2017 Year in Photos
2017: A Rough Start
In January, we had a huge snowstorm—one of the biggest storms Portland had seen in years.
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.
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.
For a week and half, I laughed and hung out with my yoga friends.
Architects in Schools
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!
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.
Before the AIA Convention, Julia and I rocked Disney World.
Let’s be honest. My trip to Disney World was my best day of 2017.
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).
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.
So I bought a 2016 Chrysler Town and Country Minivan, which would now be my new home.
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 back, Molls 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.
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!”
I gave 2 lectures in Puerto Rico:
- Getting Started with the Architect Exam
- A new lecture I created called Entrepreneurship for Young Architects
I met lots of amazing people in Puerto Rico, and I’m booked to go back in the fall.
I love Puerto Rico, and Puerto Rico loves me.
Living in a Van Down by the 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…
I loved living in a van. But you know who liked it more? Molly. This dog loves being in the car.
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.
Living in a car is soooo much easier than staying alive on a bicycle ride across America.
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.
This drone definitely became a game-changer. Flying my drone everywhere became a huge part of my summer.
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.
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.
“First ya gotta do the truffle shuffle.”
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.
I got slammed with work a few days before WDS started, so I had to juggle a lot.
After WDS, I threw a giant party in The Pearl, and everyone I knew came out to bid Molly and I a fond farewell.
The Portland Seven and Molls
So I Came Back to the East Coast
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.
Molly and I caught up with our friends, and we started living at Chuck’s house for an undetermined amount of time.
Chuck and his little red corvette
Drinking Long Island beers with Dan Horn and King Alex Alaimo
The East Coast immediately put me to work, giving architecture lectures at every single AIA Chapter and Architecture school.
During the Summer and Fall, I traveled all over giving lectures once a week.
I bought a beautiful fixed-gear with no brakes, even though I promised myself I wouldn’t.
And Chuck got himself a Silver Labrador puppy named Petey! The rest of the summer, I was pretty distracted by Petey.
Let’s See… What Else Happened This Year?
Tony Robbins came to visit me in Portland.
I got published in Construction Specifier.
I passed the CDT exam with the highest score that Cherise had ever seen.
I celebrated my birthday with the finest Young Architects in America.
I created and gave a lot of really awesome lectures.
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!