bird poops on plum branch

buster


Buster Benson

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brainstorming the next adventure
bird poops on plum branch
buster
At lunch today we started thinking about our next adventures. That's the fun part about working on stuff that involves goals, it motivates you to start stepping up to some of your own. I want something bigger than a vacation, but not necessarily as epic as a year of traveling. Something with a mission other than to see places (though that's interesting too). I think spring might be the time to do it, once it warms up a bit. Some ideas I've got include:
  • vipassana meditation retreat: Don't talk for 10 days and see if I go insane or not (I might do this at the start to kick off a longer trip).

  • couch-surfing around the US: Visit friends all over the country and sleep on their couches.

  • 12 favorite places I haven't been: This is a multi-trip goal, to spend a couple weeks in each of 12 of my favorite cities/places... perhaps over the course of a couple years.

  • trains: I love trains! Find a way to use trains to travel around the US, or Europe, or Asia.

  • Ace Hotel: I just want to stay here for a couple days even though I live a few blocks from it. Anyone else want to join me for a one or two days? I'll probably get it for a week at some point and take the week off work and pretend like I'm visiting the city...ooh, and I'll probably ride the duck.

  • wander: Choose a starting place and devise a system for choosing a place based on the zeitgeist at the current place.

Am I not thinking big enough? I want to think as big as possible without being ridiculous. Am I not thinking creatively enough? I want it to be something weird and special. Something that doesn't require much "travel planning" and which might end up changing me if not killing me. I like hot air balloons, walking, eating, swimming, being warm, eating weird food, getting lost, dancing, bars in swimming pools, the kindness of friends and strangers, and I want to have a pet monkey with me that wears an orange jumpsuit. I want something that involves both being alone a lot and also being around friends a lot and also sometimes making new friends. Cuba? Antarctica? Uganda? Smuggle myself into North Korea? Meet other Erik Bensons? Eat monkey brains (not my pet monkey's of course)? Roll in the grass in Kazakhstan? What makes life amazing that I haven't yet experienced? Let's go and step it up a notch.

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Wandering could work really well -- run around visiting 43 Places users.

Actually that's what you should do -- wander to 43 places in as many days, write about it, etc. Like Googlewhack without the risk of failure.

yeah, i could do that. but i WANT the risk of failure. but wandering does have the most appeal to me right now. if i could make it a game that would be perfect somehow. also, maybe i can find a way to make the wandering extend to a couple different countries.

everything is a programming problem

Maybe each person you visit gets to pick who you visit next, based on people on their contact list or something.

Maybe you could write a script to trace a path between users based on physical location and/or contact list. Like enter two coordinates and it gives you a string of people to visit along a line between them.

Re: everything is a programming problem

i think i smell a rails app in here somewhere. :) okay, i think you've convinced me. it will be the geekiest vacation ever.

Re: everything is a programming problem

Add a new profile checkbox: "I am okay with Erik sleeping on my couch."

i like the couch surfing one, but mostly because that means you're going to visit me. more spontaneous travel! don't eat monkey brains if you get a pet monkey. even if they're not the brains of that monkey, it's still weird. you know? i don't eat fish when i have pet fish.

i'm going to visit you anyway. next month. when should i arrive?

yay! january or february? january is pretty busy... i have sami coming to visit the second week and the LA art show the last week. maybe the third week? you gotta stay for a tues-weds so we can spend at least a full day in palm springs.

whenever you think is best. kdog comes early february but other than that... maybe third week of january is best. and yeah, i'll make it work with your wacky work schedule. can you get any other days off or is that an impossibility?

not likely :(

jan is going to be busy preparing for the LA show.

Re: everything is a programming problem

when does the LA show end? is the middle of feb better? but that's SO FAR AWAY.

Re: everything is a programming problem

it's jan. 24-29. after that would be good!

Re: everything is a programming problem

valentine's week would be strangely relevant in palm springs (what better place to find a valentine?). but maybe the week after would be better?

I want to stay at the Ace Hotel. Have you ever ridden on a train in the US? Amtrak is really, really awful.

yeah, it takes like 25 hours to get to california on a train, but there are some nice ones between here and portland i hear that go along the coast i think. i have a new idea for ace hotel for later in the year, but maybe we should give it a test drive next weekend.

Yeah, Ace Hotel!

It takes 25 hours, unless the train breaks down, or there is a fire on the tracks or a fire on the train, or a sewage leak, or all of the above. Then it takes like 3 horrible days. Ugh! But I have always wanted to try taking the train to either Portland or Vancouver.

Those are fun, but the Vancouver one has to stop for customs, which can take a while.

It is totally sweet. It is totally sweet and awesome, both of them.

My Portland experiences are probably added to by the fact that I've always had family down there, but I never know anyone in Vancouver, and customs is so much easier on the train route (especially coming back; jesus I hate US customs) than on the bus. Or maybe even by car. It's such an interesting way to see a journey; you hit cities and random towns, but you also get to do a lot of weird travelling in quiet uninhabited areas.

Except for coming back, I frequently want to stay on and go to California, which is a problem (the only other problem being the freaky bumpiness which welcomes the train for its first Canadian stretch).

Forget the train. If you want a real adventure, take the bus. My worst travel experience ever was a three day bus ride from Salt Lake to Louisville. Well, I never made it all the way to Louisville. I called up my dad from Kansas City, told him that I was going to arrive in St. Louis in four hours which would give him enough time to drive down there to pick me up.

And let me know when you ride the Duck. I'm so totally there.

I think the wandering idea would be quite interesting. I'd personally go for the random trip planned through the 43 things zeitgeist. (Which would make for a very interesting add-on, btw.) Or as an alternative, how about a multi-city trip planned by people you know, with an itinerary that is completely unknown to you until you need to fly to the next place?

I would take the trains across Europe. Specifically, one that goes between Frankfurt, Germany, and Florence, Italy... the scenery is breathtaking. You can go to the Amalfi Coast... wander through ancient ruins and artwork. It was stunning and wonderful. I'd have loved to travel farther by train and see all of Europe. :)

do you know anything about the trans-siberian railway? 20-30 day trip through crazy lands. maybe it's too rural though... europe might be more my kind of trip.

No... that sounds amazing, though.

Jeff and I are starting to plan for our trip to Cuba! I am getting myself in the mood for it by listening to Orishas nonstop. I think it will be the most exciting trip--there is so much sneakiness involved in getting there and back.


cool ideas... I'll leave my two cents out for now as you explore the possibilities, but let me know if you end up in:

* (or near) Sweden anytime mid-July thru early August
* South Florida or Orlando anytime before mid July (though I might get out of here sooner, we'll see what happens)
* New York in week 2 or 3 of March

I'm sure if you end up couchsurfing there will be some posts, so if you end up somewhere I have an awesome couch to recommend you to, I'll let you know. =)

That 10-day course should be at the top of your list, mate. The risk of failure is indeed there - you're asked multiple times before the course starts to pledge with Strong Determination™ that you'll stay for the entire course.

Funnily enough, I'm heading to Uganda and Kenya for 2 weeks in July. ;)

Happy travels!
-E

P.S. Give me some advance warning next time you come to SF...

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