conceptual shift in financial priorities with a side commentary on the change of internet social networking

for various reasons, something started taking shape for me since i moved to new orleans regarding travel.

when i lived in eugene i didn’t travel that much. usually any travel were road trips related to DDR tournaments in either seattle or san fran which would occupy a weekend or four days. There were several reasons for this both philosophically and practically; mainly it was because travel felt like an expensive interruption to a flow, and i was one of those sorts that liked to hoard my PTO so i had wiggle room for its use.

since moving to new orleans a year and a half ago, i’ve now traveled four times of note. First was when i drove to nashville for hurricane evacuation. most of that time was spent with ken, playing disc golf with friends and exploring nashville stuff. Second was when i went back to PA for winter holidays, the first time i was back in the area since moving to the west coast in 1999. Third was the multihop trip in august – Eugene to visit old friends, Hawaii to see one of my oldest and dearest friends get married, and eastern oregon to teach band camp of one of my former students and to hang out for a bit. Fourth is what’s happening right now. San Francisco to see another old and dear friend get married, Anaheim to visit jjk, Long Beach to visit an old undergraduate classmate who i still connect with, Chatsworth to meet a long time LJ friend in person for the first time, Santa Barbara to visit another LJ friend in person for the first time.

What’s true about all of these trips is that they’ve all been incredibly valuable experiences for me, secondly because of the new places i’ve visited, but primarily because of the people in my life who i cherish and get to share time with. I have a lot of friends scattered everywhere in the united states, and it’s resultingly not too difficult for me to find someone or some people to hang out with if i state my intent to travel. Particularly this time around i’ve had a few people in the SF area express their interest in seeing me, and it sucks that i can’t see them because so much of my sf time is occupied with the wedding.

thinking about these experiences and the sentiments that go with them makes me reflect on how social interaction in general has changed and how that relates to the love i have for the people in my life. even when i was a teenager i had started to develop the sensibility that people were the most important thing in my life, and as the internet rose to mainstream use, that became easier to manage because the internet made it easier to keep the connection with all of these people active without the need to be physically close and/or without breaking the phone bill. But back then, social networking and social etiquette were very different; it was common for me to exchange four-page-and-up emails with friends on a semi-regular basis, it was common for me to have 2-3 hour phone converations on more than a weekly basis, and LJ as a primary outlet for personal expression had an interaction depth level that brought me close to and care deeply about people who i have never met in real life. But as the popularlity and use of LJ declined in favor of more surface-level instaorgasm social networking sites (myspace/facebook/twitter) and texting, the amount of long distance interactions that have that same degree of depth are fewer and far between (part of which i acknowledge is my own fault, but that’s tangental to this post).

Resultingly what i’ve discovered is that travel is filling that void, that these trips are very important for my soul. Seeing all of the people on these trips and the people who have visited me in new orleans for the past year and a half represent times in my life that i treasure and know i will never forget. i have amazing friends and acquaintances, and i’ve met some fantastic people, and my life is nothing without them.

This realization is causing me to further shift my financial priorities to accomodate this concept, to understand that given the choice between, say, buying a video game console or a snazzy tv or the next awesome phone versus going thorugh some complicated travel plans to try to see as many of my friends as possible during an opportune lull in my work schedule, travel will win out every time, no contest.

philosophical shift aside, i’m not certain how much more frequently i’ll be able to travel per year based on schedule and finances, but i do understand that what i should probably do some research on reward miles and similar travel-based reward packages.

original content on darkblog resonate.

Leave a Reply!