The magic of traveling alone


With a small backpack, brown Poncho, big smile, and some bucks I set off to Italy. In my mind, I planned to wander and work on agricultural farms in Tuscany.

At the start, I had some doubts. A sense of loneliness emerged. I was a bit confused. Though, this turned out for the best, serving as a tool for freedom.

I wanted to know more about the Italian culture and people, agricultural work, and discover new things, as many as possible.

Traveling alone is lean. You don't have to mind other people’s desires or needs and hear no other voice than your inner one. That leads to a looser travel style that allows you to take different decisions on the fly. 

I shifted my focus to other people. To learn and interact with them. It was easy, simply pushing myself aside and changing my actions accordingly. It might have been less easy with a companion.

With no distraction or bias, you get more input. With an open mind, one can leverage that input and make amazing things out of it.

The absence of another ‘known’ entity guides this roadmap for discovery. These factors helped me develop the experience into an adventure.

I would also dare to say that an adventure is a solo quest. It is because while on an adventure, most lessons learned eventually are applied to one's own life. Or otherwise, one mostly learns about himself. Solo traveling embraces these benefits.

Therefore, some interactions are destined to be different. In other circumstances, I wouldn’t end up in a bar after spending the whole day with this awesome Taiwanese guy I met in a random museum! 

Although loneliness isn’t always desirable, it’s processed, chewed along with the adventure, and becomes part of it.

Introducing: Mongoled


It's a tool to browse Military history in a visualized and fun way, and dive into it using wikipedia. 


I love history. I love listenting to Hardcore History, and reading about events that shaped us. As I was reading about a person (Dutch general) I saw some painting of the events. It also gave me the chills. for a moment, I thought I was really there. It was a great experience. And then I thought about moving this experience to a bigger scale.

What if I could go back in time, choose a moment I like, and see what happens? I wanted to make it real, by finding a way to gather:

(a) quality paintings that depicts battles, events, etc.

(b) quality data that allows to divr into those events

It sounded like a project worth doing.


It took me 3 weeks in which I completely wasted my time mostly. I wanted to do it as fast as possible and as lean as possible, but I wasn't ready to let go. I didn't understand that shipping a lean project means you have to tolerate its heavy flaws, and do nothing, because they are don't strictly matter to a basic functionality. There's of course setbacks, but If I would stay focused on what strictly attered, it would take a week.

I ended up querying wikidata, which is a wikimedia porject that stores in it milions of structured data readable by machines. For the actual website, I used svelte and firebase. Svelte was new for me, so I learned it. 

My initial plans for tens of thousands of art didn't yet came to their fulfillment. I found it tough to query for historical events becuase they can vary a lot, and wikidata isn't perfect. It was also tough to queey only art, that's not heavily licensed, that has a wikipedia article associated with it. For those reasons, and decision to ship faster the website now concludes mostly military history, and includes maps and non-art images.

Plans for the future:

I want to scale it. I truly believe it could be much better. I believe the vision for all-in-one history browser can be done, and it can make history fun once more. 

Currently, the most important thing I consider is more data. I look forward to improve my query methods, find another sources, and improve the quality of the selected images.

In conjunction, I want to make the website load faster and lower its bandwidth*.

I'll work on it!

*bandwith is the data size that's transfered from the website to the end user. It's slows everything down and It's not free. 

Invisible little things

Native English speakers hold a tiny superpower. One which gives them an advantage they're not often aware of.

Without making an effort to change it, I was comprehending English information with little efficiency as I usually did with my native language. A native English speaker can easily absorb English information in any form. That has an impact when it comes to knowledge acquisition.

The discovery of ideas seems to be on the upside of humans. Whenever humans get better access to ideas and they make use of it, progress is prominent, that eventually leads to individual and collective impacts[1]. One major way to discover new ideas, is through internet. And most of it is written in English[2]. A native speaker will find comfort and have an easier time making use of it than others. That's a big deal.

I would probably not come to think or write about it if I were a native speaker. If thats the case, How many of those tiny superpowers lay on our behalf that we do not think about?.

[1] A great read is dkb’s essay -

[2] Further reading -

What you shouldn't think

You shouldn't talk to strangers

We have all heard that saying. 

Growing into adulthood, one can reason that there is not much sense in that saying. We all know that we can spark a conversation with the guy sitting next to us at a bus station. Or ask for help in the middle of the street or suddenly call an old friend to catch up, and nothing severely bad will happen.

But yet, we don't often do that. Like we often look at ourselves in the mirror, try to align our fashion style to some model, or try to ace at school. That's a pretty weird code to live by, isn't it? Avoiding things we want to do and doing stuff we think we should do but not necessarily want to[1].

That's driven by social norms and our need (or will) to fit in just right. Interestingly, social norms aren't always a set of rules of dos and donts. They often are embedded in our definitions.

Take a child's curiosity as an example. Watch a 6yo playing catch, or build a tree house. You'll be amazed by what seems like an infinite curiosity and energy that he has and specifically while doing that. Compare that to the same child 20 years later, And you'll wonder, "What happened to that little boy?". He had "grown up" and become more "rational.". Then he's thinking: "That's simply not practical.". No one told him that. It simply trickled in.

It's absurdly "obvious" that doing things just for fun or just from curiosity is not practical. But it turns out that it often is. People doing things from sheer curiosity or pure joy tend to build neat stuff (like Apple, the Theory of relativity, Facebook, Linux, Lightning rod, and more).

If we look back, we can see social norms changing throughout history. Hundred years ago, women got treated differently than they are now. Three hundred years ago, slaves were acceptable and welcomed. Five hundred years ago, it seemed just fine for the Aztecs to sacrifice humans to the gods. 2500 years ago, aspiring for wisdom wasn't that acceptable[2[3].

Norms are not strictly true. They are simply made by modern-day society and are often seasonal. That being said - it may be wiser to choose whatever fits you the most. The irrational act of today may be the norm of tomorrow. And even if it won't be, it still can be the right thing to do while minding the social norms is probably a waste of time and energy[4].

It seems that this trend is increasing. Ever since social media, a specific way of living, appearing, and talking, became the right or beautiful, or politically correct manner. But we can be comforted by the fact that there is a positive wave. Society is much more tolerant and open-minded in some senses. And more efforts are taken to form a better version of modern society.

[1] Of course, that stuff should fall under the category of unharming to society or oneself.

[2] These norms are just a few out of many as we can all imagine.

[3] Heck, One of the greatest philosophers of all time was executed for that - Socrates.

[4] Considering that some decisions can change the course of your life, or change it a little bit, powering those decisions with social norms alignment motives seems foolish.