I meant to post this much closer to the start of the year but it is still early enough to count. Last year was a very interesting year for me. As long as I have been traveling I feel that it was last year that I realized some further things about myself and about people in general as well as understanding some personal issues with greater clarity and gaining the motivation to accomplish my goals which I had been lacking for several years.
After leaving Germany I went to NYC with a firm goal of trying to establish my business. I had been living in Germany for over a year after going to be with a friend. This friend was very deer to me and after a lot of drama I felt like our friendship was in danger and in any event wanted or needed to be in close proximity to her. After more than a year of sorting out issues I really thought we had solidified things and we were ready for whatever may come next. Unfortunately, this was not to be the case.
Anyway, after arriving in NYC in November and just getting settled in, really not doing anything towards setting up my business, I decided to go to New Orleans for NYE. Part of the reason was that I met my friend in NYC oh so many years ago in late December and didn’t want to be in NYC without her. Irrational, but there it is. The other reason is that being estrange from family and friends I often like to go somewhere for Christmas where I don’t know anyone, so I can force myself to go out and meet new people, which I did.
Staying a hostel I met a cool guy from San Diego and we hung out. I was quite grateful to him as I was completely broke, still waiting for money to come to me from Germany. Once again I was in an exciting place in the world while something interesting was going on without any money to enjoy it. Thanks to my new friend though, I was able to. After drinking hurricanes and watching fireworks on the Mississippi it was time to hit various clubs in the French Quarter. They were all pretty horrible or cost crazy amounts to get inside, but it was an interesting experience.
I had expected to be going back to NYC a few days after NYE was over but due to my lack of funds this was made impossible. I found some very cool people to stay with and ended up staying through Mardi Gras. Again which I had no money to do anything, although I did see a few parades which was fun. I got the impression however that New Orleans as a party town was severely overrated.
It was then time for me to leave the US or risk being there illegally, so off to Colombia I went, again with no money. I can’t even remember how I paid for the flight although I must have borrowed it from someone. During this time I managed to stay with some truly awesome people and see some local culture. I had a great time and 3 weeks later I was back to Florida.
My entry back into the US was the thing of dreams….I had no return ticket or proof of funds but was not asked any questions. The customs guard was smiling and stamped me in while wishing I enjoyed my stay. Amazing. Florida was interesting. I first stayed in Orlando with a guy who was overly friendly and loved debating although was not terribly good at it. It was strange for me as he was very friendly and hospitable but seemed a bit insecure about some things. I don’t think I was able to connect with him on the level he wanted which ended up making things kind of awkward.
Then I was off to Miami. I was quite excited to go to Miami as I had never been there and was interested to see the Cuban influence on the city. I was also interested to see what Spring Break would be like only having seen it in movies and TV shows. After walking for an hour at night at about 1am to my hosts place as I was told the busses were 24 hours I finally arrived. I got on really well with my host and ended up staying for around a month, which was an amazing help as I was still broke waiting for my German money.
I still had no money to get home to NYC and with spring break going on had no money to go out and revel in it. I did try, but by gosh it was not a fun experience. There were no parties on the beach…indeed, the beach closes at midnight. Everyone in the clubs seemed fake or stuck up unless you had money to flaunt. It seemed to just be normal going out, without anything special going on except many of the people were out of town. I mostly went to the Clevelander to take advantage of the lack of cover or sneaking in when they did have a cover and boy that was hard to meet people there.
There was another bar I went to that had cheap $1 beers where I met a few cool people, and the bouncer in particular was very cool. As I was out almost every night we started talking, and without even knowing me very well he lent me $20 so I would be OK. Thank you Billy, for being awesome.
It was also during this time that the end of my friendship with my best friend had started occurring. I had thought after Germany (in itself the result of a failed romantic relationship) we were OK. Back to being close friends and finally ridding the relationship of excess baggage. Only, this was not the case. I thought things were odd while we were talking via email as we just didn’t seem so close. I spent a few weeks making a card that I worked hard on which was barely acknowledged. There was no desire or interest to talk via Skype….I didn’t know what was going on.
After talking on MSN in Miami near the end of my time in Florida…I asked why it didn’t seem that we were close and was told that frankly, we weren’t that close. I couldn’t understand it and asked what happened since we used to be so close. Only to find out that we never really were. That was a horrible thing, to find out that the way I viewed the friendship was largely in my head. A delusion. I know that she cared about me to a great degree but…the fact that we weren’t the close friends I thought we were explained so much. So many times I was hurt by what was actually reasonable behavior for our friendship. I really couldn’t deal with this too well, as I had shaped many of my previous years around this friendship.
After my money finally came through I was able to return to NYC where I sent a letter formally ending our friendship. At least for a time, I think I left it open…I don’t know. Her reaction was amazing…understanding and respectful….but somehow this made me angrier…that she wasn’t fighting it more. I wasn’t exactly thinking clearly at this time. After being back in NYC for only a few weeks it was time to head out of the country again, so off to Costa Rica I went since it was the cheapest option. Of course before I went I ended up spilling Dr Pepper all over my laptop. Reaching for a glass and stumbling over a mouse in the dark ended in tragedy. The worst part was that I managed to clean my laptop and prevent damage…only to forget to disconnect it from the power and short it while cleaning it a second time. A stupid mistake.
I set my time in Costa Rica for two months as I wanted to ensure that I would have time to stay in the states after DEFCON. I knew that I couldn’t come back from Mexico, but if I had bothered to think my trip through at all I would have bought a cheap ticket to Mexico and traveled down to Costa Rica over two months. Still, it was an interesting experience. I stayed for a week in San Jose trying to work out what I would do with the lack of people to stay with and my lack of money. I managed to get a few nights free fixing computers but it was frustrating being unable to drink with everyone else.
While there I met a girl who was amazing. We talked and kissed and I hoped at the least we would continue to be friends. It was nice after recently ending an important friendship and longing for some sort of intimacy. Only she went somewhat insane and completely disappeared from Facebook.
A quick trip to Jaco which was not so enjoyable given unfriendly hostile reception and the place tending to be a bit of a dump, then it was back to San Jose. It was time to leave, and off to La Fortuna I went. Which was a pretty cool little town where I stayed due to it being cheap, and there being some girls that I got to make out with. Awesome. While in La Fortuna I met a girl who seemed very interested in me and we decided to travel to Monteverde together. It seemed we had the start of a friendship and she offered to host me when I came to California. Amazing. Except that while making plans to head to Peñas Blancas and onward to Nicaragua, they disappeared. I found out they left the next day with other people and I never heard from her again. The only reason for this I can suppose is that she didn’t like my opinions on some controversial topics, although she never even hinted at their being a problem. So be it.
Then an hour out of Monteverde while waiting for the bus to Peñas Blancas I met a very cool guy and girl, just friends who had met on the trip. We started talking and ended up going to San Juan del sur together and sharing a hostel. They went on to Granada and Ometepe ahead of me, but I knew I would see them soon. I struck up quite a friendship with the girl and while we seemed to hit things off…we don’t talk so much these days. Damn her busy schedule.
I stayed in San Juan del sur a few extra days as it was cheap before making my way to Granada. I was seriously low on money here, although it was nice to meet up with my friends again. The hostel I was staying at had a policy of paying upon leaving, so I was considering exploiting this due to feeling I didn’t have any other option. Luckily, it didn’t turn out to be necessary. I managed to get work doing some programming and got my almost 3 weeks food and board in exchange. This saved me, as by the time I got back to San Jose ready to catch my flight back I was down to $40.
It was just before and while in Granada time that my feelings of hurt and resentment had been building towards my friend. We had not really talked since I ended things in May except when it was necessary and I just kept feeling angry and hurt. How could have everything have been false….how could I have been so stupid….how could she let me think this for so long? So many decisions I had made had been based around something false. I could have been getting my PhD or putting more effort toward my Business instead of accommodating her so I could spend time with her. Time and effort that I didn’t feel was appreciated.
Without anyone to talk to and everything just built up and I sent her an angry letter to vent out. Part of me wanted to hurt her as I had been hurt…but also just to let her know that I was hurt. I couldn’t understand anything anymore. It was a horrible letter where I ended things, and we have not talked since. Since then my head has cleared and I regret it and hope that somehow we can make amends….but only time will tell.
In Tamarindo only a few days before catching my flight that I had my first cougar experience. I had been unable to get laid the last two months as every girl I met was either too religious or too young or too slutty or just plain unattractive. The few I did meet that I was attracted to weren’t interested. Which…became frustrating. Still, it was an experience and I have the feeling that Cancun is going to make up for my lack of action during Spring Break and in Central America in spades.
After getting back to NYC where I again got greeted with a smile and a stamp it was time to prepare for my HOPE. The conference turned out to be a letdown for me, but it was still an interesting experience and I met some interesting people, not least some real life superheroes. It was so nice to be back selling comedy tickets, hanging with people I knew and being able to explore my favorite city. I was still having money problems and having to dispute a claim on my card took a lot of time. First it was approved then my account was cancelled…it took two months before I actually got my money back.
After an interesting 2 weeks in NYC it was time to head to Las Vegas. I hadn’t been there since I started traveling so I was interested to see it from a different perspective, as well as to see what it was like after having gotten into the TV show of the same name. I went to DEFCON which was a letdown for many of the same reasons as HOPE but was likewise an interesting experience.
I stayed with some very cool people in the first two weeks but it was the last person I stayed with that was the most interesting. I was able to stay until I got my money sorted out but we also hit it off as good friends. It’s rare to find people these days who can actually make an argument that isn’t from emotion or pride. While staying with this person I also got to make many new friends and party a lot, which was cool. Beer pong is a fun game that needs to spread to more countries.
I still didn’t have my laptop but decided to try and get it fixed under warranty…which amazingly worked. After shorting it out and spilling soda on it, it was returned like new. Amazing! I was still a bit depressed around this time what with things ending badly with my friend and just being uncertain of where I was heading. I tried getting back in touch with the girl I had befriended in Costa Rica who I managed to track down….but she didn’t want anything to do with me. Alas, it was out of my hands. I had considered returning home but new it would take me a while to get back to the US, which I didn’t want to do. Thus I started my trek to Canada with the goal of getting a US visa which would come back to bite me due to my lack of research.
Going up the west coast was uneventful as I had been to L.A. before and just wanted to get out as quickly as possible. I met up with my cougar again though…I’ve never been bought dinner before a one night stand before. A very nice experience. Then on to San Francisco where I had wanted to stay a wee bit longer, but I was having trouble finding rides to Portland. I ended up being there during a blues festival which was interesting to see and hear some good music, but I was unable to meet anybody. It was in San Francisco I realized I could not get a US visa as I was not a resident in Canada. Why oh why can you only apply for a visa in a country where you are a resident? What a stupid rule. Anyway I decided to get my Canadian visa which is a simple process for me, then with that I can apply for my US visa. Frustrating and a longer process but still cheaper and more interesting than a going home and back.
I then managed to find a ride to Portland for free, which saved me. I was excited when I arrived just to see the similarities to Springfield, as I know that many parts of Springfield were based on Portland. Aside from the street names I didn’t see that much despite knowing there was still a lot in common, although it was interesting to picture that this was how Matt Groening possible envisioned Springfield.
Going through Portland and Seattle up to Vancouver was not too interesting, although I came to realize this section of the world is by far my least favorite area of the world. It seems to be filled with anarchists, ignorant feminists, homeopaths, conspiracy theorists, vegan nuts and all kinds of willfully ignorant people. In Seattle there is Bastyr University which receives federal funding while offering courses in homeopathy, which is appalling. I do understand that my perception was limited by the people I met but somehow I got the feeling it seemed to be the unmistakable character of these cities.
Vancouver was interesting in that it seemed entirely unremarkable. Just an average city with a large student population. I stayed with a few different people and then met a person I ended up staying with for quite a while. This person and her friends were as frustrating as they were interesting to me. Very good heartfelt people….but so ignorant that it was painful. After witnessing the G20 protests in Toronto they formed the opinion that all states are evil and became anarchists. They are convinced that violence in video games leads to violence in real life and that games like GTAIV lead to an increase in rape. Thinking that companies like Facebook control all of your data and your life despite that being contrary to laws and practice. So many things and I could not discuss it with them, because it would be me against about 15 people…which is fine, but I felt that I would upset them more than anything constructive being gained, so I refrained. I was running out of money again as well, which was lame. After borrowing nearly $1000 to my friend from Las Vegas and not hearing back, I was starting to get worried.
I met a girl while I stayed in Vancouver who seemed interested in me, and we met for coffee a few times and I then ended up staying with her after missing a train. $200 for a ticket that Via Rail stated was refundable only for their shitty and rude customer service to deny everything. It turned out this girl was asexual yet in an open relationship with a big guy. Interesting development and unlikely to get laid. We seemed to talk about some interesting things, although she didn’t know some things. When trying to introduce her to new concepts she dismissed them as she thought she already knew them and was then surprised when she didn’t. For example, thinking an XSS attack was importing buggy code from another domain.
Still, it was interesting to see how she dealt with her jealous man-child of a boyfriend who agreed to an open relationship in principle but was quite opposed to the idea when he thought we were involved in some way. Still, they cared for each other and are still just kids, so I think they’ll figure it out. It was during this time that I won a competition for new boots…which was amazing. I have been needing new boots for almost a year or perhaps more and was planning to steal them…but now had them for free. Only that my package arrived after I had already caught my train. Sitting in a train chair for 4.5 days is an experience I hope not to repeat. Still, with more time than money, what was I to do.
The whole reason for my going to Toronto was that I had found out to get my Canadian visa I had to leave Canada and come back, as it is awarded at customs. If I had researched this I could have saved myself money by jus going to Mexico and flying back to Canada when I had been awarded my visa. But then, I would have not had the experiences I had, so I don’t regret it in the least. The biggest problem was finding a notary republic. $40 for certifying photocopies is fucking bullshit and I would have expected better from Canada.
The worst part was that as per a website set up by the Canadian government there are several agencies or professionals that could certify my documents that would also be accepted by the agencies in my country. When actually trying to confront these people to certify my documents they wouldn’t do it, being too fucking scared. Even the RCMP refused to do it, dramatically stating they could not sign their lives away. I understand it might be customary for people to go to a notary but it isn’t required, and when people don’t have money to do that and the police can do it, then the police should fucking know that they can do it. I got a letter after complaining which confirmed that RCMP officers can certify identity documents but they are not told this. Great.
In my country we have justices of the peace which are free and when I have gone to embassy before JP’s are available for no more than $10. Except for the embassy in Canada where they only use JP’s, where each document must be on its own page…which for me would have set the cost to $120 for five pages. Luckily I ended up finding a Commissioner of Oaths who did everything for $7. Finally I had everything I needed. I decided to send everything by priority mail hoping I could then apply for my visa before the 17th of January, so I could get in to NYC to see the King Tut exhibition. Not realizing it takes 10 days process to send out my license information and at least 4 weeks for my Canadian visa. Which I thought was money wasted, but after 3 weeks when my package was listed as only having left the post office, I found out that they don’t deliver to P.O. boxes. I had thought I had wasted money and it was lost, but because of the salesman’s incompetence in not realizing this I received a check back for a full refund. I got the check when I was already in NYC…but it will be nice to have when I go back to Canada.
Given that I wasn’t going to get my visa anytime soon I decided to go to Montreal for NYE. I partly wanted to go as my ex best friends best friend lived there….and I guess I thought maybe if we ran into each other or she saw me then it might stimulate my friend to talk to me. Crazy and irrational…but there it was. I think around just before Christmas I sent a short letter apologizing and hoping we could talk at least….and as of yet have not received a reply. I broke down on the 1st after a terrible NYE and sent her another short message telling her where I was…still no reply. Now it is Mid February and I can’t decide if I should send her another message or wait…wait until a year has passed. I can’t help but feel the longer I wait the less likely it is we can patch things up.
Montreal was an interesting experience. I stayed with a group that was more like a community; as soon as I arrived I was invited to a Christmas Dinner which was amazing. It was cool hanging out with all these people who were friendly and fun….somehow witnessing everything I felt like an outside, which was reasonable as I didn’t know them that well. It occurred to me that I may always feel like this…always traveling and not letting anyone get close. It is strange because the decision is mine, but I can’t seem to take the leap of faith required to form interpersonal relationships.
While I was in Toronto I met a girl on a dating site who I have been talking with pretty regularly, which is exciting. We seem to be hitting it off and while I don’t think any romantic relationship is a possibility I think I have made a new friend, which is nice. I contacted a girl in Montreal as I was interested in meeting some more people while I was there…only for her to cancel when I asked if we could compromise on the meeting place. I didn’t really have money for the subway and didn’t want to walk for an hour to meet her…yet simply asking if it was possible to meet somewhere else caused her to cancel. Why must there be so many idiots in this world.
I had been planning to go back to Toronto, but given the problems with my visa I decided to risk going back to NYC. I am not meant to be let on the VWP unless I leave North America, but decided to take a chance. I bought a flight out of the US saying I was only coming in to take a flight and hoped it would work. The guy a caught a ride with seemed very strange when communicating via email but turned out to be friendly. Luckily it worked! I got into NYC, albeit only for 2 weeks. Still, it was long enough for me to see king tut and meet up with some friends. It was an interesting two weeks which I will write about in a separate entry when I get time.
I had considered staying in the US illegally as I had places I could stay, and given my previous times in and out of the US they don’t seem to have departure dates computerized, only going by passport stamps. I probably could have but at the last minute I didn’t want to take the risk and so came to Cancun. This works out nicely as I can hopefully have a proper spring break, see some ruins, a necessary trip to Belize and maybe go to Cuba before going back to the US. Now I am in Cancun about to get a job where I won’t have to worry about food or accommodation for a while and will be able to meet new people every night. I am starting to look forward to it, which is an unusual feeling for me.
I also have so much planned for this year. It’s already February and I haven’t done as much as I had hoped, but I know that I am going to. I will actually have a US visa so I can live in NYC properly without having to leave every 90 days. I will perfect my business plan and make every effort to find investors and get something off the ground. I’m going to amp up my writing a lot. Articles on OS X insecurity, Linux being far from ready as a complete desktop OS, Feminism, Pedophiles, Piracy, Eminem, Scientology and more. Above all else though, the most important thing is to fix things up with my friend. She is part of my family….and there is nothing more important than the people who matter to you. I’ve forgotten that in the past which I now have to try and fix.
I’m going to learn another language to a passable language. Spanish at the least since I have every opportunity to practice, but also hopefully Chinese if I can stick to it enough when I’m back in NYC. I’m going to get back into martial arts so that I am doing some kind of exercise, as just writing and reading isn’t sufficient. There is so much that I still want to learn and I want to at least make some effort this year. Physics, the finer points of writing shellcode, various political ideologies, a lot more modern history…so much. It will be a year to start making good use of the amazing Khan Academy.
Overall it was an interesting year where I learned a lot and continued to be surprised at how people react and what they are capable of. I was introduced to Shopsin’s, witnessed the end of 24 and Nip/Tuck and the premiere of Archer(best new comedy!), got to see Miami and Mardi Gras….saw almost the entire coast of the USA as well as Canada and most importantly regained some confidence. I am still fighting depression….but I feel that I am making progress towards my goals because I have started believing in them again, instead of just wondering what the point to anything is.
This year has not started off to brilliantly what with the NYC blizzards, the Arizona shooting, the flooding in Australian or my lame NYE. Even so I have a good feeling about this year. I am at a low point right now where I don’t even have shoes without holes in them (well, not with me) or money to support myself or even get back to the US. I’m not worried though. I’ve landed a job in Cancun and will put all my efforts into making my business succeed…making something of myself. Or die trying. As of the 11th I haven’t received my license information but hopefully it is on its way otherwise who knows how long I will be delayed. Even if I am delayed further….I know that it will be interesting and I will get everything eventually. This is going to be a good year, or at the least an interesting year.