In which I write about the past in an attempt to make way for a future that is focused on the present.
How this came to be
Oddly, to me at least, this story begins in an Olive Garden. Liza and I had gotten a gift card for Christmas from my Aunt Anne. The food was forgettable, but the conversation wasn’t. We’d already taken a few trips together andone of our hobbies was (is) talking about where we’d like to go next. The list kept getting longer and longer and we realized that visiting one place a year for a couple weeks wasn’t going to satisfy our curiousity about seeing what the world has to offer.
We went home and did some research. I wasn’t yet working in tech, in fact I was in the middle of my 2+ year post grad school search for work. So, this wasn’t yet feasible. But we made a goal to do this sometime in the next 10 years.
Roughly 5 years later, I was one white-board tech interview away from working at Facebook. In the process of almost working there, Liza and I had a lot of conversations about whether we were ready to leave Boulder and how we felt about moving somewhere new. Ultimately, we decided we were excited about a change. So rather than leaving this change up to another company and its hiring needs, we started planning a revised version of the trip we’d envisioned years before.
One of the major differences between the trip we originially thought of and what we’re actually doing now is a huge reduction in the number of destinations. Rather than trying to see as much as possible (and then likely actuallying seeing very little), we’re now focused on spending a month or so in a handful of places to better get a feel for what its like to live there rather than just visit there.
I’ve been struggling with depression for the past 18 months or so. There was no precipitating event, I just woke up one day and my brain worked differently. I’m lucky in that its on the milder side of things. Much of the time, I’m more or less normal and many people who I interact with would never know this was a problem for me if I didn’t tell them. So, like many people who suffer from depression, I can pass. In some ways, this makes it even more important for me to be out about it.
All that being said, its still rough, its depression and sometimes it can be completely debilitating.
One of the major differences in my life is that I have no reserves of energy or emotional strength to draw upon.
When everything is going well– eating right, exercising, sleeping, no external stressors – then in a virtuous cycle, these things reinforce and everything is fine. But as soon as something goes awry, it can be easy for other things to fall out of balance. One of my hopes for this trip is to restore and recharge some degree of reserves and to simply be a less fragile human being.
I took a 3 month sabbatical right around this time last year and it was incredibly helpful if not down right essential. What mostly worked then:
n=1 depression mitigation treatment:
lots of time with friends/family, hot yoga, acupuncture,
meditation, autonomous creative construction
So, I’ll be aiming for varations on those themes.
Among other things, I want to re-wire my brain to have some different default preferences. I’d like to reach for a book before finding something to watch on netflix. This is not to say anything significant against consuming entertainment, I think that the occasional netflix binge is part of a life well lived. But I’d rather things like netflix, twitter, video games and other things easily at our finger tips be considered, mindful choices instead of habitual actions.
- Exercise 6 days a week
- Meditate / cultivate mindfulness practice every day
- Read at least the dozen or so books that i’ve acquired for the trip (unordered)
- Diaspora : Greg Egan
- The Name of the Wind: Patrick Rothfuss
- The Glass Bead Game: Hermann Hesse
- The Water Knife: Paolo Bacigalupi
- The Wreck of the River of Stars: Michael Flynn
- Snow Crash: Neal Stephenson
- Neuromancer: William Gibson
- The Illuminatus! Trilogy: Robert Shea
- Storm Front (Dresden Files 1): Jim Butcher
- The Mechanical (The Alchemy Wars): Ian Tregillis
- Seveneves: Neal Stephenson
- The Black Cloud: Fred Hoyle
- Armada: Ernest Cline
Hopefully other goals will continue to emerge as brain space continues to free up.
And now a customary picture of almost all of our stuff:
And now in condensed form: