11 October 2012

Keeping Track

So, I have a blog. I write things about my day-to-day activities. Part of this blog is a travel blog. Part of this blog is a personal blog. I also review restaurants and cafes. And I maintain photo albums of places I have been to and visited. I have a map of the countries I have visited. Finally, I have a list of books I have read and reviewed.

What does this tell about me? That I like to keep records? Those are just the lists that are available online for others to see. Heck, there are other spreadsheets that I am not making public. For example, I have a spreadsheet that keeps track of the types of cheese that I have sampled. I started it because it occurred to me that there's just too many types of cheese that are available here in Berlin, that it would be great if I sampled them all, one by one. And I wouldn't even dare to tell you what other lists I have.

Why do I do this? Is it because I don't want to forget? Is it because I am a geek, a nerd, a dork? Is it because I distrust the capacity of my hippocampus, that I'd rather have them in writing so that I can visit them later, with as much accuracy as I can possibly have?

I suppose since time immemorial, people have created and recreated lists. People, after all, are interested in ontologies, in limits, in sets. People want to know the highest mountain, the deepest trench, all these extremes, and these become bragging rights. Such a mundane and nerdy list becomes the focal point of some people's lives. Ever heard of the World's Seven Summits? It's the set of the highest mountains in the seven continents in the world. There are people out there who aim to climb all of them.

I suppose I am just so aware of the fact that the world is a happening place. Plenty of things occur, plenty of events happen, and I want to document them as much as I can, at least, those that occur around me. I document the books I read, the cheese I eat, the countries I visit, and so on. It is quite interesting to note, that the fact that humans have a finite lifespan makes documenting it much more important. Imagine if you're immortal, so you can take all the time you want and check off things as fast or as slow as you want. After all, you have all the time in the world. In fact, I think that you would even lose motivation to explore and check things off your list. After all, what would you do if you have experienced them all and you're still alive? You'd be bored out of your mind.

(Cauliflower?, from my Museum of Modern Art Series)


  1. I'm a list person so I can relate!

    I often find writing is very relaxing and it helped me keep a sense of humour about life. Positive feedback helps too, I'm truly honoured when people enjoy reading my articles!

    I find your life interesting, we have some points in common yet lead two different lives, took different paths.

    1. Zhu,

      I do agree on the points you mentioned, but additionally, sometimes it's nice to feel that there's someone out there that's interested in your life too. Sure, we have friends and all that, but having people in cyberspace who would gladly read about your life makes the scope of things a little bigger. I'm glad you like to read what I write; it goes without saying that I enjoy your blog too, with all its information, pictures, and of course, humor. :-)

  2. Neat! I keep a record because it is very easy to forget experiences and memories of things you have seen and done. I write a diary, I've written it since I was a teenager, and it's very fuzzy note keeping system. Spreadsheets and other tracking tools come in handy to organise thoughts, for example, detailed financial planning has kept me away from a financial mess for sure. :)

    1. Priyank,

      Ah, good thing I am not the only one!