We don’t buy things…

We buy into things. What things? All things. Even the things we don’t buy but get for free.

For instance, let’s say you buy a shirt. How many times will you wash that shirt in the time you own it? How much water and soap and electricity will that cost? How much added labor will you expend to fold it and put it away?

Furthermore, we buy into the idea of that shirt. That that shirt will serve us. That it will keep us warm. That it will serve the need that we have. That without that particular shirt that need will be unfulfilled.

And, when it no longer served you, did you give it away? Did you take it out of the drawer? Did you drive it to a thrift store? Did you hand it to a friend? Tear it up into rags? How much time did that take?

Perhaps you put it in the garbage. Do you hire a garbage company or does the city handle that through your taxes?

The moment that shirt entered your life you bought into that shirt. You paid for it in a myriad of ways far beyond it’s actual value.

Ownership of anything is a commitment to that thing and it has a cost — a direct personal cost — beyond the cost of the thing.

The harder question to answer is this: Was it worth it?

Question Your Certainties…

Reflect on your deepest held beliefs and convictions .

Anything that you know for sure, deep down inside, should be able to withstand such questioning.

Challenge them. Open them up to debate. Invite their contention.

Because, it is the only way to maintain your continued certainty.

Because, such reflection will allow further introspection on the values you hold dear.

Because , these are the things we should meditating and dwelling on.

Because, it is the only way to make sure they are not wrong.

Because, it is the only way to discover if they are.

Because, it may be the only opportunity you have to change them if the above is so.

But, should they survive the melee — if they are, in fact, certainties worth your conviction…

Just as steel is hardened by tension and force, so too are the values and ideas we believe most true.

The Truth Of A Place

Why I’m A Sucker For A Good Travel Blog

Travel blogs are a not oft mentioned, yet not entirely secret, pleasure of mine. I love travel writing in general. But a good travel blog, especially of someone actually living in a new place long term, is really my thing. Not only do they feed my desires and intentions for my own future journey, they provide brief and unique perspectives from someone who is both within and outside. A person that may be inside of a place but is now and likely will forever remain slightly outside a culture.

The things that make a “good” travel blog are, of course, subjective. To me they are this:

  • Good Photos.
  • Great storytelling.
  • Deep insight into the truth of a place.

In other words, I would like to be transported. I want, for just a few moments, to be where the writer is and see with their eyes and experience through these words and understand a place as they do.

Recently, I have been enjoying a few of these that I will mention here:

  • Spartan Wanderer — This is the blog of Seth who is spending a year in Daqing, China teaching English. It fits all of the criteria mentioned above. Compelling observations about life in China .

  • David Byrne’s Journal — As multimedia artist David Byrne has been on tour with St. Vincent in support of their collaboration, he has been writing wonderful insights on all of the cities they play. Everything from a visit to a creationist museum to the circuses of Ancient Rome.

  • Idle Words — Maciej Cegłowski, developer of Pinboard has a blog where he writes about travel and food and it is really good. I had no idea until Chris Gonzales alerted me to that fact today. Since, I have devoured several posts in what little free time I’ve had.

There are more but that should give you some idea of why I love this particular genre of writing. And, if you know of any you’d recommend please feel free to send them my way. I’m always open to sugestions in this area.

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