Monday, June 14, 2010

Vacations: having fun vs. checking sites off the list

The kids are on summer vacation... Last week a Spanish friend was in town. His second time in SF. He was comparing his first "touristy" visit with the current "hang out with friends" visit. I asked the boys what they thought would be more fun: visiting the tourist sites or simply hanging out with friends. They thought hanging out with friends would be more fun, and I agreed. On our recent trip to China our best day was probably the one in which we simply hanged out with friends... You still get to enjoy new places, but without the stress and in good company.

We also spoke a bit about vacation planning in general. We used to be more ambitious and try to pack a lot into our trips. But we've concluded the purpose of holidays is not to "check" places off a list, but to have a good time and enjoy new (or known) places. So we now don't try to do as much - and have a much better time...

A couple of years ago I was having a Skype conversation with a work colleague who was at the office in SF. I confessed that I was on a sailboat in the middle of a beautiful bay in the island of Menorca, and I sent him a picture of the place. His initial reaction was to ask "how can you be working in such a place?", to which I responded that "working" in such a place was a pleasure. I didn't have to "focus" on being on vacation to enjoy it...

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Getting the advice that is right for you

I've been trying to learn to jibe on my kiteboard for a while without much success. I took a lesson but the advice I got from the instructor didn't help much. I then asked a pro rider and he gave me better advice, but still I fell down into the water most times I tried. Finally a third person, who had himself learned to jibe recently, gave me a few tips and I got it right away! Take aways:

- When learning something, it sometimes helps to hear different perspectives. What works for some people might not work for others. You need to find the approach that works for you.

- Experts are not always the best teachers. Sometimes the task at hand comes so natural to them that they have not really given much thought to the mechanics of how they do it. The instructor, for example, was telling me to do it one way but then I noticed that he was doing it differently!

- If at first your don't succeed... Keep trying. Perseverance usually pays off. But don't hit your head against the wall repeatedly. Look for new approaches.