this is JAKE. he’s 22 and located in west aus. he’s the mind behind zen wandering blog. one of the calmest, kindest, realest, insightful people i’ve met. and so i decided to pick his brains. he also used to be my roomie!
What did you want to be when you were a kid?
Honestly, I don’t know. What I do know is I was always fascinated by space and loved to sit out under the stars and just watch it all unfold in silence. I dreamed of being able to float through space, and I still do.
What do find the biggest struggle of being a young person?
Being calm. We’re pretty much ruled by our thoughts, emotions and hormones, constantly going somewhere or doing something, and no matter what we end up choosing we feel like we are missing out on a million other things.
Where did you grow up?
I’ve lived all over the southern half of Western Australia – Born in Perth though.
What was your experience of the school system?
At first I enjoyed in thoroughly, I plain and simply loved to learn. Slowly my eagerness disappeared though, and by year nine it was completely gone. This was due to many things but mostly I wasn’t engaged. There was simply no cultivation of critical thinking, no learning from history only learning about history, and not enough choice for shaping our futures. Or maybe I just didn’t try hard enough.
It’s difficult looking back on it now because I feel like it failed me, but I know that I didn’t try hard at school because I didn’t want to be thought of as a nerd, whereas now I would work so hard. I wish I knew how little school actually means in the universe.
Did you know what you wanted to do when you finished school?
Did you know what you wanted to do when you finished school?
Absolutely no idea in the world. I mean I had ideas, but only because I felt I had to have an idea, nothing I felt strongly towards. Nothing I wanted to do, nothing I had found yet.
I think school isn’t a good place to figure it out either, not in my experience at least. We’re told to have realistic goals, achievable goals, “Uni or a Trade, figure it out”. If I said “I really enjoy writing, mindfulness and would like to start a blog about my experiences and thoughts”, would they have supported me or even been able to support me in that endeavour?
Did you go to university/do you have a degree related to/not related to your craft?
I went to TAFE. Once for a pre-apprenticeship in mechanics, and then went back a couple of years later for Horticulture and Conservation & Land Management which I still enjoy and I’m currently planning to go back and study some more.
What kind of odd jobs have you had? What have you loved/what have you not?
All sorts really. I’ve worked at Subway, Woolies, Coffee Shops, IGA, as a Labourer, Gyprocker, A bit of painting, Gardening, Flower farming, with work experience in mechanics and cabinet making.
I loved working as a labourer renovating houses because I could really notice the houses improving along the way. The worst gig would have to be IGA just because of my mindset at the time.
Where did the idea of zen wandering blog come from? And how long did it take you to start it?
Maybe it’s been stewing for a while I’m not too sure. When I actually started putting it together it only took a week tops to have the website up with the first post, but I feel like it’s kind of been hiding there under the surface waiting for the right moment to arise – if that makes sense. I stumbled across squarespace one day, the idea jumped out at me, so I went with it and here we are.
What motivated you to start?
Support from my close friends and family. They loved the idea and that gave me the confidence I needed for the initial hurdle. Also knowing that at various points in my life, knowing that I wasn’t the only one who was a bit more introspective, sensitive, and open to the idea of compassion in this modern day would of helped a lot.
Where do you get all of your content from?
Sometimes a subject comes to mind, sometimes it’s an experience that happened to me, but mostly I sit down narrow down some ideas and get to writing. It doesn’t take too long once I get a point that I want to get across, but sometimes I just can’t think of one, and so I sit.
How did you fund the startup of your idea or were there no costs?
The only costs are the domain name and hosting fee, hardly any cost at all.
Did you set up the blog yourself? How did you learn to do so?
Yes I set it up. Squarespace has set template options, and straight forward customisation features, so I found a template I liked and tweaked the options around until I was happy with how it looked.
Did anyone tell you that it was a bad idea/try talk you out of it?
Nope, everyone I talked to supported the idea which was so wonderful, and the response I got from them when it went live was so uplifting. It’s nice to have such kind people as friends, thanks my dudes!
What are your morning rituals?
Meditation. I’m want to get yoga into my morning routine too.
How do you unwind?
Meditation, surfing and reading.
What fears come up for you around your craft (posting blogs etc.)?
Fear of not being liked. That people might make fun of me, judge me, and all of that is a fear of being hurt. It’s difficult but I’m not not going to do what I love because some people in this world are unkind.
What’s the best habit you’ve picked up?
Daily meditation for sure. It has made a huge difference in my life, I’m currently hopping around Indonesia so I haven’t been on top of it, and I can definitely notice the difference in my moment to moment experience with life.
What book, artist or public figure influences you the most?
Eckhart Tolle – The Power of Now. Pretty much all of his books are revelations but this one I love the most.
What’s something you know now that you wish you knew when you were starting out/first had the idea?
Don’t do it for any reason besides that I love it. If it helps me not feel alone and helpless, that’s all that matters, anything extra is icing on the cake.
What’s your vision for the blog in the future?
A place for people who have high hopes for a positive, mindful, clean and compassionate future to come and recharge. It’s difficult to be positive about the future and even the now at times, so if it helps even one person not feel alone and hopeless on the rough days, I’ll be stoked.
Here’s just a couple of quotes from Jake’s blog if you want to get a feel for it (it rules):
– “..but do not belittle yourself by believing that the human existence is the pinnacle – that this is it.”
– “..a self made story of my ‘self’ as a chill person; a chill person who can’t have anxiety, a nice person who can’t be angry.”
– “Once we are vulnerable to the little things we can begin to invite more difficult to accept experiences inside. Perhaps a traffic jam, misplacing your keys, an ‘annoying’ coworker, or maybe a tiny slice of sadness.”
Intrigued for more and want to stay tuned?
blog GRAM: @zenwandering
personal GRAM: @jacobnunn_