I haven’t been to too many countries, but I’ve been to a few. I love exploring new places as I never know what I will discover, and how will I feel then. Every new place brings up a completely new kind of advertures. My life is more interesting when I can see historical landmarks such as Chichen Itsa or the Acropolis, or speak to strangers in San Diego or to enjoy a glass of wine on a university square in Rome. My life is also richer when I get home and can bring the new perspective to many previously mundane aspects of my life.
I have perceived reality in different ways once in USA as a resident, once in Italy as a tourist, once in Bulgaria as a resident, once in Bulgaria as a tourist. These are different projections of the reality based on my perspective of perception in the world - both geographical and cultural. Reality is a big fat multidimensional beast and we only get to see small parts of it at a time. If it were an elephant, depending on which side of it you have access to you might deduce that it is soft and round (hobot), soft and flat (ear) or hard and round (tusk). And there are always new and surprising aspects and parts of it.
To me hacking on software projects feels similar to traveling to a territory I’ve never seen before, and exposes me to a new perspective on the ways we process information. Sometimes it is about dealing with a tool that is well standardized and documented and which has plenty of tutorials. In such case there are many opportunities to build something interesting, but it is still up to me to make it fun. Sometimes I’d venture into an area that is not very well explored, or maybe it is not well documented, or maybe is a completely new technology that hasn’t had the time to mature. These are usually really exciting projects as they bring in a lot of uncertainty. Trying to do something that I don’t know whether it is feasible or not, feels to me like an adventure. With both young and mature technologies, I am having a great time because it feels almost like a game, and I might even be learning something useful.
To me, travel for the mind is as exciting as the physical travel. And it is way more affordable in terms of time and often in terms of money as well. I am lucky that as a software engineer my job often makes me travel to a new mind destinations.