On the advice of a friend, he went wild with his profile photo on the dating app Tinder, choosing a picture of himself crouching next to an adult tiger.
The photo made him seem worldly, he thought, even dangerous.
"At the time, I did not know that every single person in America would be doing the same thing," said Mr.
Waylon Lewis: Waylon Lewis refers to himself as a “Dharma brat,” a play on the title of Jack Kerouac’s book “Dharma Bums.” Lewis’ parents were Buddhists and raised him in the tradition. Q: If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? Our traffic is growing by about 30 percent a month. It’s the first time in nearly 10 years that I’m not wondering whether my debit card will get rejected at the grocery store. If a fire burned-up everything I own, but I’m still alive, well that’s what matters most. My laptop is my portable office — I’m working all of the time. It’s not impressive or expensive but I use it 365 days a year. The happiest moments are the simplest moments, when you aren’t texting, when you aren’t doing five things at once. But I’ve found when you make friends with these things they become allies. I have to tame myself constantly, and I do that through the practice of meditation.
After graduating with a degree in communications from Boston University, Lewis launched Elephant Journal in 2002, a print magazine centering on things yoga, things spiritual, things green. My favorite journey for years has been getting on my bicycle and seeing the sun, the mountains, and getting to my office, which is a cafe. A: I always resented not being a trustafarian, just being able to do things more easily. When I went online I got rid of my car immediately. It’s hard to be self-centered when you are on a bicycle. A: Buddhists say human beings are fundamentally good, and that we don’t need to be happy based on possessions, on being in love, on things that are occurring. You relax, have a beer or coffee, you are reading an article on your deck. You pull the reins in on yourself and you don’t lose your mind.
Six years later he killed the print magazine because he felt it wasn’t environmentally sustainable and began publishing online. What he talks about is the most boring stuff on earth, and he gets into the details of our political process and the details of books that often don’t get serious airtime anywhere else, and he makes it fun and relevant and he gets people emotionally engaged. Riding my bike from Point A to Point B is the highlight of my day every day.
The online publication Elephant thrives today, and Lewis, 37, who doesn’t own a car and bikes everywhere, works out of Boulder’s many coffee shops and cafes. If anyone is doing a service for the American people and having fun doing it, I’d say it’s Jon Stewart. A: I think I’m well-known for being loud and social. That’s not an accurate description of my life — I spend countless hours on my laptop, quiet and working — but people think of me as an about-the-town kinda’ guy. People always think I’m cooler or more fun than I am.
His live and webcasted show, “Walk the Talk,” is kind of like the “Tonight Show” — funny monologue followed by interviews with interesting people punctuated with music — only it’s all about the stuff of Elephant Guests have included Deepak Chopra and Michael Pollan. He hated the Irish – he’s actually racist about Irish.
Trident Booksellers and Cafe: Waylon Lewis’ favorite Front Range place, the 30-year-old Trident Booksellers and Cafe on Pearl Street, fits the Boulder native and media-maven well. But there is that quote about sucking the marrow out of life, and Winston Churchill did that, and not in a selfish way.
It’s old-school Boulder and it’s over-caffeinated and brainy and quirky at the same time, like Lewis.
The Trident is filled with 60-something beatniks and hippies with gray ponytails talking and reading and gulping mugs of coffee; skinny-jeaned, disheveled hipsters glued to Apple products and sipping espresso; and lots of Buddhist ephemera.
The Trident may be the coziest coffee shop in Boulder, and on any afternoon the space exudes a refreshing, earnest energy. A: There was a time last year, 4½ years after transitioning to online, that I wasn’t sure if we were going to make it, in terms of paying the bills and being able to hire an editorial staff. Q: What historical figure do you most identify with?
I wasn’t sure how we were going to monetize online, and I think the thing that scared me was I wasn’t sure if it was going to work, and for me Elephant is an expression of my desire to be a benefit, to contribute in a meaningful way to the world.
I wasn’t sure if the 9½ years of my life that had been poured into this could have all been for nothing.