I finally got on Google+ (add me!). It’s awesome! If you need an invite, let me know, I’d be happy to help you out. I’m enjoying exploring the new service, and connecting with people. Also been busy getting ready to move to a new apartment; not hard since I don’t have much stuff. I’ll be sad not to have access to my apartment’s pool, I’ve been using it so much the past couple of weeks with the heat wave we’re experiencing. Finally, I’ve started scanning, cleaning up, and uploading my sketches from my most recent trip to Europe. You can check those out at my side project, Sketchercise. You may enjoy my commentary on the buildings we visited.
Below are some of my favorite articles of this week.
Ev Bogue-Post Artifact Booking
Ev introduces a brilliant essay by Craig Mod, and discusses the future of books and publishing in the digital age.
“How we’re designing, distributing, and even consuming, books is changing. Up until recently, we thought about books as the artifact of an act that happened in near isolation. A writer created silently at a cabin in the woods. He got up the courage to send his finished manuscript off to a publishing house. There the writer was either rejected or accepted. Then they sent back the manuscript and said: change this. Creating books no longer works this way.”
Exile Lifestyle-Friends with Fans
Colin shared a preview of his new e-magazine Exiles, coming August 1.
“It’s a strange moment when you realize that you — and the vast majority of your close friends — have fans. At that point it’s weird to even think about not having thousands of people reading every word you write, judging your intentions and motivations and verbiage based on other words of yours they’ve read in the past, and their own personal impressions of you and your image.”
In Treehouses-How Minimal are You?
The latest issue of In Treehouses is out; buy it for $10 or subscribe/share to download for free.
“The new edition of In Treehouses looks at minimalist approaches to business, and how a more focused way of living and working could be beneficial to you.”
The Minimalists-Killing Time: Over Time I Got Rid of Time
Joshua Millburn doesn’t own a watch, learn how to stop checking yours.
“Last week, I was walking the streets of Dayton, Ohio, the scorching sun overhead like a peephole into hell’s own self-consuming heart, and someone stopped me and asked me for the time. I looked up at the sun-kissed sky and responded with two words: “It’s daytime.” I didn’t mean for my answer to sound glib or off-putting in any way, but it was the only answer I had. I didn’t have my phone with me, and I don’t own a watch. And the truth is I didn’t have any idea what time it was.”
Have you read anything inspiring this week? Pass it along!
Have a good weekend everyone!
I’ve had the above conversation with myself everyday for the past week or so. After returning from a 2 month trip to Europe (I was there to study architecture, and well, let’s face it-enjoying the food!) I was seriously discombobulated.
It’s not just the jet lag.
Beyond the upheaval of our circadian rhythm, returning from traveling does some strange shit to our bodies and minds. While we’re dealing with (failed) attempts at rejoining the local ebbs and flows, our minds and thought processes are slowly rewiring themselves. It takes time to adjust to what is “normal” around you, but I always find this process to be more jarring at the end of a trip rather than the beginning. I like to think of this acclimation period as my brain defrag-it’s sort of checking all the systems and making sure things are running optimally.
You start to notice things.
The first time you cruise down -what you thought was- a familiar street, it seems totally different to you. It is like we’re looking at our city for the first time with fresh eyes after being away for so long.
- Huh? I don’t remember that fancy storefront.
- Wow! Look at that new Kroger, it’s huge!
- Wait. What happened to that ice cream shop that used to be here?
Were those changes made while we were away? Or maybe they’ve always been like that, but we never took a moment to notice them. When we’re traveling, our brains tend to take in everything in huge gulps. Our mind’s eye is painting a picture with great, broad brushstrokes, and trying to get the big picture and all the details as quickly as possible. When we return home, our brain will continue on this pattern. I’m not gonna lie, it’s kind of nice. It makes us realize just how much we’re missing on our day to day because we’ve become jaded and bored with our surroundings.
You start to pay attention.
If a foreign language constantly surrounds us, our brains go into overdrive. Like a toddler, our brains sponge up everything they can in order to break it down and figure out what all that gibberish means. Whether we’re reading a road sign or a menu, or listening to an authority figure give instructions or a waiter ask for our order, we have to seriously focus on every little thing that happens. We need every scrap of information we can gather in order to figure out, via context clues, what’s going on so we don’t look foolish.
This leads to a cognitive dissonance back home when our brains are so intently focused and prepared to translate or comprehend on the fly, but it turns out we can understand with perfect ease.
The waiter asks for your order, and halfway through his spiel of the plates of day you realize; Wait. I don’t have to try and slog my way through a rough accent or half a language I don’t understand. Oh, it’s okay if I tune this out a bit. Our brains uneasily relax a little, before quickly returning to old habits.
Why can’t we view the world through the lens of a traveler all the time? It gives each experience a breath of fresh air and incredible focus. We should learn lessons from our travel-selves.
- We should pay attention to our surroundings.
- We should absorb everything, as much as possible.
- We should think and act deliberately.
- We should go about our day in a focused, intent way.
I think we all feel these changes in our minds when we return home from our travels. We may give more attention to the fact that our internal clock is out of whack, but we should notice how our perceptions have changed. That’s one of our main reasons, our impulses, for travel; to change our perceptions. These lessons should be carried on even when we aren’t in a brand new place.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go eat lunch… -Or was it dinner?
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How many knick-knacks have you collected from your travels over the years? How many of the shelves in your home are stuffed to overfilling with tchotchkes? If you had to, could you list all of them? Do you even remember where you got half of them?
The thing is, these trinkets aren’t what you really want.
Pick up any old bauble off your cluttered shelf and think about why you bought it. Usually it’s because we’re on our way out of a city-onto another destination-and we want something to ‘remember our trip by’. Maybe it looked cute.
Maybe it was one of those things that once you visit the place-say, the Eiffel Tower, that you are supposed to want to buy. Like a miniature Eiffel Tower model. Before that moment, you had no desire for such an item. The thought of the item hadn’t crossed your mind. You didn’t spend time doing research for the best style of Eiffel Tower model to buy. You went to the Eiffel Tower, so you needed to bring a piece of it back with you.
Unfortunately, if everyone followed this logic, we wouldn’t have any monuments left! That’s one of the reasons the public at large can’t get that close to Stone Henge anymore.
We do this all the time with seashells. Everyone wants to bring a piece of the place back with them. Don’t get me started on people who go to the ocean and then buy shells at a shop!
Then this trinket will begin collecting dust, get thrown in a box in the basement, and never heard from again.
It’s an endless cycle! And the sad part is that by buying souvenirs, we’re only weighing ourselves down even more and preventing ourselves from traveling even more. It’s clutter that holds us back, and money spent that could have been put towards a future trip.
Stop wasting your money buying cheap junk. I guarantee you that the locals don’t actually own or use that crap. Think of how many souvenirs from your own city you own and use on a daily basis. I’m going to guess the number is somewhere around zero. Not to mention, that there’s a pretty good chance that the “handmade”, “Italian silk” scarf was made in China from synthetic materials and then had a new tag sewn on it.
Souvenirs are not the reason we travel.
We travel for the experience. To break away from the usual and find new rhythms to life. To see how others live. To recognize our own ignorance and replace narrow-mindedness with appreciation.
We travel to find authenticity. To see sights that we don’t normally see, and to see ourselves in a new light.
You don’t need a cheaply made souvenir to validate your travels. Open a free Flickr account and fill it with photos of your adventures if you need proof to show others. Digital photos take up no physical space.
We should pick up that seashell. Feel the rough edges and the smooth surface of the shell, enjoy its beautiful colors, and go ahead and put it up to your ear to listen to it. But then, when you’re done, return it to where it came from so that someone else can enjoy it. We should enjoy it, in its context.
You don’t need a souvenir to have an awesome time. If you want to have an epic adventure, go out and have one. But take lots of pictures to show us when you get back!