Tag Archives: Countries

Experience

Experience.

It’s necessary for so many aspects of life, work, school, social life, physical activities, love life, video games, coffee brewing, you name it experience makes a difference. I’ve got this odd complex where I know I need experience but get in my own way when acquiring it. The root of this is that I’m usually supremely confident in my own ability and judgement, and I’m nearly always right in this. Its my own personal twist on hubris. Case and point is any form of standardised testing. Strolling into the ACT 15 minutes late eating McDs breakfast is not supposed to be a recipe for a good score. But my scores were just fine, pretty damn good by most standards.

I fancy myself an excellent judge of character, and despite knowing that this is absolutely arrogant, I go on picking up on who people are in a relatively quick fashion. Pin it to my tendency to be observant and analytical. I know that doing this can be judgmental and generally not a good approach, but rarely am I wrong. Hell, I’d love to be proved wrong more often as I tend to be pessimistic in these judgments. Granted, experiences in recent years have tempered this, but it still remains.

Because of these sorts of things I’ve developed my personal hubris and often find myself disregarding a need for experience in many pursuits. It’s caused plenty of problems in my young life and may well be my greatest flaw. The experience gained in pursuit of one thing can yield many positive externalities that I sometimes miss out on.

Though this is still one of my flaws, living abroad and travelling have done much to rectify this. Especially my time in Melbourne. The people who I met there were of wildly different types, but all shared a common trait. Each person was comfortable and assured of themselves and open to just about anything and everything. New foods, ridiculous adventures, introspective talks, odd cultural events, walking along roads to wherever. Always seeking some new knowledge or experience, it didn’t matter what, they were up for it. Even in their flaws they were comfortable and open. Many of my own flaws were rectified during my time spent down under, and a large part of this was due to them. Though my hubris remains, it has been reduced to what I would call a much more manageable level. I find myself always open to experiences of most any kind. I’m damn grateful of what these travels have brought, they’ve tempered me.

 

On a somewhat tangential note, I’ve always thought the Myers Briggs tests to be a bit of crap. Every time I took a test for it, it spat back some 4 letter type that really didn’t fit for me. But then I ran across a blog analyser for it that takes in your blog and determines the authors type. Seeing as how I express myself better in writing than on multiple choice test, I gave it a shot and found the results actually accurate this time around. I’ve been tagged as an INTJ by the handy Typealyzer tool. See here for a detailed description, which sounds an awful lot like me. Of particular note is the famous people section.

Hillary Clinton, Al Gore, Bill Gates, Dwight Eisenhower, Alan Greenspan, Ulysses S. Grant, Stephen Hawking, John Maynard Keynes, Ayn Rand, Isaac Asimov, Lewis Carroll, Cormac McCarthy, and Sir Isaac Newton.

Asmiov and Rand are two authors who I’ve quite enjoyed reading, Keynes is an economic mastermind who I’ve studied frequently, Ulysses S. Grant is an unequivocal badass and American icon, Newton and Hawking are more or less self explanatory, Eisenhower falls into a similar category as Grant. In short, most of these are people I take inspiration on one form or another from.

Popular hobbies for the INTJ include reading, cultural events, taking classes, appreciating art, computers and video games, and independent sports such as swimming, backpacking, or running marathons.

Well, I do like all of those things. And the other good news is that INTJs are

  • One of two types with highest college GPA
  • Among types with highest income

Can’t complain about either of those.

Personal relationships, particularly romantic ones, can be the INTJ’s Achilles heel. While they are capable of caring deeply for others (usually a select few), and are willing to spend a great deal of time and effort on a relationship, the knowledge and self-confidence that make them so successful in other areas can suddenly abandon or mislead them in interpersonal situations.

Well, that fits the bill as well for better or worse.

 

There’s rumors that us Fulbright applicants will hear back tomorrow as to if we made it through the first round of screening. But these are rumours only as of yet, the official date still says the 30th. I want so badly for this to pan out, but whether or not it does, it has been a growing experience and has in helped me define my next steps.

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Free

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My worn black high top all stars crunched across the gravel on a crisp May morning, the path wending me out of The Assistens Kierkegaard, and to the end of what had been of a grand bit of life. The journey was over, the return was imminent, my journal complete, legs tired, and soul filled. I had written a concluding post for the journey, as I naturally expected too with the previous being titled penultimate. But through a fitting bit of coincidence it fell astray and there was to be no conclusion to it all.

“The end is nothing, the road is all”

– Willa Cather

Months before I stepped out on the journey I noted that every person I met who had lived abroad seemed a much better person for it. As if they carried something with them that gave them a bit more joy for life. I didn’t know what it was, but I was inspired to go find it. At the end of a long walkabout, I believe I understand it now. They had come to know what gave them life and filled their soul.

The beauty and addiction of living abroad sprouts from a removal of reference. Most everything you have centred yourself and life around is now gone. No social strata and system to fit yourself into, no cultural norms that you have assumed for truth your whole life. The people who had surrounded and informed your life are no longer anything but suspended memories. Without any reference points, your perspective must center on yourself. Because of this, it is inevitable that you come to know yourself better. What and who you really are separates from what isn’t. It is undeniably freeing and terrifying, the terror fades, the freedom remains. You know what gives joy to your life and what fills your soul. And this, is what reflect out to those you meet. This is what I had set out to find.
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Suddenly you find yourself laughing into the wind atop a mountain pass in New Zealand, free falling out of the sky over the great barrier reef, perched on a ledge in the cathedral ranges of Australia, tracing your fingers along alleyways of street art, atop a rotating bar in Singapore, sprinting to catch a flight, hiking miles through jungle to reach a secluded beach in Thailand, celebrating fourth of July in Bangkok, at a karaoke bar in New York, wandering through London, singing in a pub, dancing on rooftops, alone on the cliffs of Wales, drinking sangria in the sunshine and staying out until 6am in Barcelona, being enthralled by the trad musicians in a tiny pub in Dublin, lost in the fog in Edinburgh, sharing a meal in Manchester, sitting on the banks of the river Mersey discussing life, at Notre Dame for Easter mass, watching the sun set from the top if the Spanish steps in Rome, bottle of wine in hand, playing soccer on the banks of the Arno in Florence, getting lost and rained on high above Cinque Terre, drinking wine under the archways of Venice, breakfast in the legendary cafes of Vienna, downing litres of weissenbier and singing songs atop tables at  Frühlingsfest in Munich, on top of Jungfraujoch, surrounded by the most beautiful scenery,  hiking along ancient castle walls in Salzburg, writing at a cafe in Bratislava, napping on a hill in Prague, laughing with joy through the neighbourhoods of East Berlin, exploring the counter culture in Copenhagen, and you come to know, that you are free.

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Living Small

You should live small. Live small because everything else is too big for you to understand, too large for you to grasp, too heavy to hold in your hands, in your mind.

Right?

We live small because we have trouble looking at larger scale and context. The here and now and the this and that become each moment of out lives. And we get wrapped up in, and let it overrun us, we stop looking at the stars and telling our parents that we want to be astronauts and presidents and settle for being mid level executives with a good salary and benefits.

And I guess that’s a pretty damn decent life when you put it in the context of so many others in this world who don’t have an education, family, regular food and water and are more concerned about surviving the night than when the next quarterly report is due.

But I want to live in a larger way.

I want to live for centuries, I want to see every country and speak all the languages and taste all the cuisines and sing all the songs. I want to plan a revolution and speak for the souls of the people in need. I want to hear the stories of all those people along the way, to know their own personal world and what makes them. I want to see the rise and fall of cultures and countries and to see great men and women leave their legacy behind. And after that I want to board a spaceship, I want to see all the planets, to see the utterly strange beauty that life is beyond our pale blue dot, to flit through the galaxies, and to see each of the gems in Orion’s belt up close. I want to see what happens when we run into something intelligent and very much different from ourselves, and to see the expansion into the stars. And the evolution of our identity along the way. To see what we can push ourselves to, and to be there for the moment when we realize that what we thought were our boundaries are not so anymore, that we can go beyond the edges of the Universe and be overwhelmed by the scope and size of thing out there. And that we can go beyond what we thought were the limits of ourselves, mind and body and soul.

And I don’t see any reasons that I can not do all of this.

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