Tag Archives: traveling

How to travel with somebody?

People generally get crazy if left for enough time isolated in confined groups.

One of the things I do over and over again is traveling with people. I did a lot of variations starting from a half-a-day in suburbs to half a year long hopping across the globe. Both friend and girlfriends. And we all were getting mad at each other :)

Some of the travels made me closer to these people, some of the travels tore our relationships apart. Now time has come to do this again, so you, my dear reader can reap the benefits of my experiences without all the tears of your travel buddy :)

TLDR: Give the link to this post to the friend you’re going to travel with to make it better for all of you :)

Be prepared :D

Hostels will loose their bookings. Metro will close right before you’re able to make the commute. Evernote and gmail will decline to display cached pages. Flights will be canceled and/or delayed. Cards will be rejected. Favorite things will be stolen and lost (people also can lose each other!).

Some of these happened to my friends and some of these happened to me. To survive all the problems of a travel, be like a space ship: duplicate all the things.

  • Every document should both exist in written and electronic form
  • Same applies for money, both small bills and electronic cards
  • All of these stored separately
  • The most important bits never leaving your body

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Accept stuff which is bigger than you

Once you’ve prepared all the thing you was able / wanted to prepare for, there’s still hell of a lot of things which gonna happen.

If you feel like crying – do so. If you’re angry (or hungry, like I get all the time) – let somebody know while you still can do that in a calmed in controlled manner. Worst thing you can do is spending your energy to make appearance that everything is ok.

Breaking the rule usually leads to dumping 3 weeks worth of suppressed feelings onto your fellow traveler. Bad for everyone involved.

This also means that you should accept yourself as you are. If you don’t know where’s our train, or where are we – let the group know rather than try to play a cool captain (even if you lead this particular group).

We’re all in the same boat and nobody expects you to know everything.

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Keep the balance

While traveling you’ll be far from most of the resources which usually support your self confidence:

  • Family, friends will be far away, similarly your image of a successful person :)
  • Work. Doing that remotely is still something not everybody is granted with. Plus it can be trickier to maintain your performance while working off a shitty 3g internet somewhere in jungles, trust me. So if you imagine yourself a good colleague, be ready for that to be gone :)
  • Work out routines will need to be re-established (I had times visiting up to 3 no-longer-existing gyms per day to find a one for myself)
  • New foods and climates will affect your health depending on your luck (e.g. you can get 5-days dengue fever preventing you from sleep or mild indigestion)

In such conditions it is common to look for the support in people nearby. Continuous demands can easily strain your partners, so be careful (remember, they’re in around the same situation as you are).

That’s where the notion of emotional bank account comes into play. Whenever somebody does me good, I can feel like I’m up to doing more good for them, similarly whenever somebody asks (or demands) a lot of help from me often, I will be feeling like the amount of good I’m willing to do for them is reduced.

If that’s your first wild travel, be especially careful: habits which you form now will predate you (or support you) until the very end of your life. Another important thing is that most probably you’ll feel like you need a lot of assistance. It’s up to you to decide how much of a helplessness you will root in yourself.

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Start small

So, once my usual self-confidence is gone, I feel like growing some new. The simplest way for me to do so is by learning how to get to home (tent, apartment, shack, …). In most places this can be achieved by buying a sim card with 3g data. On lightning in a bottle, though, I had to spend some time exploring the territory :D

Having that, it is much easier to support the balances: I don’t need a person attached to me to try the stuff I like (Darling, let’s go to a zoo [as I don’t know how to return from there]).

Next step is usually taking care of some shared stuff. Taking your friend(s) to a cafe both counts as a contribution to your emotional bank account as well a proves (to yourself) that you’re capable of more.

Next time you’re gonna travel with friends, just observe who’s the first one to take you somewhere and how do you feel about them.

Embrace your fears

After taking care of some basics, it’s usually time to challenge yourself a bit. Cool if you can do that in a controlled manner (e.g. when somebody more experienced is around). That’s not required, though.

Being introverted, my first fear is about talking to people. So I try to talk those who are already interested in conversations with me: sales people. Being a guy which loves to eat, I just approach any food truck / cafe and I’m done.

Pick something you both like and a bit uncomfortable to do and you’re good to go.

Sometimes, the thing can prove itself difficult (e.g. approaching a cute girl in the office). What worked cool for me in such cases is imagining what I will do next time (all the exact steps, phrases said, you can even write that somewhere just for kicks!). For some reason brain can be trained well even using such a hypothetical scenarios, so after a while, I prove myself capable of doing tricky things. So are you.

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Thanks!

What are the tricks you use to make your social travels feel better?

Traveling with a girlfriend: Belated reflections

Traveling sucks. Really. I’ve never been with a group of people doing non-trivial travel without any visible effect on their relationships. Best case, I was earning a friend. Worst cases were kind of unpredictable (like one of my friends putting a veto on poo time during a hike as ‘we were late’).

I’ve seen traveler pairs breaking apart, people not being able to stand each other (just one public case is Hanna from Goodbye Normals reported violence against her by the boyfriend she traveled with).

I have had my own experiences where a few weeks of travel or just living by the side of people dramatically changed our relationships (like me changing my mind about marrying a girl I’ve already proposed).

Fears

Olga: when we met, you told me a story of your travel with a girlfriend + working remotely which was a failure. I immediately became upset “I’d do some travels with him”

11/24/14 (200 days ago)

Rocks sea

My previous experience suggested that approaching stuff I’m afraid of (like girls, ha-ha!) kinda sucks. When doing that together with someone, it sucked even more as all the manipulations I know of are built on fear avoidance.

Avoiding fears = call for manipulations

Example: I’m afraid of being tagged as a ‘bad guy’, so I’ll do anything to avoid that:

  1. Ask me to do something I didn’t want to do
  2. Hear ‘no’
  3. Start crying
  4. I’ll see this ‘bad guy’ tag on the scene
  5. You hear ‘yes’

Disclaimer: that doesn’t seem to work any more.

Fear acceptance

Another strategy is just to live with that. I’ve said “I’m afraid of this” dozens of times during the trip, Olga noded and the party continued.

One of the most vivid examples of this was near-shore boarding of a seemingly overloaded ship. My brain and his panic mode joined a few others in calculating alternative routes and Olga just picked her bag and started the boarding.

In hindsight I realize that courage might have been inspired by the food poisoning she was suffering from. Death = relief in this case, right? : )

Overloaded ship boardingImage: a boat just a minute before us boarding. A few dozen people declined to board and turned back.

If fears can be accepted, what for do we need them?

It probably depends on when your fears do manifest. Mine adhere to two rules:

  1. I fear the most just before doing something
  2. When I already up to something, the fear is gone – I’m too involved

Thus fear is just an indicator of me about to try something I’ve never experienced enough before.

Sinking
Image: toilet room in our yacht. Yet another unforgettable experience during a windy day

Failures

Ivan: slow internet, 2am/4am Skype meetings, differences in attention needs are kind of risky. I will become worser contributor at work, that will undermine my self-confidence and we’re toasts.

11/24/14 (200 days ago)

We did it all. Internet was slow and wonky, I stayed up late hours and omitted watching ‘beautiful temples’, marathons and stuff.

Failure does not mean the adventure has ended. It is just an indicator of learning something new.SurfingImage: One the successful surfing attempts. I have photos of like a hundred of failed ones.

I clearly remember myself quitting after first 30 minutes and this chat with an instructor “She’s a bad client, still trying”. Bad client, good learner

Continuing to fail

One of the trickiest things with failures is to continue. Failures usually taste bad (like ocean water). And failures are weird kind of feedback.

Doing everything just right does not guarantee you success and all you’ve got is the promise. At some point in the future the pain from failures will be compensated by the successes.

It reminds me of looking for a job: I may have a perfect resume, rock the interviews and still won’t be offered a job for a few months. Knowing that after a while, I will get a one doesn’t make it less painful : )

Failing together

Doing this exercise both in solo mode and together as a pair become one of the non-obvious ways to stay together. Who would understand you best than the person who has the same bruises all over?

Skii selfie
Image: just before Olga’s first descend ever. It was all working well until that girl told Olga that’s not a descent for the first-timers : (

Crisis time

Having a lot of failures for a while does feel like an energy crisis (energy being your capacity of doing something useful).

Crisises and travels go along. Human resources are limited and mostly tied to adapting to the changing environments and giving something to a partner seems like much bigger deal.

I’ve seen a few strategies people take when facing an energy crisis:

  • Demand (and manipulate!)
  • Hide and heal the wounds alone (“we need to make a break”)
  • Tap on to a standard backup energy source (drawing, going to a gym, winning a deal, chatting with an energetic friend, awesome meal)
  • Use this as an opportunity and create something inspiring both of you. Which was exactly the case of KissYourWoman.com

And some cures

As with most things, relationship crisises are best taken care of strategically. I.e. before the symptoms will greatly impact the atmosphere.

One of things I’ve learned was that being together 24/7 is not the same as allocating some quality time together. I remember the time pressure I felt at my work place and how hard it was for me to grab a bike and watch a sunset together. In hindsight it was totally worth it.

SunsetImage: one of the very few sunsets I’ve seen at Phuket

1. Eyes

Gradually my definition of quality time changed even more. Candels and sunsets are kind of stereotypical but nothing replaces a good eye contact and a few smiles.

Maybe that’s why in 36 questions to fall in love ask people to stare at each other?

IMG_20150105_054742Image: Olga is having fun at The Beach while I’m staying at the boat having declined to pay unexpected $10 to do that :)

2. Gyms

I have to admit that one of the reasons I love attending gyms for is observing beautiful bodies at work. Why not invite your girlfriend and see her from another angle? : )Olga heavy liftingImage: Olga is lifting at the famous Boom Leong Gym

3. Silence

Chatting a lot at first, it was disturbing to start talking less. After all isn’t change a symptom of something evolving?

By giving up talking it so much easier to discover closer means of contact: touching, rubbing, nibbling, passing some almonds : )

YachtingImage: A moment from like 6 hours of little-to-no wind during one of regatta days

What’s especially cool about some silence is the taste the words have afterwards.

Transparent balls swimmingImage: Olga is hiding from the rain in a transparent ball

I’ll act bold and claim that silences differ from one another and healthy ones are easily distinguishable. Like in the picture below: how much smartphones are there on the table? See?

Local fast foodsImage: lunch in super local place in Greece (and yes, I was eager to spell it like Grease during that time)

To all the solos

While I was alone, I always thought that just being together with someone I love is all I want. Fortunately, Maslow with his pyramid see it differently: once some basic needs are fulfilled, the others emerge.

Following was tricky

One of the things I didn’t expect was that following is a bit like a hard work for me. Picking an arbitrary direction a few times a minute is super easy when traveling alone but trickier as the company grows.

WalkingImage: unused new year trees just 4 months after the new year (in xUSSR the strongest characters keep them until the very next NY)

New people are there

While most of solo traveling articles say that it’s more difficult to meet new people when you travel in pairs, I don’t remember us having a problem with that.

Update: actually I remember Olga’s envy while I was talking to a few cool dudes from Bangladesh. So yes, it can be more difficult : P

Park plankingImage: Olga is about to win planking challenge from a few financial city workers

Differences are awesome

During the travels, we managed to get ill a few times. Getting into a tricky mood happened I think like dozen times more for each of us. I imaging how would these things feel if synchronized.

Airport sleepImage: catching up on sleep while I’m catching up on 3rd breakfast

Exclusive stories

Some things only reach ears of people which are in the right place at the right time.

Olga actually never revealed that fact anywhere, but she had to break into one of the temples.

She had one day to see the inside, had a few hours ride to get there and then it appeared it costed more cash than she had with her. She climbed over a wall and was expelled by a guard which was nearby. After a short phone call to the support (wink me), she inspected the perimeter and after a while found herself inside.

Olga looks at a mapImage: Olga is picking next destination in an atlas available from public library at Urban 100 restaurant

The End

Having told all of that I have to admit to myself that these 5 months of travels were kind of awesome. Full of fears, failures and challenges but in the end only better myself was left with the best people.

Olga, you’re awesome. I’m looking forward to what is gonna be our next adventure ^_^

Airplane viewImage: sunrise from an airplane window

Olga is suggesting to give this masterpiece for somebody to proofread. So here you go people : )

Relocation: benefit or a bait

It’s not uncommon for a developer to receive a linkedin spam. I have a few filters which direct most of the trendy ways to spam people to a special folder. 70% of linkedin spam letters I receive contain offerings from “international”, “successful” companies – filtering based on these words was a huge timesaver for me.

Recently, I’ve received a message from a recruiter “revealing” me as a person interested in relocation.

I recognize that kind of approach as another trend and apart from adding a new e-mail filter (“relocation”), I analyze why it should not work for the grown-ups.

You’re selling it wrong

nasty recruiter person

From sales perspective I can understand this move as a random value proposition. The guess is based on Ukrainian people generally feeling less secure than before and willing to do something about that (you probably know about Russia invading Ukraine).

This post is a clear objection and seeing an objection from a person you’re trying to sell something to is a clear sign you’re trying to sell to early. Meaning: ask about what is valuable first.

To save some time to all the sane future recruiters, I’m writing this opus. If you’re reading this and you’re a recruiter – let’s talk, I already like you for doing some homework ; )

What is in relocation for me

Case 1: US

Recently my company decided not to sponsor my H1B (for those who’re not knowledgeable: H1B is USA visa which is considered to be one of the ways to become a citizen in the end).

Given that we talked about this for a year, my feeling towards the news best can be approximated by childhood stuff: “I am no longer a beloved kid”.

Depending on circumstances, I would qualify that as a hit to one of the stages of Maslow’s pyramid:

  • Self-esteem
  • Love and belonging

WUT: Nothing about safety and security here! You’re selling it wrong!

Maslow pyramid wifi battery

Love and belonging theme in this case is related to a bunch of teammates from the US which I love to work with and seeing them in person would feel awesome.

Thus, if I’m not in love with your company – offering me to relocate is a clear bump in self-esteem. Unfortunately, telling me that you feel I am interested – is kind of doing stuff on my territory which has nothing to do with bumping my self-esteem ; )

Case 2: Poland

A few years ago I was offered to relocate to Poland (by the company I already worked for). It clearly affected my self-esteem at first.

I also perceived it as a growth opportunity, but then they’ve made me wait half a year and I’ve quit. As growth opportunities and illusions of such are different things : )

Case 3: Japan

A random approach by a recruiter. Salary after tax would be less than I earn and that’s given that Japan is more expensive.

Could have worked 5 years ago when I was huge Anime / Japanese fan.

Case 4: Self induced

I’ve just returned from 3.5 month long trip to south-east Asia. Changing location every month or so was a huge productivity boost for me. Budget was around $1000 per month per two of us.

Generalization of my relocation experience

It is often viewed as a value proposition by a [potential] employer.

From my experience when somebody believes, you’re receiving something of value, they’re asking for something in return. So most of the offers of relocation would assume lesser salary.

Exception to this rule will be a company which is already realizing a lot of value from your relationship so they are willing to go an extra mile to make you stay.

What is in relocation for other people

One fact is that I know a lot of people who move around south east Asia year round without selling their soul to any company.

There’s a famous psychological fallacy of considering actions of others to be directed by whatever selfishness they have and your actions to be directed by the sheer good intentions.

Thus, I won’t say a thing here. I don’t understand other people and all I can do is ask them to comment.

What to do if I am a a recruiter?

Uhm. Try to talk to me like I am a normal person?

I’ve suggested this to a few recruiters and they responded with a statement that they’re just playing the numbers game in match making. More tries meaning more hires.

Playing that numbers game in this way of cold-approaching as many people as possible makes you less godlike!

As I have said so many times, God doesn’t play dice with the world. (c) Einstein

einstein

Every pick up artist knows that cold approaching people is less efficient than having some warm up (like eye contact). You can try the same approach with engineers.

warm leads recruiting

What if I would like to relocate?

Go for it. All the experiences, actions and changes count towards becoming a better version of yourself.

If you’re relocating to Ukraine – talk to me : )

TLDR

In the age of connectedness and free floating ideas location is just a tiny detail which can be easily tuned on your own.

Think twice: if you are concerned about changing the location of your body – who will be changing the world?

A few picies from Berlin

Now that I’ve spent almost 2 weeks in Berlin(mostly western), I can try to summarize my observations.

I think I can do that with a few titles: history, planned chaos, immigrants. See some photos(clickable) and notes below.

 

History

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Berlin has lots of these old-fashioned water sources, mostly capable of giving you some drinkable water.

 

 

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100th and 200th bus routes starting by the Berlin Zoo being filled with doubledeckers provide an excellent site seeing opportunity at low cost.

I’d say it’s better to do that early in the mornings when the frontal places have more changes to be free of other curious people.

 

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Being an airport for a while, Tempelhof was turned into a huge park.

 

 

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Stolpersteins(“stumbling blocks”) – most of the historical buildings have those brass plates commemorating victims of Holocaust

Planned chaos recreation

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Bright colored asymmetry all around. Unusual color patterns and unexpected bumps reach a few sensory systems one by one and I’m excited by the effect.

 

 

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Some of the bike parking places embrace the chaos too.

 

 

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Subway(U-Bahn here) stations are not afraid to look not serious and funny.

 

 

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A few pieces of virtually anything, some love and bright colors – voila, we’ve got a yet another installation for a playground.

 

 

 

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Ukrainian car owners I chatted with occasionally call cyclists something like ‘crunchies’ or ‘crispies’, because better shield people from the outside. Here it is not a problem, cyclists are just that important too.

 

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Lots of greens and parks make Berlin greener city than Kiev(which was always praised for being a park city).

Blue(and pink) temporary water pipes for construction sites all over the city make it look like Dnipropetrovsk in a way, but pipes there transfer gas and are permanent solution :)

 

Immigrants

Most of the people I’ve met here playing frisbee or being introduced by my friends were immigrants(wikipedia says it’s like a third part of the population). What’s cool about that is being new to a country you always need to achieve something and I love such people : )

Also compared to Ukraine(wink) I’ve never had a problem using English. And shawarma was generally better : )