Categories
Community Finance Travel

Day 1155 and On The Ground

It’s come as a bit of surprise to me that I’ve done so much on the ground work in the last two years. Not so long ago I was basically bed ridden and stuck inside for the extended run of the Pandemic. Now I spend half my time on the road again.

Once I was settled comfortably on our homestead in Montana and had an acceptable level of resiliency planning done, I hit the road to pursue my particular brand of weirdo off the beaten path ground work investing.

I cultivate movements, memes, degenerates, eccentrics and engineers. I’ve made many trips to far flung corners of the European continent including extended stays in the Baltics and the Balkans.

You have to experience problems first hand if you are serious about investing in the people whose ideas can have a large enough impact at country, continental or global scale. It’s easy to be bamboozled at the edges so it’s best to be clear eyed about human nature and how technology can improve or harm a given incentive set.

It’s my hope that I’ll put in some face time in other interesting geographically interesting regional hubs. I’ve got Argentina on my agenda but I’ll likely make trips to the Middle East and Singapore as well. If you are in an interesting hub with a desire to pursue ambitious ideas let me know. Maybe I’ll swing by and we can meet.

The emerging network states of culture, affinity and intellect are far flung. The type of free market capitalism preferring decentralized resiliency minded crypto- libertarians are welcomed in as many corners as we are shunned. Either way you will find me on the ground looking for ways to make our incentives improve upon our human natures

Categories
Culture Travel

Day 1154 and Putting on Airs

This time last year I was in a Mexican seaside resort town for a family birthday. While I never even got in the water I did soak in something else. I absorbed a human truth. For most of us, being rich isn’t an absolute state but a comparative one.

The local Mexican townie culture of Puerto Vallarta and its relationship to American Boomers reflects the cynical math of resort towns and tourist destinations the world over. It’s about feeling richer than someone else.

Apparently you go abroad because being rich and living in luxury aren’t the same thing. Plenty of Americans don’t feel rich.

It’s a source of intense insecurity and much of our national politics reflects the desire of Americans wanting “being rich” to mean living in luxury in comparison to someone else

Day 797 and Feeling Rich

By coincidence I’m in a seaside town again this year. I spent some of the day seeing the same class dynamics that I saw in Mexico.

I’m on the Ionian Sea in what is aspirationally called the Albanian Riviera. I say aspirational as it’s technically correct. It is in Albania and has all the qualities of other rivieras you may have been to in France of Italy.

Cliffside views on the Albanian Riviera.

It’s astonishingly beautiful in its natural splendor. It is awash in foreign wealth if you are close to the beach. The blue Ionian Sea is quite a draw.

The off season on the Ionian Sea
Empty pools and empty roads

It has the unmistakable angst of those wanting to feel rich. It’s packed with Italians. It would seem Italians come here Albanian to feel rich just as Americans do in Mexico.

If you’ve ever been to South Beach and had cause to step off the luxury hotel lineup of Collins Avenue into the Miami exurban swamplands you can probably mimic the feeling I am experiencing. Showy wealth doesn’t extend much beyond the constructed resort experiences.

I went an an automobile mechanic not more than a half mile from Main Street along the seaside. I saw the old communist block housing. Every place has its townies and the help can’t be too far off.

Every resort needs housing
Communist housing or resort town housing?

So if you want to “put on airs” as the British say and show off your wealth stop and ask yourself if feeling rich is about other people.

Categories
Aesthetics Travel

Day 1153 and Open Roads

I went on a “long” drive today. It took three hours go about 160 kilometers, which is for Americans about 35 miles per hour. The speed limit was technically 60 mph (or 90km an hour) but traffic was everywhere and open road a mere dream.

Americans are so spoiled for our interstate system. I’d encourage anyone who can to rent a car and drive the roads of greater Europe and remind yourself how good we have it with Eisenhower’s legacy. Highways are not always open roads.

The various forms of traffic ranged from other vehicles to actual sheep. Spring is around the corner in the Mediterranean and little lambs tend to wander. Police, and pedestrians wandered even far from the city and nowhere was there more than a few kilometers to open the throttle. The black Mercedes I rode in roared through needless roundabouts.

I wasn’t exactly in civilization during most of the drive. I was going from a fairly major city to a beach town. In between was not so picturesque villages and ample signs of degrowth.

If Americans are saddened by rest stop towns and hollowed out empty America, do not make the mistake that it’s unique to us. Inflation, corruption, poverty and overbearing government are everywhere that we tolerate it. If we must have an expensive bureaucracy the least they can give us is the open road.

Categories
Finance Startups

Day 1147 and Balkan Crypto

I’m in the Balkans for a few weeks doing some scouting and visiting with friends and colleagues. The western Balkans including Albania, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Serbia and Montenegro are known for their occasionally colorful participation in cryptocurrencies.

The region has experienced currency volatility, struggles with central banking and even in Albania a civil war stemming from a financial crisis over government Ponzi schemes.

These negative experience with currency instability, government corruption and sociopolitical unrest has led to a desire to experiment with transparency and decentralization amongst the region’s youth.

The ecosystem is host to serious projects has a talented base of engineers. Ripple is experimenting with a national stable coin in Montenegro. Zuzalu, the two-month invite-only gathering that Ethereum blockchain co-founder Vitalik Buterin led in Montenegro has been a regional hub. And it has inspired a new grants program Zu- villages that strikes me as a cross between network state and a DAO with Gitcoin.

In an editorial in Bitcoin Magazine the founder of the Belgrade Bitcoin Hub summed up the “why”

As a result of years of unfulfilled promises from regional politicians, people of the Balkans are hard to convince about the long-term benefits that can be realized by adopting Bitcoin in one’s life. A low time preference way of life to most people in this region is associated with disappointment and the lowered standards of living that have happened many times before.

Plumski founder of the Belgrade Bitcoin Hub.

Categories
Aesthetics Internet Culture

Day 1141 and Blind Optimism

The specifics of it aren’t important, the fact of the matter is that it’s been “one thing after another” for me. I bet you know the feeling.

I felt grateful be enjoying a lower friction global homo cosmopolitanism for the night. I need something be smooth brained for a little bit.

I got middle rent generic Mediterranean street food delivered through an intermediated mobile app for dinner. And then I turned on Netflix to settle in for the most middle brow content. There is another season of Love is Blind.

I am a sucker for this show. There is something so optimistic about a blind dating marriage reality show. If you had been doom and gloom for so long imagine opening up all post-pandemic with your shiny therapy emotional journeys.

It strikes me as a pop culture cousin to effective accelerationists. Nothing says accelerate quite like committing. Marriage markets would be very e/acc.

If I have to keep living I may as well do it with the hopeful optimism of someone who throws themselves into their future. All in. I really admire the optimism.

Categories
Internet Culture Travel

Day 1139 and Coming Back Online

I took some time off the grid last week to refocus. I found it to be a bit more tiring than enlightening but I did benefit quite a bit from time offline in the quiet.

I was whisked into some immediate local concerns getting a home base set back up in a city. I speed ran the basics. I feel as if I’ll be coming back online shortly.

This morning, despite a slight cold, I enjoyed the six hour head start I had on the markers today.

After being extremely offline for a week and change, it felt fun to submerge myself in earning season discourse, inflation data, and other concerns of industry.

I’m excited for the problems in front of me, I like my placement on the board, and I trust I will play the hands when the time is right.

Categories
Aesthetics Chronicle Travel

Day 1138 and Novel New Experiences

I’ve been straining my capacity to absorb new experiences. The privilege of relative material security lets me do the work of actively seeking out more variance and novelty.

I was reading up on the basics of neuro plasticity on Perplexity and learned that we think of plasticity in a few ways. Neurogenesis is the growth of new neurons.

But the type we mostly mean when saying neuro plasticity (or learning new things) is from “synaptic cells plasticity” forming new neural connections.

Without that adaptability we couldn’t change in response to new environmental conditions or in response to injury or disease or other stresses.

I’m am inside a few new high variance experiences right now which I hope will yield new neural connections. I find it to be a bit stressful as it’s a lot of novel inputs in a short period of time.

Some experiences translate as shared reality which has the same rules anywhere there are humans. But adjusting to new social mores is always jarring.

I’ll only briefly mention it, but this is the first time I’ve been somewhere that the call to prayer is a normal prominent feature of daily life. It’s rewriting synaptic ritual time for me. I like it more than I would have imagined.

Categories
Emotional Work Travel

Day 1133 and Trading Capital for Labor

I had very ambitious plans to be present in the daily routine of being far off the civilization grid. A cabin in the woods where I attended to the daily needs of life seemed like a reinvigorating prospect. Time spent in the wilderness improves cognitive function.

I am however finding it to be really tiring to do all of the cooking and cleaning in a tight space. I feel like I just don’t have the energy to keep up with it. I am more tired by it than I has hoped I’d be.

I actually feel pretty good except that it’s just a lot more strain than I’d like to manage the basics of life. I benefit a lot from access to help as I similarly don’t have that much spare energy in a day.

Thankfully it’s possible to find civilization with a little effort. No matter how remote it is possible to find someone who would like to exchange their labor cooking a meal for your capital. Trade is the connective tissue of our species.

Categories
Emotional Work Travel

Day 1132 and Slowly Unwinding

I’ve you been following my last few posts you know I am traveling and have had some hospitality hiccups and general operational effort in pursuit of getting myself fully off the grid.

I’m slowly unwinding as I’ve finally settled into a cabin where I’m quite remote. I’ve got a lovely view high up above the mountains with views in an almost full panorama.

I’ve left the ambient noises of city living and the sounds are entirely rural. Roosters crowing, cows mooing, dogs participating in twilight barking and the very occasional human passing. It’s peaceful.

It took some doing to get myself this far off grid as I’ve in transit over multiple days but I can finally blessedly feel myself unwinding. I’d hoped to get to this state of nervous system relaxation a bit sooner but better late than never.

I’m reachable here (clearly I’ve got internet or I couldn’t post this writing) but I’ve mostly chosen to keep to myself so I can focus on the larger projects that make up my yearly goals. FreedomToCompute remains the most crucial item alongside my regular responsibilities to chaotic.capital, my founders, and my own LPs. If you want to talk to me feel free to send me an email or signal message. I’ll be very present if I’m on my phone.

Categories
Travel

Day 1131 and Cabin In The Woods

I’m pretty far off the grid right now. I’m taking this week to get some time offline to do focused work

A common theme I’ve written about is the toll of stress hormones and nervous system fatigue that we are all experiencing as life accelerates.

I find I can better focus in my very online life if I’ve taken time to be extremely offline to compile my thoughts. So I’m in a cabin in the woods.

I’m in a small space that requires a certain discipline to maintain. The very considered space has all amenities of life but I am a little removed from the hustle and bustle of a city.

I usually have the option to get help with food or chores even when I’m home in Montana. But in this off the grid retreat I am responsible for all the basics personally. That slows me down to be in the moment.

I’ve got to make each meal for myself, wash each dish by hand, and otherwise maintain my small living space with constant “pick it up and put it away” intention.

It quickly becomes cluttered and claustrophobic if I don’t. The small kitchen doesn’t allow the sprawl of multiple meals to pile up. There simply isn’t the space.

It’s my hope that by being present and effortful in these daily activities I also find that I can be present for myself. Hopefully the insights are worth it as I can’t say I care much for cooking or cleaning. But it sure is peaceful.