Sold my car for a laptop

Kind Of.
I finally sold my car on Friday, and the first thing i bought was a new laptop. I got an extremely cheap one, since I know that it probably will not survive long while I am traveling. Then I upgraded its ram so that is is respectable, and it has Vista (which I am still deciding if I like or not). Adobe CS3 is up and running and I am ready to go. The laptop has a built in webcam, which is really cool, and a media card reader, and a remote. So all in all, I am happy with it. I am now just getting everything the way I like it and messing around with what it can and cannot do. I leave in just over a week, which is crazy, and I still have to finish the deck I have been building for the past few weeks. It is coming along now faster than ever, but it will be close.


Shop the current Moosejaw Sale!

The actual planning has begun.

Nathan and RachelI have started to figure out a little bit of my trip. The first two nights I am in Seoul I will be staying with a couple, Nathan and Rachel, who I met over They seem like they are kind, intelligent and interesting. since this is my first surfing experience, I was a little apprehensive, but they have sent me maps, directions, and a plethora of information that has been amazing. I get into Seoul at 3:20 p.m. local Korean time, and will probably spend some time exploring the city before I go to meet up with them.

I have also started to get my pack ready, and my current list of items is growing. It is important for me to keep it small, since I have to be able to carry with me at all times. I do not want to have to ever check my bag.
Current Pack List

  • Camera (dSLR, so it is bigger than it probably should be)
  • Laptop (Small, under 5 lbs, and able to run Adobe CS3)
  • 3 shirts (Two long sleeve that I can roll up, one short, all quick dry)
  • 2 pairs of pants (Zip off legs so they can be shorts, quick dry)
  • 3 pairs of quick dry hiking socks
  • Head Bandana
  • 3 pairs of boxers (Quick dry Capiline)
  • Small med kit
  • Small wash kit (soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, quick dry towel)
  • Travel Sheets
  • MAYBE- a small travel pillow…
  • There will be some books, and probably an Ipod… but not sure yet about how much space and weight I will have left. I also don’t want to look like a walking ATM target, so my pack is dirty and will stay that way. I don’t plan on taking my laptop out in public at all, and only using my phone when I absolutely have to. I would rather be out of touch and on my terms, which means that the phone will be off almost all the time.
    More later,

New way to look at photos

sun Ok guys, I just implemented a new way to view my photos. I think that it looks much cleaner, but it seams to be slower, so I am debating going back to the old way. This one will be easier for me to upload from while I am abroad, so I may just stick with it. Please comment and let me know which one you prefer.

A few good books

Posted by mobile phone:
I have been reading more now that I am home and have some downtime. I recently finished Jon Krakauer’s “Under the Banner of Heaven” and Laurence Gonzales’ “Deep Survival.” Both were very interesting reads, and both were written by journalists, who happen to be my favorite type of author. Krakauer’s book was about the fastest growing religion in the United States, Mormonism. Specifically Mormon Fundamentalism and two murders that stemmed from one sect of these groups. He did his homework for this book, and it is one of his most detailed, considering he wasn’t there for it (as he was for “Into Thin Air.”) It gave me an insight to a religion that is much larger than I had ever known, and made me think about how religions start and spread in general.

The other book I just finished, “Deep Survival”, is about the survival instinct and how it exists in some people, and seems to be strangely nonexistent in others. Gonzales mixes true stories with scientific research
Read the rest »

Delayed Burning Man Wrap up

I did not post much about the experience in the desert because it is something that is very hard to explain in words. I decided to pass over it on the blog, and just talk about it to people I know. However, many people have been asking me about it, and I wrote this to a friend at Farr Associates, and have decided to post it as well.

In a word, it was life changing. Black Rock City (the name of the week long city that is created in the desert) is a one of a kind place. It is what society would be if everyone decided that it was in their best interest to serve others. A utopia of sorts, but one that can only exist for such a short time because of its very nature.
We had to bring all of our own supplies out to the desert, enough to last for a full week – at least 1.5 gallons of water per person per day, food, shelter, gifts to society… everything. There is no trade or commerce on the playa (the desert), everything is gifted. So I made leather masks for anyone who stopped by our camp, or saw me out with mine on and wanted on. I brought a half –hide of leather out with me, and drew masks, cut them, and boiled them from 1-3 every day. That was my gift.

At night, the party aspect of the city kicked in, and
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Big Cedar Dirtbike Course

Big Cedar Dirtbike Course

Originally uploaded by hannaimage

I stopped by the Big Cedar Dirt bike Course outside of Auburn on my way home and spent an hour or so there taking pictures and wandering around it, trying to avoid getting hit. It had been a while since I used my camera, and I wanted to make sure it was still working fine after Burning Man.
I saw this place as I drove by it on the highway, so I pulled off, and used the GPS to find the way there. I had to sign a form that said if I die, it wasn’t their fault, then they just let me go wherever I wanted.
It felt a lot like it did when i took pictures at the Carolina Cup -get as close as you can, but watch out because you could get hit by a runaway at any moment.
Camera still works, and I got to see some kick ass bike riding.

Check out the Photos page for more pictures of the bikers.

Off to Auburn

I’m off to Auburn for the weekend to see Wakefield and Sara. They got me tickets to the game… should be a good time.

Up I-85

After getting back from the west coast, I got extremely antsy and tired of being home, so I took off last Thursday and made my way up the coast. On Thursday night I hit UGA and hung out with Brittany and Brooke, two friends from high school. We met up with some of their friends form UGA and went out downtown to a few different places, none of which I remember the name. One made espresso beer however.

On Friday morning I woke up, got some lunch, and kept heading north on I-85 up to Charlotte to see some friends from college and a buddy from high school. We went to one of their condos in downtown Charlotte, and hung out there for a while. (Note: While there, Grey chased Jason around with a knife, Jason had a wet suit on, his fake tooth out, and at one point had a revolver strapped to his hip.) Kyle, Trawick, Scott and I went out to Tilt and waited for one of their friends who apparently could get free drinks, but this never happened, so we left. We then went to Ri Ra’s where we hung out on the porch and ran into way too many Elon people who I never wanted to see again in my life. (If you are offended by this comment, then it wasn’t you I never wanted to see again. It was someone else.) Couple rounds of shots later and we headed to what Trawick deems the “Lighthouse of Charlotte.” Dixie’s Tavern it was. Way too expensive though, and not enough fun to make it worth it. On the upside, we ran into a few former ZTA’s who we ended up with back at their pool until 5am. All in all, a good night.

Saturday came around and I went further up I-85 to Richmond, where I met up with Kerley, Everett, Deflaun, Alice and T-Cobb (and her sister). Saw Kerley’s house for the first time, and then Alice and T-Cobb’s new apartment. Pregame, then out to the bar. We hit up the Metro Grill and had a blast. It was the first time I had seen them since they went to Europe. The night ended with a 4am push-up contest.

On Sunday i just headed to UVA, about an hour away and met up with my brother. We got dinner, saw a movie, and crashed early becaus ehe had class on Monday and i had to drive all the way back to Atlanta. I stopped in Greensboro and ate lunch with the guys at Bluezoom, (and Anne!) and caught up with them. It seemed to just be me talking about Burning Man, but whatever.

Now I am just working on the deck that I am building on the back of our house, and getting ready to go to Auburn on Friday to see Chris and Sara.

Jesus these posts are boring now… I need to get back on the road…

Back on the East Coast – Ben’s Wrap Up

After 3 weeks on the west coast, 36+ hours on a bus, two transcontinental flights, and over 450 miles of biking… I am back in Atlanta. I am not quite the same person I was when I left. I have met more people in the past few weeks than I can even imagine, and have become friends with some that will last forever.

Biking the coast with Jason was an incredible way to finish up the summer, and even though it cost more than I had planned, it is something I would do again in a second. I got to know him better then ever, and after starting off college with him as my roommate, this was the perfect end.

We both hit our lows and realized that we could keep going, even if it meant eating Raman and beans for dinner. The highs were the most natural, endorphin powered highs I have ever felt. After struggling uphill for hours, the feeling of cresting the top with an endless view of the Pacific Ocean rimmed by jagged cliffs covered in rolling fog is one that I will never forget. The silent pause at the top was always followed by a rush as we tipped our bikes forward and pointed the front wheel down, racing towards the bottom at up to 50 mph.

Once we made it out of the mountains, we had a few days of nice, flat, country biking before we hit the cities. City biking is dangerous, stressful, and bumpy. But it is also interesting because of how many people you run into. (Literally, only once, and he hit me.)

Right now I am struggling to acclimate back into real life. I am only in town for a month, so it is a strange feeling. Until yesterday I had not driven a car in almost a month, and had only ridden in one twice. I can go to the store and buy whatever I want right now, which is a strange feeling. I have to make a decent amount of money soon, and I am trying to sell my car. All of which take time, and a different kind of energy than I am used to. I have found that I began regulating my time to living in the most basic sense. When biking, it was all about water, food, energy, and where are we staying, how do we get there. In the middle of the desert at Burningman, it was water, shade, water, food. Don’t move to much during the day or you will get heat stroke. My body went from 8,000+ calories a day while biking to less than 1500 in the heat. Now that I am back, I slept for 13 hours last night, and woke up feeling a little lost, as if I should have something to physically occupy my time all day. Downtime is not something I am used to.

Other than the physical changes (I am tan, lean, and very bearded) I now find myself to be more outgoing than I ever have been before. People are simply people, they all have their problems, concerns, and joys. They all also want to interact with others, they just don’t know how to do it all the time. If you can make their life interesting for a second, they appreciate it. it also makes your day worthwhile. Traveling is not about places, it is about the people that make those places unique. You can find these people everywhere, even at home.

My next trip is a simple one up the East coast to see my friends again before I head to Asia.

Still on the way to the middle of nowhere.

We are now close to reno, and the bus has wireless internet via Verizon cell card, so I am typing this on on Alan’s MacBook. We have gotten to know each other a little more now, so here is a brief rundown of some of the crew. There is a couple from Israel, about 25 years old, who backpacked California and are here for a while. They are really aid back, and have some cool stories. He works for Grey Advertising. One guy is wearing a star wars shirt, and jeans covered in colored paint. He is currently finishing his last year of Harvard Law. Two people are from Germany, but never met each other before the trip started. One guy works for an ad agency in San Fran, and this is his second burn. Ethan runs the whole program, and is a really unique individual, he and his friend Alan both went to UMass and have been doing this for a year. There are about 10 others on board, but i have yet to get their stories, as we are constantly moving around and getting to know each other.
Again, More later…