I’m currently sipping on some citrusy Ethiopian espresso in Bangkok. I’ve been doing a bit of traveling since I last blogged. After several months of morning to evening machine learning/math/computer science studying holed up either on my couch or an office in Palo Alto I needed a change of scenery.
I did visit my friends in Los Angeles a few times which was great, but I needed something a bit more extensive. I booked this trip to Bangkok/Chiang Mai a few weeks ago, and then in the same day panic booked a trip to Sayulita, Mexico even sooner.
Mexico was fantastic and much needed as I might have lost my vision if I endured two more weeks of staring at my computer screen. I honestly never felt eye strain like that, and I did a bit of research to find out what the problem was. Apparently focusing intently on the screen caused me to blink a lot less, and being around synthetic light sources (I was working on my couch late into the night almost every day) was very bad for my eyes. I could tell something wasn’t right, but like a junkie I couldn’t break my new habit.
In Sayulita I swam, paddle boarded, ate delicious food, and tried some fine tequila/mezcals. I also put in some hours of work, but at a more relaxed pace (I couldn’t get myself to post the ultimate cheesy pic of me, my laptop, the ocean, and an infinity pool). I really enjoyed the weather and lifestyle there. I was worried that it would be too touristy (even though it was relatively unknown to me that’s apparently not the case to the rest of the world), but I felt like the tourism created the right amount of infrastructure to support my hipster lifestyle needs.
I arrived in Bangkok a few evenings ago. The rush of thick exhaust heat, chili, and sewage brought back many fond memories. It’s difficult for me to articulate what is so nice about Bangkok even though I really enjoy it. I’ve always enjoyed large metropolises perhaps due to my small-town origins. Growing up I imagined my future self in New York City hanging out with intellectuals and the moneyed crowd, although that only happened for a few summer internships. The downsides of NYC though are the harsh winters, many harsh people, and low standard of living due to expenses. Bangkok reminds me of NYC, except it’s mostly Thai people, hot, friendly, and I can live at the Ritz on a New York poverty-line budget. There are equal amounts of pollution and little nature, but I do enjoy the infinite options of restaurants/nightlife that both cities have. On the street that I’m staying on (Thong Lor) alone I couldn’t even come close to touring the multitude of fine coffee establishments. Most of the city isn’t like this, but the hipster/fancy neighborhoods here rival anywhere else in the world.
As far as update on what I’m working on I’ve been reluctant to talk much about it, but I’ve been pretty deep into studying the cryptocurrency landscape. It’s a cool combination of the things I’ve been interested in most of my life (economics, game theory, philosophy, finance) as well as my newer interests in computer science. It’s very complicated even for me, but it’s one of the things that makes it so intriguing. I’m frequently turned off by the get-rich-quick charlatans and greed that pervades the field, but it has a large quantity of brilliant people as well. Reading about the origins of Bitcoin really blew my mind thinking how some person(s) practically created it.
I’ve also been confronting myself with the reality that I really need to get back to writing. I’m fully of the mind that it’s good to have an income producing work, as well as an artistic outlet. In the past I struggled with the ideology that I should be “all-in” on whatever I think it is I should be doing regardless of money concerns. I never felt guilty making money, but I felt guilty if I was doing something primarily for money. Like I was wasting my life on trivial things when the clock is ticking. It’s taken a long time but I’m coming to the understanding that the answer almost always lies in the middle. I don’t want to be a monk chanting all day, but I also don’t be grinding and competing in status/money games mindlessly just because that’s what people on Instagram are doing. Splitting my time between the world of money and society, as well as in the artistic mystical space of creation with no ulterior motives is the balance I need (for now).
Have a great week, and here’s a picture from a really cool Ice Cream shop/lounge called Mocking Tales in Bangkok!