Once again, I didn’t write for a while because I didn’t think I had anything intelligent to share. On one hand, I constantly remind myself that my writing is for self-expression, literary exercise, and dialogue. But still, I hold myself back with thoughts of “oh that’s stupid don’t share it”. Pfft.
So, I’ve finally been to Europe!
Because I was travelling solo, I didn’t have the company for mad flex. Since I was working remotely for a good chunk of my short trip, I knew my chances of making local friends was slim. To be honest, just living in a working system for while was enough for me.
Even though I didn’t do rocks, I made sure to have bespoke experiences. I learned about art movements at the Louvre, and my tour guide was so good that I’ve added art history to the list of my future endeavours. I acquainted with the history and future of BMW at the museum in Munich (heh), I met plenty of old friends between Berlin and Amsterdam and experienced the joy and sadness of emigration in our loud conversations.
In Paris, I found myself in class, yes class. Vadim Grigorian, a smart-sounding arts and marketing success story, talked about his life and principles, and I sat there, attentively following the breadth of the conversation from his partying days and Documenta, to Tao Te Ching and craftsmanship. The friend who smuggled me into this class also took me on long walks and train rides through the city, showed me her favourite waffle place (I gained 2kgs instantly), and introduced me to the wonders of spicy Korean ramen noodles.
This is the limit to which I choose to romanticize that trip because I need to be back there to make local friends and experience the social culture I’ve read so many people describe as phenomenal.
Earlier in the year, I was over at a friend’s house for her family’s New Year party. A small group of us were huddled together around the table and her jolly dad entertained us with whiskey as we took turns answering the question “what are your goals for the year?”.
My answer was circa “new experiences all round: travel, sex, everything”. In retrospect, that was rather vague. So, in Utrecht, I spent about two days doing “comprehensive self-reflection”, exploring what “new experiences” meant for me.
How do I even want to be, and shouldn’t that answer precede the experiences?
If my 2016 self was watching me at that table filling my notebook with scribbles like “do you want to be environmentally conscious?”, it would be so funny, but I daresay this is the best thing I’ve done for myself in a while.
For a few months now I’ve been keeping a document called my Book of Life, a database in Notion with details about my life (because my memory is shit). Those hours of quiet and self-absorbance gave me time to bring it up to date.
I’ve been increasingly looking for meaning: an intentional self, depth in my thinking, craftsmanship in my work, yadda, yadda. I’ve highlighted that what’s important to me now is to:
- build mental models for how to think about the world (basic economics, sociology, art)
- build a great design team on this side of the divide
- maintain a healthy work culture and use “boredom” to my advantage
- not just travel, but experience life in a different culture
- properly learn a new language while I’m at it
In that order. All these things take time, money, or both, but no pressure.
For now, I’ve themed my reading, one subject at a time, starting with the evolution of society. I’m paying attention to my moods and setting reminders to go out so I don’t get antisocial after sitting at home for too long. I’m actively looking out for interesting dialogue, playing games, queuing up classic movies to watch and hacking my way through Game of Thrones by reading wikis and watching recaps (my friends are mad jealous).
I’m also spending time building my team at Paystack (will publish something on that soon). I’m thinking of how to grow dialogue on my website, and side projects to build for Wuruwuru. I want to do one on the true cost of rent in Lagos, where I highlight all the things we don’t consider when planning to get an apartment in Lagos. I’ve started on data collection, but I’ve been procrastinating. If you see me, remind me.
Ever since you left the city (haha, I’m sorry), this is what I’ve been up to.