How an arrogant and undisciplined, seat-of-my-pants kind of guy learned to plan, say no, and become a better leader.

Photo by Ethan Sykes on Unsplash

He is going to fire me.

A stark realization, going off like an air-raid siren in my head.

He is going to fire me.

I could barely hear anything else, especially the words coming out of my bosses’ mouth, as he read over the documented recap of our coaching conversation.

You know it’s bad when your boss takes the time to write down everything said and asks you to confirm its veracity. It means he’s getting the document ready for the…


Photo by Fabiola Peñalba on Unsplash

I live in Shanghai, China, an already exotic place (compared to my home culture of America), but as we humans are oft to do, we eventually normalize our day-to-day experiences so we can cope.

While China is not my country of origin, the city of Shanghai has become my home. The daily routines of work, school, and social engagements have scrubbed the rough edges of this city away and left me with comfortable boredom.

The boredom that, for me, can usually only be broken by the open road or a window seat on an Airbus.

But I’m stuck at the…


I Lost 35 Pounds. Here’s How I Did It.

One “well-meaning” comment, some tough (self)love, and a very basic plan helped me shed the weight fast!

Photo by i yunmai on Unsplash

The Elephant in the Room (me)

Before we begin, a bonus life-lesson for you: don’t move to China if you can’t handle the truth.

“You have got so fat.”

The above quote came from one of my female employees. Her face pinched down in mock pain as if the mere sight of me was like having cobra venom spit in her eyes.

Obviously, the whole body-positive movement hasn’t made it this far East yet.

In China, it’s common for people who “care about you” to regularly critique everything from your waistline to your complexion.

Having lived in…


Photo by 𝓴𝓘𝓡𝓚 𝕝𝔸𝕀 on Unsplash

I love to travel. And I love airports.

I usually arrive crazy early (far ahead of the TSA time recommendations) just so I can hang out, do some shopping, eat, and have a drink or two.

It’s calming for me, and as a lifelong nervous flyer, this early arrival allows me some mental space to chill, perhaps find a new book, and build a little beer buzz before embarking on my journey.

And while my love for a good airport is devout, they can also be incredibly stressful places. …


In this article I will break down exactly what I use on a (mostly) daily basis to create the images you see on my Instagram feed (instagram.com/michaelbmast).

And yes, I feel the below products are the “best” for me and my style of travel and street photography. I’m sure there are other options and I have tried quite a few, but four years into this hobby, I have distilled my gear down to some essentials that I keep coming back to.

My hope is that this helps you determine what gear might be right for you and your way of…


Do you struggle with keeping a consistent creative practice? Do you have passionate ideas you want to share with the world, yet something always seems to get in the way? Do you start multiple projects with excitement and energy, but lose focus and finish none of them? Are you frustrated and even a little depressed by how much you want to create, but can’t seem to execute? Do you feel your dreams of living a creative life are slipping away?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then this post is for you! …

Michael Mast/Nomadic Thrive

Writer. Photographer. Father. Nomad. US Expat living in China. Have moved 34 times in 46 years. Find more at https://www.nomadicthrive.com

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