on Taipei and travel and going outside
Taipei may not be on everyone's bucket list, but if you haven't spent a lot of time in Asia, then it is novel af. I'm not sure what the neuroscience of novelty is, but it seems like my brain is just going "wow this matches no patterns I know of wow wow wowww" all the time, and that feels fun.
Taipei is lush and verdant. Plants and trees live here as much as people. It feels peaceful, orderly, and safe. Sprinkle in some solar panels, vegan restaurants, and regenerative gardens and it would make a fine solarpunk city.
The closest I've been to Taipei is Hong Kong. My brain is on high alert to match patterns to Hong Kong, but mostly it sighs and gives up and creates new “stuff in the world” files.
I met my dad at the Taipei airport yesterday. We both got past baggage claim and were trying to find each other. "Do you see the person dressed in the red dinosaur costume?" "No." "Really? Ok, do you see the tourist information sign?" "Yes." "Ok well go stand under it." "I'm there, waving my arms." "Me too. I don't see you." (We were at different gates.)
Travel is like this, always catching yourself in an assumption. You're constantly reminded that the world is bigger and more complex than your little mental model of it, and perhaps over time you can better intuit where your assumptions might be.
Travel is great because if you're traveling, then being outside and doing fun stuff is what you're supposed to be doing. You feel so wasteful if you waste the day inside, and so out you go.
I have traveled a long way to say: it’s awesome outside. I am entirely uninformed about the current dramas of Bing and AI safety and #CatsIfTheyWereABlueberry (ok I did check out that hashtag because wtf). But that’s ok—I'm not going to save us from AI or help our hashtags make sense. The sun is shining and just experiencing this beautiful world is enough for me to justify my existence today.
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