The collection of diaries on lifestyle choices.
I rarely find myself blogging, but from time to time, I will write a long-form reply on some forum, I've collected these entries here. You can find more collected questions & answers in the faqs.
Stop buying the unnecessary,
stop doing the non-essential.
I have aligned my life to the exploration of Arts & Science.
The analysis of personal statistics recorded through years of daily journaling, revealed that travel converts into the most hours of inspiration. From this insight, I have oriented my creative work toward becoming a nomad.
Multi-tasking revealed itself to have a negative impact on my productivity. Working within the confines of a single medium, would convert into long periods of lesser creativity and intermittent productivity. Living at any one place over a period of a year showed a decay in inspiration. Leaving school, learning to play music, moving abroad — showed an improvement in the realization of Arts & Sciences.
Learning to solve problems directly produced more sustained periods of output in comparison to searching for solutions which makes one dependant on the availability of material. Building specific tools mostly returned higher performance than learning general purpose tools.
Optimizing toward the need for less revenue has yielded much better results than optimizing toward the generation of more.
Remaining immobile in moments of doubts and planning, always converted into better output, against acting impulsively and making possible accidental steps away from one's goals.
I have kept journals recording the oscillation of Efficiency and Effectiveness, and used this data to optimize and navigate my own personal tempers of productivity. Based on previously recorded patterns, I assign to myself each day a single task to complete. The task is chosen specifically to utilize the optimal amount of available stamina.
When a workday ends before the daily task is completed, the day was a planning failure; and the task is broken down into smaller tasks, each assigned to one day. When a task is completed too early, the day is also a planning failure.
I do not get out of bed until I have chosen a task to complete & and a lesson to learn, and I do not go to sleep until I have logged the results. The tasks are selected in the following order: I first address the problems that slow me down, the things I find lacking in my life and the answers to questions that occupies my mind.
You are what you do. Not what you say, not what you believe, not how you vote, but what you spend your time on.Kevin Kelly
The Nomad diaries.
My first encounter with a sailing nomad was during my stay in Prague. There was a time when I may have felt homesick, but Home was suddenly becoming an increasingly vague concept shedding the meaning it previously held.
The monthly rent of our beach-side appartment in Tokyo was of about 1.75K$, and transitioning from it, to a sailboat, implicated some serious downsizing. The way we looked at it was that, within 3 years, our 20K$ sailboat would be paid at the rate of 600$ per month — Or that by halving the costs of our current living situation, we could become both "homeowners" while keeping our traveling options open.
To think that, at the time, the harder things to let go of were instruments, old consoles, books and some camera equipment — When the truly hard things to let go of would be the habitual bath, tap water and reliable internet connection.
But surely I did not do all this travel for the travel alone, I must have had passions, habits and goals before I left — Everything that used to define me is beginning to feel increasingly like distractions, simulations to protect me from truly experiencing anything. I had never let myself feel cold, I had never felt hunger.
The wind rocks the ship sideways, keeping me up at night, but all I can feel is that humbling sense of being present and part of nature. I have long forgotten about tap water, don't mind the warm water from the plastic jugs, I began to wonder why people even feel the need to take showers every day, and time away from social networks really does make me feel better.
I traded the things I thought I cared about, for things I didn't know existed.
Eventually, I got back to building things, I learned how to fix sails, repair a toilet, create electronic systems, maintain an engine — Even to live without power.
We have seen every sunset and almost every sunrise, we have sailed with dolphins, we have climbed mountains on deserted islands, and we have met the most amazing people. When it is our time to go, we will have no regrets, for we were fortunate to have seen more than we could ever hope for.
Notes on other things related to sociality.
If you asked us why we decided to go sail, I don't think we could give you a straight answer. Even the authors of our sailing manuals, considering the many perils of the ocean, cannot explain what might compel anyone to travel by sail when more modern, convenient and safer means exist. Why would anyone do something with a very real risk of not making it back to shore, and furthermore, for no obvious reward.
Perhaps we do these things in the name of freedom, freedom to practice direct experience (with all that entails. discomfort, pain, hunger and so on), here we shall name this calling to live deliberately, using Thoreau's words.
Living by proxies
Smart devices to take away the pain of thinking deep thoughts, social things against the solitude, forever removing ourselves, in exchange for protectedness, for a complete thoughtless socialized inexistence.
A creeping numbness might be to blame for our own search of this direct experience, in the form of long distance sailing, to let ourselves feel cold so we could sense the subtler changes in the weather, to go hungry to appreciate simpler foods.
Similarly, one might begin to talk instead of watching talk-shows and to play instead of watching game shows — To value the entire spectrum of sensations as necessary members of the whole that is the deliberate existence, with its potential for failure, awkwardness, loneliness, harm and death included.
To feel secure
Convenience products will protect those living at odds with nature. Novel and fashionable horrors will be popularized to subvert anyone into docility, else new fears will be provided as obedience demands.
In the name of security, a modern citizen will be thoroughly handled. A modern civilisation will deem itself total as it finally does away with all inconveniences, vanquished the totality of the Unknowable, the Indifferent, the Unorganizeable, of Nature, by means of paving over it.
We have seen the non-participation to the throughput mechanisms of society labeled as escapism, but we look at it in reverse where one escapes by being apart from nature. An illusory sense of dominion and domestication of nature might make one think of it as a place where one can escape to, and this is re-enforced when seen through the lense of a synthetic protective layer of proxies and simulations, but the protective layer doesn't curve outward upon nature, but inward upon the individual. And that is absolute escapism.
We believe that one can use nature's indifference as a reminder of the actual fortitude of their being, to learn of one's own true capacity for resilience when communing with nature — Ideas altogether at odds with modern stories, or an invitation to be part of something.
This edited version of the text was written as closing words for the Hundred Rabbits North Pacific Crossing Logbook, read it here.
To minimize suffering and to maximize security were natural and proper ends of society and Caesar. But then they became the only ends, somehow, and the only basis of law — a perversion. Inevitably, then, in seeking only them, we found only their opposites: maximum suffering and minimum security.Ray Bradbury, The Golden Apples of the Sun
Notes on Longtermism and sustainability.
In an age of disposable smart devices and unrepairable electronics, there are few topics that occupy my mind as much as solutioning for resilience.
Living aboard a sailboat, away from reliable internet connectivity, outside of delivery networks, forces us to explore ways with which we can strenghten and simplify the toolset onto which we rely.
Casting off, we abandon 3-in-1 packages, bloated always-online services and general planned obsolesce, and establish practices of recyclism, minimum viable products, small-sharp modular utilities. We see smart and resilience as opposing attributes to a device, smart is inherently contrary to a single purpose tool, and thus incompatible with longtermism.
Our focus over the past years has gradually shifted toward open-source software and modular(combinable) electronics. Looking back, we are proud of the open-source tools that we created, enabling a handful of people to exit subscription services, and inscrutable closed-source utilities. Moving forward, we begin to consider hardware, or at least software that resides closer to the metal.
I periodically find myself thinking about operating systems, or more specifically the interaction design of OSes. In attempting to tackle the difficult UX challenges of that space, unrealizing that my failure to solve these issues might very well come from the simple fact that the purpose of operating systems is to enable multi-tasking, multi-tasking that I try to eradicate from my daily life, making these issues deeply unsolvable and my love for sharp tools and OSes irreconcilable.
Sometimes I wonder if we shouldn't re-orient our focus onto things that can run on small low-power open-source single-purpose boards, but I also consider the impact of pushing for the production of more electronics as problematic, perhaps creating software targeting old hardware might be what I'm looking for.
Despite all this, I dream of a line of simple electronics, each one designed for a single purpose. Or even for things beyond the realm of electronics, like a kit bicyle with all its superfluousities removed — As it becomes increasingly difficult to find simple models with easily serviceable parts.
My dream sailboat has no diesel engine, no fuel outboard and no lead acid battery storage, but instead a compressed air engine with its compression stored in diving tanks, a bike crank powered compressor, a hydro generator pump, and a dynamo to charge our low-power electronics. The only crucial electronic systems connected to the house tanks would be the AIS transceiver, the VHF radio, a basic chartplotter and habitat lighting. Our work and entertainment electronics, like our laptops and cameras, would run off solar charging a minimal array of standard batteries.
Is there a way to create and distribute software and electronics in a way that is environmentally conscious? perhaps not.
Notes on Routine and Habits.
A typical day usually begins at around 6:00am.
I tend to try and keep my eyes shut until I have mentally drafted a rough plan of the things I will want to have done by the end of that day. I rise to grind coffee — I usually ever only drink one cup per day.
I immediately set off to complete the task I planned in bed. I know to have about 3 hours of undisturbed flow before the distraction surrounding lunch-time pulls me away from the work. My goal for each day, is to complete a single task that should take about 3 hours to complete — Or between 4 to 5 pomodoros.
After the last pomodoro, I usually cook for a half-hour, and then eat for a half-hour, and then walk for a half-hour, to fully leave the haze of the flowstate. The afternoon is spent doing maintenance, superficial work and experiments. But mostly, the afternoon is spent reading and learning. The goal is to build a catalog of exciting things to wake up to the next day and to experiment with.
The superficial work that I do involves replying to blogs & forums, editing wikipedia entries, doing maintenance to various repositories, answering emails and so on..
The day ends with journaling for a half-hour at which point I record the task done, and the lessons learned. Before sleeping, I usually read for a half-hour, I go to bed with a book, and a highlighter pen. I overline the things I want to keep for a later use, or to revisit.
The Nutrition diaries.
The function of proteins is to be used for tissue growth and repair, but when carbohydrates and calories are lacking, proteins can be consumed for fuel.
The human body's own proteins are constantly being broken down into amino acids and used throughout its systems.
The human body is mostly made of proteins, and proteins are made of amino acids — permutations of carbon, oxygen, hydrogen, nitrogen and sometimes sulphur. There are 22 amino acids in total and all but 9 can be synthesized, the Essential Amino Acids.
To be used for growth and repair, a protein needs have access to the full sequence of required essential amino acids. If an essential amino acid is missing, the unusable remaining amino acids are broken down into fats or sugars.
Examples of foods with essential amino acid content of at least 70% of a complete protein(see Limiting Amino Acids) are oats, garbanzo beans, sunflower seeds, buckwheat, red/white/black beans, rice, peanuts and pumpkin seeds.
There are a few things in life that are as transformative and transhumanistic as nutrition
There are also high-quality proteins in green beans, swiss chard, broccoli, mustard greens, asparagus and potatoes but in lesser quantity.
Soy products have within them 100% of a complete protein, or the correct ratio of essential amino acids for the body to use in tissue growth and repair.
The high-quality protein foods can be made whole by combining with other ingredients, but the basic optimal combinations is Beans with grains, nuts or seeds.
The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will instruct his patient in the care of the human frame in diet and in the cause and prevention of diseases.Thomas Edison, 1903