There was an article making the rounds a few weeks ago about how Positano was “the most unpleasant place” the author (Rebecca Jennings) had ever been. If you haven’t read it, I’d really encourage you to do so. It’s short and the observations are astute, even if I don’t agree with all of them.

Something in this article hit me on an existential level and I’ve been trying to unpack it for the past several weeks.

I traveled extensively in my 20s and early 30s by gaming credit card points. Frankly, I had enough points to go anywhere and do anything. Time was my rate-limiting factor. It was exhilarating and exhausting.

Looking back, travel was a game to be won rather than anything meaningful. Destinations were chosen based on award availability and efficiency. Why visit three countries when logistically I could visit four? I told myself that I wanted to go everywhere and see everything, so letting award availability dictate my itinerary allowed me to have more points for more trips. Adding a day trip to a nearby country was one more I could check off on my list. More More More

This isn’t a mea culpa. I’m not sure I’d change any of it if I could. But as I’ve started to plan travel for a family rather than for a single guy, I’m realizing the missed opportunities. I’ve got pictures of myself in almost every place you’re “supposed” to go, but my memories are far fewer.

The positive spin is that it was all just a tasting menu— a way to try many places before coming back later for a bigger serving. But “I’ve visited 60 countries” sounds much more impressive than “I’ve visited 30 countries twice”.

Which brings me back to Jennings’ article. She ends with:

Everything about the way the industry works now — booking websites, credit cards, Chase points, Instagram — makes us believe that actually, we can afford to visit a place like Positano, and that it will look just as glorious as the photos taken from the most expensive resorts. Being adjacent to luxury, though, is not the same thing as experiencing it. In fact, it can make us feel bereft of something we never had in the first place, but somehow felt like we deserved.

Booking websites, credit cards, Chase points can allow you to afford to physically locate yourself in a place like Positano. Or Bhutan. Or the Maldives. But making these trips more than Instagram likes and desktop wallpapers requires more than a travel hack: it demands time, patience, and trial and error. Or a ton of money. Preferably all four.

We all want unique and special without the work it takes to make things different and notable. But the very definition of unique and special makes them uncommon. So if we’re going to attain the type of trip that Jennings—and frankly all of us— are looking for, it’s going to require a reframing of expectations, a changing of mindset. Less pilgrimage and more meandering. There should always be room to visit the Eiffel Towers and Big Bens of the world, but spare some time to find your own memories, as well.

Current Things: December 2022

Currently Reading

Currently Watching

  • Andor, Season 1
  • Mythic Quest, Season 3
  • She-Hulk, Season 1
  • Fleishman is in Trouble (Limited Series)
  • Rick and Morty, Season 6

Currently In Queue

Currently Listening

Not really listening to anything new, so instead enjoy this Christmas playlist that I’ve been making for the past 20 years!

Concurrently

  • It was a busy month with all the travel. We didn’t get to watch as much as we normally do
  • The kids and I traveled to Kentucky to meet cousin Lily for the first time
  • I also had a work trip to Savannah where I went on a Ghost Tour! and ate at an Edgar Allan Poe-themed bar!
  • Using the Dolphin emulator on an old MacBook Pro, I beat the Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker. I’ve queued up Twilight Princess, but we’ll see if I have the time in December to get very far
  • We’ve introduced How the Grinch Stole Christmas and A Charlie Brown Christmas to the kids. We subscribe to almost every streaming service out there and the Grinch isn’t on any of them! (So $10 was donated to the iTunes Movie Store in hopes of never having this issue again)

Finished in November:

Atlanta, Season 4: I was going to quip was “so there’s this condition, that’s human…”, but honestly that just doesn’t capture the breadth of what Glover was doing here. So instead, an observation: so much of this show is structured like horror and it’s very obvious as to why.

The Patient (Limited Series): The follow up from the showrunners of The Americans is exactly what you’d expect: a slow tightening of the screw until something has got to give. And then of course, one more turn for good measure.

Finished reading: Celebrities for Jesus by Katelyn Beaty 📚 While ostensibly about how the pursuit of fame hurts the church, you can pretty much sub in anything in place of “church”. The false intimacy promised by celebrity is a siren’s song

Finished reading: What We Owe the Future by William MacAskill 📚How do you appropriately weigh the needs of an entire population that doesn’t exist yet? MacAskill deftly digs through the layers and layers of ethics, philosophy, and practicality inherent to the topic

Weird: The Al Yankovic Story: can confirm, sufficiently weird

Previously, in Current Things

November 2022

One really nice feature of the Gen 2 AirPods Pro is the versatility to charge via Lightning, Qi, MagSafe, and Apple Watch charger. It’s not that big of a deal when you’re home and have all of these laying around, but it’s really convenient to have options when traveling.

I don’t have them yet (blame Santa!), but I’m excited about the design and thoughtfulness of two of Otterbox’s recent chargers:

The PowerBank is a great option for travel

The Charging Stand is a great option for desk/nightstand (and there’s a less-attractive 3-1 version)

Sometimes I have to figure out if the cause of the dopamine rush was checking a box or doing something that I actually want to do.

Atlanta, Season 4: I was going to quip was “so there’s this condition, that’s human…”, but honestly that just doesn’t capture the breadth of what Glover was doing here. So instead, an observation: so much of this show is structured like horror and it’s very obvious as to why.

Julie: who are you texting that picture too?
Me: oh ya know, my micro.blog friends

Consider this your annual reminder that Jingle Jangle is the truth

Julie took the kids to stay with her sister, so had to head downtown to try the new pizza place

Happy Thanksgiving! I’m grateful for all you turkeys out there on micro.blog and beyond!

The Patient (Limited Series): The follow up from the showrunners of The Americans is exactly what you’d expect: a slow tightening of the screw until something has got to give. And then of course, one more turn for good measure.

Currently reading: Nasty, Brutish, and Short by Scott Hershovitz 📚

Finished reading: Celebrities for Jesus by Katelyn Beaty 📚 While ostensibly about how the pursuit of fame hurts the church, you can pretty much sub in anything in place of “church”. The false intimacy promised by celebrity is a siren’s song

✈ Nonstop flights are the best

Obligatory Savannah ghost tour. This one gave us tools to find the ghosts ourselves!

At a highly recommend Edgar Allan Poe themed bar in Savannah. Trying to decide between the Black Cat and the Tell-Tale Heart

Taking the ferry to the conference this morning

Flying to a conference for work this week after also flying last week. Sometimes I miss the days of flying all over just because

The new Admirals Club at DCA has a taco bar. I may just stay here for the next four days!

Weird: The Al Yankovic Story: can confirm, sufficiently weird

Weird: The Al Yankovic Story, 2022

Can confirm, sufficiently weird

Elon buys Twitter
Elon loses all his money on Twitter
Elon loses control of Tesla
Teslas get carplay

🗽 Happy Veterans Day! I live close enough to the Marine Barracks that I’m currently listening to them play the Star-Spangled Banner.

Hello friends! Today is Election Day in the good ole US of A! I would be grateful for you— yes you!— to go out and vote for anti-apocalypse candidates! As a citizen of the District of Columbia, I have no congressional representation! So I need you good folks to get the job done

We honestly could not have asked for better weather for our trip to Kentucky. Warm days perfect for playing outside and cool nights perfect for a blanket on the deck