I travel a fair amount. And, I’m an insomniac. It’s not an ideal combination. Often, I find myself in a hotel room in another country still awake in the early a.m. having finished all the books I’ve carried with me. Jet lag, work stress and unfamiliar surroundings are not conducive to a good night’s sleep. (Bill Murray nailed the feeling in “Lost in Translation”.)
For a time, I would spend those nocturnal hours watching YouTube videos or randomly searching websites for something of interest. The results were usually little more captivating than the rerun of McCloud (dubbed in German) that I watched during my last trip to Munich. As Ian Hurt once said, “There’s a statistical theory that if you gave a million monkeys typewriters and set them to work, they’d eventually come up with the complete works of Shakespeare. Thanks to the Internet, we now know this isn’t true.”
Recently, I installed StumbleUpon and it’s greatly improved my web-surfing experience. It’s a free download that employs a personal preference system for websites similar to what NetFlix uses for DVDs and Amazon for books. It’s both effective and addictive.
Here are some examples of what I “stumbled upon” during a recent trip:
– A “smack” of jellyfish – who knew?
– Instruction on how to convert my motorcycle to electric.
– U.S. electoral maps (where was this when I took polysci)?
– Interesting “art”.
– Incredible photographs of space.
– The opportunity to brush up on my Latin.
– An excellent atlas using maps and satellite photography.
And, of course, you never know when you will need a bacon flowchart.