint at the Tiki Bar (Forbidden Island) up the street from the Museum. Best to you, and you and Chris RULE!

  • Let us know if/when you get to Denver. I have a some motion folks who would love to hang out & buy you a beer. The snow is good up in the mountains right now!

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