Friday Notes #102 — Reflections on a Caribbean Vacation: Notes on Plastic Waste, War, and the Meaning of Life
My vacations are always the best time for making observations about life and my surroundings.
I recently came back from vacation in the Dominican Republic. The last time I visited the island was in 1994. I stayed near Miches, a small town at 90 minutes drive from the airport. Here are a few notes and observations.
About that beach. Rarely have I seen such quiet and beautiful long beaches in the Caribbean. Yet, the bucolic view of the ocean was stained by reminders of our plastic waste and littering. A reminder that humans are never that far away. I find this really sad and don’t see how it will ever improve. Someone once told me that poor people don’t care about trash, the environment in general or climate change; they care about surviving. I can understand that, and in a way, it’s our fault, developed countries. While walking on the beach, I couldn’t help but try to capture a close-up of what I saw.
On the war in Ukraine. I barely stayed connected, only for sporadic notifications checking and reading news about the war in Ukraine. On that front (pun intended), I couldn’t help but feel sorry for the state of the war. Things aren’t moving in any significant directions. Both sides are losing quite a lot of combat power and capabilities.
I came across the report of a Ukrainian soldier beheading. I saw the first few frames of the video and stopped watching right away. I feared the mental images this could trigger for the remainder of my vacation. Probably utterly disgusting.
The Russian army is fighting hard to beat ISIS on the scale of barbarism.
Too many ideas, not enough time. Being outside of my normal daily routine, taking the time to pause always puts me in an ideas-triggering mode. Being on vacation is when I get new creative ideas about writing projects, digital things to experiment with, photos to take and process and new videos to create. Sadly, I often conclude that I’ll never have enough time to do everything I envision. Is it a good thing? Probably yes.
Deep conversations. Finding the purpose of our lives came up during a conversation between friends while sipping our glass of wine. Someone suggested that life was about creating a magnum opus (see definition below in “What did I learn this week”). My initial thoughts were that I didn’t have one yet if I was strictly reading the definition. On the other hand, my father, an architect, created one in his professional life with all the buildings he designed. That’s pretty obvious. And I’m so proud of his work. Steve Jobs made several wonderful things he put out there that will inspire future generations (at Disney, see “Making Something Wonderful”). Being creative is an essential personality trait for building a magnum opus. After much thought and discussion, it became clear that mine will be about making a difference around me, especially at work, where I find more tangible results. It’s not something physical like my father and Steve Jobs. Does it still count? I like to think the answer is yes.
Miscellany. I want to say hello to all my new subscribers! I’m glad that you are joining me in my writing journey. Disclaimer: This newsletter is mainly made of my original work except for the title and information on how long it takes for a plastic bottle and a leaf to decompose, which were written using ChatGPT.