844 days, 20,256 hours, 1,215,360 minutes, or 72,921,600 seconds. That is the approximate duration of my world tour. I never wanted it to end and now, in a manner of speaking, I suppose it never has to. If you wish to go by country do so by clicking on one above. They are numbered in the order I visited them, more or less. If you enjoy reading about it even a tenth as much as I enjoyed living it then you will not have wasted your time. Grab a refreshing beverage, settle in a comfortable chair, and make a journey across the world, experiencing it as I did. Then get off your ass and check it out for yourself. You're not getting any younger.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

“It takes as much energy to wish as it does to plan.”

Wanna be rich? Famous? Insanely beautiful? Immortal? If you could have one wish what would it be? A silly question I suppose and one that is nothing short of a cliché but still: What if? Perhaps the answer can tell you something about yourself. Perhaps not. So what would mine be? It's a close call. I cannot deny my yearning for immortality which stems, not so much from a fear of dying, but from a burning curiosity about the fate of mankind. The fate of the world, of the human race is far from certain. How will the story end? Asteroid? Pestilence? Nuclear winter? Alien invasion? Tribbles?

And then you have books to consider. Walking into a bookstore or library always fills with me an overwhelming sense of possibility and anticipation. So much knowledge. So little time. Imagine if you could read them all.

Immortality intrigues me but in the end I feel endless days might breed a sort of existential lethargy. Life's temporality is what makes existence so undeniably precious and beautiful. Take it away and what do you have? There is only so much time. Only so many places to see, people to meet, books to read. If I had all the time in the world would I truly appreciate the nature of existence? Not likely. Can I, or anyone else for that matter, even appreciate it now?

My wish is of a much more prosaic nature. If granted one wish, by a denizen of a magic lamp for example, it would be this: To remember every single moment of my life as if it just happened. Wellllllllll, maybe not every moment. I can probably do without womb recollections and I'd just assume forget the instant I breached the birth canal. Just to be safe I'll go with every moment after my first year of life. Not much more than eating, sleeping, and shitting in that chapter. 

Every moment. Imagine it. Besides the obvious advantage of having a better-than-photographic memory instant recall would, ideally, enrich your life with a rare type of wisdom making it easier to avoid repeating your mistakes (at least theoretically). Imagine remembering every person you ever met, every place you'd ever been, every emotion you'd ever experienced. Of course, you would have to take the good with the bad for in my scenario the painful memories are as vivid as the good ones. We have all have things we wish we could forget but should we? A philosopher once wrote that the key to mastering the art of living has a direct relation to how we make use of suffering. The fact is many of the most interesting people you will meet are usually those that have suffered. It is just as much a part of life as happiness and I wonder how much improved the world might be if everyone were constantly reminded of painful experiences. Keep the pain close to you. Use it. 

For me, and I am sure I am not alone, there are few worse fates than a degenerative brain disease such as Alzheimer's (not to be outdone by premature burial or burning alive), an insidious affliction that wipes memories from our mortal hard drive like a master hacker. Even in the absence of illness how much of our lives do we actually remember? Half? A third? Less? What a tragedy. It is our memories, our experiences that make us who we are. I want them all. Every trifle. Every epiphany. Every triumph. Every embarrassment. Everything.

You desire to know the art of living, my friend? It is contained in one phrase: make use of suffering.

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'Love me or hate me, but spare me your indifference.' -- Libbie Fudim