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A favorite MR post of mine…

October 23, 2007
by

copied verbatim from Marginal Revolution:

At lunch with Bryan and Tyler last week the question arose as to what we would do differently if we were immortal. After a nerdy discussion to clarify what sort of immorality we were talking about; the kind where you can’t be killed but can be imprisoned or the kind where you are forever young but may be hit by a truck? (it was the former) – I answered that I would travel more.

Later the question was asked, what would you do differently if you found out you had only a short time to live. I answered again that I would travel more. Click, buzz, whirr…does not compute, does not compute. Even before Bryan or Tyler could point out the inconsistency I realized there was a problem. Given that I would travel more if I was to live either less or more the probability that I was at just that level of mortality that I should not be traveling now must be vanishingly small.

I leave for a solo trek to Machu Picchu July 25. Lunch matters.

I think I would have answered the questions the same way he does above. I want a job that gives me the freedom (and the resources) to travel like this on a few weeks notice. It seems like that sort of freedom is depressingly hard to get if you are working for someone else. You either need to be a teacher, where the summer off is built into your schedule, or you need to be self-employed. Unless I go back to school for a PhD, the latter is much more likely.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. andy permalink*
    October 23, 2007 3:26 pm

    “I would travel more” is such a cookie cutter response. Nevermind the fact that being immortal is pretty useless/boring unless you’re in an undocumented global competition to become the last living immortal person, like Highlander.

  2. Adam permalink*
    October 23, 2007 3:34 pm

    You are missing my point, or I am did not make it well the first time.

    What I’m saying is I want the freedom to be able to do that. My dad and I are are starting to plan a trip to India and possibly Dubai. We are thinking 2 to 2.5 weeks. We aren’t going til next November, because I need that much time to be able to get 2.5 weeks off straight. My dad, who owns his own business, is like, “yeah, just tell me the dates and I’ll close the office.” I want to be able to do that—that’s what I was getting at with this post.

    Also, its only a cookie cutter response if you don’t mean it. He realized he wasn’t doing something he liked, and then fixed it, by planning a trip right away.

  3. andy permalink*
    October 23, 2007 4:17 pm

    I mean cookie cutter as in 95% of the working world has abandoned all hobbies and things they get joy from in favor of working all the time and doing chores in their free time, or other such bullshit. So much to the point that traveling is the only thing they can think of that they’d do in that situation. This is sort of the de-facto response in this situation.

    If someone told me I had a week to live, I’d go and pull all the cash I have and hand it to someone selected entirely at random on the streets. I’d pay off all my student loans at once on a credit card, cancel the card, and declare bankruptcy to absolve my parents of that burden. I’d go out and kill someone that I hate. I’m going to be dead in a week, why not? I’d do all of this buck ass naked.

    Being immortal isn’t even any sort of freedom. It’s a burden. Maybe I’d throw myself off a building once a week and charge people $50 a pop to watch it.

    I just don’t think flying 18 hours to some place where nobody speaks English or has air conditioning would be that high on my list in either case.

  4. Ashley permalink
    October 23, 2007 4:46 pm

    What if doing chores IS your hobby?

  5. andy permalink*
    October 23, 2007 4:59 pm

    In that case, you probably manage a multi million dollar project for a large consulting firm.

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