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Thoughts about traveling

I want to leave for a while. I want to be able to stay gone for as long as I feel like, and I am pretty sure I have the money for that. On my last trip, I came back after about three months. This time, I think I'd stay away longer - there's a lot to see, and it costs time and money to come all the way back to where I started.

There are a lot of places I want to go, and a lot of "styles" in which I want to experience life. One that I haven't done yet is "backpacking" through foreign countries - a challenge since it'd involve a lot of sleeping in dorm beds at hostels, and language barriers.

I have also talked a lot about "van dwelling." this would be like the trip I took in 2008, and in fact a step up in terms of luxury. I only had my 2-door honda last time, imagine what I could do with all the cubic feet provided by a big old conversion van.

Finally, back-country camping / long distance hiking. I have been buying the kind of gear necessary for this, and although I don't have a lot of experience on multi-day hikes, it wouldn't be so hard - I can practice tying knots and building fires.

This implies taking a break from everything local - relationship, friends. I have nothing against anyone personally, I have just grown dissatisfied with my current lifestyle. All I do anymore is go to work and then "de-stress" from work.

I could quit work and do new things while staying here, but I don't want to pay $1000 a month rent to stay in one place. It's free to sleep in a van, and there are $20/night hostels the world over. Plus, I really want to drive, to fly, to go somewhere. If I were to stay here, it'd be so I could stay close to the people who're telling me "don't leave."

I really just want to be able to do what I want to, without being bound to the expectations of others. Putting physical distance between myself and those who expect things from me makes it a lot easier to stop worrying that I'm "doing life correctly" and finally start enjoying myself.
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Birthday post

I'll be 27 years old on Oct. 30.

I have gotten better at acceptance, and stopped feeling like I constantly need to strive for some kind of life improvement, or for the "meaning of life." Everything is fine and I am free to do whatever I feel like, regardless of how "productive" I might be. Additionally, I have been in a relationship for the last two years or so, and that is probably a major reason for this contentment. I no longer think to myself "what am I going to do with the rest of my life" but instead have narrowed my views to "what am I going to do today," or at most, "this week." My life is too spontaneous to make long term plans, and that's cool with me.

In the past, I felt bound to societal rules, constantly concerned that I was doing everything "correctly." I worried about everyone liking me, being careful never to offend anyone, even those I didn't agree with. I have since learned that social norms are subjective. Hell, even morality is subjective, although I still try to maintain fairly high moral standards, however subjective they may be. This has been quite a freeing realization.

Another realization that I find particularly liberating is the lack of impact that my life will ultimately have. I take great comfort in knowing that there are no goals I'm obligated to achieve, no particular series of actions that make me into a "real man" or anything like that. You can take this idea and magnify it to a cosmic scale, that there's no goal that the entire planet is obligated to achieve, within the context of the broader universe. I also consider this a very liberating notion.

I am constantly aware of people's opinions, whether in blogs, the news, social media, or in person. So many people have these ideas of what constitutes the right way to live, and they will not hesitate to force those ideas on others. That's all it is though, one person's idea of how things should be. In particular, the idea of "if you do [blank] even once, you become a [blank]-er" is very common. I am not sure how many things I missed out on for fear of being labeled unfavorably, but I am glad to have figured out that my individual actions don't each necessarily define me as a person.

I looked back at some of my writing during the 2008 road trip, and found I was far too concerned with external validation back then. I wrote something like "I met some hot chicks! DERP" and it reminded me how much time I spent on that trip trying to socialize, be accepted, and all that. I suppose that's typical for a 23 year old. I hadn't yet studied philosophy, and I hadn't really thought about what was important to me, and why. I think I'd get a lot more out of that kind of trip now that I'm four years more mature, and not so dependent on others' approval.

I could take a trip like that again - I have a lot more money in the bank now than I did in 2008. However, I don't think it'd improve my quality of life like it did back then. Things are good now, and I'll just maintain the status quo for a while.

So yeah, in closing, everything from "if your balls touch another dude's, you're gay" to "those shoes are for old people" to the idea of an all-powerful humanoid god, are all just things that someone thought up one day, and there is no particular reason for me or anyone else to believe those kinds of things. Because really, everything will eventually be forgotten, and it doesn't make sense for me to do anything other than what I find fulfilling.

I feel like it took me too long to fully understand all this.
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more Kahneman

More stuff by the guy I mentioned in my last post. Here, he talks about acting in the service of the experiencing self, compared to the remembering self:

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(no subject)

I have been reading this book called "Thinking, Fast and Slow" by Daniel Kahneman. It's an excellent read for an "armchair-psychologist" like myself. In this book, Kahneman discusses how people are prone to logical fallacies, and susceptible to subconscious influence. here is an interview with the author, where he touches on these and other topics.

It makes me somewhat frustrated to know that I, too, am prone to these kinds of things. Being aware of them helps me to remain rational, but I am still just "human after all" like daft punk says.

SPIEGEL: Is there no way to escape those powerful suggestions?

Kahneman: It isn't easy, at any rate. The problem is that we usually don't notice these influences.

SPIEGEL: That's pretty unsettling.

Kahneman: Well, it can't be too bad because we live with that all the time. That's just the way it is.
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The trees

This is going on next door to my office. Condos with street level retail, as all construction projects seem to be. I find it ironic that they are using wooden boxes to protect the nearby trees.
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I wait.

I don't want to be here, but I get paid far too much money to quit work. So, I wait. I wait for the management to get tired of my Office Space attitude of doing just enough work not to be hassled, or for the company to fall on hard times. Something that would result in me being laid off, and therefore able to collect unemployment. I'm like the relationship partner who doesn't want to initiate a break-up. At least in this case, there are tangible benefits to being let go instead of quitting.

I wait in an office with no natural light, despite Seattle's short, and therefore prized summer taking place just outside these walls. I wait because it is the most financially sensible thing to do. Every paycheck adds a little more to my savings, so that once the waiting is over, my adventures will be incrementally longer, and perhaps somehow better.

I don't want a house, or children, or college. I want experiences, and memories. I get just enough of these on the weekends to stop me from walking out of work, climbing into my car, and driving for a very long time. So, I will continue to wait.
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still reminiscing about the summer of 2008

Yesterday, I read through the old blogs and journals I wrote during the road trip I took three years ago. It was somewhat enlightening to read the things I wrote back then. I had forgotten about a lot of what I wrote, and some of it took me by surprise. I was a better writer back then, creating coherent sentences without correcting any words, even though I wrote in pen. I was also very attracted to social interaction, spending what I would now consider too much time in coffee houses and bars. Judging by the writing that didn't make it onto blogs, I hoped to fulfill a sense of longing - longing for what, I am not exactly sure. Some youthful idea that there would be a way I could exist without any problems, I suppose. In the last three years, I've learned I can overcome problems, and not just avoid them. I would like to eventually take another trip, although this time it would be "because it is awesome to do so" and not "because everything else sucks."
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(no subject)

TODAY I considered driving to work but I found that my car horn had been replaced with a horn that plays LA CUCARACHA and also my engine was also replaced with an aquarium full of cucarachas. SO I WALKED TO THE BUS STOP and found that the bus was a giant cat. CATBUS took me to work but instead of its normal route it TOURED THE SET OF THE HIT TV SHOW GREY'S ANATOMY. since this is seattle it is of course raining but this time there was every kind of rain. there was rain that came in sideways, and even rain that looked like it was coming up out of the ground!

i got to work and opened my briefcase to find THE ESCAPED BRONX ZOO COBRA INSIDE IT and it was using my laptop to update twitter. I THOUGHT ONLY BIRDS COULD TWEET

THEN AT WORK i attempted to use the internet only to find that the internet here is being re-routed through a deep bore tunnel! the construction of which has been postponed by the mayor of the internet! I attempted to re-route my internet along I-405 but IT IS ALSO CLOSED

I gave up on work and began walking home. contemplatively scanning the sky, it became apparent that the moon had grown an angry face and was about to crash into the earth! the solution is to carve the letters "cha" into it with a laser cannon


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sick day

I spent most of Wednesday asleep, periodically changing sleeping location from my bed, to my couch, to my beanbag chair, much like a house cat. At some point in the day I receive a flirty text message. My illness-rattled brain can't quite determine what to do about this, and does what seems appropriate, which is to respond with a slogan from the nearby chinese vitamin shop: "Tiger fury best libido enhance!"

I'm surprised to find it's already the weekend. The combination of having Labor Day off, taking a sick day, and sleeping at every opportunity will make the days fly by. During my brief moments of consciousness, I make it a point not to look at the floor as the circles-inside-squares pattern of my carpet appears to be melting into a black hole, and just might take me with it.

I managed to pick up some old-style Sudafed. This was an impressive undertaking: wait in line at a grocery store pharmacy counter, present my ID, fill out my name and address, and try not to look like a meth-head, all for the pleasure of paying $4.63 for 48 generic sudafed tablets. Dayquil doesn't have pseudoephedrine anymore, but I can now mix up a cocktail of dayquil's former ingredients - sudafed, tylenol, and cough syrup. Best libido enhance, indeed.
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(no subject)

When passing by in the hallways, the most acknowledgment most people in my office will give to anyone is a smile and nod. Except for one man. "Happy Guy," as I'll call him, excitedly shouts things like "HEY HOW ARE YOU TODAY I'M GREAT IT'S A GREAT DAY FOR SOME ROLLER BLADING!" He begins his conversations from a good thirty feet away, so that he can get in as much talking as possible before he has passed by his target. Happy Guy was happily on his way towards me this morning. Not willing to deal with his onslaught, I divert my bathroom-bound course and run the hell away. I dodge through rows of cubicles I have no business being in, eventually snaking my way to my desk.

Still holding my pee, I check that the coast is clear, and sneak into the men's room. Inside, a man is standing in front of a urinal - not peeing, but instead using both hands to type on his iPhone, while his junk is hanging out in front of him.

At lunch, I go for a run, testing the "livestrong" running shorts I recently purchased. I was surprised to find they have briefs built into them, much like swimming shorts. However, since these are Lance Armstrong shorts, they only fit one of my testicles.

After work, my coworkers and I go out for happy hour. Apparently I make a very entertaining drunk, so people buy me drinks. It would be impolite to refuse. I don't remember a lot of this happy hour, except that some of my friends from outside work were there. The next morning, I had to check my text message logs to find out exactly how they and I ended up in the same place. While studying this, I send a text message asking "why are there bruises on my back and elbows" to which I receive the response "we went bowling. you fell over the ball return."