Joe Omundson


My name is Joe. I went to school to be an engineer and I did that for a while. But in April of 2014, at age 26, my life changed forever when I quit my job to hike the Pacific Crest Trail. My life was ruined in the best way possible. Since that time I've been totally addicted to doing crazy stuff with my life that most people wouldn't consider as an option. I've walked from Mexico to Canada, lived in a tiny hatchback, learned to travel and live with virtually no money, and hitchhiked thousands of miles. I have high ambitions to do much crazier stuff in the future.

My work as a writer is cyclical and I tend to alternate between two phases:

First, I spend a chunk of time traveling, exploring, and experiencing the world to gain inspiration and to challenge my perception of life. I experiment with different lifestyles, subject myself to new challenges, and explore possibilities that I hadn't previously considered. In this phase, I like to do more photography and story-telling, describing the interesting things I see and people I meet.

Then, I like to return to a home base and settle down for a time as I process the new information I've gained while traveling. This is where I piece together the more conceptual work and create essays about patterns I've noticed. I integrate my new knowledge into my "grand unified theory" of everything, and share the parts that strike me as most interesting.

I am passionate about helping people make sense of the world, accept themselves, find truth, and develop lifestyles that are suited for their personality.

I titled my blog “Self Observing Universe” because it represents the spiritual core of my worldview. There is a fascinating dance between the material world and our experience of consciousness. In my opinion, our physical brains are creating our perception of free will, and yet they are nothing but a collection of atoms which must follow the laws of physics. How can free will and physical determinism exist at the same time? I believe the laws of physics themselves are what animate our awareness. The universe is self-aware, because we are made of the universe and we observe the universe.


Your support helps me keep my writing cycle moving. I need financial help to prepare for my exploratory trips so that I can keep gaining inspiration; occasionally I need to spend money on one of the tools I use to do my work, like a camera or a laptop, or something that sustains me in the wilderness like a sleeping bag or a backpack.

With your help I can devote 100% of my focus to understanding the world, and in turn provide you with higher quality stories and analyses. Thank you for being a part of my journey!