Wander Weekly #4: Are We There Yet?

Wander Weekly is a weekly post on what I’m consuming at the moment.

You may have noticed that this roundup doesn’t always feature items related to the week’s theme.

But I’m heading up to the good ol’ Dirty Jerz this weekend (also known as the Jersey Shore, Jersey, my home state, or what I had to defend the most in college.)

So, this week, we’re road trippin’. Whether you like it or not.

I am –

Reading:

ICYMI, a photo was found recently that experts say shows Amelia Earhart and her pilot, Fred Noonan, safe and sound on the Marshall Islands after her disappearance in 1937.

I have no idea how anyone could identify someone from this grainy, black-and-white photo, but I’ll go ahead and trust the experts and get excited about it anyway. And I would totally watch a movie about this updated version of Earhart’s story (one that hopefully does better than this one.)

A bit freaked out by:

This website is meant to be pretty ominous, but it does get you thinking on how all the data being collected out there can impact the way we act.

Related: on my way home from work the other day, I listened to a podcast that talked about this New York Times Magazine story from a few years back. It’s about how Target hired a statistician to help predict customer shopping behavior – to the point where they could tell when someone was pregnant before that person had even told anyone. Here’s a take on it from Forbes if you’re looking for a summary.

Also, Target did REALLY WELL from this uber-“target”-ing strategy (sorry, couldn’t resist.)

Apparently companies know us better than we know ourselves. I work in marketing, so this really shouldn’t be news, but still. Thoughts? Arguments? Concerns? I have some.

From the NYT:

As Pole’s computers crawled through the data, he was able to identify about 25 products that, when analyzed together, allowed him to assign each shopper a “pregnancy prediction” score. More important, he could also estimate her due date to within a small window, so Target could send coupons timed to very specific stages of her pregnancy.

Kind of makes you want to pull a Ron Swanson.

Following:

Vutheara was one of the first people I ever followed on Instagram and is now one of my favorite photographers. He’s based in Paris, where I studied abroad, and I took a lot of inspiration from his photos to find hidden gems of the city.

He also travels a decent bit and takes stunning pictures everywhere he goes. Definitely follow if you’re a Francophile or just looking for some wanderlust inspiration.

Notre-Dame de Paris 🐦

A post shared by VuTheara Kham (@vutheara) on


Come Fly With Me 🎶

A post shared by VuTheara Kham (@vutheara) on

Listening to:

  • “Dancing in the dark” by Bruce Springsteen

Had to throw some Jersey pride in here (this one is on-theme!)

Bonus Pro Tip:

Katie Bonos not only has the best first name (duh), she’s a fellow alum from my alma mater and just set a new Denali ascent speed record. Oh, and she trained while also studying for the MCAT.

If motivation-by-stickers worked for her, I see no reason not to try it.

 

Interested in more recommendations? Discover more Wander Weeklieshere.

 

Self-Promotion is Awkward

Welcome to the meta blog post of your dreams.

Being a person on the internet is difficult. You opt in, of course, by signing up for social media, by friending and following people, but it gets harder when it gets more personal.

Sure, no one is going to hate on your baby pictures or engagement announcement (if they do, block them. That’s the beauty of personal Facebook use.) But posting something you’ve written? Or a painting you’ve worked really hard on?

Maybe it didn’t get as many “likes” as you’d hoped, or whatever currency you’ve chosen as bestowing value on your gift to the world. And it’s harder to block out criticism of your creations in the internet age.

As if to drive the point home, I recently listened to thisThis American Life episode from a few years back, which talks about the personal nature of starting a business. You, as a person, are the branding, and at least in the beginning, you are a part of whatever you’re selling. People have to buy into you. And if they don’t, how do you not take that personally?

~~

I think about whether or not I should feel narcissistic in starting this blog, and I’m not the only one who feels that way.

Quick note: if you’re a millennial and you haven’t seen that article before and it makes you angry, read till the end. A highlight:

While every millennial might seem like an oversharing Kardashian, posting vacation photos on Facebook is actually less obnoxious than 1960s couples’ trapping friends in their houses to watch their terrible vacation slide shows.

There’s no denying that we are the selfie generation, the oversharers.

Even if you’re not a millennial, personal sharing is still prevalent. Believe me, I have plenty of older Facebook friends who share much more than I care to know about their lives. But they don’t seem to care about my opinion, and if it makes them happy, why should they?

A blog post like this one is, of course, self-promotional. I want to write stuff, and it’s ideal if people read it, but I’m not good at the part between the writing and the people reading. You have to send a blog post out into the world like a toddler on the playground for the first time, except every time is the first time – will this blog post make friends? Or stumble and fall on its face in the sandbox? (Not speaking from experience, I was more of a swings girl.)

Am I supposed to shove it in your face on my Facebook and Instagram to get you to read it? That doesn’t seem great for a toddler. Lmk! Link in bio!

Anyways, whether you’re starting a business or creating something for the first time, I’m in the camp that it’s always going to be at least somewhat terrifying and intimidating.

For some people, it may come more naturally. Either way, we’re all chucking stuff out there to see what comes back.

I feel like I’m always walking a line, trying to sound somewhat inspirational and down-to-earth and creative but also not be, as they say, an oversharing Kardashian.

It’s best not to tie your personal worth in too much.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go promote this post.

 

P.S. Another interesting but slightly tangential article I found was this one from Quartz about millennials and side hustles. Worth a read.

The Art of Comparing Ourselves to Other People or Someone Will Always Be Better Than You, and That's OK

Back in January 2017, I got an email from LinkedIn – all carefully laid out, lots of nice pictures, filled with professional portraits of my college acquaintances and filling me in on what people are doing. What have you been up to? it asked me. Update your profile now!

Dammit, LinkedIn. How dare you taunt me. At the time, I didn’t really have anything to add to my profile – I’d already written in the internship I’d just finished, and my days were mostly filled with focusing on finding a full-time job.

What else could I update? “Eating immense amounts of chocolate.” “Running for 10 minutes till I reach Trader Joe’s, which is perfect because I’m already super tired and need food.”

I spend too much time comparing myself to other people (any time, really, is too much.) I know this is bad – I‘ve read enough books and self-care internet articles to know that. So much has already been written on the subject in this age of social media and FOMO.

It’s something I’ve been consciously working on, but I’m human, and I have an Instagram. Envy happens.

Yet despite the occasional moments of why am I like this, the glimpsing of LinkedIn titles and wondering if it’s already too late for me, if everyone else is so far ahead it’s ludicrous to think I can catch up – despite all that, I’ve never considered the option ofnot doing what I’m doing. Of true stagnation.

Because in order to keep myself moving forward, I have to live my life as if the option of stopping does not even exist.

Beneath the flutters of doubt, I do know that it doesn’t really matter what other people think, just like my opinions aren’t going to affect your life most of the time.

You’re on your road, and I’m on mine. Of course they aren’t going to look the same.

And what does being “ahead” even mean? What that looks like varies from person to person because, duh, we’re all different and want different things. My brain doesn’t always remember this, so I have to pause and remind myself sometimes.

So what if my photos don’t look like a professional travel photographer’s? Or if I can’t keep up with the Nordic teens on social media who somehow take amazing photos of incredible places all the time and maybe don’t go to school idk???

So what if my writing isn’t perfect? If it was, we’d be done here. I’d be off making millions helping stressed-out upper middle class parents get their kids into college with immaculate essays on the social injustices of this country (I assume.)

So what if this is the 3rd paragraph I’ve started with “so what?” This is my blog. I do what I want.

If we’re constantly comparing ourselves to the J.K. Rowlings and Chris Burkards of the world – or even the people in our lives who are doingcompletely different things from what we want to do, but look at how successful they are! – then we’ll be unlikely to get anywhere ourselves.

(Also, quick reminder that J.K. Rowling was broke when she started writingHarry Potterand the Philosopher’s Stone.)

And the people who are doing what you want to do? That’s awesome. Use them as your inspiration to get better and keep moving.

There will always be room for your success, too.

And it works out. Just like your mom/mentor/great-Aunt Matilda tells you it will. I got a job I enjoy and learn a lot from, I updated my LinkedIn, I stopped thinking about it.

Well, OK, I still have some self-doubt. But I try to use it to channel my actions away from complacency. So I’ll publish this piece anyway, and the next one, because the other choice is stopping, and that option doesn’t actually exist.

The point is that I want something that I can back on a year from now and say, “What is this drivel?? Why did I write this??” because that will mean that I have grown in that time.

So hi, future me. You wrote this drivel. Here’s hoping you learned something from it.

 

Looking for context? Take a peek at the first Wandering Adult article.