Letters with Jarrod: Week 1

This week's topics include general intros, vacations, music and more.

As part of this month Letters Project, I will be corresponding with Jarrod Blundy. You can check out his website over at Heydingus.net

Jarrod’s first letter

Hey Jose,

First of all, thanks so much for agreeing to be my first correspondent in my (shameless replication of Jason Becker’s) Letters project. You and I emailed just a little bit last month expressing mutual admiration for each other’s sites, and I’m very curious and excited to get to know you better through these public messages back and forth. I’ve intentionally kept myself away from doing a deep dive through your About page or social media history so that I can learn more the way that we all used to – actually chatting with one another!

Anyway, a little bit about me. I’m a 29-year-old guy from Michigan who has found himself living in upstate New York, and I’ve got to say — I love it! Growing up in the flat lands, I always knew that I wanted to live in the mountains. Don’t get me wrong, the Great Lakes are awesome, but pointy peaks have always called to my heart. I thought I’d end up in Colorado (where I have an Aunt and where I did an internship) but ended up moving east instead after discovering the Adirondacks. My wife and I did a stint in the Cleveland, Ohio area, too, while she finished up school and we started our careers. But we’ve been in the Lake Placid, NY area for a little over a year now, and honestly, this could be our forever home.

Interest-wise, I’m an outdoor recreation professional (a term I really only just started using) by day and a nerd by night. I spent those five years in Ohio working for the Boy Scouts of America as a year-round Camp Director, and now I’m a Mountain Guide and gear shop worker. I just love helping folks get outside and experience something new, whether rock climbing, hiking, skiing, boating, camping…you name it. My wife is a PA in our local hospital emergency room. When she interviewed here, the doctors were very interested in her experience working in the Trauma Department back in Cleveland. Trauma was a challenging specialty to start out in, but it has served her well.

I’ve always billed my blog as a place to express all of my interests, including “the great outdoors”, but the reality is that I haven’t spent much digital ink on those experiences. I sometimes feel a little boxed in by all of the Apple and tech-related content that I immerse myself in during my off time. Since that’s the majority of what I read, that’s what I end up writing, too. With starting this Letters project, I’m hoping to break out of that mold a little more and feel more inclined to share all my “public musings”.

That’s enough background on me for now, I think. I’m very curious to hear about what roads have brought you here, typing away to a stranger on the internet. Was it a straight shot or a meandering path? What gets you out of bed in the morning? What keeps you up at night?

For just a bit on current events here, I just got back from a vacation with my wife’s family to the Outer Banks in North Carolina. We actually replicated a trip that we took two years ago to the same place — in the same rental house even! It was very pleasant to relax in the sun, read by the pool, and chase ocean waves on the beach. Are you more of a water lover or a land lover?

Unfortunately, I got word on that trip that one of my aunts in Florida passed away after a few weeks in hospice care. She’d survived several bouts of cancer throughout her too-short life. This time, it sounds like it got to her brain and it was a quick decline. It’s kind of hard to accept that she’s gone, but I have many fond memories of (and lessons learned from) her. I’d been fortunate for most of my life that very few people I’d been close with, family and friend-wise, had passed away. But in the last six or so months, I’ve now had to say that final goodbye to both my Grandpas and now my Aunt. Life sure can pack a punch.

I hope that wasn’t too much of a downer, it’s just what’s on my mind. Along with the fact that I still need to get some housework done tonight, and just how both aching and polished the new Ed Sheeran album sounds. Have you heard it yet?

Anyway, I hope you’re well, and thanks again!

Take care,


My response

Hey Jarrod! First, thank you for inviting me to this fantastic project! I'm happy I contacted you, which led to this project!

It was great to learn about your background! Here is a little about myself: I've noticed we are around the same age. Recently, I turned 30 on May 8th! I live in Puerto Rico, an island in the Caribbean that is officially a US territory. We are all US citizens, but we have not considered a state; confusing, I know! Spanish is the main language on the island, but most people also speak English because, in school, they teach both Spanish and English classes in all grades. I've lived here all my life Though I lived for a few months in NYC to study UX Design. I enjoyed the city but could not picture myself permanently living in such a hectic environment.

I consider myself a geek, too, haha I have been interested in design since childhood. I'd say my path was kind of a straight one. Studied Graphic Design in high school and did freelance work before shifting to User Experience design. Now I'm Product Designer, designing interfaces for a resume builder web app. I work remotely from PR, but my team is all scattered across the Us. My wife recently got her dream job as Visual Merchandiser at Anthropologie; she loves that she can apply her fashion design knowledge while interacting with customers.

Having fun projects to work on, whether at home or on my website, gets me pumped in the mornings. I didn't plan on having a blog for my website initially. I wanted to create a portfolio website, but it felt like I was doing it more for others than myself. So, I chose to create something more personal instead.

Your trip to the Outer Banks sounds super fun! That is definitely going on my bucket list. Ironically I'm more of a land lover, although I live on an island surrounded by the ocean and live 25 mins from the beach, lol. I'm definitely more of an indoor type of person, so I feel like ik missing out on many of the outdoor things Puerto Rico offers; I think you would love it here, haha.

Also, you mention that you replicated the same trip you took and few years and I think more people should do that! There is an imaginary pressure (maybe I just have it) that every trip or vacation should be something new or a place you have been before. But I personally love repeating a trip. I enjoyed it a lot. My wife and I are Disney fans, so we go to Disney World as much as possible! We are planning a trip to Disneyland Anaheim to celebrate our 5th wedding anniversary. Do you have any upcoming trips or plans? Any bucket list places you would like to visit?

Wow, your trip to the Outer Banks sounds like so much fun! I definitely need to add that to my bucket list. It's funny because even though I live 25 mins away from the beach, I'm more of a land lover. I think I'm more of an indoor type of person; I always feel I need to do more outdoor activities apart from running occasionally.

I love that you mentioned replicating your trip from a few years ago. I feel like there's this pressure (maybe just me) that every vacation/trip needs to be to a new place. Still, I personally love revisiting places that I enjoyed before. My wife and I are huge Disney fans, so we go to Disney World as much as possible. Right now, we're planning a trip to Disneyland in Anaheim to celebrate our fifth wedding anniversary. Do you have any upcoming trips or plans?

I am truly sorry for your loss and can only imagine how difficult it must have been, even more, while traveling. I think the articles you shared about Lessons Learned are a beautiful way to pay tribute to your loved ones and also serves as a positive reflection.

I am still waiting to listen to it! I heard the first single on the radio and liked it, I think it was Eyes Closed. I will give a listen to it while at the gym today! When he came to PR, we went to his concert for the Divide album, and it seeing him perform was amazing!

I have a couple of questions for our next one:

  • How did hey dingus come to be? How did you come up with the name and concept?
  • I'm also curious, how to dow your typical day look like? Are you a routine-heavy person or more spontaneous in terms of routines?

Thanks again for inviting me to this project, and looking forward to next week! I'll try to have my following response be a little shorter haha


Keep tuned for next week’s letter!