May 16th – May 31st, 2017
She annoyed me today. Or at least I thought she did. Extreme Ownership reminding me that blaming someone else for my mood is a weak move. Take responsibility, Niall. What could you have done differently? How about being stronger with your boundaries? Stating clearly what you want? And what you don’t. Did you behave like the kind of partner you aim to be?
Walking down a broken suburban road, on the hunt for some milk for the mash. I don’t know where the nearest store is, or even if there is one nearby. On a piece of paper I have the words milk and supermarket written in Russian. I meet three teenage boys walking the other way, all in uniform, stop them and try get across what I’m looking for. They find me hilarious somehow, and beckon me to follow.
Today: rode a cable car then walked a rope bridge over a gigantic drop, almost a mile above sea level; grabbed good soup and salad and coffee at a place named for Pushkin; went for a ramble in the botanical. Twas all very nice, but honestly, after a week of frolicking and sightseeing and next-to-no working, I’m eager to get back to the grind.
– Do you accept Priority Pass?
– No, sorry. We don’t accept that here.
– And this is the only lounge in the airport?
– Yes, it is.
– Hmm. That’s too bad… Can we stay anyway?
– Yes, of course. The price is 4000 rubles per person.
– Hmm. Can we stay for free?
– No, I’m sorry. We can’t let anyone stay for free.
Decided to stop being embarrassed about not knowing the language here, was walking around with my head down, shunning interactions, like I was trying to hide some shameful secret. So I’m not learning Russian (yet). Gotta own that decision and be at peace with it. Saying “good morning” in English is better than avoiding eye contact and staying silent.
Double date today in Moscow, with a guy I’ve known online for seven years. He’s married now, wife is due with their first next month, tells me they’d have probably never met except for a book I once recommended on my blog. Crazy the little things that make a big difference. If I had never made a quick YouTube video about the cost of living in Hong Kong, I wouldn’t have met my girl either.
Another few hours on a mega-article today. Up to 4,500 words now and might only be halfway there. The idea is to make it the absolute best resource online for that particular topic. I don’t know if I can say that about anything I’ve written before. Well, maybe my Becoming Unoffendable article, or the one about cargo ship travel. But this new piece feels next level.
Finally reading that Musk biography. Holy shit that man is incredible. I wouldn’t want to work for him, or be married to him, or be his kid – he doesn’t appear to be the most empathetic or emotionally available dude – but I’m glad we have people like him in the world, pushing hard to do the impossible and advance humanity. He may actually save us all.
Bus is packed, en route to meet my girl’s mother for the first time. Big beefy dude reaches across my face to hit the stop button, not a bother on him. Two minutes later, another guy does the same. The more places I visit, the more I realize that Ireland might be the most stand-offish place on the planet. I was indoctrinated into the cult of you-stay-over-there-and-I’ll-stay-over-here.
Short walk to the metro, change lines one time, express train to one of Moscow’s four airports, all smooth checking in and through security, grab free coffee and snacks in the lounge, write and send a quick email to my list, jump on a plane, less than two hours to Tallinn, walk the three clicks to the Airbnb, greeted by a Latvian dancer and a bionic cat.
Editing an interview from earlier in the week with a lady who earns $1k/month working part-time as a subtitler. Not even doing translations, just watching movies and TV shows in English and creating subtitles in English. That interview’s for my 3M1K crew, one of whom posted in the private Facebook group this eve that he’s landed a $3k writing gig. Beautiful.
Things I learned today about Estonia:
- Highest number of startups per capita in the world.
- Their national anthem uses the same melody as that of Finland.
- Tallinn is the biggest city in the world that offers free public transport for residents.
- They have different words for white bread (sai) and other kinds of bread (leib).
- They have the most supermodels per capita, and the highest ratio of women to men.
Pretty sure the cat here is trying to seduce me. Walked into my room earlier and he was lying on the bed doing some kind of improvised Mrs. Robinson pose, with a look like butter wouldn’t melt. I sat on the bed and began to work on my laptop, ignoring him, so he rolled over on his back and flashed me the undercarriage, then started with the tongue.
A few weeks ago I cut off the big Samsonite logo from the strap of my backpack. I try to avoid wearing or carrying any brand that’s easily identifiable, find it strange that people walk around sporting big Adidas logs and such, like human billboards. Way I see it, brands should be paying us to advertise for them.
It’s a different experience for me, arriving in a new place, especially one known for beautiful women, and not being on the hunt. Times past I would often have Tinder open before I left the airport, and the never-ending chase would eat up a lot of my time. Ryan Holiday once wrote that a great partner is the ultimate life hack. He’s probably right about that.
A friend of mine is a manager in a department store, told me once that they train staff not to say “no problem” or “no worries” to customers. Because those are double negatives. Even though they’re meant to be taken as positive, subconsciously they can have the opposite affect. Better to say something like “of course” or “you’re welcome.”
In the comments below, let me know which of the above Momentos is your favorite. Which can you relate to?