These are my semi-regular Patch Notes – updates on my life and things I’m learning and exploring. Subscribe here.

In this release:

on a hike in Tepoztlán

Hello friends. Glad to be writing and thanks for reading. The past few months have been a lot - I’ve found some new edges to my map. The days seem endless and weeks zoom by.

Partly it’s the intensity of simply living in a foreign environment: new language & norms, re-lighting water heaters, recovering from food poisoning, moving apartments, cutting hair. All the life things take a little more attention and time — but in exchange expose me to new wonderful ways of being.

After not really socializing in person for a year it was a bit of a transition. Talking, laughing, learning: there is no front-facing camera to angle away; being present means being vulnerable and open.

What do I share from these chapters of my life? What did I even record? It seems impossible to convey most of these moments coherently in any existing medium.

  • relaxing in a hammock was bliss. Huatulco, Oaxaca
  • the bugs do come and they are big
  • trying out multiple captions for photos

31 days in Huatulco, Oaxaca #

My adventure began in Huatulco: a quiet, former resort town on the southwest of Oaxaca state. It used to be an active tourist destination though the last cruise ships left pre covid so the town is (currently?) a domestic tourist donation.

It was a strange feeling: traveling to what amounted to GPS coordinates and trusting on an open door and a place to live upon my first visit to this new land. It’s a beautiful town and the ocean nearby makes life better in uncountable waves.

  • we were about halfway between La Crucecita and Tangolunda
  • the taxi network is amazing

Half the group got sidetracked along the way in various countries. Weekday evenings were exceptionally calm and gave us space for pursuing our own projects with fun conversations, demos, and sketching sessions in between.

Excitement was to be found a short cab or moped ride away in the nearby Centro (downtown). There we got into all manners of shenanigans and met some amazing characters. You can go surprisingly far with a high school Spanish and Google Translate.

Communication is more than language: it’s pointing, laughing, gaze, movement and sometimes a little luck too.

I was always welcomed and treated graciously: a running theme throughout my time in Mexico.

  • Playa El Tejon, a fifteen minute walk away
  • spent a lot of time in the water: it was calm and warm
    • waves are weird
  • night swims are awesome

Other highlights #

  • our internet access situation was not great: three workstations sharing a 5mbps satellite connection which died with clouds.

    • Online calls felt like yelling through a hurricane of tin cans
  • having a beach and a pool nearby was very helpful to surviving the high humidity. Nighttime ocean swims were blissful

  • 12 hour days: the sun rose at 7 and set at 7. Generally I’d try to finish work before sunset and left the evening to explore; it created a nice consistent, predictable division

  • warm ocean water, whoa. The waves were just right allowing us to float and hold conversations

  • made some friends on the beach, who I later met in Mexico City

  • co-living + sharing a literal desk with my friend for weeks on end allowed us to sync up in a way our audio calls and dinners don’t have enough time for

  • my life stuff currently: a suitcase and a bag
    • would like to get it down to just a bag soon.
  • from Chapultepec Castle looking down Reforma, Mexico City

cities are chapters #

  • on a walk at 4 am somewhere

written a few days after landing in Mexico City and edited since

My two last two walks through JFK were relatively close together on the calendar; just a few weeks apart. I was off work most of the time off and got to experience the city awakening from covid during the holidays. Many walks, parties, dinners later the Jon that left was vastly different from the one that arrived.

During my years in NYC, every return visit to Sacramento I felt myself a different person touching down on the tarmac. I’d visit family, old friends, memorable bars and restaurants, and favorite hikes. Three or four or seven days later I was on the same plane headed back reflecting on all that had happened in this short yet significant period of time.

In a car I experience every minute and mile and marker in a continuous haze of movement: especially alone. Eventually audiobooks, podcasts, the passengers, and music all fail to occupy my mind - what’s left is a blissful acceptance of all there is and was and will be. A time for introspection and reflection rivaled only by long runs, sleep deprivation, and psychedelics.

Perhaps our time spent traveling to our next place acts a buffer zone; a transition period, a liminal void with existence in a state of limbo. Sometimes I journal, sometimes I listen, but mostly I ponder the unlikely chain of events leading to this particular arrangement of myself and this vehicle and the incalculable multitude of paths at the end of this one.

I landed in Mexico City on Wednesday with little conception of what to expect beyond what I heard from friends. Google Maps and Wikipedia only tell you so much: a layer of each place escapes classification and exists only in the lived experience of those present. As with every other destination in life: you can’t begin to hope to know it until you are on boots-on-the-ground experiencing it in the flesh.

  • Departamento in Roma Norte, Mexico City

28 nights later #

Mexico City was indeed a chapter, and leaving was hard. The food. The density. The noise. The murals, dancing, art, nightlife, energy, inconsistency & chaos: wandering Mexico City fulfilled a longing I’ve had since departing from New York last December.

Being there felt simultaneously energizing and draining. So much life. Parties, museums, dinners, picnics, trees. Just meet up and wander: weeks passed in an invigorating blur of stimulation with little time for reflection and self-care.

Moving to a new place gives you a fresh slate to work with: habits, identity, routine, socialization, diet, sleep, mobility all rattled. I am no doubt a different person than the one who arrived. I’d like to think it’s a version of the old Jon that’s a little wiser. More open to the tiny serendipities that make up the highlights of our hours and days.

Part of my consciousness lives on in Mexico City, just like it exists in Sacramento and New York and Austin and Oceanside and Coronado. Parts of all places live on in me.

driving around Mexico #

While there I ventured out to a few cities: Puebla (1.5h), Acapulco (6h), Telpoztlan (1.5h) and Cuernavaca (1h). Driving to and from these places offered an altogether new perspective on driving: rather different from U.S. where my biggest concern is the brand of chips I want to stock up on.

Lane markings and signage are inconsistent, potholes abundant, GPS navigation unreliable. Vendors walk between cars and roadside parking lots can get chaotic. Getting pulled over is way more stressful than back home. Certain toll booths enforce their dues with weapons instead of paper fines.

Though I never felt explicitly unsafe, there was an ambient level of unpredictability and unknowing-ness I’d never felt in my years stateside.

  • streets of Puebla
  • so many colors

where to next? #

On Monday I leave to Mexico City. Later - who knows! Likely Boston, New York and lots of national parks and maybe some cross-Atlantic adventures. TBD!

Some people call my life strange but I genuinely enjoy the ride. This is in huge part thanks to the many loving friends and family in my life. Grateful for the ones who seem to follow along with some of my rambles and laugh at my jokes.

I don’t have much of a “life plan”: I’m learning to let go and enjoy the ride, short as it is. The world is more beautiful and complex than the Jon of a year ago could’ve imagined, and so much more than the one from five years ago.

  • Acapulco, Guerrero
  • waves here were absolutely bonkers; extremely short/tall and very fun

cities vs beaches #

time slows near a fresh ocean breeze

quiet and calming and nurturing

days become predictable and cyclical

time multiplies in a city

stimulating and rapturing

every interaction leading to a dozen more

cities create adventures worth writing about

beaches give me somewhere to write about them

photos and assorted memories #

  • wanderer in a strange land. Huatulco
  • my office view for a bit. It was like watching the most detailed dynamic painting imaginable.
    • abstract thinking was definitely easier
    • watching boats and critters through telescopes is quite fun
  • at the Archeological Museum
  • having friends translate and explain all the things really helped
  • Mexico has a ridiculously layered history
    • Realms crashed into one another here (and still do to some extent)
  • Acapulco
  • beachside dining near Barra Vieja, Guerrero
  • a blend of hanging out, eating, relaxing
    • they literally have hammocks there
    • it’s everything you need in a beach
  • Tepoztlán
  • Temazcal ceremony was fascinating

meta #

Life is kind of a giant improv dance where I’m missing half the steps but it’s also a beautiful adventure I am lucky to experience, so onwards!

Been spending more time in play with friends. We’ve been trying to reflect a little more of it onto our slabs of silicon for a while - I really want to surpass proximity limitations for internet collaboration.

The internet has a sense of infinity, of always-on-ness - making it humanly impossible to keep up with it or the even the tiny slice of people I’m connected to. Still, I try.

getting a little tougher to write these patch notes, or in fact anything to my blog. Mostly concerns around collaboration, identity, context, and permanence. This is my fourth attempt at patch notes v13 so I’m numbering it 16.

what is this blog?

  • a bit of a mess

  • excited to continue writing and publishing

  • going to be changing the format around

  • likely fewer public posts for the next while

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