I am DVDKOURIL. This is my blog.

David goes to USA: part 1

This was my first time flying to US and also first time on a long haul flight. First flight with Austrian (close to 9 hours) went perfectly well, they distract you with food and drinks, and I had podcasts to keep me entertained.

The other flight was with United (for around 5 hours) and I got lucky, I was sitting next to a lady who shared a Philly cheesesteak with me.

The immigration checks (or whatever it’s called) went smoothly too (it’s something I’ve heard is kinda random).

We went to SLC for a meeting of people working in the same field and I got to say that I left feeling very inspired! I really liked having Salt Lake City as my first contact with USA, the mountains are super pretty, the city itself looks very clean, and the University of Utah campus looks like a typical american university campus (very nice).

From there we drove to Grand Canyon. But we are stupid and didn’t book any accommodation for that night and it turns out it’s kinda difficult to find a room around Grand Canyon at 11pm in the night.

We ended up sleeping in a car on a parking lot next to Horseshoe Bend. At least we got to see it on sunrise the next morning.

We did two hikes while in the Grand Canyon national park: short one on Saturday and brutal long one on Sunday. The short hike was along the South Rim. The long one we hiked down on the South Keibab trail, then changed to the Tonto trail, and finally hiked up the Bright Angel trail.

After that we drove to Phoenix and now we are here at the conference. The conference ends on Friday 6th and after that our road trip starts.

Preparing for the USA trip

I’m going to USA in a few days and I’m excited (and just a little nervous) about it.

First, we have a meeting with collaborators in Salt Lake City and afterwards we will attend VIS 2017 in Phoenix, trying to squeeze a Grand Canyon visit in between those. After the conference me and three other colleagues are going on a road trip on the west coast. Plan is not exactly clear for the road trip yet, we want to go to national parks mostly but I would really like to see some of the big cities too. We are flying back from San Francisco on Monday, October 16th. That’s almost 3 weeks I’ll spend there and I’m just super hyped for that.

I’m looking forward for all three parts: In Salt Lake City I will meet people that I’ve only talked to online so far, I’m sure the conference will be inspiring, and the road trip afterwards is going to be awesome too. I’ll be giving a short presentation in SLC, nothing at the conference, I’m only coming there to watch, get inspired, and network.

But most of all I’m looking forward to just experience US. Ever since I’ve been a teenager, I’ve been living in the US world through the internet. Even though I’ve lived in Europe my whole life, I know a lot of the American culture from second hand. You get the feeling that this is the place where it’s all happening. I’m really curious to see how is this world experienced in person.

I’ll try to continue with writing updates on blog (with lots and lots of photos) but besides that I think it’s to be expected that I will be posting a lot of my instagram.

Vacation!!!

This year we spent a week in Kardamili, a town in Peloponnese, Greece. We did a similar thing as last time: rented an apartment, got a car, and traveled the area as much as possible.

We’ve been to: Polylimnio waterfalls, Methoni, Koroni, Pilos.

Beaches: Kardamili, Kalamitsi, Phoneas, Voidokilia, Kalogria

Unfortunately I had sun allergy again. I’m pretty fair-skinned so I’m used to getting sunburnt, but getting rash from the sun is something even worse. It seems that there are ways how to prevent that so I’m gonna try some of that for the next year!

Btw. I love flying. If I was deciding right now what I want to be I’d sat a pilot. I don’t really know why I like it so much, it just seems so cool to be flying planes.

One thing I like about going on vacation is that I leave my computer at home, no working, which makes me think a lot. I think about what I’m doing, what I want to do, how should I be doing it, what are my goals, how I’m gonna reach them, what future I imagine for me and Gabi, … I write it all down in my phone and then go through it back home. It’s very easy to lose direction once you are back in your regular life, it just feels like one day after another. At that moment, it’s nice to look at these notes and see if you are working towards something in there, or if you need to navigate the life a bit better.

We have some very nice photos (mostly Gabi did them but sometimes I pushed the button):

Autumn’s here, let’s go on a vacation!

Autumn weather has arrived to Vienna and we are preparing to go for our vacation in Greece.

After the triumph at the Magistrat on Tuesday not much has happened. Gabi went to Brno because she needed to pick up some things and also work at her company’s office. I’ve been trying to finish up some things at work as well but it didn’t go very well. Somehow the project I’m currently working on is just dragging on. I’m not really sure why, I have the feeling that the requirements are not really clear, I’m not sure how it should look like and I don’t know where I need to cut the corners because of technology limitations. And I don’t like that I’m the only one working on this one part. Other two people are involved but they work on their own parts. I totally get that, I myself have enough work to do that I don’t want to care about the work of others. I guess that there should be somebody above us who’s caring about this, knowing the technical details, and managing everything.

I’ve started to put the things I’m working on in my calendar few weeks back. I allocate blocks of like 1 to 4 hours and then put what I’ve been working on into the name of the event. It’s useful to go back and see what I’ve been actually doing and see the things that were absolutely unnecessary in the end.

So yeah, work has been a bit frustrating lately but it also might be because I reeeeeally want to go on the vacation already.

I need some time to think things through again. Last year the week on Kefalonia has helped me a lot. I figured out what needs to be done, figured what I want to do, and then over the year I just did it. Starting this blog has been one of the decisions I made on the vacation and it will soon be a year of me writing it. I’m so glad I started it and then kept on writing. I’ve had an interesting year (writing the master thesis, finishing the university, getting my degree, moving to a different country) and I freaking love that it’s documented somewhere.

So it’s an understatement to say that I’m excited for Wednesday when we finally go! I’m still going to go to work on Monday and Tuesday, try to complete things as best as I can and then I’m off.

Oh and as a sidenote: I’m choosing an acoustic guitar. I want to do more music. I have a shitty Stratocaster that I’ve had for maybe 10 years now. As a teenager I completely ignored acoustic guitars (typical..) but now I’m somehow attracted to an instrument that play without any amps and it’s just about how you learn to play it.

Aiming to be the 40-year-old that doesn’t know what he wants to do in his life

I don’t know if you’ve seen or heard this piece before:

It was originally written as an essay by Mary Schmich and then made into a song by Baz Luhrmann. I’ve heard it first in the form of this song when I was writing my bachelor thesis. I put it in my spotify playlist and I regularly bump into it when I’m listening to this playlist on shuffle. I always take something different from it, depending on what problems I’m having or what I’m thinking about at that moment.

Last time it was this part:

Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what you want to do with your life. The most interesting people I know didn’t know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives. Some of the most interesting 40-year-olds I know still don’t.

Lately I’ve had the problem that I’m again being attracted by different things and I have a hard time choosing what to focus on. The things is—I’ve been led to believe that I need to choose one thing, give my whole life into it, and then maybe I have some small chance of being successful. That’s a very frustrating thought because I have quite a number of things I’d like to do.

This time however I’m starting to get comfortable with that. I’m not gonna be known as a prodigy, a 14yo kid who makes an iphone app, sells out concert halls, or writes a book. I’m an almost 26-year-old guy, my may-be-a-prodigy years are over. But I still can (and should) be me.

And therefore I’m aiming to be the 40-year-old who still can’t decide what he wants to do in his life. I want to explore everything I want. I most probably won’t be successful at it. But if there’s one thing I’ve found out already, it’s that you don’t have to be world-class at something to enjoy doing it.