On Life, Politics, and Traveling

I’m taking the first of three rest days in Greensboro, NC, at my friend Crispin and his wife Margery’s house. I want to write about some of my thoughts on certain things that happened to me on this trip, mainly from my conversations with people such as Dave and Kathleen, Sarah and Jackie, and Crispin and Margery.

First, on life.

I think thinking about life is like chewing my own teeth or tasting my tongue. It’s meaningless, but it’s also necessary as an exercise to figure out what life is.

I think life is a choose your adventure role-playing game. The main goal of the game is to see if I can get along with different kinds of people. If I’m able to do that, and if everyone can do that, then the world will be at peace and earth will truly be Heaven.

My other goal is to travel the world because we have the technology and the knowledge to do so. If I was born 100 years ago, it’ll be hard to travel the world. It’s so easy to do now with airplanes, trains, buses, ships, etc that not seeing the world would be a missed opportunity.

Life, to me, is about the experiences, the people, the sights, the food, and the stories. It’s not about accumulating money or materialistic things, but more about creating meaningful relationships and memories. I’d much rather have friends all over the world than have a million dollars in the bank.

Second, on politics.

During my trip so far, and on my 2018 trip, I’ve encountered many wonderful people. Some of them are conservatives and some of them are liberals. But all of them are good people trying to live a life that they view is the best. And all of us are concerned about the future.

With climate change, political division, lack of universal healthcare, social tensions, income inequality, etc, we worry so much about the country and the future of the world. But sometimes we need to take a step back and think from outer space.

If we zoom out from earth and see the planet from space, we don’t see any humans. And as Carl Sagan narrates from the my favorite YouTube video called “The Pale Blue Dot” we can see that we don’t really matter. All the things that we care so much about mean nothing in the grand scheme of things. And that is actually comforting to me.

It means that political bickering is microscopic and myopic. Sure, I want everyone to have free healthcare and I want the rich to pay their fair share, but if I don’t get what I want that’s ok. People have survived this long without free healthcare and some people have survived without money. But it’ll be nice to have all the things that a modern society can give to its citizens. Yet, we put so much weight on these things and forget that the ultimate goal is to live peacefully with your fellow human beings.

We think that whoever on the other side of the political spectrum is an idiot without having a conversation with that person. There is no way to change anyone’s mind if we don’t have a civil discussion with someone who disagrees with you. And that conversation can be slow to start, but if all I do is sit and watch TV I’ll won’t get anywhere. And that brings to my third point.

On traveling.

I think traveling is one of the ways to reveal the true nature about the traveler and to potentially change the people he/she meets.

I choose bicycling as a means to travel because I think the speed of a bicycle is perfect for me. Though, I also think that it’s not mandatory for me to travel everywhere by a bicycle. There are places I’d rather backpack.

But traveling on a bicycle allows me to be vulnerable enough to people that they are willing to help me and thus start conversations.

I will never forget the conversation between me and a conservative paster named Jim in Kentucky in 2018. I will never forget the dining table conversations between me, Dave, and Kathleen in both 2018 and on this trip.  And I will cherish the fire pit chat with Sarah and Jackie where we opened up about our personal struggles. These conversations are the connections that we made through our shared experiences. Every time I have a meaningful discussion I feel closer to something grand.

As I’m taking a few rest days here in Greensboro, I realize how lucky I am to be surrounded by friends. Each one of them is special, just like me, in that we are all living together in this time and place on earth. I treasure our connection and I think it is fate that we all get to live in the here and now.

Tomorrow, I will continue to take a rest day at Crispin's place. We will also visit my college friends, Chris and Liz, in Winston-Salem.


  1. I pretty much agree with everything you said. I'm definitely more about meeting people when I travel and listening to their stories rather than the places I go. This is why your blogs are interesting.

    1. Thank you, Joan! Yes, I think it's mainly the people that makes a journey. I want to include more posts like this where I'm reflecting about certain things to give the reader a look at my perspective.

  2. jackie and sarah4/10/2023 10:50 PM

    so wonderful hiatt !!! we will always cherish our conversation at the fire pit :)

    1. Same here! I learned a lot from both of you. Keep in touch!


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