When I was a kid, my best friend’s sister, Jamarys, had a quote on her door: “In the silence of not doing, when you slowly begin to listen, then anything in life can be your guide“. Â The quote has stuck with me for a very long time, and after months ofÂ listening to the screams of silence,Â I can attest to that. Â There’s nothing like a few months alone to get your bearings. Â You may not figure out everything, but you’ll likely point your ship in the right direction— and that alone is worth the price of admission.
I learned a lot of things in four months of wandering aimlessly. Â Although not all of them are fit for print, some are. Â I recommend everyone take an extended period of time off. Â It can be immensely beneficial, but if you can’t or are just curious about what I took home with me, here are a few things that stuck:
- Endless umbrella drinks get old after a week.
- Puerto Rico is not a country, and if it is, nobody knows where it is.
- Doing nothing gets exhausting after two weeks, but after a month, you build up endurance, after which it’sÂ fucking awesome!
- When you don’t spend all day hunched over typing, you can sleep on a rock hard bed every night with no pains whatsoever. (Maybe it’s time to rethink my workstation).
- Chinese think all brown people look the same: “Puerto Rico? Â That’s nice. Â At least you didn’t join ISIS”. Â I wish I was making this one up.
- Reading is awesome.
- The Kindle is the 8th wonder of the world.
- Eating fancy food every day is exhilarating.
- U.S. politics are a joke.
- A world without Amazon Prime is possible, though not as fun.
- Smart phones are the 9th wonder of the world.
- It’s really hard to run from the internet nowadays.
- The U.S. is a very expensive place to live.
- The only people that think the U.S. is #1 are people in poor developing countries…and well, Americans. Â However… I am extremely lucky to have been born in a high income country. Nothing I’ve done in life (hard work, studying, etc) compares to this simple truth. So, stop thinking you’re special, you merely won the ovarian lottery.
- Naps are great.
- I love programming and working on interesting projects.
- You’re going toÂ get sick at least once in Southeast AsiaÂ (OK, maybe three times). However, that’s no reason not to come, the food is amazing.
- After but a few short weeks, life slows down dramatically. Â It takes you 3 hours to have breakfast, and you start putting things like “buy deodorant” and “have lunch” in your to-do list… just to feel productive.
- No matter where you travel, you bring the same old problems with you: so deal with them, sooner rather than later.
- I miss being continually stimulated mentally, so much that I had a tendency to come up with stupid projects just to fill time… So I might as well get paid for doing what I love. Â Lucky me!
p.s. Yes, I realize #3 and #20 are contradictory, but such is life. Â It’s not all black and white :-).