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.