Quickie: Unwarranted publicity, WordPress migration, and trusting your instincts

under-constructionA bit about instinct and first impressions

Yesterday I heard a friend had randomly run into this site while searching for travel blogs. It was somewhat shocking, the utter realization that this stuff is actually visible to people out there.

It’s always a fine line when publishing your thoughts about real life. You need to respect other people’s secrets and still tell the story. You need to record your feelings in a particular moment, and be ready to stand behind what you said if confronted about it. It’s easy to forget this, writing for invisible people in internet-land. And yet, here I was, listening to a real live human being reacting to the things I’d written about them publicly.

I felt utterly humbled. It got me thinking about how I ended up writing what I did.

See, I generally avoid judgment. It’s not my style. However, I am hugely perceptive and rather mindful of other people, so I’ve learned to trust my instict. Which frankly, is something I emplore everyone to do. Now, instinct is based on biological factors, which stem from the need to survive – ie. it hurts if a beast eats you. It’s the inherent inclination towards a complex behaviour. So when you get approached on the street by some guy who on the surface seems nice and smart, but gives off a vibe of fucking weirdo creep, you feel uncomfortable and want to remove yourself from the situation. That’s fair.

You form a first impression of someone in the first few seconds you see them. Not talk to, but SEE them. You make a quick assessment of what they’re portraying, compare it with whatever experience and evolution have ingrained in your head, and act accordingly. That’s humanity for you.

Also works the other way around: My approaching strangers, on the surface, can seem like I’m a fucking weirdo creep. But beneath I give a vibe of warmth, honesty and respect. Which generally leads to people responding warmly. So I got that going for me, which is nice. =)

If I get a particular feeling about a person, I generally don’t make second guesses, because more often than not, I’m correct. But on the occasion, I get told off for making rash judgments without knowing all the facts. Inevitable, of course, but it raises questions:

  1. Is it useful to make quick assumptions?
  2. Why did I feel this particular way in the first place?
  3. Is it possible that I felt something they’re not even mindful about?
  4. Maybe I actually felt something, but it was a misprojection from a past experience with no relevance to the current matter?

Not that it really matters.

In any case, I don’t mean to offend. People are as they are, and I don’t get along with everyone. However, I am just a flawed human like anyone else, with a sharp tongue and the occasional bad day. So if on occasion, you find me going ad hominem on your ass, do feel free to give me an ass whooping.

 

A bit about domain-migration

I’ve been thinking about moving the blog to its own domain for a while now, mostly to make subscribing easier, but haven’t really gotten around to it. Because, you know, laziness.

The idea of this blog being out there, actually searched for on Google, by real people, pushed me to finally move the site to its own domain.

So the official domain of JTBL is now http://twobitsofluggage.com/, so update your bookmarks! The old url of http://twobitsofluggage.wordpress.com/ will redirect as well, so no worries there. Otherwise everything should continue as usual, the biggest change being the SUBSCRIBE-button on the right. So everyone please SUBSCRIBE, and you’ll be the first to know when a new post is published!

Oh, and anyone looking for how to migrate a wordpress.com blog to its own domain, use these brilliant instructions.

-Jay

JTBL #14 – Warning: Avoid Injury When Hitting The Wall On Your Self-improvement Marathon

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-These Croatian women, man, they’re like princesses. The Macedonian proclaimed loudly, with a strong sense of alpha-status.

-Yeah I know, I nodded with a dreamy look. They’re pretty awesome.

-They think they’re like special or something. You can’t even fuck them on the first date!

I realized we weren’t talking about the same thing. My smile faded into a half concern, half saddened gaze. I listened to this man’s rant. About the wrongfulness of the women around these parts. About how they want to be treated like people and taken on dates and stuff.

Imagine that. To be treated like a person. How rude and delusional they must be to demand such high maintenance luxury.

To be fair, I sympathize with this guy. It’s easy to fall into this tunnel-vision trap and only see the problem completely one-sidedly. The issue arises from creeps approaching women, because sane people don’t bother, because of embarrassment, peer pressure, judging and validation. Then women put up huge bitch-shields to keep idiots away. Which leads to two things:

1. Only macho bullshit gets through. Only the huge body builder gorillamen with the charm of a barn door get women, because they don’t take no for an answer.

2. People think sex is a reward for giving gifts. Which leads to people objectifying women and attempting to give time, money, and power for sex.

Which both lead to the perception of beautiful women acting as princesses.

Curiously enough, if you treat women as individual persons, they’ll treat you as an individual person. And all of this social conditioning disappears immediately.

I didn’t tell the man about this. He had enough to rant about.

Admit it, you’ve dreamed of flying around the world looking for adventures. Passive income, without a care in the world. Sitting in the sunshine, working on your macbook? Well, here’s Jay exploring Europe like a brave soul, right? Glamorous and adventurous, meeting new people, exploring new places. Let me tell you, it’s not always like that. See, the thing about going outside your comfort zone to look for success is that it’s damn uncomfortable. Even scary at times. I’ve been in Zagreb for two weeks and while there’s been women, Tinder-experiments, and business building, I’m feeling weary. Homesickness, maybe? Home to where? I have no idea.. But weary.

Marathon runners speak of hitting the wall. I feel like that – I’m out of battery power and can’t find a place to recharge. Which lead to being bed-ridden ill for three days. Next to the allergy, travelling and the insect bites.. it was the loneliest I’ve felt in months. I had no place to stay, no real income to speak of, and an illness that was practically impairing my mobility. In a city totally alien to me, with people speaking a language I knew nothing about. For a moment there, I felt kinda scared. I mean sure, my lovely little brunette-friend was there to watch Seinfeld with me, but she had no idea. It wasn’t her worry.

So now I’m living in a VAN DOWN BY THE RIVER!

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Nah, actually I pulled through. I’m still feeling the effects of the flu or whatever crap disease it was, but I found a little apartment with a local roommate, which shall serve as my base of operations for the immediate future. Some of you guys may think your experiences with roommates have been iffy, but I promise you, I’ve had worse. I’ve had the misfortune of ending up with some of the worst roommates in known history. Thankfully my fears were unfounded, as this 23-year old architect student seems to be cool and harmless. We get along fine.

For now.

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This girl by the way, and I know she reads this, has the happiest pair of eyes. She’s pretty important to me.

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Follows a boring status update for my own records. Skip at your own accord.

Guestblogging is finally reaching that stage where I can start pitching my ideas to bigger blogs and make guest posts that’ll drive traffic to my own site. I’m planning to guest post like a machine in the next few months. It’ll put Rat Race Maverick on the map! Related to that is copywriting, that thing where you persuade people to have a look at your product, which is gonna be my immediate cashflow. Copywriting is all about making a product presentable to a particular audience. To try out this mindset, I made myself presentable through a Tinder-experiment. And while it was kinda cool to immerse myself in quick self-promotion, it also made the program seem even more fake and tasteless.

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..and while that’s all very exciting, I keep returning to procrastination. It’s like I can’t handle all this change, and my body is telling me to just shove it and just rather stare at Youtube. Like I don’t deserve to succeed. It’s a fucked up little feeling at the back of my head that’s trying to keep me from making it. Like my inner Finnish boy telling me to just give up and stop pretending, because after all, I’m a just a big loser. Damn hard to keep that voice at bay. It makes me lose concentration and motivation. There’s a thing called impostor syndrome. I’m feeling it heavily.

Here’s Ellen Bard with a brilliant article about that particular issue.

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You’re 30. Why don’t you have a girlfriend?” She asked quietly, slightly accusingly, with a worried tone. She was probably just trying to understand my take on life and what exactly was wrong with me for not having a stable relationship.

This was not the kind of pillow talk I was hoping for.

I told her the truth: I don’t believe in girlfriends in the classic sense, as it doesn’t feel natural to me. I explained my stance on polyamory and that monogamous relationships in my world are akin to chaining people from their freedom. She laughed nervously, seemingly frustrated that I so blatantly wouldn’t look for validation from her.

I got the sense that she didn’t feel comfortable in her own skin. I felt mistrust, negative energy, and a hungry ego that needed validation. The sort of company I could do without.

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Flashback nearly 3 months ago:

Miami International, central wifi area, Terminal J. Some black dude was blasting some horrible burger-pop from his iphone on loud volume, so I moved outside. Besides, I wanted to take in as much Miami air as I could before returning to the home continent. There was a small clearing next to the terminal, seemed like a designated smoking area. I had time to kill so I sat down and took my laptop out.

Scanning the perimeter, as any seasoned security guard would, I noticed some poor soul sleeping on the bench and another feeding birds. No immediate threat though, and with other passengers having a smoke, I took out my laptop and started my daily writing. I tried getting a signal on the wifi, but it was one of those 600 dollars / 30 minute-deals and I wasn’t feeling it. So I just did some freewriting.

I hadn’t gotten two paragraphs down when the woman feeding the birds took notice of me. I saw her strolling towards my immediate position and got ready for my weirdo-defense. Like for fuck’s sake not now I just wanna sit in peace for a second.

My defensive bitch face soon melted into compassion. It’s funny how some people have honestly run into some bad luck.

This lady had fallen, broken her rib and missed her flight earlier that week, and couldn’t get back to the Netherlands because of that. She had run out of cash at the hospital and couldn’t reach her friends at home. She wanted to use my laptop for e-mail. I tried to listen for signs of deception to see if I was getting cheated here, but she showed me the bandages and sounded honestly distressed and tired. I realized this woman had honestly just run into some shitty luck. I had no wifi, so I couldn’t help with that, but I offered to pay for her call if she could do it at the info desk or something. Then something sparked a light behind this tired old lady’s eyes. She realized she could call collect to her friend who could wire her money. She wouldn’t take my money and promised me she’d be okay.

She reminded me of that lady in Mary Poppins feeding the birds. Feed the birds, tuppence a bag..

Some of you have been wondering what happened to the lovely girl from Graz. Well, she told me she didn’t feel it. Wasn’t REALLY a surprise, but what a bummer, man. Not because of the sex, nah. I didn’t think we had too much chemistry either, and she wasn’t too much in touch with her sexuality. But it’d be a damn shame not to see her again. She was weird. I like weird people. And wickedly intelligent as well. It’s up to her though. There’s absolutely nothing more I can do about that. Besides, I came to Zagreb to meet incredible women on the streets.

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Let’s get back to Josipa Jelacica Trg, present day. I see this guy chatting up some girls. Awesome. Wish I’d be in that mood. Chatting up girls on the marketplace, oh making them laugh. Yeah that’d be so cool.. oh they’re pushing him off? No wait, that’s not a chat up attempt. I wonder .. oh shit now he’s coming over. He looks so cool be chill.

Then this guy comes over and opens his mouth. “Do you love animals?” he blurted out too quickly in a hilariously high pitched voice completely unsuited for the image he was portraying. Struck by the apparent fakeness of the display, I felt the need to be a snarky asshole.

“Only on weekdays” I answered, almost patting myself on the back for my cleverness.

“Wot” he said bluntly with a blank face, completely missing my attempt at humour.

Something about this dude was unbelievably annoying. “It was a joke.”

“Oh, I do not speak English that well”

Well, of course you don’t, you clodplate.

This guy was seriously boring me. “So what do you want?” He wanted 2€ for homeless cats. I don’t give money to beggars, and this guy didn’t really seem much different, so the cats remain homeless.

Applying Liam McRae’s advice about speaking slowly and leaving pauses between answers, I met three women on the street. And they were all gorgeous.

And I left them all smiling.

-Jay

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JTBL #13 – How To Become A Negativity Vortex Refugee

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“Hey uhmm.. You said you don’t do one night stands,” she whispered with her Austrian accent.
“Huh?” I turned to look at this beautiful woman-creature lying naked in my arms.
She cleared her throat and asked more seriously. “You said you do not do one night stands. But you just do them with people you feel connected to.”
She stared at me with round eyes. Those beautiful brown eyes..
This exact question was originally the one that made this particular woman stand out from the Tinder matches. It spoke to me of an interest in human beings rather than social conventions.
An interest in a person – imagine that!

This was a multifaceted and complicated subject for anyone, and it’s always awesome to be in the company of someone who understands that. But I couldn’t see her angle. Partly for the funky accent, but also because she was quite conserved in her emotional expression.

I couldn’t get a read on this woman. Most people I see through, or at least catch a glimpse of what’s going on. Not this girl. And now she was staring into my soul with those honestly inquisitive brown eyes, with this simple, yet incredibly deep question.

I blinked a couple of times and straightened my thoughts. “Oh. Sure. Thing is, if I feel a connection with someone, I want to see them again. So in that sense, why leave it at a one night stand?”
“Oh. That makes sense.” She replied and receded into her thoughts.

It made sense to me, at least. Did she agree? I couldn’t say. I read people pretty well, but this was one closed enigma to me.
Which made her all the more intriguing.

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You know when finding motivation feels like trudging through a tar pit with shoes a couple sizes too big?

Well, life in the past few weeks has been a constant battle of trying to find motivation and stay motivated. Sure, focusing isn’t exactly my strong suit, and I admit to taking too much free time for myself. It’s Maribor. It’s becoming too small for me. Sure, I enjoy my local friend’s company, and bless him he’s been doing everything in his power to make it the best stay for me. But I’m getting fucking fed up with finding a different creepy crawlie on my apartment floor every gorram night. And spiders aside, my habitat has become a negativity vortex. And it’s eating me from the inside.IMG_20150522_032732

I need a big city’s energy around me. People’s personal problems in this small village are way too close for comfort. They are not my problems, and yet, they’re invading my space. They’re dragging me down. Add to that this other bloke from down South who brings constant conflict and negative energy even from 200km away. Our coaching sessions ended up with him completely rejecting the idea of change and turning it into resent towards me.

So that’s a result, I guess. My mistake for trying to help, perhaps. But also a bitter lesson that some people .. just do not want help. A humbling experience for sure. Also makes me queasy for even using the word “help” here. But I try.

It’s funny how negativity creeps up on you. First it’s all productive and positive. Then you feel a bit slow, perhaps a bit unmotivated. Then suddenly you’re neck deep in this nasty atmosphere.

Solution: GET OUT IMMEDIATELY.

I’m crossing the border to Croatia next week. Aiming to find a more constructive social circle, and escape this internet nerd-community. Speak with real people.

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Not that I haven’t tried. I got frustrated with playing a rather futile cat-mouse game with the girl from Graz trying to find out if she’s interested in meeting again. Which led me through a rollercoaster of neediness, desire, and frustration. And after getting dangerously close to becoming a groveling loser, I shook my head, grabbed myself by the scruff of the neck and aimed towards new adventures.

See, there was this waitress girl. I spoke to her a couple months back when I arrived in the city, and we exchanged phone numbers. It was mostly to say hi to a waitress in that restaurant I planned on visiting more often, but there was something curious about her… Something.. eye-catching.

New plans came and went and we never ended up doing anything. Now I was throwing messages to every and anyone asking people out. And surprisingly, it was the waitress who was eager to see me. So I dropped by the restaurant for a coke and a smoke and we had a chat. And what a chat it was! She was interested in philosophy, psychology, cooking, and life in general, and I was enthralled!

She was broken, though. Had an addiction to abusive boyfriends – a massive red light to me, especially considering my attempt at removing myself from negative influences. But.. she seemed quite eager to take a load off and hell, I enjoyed the chat, so we had a drink that night.

Which may have lead us to having another drink. And meeting some awesome people.

Which may have lead us to having a couple of tequilas.

Which may have lead us to dancing quite intimately at some club.

If I tell you at this point that she went home by herself and I went home by myself, you’d probably be disappointed.

Don’t worry, I would’ve been disappointed as well, so I ran after her. She was adamant that nothing could happen because her recently ex-boyfriend was coming to pick up stuff in the morning.

Sure.

Whatever.

As it happens, we did nothing .. too serious. Of course, semi-innocent fooling around the whole night meant that we were both horny as hell by morning. Basically using her last hung over strength of will, she kicked my ass out before her ex came by. But riddle me this – what happens when a horny to the point of bursting woman meets her ex-lover?

Yes, later I heard they got back together with her boyfriend.

*sigh*

It would be sad if it weren’t so gorram funny.

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These musician fellows, though, wanted me to join them at this party a few days after. I’m always up for adventure, so sure I wanted to join!

On the way there, I heard the party is actually a concert. Refreshing! The venue turned out to be a studio. Housing an underground radio station, a shitton of awesome people, and a band practice room in the back. The featured artist turned out to be a solo reggae artist dude with a guitar and a soundbox.

An adventure.

Smoking stuff I shouldn’t have, drinking cheap wines in amounts I shouldn’t have, and cheesy rock stories I should’ve been a part of. Even got to jamming with the dudes with my sorely rusty drumming. Only dropped the sticks twice!

I’ve missed that.

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Also made an ass of myself with this one girl due to being fucking wasted.

*rolleyes* I should stop drinking, I guess.

She begrudgingly gave me her phone number. Which just pisses me off, btw. It was obvious she didn’t want to. I mean, could someone just have the fucking balls to fucking reject me properly? Enough of this weak-ass bullshit already. As I guessed, the next day she wasn’t exactly enthusiastic about answering. Oh well.

And yet, I find myself thinking of this Austrian girl. It might sound a bit like “she’s the one”-itis, but luckily I’m not that far gone. It’s just horribly difficult to stay cool.

It comes down to a scarcity mentality, a feeling of neediness and having to cling on to that one girl in the world. When you absolutely MUST have this one particular girl. It’s deceptive as well, because this sort of idea is being sold as romantic by the mainstream. And yet, it’s the one reason why you can’t be perfectly happy with that particular girl. You can never be truly honest and give positive energy to someone if you’re clinging on to them, because at some level you’re afraid of losing them. It’s absolutely not a positive place to be, and I wanted to get out of it. But it was like a maze of feelings in my brain with no way out. Something was just not clicking.

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Eventually, through freewriting and spinning these ideas from many angles, it started making sense. A lightbulb brightened in my dusty cobwebbed little head. I hadn’t been honest about my intentions. I thought I had, I truly did! But what I wanted was this:

I want to see her again.

I’d been dancing around the subject because I was afraid of being vulnerable, putting pressure on her, or scaring her away. I was afraid, because I was supposed to be the aloof guy with no commitments anywhere. But at the end of the day, none of that matters. I’m gonna be that guy anyway, so I might as well accept it.

I had a lot of fun. You’re fascinating and I want to see you again. I hate being pressured into anything and I hate pressuring people into anything, so please don’t take this as any sort of obligation. But that’s how I feel and you make me feel that way. And I think it’s kinda cool.

The maze in my head was no longer a maze, but a lovely little park. With sun shining. And birds singing. And a syrup tree pouring overly sentimental molten cheese all over my laptop oh for fuck’s sake

-Jay

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