Here are the best posts and podcasts that inspired me this week. This week I didn’t have as much time to read, so you’ve got a couple of amazing podcasts and one superb post.

Travel rewards: How to travel the world for free – ChooseFI Podcast

 I’ve been considering getting into the travel hacking thing for about a year. Which is a gentle way of saying I’ve procrastinated doing something really smart with my money (maximizing my benefit on normal spending) because I’m doing something good enough (getting 1.5% cash back, reducing my credit card bill). What I really like about the way the ChooseFI guys go about this episode (which is several months old) is they not only lay out the concept of travel hacking, but they identify a specific two-year plan that most people can follow to get the largest benefits. They tell you which cards to open, in which order, and how to use the points. I’ll go through and listen again to write down all the specifics, and then it’s time to take action!

Design Your Future – with Dominick Quartuccio – ChooseFI podcast

 ChooseFI gets a double helping of love this week, because I downloaded a bunch of their stuff and am making my way through it. I’ve listened to a number of podcasts about lifestyle design, intentional living, whatever you want to call it when you spend your time doing what you actually want to do instead of what you think you’re supposed to do or what you’re doing because it’s just what you’re doing. A lot of this episode describes me perfectly. I really identify with the notion of drifting through life because it’s fine — from outside appearances maybe perfect — and knowing there’s something else you should be doing but not knowing how to find it or get to it. There’s a lot of value in the conversations and techniques discussed here. The crossover with FI for me is twofold: First, if I were FI today I have absolutely no idea what I would want to do with my time, which is something I need to address long before I have to actually deal with it; Second, I should be at least as intentional about the rest of my life as I am with my financial life, and right now I’m not. This is a topic I plan to explore more in a post. In fact, maybe the inspiration here is as much to sit down and really flesh out my thoughts on that as much as it is to do something about it. Anyway, if you feel like you’re not firing on all cylinders, this is a good listen.

The parable of the craftsmen – Keep Thrifty

 This story reminds me of when I was 16. I was the editor of an email newsletter about drums, years before blogs were even a thing. The focus of the newsletter was on drum equipment — cymbals, stands, heads, etc. — and how we were against using “bad” equipment. At 16, I and the other writers were very impressed with shiny new cymbals and the latest drum pedals with floating hinges and chain-drive cams. We obsessed over beautiful birds-eye maple kits with custom finishes.

There was another email newsletter run by a much older man who had an affinity for vintage gear, but whose newsletter contained nothing about drum equipment. His newsletter talked about technique, and he included notation for rudiments and drum exercises that he created in Microsoft Paint.

I asked him once if he would be interested in doing some crossover promotion of our newsletters. He declined. He wasn’t interested in talking about the instrument itself; he was interested in talking about how to play it. I often think of that conversation when I see street drummers playing buckets, making incredible music far beyond my ability. Could I learn to do that? Absolutely. But a nice bucket would be the last place to start.