ajleon ajleon

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AJ Leon  I nomad around the world & make things happen | Founder @misfitinc @studiomisfit @misfitpress @misfit_productions & @snapstoryapp


Flew to Iceland to bear witness to one of my oldest friends getting married to the love of his life in the basin of a volcano. #onlyiniceland #cheers

A little Icelandic river hiking to a secret waterfall with old friends. #shouldhavepackedboots #iceland

Meals at thirty thousand feet. #nomad #dohatolondon #qatarairways

Champagne and dates in Doha. #traditions #misfitgram

An artisan flat white and a green curry omelette. #onlyinbangkok #breakfast #lovethistown

Four years ago, I launched a competition on my blog, Pursuit of Everything. It was quite simple really. The premise was a call for submissions for businesses that could create a sustainable impact. The winner would be flown out to a secret location, where @themelissaleon and I would meet them and put the full force of our design and software engineering teams, strategic consulting experience and global network at @misfitinc behind helping them take their nascent idea from sketchbook to market. We ended up receiving hundreds of submissions from community members all over the world, but one application in particular stood out. The concept was to build the world's first philanthropic coffee roaster, pouring the profits from its exports directly into health, wellness and education programs for the children of the parents who grow that coffee. And to do it in a remote town in Laos. It was insane. And so of course, I loved it. The most ridiculous thing about this ludicrous plan was that it would involve developing a specialty coffee export industry from scratch in a communist country that was known for its poor quality product. A month after the competition wrapped, I flew Tyson Adams and his team to Milwaukee, and we spent a week together contriving a name, developing a strong brand and identity, designing a website, architecting a crowdfunding campaign and speaking comprehensively about how to evolve the concept from a business to a movement. His commitment was that he would move to Laos, and stay there until the business was either bankrupt or successful. Well, I'm happy to report four years later that Tyson was able to achieve the impossible. This year, the beans from Jhai Coffee farmers was scored at 86 and above by the top specialty coffee roasters in both the United States and Europe. And the entire Jhai Coffee operation is a completely sustainable business partially owned, and completely operated by locals. And last week, I had the honour and privilege to spend a few days in Paksong hanging with Tyson, and recording some footage documenting the incredible story of Jhai. #misfitgram

Honoured to have been able to experience a meal at the non-profit Café Sabor Cruceño, which is the restaurant expression of a student-run culinary school in a very remote area off Lake Atitlán. The culinary programme is geared towards providing at risk youth with skills and opportunities in the hospitality industry. The restaurant itself is a world class joint serving both traditional Guatemalan dishes as well as Mayan fusion dishes. And the setting is absolutely breathtaking .... especially when timed perfectly for a red wine-infused Sunset dinner with your sweetheart. #santacruzdellago #lakeatitlan #guatemala

Eight years ago on this very day, almost at this very hour, I decided to once and for all, stop living some other dude's life. I remember the moment well, I had a choice and it was simple. To continue living the Life that I was supposed to live, or to begin living the Life I was destined to live. I remember being in my corner office, my heart feeling like it was in a vice, and suddenly, I had a vision, and saw myself as a 70 year old man looking back at me then mourning the glory of a life that could have been. Today represents more than the eve of a new year to me, it is the day I was emancipated. Today, I celebrate my liberation. And the girl in this photo kissing me on the cheek? The moment I walked out of that very lucrative and very successful finance career with nothing to show for it (in those days you'd spend more than you earned), it was four days before my wedding, and I knew I had only one call to make. When I told her that I had walked out, lost a $50,000 bonus and had less money in the bank than we needed to make rent the following month, her response was something I'll never forget, "AJ, I'd rather live with the real you under the Brooklyn Bridge than an impersonation of you anywhere else, I'm just glad I have you back." And today, eight years later, I get to celebrate the day of my liberation with this gorgeous girl soaking in the vast and sumptuous horizons of el Lago Atitlán while reminiscing on eighteen year's worth of adventures and changing the world together. Wherever this finds you, I hope it finds you reflecting on a Life of your own choosing, but if it doesn't, remember this, that your life is always just one brief moment of audacity away from remarkable. Maybe you were not meant to be average. And maybe, just maybe, this is your time. #happynewyear

Watching the Sunset rays butter the ripples of Lake Atitlán's currents while cascading in a ferry enroute to a tiny lakeside town. #onward #lakeatilan #guatemala

A half-filled notebook with scribbles for the next adventures, a warm cup of my daily ritual lemon, ginger and chia seed tea and an unbelievably decadent view. #goodmorning #lakeatitlan #guatemala

So, I met this pretty girl drinking Mezcal cocktails in Antigua, and asked her to come spend the rest of the year with me exploring Guatemala. She said yes. #luckyguy #antigua #guatemala

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