The Short Story
The Long Story
“Life Is either a Daring Adventure, or It’s Nothing at All.”
It was a long ride, indeed. It also gave me the idea to make a list of ultra-portable travel essentials I always keep with me. You might find this useful for your adventures. The items are split into productivity, mind, soul, and body.
The Travelling Scribe’s Reed Brush and Papyrus
“If you think adventure is dangerous, try routine, it’s lethal.”
This little trick paired with the Bluetooth keyboard from above gives me the lightest, most portable work setup I can imagine, for now.
The Wandering Buddha’s Toolbox
“Not all those who wander are lost.”
I like CrossFit because it brings camaraderie, accountability, and competitive spirits to otherwise quite fastidious workouts. It also puts meaning and a zest of heroism into these otherwise mundane things. For instance, you might have noticed that the Marathon is not called the 42.2 kilometers run, it’s called the Marathon. It has a name with a meaning. It’s not just about running whatever distance. The name comes from the legend of Philippides, a Greek soldier. After he fought the Persians and won in the battle of Marathon, in his euphoria, he graciously ran the distance of 42.2 kilometers separating the battlefield from Athens. He ran without stopping or slowing down, as the legend goes, to then collapse and die of exhaustion in front of the Athenian assembly after bursting a last and memorable “we have won!” He died to bring a beacon of light into the darkness of a long war. It has more meaning than running 42.2 kilometers. At CrossFit, we don’t just put heavy body armor on, run one mile, do 100 pullups, 200 pushups, 300 squats, and then run the same mile back for the great fuck of it. We call it Murph, in honor of Lieutenant Michael Murphy who was killed in Afghanistan while doing what he wanted to do most: protect his country and loved ones. Now, we can argue about the protect-your-country part and the ethics of war. It’s not the debate I’m after. I’m not American nor have any reason to particularly like or dislike the US. I’m not talking about the geopolitics of war, either. I’m just talking about heroic people who believe in something; people who believe their countrymen are at risk and lose everything to protect them. Heroism is universal—universally inspiring! I have nothing but deep respect and admiration for those heroes—whatever side they might be on. Anyway, all this to say: CrossFit brings unity and meaning to workouts that would otherwise just be routinely tedious. It’s good for the body and the soul.
Let’s get back to the topic at hand, shall we? With both the rope and band, I do ten minutes of jumping rope followed by three rounds of 50 air squats, 25 pushups, 25 chest pulls. The resistance band is just for the chest pulls. Let’s also take a second to appreciate that chest pulls are so niche—you’d be hard-pressed to find anything mainstream on Marco’s Grounds anyway, I had to dig out the only video on all of the whole worldwide web that accurately illustrates the movement. It’s a massively underrated exercise that quickly activates all the upper-back musculature. To quote the fine gentleman showing us the movement: “it brings music into the muscles!”
When I’m writing or otherwise dealing with business, I do it anywhere from two to four times a day. It’s short enough that it doesn’t interfere with my day. It’s long enough that it gets the heart pumping and the blood flowing. It’s light enough that it doesn’t tear muscle tissue, which would prevent me from fully dabbling in other joyful activities, of the likes of Jiu-Jitsu, CrossFit, or serious weightlifting. Most people are familiar with the soothing and focusing effect movement has on the mind. They just don’t have clear, real-world, relatable examples of it. That’s what I’m for. For example, when you’re on the phone, you tend to get up and start walking back and forth as the conversation requires increased focus and brain processing power. This is nothing but the effect of physical activity on the mind. It sharpens otherwise dull thoughts and intensifies focus. Ernest Hemingway, for instance, whom I can’t seem to quote enough, always wrote standing at his desk by the window, as he believed it heightened his creativity. Well, we know now that it does.
If we put all of it together, performing light exercise before a meal raises GLUT4 to the surface of the cells and increases ever so slightly the chance of what you just ate to get into muscle tissue rather than fat tissue. Bodybuilders call this the pump and have post-workout meals—the pump is not only GLUT4; it’s other things too, but we needn’t worry about those for now.
We know, due to research published in The Journal of Clinical Investigation, that it only takes 280 seconds of exercise to increase GLUT-4 concentration by 83% in the activated muscle tissue. For instance, it has been shown to take six hours of training to increase GLUT-4 to about 92% concentration . What do I always tell you about the 80/20 principle? I rest my case.
“Why do people say:”grow some balls”? Balls are weak and sensitive. If you want to be tough, grow a vagina. Those things can take a pounding.”
This one little travel trick of mine is massively underrated: I always have a Rubz Massage Ball with me. It’s a tiny ball, a bit bigger and softer than a golf ball that fits anywhere and costs less than $5. I wouldn’t believe it if I hadn’t tried, but rubbing your feet on it at the end of the day is just so calming and peaceful. It doesn’t even make sense. Some people swear it alleviates back pain, restless leg syndrome, lower neck pain, and other ailments. I don’t have any of those things, so I can’t tell you first-hand. What I know is that it’s as soothing as listening to a tranquil ocean at sunset.
The Modern Perseus Shield
“Prepare for the worst and pray for the best.”
―Ronald A. Martin, Jr.
For instance, what I do, is one week before traveling, I start taking heavy-duty doses of vitamin C, vitamin D, and zinc. I know some people are skeptical about supplementation. Some people think they don’t work. Well, what I know about those people is that they have no concept of dosage, timing, and blood concentration levels.
Besides, blood concentration is easily measurable. You don’t have to rely on voodoo witchcraft. Any walk-in laboratory is happy to take a bit of your blood and run tests. Testing for blood concentrations of vitamin C, D, and zinc, where I live, in Zurich, Switzerland, costs around $100 a pop. It’s not the most expensive thing in the world. But it does add up. A cheap, yet less precise alternative would be a saliva test, that would run at around $70 a pop for all three elements.
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