Friday, December 7, 2018

Time Paradox -- Please do this Quiz!

One thing that Daniel and I talked about in our hitchhiking and other Italian adventures was the different ways that people perceive time and how we thought sociopaths tended to experience time.

I learned that Philip Zimbardo (of Stanford Prison Experiment fame) had a book out in the last decade talking about the different ways that people can and do perceive time.

I wonder if y'all wouldn't mind completing this short test Zimbardo uses to suss out who perceives time in what ways:

And then if you could report what you got in the comments with a rough score on what you are 1-10 in terms of sociopathic traits (bell-curve style, like I was probably an 8 at my peak, now a 7.5 and 10 is basically not functional in modern society without a ton of special accommodations), I'm interested to see if Daniel's observations are correct. Maybe even tell me what type of sociopath you consider yourself, male/female, low or high functioning, successful or struggles, that sort of thing.

Thanks friends!

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Italy in 10 efficient days -- Florence/Siena (2 days)

Ok, just a reminder that I was a little back and forth myself meeting people in different places, but this is what I would recommend for an efficient traveler.

Day 4: If you leave early enough in the morning from Rome, you can get a train or bus to Siena, which is on the way and has a charming medieval city center that is a Unesco World Heritage and a beautiful Cathedral with a museum about medieval music which was interesting to see in person for the first time.

You could probably wander around the city for a lot of time, but I think you'll get the point after 2-3 hours, and then on to Florence. In the alternative, certain parts of Florence, particularly right across the river in between the Boboli Garden (not really worth seeing unless you crazy love gardens our outdoor statutes or weird manmade grottos to house statutes) and the river.

So if you don't feel like taking the slow trains to Siena (it's either fast train straight to Florence or spending more than twice the time on the slow trains to detour to Siena).

The lowdown with Florence is that everything is pretty walkable, much more than Rome (even though people might tell you that's a good way to see it). But there are also bikes everywhere! And I had so much fun biking around Florence. I think OBikes were the most popular, so maybe download the app ahead of time. I also did some longer term rentals another time I was there at Alinari Bikes. I did basically a circle loop, going across the river to the Michelangelo statute on the hill that has a great view, back towards the Boboli Gardens, and across the picturesque bridge with all of the shops. I was there not even at the peak of tourist season, but some Florence streets are not bikeable only because there are so many pedestrians, but the rest is pretty flat and easy. 

Daniel had a rule about only going to one church or one museum each day, so we did more outside exploration. With friend sociopath friend Arya, who met me after Daniel left, and friend Stuart who met us we went to the Uffizi Gallery, which may be the biggest, most consolidated art museum in Italy? At least that I had seen or heard about, with several famous masterpieces and plenty of selfie taking. Again, the key here is to make your reservations as early as you can swing it.

We also did the Duomo dome walk, which you can book as part of your Cathedral all in one ticket but again you need to reserve a time. Heads up, for all of the Cathedral stuff, there are a bunch of lines so make sure you know what line you're getting in before you get in line. The line to actually get into the Cathedral seemed not worth it, particularly if you do the dome and can kind of get the gist of it without needing another line. We also did the Giotto tower, which maybe has better views, as people say, because the dome is in the view. Also I have a major thing for Giotto. I licked the tower.

Finally, we went to see the David. It really is crazy. In fact, Arya said that it was maybe once of her favorite parts of the whole trip. We got reservations for the evening, which was nice to just sit and chill and look at him for an hour or so. The rest of the museum really is sort of an also run (not that great), unless you like looking at the Giotto school and comparing how the whole second floor was painted after Giotto, but still painted mostly flat with little of Giotto's perspective.

You can get a Florence pass. Same with Rome but I don't know, unless you're planning on being there for an inefficient stay, like more like 4 days, it's probably easier to just book your tickets separately. This is especially true because you often have to reserve a time to go to these places, and I couldn't figure out how to do the reservation with the Florence card. The expenses don't see like the big deal in Florence, it's the crowds and the lines, so I'd choose whatever is most convenient here. 

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Los Angeles 12/10/18

I think I have to be in Los Angeles on Monday December 10th, if people want to meet up?

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Tokyo, Seoul, and Taipei -- Meet up?

I'm still trying to make South Africa work, but it may get delayed.

Instead, I think I'll end up going to Tokyo, Seoul, and Taipei this winter (no earlier than the middle of January).

Again, please let me know if you'd like to meet up in one of those places.


Photo is from my Estonia trip that I still need to write about.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Italy in 10 Days -- Hitchhiking

After we leave Rome, Daniel and I start hitchhiking. His theory:

It's a complex game.

First – logistics. You have to choose the road (motorway is faster, but more problematic; on local road it's easier to catch a ride, but it won't be that far) and place (you need to be visible, it's better if there is space to stop a car, and if cars don't go too fast in this particular place; bus stop after curve is great, but not too close to the curve).

Second – good first impression. The driver will see you for several seconds and you want to convince him you're a good person he wants to take. It doesn't matter how long you wait, if you're stressed or tired, you put it all aside and play a nice, chilled, positive person (which you immediately become right after someone stops).

Third thing – someone took you for a ride, then what? I treat it like an exchange – driver offers me transportation from A to B, plus I watch him and wonder what kind of person he is, how to talk to him, how to act (“be who they want you to be”, a game I play often, and for being a good player I get rewards in many places). What I give him is positive feelings, a smile, sometimes a story or an interesting thought. And company, of course.

All of this is especially interesting because in everyday life you don't meet real strangers. You meet your friends, their friends, but they aren't random, because you choose your friends and they choose theirs, so in fact people you meet come to you through a kind of a filter (hope you understand what I mean). And now you not only meet a stranger, you also sit in his car and try to follow his rules. I guess it helps to develop empathy / emotional intelligence / intuition.

Fourth thing – I say it's easy to tell everything about yourself to a person you just met and will probably never see again. You meet this kind of people not only in bars, but also during hitchhiking. One thing is you rather want to be subtle, because you don’t know the guy, but if it's this kind of person, when you feel kind of a connection, you can tell them anything you want and he will not call you three years later saying what he thinks about you. It's like talking with yourself in my opinion.

And the last thing is where they leave you. Sometimes you're left on the crossing in the middle of nowhere, with nobody in sight, and when the car goes his way it's only you and silence, and I feel absolutely free in those situations. I really like this feeling, being on the road, you know.

So I think that's it.

And when I talk to Daniel most of the time that we are together, it feels a little this way -- like I am talking to a stranger, but in a lot of ways much more than talking to a random stranger like with the hitchhiking, I feel like I am talking to myself. 

Because I'm interested in really understanding the people I meet, as much as they want to be understood, I was interested to try out hitchhiking with him. We ended up choosing to go north instead because he had to make an international flight leaving out of France in about 6 days. Without really having planned it beforehand, we ended up traveling together for a week. First the hitchhiking, not very far just from Rome to Civitavecchia (if you want to look it up on a map. Worth seeing maybe, and apparently a frequent cruise stop or origin. We then, at the advice of the last person we met with, took a train up to Follonica, which is a nice beach resort town with only Italian tourists and pretty cheap. Worth a visit too if you're spending like a month in Italy. 

I've written a ton more about Daniel and his life philosophies and how I was surprised by some of his observations to realize the extent of my irrational thinking on certain topics. But maybe better to get it from the source, his new blog. Also, I'll probably get deeper into it in the second book. It's just hard to explain part of it without explaining all of it, but a quick thing to think about is his observation -- most people try to buy their life with money. But the best things in life you don’t get like chocolate from the box that you buy. You get them like chasing after the puffy seed of the dandelion and you never have a guarantee that you’ll get it. You don’t buy your life. 

In hitchhiking (in which you you're not trying to travel by buying the comfort and illusion of independence from other people) and in so many ways in which we interacted with others and made our way in the world, I kept thinking about how much I try to buy my life and otherwise try to shield myself from dealing with or relying on other people in ways that are obvious, like the same way that it is obvious that you rely on people when you're asking them for a ride. I became aware of this and at least a half dozen other little self deceptions by hanging out with him. 
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