Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

I was just looking at my United Airlines mileage online and realized that I'll hit the 100,000 mile mark with United on this next trip I'm making. Looking at my travel patterns, it seems to be tracking my network that has expanded over the last few years through people I've met online. My body is like a packet that's chasing around the bits.

I've also started getting invitations just about every day to parties all over the world. "Just in case you're in the neighborhood." This is really weird. The funny thing is, sometimes I am in the neighborhood. I wake up each morning often not sure what city I'm in or in a mild panic because the city I was in in my dream is not the city I'm in right now.

I know many people who travel more than I do, but I'd been pretty grounded for the last few years so this year has been a fresh experience for me. Connectivity like my Danger Sidekick, wifi in airports, IRC, my blog, wiki and all of the other social software stuff has made travel a much more enjoyable experience. I feel like I have friends in every region, I'm rarely lonely, and with IM and IRC, there are always a bunch of friends to hang out with while I wait in airports or take cabs around town. The fingerprinting and possible harassment at the US border is the sand in the vaseline. (And I don't remember where I got that metaphor, but I like it. Someone used it in reference to copy protection I think.)


"I changed my my hairstyle so many times now, I don't what I look like"

"Sands in the Vaseline" was the title to the two disc, best of Talking Heads CD set.

You are experiencing the promise of the information age: to destroy traditional interaction barriers, such as geography. So then the question becomes: What are today's barriers? And what value actual physical interaction?

And let's not discount the fact that this can all be a dream anyway, a la the Matrix. I know I feel like a big battery at times. Not necessarily in a good way.

I know what you mean joi its good to have friends/contacts in various cities around the world. due to the network i am on ( i have various co-workers, friends, online friends etc in Most parts of Europe West and East, North America East and West coasts and of course Japan.

The world becomes smaller should you care to explore it and its people.


During the year that my husband had to travel extensively, he experienced the disoreintation that you've described. In fact, in his mind, or dream world, there exists a city that is composed of various parts of the different cities that we've lived in or that he has intimately identified with. Which one is more real? Who knows? We continue to relocate on average every three years. Sometimes we feel the presence of another city we know in the city that we are currently living.

Have a good time in San Fransico, and an enjoyable dinner meeting.

I was travelling back from LA last week and had a 2.5 hour layover in phoenix. Usually this is frustrating/boring; but with my laptop and a sprint PCS phone, I passed the time happily and productively (ok, sort-of, I was on #joiito part of the time too :).

People were even able to IM me and I didn't end up with the usual terminal zombie feeling.


100,000miles @ 500mph is too many days inside a metal tube.
Take care.

i understand... i've been in a similar situation over the last few years myself.

on the contrary, though i find that disengaging from my electronic associations while travelling actually helps me re-orient myself better in any given place. even if it means feeling alien, or alienated at first. also it forces me to engage people and spend the time trying to communicate with them. which admittedly is hard because i'm one of those useless americans that only speaks one language.

but after a few days of alienation, you can really start to absorb the new culture, rather than clinging to your old identity, you can start to absorb something new.

I was travelling as much as you are Joi, heading for 100k miles on United. Heady and invigorating! Then I got a stress-caused illness which seriously grounded me. Instead of being plugged into the internet, all around the world, I was in my house, plugged into an IV drip. It was the first time I had been off the steady travel circuit in months, maybe years - with downtime scheduled at home. I have been steadily re-evaluating my lifestyle since that time, eager to give sitting and health a good shot. At least I should learn a good body maintenance regime before I hit the road again! And keep from getting weird stress illnesses.

Picking nits, but only to give credit where it's due, "SAND IN THE VASELINE" comes (I believe) from Ed Ruscha's 1974 painting, visible here. I think the Talking Heads cover was the painting itself, which is a nice way to move through the world.

I know it's not the point, but there are so very many points.

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