The Diary of an Unhappy Nobody: Day 10

In only 13 days I’m visiting a new city and state. But I’m a planner when it comes to my trips. The expectation is to take another trip in August, but there’s one question that needs answering: WHERE TO NEXT?

I don’t currently hold a passport. Domestically there are still many places I want to see. But I’m the typical American in at least one regard. I want to make my way through Europe. My prelimunary thoughts on the topic have not done much to aid in my decision making. These are the cities I’ve considered: London, Madrid, Barcelona, Paris, Rome, Vienna, Amsterdam. London and Rome are at the top of the list. Now you help me decide where to go.

I’ve also thought of Sydney and Tokyo. Here in the US I still have LA, NYC, Grand Canyon, Alaska, Orlando, San Francisco, Atlanta, and Philadelphia on my list.

A little help, please?

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I #CantDoNothing. What about you?

This will be my second non-bookish post of the last few days. But it’s something that is very important to me.

I imagine that nearly all of the people on WordPress are in the developed world. And maybe some in the developing world. Which means most of you all are at least mildly aware of the refugee crisis happening in and around Syria and other countries. Maybe you don’t go out of your way to read about it and maybe you don’t even care because it’s “their” problem. That’s fine. No one is required to care about anything.

But let me remind you of something. Most of the major conflicts and catastrophes in history have been resolved because people decide to help other people. Natural disasters. War. Epidemics. And the crisis in Syria is our chance.

Obviously not everyone has money to spare to give to organizations on the ground, and that’s okay. Actress Milana Vayntrub (you may know her as Lilly on the ATT commercials) has started an organization called Can’t Do Nothing to spread awareness about the refugee crisis currently ongoing, and to raise resources to help those on the ground.

She isn’t asking you to give her your money. She’s really just asking you to watch her short documentary (13 minutes long) about what she’s seen firsthand in Greece, where refugees are arriving every hour. And if you’re moved to action you can donate your time, money, or voice to help one of three organizations she’s partnered with.

The situation for most of these refugees is extremely dire. They lack access to medicine, shelter, clothing, diapers, food. All things most of us have at our disposal. Things we probably take for granted on a daily basis. These people don’t have, and they don’t have them because of things entirely out of their control.

And the thing is that they aren’t looking for handouts. They’re looking for an opportunity to begin again. One man Milana spoke with during her documentary said he wanted to continue his grad studies. There are so many more refugees exactly like him.

I don’t know when or if the United States will resettle refugees here at home, but our government doesn’t have to keep us from making a significant difference in the lives of others.

I #CantDoNothing after what I’ve seen. What about you?

You can visit the organization’s website at cantdonothing.org

Below is Milana’s short documentary on her experience.

I’m Going on Vacation!

And I want to meet you!

Okay. I realize that most of you are complete strangers to me, but plenty of you aren’t. I mean, I kind of wish I could meet all of you and show you how random I am in person, but I can’t. So that’s why this is really going to be a trip of a lifetime! Because I am going to get to meet some of you! (I hope)

Let me tell you what’s going on. I don’t have an exact itinerary just yet. But I do at least know a handful of countries I’m hoping to visit, so if you happen to live in one of the countries then we’re about to meet! I know for sure I’ll be going to the UK, France, Australia, Germany, and then circle around back to the US and visit a few states I’ve always wanted to see. If you live in one of these states/cities you better say so! California. New York. Washington D.C. And depending on the time I spend in New York and California, I may slip into Canada for a day or so.

So that’s it! My little trip around the world.

You’re probably wondering why I’m doing this at all. Well, I think the best time for one to travel is the time immediately following college graduation. And yes, I graduated two years ago, but I’m still in that period. And as for the blog, well I’m leaving fairly soon because there’s no reason for me to wait, but I’m going to write some posts and schedule them out for the next few days. But I most likely will not be blogging during my trip, which I expect to last about two weeks. Because I’ve never had the chance to travel and I don’t want to spend that time replying to comments and checking stats.

If you happen to live in the UK, France, Germany, Australia, California, New York, Washington D.C., or Canada, AND think you might like to meet me in the near future…then you need to tell me! I think we could probably figure something out.

That’s all for today. MP Sharma, I’m stealing you and bringing you back in my suitcase!

And the Nobel Prize in Literature Goes to…

Were you aware that the Nobel Prize in Literature was just announced a couple of days ago? No? Well then you should follow some bookish people or websites on Twitter so you can be in the know. Let’s talk just a little about the prize before I tell you all who was awarded what many consider the most prestigious prize in literature.

The award, as I’m certain you know, is given out annually. But unlike other major literary awards, it is based on the author’s entire body of work. So you won’t be seeing any 25-year-olds winning this bad boy. And let me tell you, I was almost certain that Haruki Murakami was going to take it home. That isn’t to say that the other finalists weren’t deserving, but that I have first hand knowledge of the greatness that is Murakami’s body of work. Have I read everything he’s written? No. But what I have read cannot be understated. This man can write with anyone out there. I was introduced to some of his work during my last semester of college.

So a day or two before the announcement I happened to read an article that placed Murakami and one other finalist at the top of the pile. He was the joint favorite with just hours left before the official announcement. But he didn’t win. And neither did the other favorite. So what happened? One might answer that nothing happened and it was simply awarded to someone else, but there could be something a little fishy going on.

Eight of the last 11 winners have been from Europe. And only five countries outside of Europe have won more than once. I’m not here to proclaim that there’s some conspiracy going on, but that’s a lot of awards going to countries in and around the Swedish Academy. I don’t have any issue with the inherent bias that exists, but perhaps it’s been taken just a bit too far. Perhaps. 77 of the 111 laureates were Europeans. No. The bias that exists is obviously something that needs to be addressed.

There are deserving individuals all over the world, not just Europe.

The 2014 award was given to Patrick Modiano of France. The country that has been awarded a record 15 times. I’ve never read any of his work or even heard of him before now. I won’t say he’s undeserving, but I will say that too many of these awards are being awarded to one region of the world. And sure there’s a lot of recognition that comes with winning the award, but he also received about $1.1 million. Not bad.

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What do you think? Think that academy needs to open its eyes a bit or just keep giving the award to Europeans?