Everything is fine, until that exact moment when it’s obviously not.
September 22, 2016 8:35 PM   Subscribe

 
49. The most interesting destinations aren’t geotagged, are not easily geo-taggable. Bonus points if you can figure that one out.

Anybody know the answer?
posted by ashbury at 9:09 PM on September 22, 2016


The behaviour of silicon valley’s nouveau riche is often parodied but when it comes to weirdness, faith trumps money every time. Any bets on the first Silicon Valley billionaire to successfully marry the two?

I would be more interested in knowing the denomination than the name. Is he thinking it will be Tibetan Buddhism? It's going to be something way weirder than that, like Manichean Transhumanism.

You have to show ID to buy gasoline is sad but I have no doubt the west is headed to it.
posted by bukvich at 9:50 PM on September 22, 2016 [2 favorites]


ashbury, perhaps a destination that moves around, like a herd of animals, or a person?
posted by solitary dancer at 9:53 PM on September 22, 2016 [1 favorite]


Perhaps places you can't get a good GPS signal?
posted by JoeZydeco at 9:58 PM on September 22, 2016 [2 favorites]


Wow! I loved reading this. Those are, of course, places that I rarely think about in these terms, if at all. What a great inspiration to keep my universe expanding.
posted by So You're Saying These Are Pants? at 9:58 PM on September 22, 2016


This is a fascinating article. Definitely read all the comments, too!
posted by Harvey Kilobit at 9:59 PM on September 22, 2016


...not easily geo-taggable...

Anybody know the answer?

I was thinking, there's no service there.
posted by So You're Saying These Are Pants? at 9:59 PM on September 22, 2016


17. Every time you describe someone in your own country as a terrorist, a freedom is taken away from a person in another country. Every country has its own notion of "terrorism," and the overuse, and reaction to the term in your country helps legitimise the crack-down of restive populations in other countries.
posted by Harvey Kilobit at 10:02 PM on September 22, 2016 [13 favorites]


My assumption is that electronic devices & cameras aren't necessarily welcome in the most interesting destinations. You just need GPS to geotag, and I don't imagine that all the most interesting places are blocked from satellite reception.
posted by polyhedron at 10:04 PM on September 22, 2016


They are particularly not welcome if everybody presumes you are a spy.
posted by bukvich at 10:23 PM on September 22, 2016 [1 favorite]


Def check out Long Way Round on Netflix for lots of -Stan border crossings.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 10:26 PM on September 22, 2016 [1 favorite]


Re: non-geotaggable destinations: temporary/momentary markets or food stalls, such as the ones in Xian, where 20~30 street food vendors will appear at night around an intersection and set up a bustling, warm food market (complete with tables, chairs, drink vendors, etc) that will disappear in the morning.

or: natural phenomena that are a result of relatively temporary factors that will soon move or disappear as time passes.
posted by suedehead at 10:28 PM on September 22, 2016 [5 favorites]


OK, there were some interesting things in here, but how is it "61 Glimpses of the Future"? I mean, I get that it's about China, which is THE FUTURE, but it seemed like 61 glimpses of the present, in this one interesting corner of China?

And then there were things like this, which were just aggravating:

If you want to understand how our planet will turn out this century, spend time in China, India, Indonesia, Nigeria and Brazil.

OK, good job naming a bunch of up-and-coming economies, but how do these places help you understand that? What did these places help you understand?

If you’re wondering how long the Chinese economic miracle will last, the answer will probably be found in the bets made on commercial and residential developments in Chinese 3rd to 6th tier cities in Xinjiang, Gansu, Qinghai and Tibet.

OK, and what are those bets and what do they say about the Chinese economic miracle?

What I'm saying is, I miss good travel writing. This reads like a series of tweets from the account of a pretentious guy who reads Wired and The Economist, which is fine but not super-insightful.
posted by lunasol at 10:38 PM on September 22, 2016 [64 favorites]


OK, good job naming a bunch of up-and-coming economies, but how do these places help you understand that? What did these places help you understand?

success tends to impress its image on the world?
posted by philip-random at 10:42 PM on September 22, 2016


success tends to impress its image on the world?

Maybe that's what he meant? But he didn't actually say. This piece struck me as incredibly pretentious because of tossed of statements like this that are meant to sound intelligent but actually say nothing.
posted by lunasol at 11:02 PM on September 22, 2016 [16 favorites]


I liked it, because it reminded me of Bruce Sterling: pithy epigrams that cause the reader to blue-sky-imagine possible futures. But I can see that if you wanted a travelogue or an essay, you'd be disappointed by it.
posted by Harvey Kilobit at 11:09 PM on September 22, 2016 [3 favorites]


It's secretly an ad for this $1000.00 duffel bag: "I travelled these 7,000 km with a single piece of hand-luggage, the D3."
posted by hapticactionnetwork at 11:17 PM on September 22, 2016 [24 favorites]


> What I'm saying is, I miss good travel writing. This reads like a series of tweets from the account of a pretentious guy who reads Wired and The Economist, which is fine but not super-insightful.

Pretentious people are inherently less curious.
posted by Phssthpok at 11:49 PM on September 22, 2016 [10 favorites]


The most interesting destination is when you find yourself, and you can't geotag the human soul, maan
posted by eykal at 11:55 PM on September 22, 2016 [11 favorites]


A white male travelling alone in interesting places, will always need to disprove they are a spy. Thanks Hollywood.
*record scratch*

One of the very interesting things about the last few decades of the information age is the permanence of the things we say. For me to point out articles exactly like these have been written for as long as I can remember involves having lived for long enough to remember. Future white males traveling alone will have access to so many of the previous glimpses into the future that maybe their proclamations will seem as trite and unoriginal as they do to me.

Will things be different when people are born "old"?
posted by fullerine at 12:12 AM on September 23, 2016 [6 favorites]


61. The most interesting aspects of this, or any trip will never make it onto any list.

So I noticed.
posted by adept256 at 12:23 AM on September 23, 2016 [35 favorites]


These TED-talking tech people write with a veneer layer of philosophy and thoughtfulness but you can always see the pure capitalist core within.
posted by scose at 12:29 AM on September 23, 2016 [32 favorites]


I first thought the writer was part of a unique, off-beat, non-profit NGO doing global research for public policy work, like environmental or human rights advocacy, but in the end I still found it an interesting piece about what coolhunters think about their job.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 2:09 AM on September 23, 2016 [2 favorites]


Everything is fine, until that exact moment when it’s obviously not.

You don't need to travel to Tibet to figure that out.
posted by sour cream at 3:34 AM on September 23, 2016 [4 favorites]


We like new places
That jets can't take you to

-Devo, Explosions, 1982

I am pretty sure they meant inside vaginas. Thirty-four years ago.
posted by Meatbomb at 3:56 AM on September 23, 2016 [2 favorites]


If you want to understand where a country is heading pick a 2nd or 3rd tier city and revisit it over many years.

That pretty much rings true whether in GBAO, Indonesia, Japan, or the US.
Never mind San Francisco, Tokyo, or Jakarta: check out Hartford, Gifu, or Surakarta.
Not sure what the first, second, or third tier is in GBAO.
posted by Gotanda at 3:57 AM on September 23, 2016


I'm pretty sure this guy thinks that he's living in the trilogy that William Gibson wrote during the aughts, i.e. the least interesting one.
posted by Halloween Jack at 4:37 AM on September 23, 2016 [2 favorites]


For a truly original piece of travel writing, and from an interesting non-Western perspective, I would highly recommend Vikram Seth's From Heaven Lake. It was written a while ago, so maybe a bit dated as to the specifics, but it covers a lot of the same ground and really gives you a sense of the people.
posted by peacheater at 4:52 AM on September 23, 2016 [2 favorites]


I do not like some modern travel adventure blogs and media. As mentioned above thread, it comes off as a bit pretentious. More than that, the underlying, oft-unsaid narratives here have a habit of stomping on my dreams.

>"How I traveled the world in two years"*

*After quitting my 100k-a-year Fortune 500 management job I got right out of university via my fraternity friend, my dad, ruthlessly undermining my competition, or simply appearing relatable to the tough-guy borderline sociopaths that run the company

I'm an unintentionally effeminate loser with no guts. The financial means, the appearance and tenacity required to embark on these journeys are all definitely out of my reach. Nonetheless I desperately want to travel too.

Makes me hate these [almost always] men that pull this globe-trotting, man-of-the-world, aping-Hemingway bullshit. It's all a performance so they can bring it up at dinners and tell their trust-fund, spiritual-gremlin offspring later in life.
posted by constantinescharity at 6:19 AM on September 23, 2016 [6 favorites]


OH yes I know the type. 'I spent my gap year backpacking across Europe. You should too!' as if that's a remote possibility for 99% of people. Oblivious to their privilege.
posted by adept256 at 6:49 AM on September 23, 2016 [4 favorites]


We show ID when we buy our gas with a credit or debit card, or insert our Costco card, or our customer rewards card. If we don't cash out our pay, and spend cash, and ignore rewards cards, then we show ID every time we purchase anything. Then plate readers for license plates, identify where the owner of the car we are driving is. It is time to recognize privacy concerns as delusional. I didn't even mention surveillance cameras in every convenience store, and every service desk for any industry. I think it is probably a lot easier to find privacy in the GBAO than in any place in America.

Rich and privileged or not, travelers have to write well to be read. The era of the great white traveler is over, the ubiquitous digital camera has opened the entire world to scrutiny, and those Sherpas, river people, dwellers everywhere will develop the eye to make great images and share their own stories, unfiltered. I attended a lecture by Art Wolfe a well known photographer, traveler, who was decrying the fact that his stock imagery was only pulling down $4000-$5000 per month, rather than the $50,000 he had grown accustomed to. He was starting to work on more arty images, using the potential of digital, rather than just stock imagery of the Himalayas.
posted by Oyéah at 8:01 AM on September 23, 2016 [2 favorites]


17, about the use of the word terrorism. Legit point, or not? My first thought is that terrorism as a term is fairly straightforward & is reasonably applied to anyone in any country who commits acts of violence to incite terror. Not saying it because some people misuse it sounds like another version of the retarded/special/mentally challenged cycle. Is it a genuine concern?
posted by Baethan at 8:45 AM on September 23, 2016 [1 favorite]


Since this is a glorified listicle, it seems up to be me to draw up a thesis statement. My conclusion in that regard is: it will still be awesome to be rich as shit in the future.
posted by codacorolla at 9:03 AM on September 23, 2016 [6 favorites]



If you want to understand how our planet will turn out this century, spend time in China, India, Indonesia, Nigeria and Brazil.

OK, good job naming a bunch of up-and-coming economies


I wasn't even going to give him that much credit; I was going to say "Good job naming five of the world's seven most populous countries."

Which is not to say that a country's population is entirely irrelevant in measuring a country's current or future influence on a global scale, but it's not the only or even the most important one.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 9:07 AM on September 23, 2016 [1 favorite]


OK, good job naming a bunch of up-and-coming economies, but how do these places help you understand that? What did these places help you understand?

That's simple enough- within 20 years getting into and out of places like Chicago and Detroit will involve knowing which military checkpoints to approach, and which to avoid.
posted by happyroach at 9:11 AM on September 23, 2016 [1 favorite]


Except, of course, the dude has absolutely nothing to say (or that he's willing to say on the internet, anyway) about how to know which ones to approach or avoid. There's something more than a little smug about how he lets you know that he knows the secret to this spider-sense.
posted by Halloween Jack at 10:50 AM on September 23, 2016 [5 favorites]


Well, he's lumping together a lot of disparate places with that sentence. As an Indian citizen, I've never had to be cognizant of any military checkpoints in India whatsoever.
posted by peacheater at 11:06 AM on September 23, 2016


OK, there were some interesting things in here, but how is it "61 Glimpses of the Future"?

Eh, if there's anything I've taken away from a lifetime of reading, it's that the title/headline of a piece is usually written after the text, and not always by the person who wrote the text. So it's kind of a bullshit title, but it was an interesting-enough impression/glimpse into a part of the word most Westerners (self unabashedly included) aren't familiar with.

And some of the aphorisms are twee, but this:
6. A truly great border crossing will hold a mirror up to your soul.
...reminded me of the time I crossed from Nicaragua into Costa Rica on an all-day bus ride while suffering minor digestive distress. We had to wait four hours standing in the sun to cross at the border, and the experience clarified for me that my soul is essentially docile but possessed of great intestinal fortitude. So there's that.
posted by psoas at 1:36 PM on September 23, 2016


How can a black plastic duffel bag be worth a thousand bucks?
posted by JonB at 2:07 PM on September 23, 2016


Re geotagging, could be because GPS doesn't work in Tibet? At least it didn't when I was there in 2010. I assume it was blocked somehow.
posted by liebchen at 2:15 PM on September 23, 2016


5. You no longer need to carry a translation app on your phone. If there’s someone to speak with, they’ll have one on theirs.

Ah, nice. Offload that effort to the Other.

7. A white male travelling alone in interesting places, will always need to disprove they are a spy. Thanks Hollywood.

This seems to me to be a smaller problem than a brown man travelling alone to some places, who will always need to disprove they're a terrorist.

53. All visitors to Tibet proper are supposed to go in a tour group and hire a local guide. With the right agent you can become a tour group of one and on arrival tell the guide you don’t need their services. It helps to look like you’re going to behave.

Right. If you fit a certain appearance. I have a feeling that being white and looking like you're going to behave is very different from "always needing to disprove they are a spy".
posted by qcubed at 3:15 PM on September 23, 2016 [2 favorites]


I'm curious if the author is suggesting a film or digital camera. I still have a Nikon F3 which has served me in previous travels, but I've not done the rugged to have to choose in some time.
posted by xtian at 6:17 PM on September 23, 2016 [1 favorite]


I would suggest that the Calvert Journal does a much better job reporting about this sort of thing.
posted by JohnFromGR at 6:35 PM on September 23, 2016 [1 favorite]


> GPS doesn't work in Tibet?

GPS isn't blockable (unless via a GPS jammer, etc). GPS works by communicating with a series of satellites, getting the delay in communication, and triangulating location -- so it should work anywhere that has a good enough view of the sky (i.e. won't work in caves).
posted by suedehead at 10:11 AM on September 26, 2016


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