Some of my paths came to closure in 2023. I spent most of the year bidding bittersweet farewells. It was a challenging retrospection, not just last year but also in the past decades. Inevitably, I needed to disentangle those mental knots and mark full stops to them. Or they’d be excessive psychological baggage on the next boarding.
Knot One: Disembarking 400 Days as Digital Nomad
My year began in Tbilisi, continuing the digital nomad adventure. I didn’t realise how heart-wrenching to leave the city and that would be the theme of the year. To end the journey, the final itinerary was crazy: Tbilisi > Baku, Azerbaijan (synchronised with Novruz Festival) > Tbilisi > Amsterdam, the Netherlands. I returned to Bangkok in April and caught up with blog posts by the end of June.
But the real hard work was when I decided to visualise personal data in the 400 days of the travel. The production, both progress and setbacks, taught me heaps and kept me occupied until October. That was a full stop to the 400 days of digital nomad life. Meanwhile, there was a bigger knot to disentangle.
Knot Two: Distancing Ten Years in Phra Khanong
Songkran and legal cannabis brought me back to Bangkok. But my stay dragged on to the rest of the year because of my condo in Phra Khanong. The last tenant left a terrible mess to it. The plan was to fix the apartment and move back in until it was sold or rented. We needed to repair the floor, the wall, the leaks, etc. The renovation was delayed by the rainy season. With those pending, I turned down a volunteer job for the European Games in Poland. In the end, we were stuck on a kitchen issue. In November, I decided to sell it in that unfinished condition. It was a relief. Sadly, I couldn’t claim Phra Khanong as my neighbourhood.
Asoke, where I have resided since April, was very convenient to public transport. I could walk along Sukhumvit Road to shopping malls with a food court, cafes as working spaces, a multiplex, and a gym. 2022, I hopped between countries. In contrast, in 2023, I hopped between shopping malls in Bangkok. How pathetic! Street scenes of tourism, from five-star hotels to a red-light district on Soi Cowboy, didn’t appeal much to me. It was ridiculous to be seen as a foreigner in my hometown. Besides, scourges of tourists wearing elephant-printed pants repelled me.
Phra Khanong was an antidote to them. I took the train there more often for drinking than for a condo inspection. The distance from the area reinforced me to look back on ten years of drinking in Phra Khanong. Somehow, the closure of the pub across from the Chinese funeral supply shop felt like a full stop for me. At least, that knot with Phra Khanong was gradually disentangled, I felt. It wasn’t the end but it won’t be the same.
Knot Three: Discerning Two Decades of Data Loss
The biggest knot of the year was coping with data loss. A lightning strike when I couldn’t access my hard drive in April back in Bangkok. It got checked out but less than 30 percent was retrieved. Most likely, it was damaged while I was travelling. That was the biggest and the most expensive lesson.
For a while, I fell into a feedback loop. Fuck, my raw files were in there. Fuck, I didn’t have any mirror backup! Fuck, my intellectual properties! Fuck, I promised Stilgherrian to sort photos of him! Fuck, it was like my house was burnt down and my emotional attachments went down with it! Fuck, going through social media and downloading my photos would be painful! And so on.
I didn’t have enough mental strength to assess the damages properly, let alone restructure digital asset management. As a grieving process, I put this knot under the rug. Even though there were old hard drives that could be shot to retrieve some photos from Sydney years, I wasn’t ready to look at them. Eventually, I will need to face it and disentangle this one soon!
Although some full stops have been marked, there are still a few things to disentangle those knots: learning data-driven chart animations, selling the condo, and restructuring personal data assets. Plus, other ambitious targets I’m aiming at. It’s likely to be a busy one in 2024.
Notable Works in 2023
The world is facing a freshwater storage gap💧.— World Bank Water (@WorldBankWater) February 6, 2023
As demands for storage grow📈, the volume of freshwater storage is in decline📉.
A @WorldBank report, #WhatTheFutureHasInStore, offers a strategy for tackling the gap while providing sustainable services.https://t.co/V62HXN21go pic.twitter.com/p0tWs8RZe5
Emerging food crises require early & effective responses.— WBG Agriculture (@WBG_Agriculture) April 21, 2023
Find out how @WorldBank is working w/partners to support countries as they develop & operationalize Food Security Crisis Preparedness Plans: https://t.co/srcqIqVuID#FoodCrisis @fightfoodcrises @FAO @UNOCHA @UNICEF @WFP pic.twitter.com/CRSZI8tdKL
Cities are increasingly looking to nature-based solutions such as wetlands and mangroves to become more resilient to climate change. Check out some examples from 🇨🇴Colombia, 🇲🇿Mozambique and 🇱🇰Sri Lanka: https://t.co/UIIE8B5yYf #ClimateStories_WBG #ForNature pic.twitter.com/ICBAm9QAPA— World Bank Climate (@WBG_Climate) February 17, 2023
As the world’s population hurtles towards 10 billion people, can we feed a growing population without destroying our forests? 🌳 #NaturesFrontiers – a new @WorldBank report – says yes. Here's how: https://t.co/3atRPoJ2Fc pic.twitter.com/cBiWTFr0gV— Connect4Climate (@Connect4Climate) June 27, 2023