The re-entry that left me in the wilderness

The author (second from left) with some fellow Peace Corps trainees in Pokhara, shortly before the evacuation

“We have not even to risk the adventure alone, for the heroes of all time have gone before us. The labyrinth is thoroughly known; we have only to follow the thread of the hero path”

-Joseph Campbell

“Have you been to China? Do you feel sick?”

Two mask-less police officers in Boston International were asking a line of returnees those questions as a blended queue of people waited their turn to hear them. It was March 22nd, 2020, the height of covid confusion, and my 27th birthday. The world I was re-entering was unrecognizable, and most of me hadn’t returned.


“There are no winners in a culture war”

Photo by Erika Giraud on Unsplash

“You will come to know things that can only be known with the wisdom of age and the grace of years. Most of those things will have to do with forgiveness”

-Cheryl Strayed.

In one of the parables that I still hold dear long after leaving the church, Jesus sees a woman who’s about to be stoned for the crime of adultery. …


I’ve overcome imposter syndrome to launch exclusive content! Follow along as I heal the mind-body connection through the power of new movement

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

“Don’t be satisfied with the stories that come before you; unfold your own myth”

-Rumi

“Centuries of travel lore suggest that when we no longer know where to turn, our real journey has just begun.”

-Phil Cousineau

*This is an example of the type of content you’ll receive by subscribing, all other UMP posts will be exclusive in future*

As of last Sunday, I’ve started releasing exclusive content for what I’m calling The Unfamiliar Movement Project for subscribers on my Substack channel, The Well-Lived Life.

As an explanation for why I moved halfway across the world to study healing movements


Let’s not forget why we’re here

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

Last week, this platform that pays us for whatever random, often unedited thoughts we have announced that they’ve lined up a panel of successful writers and are planning an essay contest with several cash prizes.

And the majority of the community shouted “f*ck you guys!”

Oh, the entitlement.

I’ve only been writing and loitering in this small corner of the internet since November, and even just in that eight-month window, I’ve watched trivial algorithm changes and minuscule setbacks be blown up into scandals by some of the people who write here, month after month.

There was the views crisis in…


It’s not all car crashes and murders

Photo by Tani Eisenstein on Unsplash

I’m sure you all remember Albert Einstein’s classic quote:

“Give a man a fish, and he’ll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he’ll quickly see that fish can’t climb trees.”

Sorry, I’m in a playful mood and I wanted to start with a dumb joke.

ANYWAYS, on to the story!

It can be hard to retain a solid sense of self or keep your happiness intact when the news is blitzing negativity into your face 24/7. We see car crashes, assaults, violence, political incompetence, and mishandling of public resources in the media every day.

What we…


Lessons in joy from a recovering atheist

Photo by Jason Strull on Unsplash

“You don’t have to understand life. You just have to live.”
-Matt Haig, The Midnight Library

I grew up in the shadowy world of turn-of-the-century evangelical Christianity. From the time I was a small child, I was told that Jesus was the only way to heaven, that my responsibility was to teach as many people about him and his love as possible, and that all other religious traditions were nonsense.

When I was a pre-teen, I started doing some very simple math and realized that this didn’t make any sense. A burning question formed in my head:

When does the…


A story of lying, betrayal, and redemption through friendship

The three musketeers relaxing together mid bus construction The.bam.bus Instagram

I got so excited about this story when I heard about it on Instagram that I had to dig deeper. This one made me laugh, then made me want to know more. I hope you have as much fun reading it as I did researching and writing it.

It’s a delightful tale, involving three hoodwinked women, one unfaithful man, and an epic road trip in a converted school bus. Sound too good to be true? It’s not. It’s a day in the life of Abi Roberts, Bekah King, and Morgan Tabor.

Last holiday season, all three girls had just started…


Or, how I learned to let go of ‘why’ and fall in love with ‘what’

Photo by Danielle MacInnes on Unsplash

Back in 2011, A co-worker I’d known for 2 weeks called me, asked me to say goodbye to his family, and stepped in front of a semi on the interstate without so much as a “thank you” or a “goodbye.”

five months ago, I wrote about this trauma in detail, and it dredged up some undealt-with feelings. I started asking myself: would there be a way to insulate myself against this ever happening again? Of course, not completely. The people in our lives are often unpredictable. …


There’s an important distinction

Photo by Clique Images on Unsplash

“When you let go of control and commit yourself to happiness, it is so easy to offer compassion and forgiveness. This propels you from the past, into the present. People that are negative, spend so much time trying to control situations and blame others for their problems. Committing yourself to staying positive is a daily mantra that states, “I have control over how I plan to react, feel, think, and believe in the present.”

- Shannon L. Alder.

I have a friend who is outwardly the best person I know. He volunteers in his free time…


It’s my 100th Medium post, ladies and gentlemen!

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

Everywhere you look in our culture, you see extravagant displays of wealth, piped into your face to remind you that you lack what successful people have. All the while, the successful people showing us these displays have their egos out in full force, telling us that they got this wealth through the power of pure hard work and that you can, too! Strap on them boots, partner!

This platform is lousy with it. People show us their earnings, telling us how many posts they wrote for how long, what kind of schedule they kept, always dancing around that dirty little…

Aaron Nichols

732,891x top writer who’s really just here for the free snacks. If you like what you’ve read: https://thewelllivedlife.substack.com/ Open to gigs.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store