There once was a man in a town among towns. Was a lot his property and estates, his titles and reputation, he had inns and taverns and Turkish baths, he had children and grandchildren. He was also healthy and even happy.
There was another man far among faraways. Didn't have this or that, diamonds or other. But he was healthy and happy too.
The man who had everything got curious about the man who had nothing. People around kept talking about him. How could a man with nothing be happy? Our man was intrigued. Curiosity... It's not easy to hush once it takes over, makes a man hit the roads. As such, our man left his comfortable and warm house, to visit this man who had nothing.
When he arrived, he found the man he was looking for sitting in a naked room with a few worn out clothes and furniture. After an exchange of greetings he asked timidly: “May I ask your permission to ask you a question?”
Well, this was a question in itself but our man didn't seem to be aware. The estimable reverence didn't seem to mind, he nodded solemnly.
Upon which, our man asked “Where are your possessions?”
It's not good etiquette to answer a question with a question but the reverence reflected a mirror and asked:
“Where are yours?”
Surprised was our “man with so much”... Wasn't it obvious? Still, he answered the question not to compromise his manners.
“I'm a passer-by, I've come and I'll be going.”
The one with nothing answered as if he was waiting for this reply:
“I am a passer-by too in this world, I've come and I'm going.”
The Persian story of the ring with “This too shall pass” is famous.
When I was travelling the world as a solo woman, people always asked me if I was not afraid. My take on it was always “If no permanent damage is done, all is fine; it's just adventure.” I knew, from experience, that things that seemed troublesome at the time turned into fun stories later on. Whatever hardships you faced, you took a shower, had food, slept through the night, you were like brand new.
However, the key point here is... As long as no permanent damage being done. Unfortunately, in some cases, permanent damage can be caused. In such situations, it is not so easy to say “This too shall pass.” On the other hand, we humans are habitual creatures and we get used to everything.
The caption underneath this photo reads:
“How many days does poverty last father?”
“40 days my son.”
“Would we be rich after 40 days?”
“No son. We'd get used to it...”
Even with worse situations... Yes, there are worse situations. I have read stories of paraplegics. After a disabling accident or unexpected sudden illness, people are devastated. However, after some time passes, they get used to the new situation, psychological tests show that the overall happiness turns back to previous levels and stays the same. We are resilient.
That is, mostly... There always are those of us who cannot bear their situation and decide the only way out of the darkness is ending their life.
I used to see those people as weak links in the chain. I was brought up with the belief that taking one's life was a big sin, that you'd be burning in hell forever if you did. In fact, that fear held me from committing suicide during my adolescence years when my parents were going through an ugly divorce with constant fights involving physical violence. I don't know if I would have acted on it had I not been installed with the fear of hell, but it certainly was a deterrent from even contemplating the thought for long.
Anyway... Now, as someone with half a century behind her back, so many experiences and so much reading, writing and questioning, I am an agnostic and I do not judge those who commit suicide. Who knows that we don't get another chance at life after we die? Perhaps they are in a better place. Or perhaps, they are still struggling with their demons. Who can say? What I know is that this is what life on this world is, this is what humanity is. We all have our existential problems and no one is immune from this, not even the richest or the most famous. You may or may not like Jim Carrey, but I find his quote very illuminating:
To me, the other part of the story is more important. That is, thinking that moments of glory shall pass too. As someone who has been on the front cover of a national newspaper, I have sort of an idea what that means. I know people who are trying to reach every country, aiming for Guinness World Records. I follow some of them and see how they are after the spotlights and the interest that comes with it. However, in the end, they all fade away into the distance. A new person, a younger traveller, or someone after a more daring adventure takes their place under the flashlights. It all is transitory. Yes, sure, some last a bit longer, but in the end, all fade.
So “This too shall pass” is a good reminder to let go of your pride at such times.
However, there is a flip side of the coin here too. Because, if you see everything as passing by, you feel no need to do anything. So it is more about finding the balance and doing things with the knowledge and apprehension of our, our lives' and possessions' transitory nature.
Kim Kardeshian has millions upon millions of fans, she has 165 million followers. Similar personalities abound. They make good money too. Do I want to be like them? Sure not! Heaven forbid!
I am happy in my 3+1 small world. Even though it would be nice to enlarge it a bit more replacing the bad apples with some nicer ones and to have some sort of a following who cared for what I wrote. But I cannot complain. I know enough of the world to appreciate my blessings.
Puff... Some magic dust!
A bit of background for those who do not know Thor. Thor is a 40 year-old guy going to every country in the world (193+2), plus some more, he decided on 203 countries. His gimmick is he is doing this without flying. Ever.
Why did I need to add that “ever”? Because there is already Graham Hughes who is on the Guinness World Records for travelling the world without flying. However, Thor argues Graham flew a couple of times, back home and back to the place he left off. Even though Guinness had no objections to that and approved Graham's record, Thor says that does not count.
Where is Thor now?
In Hong Kong.
Stuck in Hong Kong.
How far is he into this project?
You want to know time-wise, distance-wise or country-wise?
Well, he left in October 3, 2013. So that makes 6,5 years.
He is in country number 194. That is he has 9 countries left.
Seems sort of the end of the road is close. Not really. All those countries are islands and with this coronavirus outbreak, every gate is closed; be it the countries closing their doors or cargo ships, the only alternatives to flights, not accepting any passengers who are not essential for running of the operations on the ship.
Thor is also trying to promote the message. “Keep on keeping on” and that you'll get where you want to be if you never give up.
That is a good motto.
Unless of course you are stuck somewhere where you don't wish to be, when you've got better things to do. When life is going on without you, passing by in front of your eyes while you wait for things to change, biding your time... No, it's not so good.
Biding your time when you are mentally at the end of your limits, when you have been like that for such a long time. Nopes, not a good idea.
You see, Thor has been stuck in Hong Kong for two months plus.
He's been stuck in Lebanon and other places too before. Waiting for visas. Hoping to get some access to some hard-to-get-in country.
He has had to deal with bureaucrazy too many times. He has had to do turn arounds and retrace his steps for tens of thousands of kilometers because there was no overland access to the place he wanted to go from the place he was.
I wouldn't want to be in Thor's place now.
Well, even he doesn't want to be in his place either.
But isn't it funny?
He has put all these restrictions on himself. 24 hours in every country. It doesn't matter if he has to sleep like homeless people out in the cold on the street, twisting and turning.
Here are two screen-shots from his blog:
Ah, and of course no going back before the trip is finished. Well, this one he has to keep because he wants to be unique. He wants to be above Graham. He wants the grandeur. He wants to bask in the glory of being the one and only. Well... Even if not one and only he will always be the first. That's what he is after.
At the end of one of his posts, Thor says he did a Skype call with students in Hong Kong and he got asked the question “Is the journey more about experiences or setting a record?”
Thor just says: “Brilliant!!”
Doesn't answer the question directly. But I suppose when he says “Brilliant” he implies that it is about experiences. After all, we all know that that is the “correct” answer!
However, I'd say, if Thor was honest to himself, he'd admit that it is more about the record or at least finishing up what he started rather than experiences at this point. As it is obvious he doesn't enjoy being out there and would much rather prefer to experience a different life after so much time on the road.
But he will not tell you such a thing.
Actually, he will tell you he is doing other things with this project. He is inspiring people, he is showing people that you'll reach your goal when you keep hanging on. Like he answered the person who labelled his saga as a vanity project.
Well... I'd ask him:
“Thor... You want to give the lesson that it is ok to torture yourself by self-impositions which aim at grandeur??”
You know what would be so cool and really shoot Thor up to respectable status for me (not that he'd care to be respected by me of course but still...) If he could just go to every country and skip the last one. Even find the boat or transportation to the last one and not go. Or go and not stay 24 hours.
Like the great sailor Bernard Moitessier did in the “1968 Sunday Times Golden Globe Race, the first non-stop, singlehanded, round the world yacht race. With the fastest circumnavigation time towards the end of the race, Moitessier was the likely winner for the fastest voyage, but he elected to continue on to Tahiti and not return to the start line in England, rejecting the idea of the commercialization of long distance sailing.” (From Wikipedia)
“One of the world's most famous ocean sailors, Moitessier had sailed for more than a year from Plymouth, England to the Indian Ocean when he inexplicably abandoned the lead in the 1968-1969 Round-the-World single-handed race. He sailed to Tahiti, dropped anchor and dropped out.” BoatUS
Sailing Inland & Offshore writes:
“For Moitessier, the race finished in mid-Pacific after he had passed the three Capes and crossed his outward track, leading, and with the hardest sections behind him, he decided to forfeit the race and continue into the Pacific again, to anchor finally among friends in Tahiti. His actions were never explained by the news media; they could not have been, for the voyage had always been seen by Moitessier as something other than a sponsored, publicized, competitive event. It was on the ocean, alone with his boat, that Moitessier began to regard this as a voyage that could not end for him with the reward of those whose values were not his.”
A voyage that could not end for him with the reward of those whose values were not his.
Yes, this is the important point. What are your values?
Unfortunately, for Thor, the values are his too. That's the trouble; that's the dilemma.
I wish he could be strong enough to give up these values.
It really would be to his advantage/profit. As a person. Make him grow as a person.
Sunk Costs Fallacy- Escalated Commitment
I know Thor is never going to do that.
But apart from that, he should still be giving up the project. If only to cut his losses.
On one of Thor's posts, Ric Gazarian commented:
“Keep up the good fight! Your patience is amazing!”
"It's not patience, it's having no other choice!" I replied.
"Going back at this point after investing so much time and effort would be such a downer that it is not really an option. Plus, obviously, having the right to brag about being to every country without flying is such a big deal to Thor to pass up."
However, if Thor knew any better he'd give the sunk cost fallacy some deep thought. Sunk cost fallacy makes you act stupidly. There is something called Escalation of commitment related to that. Which is "a human behavior pattern in which an individual or group facing increasingly negative outcomes from a decision, action, or investment nevertheless continues the behavior instead of altering course. The actor maintains behaviors that are irrational, but align with previous decisions and actions."
One can never get back the time, nor the money spent on some dream to pursue. So people keep playing, they keep on keeping on to avoid the pain of loss. Negative impulses are greater than positive ones. It is so designed for our survival.
However, for Thor, he shouldn't feel it as a loss. As he has greatly benefited from the experience already. In fact, he has benefited enough. But now, it is just costing him, taking away from him. Without adding any more value.
On his “You Are Not So Smart” website, David McRaney writes about the sunk cost fallacy:
“It is a noble and exclusively human proclivity, the desire to persevere, the will to stay the course – studies show lower animals and small children do not commit this fallacy. Wasps and worms, rats and raccoons, toddlers and tikes, they do not care how much they’ve invested or how much goes to waste. They can only see immediate losses and gains. As an adult human being, you have the gift of reflection and regret. You can predict a future place where you must admit your efforts were in vain, your losses permanent, and when you accept the truth it is going to hurt.”
There is merit in giving up. When you realize that what you are after is not worth it. It's called cutting your losses.
IT IS OK TO QUIT!
I believe Thor is now at a point where whatever he does, he'll be regretting it later in life. He will always wonder what if he had taken the other road, done the other thing.
If he goes on, he'll regret it:
I suppose by now it is clear that this Covid-19 is not as innocent as Thor was claiming at the beginning. Someone in his family or his circle might get sick. He'll be feeling the guilt of not being there for them.
Or suppose he completes the project and returns, but they have trouble having a child. Thor will be blamed. “You and your stupid saga...” I can hear his now fiance, future wife if be, saying.
Perhaps I am too pessimistic. I am a doom's day scenarist.
I really hope he doesn't hear these words but if he does, they will definitely hurt. They'll hurt much more than a stranger calling his project vain.
He will wonder if he should have gone back. Gone back when he was stuck like this. Instead of trying to push it through, waiting a pandemic wave to pass.
He will wonder if it was worth giving up his personal life for the glory of that Guinness World Record he craved so much.
Upon return, he will realize most people do not care at all. Even the ones who followed him back then, that is those who are applauding him now... They'll be long gone too, gone after their own life, or following a new traveller guru after Thor has finished.
At that point Thor will realize the meaninglessness of it all, he'll find life empty once again. He will realize that all these “rewards” he was after were not worth. That they do not give satisfaction.
Yet I know... If he returns home now, he'll regret it too. He'll always wonder what would have happened if he had grit his teeth and endured, what opportunities he missed.
I, of course, wish none of this happens. That the road is cleared soon, even if a month or two, and he goes on to complete t/his project.
It means so much more to him, I know that very well. I wish he finishes his saga, returns and has a happy life, basking in the glory and reaping the rewards of his efforts and “patience”. Unfortunately, real life rarely works that way. It never runs smoothly or as we hope it to. The repercussions, the unintended consequences of our actions follow us.
Life never matches with our expectations.
Even though, of course, it sometimes does surprise us and exceeds our expectations. Mind you, that usually happens when we listen to what it is telling us to do instead of persisting stubbornly on the path we are obsessed with.
The question is... Which one you will regret less?
It is said that at the end of your life, you regret the things you didn't do, not the ones you did. But here, Thor is not doing one thing when choosing to do the other.
Another thing that is said is that you never think "I should have worked more" at the end of your life. You wish you'd have spent more time with your family and for yourself.
So for Thor, I think the choice is obvious.
I know you want to keep on keeping on but life has a way of letting us know when to stop. It guides us, if only we should listen.
We are human beings who should be capable of weighing situations and changing plans.
As in Kenny Rogers song “The Gambler”
"You've got to know when to hold 'em
Know when to fold 'em
Know when to walk away
Know when to run..."
PS: Actually, this piece was meant to be written privately to Thor. However, I couldn't find his email address on his website (he doesn't have it). So I changed all the second persons to third person and published here thinking it is also good advice or good food for thought for everybody.
PPS: Of course, for Thor to give up at this point, it would mean such shame and feeling of failure. So how to deal with that? How to get over that?
The Way Out... is hidden in the wind.
PPPS: If you think what I write is worth something, please support me on Patreon
Somebody has apparently called what Thor is doing “a vanity project” and he found it hurtful. I understand that very well. There is always someone who interprets what you are trying to do in a bad light and it is not nice. I've had my share of hurtful comments like I was waiting for applause etc.
Most “ordinary” people are not aware of what it is to be out travelling like Thor, they have never been out in the world like that. They do not know what it is to be away from your home for so long, to miss the familiar, to have to run after visas and arranging transportation day after day month after month year after year. They do not know what it is to not to be able to enjoy the small ordinary things of routine life. You cannot expect them to understand either. We all use guidelines based on our own experiences.
On the other hand, it is true that it is a vanity project. Every “every country chaser” is a vanity project especially those who do it publicly, publicizing, not privately.
Safe from mine of course ;)
Just joking... I mean I of course I keep my project out of the vanity travel projects but -apart from the likes of Anthony Asael, the Israeli guy who has been helping villages etc. or Sal Lavallo or perhaps a handful of other people's who do not center on themselves but their project- most world travel “expeditions” are vanity projects.
Thor says he replied saying:
““I have met with and promoted the humanitarian work of the Red Cross Red Crescent across 189 countries. In turn this has brought the movement more volunteers, more donations and more visibility. In addition to that I have shown thousands of people a world behind the cameras. A world where a mothers love to her child is no less across any border. The Saga also inspires many people to chase their dreams and motivates them not to give up when it gets hard. It is such a vanity project”.”
Well... Sorry but if you are after a Guinness World Record, that definitely goes under the category of a vanity project.
What's worse, there are now people going to every country twice; it is becoming a race towards vanity and stupidity.
Open Message to Thor
I had written this to Thor as a comment on his website last year. If he could do this, he could get out of the classification of a vanity project:
Keep on keeping on on your project. But please do NOT keep on keeping on the blind faith in the antiquated status quo of borders, people defined by the borders they are born into and their radius of movement on the earth defined by their nationalities and visas required from them.
Ahh... And I have a proposition for you. Would you like to take over my flag and burn your passports at the end of this trip? :)) I guess that would be too much to ask of you, I believe you cannot bring yourself to burn and destroy those passports which you have worked and suffered so much for. They are a testimony to your feat. Well, you can get the Guinness certification and burn them ;)
I know you won't be doing it, but if you did, I believe only then would you take your place in the records of humanity as a true pioneer. Just think of this... How would people who live in a borderless world and see this current state of the world like the way we see Apartheid or slavery today look at you and your project? How would those future generations look at you?
Someone in that distant future would be just travelling all the “countries” without the need to get any visas or cross any borders in no significant amount of time; s/he might even trace your exact steps, only without the visa and border hassles. How long would it take? Definitely less than a year.
What do you think they'd think of you? I'd say they'd think you a fool. So I'd beware if I were you, lest you go down history as a laughing stock while intending to be written as the biggest hero in history ;) Or of course there'd still be people who hail you as the greatest hero of your time because of your achievement. I believe those will be the minority though.
Homo sapiens is the most stuck-up name a species has bestowed upon itself. If there really will be a true homo sapiens in the future, I have no doubt they will look at us only as fools, hopefully they'd not only condescend us but feel pity for us too. Even though being pitied is not a nice thing either, under the circumstances, I suppose that should be a welcome judgement for us.
This is part of a seven piece series on the EPS- Every Passport Stamp Facebook group and Counting Countries podcast. The following are the foreword to this piece:
My EPS Adventure- Behind the Scenes
Asked to Come Back
A Call to Ric Gazarian's Patrons
Threats and Controversy
A Podcast Gone Wrong
Why am I still bothered with this issue even after two years??
1- I was mobbed for no other reason than trying to do something good for the community. Mother Theresa has said “If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.” It is so true; they do. Afterwards she said “Do good anyway.” Well... I'm not so sure about that. Why should I still do good to get back sticks and stones??
2- Then the discussion was closed to comments. My right to answer was taken away from me.
It is feeling not being heard. Worse, it is feeling someone covering your mouth, preventing you from even speaking up. So I realize that's why I feel relieved when I write these and express my thoughts. It's not important that anybody cares and understands; I mean it is important of course, if people cared and understood that is much more preferable. Still... Even just Knowing that you spoke your truth is liberating.
3- I was slandered by Ric when he announced I was kicked out from the group for several violations. That wrong was never made right.
It's not okay and not enough to just simply change it on his website where nobody goes and reads, the mistake had to be acknowledged and the correction had to be disseminated to the same audience. A Call to Ric's Patrons
4- Ric also dismissed the most important thing to me at the time. The wish to protest Global Apartheid, Birthplace Racism. I say “at the time” because now our lives have changed with the coronavirus and all that has lost its meaning, people are not moving anyway. But I am glad that at least the Western world is not moving either, so it doesn't feel so unfair.
5- There was en masse hatred for some people in the community and the ones who spoke out the hatred were never reprimanded. I was the only one who spoke out against the unjust hatred, nobody backed me up. It upsets me people not having any values.
It also upsets me that this hatred was illogical and seemed like a womanly jealousy.
Mother Theresa also said: “People are illogical, unreasonable, self-centered. Love them anyway.”
Well... It is really hard to like such people. Sorry, I'm not there yet. As a matter of fact, got a long way to get there! Misanthropy seems to fit me better. But maybe one day I'll learn to love people regardless.
6- I was disenchanted that Stefan went along with it too. Didn't say anything to them. The fact that he was not present and not invested in the group but was there only to reprimand when someone complained makes things even more upsetting. The double-standard was so in your eyes. Plus, singling out of individuals to ostracize is wrong.
7- Ric asked me to go on the podcast a second time. I accepted but asked why. He said I had interesting stories, good. But he also said “this one is going to be even more controversial.” Which was basically his motive, to use me as controversy material for his interest. I understand him, but he doesn't understand that I don't say things to be controversial but I believe in them. And it is seriously not nice to feel you were used.
8- When a conflict or an argument ensues, especially in a group, nobody remembers the details after some time.
People just keep the feeling. The feeling of being wronged or someone being unreasonable. We just attach a label to that person and put them on a shelf. That label is either “like” or “dislike”.
It is the same even with our friends, family and immediate circle. But because we interact with the immediate circle on a daily basis, we sometimes get a chance to review that label, we sometimes go back and discuss the issue over with the details that has stuck out on each party. So it is possible to update that label. Seeing the other party's view, being able to look at it from different angles makes a difference. Plus, the passage of time provides you the distance to put things into perspective. The more distance you put between the event and yourself -that is you get away from taking it personal- the wider view you get to see things more clearly.
However, when you have been the victim of mobbing in a group, your label is generally never put into review again. People do not have that kind of time to invest on strangers. None of us do.
So I have been labeled the “irrational” or “crazy” one, the “wrong” or the “problematic” one. Which I do not agree of course.* Still, it is not nice.
People have a right to their opinion. But when that opinion is formed without full information, it is upsetting.
I am not a person who is after being liked. That is my husband. I, on the contrary, show my difficult side and try people. To sort out the worthy ones.
Do I care about the ones who label me like these? Obviously, they are not the ones for me, to understand me, to care for me.
Plus, there is something else in there. It is not true I had no one who understood me. I have a handful, or let's say a couple of people from the group who still interact with me and consider me “worthy”. That is enough for me. Those are the people I care about anyway.
So in the end, all is good.
* There is some reason for people to label me "irrational" but that only means they have not tried to understand. Not all rants are equal, just like not all children who throw tantrums are wrong. Sometimes children throw tantrums and it is well within their right. Sometimes adults go into rants and they have totally valid reasons for it.
This place is full of issues I had with people, with institutions. They are not meant to be gossip but are written as case studies, to show human nature and how the world functions. They are basically a way for me to gain insight into how things might work better.
I know people think I should let go. I let go. But then something happens to remind me of the hurtful event and my grievance is triggered.
So I have to just write it down. I write to treat my wounds. Words heal me.
Yeah, they hurt me too.
They hurt me more than they do other people.
I believe in words.
I believe in the moral of words.
I believe that the world would be a much better place if people used their words responsibly and kept them clean.
Unfortunately for me, people are very shitty when using words. They do not get what their words do to people like me, people who live with words.
Yeah, time heals too. You forget.
But then you remember.
When I do, I go to bed and I cannot sleep for hours. That's why I need to write and get it out of my system. That's how I function. I mean if I do not write this stuff, I cannot function. That's my nature. Even though I do not appreciate it, I've come to accept it. I do what I need to do. So that I can go on with my life.
Forgetting the Past
Ah, there are people who advise me to forget the past, or just boast about how they live in the present.
Sorry but what bullshit!
The reason we are here today is because of yesterday, because of the wrongs of yesterday. There is so much to be gained from dissecting and analyzing the past. I know I sometimes get lost in too much detail. But detail is important. That's where the essence lies. The nuance lies.
If we could have healing circles like in some old traditional tribes, where people of the community sat down together and discussed it when some member was grieved or felt violated, things might have worked much better be it in families be it in virtual groups. The modern world might have provided us with so much, yet it has stolen our sense of community and belonging. It is so easy nowadays to walk away from people, groups you do not like. There is some other friend to make or another date on Tinder waiting. The challenge of the next generation will be to be able to form meaningful bonds and then to preserve them.
Don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with discarding the relations which are not working, which are giving you too much pain and trouble. Yet, we still need to give it a try and hold a mature discussion before going separate ways.
It is common knowledge that the width of our circle is around 150. More than that, we cannot keep track of. Just like downsizing, the more you age, the more you long for fewer, distilled relations to keep.
I'm working towards establishing that few now.
This is part of a seven piece series on the EPS- Every Passport Stamp Facebook group and Counting Countries podcast. The following is the foreword to this piece:
My EPS Adventure- Behind the Scenes
Asked to Come Back
A Call to Ric Gazarian's Patrons
Threats and Controversy
My Counting Countries podcast with Ric Gazarian has gone wrong for many reasons, the most important being his claiming I was kicked out of the EPS- Every Passport Stamp group in the introduction. Ric has still not issued a public apology, he has just changed it on the written part in his website and removed the podcast. I make a Call to Ric's Patreons to stop supporting him until he corrects his slander.
Moderators and School Kids
"What about Maurizio Giuliano?? Why is he still there? What about the rules he broke? Oh, some rules are okay to be broken, or is it who breaks the rules, that some people get preferred treatment?" I retorted to Ric after he announced on the podcast I was kicked out from the group.
"If you had an issue with Maurizio Giuliano breaking the rules you should have reported him at that time. I am not aware of him being guilty of any infractions."
“Reported” him??? I was so taken aback by this response. I mean I'm aware most people see this as "normal" and do not see what's wrong with it.
What's wrong is that they are recreating/mimicking a mini-school environment. Moderators as principals, group members as school kids.
"I'm sorry but you seem to see us as school-kids and you are I suppose the principal of the school???" I wrote to Ric.
I had said a similar thing to Stefan. That I'm not a school kid he can scold or threaten with a stick. Excuse me!!!??
"I'm not a school kid who is going to come to you to report that my classmate pulled my hair! All is going on in front of your eyes. You are the moderators, you are supposed to interfere and put your weight in when a discussion gets heated."
What is a moderator for??
Oh I know, they are the police. You report to them and they either put people on time-outs until they cool, or kick people out or simply walk in and close a topic to comments. Well... Not my place to be.
I had several issues with the way Ric launched the podcast.
Apart from his accusation of being kicked out, the biggest issue I had was there was nothing in Ric's introduction about my going to every country to burn passports.
Well... That is the one and main reason why I am going to every country! To just make a point about the stupidity of borders and visas.
That is also why I accepted to be in the podcast in the first place. Otherwise, I have no need to promote myself in search of clicks to make money or to boast about my travels for ego-boost. My only goal is idea promotion.
So someone going to every country to spread his uncle's ashes is something to put on the headline but someone going to every country to burn her passports is not???!!! Is that so???
Come on... It is outrageous...
I found it disrespectful and a big insult to me that there was NO MENTION at all about my burning passports not even an allusion to my core belief of visas and passports being symbols of a global discrimination in the introduction. I took Ric's omission as disrespect and insult because it is something so important to me that I wish to devote my life to it.
I understand, Ric does not approve of my project, he is not sympathetic to my cause but he has to be objective. That is if he is to be a media.
Oh "Gülin has been fighting conformity her entire life..."
Yeah, it is true that I've been fighting conformity all my life but what has that got to do with my travelling to every country in the world??
He could have as well said "Gülin has black hair but it's going white." He would again have been totally right but what has that got to do with my world travel? It is not related. You do not put that on the headline.
Would he have liked it if I did a podcast with him and instead of saying "Ric is going to every country" in the headline I said "Ric took geography lessons at high school." Duh!
Now... To Ric's credit, he changed it after I protested.
However, the main title in the thumbnail stayed the same...
The other thing I bristled at was Ric's portrayal of me.
I was very VERY UPSET and disillusioned that I was reduced to this, leaving my husbands to travel or being outspoken about fellow travelers.
Yes, I have strong opinions and yes, I do not mince my words. Like I did not with speaking against Ric as well.
The other issue was that at some point in the interview Ric told me to answer the questions directly. That was left in the podcast when it was published and I did not like it. It was just like him scolding me in front of everyone again, as if his slander was not enough, this was added on!
Then, listening to Sascha Grabow's interview, I realized he asked the same questions to Sascha twice and he still didn't answer, and Ric didn't say anything, just let it go.
I actually laughed out loud when I was listening, but it was not funny at all. On the contrary, it hurt... It hurt a lot. To be treated differently, to be singled out once again. I cannot help but think this is personal. That I am a woman, that I come from a different background.
He scolds me after asking once; what's worse, he leaves that scolding there for everybody to hear and witness. No editing. And that is the only such uncut conversation in about 60 CC podcasts!
This is his answer and our conversation when I made a comment to Ric about the issue:
Yeah, so his asking me to answer questions directly was left in by error by his editor, so Ric washes away all responsibility from his hands. Perfect!
No apology given. No. He didn't do anything wrong (!) No need for an apology!
On 2/25/2019 at 4:51 PM, Gülin:
Ric... Could you please be more specific about why you think I'm a proponent of fake news, what's the inaccurate and false info? As you have stated yourself, your scolding me and that being left there unedited is correct. I suppose you'd also agree it is the only such unedited conversation in about 60 CC podcasts. As for Sascha's... Would you like to listen to the podcast again, with a new eye, or new ears, looking for the specific thing I pointed out? Don't you think it's best to investigate a bit further into the matter before asking someone if she's a proponent of fake news or telling her what she said is inaccurate and false information? Or perhaps you could have tried asking me where you ask Sascha the same question twice and he still doesn't answer... I'd have answered you, you know.
And don't you think it's rather ironical you come up with accusations of fake news, inaccurate and false info to me? I wish you showed the same sensitivity that you exhibit here -to a comment which almost no one reads- to your own false and inaccurate, if not slanderous comment -that you blasted out in your podcast in the introduction. Let alone a public one, I do not remember even a private apology from you for saying I was “kicked out from the group”, what's more, “for several violations.”
You bet that hurts a lot too. But don't worry, I'm used to such hurts; even bigger ones and from more important people in my life.
It's also very interesting to see you boast about free speech. You are the one who blocked the conversation in EPS, not allowing me to answer the douchebag Maurizio hurling wrong accusations and insults at me without having any idea of the details at the airport during my boarding denial. Of course Petro is the greatest censor in EPS as she dutifully and diligently deleted my perfectly legitimate posts as well. Then talk about free speech and how nice it is; very interesting indeed!
Monday, February 25, 2019 at 7:18 PM, Gülin:
Let alone an apology, you didn't even publish a correction, you simply changed it on the written part, leaving the podcast as is, which meant people who listened still heard me being kicked out of the group. And people listen, do not generally read. After all, it is a podcast!
Show me where I am wrong, where is the fake news, the inaccurate, false info of what I said, you can be sure I will correct my mistake and apologize.
Ric did not reply.
So I am not to take any offense at all this?? I have no right to react to such a thing and he does not owe me an apology?? Not even in private! He doesn't say "I'm sorry about it." No, why should he say that??? He is not even sorry... I mean that is the worst part.
Am I a proponent of fake news??
No, I am not. If he cared to listen he would see, or rather hear how he asked Sacha the same question three times and did not get an answer. But Ric did not scold Sacha like he did me. Why? I don't want to proclaim like he did but I bet because I am a woman. Women are so easy to brush off or to hit on their heads.
Ric is the one with fake news! He is the one who disseminated that I was kicked out when it was me who had left the group!
EPS is the one with fake news! They are the ones insisting on Cassie not being the first woman documented.
I mean okay, we all might make mistakes. But come on... There is something called decency. You apologize when you make a mistake. It's called decency and basic manners.
Ric, instead of answering my points, just changed his introduction, put up my answer to his mails on FB and let all my comments there.
Now... This is just such an awful awful manner!
First of all, pasting a response somewhere without the proper background gives the wrong impression. I am totally aware how I come off.
Second of all, being dismissed is one of the most hurtful things. His non-answer to my, once again, totally valid questions and points makes me the "nutcase."
Yes, it is true: I go on rants! But why?? Why do I need to go on rants? Did it ever occur to anyone??
How come no one can just come out and state what is wrong about the things I say without an ad hominem?
No, I did not take Ric's silence as agreement in my rant but just like this guy watching "crazy" in quiet. Still NO! My reaction was and is totally valid!
If anyone sees what I am doing wrong and shows me, I would be very much obliged.
Ric thinks I am being irrational. Perhaps I am. Could be. But does he give an explanation why he thinks that way? No.
I suppose he doesn't need to. Ad hominems without any reference, without an example. Just like him claiming I was kicked out without knowing anything about what had gone on in the group.
I strongly advise him and other authorities in the group not to have kids at all. They'd make horrible horrible father figures. Blames, accusations without any explanation or reason. They have made the judgement, you don't have the right to know the events to think and evaluate yourself, you just need to take their word for it. Accept what they say. Like this, of course, there is no way to counter-argue. If they give a reason you can say bla bla bla. Then they'd need to discuss and waste their time. It's simple like this.
Their attitude was exactly the same with regards to my “removal” from the group.
I am not saying I am rational according to their standards either huh, don't get me wrong. They are the Americans, they are impacted by the travel ban to DPRK. But as the rational beings they are they do not question let alone revolt against such a ban. I suppose to them, the ban is rational as well.
Well... To me, it is totally irrational. That a stupid 22 year-old died because he did something stupid and I am banned because of that, that I am held in par with such an idiot, that I am told “It is our greatest concern the safety of American citizens,” as if I am not concerned about my OWN safety and I need to rely on them to think for me. As if I am not a mature adult. When even my own mother, the person who carried me for nine months in her belly, who gave birth to me and raised me, when even she CANNOT interfere or have a say over where I can go or not, I puke at the government dictating me that I cannot go somewhere because of safety reasons.
Yes, I am not even an American and I revolt at the DPRK ban. I speak up for it, that is against it. If that makes me the irrational one, yes I am definitely not rational and I accept that “accusation” happily.
If that makes me “attached” and if this is a bad thing, I accept that too. I am attached to certain values. Freedom being one. Justice, truth, integrity, basic decency and maturity being others. Yes, I am obsessed with these.
I am obsessed with taking responsibility and saying sorry when you make a mistake, too.
Ric told me “98% of the people in the group post and comment without any issues or any reporting.”
Yeah, most people are sheeple, they pass through security controls without a problem instead of making a big fuss about it like me. If that makes me irrational, I am more than happy to accept the accusation. In fact, nobody else, apart from me, mentioned any word about this issue in the 70+ Counting Countries podcast. No, I definitely do not fall into the 98 % who has no issues with anybody or anything. In fact, I do not even fall into 99,99 % of any group. And I have no wish to be. If this is your rational world.
No... Please go on with your rational lives and leave me alone.
Tantrums and Rants
This is a part of a series on the EPS- Every Passport Stamp Facebook group and Counting Countries podcast. This is the foreword to this piece:
My EPS Adventure- Behind the Scenes
Asked to Come Back
A Call to Ric Gazarian's Patrons
Ric, to my surprise, asked me if I'd care to get back on the podcast. Not expecting such a proposal, I was disarmed. I accepted it. However, I asked him why. He was honest:
"When I interview people... I want interesting characters. You are interesting since you have good travel stories, and also you have controversial opinions about travel and travel people. Usually that makes a good podcast.
Why i am offering u another opportunity. 1 you seem so upset w the podcast, i am giving you the opportunity to "Set the record straight" and 2 this podcast will probably be even more controversial with you expressing your opinion."
I did not really like his wanting to get controversy. Because you see... When I write and say something, all I am doing is expressing a sincere opinion, wanting a discussion on IDEAS, not people. I'm not looking for controversy like Ric to manipulate hits for profit. I seriously care about the topics I discuss, not about “who did what” gossip. But come and find the mature enough person to engage in such a conversation!
However, I wanted the opportunity to set the record straight. That's something I always want. So I was still fine with going on the podcast again.
However... In the meantime, he published the unedited podcast on his FB group saying "Who could guess travel could be so controversial?" and commented he got a threat to be sued if he didn't take the podcast down.
Now... I believe it is quite understandable that I, as the person who gave the interview and talked about people being the main subject of the threat, wanted to know who this person was coming up with a legal action remark. I didn't think there was any reason cause for legal action in the interview but wanted to understand just in case.
I suppose you would grant me the right to know.
However, Ric was not of the same opinion. "Sorry I can not divulge" he answered.
You see... I'm like the Little Prince a bit, I do not give up on things so easily when I wish to understand. My name was out there. I was the one doing the talking openly. I believed I had a right to know who had threatened and on what grounds.
At that point, Ric was upset and said he was going to take the podcast down.
Yeah I understand, I didn't even have the right to ask!
He said I was tiring. Yes, I am tiring. True. But who is the one tiring who in the first place?!
"I agree Ric," I said. "It is very tiring for me. Had you just answered a simple question with 'Janice (or Jessica). No, of course there isn't anything for legal action in the podcast' or simply said 'I do not want to/cannot divulge because of such and such' it would have been much simpler and easier on both of us."
That was the end of our communication with Ric.
You see... It's very unreasonable (!) and irrational (!) of me to want to know who threatens legal action for the opinions I express!
A Podcast Gone Wrong
Tantrums and Rants
To Steph Rowe, Ted Nims, Bisa Myles, Stephen Rothwell, and Adam Hickman..
This is a request from you to STOP supporting his Counting Countries podcast as his patron.
Because he has done a great injustice and has acted unethically. He basically slandered me and did not post any apologies for it.
Those who are interested may go into the details at My EPS Adventure but in short, I had a bad experience in EPS, I couldn't stand the level of intelligence, the arrogance, the hatred and wanted out.
After some time, Ric asked me to be on his podcast and I accepted. We did the podcast in August 2018. I had just returned from a trip and was still tired. I have been on TV and radio programs before but I was excited to be doing an interview for the first time in English. I wasn't too satisfied with it, the way I talked, you know... you criticize yourself. However, I was glad I got to talk about some of the issues I deem to be very important and do not get talked about.
Anyway... When it came out in October, I was in for a big surprise, a very bad one!
"Gülin was eventually kicked out of the group for violating a number of rules that members must follow." Yeah... So easy to smear and not care!
I asked him:
"What were the group rules that I have violated? If you accuse someone of something, you need to explain them what they have done wrong."
"My recollection is your situation was discussed amongst the moderators and you were voted out for numerous violations," Ric answered.
Oh yeah??!! I was voted out for numerous violations, he announces I am kicked out for several violations, but when I ask, he cannot even mention one thing I did wrong!
Sorry but it is outrageous!
No, I take back the sorry, it is totally outrageous!
All he can come up with is "Oh, there were many complaints about you."
Oh great! I am so happy and relieved to learn that!
I'll give it to Ric that I did not walk out on my own, but he didn't know anything about what had happened to be able to say/broadcast that I was kicked out. This is something that is totally against ethics.
There were also so many other issues with the podcast. I mean not with the podcast itself but how Ric portrayed me. I go into that at A Podcast Gone Wrong
Again to Ric's credit, he changed the introduction after I protested.
However, the podcast was still the same of course. And this being a podcast, people generally do not read the introduction on the website but listen to the podcast.
So I said "I'm hoping you are going to be updating that too."
He said it would take some time. But I didn't want people to be listening to the podcast like that. Not one person more had to hear that. So I asked him to take the podcast down.
That is, not right away.
On the contrary, he published it on another portal saying it was controversial and had gotten a threat to be sued. This upset me even more. Because obviously, he was using me, trying to get clicks.
I was also upset about Maurizio Giuliano who had acted horribly in the group and not had any repercussions.
Ric asked me "Who cares about Maurizio, why do you keep writing paragraph upon paragraph on him?"
"I care about that idiot Maurizio because he is still considered a “respectable” member of the society while I am ostracized! And you, too, should care!" I wrote to Ric. "Do you have any idea, I mean can you imagine how frustrating it is to be told I have been kicked out of a group for SEVERAL violations, and this being told not in person but ANNOUNCED PUBLICLY, and when I ask what rules I have violated, you are not able to name even ONE single violation. No example no nothing! “Ah I remember you've been reported several times.” What have I been reported for? By whom?
The damage is done Ric. The damage is done. You posted that thing out there, now everybody (well, whoever that everybody is... I don't know how many people are in your mail-list and how many people actually listen or care, but still... obviously it is high enough that companies pay you or sponsor you thinking some people will care) thinks I am a person who violates rules, who is some sort of, I don't know, a “wrong” person. After all, I was KICKED OUT, right? I want a public apology Ric, I want a public apology from you, in the mail-list and on FB and Twitter as well, I want it cleared. For anybody who could care. I want my name cleared. As I said, I do not care the least bit for whatever people think of me, everybody is entitled to their opinion, but ONLY as long as it is based on accurate facts; I do not like smears. And sorry to say, that is a slur. You know, even if you make a correction after a mistake, you cannot undo it. The stain remains; people remember the first thing they read. They have already registered things. And I don't like it.
I will also ask you to reinstate me to the group. Make Maurizio apologize for his wrong claims (RyanAir) and for his wrong accusations (that I was seeking your pity), or he is removed from the group. I would also like Stefan to publicly scold him for talking about pregnant girls, something that is completely irrelevant to the group topic.
I don't know... I really shouldn't have had to say all these things in the first place. I keep wasting my time trying to right wrongs that shouldn't have happened, that shouldn't be happening in the first place. Or that should have been prevented by people running a community, a company, a country.
Anyway... Again, I know I cannot force any of these on you. I don't even need to say do as you wish. I just wish that one day I won't be disillusioned with my trust in people doing the right thing."
Think of this... Imagine a situation:
One day, you hear from the administration of your child's school that s/he's been kicked out from school because of several violations. What would you do? Mind you, until that moment, you have never, never ever, not even once, have heard of anything from the school. I suppose any parent would naturally ask “What did s/he do?” That's what I asked Ric after I heard the announcement in my podcast that I was kicked out from school, sorry EPS. So this was even worse, imagine you heard it blasted from the city radio that your child was kicked out from school for several violations. Anyway, so you ask the most natural question, wanting to know: “What did s/he do?” The management, who blasted this news, tells you “Well, there were many complaints about your child.”
???? And?... What were those? I suppose you'd naturally want to know what your child did.
The management says “Oh, I don't know. But many people complained.”
Now... This would never ever happen to you. You would never ever send your child to such a shitty school. If your child does anything, if there is any complaint from any other classmate or parent of a classmate, you'd naturally expect the administration to inform you about it. Give you a chance to evaluate and discuss the issue. No. You are not given any such opportunity, you are just considered a shitbag, and your name is slandered. Oh great!
So, if by any chance you have enrolled your child to such a school, you'd be glad s/he was out anyway and would not want your child to attend such a shitty school anyway. Ah, if you say anything against the administration, question their competence, ah they label you “an irrational player.”
Perfect civility. From the citizens of the greatest country in the world!
I am sick and tired of people accusing me when I react to their mistakes and my reaction is totally valid!
Taking responsibility and saying sorry when you make a mistake. I am obsessed with this. My recent favorite is a Seneca quote:
Yes, 'To err is human, but to persist in the mistake is diabolical.”
And so many people insist on their mistakes. That's one thing that makes the world a horrible place and escalates problems that could just dissipate easily if the one in the wrong was courageous enough to accept his mistake.
If only Ric had just acknowledged and apologized, there would have been one less person who felt mistreated.
I know, or rather I learnt that there are so many, in fact too many people who do not know how to apologize but come on... If you are making a podcast, if you are doing public media, there are some manners to go about, to follow when you make a mistake.
“Correcting or Retracting Your Work After Publication” published on August 21, 2019 by Digital Media Law states:
“Responding to a retraction request will vary with the nature of your statements and the details of your state's retraction statute or case law. Generally speaking, to be effective, a retraction must be a "frank and full" withdrawal of the defamatory accusation. Merely stating that the subject of the statement denies the accusation is not enough, nor is a weak, grudging, or half-hearted correction. Additionally, the retraction must appear in a manner comparable to that of the original publication and be disseminated to the same audience.”
Yes! Exactly! Ric should retract his words, not just change them on his website so people do not even understand my reaction. Plus, you don't just delete the podcast and unburden yourself of responsibility. The wrong information you broadcasted and the correction needs to be disseminated to the same audience in the same way!
Ric still needs to broadcast the retraction on his podcast.
This is the New York Times. On the article “Make No Mistake, but if You Do, Here’s How to Correct It” by Margaret Sullivan published on January 16, 2013 it says how they do NOT change articles when they realize they have made a mistake, they add a correction. If they ever do change it, they “without exception, acknowledge and explain at the bottom that 'an earlier version of this article'.... screwed up whatever. (Let us count the ways.)”
So Ric had to count the ways he screwed up saying I was kicked out for several violations. He still has that responsibility and obligation.
“Greg Brock retired from The Times; he was not fired.” Any person so maligned would want The Times to point every reader to that correction – in huge type.
Yes, I was maligned and I want that correction in HUGE TYPE. And I want it disseminated to the same audience!
Call to Ric's Patrons
What do I need to do to have Ric apologize to me in public? What is the practical solution and the pragmatic approach? What is the better way to accomplish my objective?
To me, the only way is to pressure his patrons. He knows he is wrong too. But he will never acknowledge it on his own. If he was decent, he'd have done it long time ago, on his own in the first place.
So this is a request from you to face Ric about his public slandering, to make pressure on him to make a public apology and to STOP supporting his Counting Countries podcast as his patron if he does not. For you to Please stop supporting Ric until he apologizes Publicly!
PS: Do I really think that any of Ric's patrons will actually read, care and stop supporting Ric? Not really. Even Ryan, who is someone who understands me, who has said I was a thought-leader in his life, who wanted to get me back in EPS, who is now also a moderator in the group did not care enough to do that. Or rather, he didn't want to compromise his interests. For I believe he has some intentions to grow his audience and do something in the travel industry as well.
Oh well... That's life. That's how the world works. On interests, on where your loyalties lie.
But then why... If I don't think that any of Ric's patrons will care about my call, if I don't think that Ric will ever apologize to me even in private let alone publicly... then why do I still take pains to write all this stuff??
Well... That's a good question. A question that even I am not able to answer. Perhaps it is a way of procrastination not to work on my books which are so important for me, or perhaps it is a way to work out my problems with people and to understand myself better. Perhaps it is to idly amuse myself to pass the time, or perhaps it is psychotherapy to get over my grievances. Or yet another perhaps, it is much more than that, it is an attempt at conveying a greater message to people. Or it is simply a push I have.
Whatever it is... I wrote it. What you want to do with it is none of my business. That is left to you.
My EPS Adventure- Behind the Scenes
Asked to Come Back
Threats and Controversy
A Podcast Gone Wrong
Tantrums and Rants