Without getting into too much of a theoretical debate on truth, it’s interesting sometimes to think about lies – the lies we tell ourselves and others, the lies we help propagate, the lies we shape our lives around. Whatever colour we decide to call it, a lie is a lie. The best definition I’ve found of a lie is: “a known untruth expressed as truth“. How many times in our lives have we all told a lie? And perhaps seemingly insignificant at the time, what impact did these lies have?
Let’s take a look at the least potent type of lie – the white lie. White lies are considered to be harmless, and some suggest that they may even be beneficial. Hey, what harm could a little lie really do? “Yeah, that dress looks great on you!”, or “I can’t come to your party, I’m sick.” White lies get us out of uncomfortable situations without initially hurting the other person’s feelings. And let’s face it, most of us appreciate hearing a kind word more than the perhaps difficult truth. Not telling the truth, however, always carries with it possible risks and uncontrollable consequences, no matter how small the lie. Let’s say that the lady you so kindly complimented wears the dress out to a party and receives raised eyebrows and incites whispers wherever she goes. She won’t be angry at herself for wearing the dress; she’ll be angry at you for not telling her that the dress was inappropriate. The friend whose party invitation you so kindly declined by saying that you are sick will still think that your friendship is strong and may still continue investing in that friendship. Even little white lies have consequences, just as the cold, hard truth would.
How much of our lives has been impacted and shaped by lies? Lies that have steered us ever so imperceptibly in one direction or another, leading us to the moment that we are in right now. Lies told by us, and lies told to us by others. “Yes, I finished all my homework.” … “No, we weren’t drinking.” … “I’m in love with you.”
Where would we be if we told and were told only the truth?
Perhaps I have harped on a little too much about the benefits of travelling, but now, freshly back from two weeks in the south of France, I couldn’t be more certain that the harping on has to continue. I admit though that travelling these days is not what it once was, and if you fly economy, it’s even worse. How in their right minds they think that a grown human being can sit for 7 hours in a seat the size of a kindergartner’s chair is beyond me. Add to that the barely edible space food, the crowds, the screaming children, the delays… you’d need a vacation just after all that. But eventually you arrive (maybe with your luggage, maybe not – the latter being my case) to your destination.
Cannes, France - the beach
The destination for me this time was the glorious sea-side city of Nice, France. I’d visited Nice two years ago but very briefly, during a quick trip through the Cote d’Azur. This time, I had a full two weeks to explore and enjoy the region. Nice is tucked away into the beautiful Baie des Anges (Bay of Angels) in the Alpes-Maritimes area of France. What this amounts to then is a sparkling bay lined with palm trees and beaches, with a lush mountain range forming the backdrop. Nice itself is a pretty, picturesque port town with pastel-coloured buildings, complete with ornate French balconies and gardens full of colourful oleander bushes. The old medieval part of the city is a tangled array of narrow streets that lead to a sea-side market of fresh fruits, vegetables, and fish. The whole town is perfect for aimless, ambling walks with a basket of cheese, baguette, and wine in hand.
“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.”
– St. Augustine
Every now and then, we get some time off from the rat race to “enjoy life” (though we should be enjoying it every day, no? but I digress). Sometimes we already know how we will be spending that free time, but sometimes, we are free to choose a destination.
And so we hmm and haw about where to go, and more often than not, choose a place that we’ve been to before. Well, no longer! Below are a few pictures from some extraordinary places worth exploring to add more creativity and spontaneity to your life. There is really nothing more exciting (in my nomadic opinion) than getting on a plane to a new, foreign destination. All the new experiences and possibilities that await can make you feel reborn and can give you a new perspective on life. For me, travelling to Egypt and staying in a rundown rooftop hostel in downtown Cairo during 7 days of exploration was an eye-opening experience. It made me realize how little I needed in order to be perfectly happy, and how many of the material things in my life were clutter and wasted money. I think sometimes that we buy stuff just to feel like we have achieved something, done something.. when really, we are just trying to distract ourselves from confronting life and actively making it better.
Before I get sidetracked into talking about consumerism, here are a few photos to get you started. I’ll add more ideas as we go along (I’ve got a whole bucket-full of them saved for myself). Here are also two amazing and my favourite Tumblr pages for travel pictures: FuckYeahGlobetrotters and The World We Live In. Happy Travels!
Lupins, Lake Tekapo, New Zealand
Most of us in North America have been stuck at work during the opening games of the World Cup. Following the games on a score tracker online is not quite the same as watching it on tv. For most of us, streaming online is not an option and taking time off work for the entire month of June is likely not feasible. The only thing left for us to do is reorient our working hours around the games. This is where the graph above comes into play, courtesy of the BBC (more here).
The basic premise of the graph is to categorize your tasks into each of the four categories above, thereby focusing your efforts on only the most crucial work. The graph asks you two questions: “Is the work important or unimportant?” and “Is it urgent or not urgent?”. Depending on the answer to those two questions, each task falls into one of the categories and gives you an actionable decision on your workload. If your workplace is flexible, you may be able to complete all of your crucial tasks for the day and then leave a bit early, if necessary making up the time at a later date or using your vacation time to cover the missed hours. This is even easier if working from home is an option.
Not only is the graph above useful for the World Cup season, but also for your regular day-to-day work. Constantly assessing the urgency and importance of your work allows you to focus on what really matters, what really brings value, thereby removing wasted time and effort. It makes you more productive and satisfied with your work, allowing you to achieve goals and make substantial progress. And catch all the World Cup games ;)
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” ~ Mark Twain
As I sit here listening to Barry White and looking out at an abandoned residential street on a Friday night, I can’t help but think that life could be better (or frankly, much worse). I mean, knock on wood, I have my health, and there is nothing terribly traumatic going on in my life right now. But after being exposed daily to stories of exciting lives and interesting careers, I can’t help but think that life needs to be just something… more. Continue reading
Hello World! It is indeed a joy for me to be finally addressing The World. I mean, I could say that I have been addressing The World since birth, but The World hasn’t always listened (if it did, we’d all have four-day workweeks and mandatory beach breaks… but alas, we do not). Heck, who says The World will listen now? Well, really it doesn’t matter, as long as I’ve got your pretty little eyes reading this and your smart brain thinking about what I say.
This blog will be all about those abstract, curious, uninhibited thoughts that float through our minds on a daily basis. Instead of letting them float by, I will grab hold of each one and try to shake it up and turn it on its head. The goal will be to come out with an idea, action, or concept that may be helpful in all of our lives. We’re going to partake in a bit of life hacking – taking apart what we perceive/believe/accept in order to transform it to help improve our lives.
You will hopefully understand where I’m going once we depart. But for now, sit back, relax, and let the Astramari flight attendants serve you a drink with a pink umbrella. For you may need it once we set off on this voyage…
About your Captain
I’m very curious, a bit odd, questionably educated. Old enough to see behind me but young enough to feel my soul. Passionately interested for short bursts of time. Focused on the future. And undoubtedly from outer space, as we all are.