Here`s an odd confession: Though I have worked for 16 or so years as a commercial artist in a variety of forms, possibly the best job I ever had as an adult was when I worked for three weeks at Trader Joes.

I had been laid off for more than a year, the dot com bubble had burst and with it, all of the multitude of art jobs that existed in Seattle at the time. I was applying everywhere, trying to teach myself 3D software, and basically in a hole of depression that was a pure mess. Though I was occasionally picking up contract work, Christine and I agreed that I needed something, anything else until something more long term came along. With only one car, it needed to be close by, and before too long I had an interview at Trader Joes.

Immediately I found a great culture of work full of gregarious people who juggled all different responsibilities throughout the day, never just stuck behind the cash register or stocking shelves. I felt embarrassed to be working there, but that went away relatively quickly, the pace was quick, the people were super nice, and at the end of a work day I felt like I had been doing honest work. Though I had been on my feet for 6-8 hours a day, I had energy at the end of the day, something that never happened after a day sitting in front of a computer screen doing art or goofing off.

Three weeks later I got a 90 day trial contract offer at a small game studio, because of course, that´s the way these things work. I called in to say I could not make it in to work that day, or at all in the future. Not giving them two weeks notice was a shit thing to do that made me feel terrible, but the karma of it all was that the studio I went to work for was easily the worst job I have ever had. We both agreed at the end of my 90 days that the pairing did not work.

Now that I am getting regular exercise constantly, I think back to that job and wonder why it took a monumental trip like this to force activity back into my life. If I poke through my blog I am sure I will find lots of declarations of getting fit, losing weight, etc. I know for a fact now that it is good for my brain and overall mood, to the point where I get antsy on rest days. I just really lack self-motivation when it comes to exercise. I mean, I wouldn´t even be doing this trip, the trip that was my idea in the first place, if I didn´t marry a brilliant type-a personality wife who helped facilitate that idea through sheer willpower.

(This is the amount of inches shed between May 29th and now, from my neck, torso, arms and legs)

So how do I keep this momentum going after the summer is over? My family and I will not be nomadic gypsies forever, toiling away on bicycles. When the trip is over I will need more than my own willpower to keep going, so I´m wondering how to incorporate activity into my life in a way that feels productive. The first thing I yelled to Christine during one bike day was “HEY, I NEED TO DO AN IRON MAN COMPETITION OR SOMETHING ONCE THIS IS OVER!” Something I´ve wanted to do since NBC was covering them when I was still a teenager. I’m pretty bendy and enjoy doing yoga, so Christine floated the idea of going for a Yoga training certification. I chickened out on learning to Kickbox, and I´m on the upswing towards 40, so a career in MMA is unlikely, and uninteresting to me.

What would you do if you knew you had to put a lot of time into exercise and fitness for your own mental health but knew that “hitting the gym” wasn´t motivation enough? This is my question to the rest of you. No seriously, all decent ideas will be considered.