GOTHENBURG, SWEDEN — Today marks exactly 100 days of traveling in Europe. I’ve been backpacking alone, taking classes, and spending time with family. I cycled through Amsterdam and hitchhiked through the Highlands. I learned Swedish folks songs in Uppsala and sailing fundamentals in Norfolk. I swam in the Gulf of Finland (saunaed for warmth) and in the Sound of Raasay (drank whisky for warmth.) I caught free jazz in Copenhagen, Dresden and Hamburg. I got to see an ecovillage in Scotland (and help out in the kitchen) and a refugee aid operation in France (and help out in the kitchen.) I made a bunch of mistakes and handful friends. I’m grateful, grateful, grateful.
Hey, here’s a map of where I slept for the past 100 nights.
What next? Now I’m in Gothenburg, Sweden, embarking on an internship with a small, clean-tech startup company. Next term I’ll go back to school.
I’m currently living in a 17-person, sustainability focused community on Carleton College’s campus, called “Farm House.” When it comes to toilets, we tend to adhere to the classic environmentalist manta “if it’s yellow, let it mellow; if it’s brown, flush it down.”
Here is a java implementation of this central dogma, which I recently taped up in several bathrooms.
Note: This piece was originally written for my Common App college application, in response to the essay prompt “Describe a place or environment where you are perfectly content. What do you do or experience there, and why is it meaningful to you?”
Fourteen years ago I learned how to bike, but six months ago I learned why. Six months ago I discovered the true power of biking, not just as a form of transportation, but also as a tool for improving personal and planetary health. My embrace of cycling began as an environmental gesture: I decided for all the global-warming-related fear I bear, I should explore the viability of biking more and driving less. This seemed like a simple action I could take to directly reduce my carbon footprint, and while I anticipated the change would make my life harder and less comfortable, that was a sacrifice I felt willing to make. Before long, however, I found biking was not a sacrifice at all, but rather… a gift. I have discovered that biking creates a space in my life to connect with my mind, body, and environment, in a society where that space can be hard to find. Continue reading “The Joy of Cycling” →