Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Embracing My Inner Nerd


This is just sooo frickin’ awesome!! I’m sitting in a café near Dupont Circle thinking about next steps and my mind is just spinning with possibilities. It feels as if “the rest of my life” has finally come and there appears to be no end in sight. Spread out before me are several copies of Lonely Planet, a map of the world, a copy of Outside magazine, and a cup of green tea.

But while the urge for travel, adventure and assorted international mischief beckons like never before, something else has begun to monopolize my every waking thought: the potential to expand my education to its furthest possible limit. That’s right, my dear reader. When Jack is not discovering the pleasures of yoga and meditation, enduring endless carnal temptations, and/or occasionally imbibing to his heart’s content, he is absolutely, completely, positively, and without question embracing his inner nerd!



Call it the Plan, after the Plan. Maybe Plan #2 is more appropriate. Or even The Plan, part deux.

Whatever you call it, I feel it has the potential to exist at the very core of my being for the rest of my life. It is nothing short of embracing education as a lifestyle.


At any one time I want to immerse myself in books and/courses focusing on (1) themes involving history/culture/philosophy/politics; (2) literature; and (3) foreign languages. Throughout, I want to be able to combine all three components as I travel. For example, I could learn a much Hindi as possible before traveling to India where I could take a course on partition. Or maybe I could brush up on my Spanish while taking a course on the Incas before heading out on a trip to Machu Pichu. For me, the sky will be the limit.


I know, I know. This post is just oozing nerdyness. But can you blame me? I just wanted to share a little of my excitement as I embrace a new-found freedom I am only now discovering. Besides, I can’t be the only one that finds this super cool. Seriously, are there any fellow nerds out there?

Note that those of you interested in this aspect of my journey can always check out my progress at my other blog: Adventures in Intellectual Stupidity.


Anonymous said...

Off topic, and yes maybe this makes me a dork, but I was just reading the Times over breakfast and read a comment there in a guest column that could've been written by your twin brother. He says he's gone "from a white-shoe law firm practicing international trade law to living on [a] desert island" and as a bonus (no pun intended), seems he is also a Harvard law grad.
Just thought this might interest you. I don't know what it's about but thought this was worth sharing! He has the most surprising CV (=story.)

Heather's Moving Castle said...

I wanted to say I think "adventures in intellectual spontiaity" (sp?) sounds more like you; rather than stupity at the end. LOL. I'm so happy for you and your chance to do what you really enjoy.

Kerry said...

Oh, Jack... my brother in dorkdom... how I feel your pain. When I am not picking apart numbers, trying to find the prime (yes, I am OCD), I am reading or trying to decide what language I want to learn, or knitting, or making up stories in my head that never quite make it to paper or computer.

Isn't it amazing how much you see is out there when you decide to not let your life consume you... but to rather consume your own life? It's a beautiful thing!!

I wish you good luck... and happy travels (when the time is right).

Jack said...


Interesting site. I may have browsed that site before but can't quite remember.


Thanks Heather. And I like your suggestion.:)


Great! Great minds think alike.

Anonymous said...

I am in a similar position to you. It's great to see the walls come down around my little world. I can't imagine staying at my company until retirement, without any interruption. How much I would have missed. I feel blessed to have this opportunity. It's a little scary, but very exciting.

Anonymous said...

If that is how you define nerd then yes I am completely and totally a nerd. When I was younger I wanted to learn 4 - 5 languages, Hebrew and Greek included b/c I wanted to read the Bible as it was originally written. I wanted to travel to every continent and see all the great wonders of the world. I wanted to read every classic piece of literature and know philosophy. I wanted to travel Route 66 and to live in a RV/bus/van was my ultimate dream so I could travel. My goals/dreams still aren't far off from that I guess I've just added to them. I want to learn to knit and garden. I want to make food from scratch. I would absolutely love to learn about different cultures and societies, and I think working with impoverished children would be my ideal job/career. I guess I don't consider that all nerdy though I consider that open minded and curious which, in my opinion, is an excellent way to view life.

T Marie

Anonymous said...

Why take the class here first? If I were you, I'd head off to the country in question, pick up a job teaching English, and learn about the culture and language while living in the culture.

Meg said...

Yeah, I'm definitely a fellow nerd.

In addition to other interests I pursued, I graduated college with majors in classical studies (Latin literature track with plenty of history along the way) and Spanish linguistics, and minors in linguistics and foreign language education (and I especially loved sociolinguistics!). So, yes, I definitely understand your interests in those subjects!

I can't say that I've made millions with my degree, but life just seems so much more interesting with all this "useless" knowledge floating around in my head, lol.

Anonymous said...

Nothing nerdy about knowledge.

Elizabeth Halt said...

I am a fount of useless knowledge. Though it comes in handy at times, so I guess it's not totally useless.

As an example, I started yoga in November and since then, I have read just about every book I can find on practice and yoga and meditation and .. LOL. So I guess I am a nerd. ;)

Jack said...


Good for you! It's fun to see similar stuff happening to other people. Do share more details if you are up to it.


Sounds like we are on the same page regarding a passion for learning. Never too late for the RV plan to come to fruition.


Another good permutation of this plan.

Jack said...


You just described the best major of all time. I would have loved to have studied the classics.


Good point.


Ok, now you just have to share some titles. Only now getting into yoga like crazy

Dorothy said...

Not sure why we need to use words like 'nerd' and 'dork'. I prefer the term autodidact, and I apply it to myself.

Or as I said to a friend the other day, "On the day I fail to learn something new, please nail the box shut!"



Unknown said...

Hey Jack -

Pretty amazing progress you have achieved so far. Good job. I read you might be interested to visit India ... send me an email if you decide to visit. Good luck.


Nicole said...

Jack, you're simply taking the term student of life to a new level. Enjoy!

Jack said...




Will do, though probably not heading there for a bit.

@Miss Scorpio,

Yup. Thanks

LiveWorkDream said...

Not nerdy at all, that's really the best way to utilize time off. Find a direction and make a few goals you want to accomplish. Follow your passion, learn and enjoy. Otherwise you'll just piss the time off away, and wonder where it all went.

Anonymous said...

Can I beg you to stop saying "my dear reader"? You have used it in almost every post since you first discovered the phrase and it's becoming slightly irritating.

That said, embracing inner dorkiness is always fun and I can't wait to see where you go with it!

Minx said...

Hiya Jack,

I just stumbled upon your blog at Tim Kevan's Place - what an interesting precipce you teeter upon!
I shall add you to my blogroll forthwith, and look forward to reading of your adventures with considerable interest! :)

Anonymous said...

I just went to a party for two very cool people who run a popular alternative Web site where I live. Of course they described themselves as the uncoolest people on the planet, even though they've managed to draw a substantial fan base of the artiest, most forward-thinking people here.

Smart, curious people are always cool.

Meg said...

"You just described the best major of all time. I would have loved to have studied the classics."

Thanks, Jack! You made my day! It's so rare to find someone who appreciates the classics. Most people ask me, "Why on earth would you want to study that?!", not to mention, "What the heck are you going to do with that?!"

Anna said...

Hi there Jack!
I was reading Nietzsche (the Gay Science) and came across this quote that made me think of you:
"Today he is poor, not because they have taken everything away from him but because he has thrown everything away. What is that to him? He is used to *finding* things. It is the poor who misunderstand his voluntary poverty" (from section 185 of Book III)

Jack said...


I have a confession to make. I had this stuff sort of brewing in my head ever since september/October when I first started to really review your site and the stuff you guys have done. Made me more focused about what I would want to do post-firm.


Good suggestion. I actually specifically omitted it in the last post because of you! :)


Thanks. Let me check out your blog later this weekend (too much stuff going on the moment)

Jack said...

@Simpler Living,

Ahh, my kind of people.


One word: Herodotus


I'll totally check it out. Someone else mentioned that book the other day and I forget why.

Meg said...


How about some Tacitus :D

Jack said...


Sounds good to me :)

Anonymous said...

When I was thirteen years old I decided that if life gave me the opportunity, I would learn all I could. Before that moment, I had the mentality of most children: I don't want to learn! But then I realized that I would learn all I could. That very evening I met a young woman who taught me how to scratch records like a DJ. If we had met an hour earlier, I would have denied the chance merely because it involved learning. So go ahead, don't be ashamed of setting out to understand the world more fully! It's the little yet supremely awesome freeze-frames of everyday life that makes it worth living. Keep blogging!