Classic Listicle: My 10 Best Purchases in 2018

Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash

They’re such simple things. The reason I’m writing this is because it was an easy one-evening writing project [honesty]. Do lists help us relate to one another? Or help us learn about someone’s interest so that we can relate to them?

BJ Novak [Ryan Howard from The Office] once created an entire app where you just followed other people’s lists! It was simply called,

So we must like something about lists. I don’t know what it is but I thought that I would make one.

Personally I like lists because I like reading what things other people enjoy/buy/read/etc. If I admire/trust/follow them, I generally want to know what else they do with their life. It’s helpful, interesting, and aids in self-discovery as you learn more about what you resonate and don’t resonate with.

So, here are the best 10 purchases I made in 2018:

[Click/tap the headers to see pictures/descriptions/reviews/where-to-buy etc. etc.]

I have been on the hunt for the perfect backpack for a long time. I think this is it, hands down. Bellroy is amazing at design and the backpack is slim but holds everything I need: laptop, charger, water bottle, books, pencil pouch, notebooks, Kindle, keys, earbuds, etc. and there’s STILL room for an extra pair of shorts for rock climbing.

The backpack comes in three colors. I chose Ink Blue.


Unpopular opinion: ballpoint is better than gel when it comes to pens. Fisher makes a metal pen that folds on itself for easy storage AND has a gas-pressurized ink-cartridge, just in case you need to write underwater, upside down, or as the product name entails: in outer space.

Their website has multiple options but I got the black one w/ a clip from Amazon.

Last summer I started buying $0.80 notebooks from Kroger. These have turned out to be the best notebooks to beat up, write ideas/drafts/plans/work stuff/everything I need paper for. They’re simple, cheap, and come in fun colors. I usually personalize them with a large sticker from a brewery or coffee shop/roaster.

I always put some sort of sticker on my notebook. The last two were New Belgium Brewing Co. and Third Wave Coffee respectively.


It took a long time for me to try Bluetooth headphones. Part of the reason why was I didn’t want to have to charge my earbuds. Plus, my Galaxy S8 had a headphone jack.

When I switched to the iPhone Xs and thought I would try bluetooth earbuds but didn’t want to pay $159.00 for AirPods.

I discovered the Pamu Scroll on Indiegogo.

These earbuds are incredible. They’re only $79 [I got the early-bird special of $45] and they’re waterproof, the charge lasts multiple days, the case is part leather, they are great for phone-calls, and I can listen to podcasts while rock climbing.

If you’re looking for earbuds: these.

Let me tell you, the dual-monitor world is amazing. I highly recommend it. If you work at home, edit video or photos, like watching Netflix on a bigger screen, etc. then get the second monitor. It’s a simple step into visual luxury.

I am hardly technically gifted, but setting up a second monitor is super easy.

I have a low-maintenance one from HP and it has worked great. The converter from Macbook Air to HDMI is only $10 too!

This was recommended by Tim Ferriss and it has not disappointed. I have had this keyboard for almost a year and I have charged it a total of two times.

Two. Charges. 11-months of daily usage [I use it at work every day]. It’s pretty amazing.

It comes in multiple colors [I got blue]. You can connect it to your laptop/phone/iPad/tablet and easily pack it into your backpack as it is a clean 9" x 5".


There’s actually multiple Bellroy items I could put on here because everything that Bellroy makes is amazing but I wanted to keep the list at 10 items.

This is a zippered leather wallet, that’s water and weather resistant. It ages well and holds cash, coins, and 10+ cards easily.

Plus, it’s made by Bellroy.

[There is also the All Conditions Phone Pocket which is the same idea but can hold your phone].

2018 was the first time I ever set a year-long goal: Read 3-books a month. I finished the year at 37.

I learned a lot that year. If they can’t tell you in person, the best in the world at XYZ-Thing write it down.

Two lessons: One, read more and learn from the best. Two, pay it forward and write more. You never know who you may impact in the future. One person makes it worth it.

If you want to see the 37 books I read in 2018, go here.

Making friends as an adult is difficult. It’s just hard. But, there is an antidote: Board and card games. This creates common, healthy competitive grounds on which to bond. It works!

Our Game Night Group’s favorites have been Settlers of Catan, Monopoly, Exploding Kittens, and Sushi Go! [I bought that one in 2019 but whatever. Get the party version].

Some say Monopoly ruins friendships…and they’re not wrong. But it can deepen friendships as well.

Since summer of 2014 I have traveled to the island of Taiwan (off the coast of China) for missions and business work in Taipei and Chiayi [a southern region of Taiwan]. Almost every time I have traveled to and from the country I have had a layover in Narita airport in Japan.

After 4-years of sitting in the airport, I finally got to explore Tokyo [and it’s significantly less expensive than you think]!

You can always, ALWAYS make more money. Experiences however, are priceless. Buy the ticket, go to the place, do the thing.

Personally, I always fly Delta.

If you have used any of these things before, or found superior alternatives, let me know! I like lists.

Made it this far? That’s amazing! Thanks for sharing your time with me, it means a lot 🙌