157 Comments

Get access to a LARGE, & I do mean large, 3 - D printer, & make life size statues of figures from history, folklore, mythology. & leave them all over my adopted hometown. The knights of the Round Table could hang about with Einstein, Socrates, Michaelangelo, Turing, Gandhi, Lao - Tzu, Solomon, Madame Curie, Galileo.....

Expand full comment
author

This is completely ludicrous.

I'm in.

When do we start, Daniel.

Expand full comment

After another wealthy relative leaves me in their will, or - I do some things that I won't really be able to speak of publicly for money.....

Expand full comment

That is the maddest thing I have heard in a while. And I am mad. I insist on several life size models of Tina Turner

Expand full comment

That's because you're simply the best....

Expand full comment

I want CLONES of Raquel Welch, Betty White, Halle Berry & Salma Hayek - as well as Helen Mirren - you've got to respect an older lady who's done action movies.

Expand full comment
Jun 28, 2023Liked by Mike Sowden

OMG! I love it? Where do you live, cos I need to move there before you do this and the prices shoot through the roof!

Expand full comment

This is the spirit of 2050 my friends.

Expand full comment

That kind of exists, in a creepily curated, selfie-centered form.

https://www.highpointdiscovered.org/stories/a-walk-through-history/

Expand full comment

I had to stop. Bronze looks to ruddy much like chocolate. 😆😉

Expand full comment

My partner and I were discussing this recently and she had a very cool idea. She (Chinese American) wants to visit a bunch of Chinatowns in the US (both the older downtown ones and newer suburban ones, eg Manhattan's Chinatown plus Flushing, Queens), spending maybe 6ish weeks each in 9ish cities. She would do interviews, get involved in community centers, look at public records, and piece together an ethnography of each one. Then use all that material as a lens to view the 1st vs 2nd vs 3rd gen immigrant experiences, immigrant experiences changing throughout American history, why the urban ones are atrophying, and whatever else inspires her midway.

Expand full comment

She also needs to create a massive excel chart rating all the Chinatowns on 60 different factors.

Expand full comment

She is a spreadsheet and ratings/reviews queen, she will love that idea

Expand full comment

I once did this just for NYC's three Chinatowns (it was a while ago—now are four!). The Sunset Park Brooklyn option won, of course. It's the real deal.

Expand full comment

Four!? This project just got more complicated! Maybe NYC needs two months...

I didn't know about the Sunset Park area, we'll have to check that out next time we're in the city

Expand full comment

I LOVE THIS IDEA. Please tell her to do this!

Expand full comment

Love this. I can even imagine a documentary series kind of like In Search of General Tso (if you've seen that film). And you should certainly come to Portland and Seattle.

Expand full comment

We're in Portland and have spent some time in Seattle! Portland's old Chinatown is the saddest I've seen by far. We ended up getting dim sum in both of the new suburban Chinese enclaves, Seattle's Renton and Portland's far southeast area.

I'll have to look up that movie! Agreed it'd make a good docuseries, luckily we're in the age where everything gets a series instead of just a movie haha

Expand full comment
Jun 27, 2023Liked by Mike Sowden

Stolen from our email exchange on this very subject, I’d spent a year playing epic games of hide and seek with fellow nerds in every cool place I could think of.

The caves of Andalusia. The hoodoos of Bryce Canyon. The stone-lined roads of Inisherin. The crumbling Caravanserais of Iran. The saguaro forests of Arizona. The Venetian canals. The cars of a moving train across Siberia. The chain of cliff beaches and sea stacks of southern Oregon. The elaborate souks of Marrakesh. The lava tubes of Hawaii. The Place of Dreams in South Africa. The narrow stone alleys of Palermo. The rocks of Joshua Tree. The ports of Tromso under the aurora. The Hoh Rainforest of the Olympic Peninsula. The deep, ancient grottos of Kingley Vale. The giant redwoods of coastal northern California. The fissures of Thingvellir. The exhausting hillsides of La Paz. The arches of Moab. The cemeteries of New Orleans. The thatchy beach’s of Belize. The dizzying, colorful cityscape of Singapore. The high plains full of elk herds in southern Colorado. The mossy, rocky tundra above Valdez, Alaska. The craggy beach caves of Melbourne. The massive orchards of New England. The castles of the Black Forest. The watery mangrove forests of the Everglades. The financial district of Tokyo. The thick forests of Lapland. The white streetscapes of Santorini. The underworld of the Yucatán. The…

Expand full comment
author

I was hoping you'd see this. 😁

Expand full comment
Jun 27, 2023Liked by Mike Sowden

🤓

Expand full comment
author

The future audience of your Substack newsletter has spoken, here in the comments. They are now waiting for your next move.

Expand full comment
Jun 28, 2023Liked by Mike Sowden

I thought maybe this was coming.

Expand full comment
author

{insert Admiral Akbar "IT'S A TRAP" animated GIF here]

Expand full comment
Jun 27, 2023Liked by Mike Sowden

Hi, great list! I would love a copy of your list 😊 to look some of these up. Cheers

Expand full comment

Feel free to copy!

Expand full comment

Hi, fellow nerd looking for hide & seek sign ups here 🤓

Expand full comment

*Adds to launch list*

Expand full comment
Jun 28, 2023Liked by Mike Sowden

I think a bunch of us nerds might need to get fit first for some of these, but I’d be up for the challenge! (If anything was going to force me to get off my arse, this might!)

Expand full comment

You're my people.

Expand full comment

I already added this briefly in Notes, but thought I'd go into this a bit more, because this is more than a crazy idea, I've had this as a proper plan for some time. I want to see every Eucalyptus species in Australia, which is nearly 900 (in the broad sense of the name anyway). Basically I want to take some sort of vehicle I can camp in and travel around Australia for a year with a copy of EUCLID, which is the botanical key to eucalypts and just see all of them. Of course, there's a lot of meeting people and talking about eucalypts along the way and I'd be writing about it at every step.

Expand full comment

Good Lord that sounds awesome. Seriously. I'm a forest geneticist, and I can already see some of the networking and connections with people you could do. And all the topics you could cover. It's like Miriam Margolyes: Almost Australian, but with a naturalist as host rather than an artist.

You should pitch this to someone.

Expand full comment

I'm glad other people can see the awesomeness of my plan. In New Zealand, most people don't quite get how wonderful eucalypts are, but I just love them. And yes, they connect to a whole wonderful range of topics I could be exploring. (Also thanks for putting my idea alongside Miram Margolyes).

You're right, I should pitch this. I was thinking to pitch it as a book, admittedly. But I'd totally do it as a Substack, I think that would be great fun.

You don't happen to know any eucalypt botanists do you? I've been collecting a few names but haven't talked to any of them yet. I have contacts in the New Zealand botanical community but not really in Australia.

Expand full comment

Check out https://www.eucalyptaustralia.org.au

Expand full comment

I love this site.

Expand full comment

Firstly, yes to all of all this.

Secondly, you're a forest geneticist? That sounds like a made up career, which means I'm officially fascinated! What do you do as a forest geneticist? Is it mostly identifying species work or paper pushing or something else???

Expand full comment
Jun 28, 2023Liked by Mike Sowden

Also here to learn what a forest geneticist is?! I’m a masters student in cell and molecular bio with a genomics emphasis and interested in comparative genomics and I love trees so this is the most oddly specific interesting profession I’ve maybe ever heard of 😂

Expand full comment

Okay then! I'll take a stab at answering.

"Forest geneticist" is not a made-up career, but still a relatively obscure one. :-) And while I can claim to be a forest geneticist (with the master's degree to prove it), I'll never claim to be much of one--just ask my major professor. :-) I completed my graduate work (M.S.) at Oregon State University; my major professor was Dr. Steve Strauss and minor professor was Dr. Bill Lunch.

I studied biology in undergrad with a focus on genetics especially plant genetics. I still think plants are much more fascinating than animal cells at the level of cell and molecular biology.

Forest genetics focuses on the genomics and biotechnology of forest trees and incorporates ecological genetics, hybridization and breeding programs, physiological genetics, and evolutionary genetics. We worked mainly with Poplar and Douglas Fir species. My research focused on developing RAPD techniques for genetic mapping and DNA fingerprinting of those two forest trees, particularly finding ways to sterilize Poplar trees sufficiently to harvest them almost like agricultural crops without the risk of environmental contamination. The research has come quite a lot way since then.

I also got to work on a few other projects, too, including a failed attempt to develop forensic DNA fingerprinting of Douglas Fir to combat illegal tree poaching on public lands. I completely failed, but as all good scientists know, my failures led to someone else's success years later.

And I got to help out with a number of evolutionary and comparative genomics studies of various forest trees, too. Plus, I learned quite a bit about forest science generally.

I really enjoyed the work. It was one of the few fields that combined both basic and applied science in roughly equal measures, the field was still relatively obscure, and the people I worked with were fantastic. I especially enjoyed teaching. But I also realized I did not want to be an academic professor for the rest of my life. The work was fascinating and the people were great, but the "lifestyle elements" were a big turn-off (e.g., the publish or perish syndrome, the incentives to avoid teaching, etc.).

So I went to law school. And still worked as a forest geneticist, just on the science and technology aspects of being a patent lawyer. Then later on working in science and technology policy in Washington, DC.

I still use the knowledge, skills, and abilities I gained as a forest geneticist in my work, and I wouldn't mind getting back into the lab (or in the field) somehow, someway. For example, I keep my eye on job listings at Oregon State or the National Forest Genetics Laboratory.

If either of you (or anyone else) is interested, I highly encourage y'all to look into using forest genetics as some aspect of your career. The field is still small enough that it's easy to make a name for yourself, but large enough to provide a huge range of opportunities in academia, government, or private industry.

And happy to answer more questions -- here or otherwise.

Expand full comment
Jun 27, 2023Liked by Mike Sowden

I wish a crazy millionaire with the same musical taste as me would commission me to form a band and faithfully recreate 70s jingles and TV themes. Yes, with orchestra, and outfits.

Expand full comment
Jun 27, 2023Liked by Mike Sowden

Building regenerative agricultural systems (permaculture) in low-water environments (the front range).

Expand full comment

Would there be GMO crops or non GMO crops ? GMO crops have gotten a bad rap.

Expand full comment
Jun 27, 2023·edited Jun 27, 2023Liked by Mike Sowden

I'd be open to including GMO crops, but I think non-GMO crops are generally a better pick for regenerative systems for a few reasons:

1. Current GMO crops are optimized for yields in monocultures; that's great if you only care about cost per calories per acre, but part of designing a regenerative system is balancing a wider range of goals/outcomes, including things like soil health and resilience to disturbance.

2. Business practices around GMOs are often farmer-hostile: seed cost, cross-crop contamination, the decision to use glyphosate resistance as the arbitration mechanism between crop and weed.

All that being said, I could see GMOs playing a role if they could get along nicely with other species (including humans and our social systems).

What genetic selection for regenerative systems looks like in practice is something like https://masaseedfoundation.org/ that has been selectively breeding food crops to survive front-range conditions but doesn't hold IP restrictions on those crops, which means fair and affordable access to seeds and the right to save seeds.

That model seems like a better fit for agricultural systems seeking to balance a variety of goals.

Expand full comment
Jun 27, 2023Liked by Mike Sowden

We would pull our children out of school, and my wife and I would take them around the world to visit as many of the world's protected and conserved areas as possible.

Expand full comment

By bicycle?

Expand full comment

That's my crazy wish - Holden's plan on a bicycle

Expand full comment
Jun 27, 2023Liked by Mike Sowden

Watch every single episode fo Star Trek. Might need more than a year.

Expand full comment
author

I approve of this quest and EAGERLY await your new Substack "The Bad Astronomy Of Star Trek" where you fact-check the whole of it so brilliantly that Paramount puts you in charge of the next spin-off.

Also, my partner is determined to watch all 800-ish episodes of Doctor Who and I can't dissuade her (not that I'd want to, of course - even though she's probably not ready for the, um, 'special effects' of some of the early ones).

Expand full comment
Jun 27, 2023Liked by Mike Sowden

Heh. They already have a science consultant - Erin MacDonald, an astronomer. :)

Expand full comment

Someone has done a thing about the physics of Trek. Someone also pointed out how much raw energy a transporter beam would use, as well as how much computer power it would take to store someone's atomic / molecule make up.

Expand full comment

Have done, twice, except for the animated ones (just can’t do the comic thing yet). Now on the third time adding Strange New Worlds into the chronological timeline.

Fascinating.

Expand full comment
Sep 29, 2023Liked by Mike Sowden

If you like TNG/Voyager/DSn then do yourself a favor and watch Lower Decks. It's *amazing*.

Expand full comment
author

Agree with Phil - and Strange New Worlds even has its Lower Decks crossover episode, just to hammer home how important it is to Trek in general! https://ew.com/events/comic-con/star-trek-lower-decks-strange-new-worlds-crossover-premieres-early/

Expand full comment
Sep 29, 2023Liked by Mike Sowden

This was literally one of the top three episodes of Trek ever.

Expand full comment

Okay you two, I’m convinced. Lower Decks it is.

Popcorn ready

Expand full comment

When I read your prompt, I didn’t think I had an answer to this. But as I started reading the answers, the fully-formed plan appeared in my mind: to interview and write about all the projects and communities that use food skills and cooking to improve other aspects of people’s lives: Luminary Bakery in London; Hot Bread Kitchen in Brooklyn; The Clink prison restaurant.... and eat their food, of course!

Expand full comment

That sounds like the beginning of a book! 🙌

Expand full comment

Buy one of those houses in Italy or Ireland that are basically free if you renovate and live there. Then live there off grid, feeding and sustaining ourselves off the land, and through old-fashioned 'favours' with the more connected neighbours. Explore the theory, while doing this, that this is actually how humans are meant to live, making for happier, less stressed communities. Document it all, change the world.

Expand full comment

This is a community that might help support you. https://wwoof.net/

Expand full comment

I'd go on a quest to find and learn the most interesting, awesome, weird and exotic dances on Earth! I'd choose 12 of them and spend 1 month in each place to learn and master the best that I can of each dance - and through it, their culture, mindset, community and basic language. A cultural immersion through dance! ❤️🌍💃🏻🫶🏼 I'd keep training to be able to keep up with it and I'd definitely enjoy the heck out of it all. 🙌🏼

Expand full comment

I’m actually kind of doing it this year already - a deep dive into D&D as it sits in today’s culture. As I play, run, and organize, I’m learning all kinds of details, from foley work to narrative subversions to the recreation of a player’s past events to acheive different results.

I’m learning a ton about probability and game theory, too. To the point where I’ve spent an evening trying to hit rubber ducks with a rolled die from varying distance to take accuracy data. Turns out you can’t aim a d4 worth a taco rolling, but you can shuffleboard it to great effect.

Expand full comment

Wow, this would be cool. As a Stranger Things fanatic I'd be very curious to see how that show has impacted D&D culture, from new player expectations/ideas of the game to the reawakening (unfortunately) of cries of Satanism in the US (and perhaps a stretch but perhaps not: how/if D&D culture has in some way inspired certain book bans in the US)

Expand full comment

See, you’re using your weaponised d4 wrong - they’re the caltrops of the diced world!

Expand full comment

Have you seen the new (October 2023) book by Marcus du Sautroy, Around the World in 80 Games? He's a professor at Oxford, but heavily engaged in the popularisation and understanding of science and maths. He has written on mathematics, creativity, thinking, ... and has now turned his attention to all aspects of game-playing and "how games shape the people we are".

Expand full comment
Jun 27, 2023Liked by Mike Sowden

Wow this is a fun question. My interests are extremely varied but a couple ideas would be:

- library world tour. I love reading and I’d want to visit a new library (in a new city? country?) every week and read so many books. Study the architecture and history of the buildings and who uses them and how etc.

- something with animals...like living in Asia and tracking red panda behavior or in the mountains in Canada looking for lynx or pine martens. Oooh or following an arctic tern migration.

Expand full comment

Ooooh, now I want to plan a library world tour! That would be absolutely incredible. The books, the culture, the cozy armchairs to plop down in, the satisfaction of cracking a book open in a foreign land and library only to smell...the same glorious book glue smell that reminds you that you're home and yet about to be traveling into this new world, if only you turn the page...

Happy sigh.

Expand full comment
Jun 28, 2023Liked by Mike Sowden

This is beautiful and YES you get it :)

Expand full comment

We were on the Isle of Raasay (Scotland) last year and the thought of spending a year there to document the wildlife was hopelessly appealing. It’s 14 miles long so the perfect size to cover adequately, whilst having so much variety and intrigue.

Expand full comment
Jun 28, 2023Liked by Mike Sowden

Oh I love the idea of a deep dive on one island!! Very Darwin’s finches, I’m in.

Expand full comment
Jun 27, 2023Liked by Mike Sowden

I’d move my wife and I to our forever home, and get a job with the local school district to develop an after school enrichment program where I run TTRPGs Monday to Friday.

I would help the kids become the heroes they are, develop into the game masters, actors, explorers, coders, math-magicians, leaders, critical thinkers, researchers and otherwise excellent humans they have within.

And take the occasional cruise with my wife for fun.

Expand full comment

Google the phrase "rpg camp" and you'll find that this is a thing, at least short-term. I've found that pretty much any campers I've met (and the nerd-centric things I do) these days are at least willing to try.

Expand full comment
Jun 27, 2023Liked by Mike Sowden

I would try to visit as many of Earth’s volcanoes as possible. I’d organize the travel by active status (all active volcanoes first, for example), or perhaps in order of biggest recorded eruptions (e.g. Tambora first), or maybe even by the category of the setting type of volcano (e.g. shield volcanoes atop mantle hot spots ---HAWAII! First then all of the plate boundary volcanoes second. Hmm I need to really think about this....

Or I’d try to go to every star party in every u.s. state.

Expand full comment

Great plan, although I think you'd better tackle it by geographical area for efficiency reasons. Lots of different types and eruption sizes in New Zealand. We have cataclysmically large Taupō, highly active Whakaari, although you can no longer get up close for fairly obvious reasons, a wonderful series of shield volcanoes over a hot spot, due for a new eruption at some point in the next couple of thousand years so you might be lucky...

See you in New Zealand soon!

Expand full comment

I would produce and host a television series that is essentially a remix of No Reservations/Parts Unknown, Mythbusters, and Meet the Press. Let me explain.

No, there is too much. Let me sum up: I want to do to and for the political establishment what Anthony Bourdain did to and for the restaurant establishment.

"We the People" in America do not know enough about politics, law, or government to solve the problems facing us. We cannot save American democracy because we do not understand it sufficiently. And I'm not talking about those routine polls decrying the state of our country because only 17% of us can name more than one Supreme Court Justice. Hell, I'm a lawyer and I couldn't name more than three or four without looking 'em up.

We don't understand the fundamental statics and dynamics of American government. Most of us (and I would say around 70% to 80%) don't even understand federalism. Or separation of powers into three branches of government.

And all of us our angry. Rightfully so. For any number of reasons. But what are we angry about? And who are we angry at? Or should be angry at? If I think of "the government" as some unibody construction, then of course I'm going to get pissed off when my mayor won't help me with my IRS problems. Of course I'm going to be furious if my Congressional representative won't appear in court on my behalf. Or call the judge to ask her why she's ordering me to pay child support. And of course I'm going to want to throw out all the people in Congress because they're all selfish, power-hungry imbeciles (and whatever else FOX News is telling me).

Those are hypothetical examples, but I hope I'm making sense here. Because I want to help people better understand how American government, law, and politics actually work -- and are supposed to work. And I want to help them channel that anger in the right directions and at the right people.

While we're chatting, I'll also be asking them about their views on politics in general and what they would like to see. Conversations like I had with this guy on a train ride from Chicago to LA last August. He was a Trump supporter who was willing to talk with me about American politics and gun control, and in a 20-minute conversation, we solved a gun control problem; not "the gun problem," but a common sense solution that would ban the AR-15 (and sufficiently detailed to be introduced in Congress). We managed that simply because we got to know each other as people, first. We have to start doing that more, talking with each other and not at each other. The only way we're going to save the country is if We the People start doing what the top political elite (whoever they might be) aren't doing: chat with one another and treat people as people rather than political problems.

I want to challenge Congress specifically in the ways that SpaceX challenges NASA. That GenX attitude of "Hey, if you don't want to help us solve our problems or get what we deserve, we'll do it our damn selves." If Congress can't get it's act together, We the People will find a way to do it for them.

So, if I had a year and unlimited resources, I'd first contact every producer, showrunner, and pertinent crew member that I could get ahold of, get 'em in the same room for a week with the most seasoned constituent service staffers I could find. And then we'd all figure out how to do this.

How do we take the Mythbusters approach to educating people about urban myths and apply it to political myths? How do we recreate those conversational styles and settings from No Reservations and Parts Uknown? Do we bring in a bit of Dirty Jobs, too, along the way?

And how do we take all the high level political chatter and analysis that so many people are already doing and bring it down to ground level in ways folks better understand? How do we make The McLaughlin Group as accessible and entertaining as any of these other TV shows we're talking about? Hundreds of people are providing political commentary, information, and analysis, but how can we package and present all that great stuff to people at a practical level in useful ways? How can we help them better understand their anger, why other people are just as angry, and how to direct that anger to the right people in the right places and in the right ways?

What's the startup phase look like? What experts do we need to bring in next? And what do I need to do? What's my best place in this whole Mercury Project equivalent?

And then we'd go from there.

Expand full comment

I would watch the f**k outta this!!!!!! We need this sooooooooo bad in America!

Expand full comment
Jun 27, 2023Liked by Mike Sowden

I just returned from a solo, budget trip to Egypt and would produce a movie to inspire other older women to stop waiting and go, doing it responsibly, connecting with locals, and explore off the beaten tracks.

Expand full comment
Jun 28, 2023Liked by Mike Sowden

My mom became a missionary in Hungary in her 60s after a lifetime of wanting to travel. She is so inspiring to me! Has since been to many more countries.

Expand full comment
Jun 27, 2023Liked by Mike Sowden

Explore and study the back yard. Camp out there, and listen to the animals outside, scratching at the tent, wondering who they are (both me and the animals). Learn about the plants, the insects, the birds- all of the teeming life out there under my nose. Dig into the soil, note how it changes as I move from the creek to the hillside. Stare at the stars at night, noting how they change throughout the year. So many adventures so close by.

Expand full comment

I would love to get together a group of scientists and artists to do some proper research on the moths of New Zealand, ten share them in beautiful, engaging ways. Photography, painting, sculpture, music, dance, poetry, fiction.

How many are there? Where do they live? What do they eat - and what eats them? How did they evolve? How do they overwinter? What roles do they play in their ecosystems?

We have over 1,000 species of moths but know so little about them 🦋

Expand full comment

I'll join you.

Expand full comment

Yes please!

Expand full comment
Jun 27, 2023Liked by Mike Sowden

Quite a delightful daydream. We (hubby and dog, along with son, daughter in law, grandson and dogs) would take our road worthy tiny houses (existing currently in my dream only) first to Eastern Kentucky on the side of a mountain next to Daniel Boone National forest to visit the growing at Tame the Spirit herbs following through to a weekend intensive "Low Dose Botanicals for Practitioners. " on Wellspring Mountain, a beautiful botanical sanctuary in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina... ignoring their indoor mask rule. After an Eastern coastal tour, peddling our herbal wares, I would be sailing away to a 7 day Autumn Equinox Plant Immersion from September 17th till 24th at the Scottish School of Herbal Medicine, situated at the southern end of Scotland’s Isle of Arran.

Expand full comment
author
Jun 27, 2023·edited Jun 27, 2023Author

Hooray! Arran is just across the water from me, here on the edge of the Firth of Clyde. I didn't know about the Scottish School of Herbal Medicine - fascinating, will investigate.

Expand full comment
Jun 27, 2023Liked by Mike Sowden

Well then a visit to Mike Sowden would cap off the excursion!

Expand full comment

Oh man, what a great question! I need FIVE YEARS.

Year one: 12-month meditation retreat! What the hell's going on in there really?

Year two: Intensive music composition study (new classical), history of music and digital recording immersive.

Year three: Take CAFÉ ANNE on the road! Write about a new small town every week!

Year four: Painting school so I can paint all the things in my head.

Year five: Donuts!

Expand full comment

Falconry. Preferably near a winery or whiskey distillery so I could learn that, too. xo

Expand full comment

I would love to get a time-travel machine and go find my ancestors as far back as I can find them. When I do, I'd love to have them tell me the stories of their lives and record every detail, feeling, and dream they ever had, and the outcome of it all.

Expand full comment
Jun 27, 2023Liked by Mike Sowden

I would be the Crone, Elder, Wise Woman that I Am calling in all the AMAZING MAGICAL CHILDREN, young and old to remember the unique magic and wisdom that they hold. I would record the Wisdom Keepers young and old and spread their messages far and wide. I would bless all with bubble magic and teach all to remember the power of play in WONDER ...Awe and Curiosity. What a WONDERfull world this is!

Expand full comment
Jun 28, 2023Liked by Mike Sowden

My friends and I have 1234567 thousand ideas on how we can explore Chinese history (with a woman-focused lens) through fashion and culture and if we have time and energy and resources I cannot think of any limits for us: writing books? Hosting tons and tons of workshops? Creating a bigger and better version of our online choose-your-own-path in our recreation of a Tang Dynasty courtesan house? There's probably even more we can think of once we have the time to do so

Expand full comment
Jun 27, 2023Liked by Mike Sowden

Ever since visiting Chimayo New Mexico in 1999, I have wanted to go back and learn all about Native techniques with natural dyes. If that also meant learning about spinning and weaving ( for context!) I'd go for that too.

Expand full comment

Oooh, I’d join you on that! I know *just* enough about each of these to be dangerous, but nowhere near enough to do what I’d like to do!

Expand full comment
Jun 27, 2023Liked by Mike Sowden

Visiting every state in the union and taking enough time in each one to both play tourist properly there and read a book that takes place in that state.

Expand full comment

Definitely a writing retreat in New Zealand for my Fantasy novel to come to life. 💫🐉📖

Expand full comment

Ode to joy! I would retrace the footsteps of my great grandfather, the famous circus aerialist from the Flying Banvards, who traveled the world....yet left an unsolved mystery with my great grandmother...who remarried a race horse trainer for the sultans in India...and cared for my British Mum and her pet mongoose. Such an adventure awaits.

Expand full comment
Jun 28, 2023Liked by Mike Sowden

Oh that’s easy, weaving. I’ve been weaving for about ten years and have only scratched the surface. I’d like to explore all kinds of looms and weaving traditions and get competent at all the major forms.

Expand full comment

Okay, you know I already answered this over in Notes, so maybe this is cheating, but I need a second year and maybe a third because here's what I would do: One! I already said, I would go back to the pottery studio, as long as I had access to a high-fire gas kiln. And I would make a full set of dishes for my kitchen and also a lot of pots that are only interesting to other potters who tend to be pyros at heart.

Two! I would go to culinary school. Preferably somewhere very scenic and somewhat rural. South of France? The Basque region of Spain? Vietnam? South Korea? Maybe a season in each one as long as money is not an issue.

Three! I want to do a different short-ish walking tour in a different country every month. Like, there's 150 mile trail being developed in Western Massachusetts, and there's a trail all the way around Prince Edward Island (that's 435 miles, which might take a little longer), and another one in Bhutan, and several in Wales. Lots of walking, lots of local food, lots of pictures.

Expand full comment
Jun 27, 2023Liked by Mike Sowden

I would travel the world to be a Super or Supernumerary in as many large company operas as possible. (A performer who appears in a non-singing role; a “super” might have a solo walk-on to deliver a message, or might be included as part of a large procession, for example.) While in each city I will explore, meet people, gather stories. The following year I might write a book about it all, but that's only a definite maybe.

Expand full comment

Super geeky, but: I'd write every single day, just as I am now, and then I'd have some lackey do the marketing stuff. Just go tell everyone about what I'm working on!

I believe that it's important, and I know it's fulfilling. I have almost everything I could reasonably ask for right now (including a tiny dog who is sometimes angry at me!).

Expand full comment

I would take a load sketch books and art supplies and travel, so that I can do short hikes in beautiful places and sketch everything I saw.

Expand full comment

I'd say I'm already doing it by making my first feature film.

Expand full comment

That's pretty cool. And congratulations! Come back and let us know when it's released.

Expand full comment

Thank you. I should be finished by next month.

Expand full comment

I loved it the theme you choose. I love writing and I have so many good ideas 💡, but I must work in my mental healthy in order to effectively outsource it and make more productive. But, definitely it would do something related. One of my trips, at that time to Peru, I met someone who live his life travelling while working. He avoid fancy hotel or luxury, staying in Hostels and always he can buying and preparing his own meals. He has two apartments rented in his born country and he work for his own. So he only needs a good connection and his laptop. I promise to myself that someday I would achieve this style life. I love travel, I don’t need nothing fancy, and I can plan myself and organize very well cost-benefit trips. And I would love share insights, science, funny stories (I have one at least per day 🤣)

Thanks for sharing

Expand full comment

Ride long distance trains all over the world, knitting, reading, and occasionally talking to people.

Expand full comment

I love this so much. I think if I could I would travel and explore ancient ruins for a full year. Studying artwork left behind by our ancestors.

Expand full comment

I'm kinda living this out right now. I saw an opportunity to leave work, do some major emotional healing, and go back to school to finish my BA all in one fell swoop. Had the funds, and now I have the time. I start school in the fall and I'm going in hungry to learn and explore and play with all the curiosity and joy and open-mindedness I have in me.

But say I had time during this delicious knowledge quest (which I do). Well, I've been playing with the idea of starting a Substack to nerd out HARD on certain TV shows I'm committed to. I'm hitting my one year anniversary of (happily) closing my fandom-themed tea shop and I'm missing the regular geek chats, the instant sense of bonding upon finding a fellow fan of my favorite show/book/band/etc. I've already got pages of notes for the show I want to start writing about...

Expand full comment
Jun 27, 2023Liked by Mike Sowden

This is lame but maybe not very nerdy, but as I am already a professional nerd, i needed to take a different angle, otherwise the answer would probably just be doing what I’m paid for for once. So I would spend the year either learning to properly play funk guitar in time (30 odd years of not really practising unsurprisingly has not fixed this issue), or learning football tricks off YouTube so that I felt like I’d actually mastered something physical for once

Expand full comment

I’d try my hand at funny travel writing a la Bill Bryson. Going all over the world, pointing out regional idiosyncrasies and eating/drinking to the point where I can JUST remember enough about my day to write up some funny anecdotes.

Expand full comment

Go to Puerto Jiménez. Drink. Watch girls. Walk. Read books. Wear a white suit and a Panama hat.

Expand full comment

Oh I think about this ALL the time. I would travel everywhere that strikes my fancy, interviewing and illustrating people for my book called Beautiful Ordinary Life. Think illustrated journalism with a human interest slant.

I WILL do this in the future, I just don’t know how but I figure maybe when Cricklewood takes off I’ll see an opportunity.🤞🤓

What a terrific question!

Expand full comment

I would love to deep dive into ethnobontany and foraging and attempt to live for a year only on foraged or grown food myself to really appreciate how hard it is and to get to know my local area better. I'd also love to just take the time and learn more about how we interact with our world and what we can do to change it

Expand full comment

I would create an ornamental foraging garden consisting solely of UK native plants, with great swathes of wild flowers, fruit and nut trees and edible shrubs.

Expand full comment
Jun 28, 2023Liked by Mike Sowden

I would start by doing some research into all the weird and wonderful community events I could find and then set off to see as many as I could. E.g. cheese rolling at Cooper's Hill, semana Santa in Seville. When we go on holiday we love coming across a random local fête or event - makes our holiday! Only issue with that idea is it would be quite full on so either that or going somewhere completely remote to pursue my dream job: travelling around with a horse spotting and identifying wildlife!

Expand full comment

What a fun question to toss in the middle of 18,000 Mike Snowden fans! You can ask the same question we hear whenever PowerBall jackpot exceeds $250 million -- Have you thought about what you will do with that money? You'll get a lot of the same total freedom, no limits stories back. Never did I find someone in the lottery line with me that was not sure of this answer.

Expand full comment

I would love to research and write the “Engineer’s Travel Guide to the US,” highlighting things like science museums, factory tours, and built engineering marvels for those who like to visit more tech-related sights when they travel.

Expand full comment
author
Jun 28, 2023·edited Jun 28, 2023Author

I would love to see this!

There was a seven-part BBC show a few decades back called "Seven Wonders of the Industrial World" (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seven_Wonders_of_the_Industrial_World) about some of the world's greatest engineering marvels, and it was absolutely glorious storytelling that really made you feel a sense of awe for those engineering feats. I've always wanted to read a book that gave me the same feeling....or a newsletter?

Expand full comment

Wow, that’s so cool! Yes, I agree we need more of that kind of storytelling in the world. Good to know I would have at least one fan if I went after it. 😀

Expand full comment

For example, did you know that Niagara Falls has a phenomenal hydro power plant right up the road from the park? Why get soaked on a boat tour when you could learn about the battle between Edison and Tesla for the future of power transmission RIGHT THERE!

Expand full comment

Ooh, please do a package tour! I would sign up immediately

Expand full comment

I would build a home in the desert that was simultaneously it's own natural air cooler.

Expand full comment

I would learn every single collective noun of every animal

Expand full comment
author

I can cross one off for you, if you don't already know it: https://substack.com/@everythingisamazing/note/c-15910448

Expand full comment

Thank you, Mike. This is indeed a favorite, alongside a grumble of pugs, an exultation of skylarks, a creep of tortoises, a halo of golden retrievers and a parliament of owls. It’s going to be a busy, nerdiest year!

Expand full comment