Beyond worth it

I've never forgotten Janie Porche and how she saved Christmas.

Of all the Apple ads, this one remains my favorite. In 30 seconds, a single person captures the hero's journey from beginning to end: setting, characters, plot, conflict, and joyful resolution. We imagine ourselves in that moment and by the end, the solution to our predicament is unmistakeable.

Ads are everywhere we turn. There's a certain inevitability to them; if a surface or screen doesn't have them yet, we wondered how long until they will.

Uncommon is free from ads not because there's something inherently wrong with them, but because there is a conflict between what's best for the community and what's best for advertisers. We do a lot of foolish things on the Uncommon site, like close one day a week and encourage short visits over long ones. We value lingering conversations with new friends and old, sparked by an uncommon story, idea, or question, not clicks and page views.

I've also noticed that when we're surrounded by ads and brands, we start thinking of ourselves as brands and talking to each other in ads.

So instead of ads, there is a sustainable community of committed members slowly unraveling the story of who we are.

Prompted

The latest dispatch asked, What’s the longest, strangest trip you’ve taken?

Joe wrote:

I once rode by bicycle up the east coast of Florida. It was not planned. By day I rode and by night I slept on the beach. Stealth camping, I think is what they call it. Along the way I took pictures, ate good food, and hung out with local barflys. I felt to be somewhere on the spectrum between heroic adventurer and wandering hobo. Most likely leaning towards the latter. I’m pretty terrible with directions, but I never got lost. It’s not so hard when your traveling along side an ocean. What started out as a short ride on the path by my home turned into a four day bicycle trip from Boca Raton to Daytona Beach. It’s the longest bicycle trip I have taken to date. I wouldn’t say this trip was particularly strange other than the spontaneous nature being unusual for me. Maybe I needed break out of my routine. Or maybe I just wanted to clear my head for a while. What ever the reason I’m glad to have done it.

Danielle wrote:

My trip to SE Asia was the fastest 9 weeks of my life. My first insane transit experience was in Hong Kong, on the train during rush hour, I thought I had displaced a rib and utterly squashed my American need for physical space. But, I also had the best Tikka Masala of my life and was mesmerized by the lit up signs, even in narrow alleys, which they just call “roads”.

Three weeks were spent slumbering in a hot, humid, student dorm in Singapore, where its former occupant must have had extra amazing sweating abilities, because my room had a funk to it that would NOT die out. So, I too carried a mild nuance of it with me at the start of each day. But, the midday rain showers and many trips to Little India for amazing vittles made that beyond worth it.

The three quietest days of my life were spent in Bintan, Indonesia. Simple beach huts, kicking a soccer ball with (or at, in my case) the locals by a bonfire, banana pancakes, and scary stories, reminded me of the definition of simplicity.

Three weeks in Vietnam was what I’d imagine it to be like on speed or in a movie like Fight Club, sans the fighting. The days were long, as I wanted to take it all in, especially as I grew more comfortable with traveling and more sick with a protozoa. The night markets were alluring, the culture was rich and old in its history, and the scenic views were majestic. You don’t forget a trip through Halong Bay and its massive caves.

In Cambodia, I met the nicest people in the world and saw potentially the greatest World Heritage site: Angkor Wat. Flash backs of summers spent watching my BFF play Tomb Raider and Crash bandicoot were all too real! This was the better version, though her company was missed.

Thailand was like coming across a really good hip-hop song on the radio that you hadn’t heard in ages, and it was so refreshing. Bangkok was like the NYC of SE Asia; to be in such a massive city was intoxicating with newness. To do it all over again, would be a dream!

Uncommon reads

In search of... by Lara McPherson:

Isn’t that what we’re all after? Connection with another human being that goes beyond the trivial and cuts straight to the core of who we are? Helping each other experience true connection with ourselves and others? Recognising the humanity and wonder in another person, and experiencing it in yourself through someone else’s eyes?

[...] I’m convinced that this sense of empathy and connection is a severely depleted resource in the world right now, but the good thing is, it is also renewable, and all it takes is a willingness to cultivate it.

Thoreau, the First Declutterer by Danny Heitman:

Thoreau sought a decluttered life because he thought it would lead to a decluttered mind. The abiding lesson of “Walden” is that only in occasionally standing offstage from our daily routines can we grasp what is really important to ourselves, our family, our country. Thoreau saw solitude and citizenship as mutually sustaining, not mutually exclusive.

Building Attention Span by David Brooks:

When people in this slower world gather to try to understand connections and context, they gravitate toward a different set of questions. These questions are less about sensation than about meaning.

Your turn

How many places have you lived?