...since I've posted here, but not due to lack of content or inspiration.
Leaving work to travel long-term should lend itself to an of abundance time-- seems that way on the surface, anyhow-- a surface of potential leisure that has graduated from a rain barrel* to an Olympic-sized swimming pool. Finally, there would be adequate time to juggle several hobbies, read the books I've been meaning to read, take photographs, craft travel memoirs (sophomoric as they may be), develop foreign language skills, hone affectations that convey 'deep thought' in cat cafés, etc.
However, when a new endeavor-turned-obsession strikes, the well-proportioned Individual Medley described above abruptly becomes a panicked flail in the quicksand that is Parkinson's Law.
The world needs a lot of things. In June 2016, I decided that the world needs a chocolate milk expert.
Combining travel with my already well-vested penchant for chocolate milk-- I could conceivably sample...all the world's chocolate milk(?!)**. Or at least, more than anyone has done previously.
Not because it's difficult, not because it's lucrative, prestigious, impressive, enthralling, quirky, droll, or novel-- though it may be some of those things to some people (well, except lucrative). But at its root, it was just something interesting to me-- and something I was (to an extent) doing anyway-- just without recording/documenting the journey and results.
At some point, I would be able to call myself the world's foremost expert*** in chocolate milk-- a point that (after 13 months of dedication) I'm finally comfortable saying "I've reached." [trumpets..]
Sitting at my Aunt's kitchen table in a Manchester, NH suburb, as of today, I've sampled 504 different chocolate milks from 31 countries (though, at this time, the website only shows 412-- there's always a backlog of posts to publish as I'm seeking out and trying new chocolate milks each day). Predictably, the taste experiences exhibit a bell curve:
I also have a backlog of photos to upload to this site as well, though I haven't been taking as many pictures as I once did-- re: the time thing. Just wanted to explain the apparent absence over the last few months, as well as my steadfast acceleration toward diabetes and tooth decay.
For anyone interested, the site is www.afoolzerrand.com and the video blogs currently lag about a month behind as well but chronicle the last 5 months in Asia (and since) from a chocolate milk standpoint.
Heading back overseas in August 2017 in search of more experiences, more chocolate milk, and whatever else might happen along the way.
* I like the rain barrel metaphor for leisure time. Work and other obligations account for so much of a day, that at times it feels like you're only able to collect drippings of leisure time here and there, with most of it falling helplessly outside containment. It's not a puddle, whose surface expands in proportion to the amount gathered (making it more accessible)-- it just gets deeper. And that rain at the bottom of the barrel languishes there forever; the accounting system for free time is decidedly LIFO and not FIFO-- you ladle off the top when you get a chance and lose a measurable amount to evaporation.
** I always understood the 'interrobang' [?!] to be a permutation (not combination) of the question mark ('interro') and the exclamation point ('bang')-- and would have (wrongly) defended that to the death. Not only is the classical interrobang a single mark [with ? and ! layered over one another], but I also misunderstood the ambidexterity of the the two-mark version-- placing ?! and !? on equal footing.
*** In the sense that I've tried/reviewed more different kinds of chocolate milk than anyone else in the world. I am not claiming to be an expert in the production, distribution, marketing, history, etc. of chocolate milk.