I don’t remember.
That’s the second thing they teach you.
I’ve mentioned how running this “magazine” has opened doors for me over the years—several times. It continues to do so on an increasingly regular basis.
Last month, Deanna suggested I look into a local automotive journalism group, do some networking, and hone my skills through exposure to new, local perspectives in the industry. I discovered the Phoenix Automotive Press Association (PAPA) and got invited to a meeting.
Long story short, the meeting took place during work hours—but I went “on the clock” because I work for a content/publishing startup and it’s a relevant organization.
Let me put that another way—my day job paid me to do GBXM-related stuff because my employer recognizes the role GBXM plays in my skill set.
GBXM is the foundation upon which I’ve built my work-life parallel lifestyle.
I’M NOT SPECIAL.
Much as I appreciate all the kind words and compliments, at the end of the day, this is just a magazine-themed blog at the center of a metric shit-ton of hopes and dreams. And I’ve been struggling with following-through and putting in the work to make them come true for nearly a decade.
It costs me $40 a month to host this website and another $10-$20 a year to register the domain. That’s it! Everything else I use is free.
Google’s G-Suite handles our email and content archives. Free.
MailChimp handles the weekly newsletter. Free.
I’ve got a PayPal account. Free.
I’m over-simplifying, here, but to prove a point. The reason GBXM has the presence it does is because I’ve showed up (relatively) consistently over the years and built a body of work.
REALITY CHECK: FAST, RIGHT, CHEAP
Fast, right, cheap—pick any two. Since I’ve had to keep it cheap, I only had one other choice.
Which is to say, if you’re willing to show up (more often than not) and stick to it (knowing it WILL evolve)—whatever it is you want to do with your life—you don’t need a ton of money to do it.
Shit! I just printed the paperwork to file for the LLC and bought a PO Box last week. Combined, these two tasks took $135—and about ONE HOUR, including drive time to and from the post office for keys.
Next month, I’ll be opening an actual bank account for GBXM. (Seriously! Bush League!)
The point is, I’m not some well-heeled rich kid with all kinds of hookups. I didn’t get bored working on Wall Street and walk away with a couple mil in the portfolio to play cars for a few years while I figured out what I wanted to do next.
I’m just a regular, working class stiff like you who realized he really loved cars, lived a little bit better because of the people he met along the way, is FINALLY seeing how the pieces fit together to live an even BETTER life—and wants to help as many gearheads as possible do likewise.
Seriously. I’m not special. Here’s my (abridged) story.
MY GEARHEAD BACKSTORY (ABRIDGED)
I’ve been interested in cars since I was a kid. In fact, my earliest memory—aside from my Dukes of Hazzard bed sheets—is lying in bed after bedtime, playing with a 1975 Lesney Atlas dump truck. I dropped it from arm’s length and busted my lip.
I still have a silverware box full of 1990s Hot Wheels and Matchbox cars I collected—and played with—in the garage. Somewhere. Still have all my Micro Machines, too. And a Tamiya King Cab, Associated RC10 Team Car, and MkI HPI RS4.
I got my first seat time in a 1986 Buick Somerset with a clattering “Iron Duke” under the hood and a futuristic digital dash. I learned to drive in a piece of shit, Piss-Yellow-Over-Snot-Green 1980 Audi 80 in Germany.
My first car was ALMOST an E30 318i. It was ALMOST a MkI Cabriolet. It was ALMOST a MkII Jetta. It ended up being a piece-of-shit 1988 Pontiac Grand Prix.
And then I ALMOST bought a 97 Camaro on my way to order a new 97 Jeep Wrangler, where I ultimately drove away in the 97 Eagle Talon that changed my life.
20+ YEARS LATER
I don’t remember ALL the exact details, but I’ve been living in this world over 20 years now.
I started on a little forum called 2GNT. This lead me to dozens of other communities.
Those communities introduced me to other owners across town, across the country, and around the world. Many of these people would become family.
In fact, at my wedding back in 2007, half the chapel was filled with my wife’s extended family—parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins. The other was filled with mine—2GNTers, DSMers, rallyists.
Two years later, I discovered I was less interested in modifying the actual car than I was in modifying car culture. After two or three failed attempts at starting a DSM magazine with others, I launched Gearbox Magazine on my own in September of 2009.
A MASTER CLASS IN WORK-LIFE PARALLEL
This magazine-themed blog introduced me to people around the world, forever changing my perspective.
I interviewed owner enthusiasts in Canada, Mexico, Ireland, Scotland, England, Germany, Greece, India, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and more—even someone in Iran. I didn’t have to learn any foreign languages—I just looked up forums for the cars I thought were cool, joined up, and asked people if I could email them some interview questions.
Those email-driven conversations showed me that, despite all the political bullshit we see in the news, the vast majority of us are just regular people who can get along just fine.
I’ve stayed with gearheads in Canada, England, and Germany. I know more Mitsubishi owners in Australia than I do neighbors on my own block in Phoenix. And I’ve got an open invitation to tour India on a Royal Enfield with the Jeypore Riders or rally into the Himalayas with Western Motorsports.
If I play my cards right, I might be able to do the Shitbox Rally in Australia while I’m on the side of the planet.
Over the years Gearbox Magazine (GBXM) became more than just a magazine about modified cars. It became a master class in work-life parallel.
THESE ROOTS RUN DEEP.
My automotive roots in those forums, learning to maintain, modify, and repair my vehicles, gave me the skills I needed to start talking about it on my own little corner of the web. And the more I talked about it on my own little corner of the web, the better I got at it.
This little corner of the web has never looked so good. There’s a LOT about it I wish I could—and eventually will—clean up, but let’s keep it real, here, folks. Gearbox is a $40/month blog that’s never come anywhere close to making a profit in almost a decade.
Everything remarkable about this place is because of the gearheads like us who generously shared their time and stories with me over the last decade. We’re figuring things out together, and we’re starting to see a little traction.
I’m going to do a LOT more with GBXM this year. In 2019, GBXM will be 10 and I will be 42.
42 is the meaning of life, the Universe, everything.
Shit’s about to get real.
I WOULD WALK 500 MILES…
Look, some vehicles stand out because they’re the fastest, the most expensive, or the most exclusive. And we can all admire those machines because they’re legitimately amazing.
But perhaps even MORE amazing are those machines we hear about that have turned over one, two million miles or more—because they’re often FAR more attainable machines. And because keeping them on the road, day after day, year after year, is a true labor of love.
So who taught me how to run a magazine? You did, I guess.
And that’s why this is $40/month blog is more than a “magazine.”
Get ready. The best is yet to come.