Can travel be more than just a fun thing to do? Could it also provide some benefit and learning experiences later in life? I have always thought this and this is why I have relentlessly travelled the world and now have been to over 80 countries. I have always thought that I was planting the seeds of wisdom while in faraway lands. Through experiences with foreign people, cultures, concepts, and ways of doing things I learned much more than anything I could've done while at home. I interview amazing guests, bestselling authors, scientists, successful business people, dating experts, travel junkies, polyglots (people who speak more than 3 languages), and anybody who I think is interesting for the growth of our listeners and I as people. I think by doing this we can plant the seeds of wisdom which will ultimately lead to our success in career, business, money, relationships, self-worth, and generally being a more well-rounded person. But it requires you to be active making this happen. What do you think?
Mike Bown’s Essay “Skins of Ill-Shaped Fishes” Details How Human Society and Its Core Values Have Evolved
Mike Bown is the “most traveled man in the world”. He has written an essay called “Skins of Ill-Shaped Fishes”, where he discusses how his travel across the globe has exposed him to a very wide spectrum of human life and have taught him in detail about the history and current reality of human society. In this episode, Ladan reads this essay and shares his opinion on it.
Top three takeaways:
It is a fallacy to assume that if everyone were to have had equal enfranchisement from the dawn of history, that humanity would be better off. In fact, the way out of societal stagnation is industrialization, which is dependent on the unequal system of capitalism. Had everyone had equal rights from the birth of civilization, we may have actually been less scientifically advanced than we currently are. Just as with the earlier industrial revolution, now that we are in the midst of a new revolution, the IT revolution, the unique facets of revolutionary capitalism are again under attack. Fascist and colonialist ideologies are resurging and reviving during this time when capitalist principles are under fire. Globalism is essentially colonialism 2.0. A lot of the problems that caused the first wave of colonialism to fail have been fixed, and colonialism is effectively being rebranded as globalism. In this sense, it is being referred to as a de-colonialism effort, with the belief that “diversity is our strength” widely spreading and influencing this new rise.
An essay I recently finished:
skins of ill-shaped fishes
We are rag dolls made out of many ages and skins, changelings who have slept in wood nests, and hissed in the uncouth guise of waddling amphibians. We have played such roles for infinitely longer ages than we have been human. Our identity is a dream. We are process, not reality.
Satisfying an interest in the process and experience of reality, and over thirty years of continuous backpacking, I’ve explored our planet’s varied and fascinating life-ways. The first 23 years of travel served to take a friendly look around every country. The last 7 years has necessarily been return visits to regions, landscapes and tribes already familiar from earlier trips. Heraclitus claimed that no man steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man. In this sense, nations and tribes are akin to Heraclitus’s rivers - especially in our era of revolutionary transformation.
Village and regional Feudalism gives way, painfully, to a somewhat bewildering mix of economic and political systems: cronyism, socialism, communism, fascism, market capitalism, democracy, and related doctrines not so honestly named but functionally equivalent. My wandering has exposed me to a broad spectrum of human reality, from living in leaf huts with spear-and-net hunting pigmies in the Congo rain forest and Yakuti reindeer herders in the Russian arctic; to drinking sake and enjoying gooey octopus balls with Tokyo tech specialists. Many of these niches of human development fall into categories recognized by socio-economic experts, such as nascent artisanal mining communities. Others support cultures beneath their notice, such as squatters in the liminal spaces of decaying mega cities, surviving by drug dealing and scavenging. This has induced in me a taste for the quirkiness of raw reality as opposed to euphemism, politically expedient obfuscations and outright lies.
The saying goes, liars should have good memories. But, on a global scale, those who make the decisions and disproportionately benefit from the resulting doctrines can’t manage to keep their stories straight, over oceans and deserts, tundra and forests, fraught by dissension, suspicion and war. Comparative history and immersive experience unveil and embarrass these locally well-crafted fables and just-so-stories.
Jake Steiner Discusses Myopia and How Habit Changes Rather than Lenses Are the Best Way to Overcome It
Jake Steiner used to have severe myopia (shortsightedness) and wore glasses with a very extreme refractive power. However, he has overcome his myopia on his own, and he now teaches others how to do so as well. In this episode, he talks about how lenses can actually worsen myopia over time, and how to restore your eyes’ functionality by changing habits and lifestyle choices.
Top three takeaways:
The eye will adjust its axial length based on what it sees in the environment. Placing a lens in front of the eye will cause the eye to adjust and change its axial length, which will alter its focal length. In this sense, minus lenses can potentially induce myopia by causing the eye to elongate more and more. Myopia is not a medical condition, but a refractive state. The eyeball elongates because there is a lens in front of it. People who have myopia have healthy eyes whose axial length has the ability to shorten back to its normal length. The word shortsighted is used both literally and metaphorically, and when used metaphorically, it can refer to the things that can make us literally shortsighted. Due to the culture of instant gratification and quick fixes, it is easier to go out and buy a corrective lens than it is to reduce screen time and change bad habits that strain your eyes.
Derek Loudermilk and Ladan Catch Up and Discuss What They’ve Learned in Recent Times From Their Life Adventures
Derek Loudermilk is the host of the Art of Adventure Podcast, a podcast that teaches about leading an adventurous life. In this episode, Derek and Ladan catch up and interview each other about what they’ve been up to recently and what they’ve learned from their adventures.
Top three takeaways:
When traveling abroad, you not only gain a new set of skills related to independence, but you also understand how the world truly works beyond your hometown. As an example, one may start off as having social or liberal points of view, but may have a different informed opinion upon seeing how those ideologies work in practice. There are a lot of interesting theories about dreams and how you can control them. One of these involves lucid dreaming and how you can control your dreams to help you solve real problems. By tasking your subconscious mind with focusing on a certain issue before falling asleep, you can potentially train your mind to help you interpret the issue better and make a clear decision. As people, we are our own worst critics. However, one thing that Ladan and Derek have learned is that if you are confident, competent, and follow up on your word, you’ll go very far in life and things will work out in the end. And above all, the universe never gives you anything you can’t handle.
Luca Fantuzzi Discusses His Experience Witnessing the Effects of the COVID-19 Outbreak
Luca Fantuzzi is an Italian citizen who has recently returned to Italy from the US in light of the coronavirus outbreak. Italy is one of the countries most strongly affected by the outbreak, and Fantuzzi has gone back to be with family. In this episode, he discusses his recent experiences traveling and observing how this outbreak has affected Italy.
Top three takeaways:
Fantuzzi had some family friends who recently contracted the virus, and it was at this point that he realized the gravity of this situation. You understand best the effects of the outbreak once it affects you or someone in your family. This is an interesting situation in that some people are effectively displaced from work, whereas others are working twice as hard, in particular people in the healthcare industry. This ultimately depends on your profession and whether it is considered “essential business”. The best thing to do in this situation is stay home and not interact with too many people. Staying home is the best way to be “generous” and help in this situation. Even though this means not going and hanging out with friends, it is much more beneficial to just stay home and spend time with family.
Inés Ruiz Navarro Discusses Using Meditation to Aid in Learning a Language
Inés Ruiz Navarro is a teacher of Spanish language and translation. In this episode, she explains how she uses meditation to help students learn and retain language more effectively and in a more positive way.
Top three takeaways:
When learning language through meditation, visualize someone you know, keep the image in your head, keep breathing, and describe the physical characteristics of the person in the new language. The whole thing has a positive effect since you learn while remaining calm and not worrying about mispronouncing or saying the wrong words. Meditation comes in many distinct forms, but in this context, it refers to a space where students can relax and enter a more positive mode of thinking, while simultaneously being active and responsive. This method of learning language can potentially be applied to other subjects, such as math and chemistry, as the method of meditation combats the anxiety that comes with learning a new subject.
Tamara Marie Discusses Learning Languages Through Music
Tamara Marie is a certified language coach who uses songs to teach language. She has developed a course called Spanish Con Salsa, which teaches Spanish through interactive lessons and uses Spanish songs to aid in retention of the learned material. In this episode, she discusses how she came to find music as an effective tool for learning languages, as well as how to best use music to learn more in-depth about a language.
Top three takeaways:
Using music to aid in learning a language can also expose the learner to the culture, dialect, and various accents a language is spoken in, and can teach a language beyond merely the grammar that is taught in a school setting. One should take a targeted approach when learning language from songs. This involves sitting down with song for a while, taking it section by section, identifying unknown words, and slowing down the song to better understand them. The sleep process consolidates memory, so take breaks and don’t try to cram all in one session. When listening to the song later, you will notice and recognize a lot more of vocabulary and speech patterns of native speakers. When learning a language, it is important to be aware of the region you live in and how native speakers within that region tend to speak and enunciate words based on where they come from. For example, when learning Spanish, people who live in the southwest US would be better off learning the Mexican accent.
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Fascinating series on the wonders of travel, and learnings from the lives of the everyday travelers who show us how to push our boundaries and stretch our potential.