2017 Year in Photos

2017 Year in Photos

MR Feature V6 2017 Year in Photos Photos

2017: A Rough Start 

 In January, we had a huge snowstorm—one of the biggest storms Portland had seen in years.  

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Portland doesn’t own any shovels, plows, or salt to clear the roads. It has a “let it melt” policy with snowstorms, so the whole city was royally fucked for about 9 days.   

I hate cold weather, so I was absolutely miserable the whole time.  

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Luckily, I was able to get the hell outta Dodge for my much-needed yearly vacation to Mexico. Once I got there, I felt a weight lifted off my shoulders.  

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For a week and half, I laughed and hung out with my yoga friends. 


Architects in Schools 

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In 2017, I participated in the Architects in Schools Program, and they paired me with a Graduate Student from the local architecture school. My partner and I were assigned an amazing 3rd grade teacher, and the 3 of us had a total blast teaching kids about Architecture!  

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Architects in Schools is such an amazing program. I had soo much fun. It felt like I was laughing the whole time.  


DISNEY WORLD!!! …and the AIA Conference. 

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Before the AIA Convention, Julia and I rocked Disney World.  

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Let’s be honest. My trip to Disney World was my best day of 2017. 

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The AIA Conference was fun. Michelle Obama was pretty rad. I made a lot of new friends and saw a lot of old friends. I love the architecture community and I love AIA Conferences.  


Deciding to Leave Portland 

In early February, I took on a project for a major tech retailer. (I can’t mention its name.) They had an intense schedule that required me to fly to the East Coast and visit a different Apple store (whoops) each night after they closed to verify some dimensions.  

During the day, I hung out with friends, worked on the Young Architect podcast, and explored wherever I was. It was the perfect business trip. I made a lot of money and had a lot of fun.  

It felt sooo good to get away from Portland for a week and half. When I got back to the airport, I went back to feeling really depressed and sad.  

I started kicking around the idea that maybe it was time for me to leave Portland. I lived there for 10 years, and it was great for the first 8 years. But during my last 2 years there, I didn’t really feel like it was working for me anymore.  

“I’ve changed a lot, and the city has changed a lot.  

I mean, technically, I don’t HAVE to be in Portland. I make the bulk of my income online through the ARE Boot Camp and Young Architect.”  

I also wanted to take a break from doing architecture projects, so I could focus on Young Architect.  

Then I kept having this weird fantasy about getting rid of everything I own, buying a car, and travelling around with my dog. Kind of like a bike tour—but in a car with a dog, and spending a lot less time in tents (intense).  

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In true Michael Riscica fashion, my weird fantasy became a reality within 2 weeks. I didn’t ask for any feedback or opinions from my friends and family. I just made a decision about what I was going to do.  

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So I bought a 2016 Chrysler Town and Country Minivan, which would now be my new home.  


Puerto Rico  

My plan quickly evolved:  

Start getting rid of everything I own, which was a bigger task than I imagined. I sold some stuff, but mostly gave away everything I owned.  

In June, I had plans to go to Puerto Rico and give 2 lectures at the PR Emerging Professionals Conference. I broke my lease and turned over the keys to my landlord before flying to PR.  

When I got backMolls and I would live on the streets of Portland for about a month. That way, I could attend my yearly World Domination Summit Conference.  

Then I would drive to the East Coast, reconnect with friends, and explore America a little bit.  

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Puerto Rico is really passionate about supporting their Emerging Professionals and creating more PR-Licensed Architects. So when they reached out to me and invited me to speak at their conference, I said, “Sure, why not!”  

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I gave 2 lectures in Puerto Rico:  

  • Getting Started with the Architect Exam  
  • A new lecture I created called Entrepreneurship for Young Architects 

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I met lots of amazing people in Puerto Rico, and I’m booked to go back in the fall.  

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I love Puerto Rico, and Puerto Rico loves me.  


Living ia Van Down bthe River 

When I got back from Puerto Rico, I was pretty much homeless. Just like a bike tour, it took about 2 weeks to figure everything out. But ya know what…  

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I loved living in a van. But you know who liked it more? Molly. This dog loves being in the car.  

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We lived on the streets of Portland for about a month. In the morning, we would drive around and get some work done at a coffee shop or the dog-friendly neighborhood bar. At night, I would park on the hill behind Chapman School in NW Portland, where everyone watches the swifts.  

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Living in a car is soooo much easier than staying alive on a bicycle ride across America.  

The Drone 

I took a big chunk of the cash I made from selling everything I own, and immediately invested it in a DJI Mavic Pro Drone.  

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This drone definitely became a game-changer. Flying my drone everywhere became a huge part of my summer. 

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I don’t know how I lived without a drone for soooooo long. I was kind of mad at myself for living this long without one. 

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I still fly it 4-5 times a week. Visiting buildings is sooooo 2016. Now I just fly my drone over them. I never realized that drones really are the ultimate tool for any Architect.   

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“First ya gotta do the truffle shuffle.”  

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My drone took this photo of the Goonies House. 


Heading Out of Portland  

The World Domination Summit was alright. Mentally, I just wasn’t there this year.  

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I got slammed with work a few days before WDS started, so I had to juggle a lot.  

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After WDS, I threw a giant party in The Pearl, and everyone I knew came out to bid Molly and I a fond farewell. 

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The Portland Seven and Molls  


So I Came Back to the East Coast  

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Molls and I Drove across America. It took about 7 days.  I took a day off in Minneapolis to hang out with friends. Once we hit the road, my cross-country-cyclist alter ego came out, so I just wanted to keep moving until I got to my destination.  

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Molly and I caught up with our friends, and we started living at Chuck’s house for an undetermined amount of time.  

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Chuck and his little red corvette  

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Drinking Long Island beers with Dan Horn and King Alex Alaimo 

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The East Coast immediately put me to work, giving architecture lectures at every single AIA Chapter and Architecture school. 

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During the Summer and Fall, I traveled all over giving lectures once a week.  

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I bought a beautiful fixed-gear with no brakes, even though I promised myself I wouldn’t.  

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And Chuck got himself a Silver Labrador puppy named Petey! The rest of the summer, I was pretty distracted by Petey. 

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Petey Pan! 


Let’s See What Else Happened This Year? 

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Tony Robbins came to visit me in Portland.  

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I got published in Construction Specifier. 

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I passed the CDT exam with the highest score that Cherise had ever seen.  

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I celebrated my birthday with the finest Young Architects in America.  

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I created and gave a lot of really awesome lectures. 


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And I made a lot of memes.  


2017 was an amazing year. Lots of great parties, people, and life-changing decisions.  

I promise to post my next Year in Photos at the beginning of 2019!  







Michael Riscica

Michael Riscica is a Licensed Architect, Founder and Head Coach of the ARE Boot Camp Coaching Program & Online Study Group.

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