Category Archives: travel

The Introverted Traveller

Starting with the declaration that “We introverts have a different style of travel, and I’m tired of hiding it”, Sophia Dembling looks at the differences in how introverts and extroverts travel, and what this means.

I’m always happy enough when interesting people stumble into my path. It’s a lagniappe, and I’m capable of connecting with people when the opportunity arises. And when the chemistry is right, I enjoy it.

But I don’t seek people out, I am terrible at striking up conversations with strangers and I am happy exploring a strange city alone. I don’t seek out political discourse with opinionated cab drivers or boozy bonding with locals over beers into the wee hours. […]

For some of us, meeting people is not the sole purpose of travel. I travel for the travel. […] It’s good to know that I might be a loner, but I’m not alone.

This is exactly what I needed to read: considering any extensive travel I always feel like I’ll enjoy it less due to my moderate introversion. This article and the corresponding tips make me realise that it’s OK.

Like Jason (via), this reminds me of one of my favourite essays: Caring for Your Introvert (which in turn reminds me of The Nerd Handbook). I loved these two essays when I first read them, and think of them both often.

Advice from Hoehn’s Year

One year after setting his personal goals Charlie Hoehn takes a look back at his achievements and offers some fantastic advice:

Your friends who don’t care or are stupid will use Monster, CareerBuilder, and Craigslist (I was one of these stupid people for a few weeks). They will compete with hundreds of people for mediocre jobs that they won’t get. There will be exceptions to this rule, of course, but not many. Your smarter friends will search for jobs through their network (e.g. a friend’s dad, their cousin’s former boss, etc.). Your smartest friends will travel. The ambitious will start their own company.

You don’t have to walk down the path that everyone else takes. If you haven’t realized it by now, there is no such thing as job security. You’re fooling yourself if you think a steady paycheck will ensure a safe future. The only real form of security is working on yourself.

There’s more great advice in the post—especially for those who are soon to graduate. This is the type of advice I wished I had read three years ago.

Observations on London and Paris

Returning from a trip to Europe, Nate Silver—proprietor of the political analysis website FiveThirtyEight—has promptly compiled a list of observations on London and Paris from an American point of view.

As an ‘insider’ it appears that I’ve take a lot of these gradual changes for granted, not really making any conclusions.

London, and the United Kingdom in general, has sort of become ground zero for what is known as libertarian paternalism, with all sorts of subtle nudges to influence behavior. For instance, cigarette packs now contain not only the phrase ‘smoking kills’ in prominent letters on the front side of the package, but also, a disgusting picture of rotted teeth on the backside (a practice which is somewhat reminiscent of an American PsyOps operation in Afghanistan). There is now a commuter tax to drive into the city. Tube maps contain firmly-worded admonishments to riders, advising them to avoid changing trains at busy stops like Covent Garden or Bank. Black cabs feature doors that lock and unlock automatically as the car begins to accelerate. The amount of liquor in a cocktail is strictly regulated (although this was true when I was there as well). Overall, one is generally more aware of the presence of government than one is in the United States, even though they have several freedoms over there (broader tolerance for things like gambling and gay marriage for instance) that we don’t have over here.

via @zambonini

Living Abroad Enhances Creativity

Could living abroad, (or more specifically, adapting to a foreign culture) enhance creativity? Researchers conducting a series of novel and interesting tests (including the candle box functional fixedness test) are starting to suggest so.

Across these three studies, the association between foreign living and creativity held even after controlling for personality variables. In other words it wasn’t just that time abroad was a marker for having a creative personality. Another consistent finding was that travelling abroad had no association with creativity – only living abroad did. […]

The researchers cautioned that longitudinal research is needed to more fully test whether and how living abroad is linked with enhanced creativity, but they said their findings made a good start. “It may be that those critical months or years of turning cultural bewilderment into concrete understanding may instill [creativity]”. 

Update: The Economist has their own take on the research.

Two Reasons to Travel (Rational and Emotional)

These two stories have had a powerful effect on me:

Why economist Alex Tabarrok (of Marginal Revolution) decided to travel to Machu Picchu spontaneously:

At lunch with Bryan and Tyler last week the question arose as to what we would do differently if we were immortal.  […]  I answered that I would travel more.

Later the question was asked, what would you do differently if you found out you had only a short time to live.  I answered again that I would travel more.  […] I realized there was a problem.  Given that I would travel more if I was to live either less or more the probability that I was at just that level of mortality that I should not be traveling now must be vanishingly small.

I leave for a solo trek to Machu Picchu July 25.

Why Ben Corman (of Rudius Media) is staying in Panama longer than initially anticipated:

I don’t know why I’m doing this. Certainly not because it’s easy. We run out of everything here. […] And now it’s rained for five days straight. […] Paradise is starting to feel like a prison cell.

But given the chance to spend three months living in Panama, how could I say no? I’d spend the rest of my life wondering what I’d missed.

[…] If you’re the kind of person who feels uncomfortable in business casual and spends every second of sitting behind a desk wishing, desperately for something, anything else, then there really isn’t a choice. Some people make it work. Some people can find the happy medium between who they are during their work week and who they are outside of it. I’d probably be a happier person if I’d found that balance but in 31 years, it’s eluded me every step of the way. Instead of buckling down and doing whatever I’m supposed to be, I’m always running off to do whatever I want.

And so I guess that’s why I’m here. In the end I didn’t really have a choice.