SF Bio Teacher 🌁🔬 Curtis of InfatuAsian Podcast! Starting a pod as an introvert 🎙 changing seasons 🍂 work from anywhere travel tips 🧳 (35)

Don’t Be Strangers * Show Notes

xinyi @ don't be strangers
49 min readNov 28, 2022

Welcome back to Don’t Be Strangers, a podcast and community focused on fighting adult loneliness and changing the narrative that “making friends as an adult is hard”. **I’m your host XinYi, and I typically meet my co-hosts for the very first time while recording! If this sounds fun to you, please consider applying to co-host a future episode.

Today I’m chatting with Curtis who is the host of a podcast called Infatuasian which focuses on elevating Asian culture and creators. Curtis will be the second fellow podcaster I’ve had on the show and I’ll say that it’s always really fun to pick the brain of someone else doing what you’re doing. As you’ll hear, we swap our workflows and how we plan, prep, and produce our respective podcast episodes.

From first impressions via this conversation, I would say that Curtis is a really jolly person. I think you can hear it in his voice, from the way he speaks, and the fact that he enjoys teaching and being with students… I left the conversation feeling more youthful. If I’ve made you curious, you should definitely stick around as we will cover…

  • how he became a biology teacher
  • how teaching during the pandemic actually inspired his podcast
  • enjoying the change of seasons in San Francisco
  • how I research my trips as a digital nomad
  • what’s in my travel bag

With that, please meet Curtis…

00:06.44 Curtis Hello everyone my name is Curtis I live in San Francisco and I am a high school biology teacher. Oh what what else do you want to know? um.

00:14.55 xinyixan That’s it No, that’s that’s good host just I know you’re gonna plug your podcast just making but.

00:22.69 Curtis Oh yeah, Okay, yeah I said yeah so I’m a high school biology teacher by day and then on nights and weekends I record a podcast with friends or sometimes strangers and we talk About. It’s called the infatuation podcast and we talk about Asian creators and Asian content and Asian culture and things that we like. So yeah, we’ve been doing that for a little more than a year. So. It’s fun to come on be a guest on someone else’s Podcast. So Thanks for inviting me shiny.

00:52.97 xinyixan Yeah, of course, um, how long have you had your podcast for oh wait hold on you. You answered that about a year but what inspired it like what? Yeah why did you start like why did you pull the trigger and like actually do it.

01:06.50 Curtis Yeah, yeah, um, to be honest I wouldn’t have known how to do Zoom or I wouldn’t know how to record calls if it wasn’t for the pandemic and so we were at home. We were teaching so it’s 2021 we were at home for the whole year. So the whole school year. And so I’m at home and I had bought a microphone to to teach with and I’m on zoom teaching and then I knew I learned how to record calls and I learned how to you know, just make these recordings and then I had known how to edit before from doing some video stuff and so I just decided. You know there. There was a lot of negativity, especially around the asian community and there’s a lot of disturbing things and I just wanted to throw out some positive asian stories and you know just things that I’m interested in and people that I wanted to talk with and so we started that and that was in. 2021 and then I’ve just been doing it weekly since then and we’re coming up on a year and a half now so it’s been It’s been really fun.

02:07.00 xinyixan Wow, That’s so cool and I think it’s also kind of interesting that you said that you did wouldn’t have known how to record calls if it wasn’t for if it wasn’t for the fact that you were were forced to teach like classes on but and the fact that you got a mic to teach your classes.

02:20.11 Curtis Yeah, ah.

02:25.80 xinyixan Ah, so I think that’s really really interesting. How like everything played out.

02:27.71 Curtis It kind of did yeah you know and and just just meeting new people when we’re all stuck at home right? and just trying to reach out and just talk to people that if you’re so I was at home with my family and my kids and. It was nice to talk to other people outside of those those 3 other people and so it was It was really good times.

02:46.80 xinyixan Yeah, for sure would you like to toss me a question.

02:52.54 Curtis Oh yeah, sure. Um, so I was just thinking I like to think about where people came from and kind of what they would say to their younger self. So What do you Think. A teenager and you would say about your lifestyle right now. The digital Nomads Lifestyle or even just what you’re doing with the podcast.

03:10.20 xinyixan I think she would think that I’m so cool because honestly I was the very shy introverted very studious girl growing up and so I and I still think that I perceive myself this way that I’m just a person with a lot of fears.

03:19.45 Curtis Ah.

03:29.84 xinyixan And I think that especially younger teenage me I I suppose that’s pretty normal being a teenager having a lot of insecurities but I felt it even more I think maybe because there was like this layer of being a minority or maybe a layer Of. Um, Insecurity about my identity which is layered in by like the immigrant immigrant story but then also other factors including feeling like I didn’t really feel I didn’t really feel like I fit in with what I was studying.

03:52.84 Curtis A.

04:06.99 xinyixan Even though I excelled in like math and science. Um that I wasn’t exactly passionate about it and all these factors I think naturally I just was very yeah I.

04:09.55 Curtis Yeah, yeah.

04:24.85 xinyixan Insecure is the word here and I yeah I think so and and I think one of the major turning points was that in college I Met a friend who really showed me how possible it was like travel.

04:27.39 Curtis Um, because she she would be shocked if she saw where you’re at now she would be really shocked.

04:42.77 xinyixan Um, and to make travel part of your lifestyle because she took advantage of study abroad which I didn’t like even occur to me but I know a lot of students actually do take advantage of study abroad but she not only took advantage of study abroad. Um, purposely scheduled her schedule when she was abroad.

04:48.66 Curtis Um, ah.

05:01.30 xinyixan So that she minimize her classes so that she could maximize her time in Europe and then beyond that Oso took opportunities within our colleges to participate in different groups that were also attending different events like globally so she could like.

05:03.49 Curtis Oh wow.

05:20.92 xinyixan Plus one on these trips which is brilliant. It’s brilliant because it made you realize that like a lot of people fantasize travel as something that you do when you have money and you have time but she was just like a normal student. Not exactly like.

05:26.25 Curtis Yeah.

05:38.38 xinyixan Rich or anything just like me Asian-american just finding ways to like fit travel into her lifestyle and that really opened up my eyes and so that I think was where the the curiosity began. Um, and I saw her as like the bravest most courageous like.

05:54.13 Curtis Um.

05:56.20 Curtis Yeah, yeah.

05:58.40 xinyixan Person and I was just like whoa I really aspired to be like her one day and shortly after like graduating getting into my career. Um I I saw an ad on Instagram about remote year which is basically a program that brings. Digital nomads are people at that time which I think was like 2013 so that was like a decade like almost a decade ago. Yeah, and I think they were like the first in this industry to basically organize a group of people to travel together and work remotely.

06:23.47 Curtis Almost yeah.

06:37.61 xinyixan But I had just started my career so I was like that’s a lot of time and money to commit in and I’m not able to work remotely given like that time so that was kind of where the idea was planted like oh one day I would love to be able to.

06:50.59 Curtis Um, yeah, yeah.

06:56.51 xinyixan Work and travel as a lifestyle and finally I think like yeah one of the one of the few good things that came out of the pandemic for me was like the ability to work remotely So as soon as I saw the opportunity I was just like.

07:08.43 Curtis Ah, yeah, yeah.

07:12.48 xinyixan Okay I better take this I’ve been dreaming about this for like over a decade. So yeah, um, but yeah, she would be quite impressed. But like I said I I think I still live with a lot of fears. So I don’t I don’t necessarily see myself as super courageous or anything.

07:17.96 Curtis Ah, ah yeah.

07:26.77 Curtis Um, yeah.

07:31.82 xinyixan Um, how long have you been teaching and how did you fall into your career?

07:31.98 Curtis Mm.

07:38.55 Curtis Oh yeah, so ah yeah, I actually have only had 1 job my entire life. Ah so I started teaching at this school in 1995 so it’s like twenty seven years ago I came in as a student teacher. And yeah, I’m one of those people that I’m just comfortable I like where I’m at and I never left so I’ve been I’ve you know and people ask me if it’s boring or if it gets repetitive. But honestly it doesn’t because. You know biology changes a little bit here and there over time but also of course the students are different every single year and even every single period. So even if I teach 1 thing first period. It could be totally a different lesson by second or third period. Even if it’s basically the same content but the people make all the difference and. It’s like an organism right? Where all like there’s 30 people 30 kids and and me and the way we interact and with the material and with each other is different. So so yeah, so I’ve been here like I wanted to be a teacher out of college like I was one of those kids that in high school. My senior year I decided I want to be a teacher and then I just I was pretty focused and just did biology in college and then ended up teaching biology so one of those people that that just had things kind of fall in place and it’s worked out so far I said I would do it.

09:03.69 Curtis And tell it’s not fun anymore and it’s been fun. It’s still fun. It is right? Yeah, ah yeah.

09:05.30 xinyixan That is so unusual honestly like you knowing what you want to do like in high school because I think the part I didn’t share with you was I actually studied molecular biology as my degree in college and then like upon graduation. I actually did like a teaching certification program a stem teaching certification program where it was like 2 years of this and one of the semesters I was like assumed teacher at my old like high school in the ninth grade biology classroom. Um, and.

09:27.50 Curtis Who.

09:40.10 Curtis Ah, her.

09:43.57 xinyixan Yeah, just like honestly kudos to you because it’s so I was like this is this is really difficult the the I think what I I mean I kind of explored the the teacher realm because it was my backup plan to.

09:48.91 Curtis And is not for everyone. Yeah.

10:01.20 xinyixan Medicine since my parents being asian like wanted me to pursue medicine and I was like okay well if it’s not going to be medicine like what is my plan b and so I was just like why not let’s just try this I really like one-on-one tutoring but like managing a classroom is not the same thing. It’s like one-on-one tutoring. It’s just.

10:06.47 Curtis Um, yeah.

10:20.12 xinyixan So much and I think I was just like whoa. Okay, that was like a good experiment but like yeah like just a lot. You need a lot of energy I think and I was just like I Yeah I only did like I only handled one class as like a soon teacher out of like the full day.

10:29.69 Curtis Um, yeah, yeah.

10:38.27 xinyixan Although like that one semester was like I was just at the school the entire day for that entire semester. How who? yeah.

10:44.80 Curtis Yeah, yeah, no, it’s it’s taken his toll. Yeah I feel tired a lot more than I used to and and yeah you know I actually was a double major with biology and drama. So I did some acting and you know that being on stage and getting used to.

10:49.40 xinyixan But.

11:03.68 Curtis Speaking in public as kind of paid off and so yeah, it’s It’s not for everyone. It’s It’s a tough is there are easier ways to make the money that we make for sure. But I’ve enjoyed it so you know it’s not for everyone but but it’s worked out for me.

11:20.21 xinyixan That’s awesome. Um, ah ah I I Just you typically just use Zen castor. So yeah, yeah.

11:21.77 Curtis Hey, you know I actually I forgot to hit record it first on my end are you recording on your end. Okay, so you have the first part so I’ll I’ll send you what I have anyway. But I’m missing the first 2 minutes or something. Okay, cool.

11:38.70 xinyixan Yeah, oh no for his? Yeah um, okay, wait hold on. Okay, we were talking about. Yeah, just like you. Okay, you mentioning that you did theater and drama. As like your second major I can see how that would be handy in terms of what it’s me J Yeah have you been able to use your theater slash acting knowledge in in any way past.

11:57.16 Curtis Um, yeah, yeah, it a little bit. Yeah Improv Yeah, a little bit of that and then yeah, just standing in front of a group.

12:14.62 Curtis Um, yeah, so um, not really I wanted to write I actually wanted to be a playwright and I wrote a little bit in college towards the end and I got.

12:15.60 xinyixan College.

12:27.75 Curtis I got it published like in a very very small publication. But um, yeah, you know I always was thinking that I would I would um just in my spare time you know, write a play or or work on theater but it just never worked out that way. But um. Getting some ideas now you know after teaching for 27 years and being around these you know high schools are just funny places. There’s a lot of going on. There’s a lot lot of stories I’m thinking about maybe trying to put some of these stories on on film somehow you know maybe a Youtube channel or something like that. And just more more like a spoken word kind of a story thing. But I think it’d be interesting and you know they’d be loosely based on the truth. But so we’ll see we’ll see I don’t know if it’s going to happen or not but it’s something I I just thought of maybe in the last couple years that maybe I should put some of these stories on. On Youtube or or some kind of podcast or something halfway there. Yeah yeah.

13:22.10 xinyixan I Mean you’re halfway there having your own podcast. So but but I mean you could You could just start as like bonus episodes on your own podcast just being like hey guys like I used to do Drama or yeah, so that would be interesting.

13:32.10 Curtis For real? Yeah, yeah, yeah, it’s super easy**. You know twenty years ago it would be so hard to get published on on a channel or a video but now you know you know it’s a very low hurdle. So get stuff published or uploaded. You know you just need a you just need an account and you can publish. Yeah.**

13:51.62 xinyixan So true I’m also really curious because we’re already on the topic of like your podcast loosely. What is your podcast workflow like end to end.

14:04.85 Curtis Oh okay, so so typically what I’ll do is I’ll try to record a couple weeks ahead. So I’ve been I’ve been moving towards a interview style before it was more of a conversation style and I still want it to be a conversation but. I’ve been interviewing trying to book guests that I don’t know that much about so they’re basically strangers and so I’ll just find them on Instagram or Youtube and send them a Dm and sometimes they come on and so I’ve interviewed people that are are pretty pretty big in their field and then some people are are just getting started. And um so the workflow is basically we’ll get on a call and we’ll record for just like you about an hour right? and then we’ll talk and then from there I usually wait a couple days I I feel like I needed to breathe a little bit so if I record on a tuesday. I won’t start editing until maybe a Thursday or Friday and then I’ll start trimming I don’t know. Do you level? Do you level your audio first or do you trim first.

15:11.18 xinyixan Um, I kind of level as I am as I am doing it like as I am yeah editing.

15:17.18 Curtis Ah, yeah, yeah I like to level first I kind of like to get the levels What that means is like just get everyone’s volume about the same. So there’s compression and then there’s loudest normalization.

15:23.80 xinyixan Are.

15:30.52 Curtis So try to do that on like Thursday and then I’ll trim then I’ll I’ll cut out the ums I’ll cut out the dead time and I’ll try to trim it and then I’ll I’ll just turn it into an mpthree and then just listen to it on like a Saturday or sunday. When I’m in the car or even in bed or walking I listen to the whole episode then I usually make notes on what I need to work on and then um, yeah, then I’ll just put it on this. The server and i. I have it scheduled I try to upload every Tuesday at five p m so in about 40 minutes from now my episode will launch on on all the platforms like Spotify Apple and then and then you got to do the social media so I’ll do that you know I just just generally just post a picture I don’t. I I do reels every so often. But I’m not very good at it so you should just do some kind of a reminder and that’s about it. So typically Tuesday to Tuesday I record on a Tuesday and I upload on a Tuesday is basically what I do I don’t know not all easy. Yeah there’s times when life gets in the way you know.

16:29.45 xinyixan Wow! So efficient I feel like but.

16:38.97 Curtis Last week yeah last week I was super late because the weekend was so busy I have I have two kids I have a twelve year old and a 10 year old daughter and so there’s always lessons Violin Lessons there’s art lessons. There’s birthday parties. There’s stuff to do. So some weekends are busy and I don’t get to editing until like Sunday night or you know Monday even and then I’m kind of under the gun to get it by Tuesday so it’s not it sounds efficient, but there’s always life you know because we have our day jobs and we you know I I don’t do this full time. So yeah, that’s about it.

17:08.30 xinyixan Yeah, do your students know that you have a podcast?

17:14.30 Curtis They do yeah some of them do actually you know some of them were kind of impressed that I had 1 and some of them are like that’s claim you know podcasts are lame but um, but yeah, some of them were actually impressed and and I actually the one that’s dropping right now. Ah when are we october? fourth.

17:19.99 xinyixan Better.

17:31.92 Curtis Is about college I interviewed a college counselor and so I told them I go hey you guys might want to listen to this one because it’s a guy telling you the secrets about apply a colleges so there there’s some topics that they might be more interested in and then other topics when I we we do a book review or some topics. They’re not very interested in. But I think. Actually work with a student one of my students is um, my co-producer. She helps me edit and she comes on the episodes with me and she’s 17 and wants to once a future in broadcasting or audio what is it called music technician. She wants to do production and. So she asked me if she could help last year and so she started helping and then she came on as a co-host and she’s been great. She’s really shy. She says she’s really shy but she’s great on the microphone sometimes that it’s like that right? You’re a shy in person. But she’s been really like everyone likes her people who write into the show always tell me how much they like her. They never tell me how how much they like me but they always make a point to say that they like Madison. Yeah, so she’s great.

18:37.89 xinyixan Ah, that’s really cool the way that you’re able to like also support your student like the side. Yeah, or yeah.

18:44.17 Curtis Yeah, and you know she’s met. She’s met some people that she would never have met or talked to them you know and we and interviewed an author I don’t know. Do you know that the graphic novel american born chinese as by Gene Yang yeah it’s going to be ah a a disney show too. But it was ah is a book that meant a lot to her.

18:53.20 xinyixan No I don’t.

19:02.50 Curtis She read it in middle school and so when I told her we had booked that guest. She was super excited and then we’ve booked some musicians that she’s really wanted to talk with and photographers and so ah, she’s really enjoys speaking to some of the guests that we’ve had and that she’s really kind of. Blossomed as a as a reporter as a producer and a co-host yes is fine.

19:24.00 xinyixan That’s so cool. What do? what do you do in terms of prep for your either conversations or in inter view style podcast episodes.

19:33.65 Curtis Ah, yeah, you know what I do I do a lot of stalking I do like I go on people’s linkedins have you ever watched hot ones. It’s on Youtube it’s a guy who gives people progressively hotter chicken wings.

19:47.96 Curtis And but while he’s giving them chicken wings that are super super hot like atomic bomb hot spiciness. Um, he’ll be asking them questions and he’s famous for digging really deep into people’s backgrounds and finding out stuff about them and trying to ask them questions that no one else has ever asked. So I like to try that I’m not as good as him. But I do a lot of stalking and I do a lot of background and I like to surprise the guests to a certain extent where it’s like oh yeah, I heard in in high school. You did this or in college you did this and they’re like wait. How did you know that? So I really enjoy that I like trying to ask questions that they don’t expect or. They weren’t prepared for in a fun way not to not to Stump them or anything. But yeah, so a lot of a lot of research in Linkedin is a great place. Instagram is always a good place. A lot of people have Youtube channels that go way back? Um, so yeah I like to do a little background I like to know what we’re talking about.

20:26.97 xinyixan Yeah, yeah.

20:43.40 xinyixan Ah, it’s the typically no because like the the point of this podcast is to just connect as like strangers and so I don’t do much prep I don’t really try to.

20:45.20 Curtis How about you, Do you do do you do a lot of research. Do you.

20:59.68 xinyixan Like research my co-host before I even like prep my questions the questions that I prep so for the listeners who are wondering and have not heard the the process for how how I prep my episodes is that I ask my co-hosts and I to blind prepare 5 random questions. Anything that you want to talk about so I’ve I’ve had like cohosts ask me in the past like oh I’m only really interested in pen paling like can we just talk exclusively about that and I’m just like if that’s who you are then that’s all we can like I’m down to talk about anything you want to talk about and then the episodes.

21:28.81 Curtis Ah, ah.

21:37.16 xinyixan When we get on air I typically as you experience Curtis a very short spiel of like check your settings like this is how the hour will kind of like break down and then we just start talking because the idea for me is that this is a raw. Conversation which I will at minimally edit afterwards so that the listeners kind of get to hear the way that we converse and the way that we get to know each other deeper through this like first conversation first impression. So that’s what it is for me and then that’s why I save.

21:56.22 Curtis Who.

22:11.26 Curtis Um, yeah.

22:13.39 xinyixan I’ve had some feedback in the past where like my cos were like oh it might seem more more professional if you spend a bit more time upfront before hitting record to kind of like get to know the other person and I respect that feedback by the same time. It doesn’t quite make sense I think. In the context of my podcast and what I’m trying to achieve because it’s like if I get to know you before we start recording then that feels like cheating you know it’s like we’re not like we Okay, we already know each other so like we’re not really yeah, like we’re just yeah, exactly.

22:31.50 Curtis Yeah, yeah.

22:39.11 Curtis Um, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, Ah, yeah, yeah, yeah, there’s times when um I will record quite a few background questions but I don’t use them sometimes. Because it’s kind of a getting to know you period and then I’ll jump in kind of Midway and it sounds like we’re already friends you know and stuff so that’s kind of how I do it sometimes but I like the idea I like your I like your format.

23:05.26 xinyixan Think So oh.

23:12.50 Curtis Okay, so you want me to ask you and and question. Okay, ah real quick am I supposed to see next time my name on the bottom am I supposed to see waveforms or.

23:21.53 xinyixan Um, if you don’t see yours. Don’t worry I’ve had that happen to me in the past where I don’t but I see both of our wave forms. Okay.

23:28.80 Curtis Okay, good I was little worried for say I can’t Okay, um, let’s see where did we leave off all right? Let me go with I’m always I’m curious about your lifestyle a little bit and so I wanted to ask you. About traveling. Um, what are some of the main items when you’re on the road when you’re out out of the country. What are some of the main items in your travel bag the most essential things, especially the things that you definitely couldn’t live without what do you have in your bag?

24:00.25 xinyixan Okay, it’s gonna sound really boring because I’m a very minimalist traveler. Um, so so like the the main things I always check for as I’m leaving for the airport or like leaving a hotel room or anything. It’s like do I know where my passport wallet phone.

24:03.80 Curtis No I like that? yeah.

24:17.25 xinyixan Laptop. Yeah, just those things like like anything else is superfous anything else I can replace and technically I can replace my laptop and my phone too but it would just be ah such a hassle. Um, but that’s pretty much it the last time that I was out of country for like four months

24:18.92 Curtis Yeah.

24:25.89 Curtis Right? That’d be tough. Yeah yeah.

24:36.11 xinyixan Um I carried for four months of a relatively small carry on luggage and everyone was like how how are you able to travel for four months in that and the reason for that was because before that trip I was it I only went to Mexico City for like two and a half months

24:44.30 Curtis I.

24:54.00 xinyixan With a more regular size like Carryon bag when I say regular size. It’s like the max size that you can have for like and like a yeah over the head. Um and somehow I had managed to pack that particular carryon.

24:58.86 Curtis Right? right.

25:09.23 xinyixan So densely with like clothes because I was like oh I’m going to be in Mexico City for like two and a half months better like put you know months worth of clothing in there I had managed to pack that so densely that I thought I was going to kill myself trying to put that in the overhead bi like like I was like worried for my life because it was just so heavy. So um.

25:28.28 Curtis Ah, yeah, is like a brick. Yeah.

25:29.80 xinyixan Yeah, so then after that I was like okay I’m gonna go with the smaller smaller carry on because even if I make that super dense. It’s still going to be lighter I think than what happened the the other time. Um, so yeah I feel like when I travel I’m super minimalist I’m super.

25:39.63 Curtis Yeah, yeah.

25:47.10 Curtis Um, yeah.

25:48.15 xinyixan Worrying to a certain extent but then I think like the beauty of it is like I I keep in mind what I can buy at the destination that’s like okay, the small stuff like I don’t bring toothpaste and stuff with me like I land and I go to like the convenience store.

25:55.98 Curtis Is he.

26:02.64 Curtis Um, yeah, yeah, yeah, right.

26:04.60 xinyixan Um, and I think that’s a part of the experience to to visit like grocery stores or like places that are not like touristy but gives you insight into the common everyday like culture of a place because.

26:21.29 Curtis Um, yeah, the brands and the yeah the different labels. Yeah yeah.

26:24.41 xinyixan Exactly exactly? Um, so yeah, that’s ah, that’s it for me. But how how often do you travel with like I mean given work I’m sure you get like summer vacation and stuff like that. Do you.

26:37.76 Curtis Um, yeah.

26:39.34 xinyixan You take advantage of those vacations to go travel or are you more like okay I’m just going to stay at home and chill because.

26:48.11 Curtis Yeah, you know, um I I love being at home like I really like it a lot. Um, and so I don’t mind so we have about ten weeks off in the summer so that’s like really one of the perks of being a teacher. I don’t mind spending like 8 of those weeks at home. But I do like to do maybe 1 trip every summer with the family like this last summer we went to Disney World you know we kind of the obligatory family trip and so we’re in Florida and then we haven’t gone anywhere really really far but we’ll do l a or Hawaii. Um, but I actually really just like being home a lot and you know I when I was younger I did a longer trip I did quite a few overseas trips when I was right out of college or actually during college I was teaching english overseas and um I was a notorious overpacker. So I I respect. The minimalist out there but I would carry too much stuff and I still do now I like to be I’m kind of like that that I’m in dad mode now. So I always over I go oh what do we? You think we’re going need to meet need band-aids we’re Goingnna need ice packs and we’re gonna need a sippy cup. You know all the stuff that I like to have at home I like to bring with me and it’s it’s way too much so I wouldn’t do that in my twenty s but back back then I I did a lot less but now I’m like a chronic overpacker and it’s it and annoys my wife a little bit because we have so much stuff for like a 2 weekek trip. But.

28:18.92 Curtis Ah, but it makes me it makes me comfortable on you know and we’re not. We’re not back backing and we’re not. We’re not going on trains. We’re doing basic land somewhere and rent a car then go to the also is that is’s not too hard that ah but yeah I wish I could be more minilist minimalist.

28:30.55 xinyixan Um, for Philip.

28:34.28 xinyixan Yeah I feel like my minimalism probably emerged over the years like with more and more travel you kind of understand through like the repeated exposure and experience like okay, you definitely brought too much stuff like.

28:49.40 Curtis Um, yeah, yeah.

28:51.14 xinyixan Last time like you did where half of what you brought. Okay so you kind of get like an idea and then you yeah with more repetition the more more times I had to like see what I actually truly need.

29:05.80 Curtis Yeah, yeah, um, do you do you feel like do you ever have um, regret like when you get there like oh I should have brought this or I should have brought that or is it Usually you’re pretty pretty happy with what you got.

29:20.83 xinyixan Um, I think the 1 thing that I that I kind of was like man I wish I brought this the last time was my yoga mat because ah I was like oh this is like the one easy like carry with you gym type.

29:33.96 Curtis Yeah.

29:37.24 xinyixan Situation. But the reason why I didn’t bring my yoga ma was because though of the way I had planned my trip I went to visit a friend in San Francisco actually the first week and it was going to be a week where I was gonna couch surf between all my friends there so I was like one night like in this part of town then.

29:44.64 Curtis Smooth.

29:55.50 xinyixan 2 nights in that side of town then one night and I just thought like I can’t be bothered to also be like lugging my backpack my luggage and my yoga mat like underneath my arm. So when I got to Ksco Peru like 1 of the first things I did was I thought like where can I get a yoga mat.

30:03.70 Curtis Yeah, yeah.

30:13.69 xinyixan And they actually surprisingly they didn’t really quite have stores available where you could just like purchase one but some of my I was at that time I was traveling with like a digital Nomad group. So like I had other companions in this group.

30:25.97 Curtis Um.

30:27.96 xinyixan And 1 of them was like oh I’m gonna check out this yoga studio does anyone want to join me and I thought oh the yoga teacher must have yoga mats so like yeah so then I like I tagged along not for the class like actually I was just like can I just.

30:38.29 Curtis Um, you’re right? You would think right.

30:44.42 xinyixan Go with you So I could talk to the yoga teacher. Um, and she happened to have like you know use secondhand mats that she was trying to sell actually and so I just like paypaled her the the money and I was like okay and but and it was like an expensive yoga mat too I was like this is the most luxurious.

30:49.75 Curtis Um, sure. Yeah.

31:03.00 xinyixan Yoga mat I’ve ever gone in my life and so a part of me was like a bit low key disappointed like I was like I should have just brought my mat like because I think I paid $50 for this like secondhand me and I was like and it’s like a cush one but then at that time that I got it I was like I’m traveling for another like.

31:04.30 Curtis Um, yeah.

31:15.32 Curtis Ah, yeah, yeah.

31:22.20 xinyixan Three and a half months so this is like an investment for like you know the next three months yeah yeah um I would love to know what do you look forward to changes in seasons? and.

31:23.32 Curtis Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, okay, cool.

31:38.24 xinyixan Um, do you look forward to specifically fall since like we’re in in the season.

31:45.69 Curtis Um, so 2 answers for that like you’ve been to San Francisco you know that our weather is pretty stable all year long right? we we range we have very narrow range in our weather. It doesn’t get very cold. And it like maybe 50 s and it doesn’t get very hot. Maybe 70 s so we’re we’re in that range that kind of fall all year long and so our trees are confused too. Our trees are actually they don’t lose their leaves like they do elsewhere so they don’t know what season it it is sometimes and so I like that. To a certain extent. But yeah I do like seasons 1 of the reasons one of the reasons I I like teaching is because it’s seasonal because there’s a beginning and an end of every school year and it’s something to look forward to like I think honestly, if I had an office job and it was just you know. Work every every day and the same I think I would I would be really thrown off because in in the school season. There’s always a summer there’s always a fall which is the beginning of school. Well, it’s steadily still summer but you know in August we start school.

32:51.21 xinyixan Um.

32:51.76 Curtis And so fall semester and then there’s a winter break and then there’s a spring break and then there’s a summer again and it just goes in this this ebb and flow and this cycle of of education. It’s the academic calendar right? and I love that and but. Of the seasons I would say fall is my favorite I I really like it when it gets a little colder. Um, you know the the holidays lineup where you have the Thanksgiving and then you have Christmas and yeah, it for for me. It’s always been new beginnings because I’ve been basically in school my whole life right? so. Right out of college starting. So I’ve always had fall is this new beginning season of new classes new students. new new everything new school year so fall for me is more of a beginning than than any of the other seasons and so I really like fall I don’t know I think I just like a little cooler weather. I’m not a beach person I’m more of a yeah more of a sitting at home and read or watch kind of person. So I love fall how about you do do you have a favorite season.

33:53.68 xinyixan Um I would have to say that my season favorite season is summer not only because my my birthday falls in that but also probably because I have a very strong association to the academic calendar where it’s like okay this is the time that we get like 10

34:01.34 Curtis Ah, her.

34:09.77 xinyixan Weeks off and like you get to completely relax and unwind and I really loved your perspective on associating fall to like new beginnings I think that’s a very unique perspective that you only typically get with students and and like potentially teachers people who like do go follow the academic.

34:09.80 Curtis Yeah.

34:24.38 Curtis Yeah, right right? yeah.

34:28.73 xinyixan Calendar Um I think it’s also very interesting What you commented about the the mundaneness of the repetition in like the normal office like professional workers like yeah like yearly cycle because there’s not really one is just like you know it’s just like.

34:41.10 Curtis Um.

34:45.95 Curtis Um, yeah, yeah.

34:48.85 xinyixan Same thing and then typically I guess like things kind of slow down in like December when there’s like a bunch of holidays and people are taking a bunch of time off anyways. But um I feel that I I definitely feel that and I feel like I’ve gone to a point where I’m just like because we. Because I in my career as like a web developer have have not had the opportunity to have an extended break feel like I’m hitting burnout naturally because like there’s just no extended time to to be able to be taken off and I kept like.

35:17.44 Curtis Ah, yeah, yeah.

35:26.43 Curtis Um, now now.

35:27.30 xinyixan Asking myself I remember like a few of yeah near the beginning of my career this question of like how was I always able to produce and like do so much as a student and one of my solutions or like answers was that oh it was because we always had breaks like we always had. Like very long summer break that let you completely reset and like hit autumn and like fall semester pretty hard or like that like I was always able to hit fall semester really hard and then and then you get like winter break which kind of gives you like a mini reset and then spring was never as strong for me because of like.

35:47.95 Curtis Um, you.

35:54.80 Curtis Yeah, yeah, yeah.

36:04.92 Curtis Yeah, he tired.

36:06.85 xinyixan But but then like summer just like lets you like a fully start a gun and so yeah.

36:13.48 Curtis Yeah, yeah, and you know when you have ah when you have when you work with kids I work with teenagers. But I also have my own children and and yeah, they they go so so bonkers over Halloween and all the Holly Valentine’s day. All the holidays. They really look forward to and. It’s just brings some joy to the year you know when you have someone who’s so excited about something like Valentine. So who cares about Val Isai but but you know little kids they get into it and so Halloween is a huge one in our house. They start planning their costumes like summer you know they’re they’re already thinking about what they want to be and. (30:00)

36:37.10 xinyixan Um.

36:48.67 Curtis I love it. You know I’m I’m not a big costume person but I love their excitement. You know their excitement makes me excited and so yeah, they look forward to summer they look forward to all the little holidays whether big or small you know in San Francisco we even get lunar New Year off so we celebrate chinese new year. So. It’s just fun. It’s just fun to have that those this signposts in the year you know as the year goes on that you know oh we’re halfway through or we’re almost at this you know it’s kind of fun. Yeah yeah.

37:13.60 xinyixan Right? right? Yeah I Guess that is one of the advantages of like being surrounded by like people who are younger to be able to like derive off of their energy And yeah yeah I Love it.

37:23.73 Curtis That youthful energy? Yeah yeah, we were just talking about Prom today you know like we’re trying to plan Prom and I work with some seniors and they’re getting excited. So it’s fun. You know it’s just kind of their energy their excitement. It keeps you kind of young I think.

37:37.56 xinyixan Um I Love that um I think yours.

37:45.25 Curtis Let’s see my question to your question. Okay, so when you are um when you’re thinking about where you’re going to travel to what kind of research do you do before you get there? Do you do you have certain things that you always look up before you get there or What’s the order of operation. Do you go housing first then do you do ah restaurants like what kind of things. Do you like to do research before you go somewhere.

38:11.47 xinyixan Um, I think the okay so typically a place gets put on my like my mental map slash like bucket list of places I want to travel to through word of mouth recommendation. So.

38:25.30 Curtis Um, and.

38:25.77 xinyixan If Someone tells me that they really loved Italy They had like a great time in the museums or something I feel like that personal connection now that I have to Italy via my friend telling me because my friend is like I think that you would love Italy because I had a really good time makes it. Ah, stronger draw because it’s not just like some random travel brochure. It’s like saying to me you generic person I think you would love Italy but it’s like my friend who knows me who has experienced it themselves is giving me like this personal recommendation. That’s how a place gets put ah put on my map.

38:53.67 Curtis Alright.

38:59.61 Curtis Yeah.

39:03.47 xinyixan And then in terms of like when I actually pull the trigger to like go to this place I think is really tied around an event I’ve noticed that I tend to travel planned ah around events. So what I mean by this is that. If I think oh it wouldd be really cool to visit. Um, France one day right? That’s just an idea and I don’t know when that’s actually going to happen like it’s on my my bucket list but like I have no idea why I’m going to visit France. This actually came to be spring of 2019 because my family out of nowhere was saying that they wanted to take my little sibling to London for spring break.

39:47.26 Curtis Um.

39:47.36 xinyixan And so I thought okay I can travel with the family go to London but since I’m already in London like I should visit France and so so that is like the event. The event is like the family trip to London and then I planned. So they were only there for like one week but I planned around that trip so that I would arrive like a week early get in through amsterdam go to do my trip in France meet them in London and then afterwards do a weekend in Ireland with another friend. So I just kind of like tried to like see why I could fit in into that one trip. Um, other times when I’ve like kind of planned around an event was like post collegege I took a gap year and I took advantage of my gap year to like travel and and I just kind of like visited friends all around the us and I thought. Oh yeah, it’s great like I would love to go visit my friends in Boston in like San Francisco in ah la but then again it was kind of like a when but when are you goingnna do this right? and then one of my friends in Boston was like you should totally come here I think it’s interesting that you mentioned Halloween.

40:44.32 Curtis Yeah, yeah.

40:54.33 xinyixan Were saying you should come here for um, for Halloween because we could go to Salem together and like just like that like I had a place and time to be somewhere I needed to be in Salem by Halloween and I planned a whole month around that date and time. Yeah, ah so that’s.

41:02.52 Curtis Um.

41:11.17 Curtis Oh ah.

41:13.87 xinyixan Typically Okay so I mentioned like how do I know it? How how do I know where I’m going to go How do I know when I’m going to go somewhere. Um, after that in terms of researching like a place to stay I typically choose Airbnb I Typically just. On Airbnb and just find something within my price range find a super host so that I know that they’re like reviewed and trusted. Um I think yeah, I’m not so much of a foodie So I don’t really look for food in in particular and then in the past when.

41:36.80 Curtis Um, yeah, yeah, yeah.

41:48.30 xinyixan When travel was more like a vacation and I was really trying to optimize my stay so then I would like actually research where like the top things I think were interesting and like try to plan out my days I think that’s pretty normal. Um, but again with more travel I realize that it’s not sustainable. To constantly do travel research like like I’m gonna spend like half my life researching for my travel if I’m like investing that much time into being my own travel agency so nowadays my research is pretty minimum I just like take the recommendation of my friend like italy’s great or whatever then I like.

42:11.17 Curtis Ah, yeah.

42:14.27 Curtis Um, yeah.

42:27.50 xinyixan Try to find some sort of event or like time base like reason to be in italy or close to italy so that I can like jump over to italy and then airbnb um, and then I’ll figure it out when I’m there. Then I’ll land and yeah and like okay like obviously when I’m packing for clothes. So I look up like general temperature and stuff. Um, this last time I was out of town I researched like the temperature range for Lima Peru was about like San Francisco like 50 s to seventy s so I thought like great awesome and then I got there and it was like.

42:44.21 Curtis Um, yeah, yeah, yeah.

42:56.23 Curtis Right? yeah.

43:01.64 xinyixan Cloudy all the time and I didn’t expect that like I didn’t research that because who thinks to research cloudiness of like a place like like we know Seattle is cloudy. We know London is cloudy but like I don’t know I didn’t think that like you know it’s just like 50 s or 70 Okay, so I packed for 50 to seventy s after that I was like.

43:01.81 Curtis And.

43:09.69 Curtis Um, yeah, ah.

43:20.56 xinyixan Oh I should definitely see if a place is cloudy before I go back because it was like six weeks and it wasn’t too bad but I was definitely lethargic the entire time and I was like I don’t like this like yeah, so now like that’s something I learned recently was like.

43:24.58 Curtis Um, ah.

43:30.10 Curtis Ah, yeah, yeah.

43:36.86 xinyixan Check the cloudiness of a place before before you’ve planned that and that oh this is another thing with the advantage of being able to work remotely and travel at the same time I no longer am very interested in trips shorter than a month because I want to slow travel I don’t want to like.

43:39.38 Curtis Ah.

43:53.86 Curtis Um, ah yeah.

43:56.60 xinyixan Get to a place for a weekend or a weekend I just have to like go go go at Museums Museums Museums Cafes restaurants like tour site one 2 3 like I just like yeah I know like I’m too old for that I just like I just wanna get in like go to a cafe and like find a nice cafe like read a book.

44:02.36 Curtis Yeah, it’s exhausting. Yeah yeah.

44:12.88 xinyixan Do my job and then like maybe hit up with tourist spot and like just spread it out. You know over the course of a month and just kind of like really indulge myself in that place rather than yeah rather than just like skimming the surface. Yeah.

44:15.61 Curtis Um, yeah.

44:27.13 Curtis Yeah, are you pretty good with time zones like ah you know some of these time zones you’re working are do you have meetings or you know is it project based or.

44:35.56 xinyixan Yeah I’m fortunately well I’ve actually deliberately planned most of my travel um to be in the same time zone. So I haven’t had too much trouble. Um, so I’ve stuck primarily with Latin America because I’m based out of Dallas Texas so this is like central time. So the first time I like.

44:45.46 Curtis Um, in.

44:48.38 Curtis Okay.

44:52.93 xinyixan Traveled out was like Chicago for five weeks same time zone then it was like what like different parts of Mexico all pretty much the same time zone and then this last time South America but all still same dot zone. Yeah, exactly like um, exactly um, but.

44:57.86 Curtis Um, yeah.

45:06.45 Curtis Just it’s on the same. Ah longitude. Yeah yeah.

45:10.77 xinyixan I’m gonna do so one that’s pretty difficult but my team I’ve already communicated with my team so they’re like willing to work with me around this. My family’s trying to go back to Malaysia for all of December and so and I haven’t been back to Malaysia which is where I was actually born in Kual luur. Um.

45:19.90 Curtis Um, yeah.

45:28.20 xinyixan For over like a decade so I figured like it’s about time like my family would love it if I could go and now I have the capacity to go for that long you know because it’s in my mind. It’s not worth it to go to Asia if you can only be there for like 1 to two weeks like that jet lag is like coming back in the more jet lag like yeah.

45:31.20 Curtis Ah.

45:36.98 Curtis Yeah, absolutely yeah, no way? Yeah, yeah, yeah.

45:47.49 xinyixan So I was like okay now I can actually go there for a month I will be working that time. Zone will be interesting. It will be interesting. Um, but yeah, yeah, anyways, um I would love to ask you the question I ask everyone which is.

45:56.10 Curtis Um, has gonna be rough? Yeah yeah, yeah.

46:06.75 xinyixan How do you define a stranger and at what point do they transition from being one to not being one.

46:14.93 Curtis Um, yeah, So I I I sound kind of outgoing and you know being a teacher you’re up front a lot but I feel like I’m shy to a certain extent like with with students. Maybe because I’m older you know because they age Gap I’m I’m pretty I’m pretty good at meeting students and not afraid of meeting new people. But if it’s someone my own age if it’s someone you know, not not that kind of relationship teacher-tudent relationship I get kind of shy and I get kind of nervous and. Apprehensive about meeting new people and so I would say a stranger is someone that maybe I Just don’t know what I have in common with them yet or I don’t know much about them or I don’t know how they would perceive me or think about me. And so I think it it transitions to being someone that I might know if if if we start to get to know each other a little bit about each other and and our perceptions of each other are a little bit more clear like. Oh you were here or you went through this or we’re about the same age. You know we had that common Ground. We find some kind of common ground and then we we become friends and I think it doesn’t have to do with age. It doesn’t have to do with ethnicity or or that it just.

47:37.84 Curtis Can find some kind of common ground with anyone probably. But I think getting over that going from stranger to acquaintance to friend I think is is something that I’m still working on even my age you know I’m still working on and there’s times when I feel like oh I have enough friends I don’t need to make any more friends. But interestingly enough like this podcast I’ve probably met more people this last year and a half than I have in the ten years prior you know like people that I actually talk to and and we talk about podcasting or we you know we do an interview and then we keep in touch and. And things like that. So I’ve really enjoyed this. This podcast has helped me to kind of get out of my shell a little bit and I think become friends. So ah, yeah, so I really like I like that question I hadn’t thought of that before actually but um, yeah I guess it’s just the unknown you know being strangers means there’s some unknown between you. But then as you chip you can chip away at that a little bit through conversation or through just talking about life you know and just figuring out where you have some common ground. (40:20:5)

48:38.80 xinyixan Yeah I definitely want to like dig a bit deeper into what you mentioned there about being shy because how does that work with you cold reaching out to people and then having to yeah have these conversations with strangers?

48:54.81 Curtis Yeah, maybe I Maybe I like the defined role of you know, host and interviewee. Maybe I like that dynamic where it’s Defined. You know where it’s like okay well I’m going to ask you questions and you’re going to answer these questions I guess I like that. That definition as opposed to when you just bump into someone at a at a party or you know like my you know a friend of a friend or something and there’s no kind of um I guess structure I don’t know if that’s the right word but ah.

49:16.79 xinyixan Um.

49:24.68 xinyixan No, this is very interesting but I think you’re right? yeah.

49:31.73 Curtis I Kind of like having the structure of an interview maybe because it’s like ok, we’re gonna We’re gonna talk about this and then we’re gonna talk about that and I feel comfortable with that as opposed to just ok now what do we talk about you know, like with the stranger. It’s kind of like ok well I know your name but you know I.

49:41.26 xinyixan You think that.

49:49.75 Curtis I Guess I like to have it’s nor like I do like asking questions I like your format I like asking questions but that’s not always I don’t know if everyone wants to answer my questions you know, but with the podcast if they’re agree to come on. You figure. They’re okay with answering questions right? so.

50:04.96 xinyixan Right? Yeah, it’s like a mutual collaboration because there is like consent in that like yeah like you’ve asked them like would you like to essentially collaborate with me in producing and creating this this interview.

50:10.54 Curtis Um, yeah, yeah.

50:20.16 xinyixan And they have agreed so like now you understand like the rules of this conversation which is like this interview style whereas. Yeah I guess like if you’re just at a party or yeah, it’s like you bump into a new colleague just just like you have no idea for example, like how how long they have.

50:26.90 Curtis Um, yeah, yeah.

50:39.40 xinyixan As a break like right now before they need to like go back. So can you can you do you have the time to invest in like a deep question or or is it just like okay like um yeah, how right exactly something more service level because you don’t want to hold them up. Um, for example, so I think that’s really.

50:48.22 Curtis Um, ah, how’s the weather? Yeah yeah, yeah.

50:58.74 xinyixan Fascinating I don’t think I’ve ever really thought about that before. But yeah, potentially this is making me think of like the last guy I interviewed um, he also identified as an introvert but he does Pr.

51:02.44 Curtis Yeah, so maybe maybe podcasting is the best way to make friends and um, yeah, yeah, guess.

51:18.40 xinyixan And I was like that is very interesting because how do you manage like being an introvert and like doing Pr So I think this is a very fascinating topic to talk about. But I think the other reason why like highlighting this in particular is because I feel like it’s also very empowering to hear.

51:19.87 Curtis Yeah, yeah.

51:38.25 xinyixan That people who are more introverted still have the like sharing the stories of people who identify as introverts. Um, who have found ways to be extroverted in their own way that is like not extremely dreaming for them. That’s like manageable for them to like make.

51:56.37 Curtis Um, yeah, yeah.

51:57.99 xinyixan Connections with other people in a meaningful way that like yeah fills their fills their social needs. Um, was there anything else that you wanted to touch on or comment on or ask me about.

52:06.60 Curtis Um, yeah.

52:14.32 Curtis Um, no I just I Just enjoy what you’re doing and I’m glad you do it. It’s a neat idea the pen pal thing We didn’t really talk about but that’s a neat idea to one of these days. Maybe I’ll I’ll sign up to do that as well because I do like I do like meeting new people. But there’s always that hurdle.

52:20.37 xinyixan Are.

52:31.10 Curtis Of like oh will they like me or do we have anything in common and so I like the way that you’re trying to break through that. So so kudos to you? Ah yeah.

52:34.93 xinyixan Thank you so much. Thank you so much? Yeah, do you want to throw the questions for your side of the podcast. Whatever yeah.

52:46.53 Curtis Yeah, so just basic stuff. Yeah I didn’t I didn’t do a lot of stalking or in in I didn’t investigate you that carefully so I don’t have any hard ones. So um, so shanine and I just recorded.

52:51.53 xinyixan Um, yeah, you’re good.

53:01.36 Curtis Ah, her part of the episode which is us talking and becoming more acquainted with each other and it was a format where we ah talked about some questions so we’ll post that in a second but I wanted to ask her a few questions about just herself and about ah how she got started with this. So. Ah, shiny. Do you want to describe kind of what you do for a living and and kind of your lifestyle right now.

53:25.73 xinyixan Yeah, sure. So hi everyone I’m shinny I am a creative chimera which just basically means I refuse to niche and I just exist as a creative artist person. Um I am also a digital nomad who. Is trying to build this podcast and community called don’t be strangers which the mission of is to fight adult loneliness and to change the narrative that making friends as an adult is hard and then also by day I am a web developer but I don’t really I don’t know. With that. So I always tag that on at the end in case, you were curious. Um, but yeah, that’s a full bit about me.

54:07.70 Curtis Ah, and so you’re you’re working in Texas right now. But how ah how many months a year. Are you outside of Texas.

54:16.36 xinyixan I mean all of this kind of just started in 2021 when I was able to secure remote work so it hasn’t been like that long but within the past year I would say that I’ve only been back home like a total of maybe two or three months so I’m starting to realize I’m spending a lot more time outside but I don’t know necessarily ah how long this will last in terms of like over the years yet but based off 1 year’s data I’ve been out of the country for like over 50% of the year

54:36.39 Curtis Um, oh well.

54:45.87 Curtis Um, yeah, yeah, and what where where have you been? you have ah you have a mental list right now.

54:56.61 xinyixan Yeah, um I started somewhere safe like so in in the country I did like a beta trial of my digital nomad life I am based in Dallas Texas but then I decide to go to Chicago for five weeks and then that worked out well so I was like okay like. That I’ve kind of tried this in a different city I’m going to try out of country and so I depict Mexico so then I went to wahaca for a month then Plao Del Carmen for six weeks then went back home for maybe like two or three weeks then flew right back to Mexico City did that for two and a half months flew back home for like seven weeks so almost two months that time then left for a week in San Francisco that was just vacation to its friend one month in cusco six weeks in Lima Peru and then five weeks in Medellin Colombia.

55:41.64 Curtis Fit.

55:51.98 xinyixan And I just got back two and a half month weeks ago and then I’ll be here for a total of two and a half months before I go with my family to Malaysia for a month and after that I plan to be in Spain for three months so yeah

56:03.26 Curtis Ah.

56:08.15 Curtis Oh ah so those is some some different time zones. That’s definitely going to be harder. What is your? what is your team think so you you work with a team ah of developers. Do they say where are you? Why are you? they ask you all lots of questions.

56:10.34 xinyixan Yeah, exactly exactly.

56:21.42 xinyixan Um, not not really I feel like my team is really supportive and so they’re just like oh that’s really cool are like yeah you should definitely do that while like you’re young and like yeah, all this stuff and I’m like.

56:26.16 Curtis Um, that’s cool. Yeah.

56:32.10 Curtis Um, ah yeah, yeah, and are you you mostly travel alone.

56:33.36 xinyixan Yeah, that’s exactly the reason why I’m doing it. Um, there are like a few a few of these trips that I mentioned I traveled with a digital Nomad group called wi-fi tribe. Um, yeah, and then the other times I’ve traveled with my husband.

56:48.29 Curtis Um, ah.

56:52.66 xinyixan So I’ll be like okay make your yourself available to be out of country for like two months because I have be here and I’m just like I would like you to be here. Um, but you don’t have to like it’s it’s your choice like if you want to come or not.

57:07.78 Curtis Um, yeah, and his work allows for that too is.

57:10.53 xinyixan So I told him I remember one I was like in mohaca and plaid alcarmen that was like before Mexico City um I was I I remember texting him I was like I think we will be in Mexico City quarter one of next year that that being this year

57:22.56 Curtis He.

57:27.60 xinyixan And he was like oh who’s we like he’s just he’s very sweet so he doesn’t like to pursue things so he thought like maybe maybe he meant like maybe I meant like all my new friends I just met in this like travel group like we’re gonna go and I was like no you w like you and I.

57:30.28 Curtis Um, yeah.

57:39.25 Curtis And.

57:45.30 xinyixan And he was like um, okay, but like my job doesn’t really and I was like well I’m just telling you that I would like us to be in Mexican City in quarter one and I’m just putting my desire out into the universe and like just seeing what happens and so um and I was saying this because not like.

57:54.33 Curtis Ah, her.

58:05.21 xinyixan Not because I’m like yeah I was saying this because he had expressed to me like maybe one or two years ago that he said that he would like to live in Mexico for for like some extended amount of time but between the 2 of us I think we can both agree that I am better at taking actions like if I say I want to do things then I’m like.

58:14.18 Curtis Um, ah, okay, okay.

58:23.30 Curtis Um, money.

58:24.70 xinyixan Searching the flights or I’m like doing my Youtube research and like buying the the things whereas he’s more of like oh that would be nice. You know like one day I would like to like maybe live in Mexico so I was just like I’m not just saying this.

58:35.25 Curtis Um, yeah, this is happening the.

58:38.84 xinyixan Yeah, like like you you expressed to me and I want to do it now too. So yeah, let’s just see and then he had to like like scramble to do like a job change or find like a different company that would let him work remotely so he made that happen like yeah.

58:52.10 Curtis Um, yeah, Okay, yeah, very cool. Yeah,, there’s a lot of moving parts I mean I’m sure family gets involved and you know just finances probably complicated. But I really admire what you do and I think it’s pretty Cool. Do. Do you see any kind of an end game to it. Do you see? You’re just going to kind of do it until you can keep doing it.

59:08.28 xinyixan Thank you? yeah.

59:17.38 xinyixan Um, yeah I think like a part of my curiosity for for like exploring these different places is because I kind of want to know like I would like to discover a place where I would like to settle down. But.

59:28.57 Curtis Are.

59:30.50 xinyixan But my personality is not really one of settling down. So I guess you and I are very opposites in this way because I have like a very ferocious like curiosity for novelty and so that expresses itself in travel. But then also it expresses itself in like.

59:35.18 Curtis Yeah, yeah.

59:42.58 Curtis Um, ah.

59:47.50 xinyixan But I like I mentioned I’m a creative chimera which means like I like to play with a bunch of different mediums and it’s a struggle though. It’s also a struggle because at the same time a lot of while it sounds like very exciting of like she’s always like traveling or she’s always like trying new like Mediums. Um, in the creative Realm more like learning new things new languages like whatever it may be um, it is also a bit frustrating from like the Insider’s perspective because the question that I always like ask myself is like am I Always gonna live like mildly dissatisfied because like that is.

01:00:22.39 Curtis Ah, yeah.

01:00:23.87 xinyixan Yeah, that’s the other side of like always seeking novelty is that like I’m like man like what if I could just stick to like 1 medium you know, like what if I was just like a writer and I just wrote for the rest of my life but like but intrinsically that’s not who I am like.

01:00:33.21 Curtis Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

01:00:41.61 xinyixan Yeah, like maybe writing would be a phase for like three months and then it’s got to be like photography and then it’s got to be like no um so yeah life, everything’s a work in progress.

01:00:46.48 Curtis Yeah, yeah, yeah, all right? Well yeah yeah, yeah, well you know? yeah for all of us right? So even if I’m not going anywhere. We’re still, we’re still working. We’re still adapting right.

And I hope that you as the listener also feel re-inspired and refreshed after hearing Curtis speak! And as I highlighted, I especially love sharing the stories of introverts because I highly identify myself as someone who doesn’t feel the most comfortable in social environments.

If you’ve been listening consistently, you’ll notice that I took a little 2 month break from editing my podcast in the months of October and November as I’ve been busy hosting events. Back in July, I hosted my first ever conversation game night online by pulling questions asked on this podcast and creating a space for strangers to meet and chat on a deeper level. Ever since then, I’ve been hosting these Conversational Events monthly online. But personally, I believe in the power of connecting in person, so the goal was always to eventually bring the space into the physical realm.

After 3 months of hosting these conversations online, I found a coffeeshop in Dallas, TX that would be willing to collaborate with us to host in their space on a monthly basis. Thank you forever to Staycation Coffee in Richardson. On top of a slew of physical events I did in Dallas in October, I launched, with my team, a November Wellness Challenge. I’ve always dreamt of doing a challenge or event like this so when Vitana of Bits of Wellness suggested it, it was a no brainer. It was a fantastic opportunity to collaborate with past co-hosts and friends of the community on a theme of holistic wellness! It’s been a blast and I think if we were to do this again, we should probably start planning a bit earlier than 1 month ahead to make sure we have plenty of runway. I spent a lot of November coordinating with collaborators while the month was rolling. So the irony of all this was that I was always a little overwhelmed and stressed out for a good chunk of November even though we were promoting self-care. Oops.

And I think it was especially draining for me because I identify as an ambivert so while I also love meeting people, it’s been exhausting. I’m taking the rest of 2022 to clean up my backlog of recorded episodes so that I can start the new year fresh!

I’m indefinitely pausing the pen pals club for the moment because I don’t have the capacity to run it in in parallel with all the new events I’m running. If you’d like to help run it, please just reach out on instagram @dontbestrangers or write in via our website dontbestrangers.club! It’s where you can also see a calendar of upcoming free events. If you resonate with the mission of Don’t Be Strangers, let me know if you’d like to collaborate in any capacity because I’m all ears.

Until next time, don’t be a stranger!



xinyi @ don't be strangers

musings of a creative chimera + nowhere girl🌙🐉 ✨ illustrator, videographer, whatev-er. 📍 somewhere between knowing & searching (host of @dontbestrangers pod)