Spin the Globe with Justin Butner

A world citizen may provide value to society by using knowledge acquired across cultural contexts.

The day before

This post is a test of the various blogs, and helping to keep me organized. It won’t be a very interesting post for people that aren’t me.

He's on a boat

He's on a boat

I’ve spent the summer lamenting my Iceland trip’s disintegration, then deciding whether or not to go to Turkey. Once the tickets were paid for, I spent the following month largely thinking about how I should think about the trip, or thinking about ways that I could research plans. I had distractions that were more immediate, so things didn’t happen. And unlike Europe, where I had very little going on in my personal life other than planning for a more fun time in the future, or Costa Rica, where I had absolutely no one else doing any planning on my behalf, I’ve been busy and able to let myself slack on planning. Theoretically there is no reason that I still can’t have a fantastic time on this trip. But things are off.

For starters, I’m taking an ipod and new headphones. I had music on the road trip, but it was run through a laptop plugged into the dash, so there was something quirky enough about it. I didn’t have music anywhere else, and that really forced me to focus on the surroundings and interactions. And I wasn’t really able to distract (or comfort) myself. I was on a trip whether I liked it or not. When you can’t tune out, you hear the language of dirt bikes, strange tongues, and animals. If I can pop earbuds in, I might miss something. I might also not flip out and wander the city half the night in search of some solace that can only be found in a freak circumstance or from absolute exhaustion from walking half the night.

I do like to plan. Really, a lot. I have a book on Turkey, which I’ve read about 10% of, and I plan on visiting a large chunk of the country. It is very likely that the trip I’m taking is not the one I would take if given more time to plan. Then again, given how little I’ve managed to accomplish in my personal life while also not sufficiently planning this trip, I really don’t understand how I was able to be so neurotically researched in the past. Vijay’s told me I need a board, and I wholeheartedly agree. I think visually and I plan my routes around a country that way. I need a giant tackboard for a map that I can write on and draw lines around and put pins in. It has to be cheap so I can write and not feel bad for ruining something. And It has to be large. Lists and reading through itineraries and thinking don’t work for me. I need to draw my lines.

I have my own camera, finally. Being a photoist without a camera for two years has been stressful – without the creative outlet I’ve probably lost any skill at taking shots. I certainly haven’t taken the time to become familiar with my camera – what it can and can’t do, what it is good at, will it make bar scenes feel warm, will it make landscapes feel distant, will it vibrantly bring out skin blemishes or will it airbrush textures on plants? Would my eye for shots and my tremoring hands even take a shot of note with a great camera. In three weeks there will be an answer, and hopefully it won’t be one telling me more preparation would have been critical.

The chemical structure of DEET. This will be on the test.

I can’t find insect repellent that is at least 30% DEET. If I get Malaria, I’m

blaming someone related to consumerism.

The chemical structure of DEET. This will be on the test.

My bag is packed, and really lightly at that. I don’t plan to camp, and for much of the trip I’ll be with family whose standards of living is much higher than mine. We’re staying in places that can legitimately be called “hotels” and possibly even a “resort” though I’ll have to confirm that upon arrival. I’m not going to be on couches, dorm beds, or the ground for a lot of this. And apparently when you aren’t planning to bring along your shelter or means to making your shelter livable, you travel lightly. Maybe it is why turtles are so slow and getting stuck behind an RV is one of the most painful driving experiences.

My new watch

My new watch came in, and it has an alarm and does time zones. It is probably significantly cooler than I need it to be, but it also looks damn sexy on my wrist, so I’m not complaining. It also was much cheaper than it should have been, so again, not complaining. Perhaps that is the tone of this trip. I’m traveling much better equipped and in much more comfort than I’m used to, but I’m getting pretty fantastic deals on the whole thing. It isn’t as cheap as I’ve run around before, but it is equivalent to me doing poorly at acting poor.

My new watch

Other than not reading all I wanted to, I’ve also not done the usual lists of everything of note in every place I want to go. And I didn’t figure out how much time I need to spend in a place to really experience it. And then I didn’t figure out how to get to the next place. Part of that is my laziness. Part of it is the fact that unlike figuring out a flight across the US, figuring out the bus, flight, and ferry schedule around Turkey is a process that requires a decent amount of being in Turkey, speaking the language, and having the patience to check every place, or finding people who know. The end result is that the last week of my trip is a completely blank slate. I could spend the week in Istanbul, I could tour more caves, I could climb a mountain, or I could go chill on the coast. Perhaps there are other options, but again, I didn’t read.

Also, the fact that I’m currently off of cigarettes because I’m sick and the fact that I’m sick are probably not helping anything in terms of my mood.

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This entry was posted on October 1, 2009 by in Uncategorized.

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