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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