I'm a first generation refugee from Romania. I was born two days before the Revolution of 1989 and was left under the care of my grandparents while my immediate family fled to the United States. In high school, after many years of great difficulty making friends and with low self esteem, I enlisted in the Army the literal day after obtaining my US Citizenship. I served right out of high school and received an Honorable Discharge last year, completing my 8 years service with a few awards for academic achievement and leadership. While it was one hell of an experience, I realized my time is better spent helping others directly, expressing kindness, teaching others new skills, and being an advocate of peace. My purpose is to make people smile. I have no appetite for violence, and believe great things can be accomplished by kindness and respect. I look for similarities in people and avoid focusing on differences that push us apart; we're all human. I'm extremely passionate about finding the best humans alive today and sharing the joys of being alive with them. I was asked by my best friend to officiate his marriage after registering as a Humanist Celebrant, which I gladly accepted the the honor. My other close friend recently asked me to do the same when he proposes. I make it my life's mission to see the good in others, and make the world a little happier while I'm still around.
In 2018, I've decided to embark on the greatest journey of my life so far by applying for Remote Year. I'll be living in 12 cities across 4 continents, and changing locations once a month all while working remotely on my startup. I have two bags and over 50 friends to accompany me. My blog and instagram serve as the platforms to share my experiences, and my goal is to learn as much as I possibly can in hopes of inspiring others to carve their own path through life, no matter how ambition they think it is.
Would you like to complete our full Editorial interview or skip straight to uploading your photos? (12 more interview questions).
Our readers would love to get to know you more Flavius. Tell us about yourself, what is unique about you?
I have a unique outlook on what it means to be "balanced". Often, that word is used to imply cutting back on extremes or settling on the sane. I beg to differ. My personality and the core tenants of what defines me as an individual are far from tame and don't like to be controlled. I don't like compromise. Instead, I find a quality to counteract the negative aspects of one trait and push it to equal extremes. Imagine "ambition" as a long metal pole. The way you'd balance a pole is attaching it to a pole of equal length. I join my ambition with humility and find balance when both are at their fullest expression. Don't settle.
Flavius, what are your passion and aspiration in life? How did you start as a Blogger?
I started as a blogger back in the early days of Xanga.com around 2002. Having a blank page on the internet was an invitation to leave your mark on history. Writing was always the best way to make sense of the world. Your words outlive you.
When you're a passionate person, your list of "passions" never stops growing and soon they get too long to list on a form ;) At the moment, the one driving my current mission is redefining the meaning of work/life balance. I was fed up with the limited options of corporate employment and set out to create something that worked for me instead. I founded a tech startup, work remotely, travel the world and enjoy my life without sacrificing professional development. That was step 1.
Step 2 involves taking what I learn and sharing it with others. It's the reason for my blog. With the right mindset and data, you can tell a story that feels more like a recipe for success. I don't see much point in boasting about how great my life is. I would be much happier leading people to follow in my footsteps. I aspire to make my immense joys outlive me.
Who is your inspiration in life Flavius? How do you keep inspired?
I'm incredibly inspired by Elon Musk. I joke around by telling people I'm competing with him but there's some truth to it. I'm around the age he was when he started his first company and used it to leapfrog to bigger ambitions. Growing up, I admired by uncle immensely because he was the first example of a full-blown adult that never grew up. He connected with me as a child and showed me that growing older doesn't mean enjoying life less. Elon embodies this. He put his red sports car in space. He doesn't ask if his ideas should fit within the confines of what other people deem "reality". He doesn't settle and competes with himself every day.
I stay inspired by watching his successes and learning from those that have come before me. I read stupid amounts of self-help books and try to learn as much as I can, while also applying it. I'm the product of the people I keep in my life, and I'm very picky.
I also stay inspired by pushing my climbing to new heights each time I set out for a trip. The feeling of putting your hands on rock and pulling your body above it is intoxicating. To send a route, you must overcome gravity, fear, insecurity, doubt, and self-preservation. Every other challenge seems small in comparison.
We all make mistakes Flavius, we wish we could take back. Please tell us about a time being a Blogger , you wish you’d handled a situation differently with a colleague.
Blogging is a personal affair that rarely relies on outside intervention. I can honestly say that within the confines of "blogging", I have yet to have any regrets as my words are reflections of what the truth looks like to me. It's subjective, and I make no claims to speak for anybody else. Maybe I'm just a small fish in the blogosphere, but I have yet to piss anybody off :)
Flavius ,when you’re working with a large number of clients, it’s tricky to deliver excellent service to them all. As a Blogger, how do you go about prioritizing your clients’ needs?
I don't have clients. I found your choice of "Best descriptions of yourself" somewhat limiting. I identify as a blogger because I write online to the absolute limit of my writing ability. I identify as a photographer because I shoot and try to capture moments AS IF my salary depends on it, but it doesn't. I do a lot of things and I try to do them all very well. But since you asked, if I did have clients, my system would be to prioritize the most impactful work with the least amount of time left available. There's a book called "Algorithms to Live By" that addresses this. It's a well known topic in computer science and has worked for me beautifully.
Please tell us Flavius, about a time you had to be very strategic in order to meet all your top priorities as a Blogger?
I struggle (like all other bloggers) with just hitting "PUBLISH" and moving posts out of draft status. My priorities involved catching up with all the posts that describe the most volatile periods of my life and doing so in a way that can accurately capture my experience. I had multiple pieces, each carrying immense weight and reflection. The way I addressed it was to use my productivity planner and pomodoros to force myself to put in a little work each day, and stop being a perfectionist. I had to accept that I could never fully capture my experiences in writing so it was a goal unworthy of pursuit. I learned to create new habits that support my goals. Waiting around for inspiration is a waste of time. It's all about systems.
Flavius, please give us an example of a time when you were able to successfully persuade someone to see things your way at work.
I was trying to convince somebody at work to implement a new piece of software I wrote to automate a very boring manual process. They didn't want me to take time away from my regular duties for this, so I used my lunch time to create functional code that demonstrated the benefits using the simplest use case and collected metrics on how efficient it was. It's hard to argue with data. Good data dissolves opinions.
Flavius please tell us about your proudest professional accomplishment as a Blogger. There might be many, but there is always this proudest moment that you just want to share to everyone. What is it and why?
For years I followed and read the work of someone I admired very much in the digital nomad blog scene. Her name is Stephanie Lee, and she was the reason I was able to take the leap and set off to follow in her footsteps. I wrote a few pieces about my experiences that caught her attention and we had long discussions about it and eventually became good friends. We talk often now and help one another succeed. I want to do for others what she did for me.
Flavius, please give us an example of a time you were able to be creative with your work. What was exciting or difficult about it?
Creativity is an extremely loaded word. It implies creating something using imagination or original thought. The focus here is on creating because original thought is an oxymoron and imagination is subjective. I don't believe I'm special enough to have a thought that nobody else has ever had before, and my imagination is influenced by others around me. Therefore, I assume my work is creative by default because I'm making something solely for the purpose of bringing it into existence. Since it doesn't have to exist (ex. I don't rely on it for income), it is inherently creative. Some of my work is better than others, that's a given. The pressure to "be creative" often stifles it because we talk about it like it's a milestone, a quantifiable place to arrive when in reality, it's about bringing something into this world from within and being ok with not winning awards for it. Sometimes you do, and that's great. But when you stop trying, you stand out and become a creative.
What advice would you give to the people who wants to be successful as a Blogger?*
Redefine what success means to you. Make it an inward achievement based on factors within your control. Don't base it on the number of page views or shares, you can only do so much to influence those. Success can be as simple as making somebody smile, teaching them a new thing, or sparking a conversation that makes somebody think. I consider mayself successful because I've been able to connect with others through my writing, photography, code, and other mediums. I've changed people for the better and that's what I consider success.
Are you looking for collaboration with fashion talents, brands and creatives? If yes, please state below what type of collaboration you are looking for?
Yes. I'd love to find other bloggers that would like to guest post on my publication, I'd love to collaborate with fashion talents to model in photos taken while I'm traveling, and I'd love to simply talk to other creatives to see what comes of it. I'm always open to entropy.
Now for the best part Flavius! Please upload 5-10 photos so we can get to see your work.
Photographer: Flavius Popan @flavius.popan