Taipei – initial experiences

Wow, just wow. Where to start?

Taipei is a bit like I expected for an Asian city. Small shops everywhere, no obvious zoning considerations at all, general Asia street smell…

I found a nice tea house in the Yongkang street area (Da’an district) while I was walking around and — wait for it — waiting for another tea house to open. Guess the early bird gets the worm? Finding True Heart teahouse was a breath of fresh air.

True Heart Tea House in Taipei
True Heart Tea House in Taipei

Like any Asian city, Taipei is bustling, always moving, and I haven’t really had the chance to stop and take a moment. Tea time was time to do just that. While drinking tea (a Taiwanese oolong), I had the realization that our bodies are royal temples — not to be abused any longer!

Also had a vision of what I want to become — my “true destiny”, or something like that. Very zen, mindful, and always with tea. Serving tea. I want to help people become more mindful and aware of the now, and take time from the hectic hustle-and-bustle of the modern Western lifestyle. Not 100% sure how it will play out, but I think that I want to have a tea house, or maybe a Zen eco-village, or both. Some mixture of all that.

In other travel news

I’m extremely grateful to have Skype’d with Brittany this morning. Haven’t seen her face in about 3 days, so nice to finally see her (and our kitty).

Finally found a café to settle down in and get some work done. Trying to just slow down from the hectic travel life (always moving, always things to take care of) and just focus on getting my work done.

Hostels can be both good and bad, and I think the reason most people stay in them is the low price for some value. But the money in running a hostel is in groups of people — the numbers. And for an introvert like me, forced group settings like this just… suck. Most hostels are not good for actually getting things done. So I’m looking to find a short-ish-term apartment somewhere in/around Taipei.

I also brought too much crap with me, as I knew I would. Too many clothes, bulky items that I brought “just in case”. Been down this road so many times. I know better. :/

Ok, bye.

Refresh Yourself in the Airport

When traveling long-distance flights with multiple connections, I always feel 100% better after refreshing myself, changing my socks and shirt.

I’ve found that it’s generally easier if I can locate the family restroom, then refresh in there. I’ll wash my feet, dry them with my Packtowl, then put on a fresh pair of socks. I also will wash/rinse my armpits and apply fresh deodorant, and change my shirt. The aforementioned Packtowl is wonderful when traveling.

I’d recommend packing a change of clothes in your personal bag, which I do.

But since I also don’t check bags, I have everything that I need with me at any rate, whether packed in my personal bag (smaller) or my carry-on (bigger, mostly clothes and laptop).

After a quick 10-minute refresh in the family bathroom, I always feel so much better, cleaner, and ready for the next leg of the journey. This is especially true after 6+ hour, long-haul flights.

In transit to Taiwan

The last 2 weeks of life have been a complete blur. I’ve been running around like crazy trying to get loose ends tied up in Arkansas, get assets moved around and re-allocated, and sell my big stuff (e.g. car) that I won’t need abroad.

Right now I’m in the Narita airport in Japan, about 80 or so km east of Tokyo.

And unlike my last short visit to Japan, this trip’s layover is only about 3 hours, so there’s really no time to get out and see any of Japan. So I’m staying in the international terminal, getting some food in my stomach and waiting for my evening flight to Taipei.

If I hadn’t already booked the flight all at once, I might have broken it up and stayed in Japan for a few days, then flown out. But then I’d want to spend quite a bit of time in Japan once I was here, see lots of sights and things. Maybe one day soon, before I leave Asia.

Oh yeah, I bought a one-way ticket to Taipei. I’ll be traveling around Asia, working on building my own living out values that I believe strongly in. Such as mobility, financial independence and freedom, and monetary freedom (achieved via FinTech such as Bitcoin and Dash). I also just freaking love east Asian culture, food, mindset, and the cities. Ah, … the city.

My wife is still in the US. For some, that causes heads to turn. Others seem to be a bit more understanding. For various reasons, she’s staying back in Arkansas, but mainly it boils down to:

a) the cat
b) her personal development

She loves her pet cat that she’s been with for about 16 years and doesn’t want to leave her. Precious (the cat) gets really depressed when my wife is gone for long amounts of time (over a week or two and gets really bad). Her health deteriorates. We’ve almost lost her a time or two, and we’re pretty sure it’s got a lot to do with Brittany’s presence.

She also feels the need to stay for reasons of helping certain individuals, and building her own sense of independence, which she’s never really had and is the next stage of personal growth for her. So that’s that. It’s been difficult not being able to communicate with her, but we texted briefly a bit ago. We plan to meet up in a few months once we’ve both accomplished what we need to.

I’ve got a bit of personal development to do as well, mindfulness being one of my primary goals for my own.

I just realized that I’ve gotta so see about changing my seat to an aisle seat, so I’m gonna leave off here. But since I’m trying to be prolific, just gonna go ahead and ship this one out the door.

Thanks for reading, and please drop me a note if our interests align, and you’re in Taiwan within the next few weeks or months and wanna meet up.

Crazy side note:

I met a couple (Jonathan and Rachel +1 cute baby boy) flying from XNA (in Arkansas) to Taipei, same exact route as me. Crazy. I never would have thought that I’d have the exact same itinerary as someone else originating in Arkansas and ending up on the other side of the world. Small world.

Ctrl-P to print…

Most people don’t think about how their websites or blogs print out. Probably because most people don’t print things anymore. But for me, if I’m starting on a long article, I’ll try and print it so that it doesn’t hurt my eyes.

When I Google related searches, I see people posting thoughts along the lines of:

“Why bother? Nobody prints things anymore.”
Those people are assholes inconsiderate, or ignorant, or both.

I’ve spent a lot of time on the computer over the course of my adult life. Looking at a computer screen, which emits blue light which is harmful to the retina.

I get eyestrain after looking at the screen for a few minutes/hours (depending on the day and how much off-screen time I’ve had to recuperate). So, in the interest of preserving my vision for future decades, I like to print long-ish articles.

There used to be an easy way to print things. Ctrl+P. Or, if you’re on a Mac, CMD+P. It still works, and people still print things.

But websites have gotten uglier over the years. Marketers have taught us that we have to use the sidebar to put an email signup form, as well as “tag clouds”, adverts and all other sorts of nonsense.

For one, it really degrades the readability of a site. But also, it makes web pages really, really hard to print out, if you’re trying to conserve paper and don’t want a lot of nonsense that you’ll just have to throw away.

Some people (developers) use browser tools to remove things they don’t want to see on an ad-hoc basis and print that. I’ve edited websites from 20 pages down to about 3 or 4. It’s that bad.

And this is really an issue of accessibility more than anything. Here’s a good definition from my friends Google and Wikipedia. They seem to know everything.

Accessibility refers to the design of products, devices, services, or environments for people with disabilities. The concept of accessible design ensures both “direct access” (i.e. unassisted) and “indirect access” meaning compatibility with a person’s assistive technology (for example, computer screen readers).

This accessibility problem opportunity is also very easy to fix (usually). The solution? Print media stylesheets, à la the ones you can see here: https://github.com/nmarley/stylish-stylesheets

In summary, my real advice to anyone with a website would be:

Make it so that when a person visits your site and types “Ctrl+P”, they get a nicely-formatted version of your page/site that’s perfect for printing. That’s it. That’s the goal with all of my sites, and hopefully they’re all at least close to it.

Tangent: Sites should be “responsive”, which is an techie term. It means that when someone visits your site on a mobile phone, it should still: 1) look reasonably good and 2) be readable without having to zoom in. Not necessarily the same as the desktop version, but it should satisfy those two criteria. Also, Google thinks so too.