We’ve Locked the Cat Out, Now What?!

“We’ve locked the cat out of the apartment and have to wait for the janitor to let her back in!”

And thus begun a delightful afternoon in Edgewater with the super freakin’ cool awesome (did I mention they were awesome?) threesome, Colin Wright of Exile Lifestyle, Andi Norris of Instigationology, and Ashley Ambirge of The Middle Finger Project. I also got to meet wonderful online marketing strategist and social media expert Matt Chevy of Life Without Pants. Lucky me!! :)

The threesome have 19 days left of their coast-to-coast tour from East to West of Way Below Status Quo, meeting bloggers, readers, fans, and fellow enthusiasts of a life without rules and barriers. And they came through Chicago this past weekend! I knew I had to take Monday off for a reason … go to my office job where I’m mindlessly punching numbers in versus having a kick ass time with friends from all walks of life? It’s pretty much a no brainer!

Some of the topics touched upon during our 2-hour conversation while we sat on the apartment hallway floor with a cat escapee whilst waiting for the janitor to come by and unlock the apartment door AND as the only creepy adults hanging out on the swings of the nearby playground, were:

1. The Hipsters are taking over!

Instigating Andi have deemed Generation Y (also known as the Millenials) as the Hipsters and is very content referring to us as such. What I’ve noticed, and not just amongst influential people in the blogosphere, is that we are taking over! We are changing the way we view the world, our careers, our relationships, and our passions in life. For the better! Status quo no more! Life with memorable experiences and passionate pursuits, YES!

2. What works in the past will no longer work now or in the future.

What is deemed as safe, secure, and stable is no longer such. The world is changing, we are changing, and in order to evolve and leave a legacy behind us when we die, we need to embrace change and not let fear get the better of us. Branching out and doing something totally out of the norm is scary as hell, is difficult at first, and will endure hardships here and there. But if you never even tried, you will never even know what it would’ve been like to fail forward.

3. We’re all going to die in the end, what you do with your life until then is up to you.

I love Colin’s melodramatic approach to life: “We’re all going to die!” So will we die after spending 40 years of our life working in an unhappy state of mind or will we die trying? Trying to create and design our own life, trying to live life following your heart and not what others tell you to do, trying to help others out as much as possible? We never know until we try.

Where to next?

Colin is traveling to Thailand after their tour is over, sometime mid to late August. For how long? There is no time frame in the exile lifestyle and he’ll have a kick ass time there for however long he wants, which is the way it should be!

Andi is heading back to Seattle, where she calls home nowadays, and will continue running her design studio called Dezabulous. Seattle, what a wonderful city I have yet to travel to, but when I do, I’ll know who to hit up! Plus, she’s sporting a new buzz cut, done in front of a cornfield next to Walmart. Why the hell not, right??

Ash is driving cross country from Seattle all the way back to Philadelphia and will continue giving the status quo the middle finger! Stop by Chicago on your way back, Ash, you’ll have a place to crash and we’ll totally hit up the night scene in downtown! Shots all around!

Matt is moving back to Nashville with his wife on September 1. After having gotten fired from his 9-to-5 job this past February, he said “that was one of the best thing that’s ever happened to me.” Why? Because he now has the opportunity to make more money doing freelance consulting work, being his own boss, and setting his own hours. He couldn’t have done all that while locked in someone else’s schedule and working to make someone else richer. How encouraging! Matt, we’ll have to get together before you leave for Nashville!

Follow them as they bend/break all rules wherever and whenever possible, give the middle finger to the status quo, and design their own life following their dreams and passions.

I am so happy and fortunate to have met such inspirational people and it gives me even more encouragement and motivation to stay focused, be true to myself, and blaze my way to an independent lifestyle! Thanks you guys and anytime you need a Black belt to help you kick some ass, you know who to call! ;)


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  1. Glad you got the chance to hang out with them! Had a great time with them down here in Indy…wish I would have been back in Chicago for the meetup there. Sounds like it was a great time!

    Reply to this comment
    • Hey Joel!

      Yes, it definitely was, they are a fun group of bright individuals! One of these days, we have to have a massive party somewhere in the world where we’ll all just get together and just have a blast! If you’re ever in Chicago, by all means, let me know! :)

      Reply to this comment
  2. steven says:

    holy cow. i started reading colin’s blog after the mention in your post. pretty awesome stuff. dude knows how to live.

    another great article, nina. how you hook up with these fellas?

    Reply to this comment
    • Using my ultra ninja skillz is the way to go! Ha!

      But seriously, by following their road trip status from Way Below Status Quo, I was also able to tweet/Facebook them and just keep in touch while they passed through Chicago. I love their blogs, they are truly fun and funny people!

      Reply to this comment
  3. Great to meet you today Nina. The $50 parking ticket was well worth getting to meet you and the rest of the gang (surprised you and I haven’t met sooner). There are good things on the horizon for all of us! And yes, let’s get together for a drink in the next few weeks. Call in sick and we’ll make a day of it!

    Reply to this comment
    • Hey Matt! Oh, you know it! And so sorry that you had to endure one of Chicago’s finest orange slips of paper. :-/ The city is broke as hell, argh!

      Yes, we’ll definitely have a few drinks together before you’re on your way!

      Reply to this comment
  4. Kiran says:

    Wow, that’s awesome!

    Reply to this comment
  5. tokyin says:

    “Only as high as I reach can I grow, only as far as I seek can I go, only as deep as I look can I see, only as much as I dream can I be.”

    Encouragement and inspiration from other people can surely be a great tool of motivation to keep you going!!! Keep going with sTyLe! + oil!

    Cheers to you – no more Status Quo!!!!

    Reply to this comment