It’s strange to write this, but I’m into my final week of Bali for the year. Next week I fly back to Puerto Rico (via stopping in Moscow which sounds cool), and back to normal-ish life. I’ve spent just over 3 months in Bali this year, broken up into two trips. It feels like a second home now, but I won’t be back for a year or so, if ever.
My girlfriend asked me what my probabilities of coming back next year/ever coming back. I put my chances of coming back next year at 50%, and my ever coming back at 80%. I was pretty surprised at my 50-50 assessment for next year (it feels like I’m just taking off for the fall/winter), but there’s a lot of other great places in the world. I am missing non-tropical mountains, woods, and forests. Places like Colorado, New Zealand, Utah, and Iceland are some places that I’ve been to that sound appealing now. Plenty of other places as well that I haven’t been to (Wyoming/Montana/that whole region, Chile/Argentina). The one thing left that I wanted to do in Bali but didn’t was to see the Komodo Dragons up north, but with our visitors and my preference to work more these past few months we never got around to it.
Although I’m fantasizing about the woods, I am looking forward to going back to Puerto Rico. Even living in the capital, the beaches are peaceful, and I’m looking forward to my regular walks by the ocean. I’m also looking forward to seeing everyone again, and just the general atmosphere. It feels like home as much as anywhere now.
I read a little bit about meditation (Adyashanti and Osho are my favorites in the genre), as well as do a little bit of meditation itself, almost daily. An insight that hit me in an odd way lately was thinking about the world if/when I’m not around anymore. It wasn’t an exercise in pumping my ego thinking about everyone missing me, or the opposite, a fear that I’m not significant, but just a thought about being a ghost observing reality if I was suddenly gone. I wasn’t really thinking about anyone closely connected to me, more so society in general, and nature.
The first thing that hit me was that everything would carry on as usual. The waves would be crashing along the beach, children would be playing in the alleys and smiling, and outside of my microscopic circle of influence, everything would be exactly the same. It’s logical and obvious, but I guess I never really truly thought about it. My perception of everything comes from an internal viewpoint, so with that gone, it was hard for me to imagine nothing else changing along with it.
The second thing that occurred to me, which was what I ended up spending more time pondering this weekend, was how little of what goes on in my head actually makes it into reality. If I was to disappear, all of these vague thoughts, intentions, fantasies, plans, etc. that all seem like they might unfold with time, would go along with me as if I never thought them. I project into the future and live in my head a lot, and in that fantasy world I know Spanish, have a mentorship environment set up in Puerto Rico as well as online resources for remote young people, am a grizzled veteran of financial machine learning with the financial accolades as well as war stories to go with it, have a six-pack, can levitate while meditating, and a ton of other things (that are even more remote/unlikely/would I even want them to happen) like weird conversations with people I’ve never met. Some of these things are in motion (I am steadily chipping away on improving my Machine Learning and trading skills at least), but none of them are reality yet, and most of them I’m not even working on in my daily life, so they are just potential future fantasies.
I did have a little panic about all of my trading work disappearing. No one knows how good my fake historical returns are on my latest algorithms, and even if I continue to get those results in real life, it will take years of reinvesting before I can walk around with my chin tilted up with an a$$hole sense of superiority, but it’s just ego. It’s like playing a chess video game in your parents basement for hours a day, crushing the computer on the hardest setting, but without any real proof of your abilities (or anyone caring for that matter). I had a good laugh about it eventually though, but still giving it my daily efforts.
I guess the action item from this insight was precisely that: action. I do need to do more planning first, and figure out what I really want to spend time on (and how), but I do want something else in motion besides just maintaining my current lifestyle and improving at financial ML. I have some good algorithms running now, so I don’t have the self-created pressure in that area to sprint because nothing is working. I’ve been cutting back on the most offensive of my time wasters (sports news, social media) with better ones (YouTube tutorials), and this little improvement has freed up a lot of time (can only do so many tutorials before work sounds appealing again), as well as made me realize how much time I have. I can’t do brain-intensive creative work 12 hours a day, but perhaps I can slip in small blocks of easier things to break up the day that progress me in other areas that I’m interested in (instead of just vegetating mindlessly, unless I’m getting mindless via meditation which is good).
I had to stare off into the walls quite a bit to remember my insights from spacing out, and I think my fellow co-workers might be getting a little weirded out that I might be staring at them, so it’s time to get back to the trading research for me. My track record of producing a blog when I’m traveling to/from Bali is pretty bad, so no promises for next week, but I shall be back soon enough with more ramblings. Leaving you with a pic of myself (right after hiking 30 minutes down the cliff and clinging for my life after nearly slipping and falling) at Diamond Beach in Nusa Penida. Have a great week!