Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Off Topic

A couple of weeks ago, I sat down to write up an article about my life and times here in Berlin, and I got bored with it. So here's my last month at a glance:
10 World-Class Museums (Ancient Egypt, Natural History, Famous Old Artworks, Modern Artworks, German Technology, Jewish History, Cold war history)
1 Thanksgiving Dinner with a bunch of Americans I just met.
1 awesome date to a shmancy German-style spa
Riding the bike almost every day.
Below freezing temperatures and snow on the ground.
Great dinner parties and making new friends.
Yoga 3x per week
Rising at 10, going to bed after midnight
Cooking lots, drinking lots of tea & coffee & good beer
Cuddling lots, Jordana and I enjoying each other thoroughly
Navigating the city and riding the "U-bahn" (subway)
Got paid to teach a workshop on knots to an improvisational dance company

That about does it. The Bread here is great. The bathrooms are never easy to find or well-labeled, and there are no drinking fountains, even though everyone drinks tap water. A half-liter of good beer (the standard size of a bottle, equal to a little more than a pint) at the grocery store costs between 55 and 79 Euro cents (about $.75 - $1.00).

In addition to the day to day, I've been doing some reading and writing. Here is a sample of some stuff I thought was provocative.

A thought on the life of Outdoor Guide/Naturalist nomads:

The work community I belong to may be one of the most transient, constantly changing communities in the world. Unlike the truly destitute homeless, we generally come from supportive, wealthy and/or middle class families. We have access to or have built ourselves the resources to change our location and circumstances at will, world-wide. We are majority college-educated, intelligent, highly employable with clean criminal records and we own our own vehicles. We are the ultimate individuals in terms of where we choose to go and what we choose to do. Who sticks around from one season to the next is dependent mostly upon what adventure they have chosen to pursue, who they have chosen to spend their time with, or where the money is. It is a lifestyle of individual freedom and choice, perhaps more than any other. We are lucky, skilled and perhaps somewhat aloof. We believe that our lifestyle is (in more than one way) more fulfilling, more fun, and at the same time makes more of a positive impact on the world at large than what many other people spend their time doing. Unfortunately, I believe this lifestyle also reinforces that idea that what we want for ourselves is the most important thing. Many of us know that our parents, relatives, friends or others have expectations of us that go, in their eyes, beyond what we are doing now. But despite those expectations, we have chosen this life for now. We have chosen to follow our own wishes in the face of any other advice. And we all grew up in the same society. A society which has pushed individual freedom, hard work and prosperity as the values which matter. A society that has told all of us from the beginning that anything we want is within our grasp. I believed it. I still do to some degree. And we’ve all chosen to work outside, with kids, teaching, playing and enjoying the beautiful and spiritually filling natural environments that we inhabit.

A bit on individualism vs collectivism

I don’t believe that any one individual knows what is best for you more than you do. I am beginning to believe, however, that a group of people, yourself included, could help you discover some things that you didn’t realize may be better for you than you had previously thought. And more than this, a group can come up with goals and objectives that are good for everyone in the group, can only be accomplished by the group, and go beyond the scope of what you could wish for yourself. Therefore you are trapping yourself if the only questions you are constantly asking have to do with yourself as an individual, or even your family as a unit separate from your community.
Any time a group of people get together to brainstorm, more ideas are created than when an individual thinks for themselves. The group’s ideas will always span a broader spectrum of possibilities than if you were to come up with ideas on your own.

It seems to me that with this knowledge in hand, thinking about what you want for yourself, and what it best for you, should always be done with feedback from others simply so that more possibilities and ideas can be taken into account.

Keeping this in mind, I am inviting feedback on my personal goals for my bike trip, which is still scheduled to depart in June of 2011. What goals can we accomplish while I’m riding across the country? What endeavors can I undertake on my journey which will help everyone (which conveniently includes myself)? From what you know of me, what can you suggest that I aim to for during this journey? Do you have any goals that I could help you with along the way? Do we have goals in common that could be supported by this? Please feel free to check out the “Mission & Goals” section of this blog, and comment.

That's all for now!


  1. diggin your thoughts on outdoor ed gypsy's


  2. Greg, you are one of the most amazing and influential people I have met to date. Your words, passion and lust/love for life is impeccable! Keep it up brotha, have the most fun possible, learn more than your noodle can obtain, and never let anything or anyone get in the way you live your life! You should have a book/ movie about your life, we can make it!!! Loves!!! Muah!


  3. yo greg
    i echo your thoughts
    am coming to many similar realizations here in taiwan
    and read your outdoor-ed thing with much glee and delight
    that we are walking similar roads and noticing some similiar nice-looking yet strange cacti along the way
    figuratively speaking
    yet literally too ;)
    i bid thee to...
    learn as much as possible 
    both hard and soft skills
    and remember that it's okay to rest
    but it sounds like you know that 
    oh and use the couchsurfing network!
    but it sounds like you're into that too 
    all in all sounds like you've got it covered and 
    thanks for asking for our input

    with love from your collective self,

  4. I love your comments about Naturalist Nomads and it looks like that hasn't changed in the past 35 years! Glad to have another natty in the family.