Goals fallen by the wayside

Men plan, and God laughs.

I’ve abandoned two of my goals as no longer suiting my present or future needs.  These are (a) travel and adventure, and (b) learning a language.

All of a sudden – and this happened almost overnight – I’d completely had enough of travel.  I no longer want to explore new places or discover exotic cultures.  A lot those places are smelly and fly-ridden, and so are the cultures.  After eleven years overseas I’ve just had enough.

I don’t want to return to Australia.  I just want to find a nice, comfortable place (by my low standards) and settle down there.  Get into a routine.  Focus on my other goals like writing and finding alternative sources of income.

I will force myself to visit one other place in Africa while I’m in the region, but after that I will go back and settle down in Asia.  Because I like it there.  The food is good, the girls are cute and the price is right.  Err . . .

I’m tired.  I’m sick of dealing with foreigners who dare to do things differently in their own countries.  I just want to stay in one place, figure out how they do things there, and relax.

Fuck adventure.  I’ve had too much adventure over the last decade or so.  Nuclear disasters.  A girlfriend’s father was murdered.  Earthquakes.  Riots quelled with live ammunition.  A union drama (I’ll write about that one day).  Insane Korean bosses.  Sleeping in a wet cave with a girl I didn’t know and her wet dog.  Crossing a desert, twice.  Getting chased down a mountain by enraged monkeys.  Politically connected enemies who are trying to destroy me.  Bastardized communism that is even worse than the original.  It isn’t exciting and character building any more.  It’s just exhausting.  Of course, some of these can’t be avoided anywhere.  But the ones that can be, I intend to avoid.

I want to find a stable place, get a modest apartment and just hang out and do my things.  No alarms and no surprises.  Lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, regular exercise and a dream diary.  Forty minutes of daily mediation.  I might even get some goldfish.

As for language, my philosophy has changed.  I used to want to study a second language for the intrinsic value of seeing things from another point of view and opening my mind.  I can tick that box.  Learning many additional languages seems to have diminishing returns in this respect.  Also, I don’t really care for some points of view.  If a country has impressive historical and cultural achievements it may be worthwhile learning how they think.  If they’ve done fuck all for the last thousand years, why bother?

I am particularly disinclined to study the local language any longer because the locals are not good listeners.  They just want to say their own thing over and over and over as though you have said nothing at all.  There is no give and take, no mutual understanding and compromise.  Just endless head butting until someone capitulates.  Again, why bother?

Further, I did not enjoy studying the language.  Every time I did so I was reminded that I am here in Bumfuckistan.  I’d prefer to read or write in my free time so that I can occasionally forget about this unhappy circumstance.

Learning a language to any degree of fluency is a massive investment of time – especially the present language, which contains a horrific multitude of irregular verb conjugations and masculine/feminine, singular/plural noun forms.  Time is a scarce resource with alternative uses.  Instead of learning Bumfuckese I could write a book, take up a new sport or other activity, read great poetry, befriend a Chinaman, or even just get more sleep.  Quitting the language has improved my life.

In future, I will only travel to a new place in order to settle down and enjoy myself there, and I will only learn a language in order to get by in that specific location.

I’ve had enough new experiences and eye-opening events.  My urge now is to slow down, to consolidate, to reflect upon and write about some of what I’ve discovered out there in the World.

In other words, I’m old.

Perhaps some day I may again contract the wanderlust.  Perhaps I will even return to Africa and find some new, profound reward in dodging bullets and shitting black water.  For now, though, I’m going to chillax and redouble my focus on other goals.

Not immediately, though.  In sixteen more months.  I’ve made my bed and have to lie in it until then.

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10 comments

  1. Vincent · August 21

    I recommend England. I’m Australian too. It took a while to get used to this place, but I’ve had since 1946 to do so. I’ve lived briefly in Holland, Malaysia (East & West) & Jamaica. Karleen, who’d never left Jamaica till she was 51, feels the same. England is the place to be, apart from bloody Brexit, politicians & a countryful of whingeing Poms. You can find lovely Asian girls, anything. On our short street there aren’t many who speak English, some days you feel you live in Poland, but more often some primitive part of Pakistan. We like it because the house was cheap and you can walk to most places you need to go.

    Like

    • Nikolai Vladivostok · October 14

      Crikey, you need to work on your sales pitch. “Try Nikki’s Goatburgerplus! Now with 20% less rat droppings!”

      Like

      • Vincent · October 15

        Good one. I’d hate to be accused of hyperbole.

        Like

  2. luisman · August 21

    Reblogged this on Nicht-Linke Blogs.

    Like

  3. luisman · August 21

    I suspect you became a Philomaniac in your short stay here 😉

    Like

    • Nikolai Vladivostok · October 14

      I found the second city too crowded and crazy, but when it was time to leave I got really sad. The happiness there is infectious, even if it is primarily born of dull IQs and low future time orientation.
      Future posts will explain more.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. emptysubject · August 22

    We overrate learning other languages. It’s not necessarily harmful or inherently useless, and it’s a hobby or interest like many others, but it does take tons of time and, for my purposes at least, isn’t worth the effort.

    I’m not against all forms of contact among different peoples and cultures. Trading with distant societies and studying alien civilizations enhance our lives to an extent. So I recognize the value in people’s ability to transcend language barriers to increase understanding and material wealth. But I also suspect that some of the supposed advantages of learning other languages have been exaggerated.

    For instance, I’m not convinced that learning other languages improves your facility with your native tongue. I’ve heard the speech and read the words of many native English speakers who know several other languages and I haven’t noticed a difference in the quality of the speech or the prose. You either have a talent for expression or you don’t, and stacking up languages won’t change that.

    With my tragically brief time on this earth, I’d rather devote myself to the refinement of English rather than the clumsy acquisition of other tongues. I’ve accepted my fate.

    Interesting that you’ve grown tired of your vagabonding. My phase of wanderlust was especially transient. I’m ready to live in the hills and take care of chickens.

    Like

    • Nikolai Vladivostok · October 14

      I think learning one other language has philosophical benefits, just as traveling or reading does. But the cost in time is much higher. It seems children who learn a very different language from a young age become more adept at picking up further languages when they are older.
      By the way, I started reading Pessoa’s The Book of Disquiet. Enjoying it so far.

      Like

      • Vincent · October 14

        I’m glad you’re reading Pessoa’s book. Don’t bother reading Naipaul’s “A bend in the river” till you’ve been out of Africa a while, then it may bring it all back.

        Like

    • Vincent · October 14

      amen to your sentiments here, Emptysubject. I got a degree in French & Italian – a poor choice for me. It would take multiple lifetimes to be as proficient in English as I’d like to be.

      Like

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