My Thoughts On: Vermont

state-flag-vermont

The original version of this post was written in January 2014, and I’ve preserved that underneath my addition. A second post was written less than a month after I arrived to explain why I chose Vermont. That’s also preserved below.

Vermont has been very good to me so far. I’ve seen state parks, I’ve had two different jobs, learned about a whole new industry, and successfully made my way back into school. Vermont has been both exactly what I expected, and not at all like what I expected at the same time.

What I expected was the feeling of a fresh start. I’ve made an entirely different set of friends since I moved here, I’ve lived in both an apartment with a formal landlord and a house with landlords who have also been counted as friends. Vermont has given me the chance to live out my Waupaca dream, in a rural setting where I can go out walking at night and not have to worry about being mugged or killed.

200444257-001

What I didn’t expect was to find a diverse group of people and experiences. People say that Vermont is “granola and liberal” but I’ve found much of the opposite. “Liberal” and “conservative” also have different implications here. I was used to “conservative” being associated with “anti-gay” whereas here, gay and straight people are very integrated. Gun culture is huge – most people own a gun and know how to use it. I feel like hunting is bigger here than it is in Wisconsin, and that’s saying something. There are more options for healthier food sources, but it’s not as pushed as it appears to be on the internet. Vermont still has an Olive Garden, several McDonald’s, and plenty of other junk food places, alongside the Healthy Living, Trader Joe’s, and organic sections in the grocery stores.

I used to think that “being stuck” where one grew up was a Wisconsin small town thing, but it’s everywhere. There’s plenty of people who were born and raised here that never left the town they grew up in. Some people are happy with that, others complain about it. It’s a fact of life. I got sick of being one of the complainers, which is why I made the decision to move.

I’m starting to see the world a little differently as I continue to spend time here. I hear stories of, and have met people who lived in rural trailer parks, people who knew heavy drug users, people who go back and forth from Canada to their homes on a regular basis, people who can guzzle hand-tapped maple syrup like it’s water. Most folks out here are county-oriented, and love the outdoors; skiing, hiking, camping and the like.

I haven’t fully decided what I’m going to do after I get my bachelors. There are parts of Vermont that I love and there are parts that I’ve definitely had my fill of. At the end of the day, Vermont was the right choice for me in 2014, but who knows where life will bring me come (presumably) 2018.

Respectfully re-submitted,

Lukas Condie

vt_magshape


(Originally posted, May 2014)

Since so many people ask why I have come to Vermont, I’m making a post about it.

Reasons to be in Vermont:

  • Legal Equality.
    • If I do plant my roots here, I won’t even have to worry for a moment about getting married and having kids.
  • State natural beauty.
    • Vermont is one of the greenest and earth-friendly areas I know of.
  • To experience state culture.
    • Vermont has a uniqueness to it that really interests me, as someone who is proud of my own uniqueness.
  • The UU Church.
    • I have so much of my own spiritual journey in front of me.
      And in general it’s a place for me to start again. I lost my ambition and passion about 4 years ago, but have found it again here.

My goals to work towards while I am a Vermont resident:

Health

  • Achieve a goal weight of 165 pounds.
  • Create and maintain a balanced diet, including recognizing and utilizing proper portion sizes.
  • Expand my palette so that I can understand food in different cultures.
  • Walk/Jog 2 miles a day.

Finance

  • Pay off my Credit Card, and close that account.
  • Put money away to go back to college.
  • Put away six month’s worth of income in savings.
  • Know my credit score and continue to work to improve it.
  • Apply for a charge card to continue working with my credit rating, but not fall into a debt cycle again.

Education

  • Finish my bachelor’s degree, after re-starting with Community College.
  • Polish and continue to improve my online article database.
  • Manage and execute a proper reading list.
  • Continue to polish and improve my online skills, starting with blogging and continuing through all social networking.

Culture

  • Define a list of TV Shows and Movies that I have backlogged to view.
  • Define myself, my needs, and my ideas more completely.
  • More specifically, develop my identity and passions more fully.
  • Create and execute my own unique adult fashion style.
  • Refine what social networking means to me, which ones I use, and which ones I will grow with.
  • Learn how to shoot a gun.
  • Define Project #BeyondVT2018 and what the next step in my life will be.

 

(Original posting, January 2014):

It’s been over a year and a half since I last wrote an original post on here. That was 2012, and it’s now 2014.

My life has truly changed in a lot of ways. I’ve changed jobs, I’m single, and most importantly, I’ve developed a lot about who I am and what I stand for and believe in.

I feel like I’ve hit a wall here in Wisconsin. I’ve established a work history, a credit history, and have really felt the effects of letting myself fail out of college the first time around. At the same time, I’m thankful for how life has played out, since I wouldn’t be the person I am without the struggles I’ve gone through. I’ve taken the roots I started with about myself at Parkside and have a budding forest of trees worth of personality, beliefs, values, and interests now.

If you haven’t heard yet, I’m planning to move to Vermont this summer. I vacationed there last summer and absolutely fell in love with the place. Legally speaking, I can get married, have kids, and keep a job without anything interfering with any of those. That was the first thing that drew me there. During my trip, I learned plenty about the culture of the state, the charm of the people there, and the absolute beauty of the land. I can see why it’s considered to be the escape land for New Yorkers, just like how Wisconsin is the escape land for Chicago people. I’ve toured the Community College, and the public University, with plans to be on track to be back in school by Fall 2015.

I’ve come a long way since leaving Kenosha nearly 3 years ago, and I still have a long journey ahead of me. There’s plenty more to come.

Respectfully Submitted,

Lukas Condie

My Inspirations: The Doctor And Clara Oswald

img_4768

Who is The Doctor?

The Doctor is the title character of the long-running series, Doctor Who. The character is a Timelord from Gallifrey, who ran away with a machine that travels in all of time and space called the TARDIS (short for Time And Relative Dimension In Space), and who often travels with a companion or two.

Being a timelord, the Doctor lives for many hundreds of years, and instead of dying he “regenerates” into a new body and new personality. The show’s creators wrote this fact in when the first actor to play the Doctor became gravely ill and they wanted to keep the show going. To date, 13 different actors have played the role, with twelve having numbers and one non-numbered doctor being retroactively inserted into the series’ chronology in 2013.

Each Doctor has his own personality, tastes, interests, sense of style and decoration, and is unique. Most people know the different doctors by their number, which represents which incarnation of the Doctor they are. Because of this, a common question in the Who fandom is:

Which Doctor is “my Doctor?”

My answer to this involves two different Doctors, Ten and Eleven.

Tenth-Doctor-Blue-With-Coat11th-Doctor-Outfits-doctor-who-35669460-689-920

Just above this paragraph are my two doctors. Ten on the left, Eleven on the right. Ten is technically “my Doctor” because he’s the one I would want to travel with and learn from. He’s got the perfect balance between biting edge and soft understanding of others that really spoke to me when I first saw his part of the series. Both Ten and Eleven have copious amounts of charisma, but Ten has an air of responsibility about him that draws me to want to learn from him.

Eleven is just as charismatic in his own way, but more playful, more relaxed. He doesn’t seem to get as angry as Ten did (and nowhere near as much as Nine or Twelve seemed to), and he’s the Doctor that I see myself emulating.

What About The Doctor Inspires Me?

The Doctor, as a character is very wise and worldly, always traveling and always learning new things. This is even though he has the ability to see all of creation running through his own head as a timelord. He’s a hero to many, having saved countless numbers of planets and species throughout his millennium of lives. His charisma allows any number of different beings to be drawn to him and open up to him. Instead of being afraid of the unknown (which is the natural human instinct), he’s fascinated by it, and seeks it out as often as he possibly can.

All of these personal elements are something I want to strive for. I want to go out and see more of the world. I like being “the shoulder to cry on” or the person people can rely on. At a former job, a manager told me that she believes in “always learning, always growing” which is something I’ve taken with me, and I feel that’s reflected in the Doctor.

My cross country move taught me to look at the world in different ways. By watching the Doctor, I’m seeing that this can be a whole way of life.

kinopoisk.ru

Who is Clara Oswald?

Clara Oswald was a companion of the Eleventh and Twelfth Doctors. (This part of the post is a follow up from Rose, a companion of the Ninth and Tenth Doctor)

Clara stepped into the Doctor’s life and changed him for the better. Spoiler alert; she also saves the Doctor’s life at one point. Clara is a clever school teacher who is very curious about the universe, and puts forth passion and energy into the her time with the Doctor (much like the other companions do), though her way of organizing the world around her is much like my own.

How Does Clara Inspire Me?

The episode that showcases the parts of Clara that I strive to emulate (in addition to the Doctor I try to emulate) is from the seventh series, The Bells Of St. John. It’s where Clara meets the Doctor for the first time, and he meets her for the third (time travelers have a funny life that way!)

Clara shows that she’s very savvy to technology – being the one to tap into several computer databases to help save the day, and she understands how to use them. Going forward she shows technological abilities that few other companions have shown to have while traveling with the Doctor. Many people in my personal circle seem to think that I have tech abilities, and while I admit that I do have some (I do own lukascondie.com after all!), I’m not a professional at it, mostly because I don’t have a full understanding of programming languages.

Clara is also resourceful, which is a Slytherin quality that I’m proud of. She knows when and what questions to ask, and how to find information or things she needs to save the world or get the job done. At one point, she posed as the Doctor when the real Doctor was incapacitated and she tried to save the world herself.

910_promo_001.jpg

Clara has been through heartbreak as well, and it changed the way she looks at life. Clara is how I see myself as a “single man” traveling the world, equally how I strive to emulate Eleven.

Thank you, Doctor and Clara for being inspirations!

Respectfully Submitted,

Lukas Condie

What Makes Me A Unitarian Universalist

Flaming_Chalice.svg

I recently read The Unitarian Universalist Pocket Guide, and I figured it’s about time to make a post explaining my faith system.

41pZk+WCniL._SX346_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

What is Unitarian Universalism?

From the main website itself, Unitarian Universalism is a theologically diverse religion, that encourages people to find their own spiritual path. UU’s have an incredibly diverse mixture of backgrounds, ages, and beliefs. Atheists can be UUs. Jewish folk can be UUs. Christians can be UUs. Each person’s spirituality is unique to themselves, and this religion honors and reflects that.

From the guide:

Because Unitarian Universalists vary considerably in our individual views of spirituality, ministers are accustomed to supporting parishioners in a wide range of theological belief. Whether you are a theist, atheist, humanist, pagan, Deist, nature mystic (the list continues), you find yourself in a category known only to yourself, or you keep changing your mind, the minister will welcome you.

Unitarian Universalists hold the principles as strong values and moral teachings. As Rev. Barbara Wellsten Hove explains, “The Principles are not dogma or doctrine, but rather a guide for those of us who choose to join and participate in Unitarian Universalist religious communities.”

  1. 1st Principle: The inherent worth and dignity of every person;
  2. 2nd Principle: Justice, equity and compassion in human relations;
  3. 3rd Principle: Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations;
  4. 4th Principle: A free and responsible search for truth and meaning;
  5. 5th Principle: The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large;
  6. 6th Principle: The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all;
  7. 7th Principle: Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.

From the pocket guide:

Unitarian Universalism is not attached to particular beliefs; rather it is committed to specific work– striking a balance between openness to differing viewpoints on one hand and fierce advocacy of shared ethical claims on the other.

Furthermore:

Unitarian Universalism is a non-creedal faith. Rather than a common theology, we are bound by our common history, our affirmation of each person’s spiritual quest, and the promises we make to one another about the spiritual values we uphold.

What led me to Unitarian Universalism?

My religious journey started back when I was in elementary school, and my parents took me to the local Methodist Church. Looking back, I didn’t really care too much for going – it was just more work on top of schoolwork. It was another book to read (the Bible), and worst yet, it was “permanent” consequences for making mistakes in life. Luckily, I was never tormented there (for being a closeted gay at that point), while some people had serious struggles with their church, but I wasn’t getting any kind of fulfillment from it either, except perhaps some moments volunteering in the nursery and looking after the children during worship services.

From the UU Guide:

Most people don’t question their social and religious customs. Most simply follow the conveyor belt of life.

This was where I was spiritually until the moment I put high school behind me.

As I entered college for the first time in 2006, I decided to shed my attachment to any religion, and defaulted to Agnostic. I had just enough shred of belief that there was something out there that it was an unanswerable question, so I didn’t fall neatly into the category of Atheist.

In spring 2008, I had a professor who was a UU minister (and happened to be teaching an LGBT Studies course at my school) and I noticed that several local events LGBTQ related were happening at the local UU church. I decided to start reading more about it online, and it really struck a chord with me. I liked how it wasn’t about one set book, that it took different viewpoints together, and was more like a college course on religion and spirituality itself.

In 2011, I started going to a church that was near me (In the meantime I had gotten caught up in the drama of failing out of school and moving to the north side of Milwaukee), and the more I went, the more I started to feel at home there. I related very much to the sermons, the people were very friendly, and I felt like it was a place where I could grow as a person. Not that I dealt with dogma at my childhood church, but I do tend to mentally associate dogma and anger with the halls of a church, having seen so many people use their religion as a sledgehammer on others.

Just before I came to Vermont, I started traveling to other UU Churches in the area (and one down in Missouri when I was there for a weekend), and continued to fall in love with the style and feeling. I’ve even been to the UU Church in downtown Burlington, which is the very Church that “Church Street” is named after.

My biggest challenge in actually going in to listen to sermons and connect with the community comes from my introversion. It’s difficult for me to go into a large room with around a hundred or so other people by myself and get comfortable where I am. I have a dream about meeting someone either romantically or platonically and going to sermons and getting more involved with them. Basically, It’s not something that I know I can do alone, but part of the magic of spiritual community is that friendships are made and it shouldn’t be too difficult to be a part of it.

From the guide:

The sense of awe that kindles the heart of a man when he watches the morning sun strike his bedroom wall and realizes how glad he is to be alive in that moment…

I have moments like this from time to time. This is what gets me out walking, what gets me wanting to see the world. This is what makes me want to listen to other people’s stories, and understand what makes each individual “tick.”

What are my core beliefs as a UU?

The way that I can combine almost all of the core values in the seven principles can be summed up like this:

I listen to as many different people’s life stories, learn from their experiences, and use that information to make myself a better person. From there, I use that wisdom to go out in the world and make a change for the better. 

This applies to even the people I “meet” on television. Many people out there complain about reality television, but what I do like is that it showcases real people’s life stories and experiences. I constantly tell people how I’m a blend of so-and-so and so-and-so, and I mean that. I care about others, and some individuals I meet in life have so much of an impact that I made little adjustments to the way I see life, based on what they’ve told me. Mostly for the better, but I’ve also learned some life lessons from rotten people and what they’ve experienced. At the end of the day, every person has value. Even The Doctor has said:

tumblr_ne1ieq6C4H1rtno3fo1_400

All of this is why I have the whole blog series, My Inspirations.

From the guide:

A good sermon can provoke a decision that moves a person in a whole new direction. It can lift up a portion of our lives, holding it in just such a light as to reveal facets we couldn’t easily see before. A good sermon can tug us further down the path toward a difficult forgiveness or remind us of our inestimable value as persons in a world that values little. Sermons can remind us of basic things we’ve forgotten, help us to learn and unlearn, show us how to reframe the seemingly impossible ideals so that we do not lose hope. I’ve heard sermons that have helped me question an easy faith, even wrestle with God.

I’ve had this experience a handful of times. But each time I have it, it’s incredible. It makes me yearn to hear more UU Ministers speak.

In a Unitarian Universalist congregation, anyone can write a meditation, preach a sermon, or lead a worship celebration.

I still have a long way to go as a UU. But the important thing is to keep listening to others, and keep learning.

Respectfully Submitted,

Lukas Condie

My Thoughts On: Pacifism

quote-i-am-not-only-a-pacifist-but-a-militant-pacifist-i-am-willing-to-fight-for-peace-nothing-will-end-albert-einstein-56346-e1367841095944

Pacifism: opposition to war or violence as a means of settling disputes; refusal to bear arms on moral or religious grounds; an attitude or policy of nonresistance.

That’s the Merriam-Webster dictionary definition of pacifism. There’s actually quite an extensive commentary on different specifics of the philosophy of pacifism as a whole. Urban Dictionary opens it’s definition with:

“A political or religious ideology that stresses peace over violence or war. A central tenet of many Eastern religions, and also surprisingly widespread in modern-day Europe.”

What bothers me about Urban Dictionary (since I’m almost always a huge fan) is that it closes the definition with:

“…those adhering to pacifist thought do not consider the alternatives to the war, and instead, as is typical, provide baseless or biased rhetoric as to why it is better to die like a dog than fighting on your feet.”

This particular phrasing leaves a bad taste in my mouth. The Wikipedia entry is a little more hopeful, referencing that pacifism is a common belief in many world religions, including some denominations of Christianity, Hinduism, Jainism, and many others. Broadly speaking, some form of pacifism exists in many people’s faith system.

quote-since-pacifists-have-more-freedom-of-action-in-countries-where-traces-of-democracy-survive-george-orwell-257209

What is a Pacifist?

In doing the research for this post, it’s come to my attention that the actual definition of the word pacifism and my interpretation of the word are two somewhat different things. “Mother Google” seems to be telling me that one who identifies as a pacifist is on the extreme end of non-violence and non-confrontation.

pacifists-get-conquered-e1367839469998

I just want to put it out there that this is not me. It used to be a long time ago, but I have come to a different way of thinking since then. The key change in thought here is the gravity of extreme non-violence. Opposing violence and war purely for the sake of opposing it is on the extreme end of pacifism. Let’s take the Oxford Dictionary definition of a word commonly associated with pacifism, non-confrontational:

Tending to deal with situations calmly and diplomatically; not aggressive or hostile.”

This is something closer to what I can get behind and refer to myself as. This article (you’ll need to subscribe to view the full post) from Philosophy Now really starts to hit home for me. I believe that whenever it’s possible the best course of action is to diplomatically resolve any issues between two parties. That being said, there’s a quote from one of my favorite childhood games (Amazon Trail 3rd Edition) that says another belief of mine accurately: “There are evil people in this world. You did what had to be done.” This is spoken by the Jaguar guide after your character fights against a ruthless historical figure who left much bloodshed in his wake. Having seen evil people in the present time and space myself, I fully believe that it’s not justice to let these evil people rise to leadership in the world and rule.

The Stanford Encyclopedia has more wonderful reading on the discussion of what makes up the term, pacifist. It also goes far more in-depth than I can do here on this blog post.

quote-the-pacifist-is-as-surely-a-traitor-to-his-country-and-to-humanity-as-is-the-most-brutal-wrongdoer-theodore-roosevelt-158085

To quote from Bernie Sander’s book, Outsider In The White House (Page 140):

“I am not a pacifist. I believe that there are times when when war is legitimate, when the alternative is existence under a horrendous status quo. I think those instances, however, are much rarer than most government leaders admit.”

I really like and identify with this quote.

With all of the above being said/written/presented, I’d like to point out that my views, which are based in my Unitarian Universalist principles and morals, is that the first choice in any conflict should always be peaceful negotiations. If that should fail, one should not be afraid to stand up for what is right and bear arms to defend oneself, or whatever it is that one is fighting for. For example, if someone were to break into my house brandishing a gun, I think the right choice would be to have one of my own guns to defend myself with. Again, from Bernie Sanders: “You don’t need an AK-47 or an Assault Weapon to hunt deer or protect yourself.”

I do think that trying to reason with someone who is so far over the edge of sanity that they are using violence on innocent people is not a successful path to take. It is for that reason that I identify (at least a little bit) as a pacifist, but I also plan to learn how to use a gun and own at least a single one in those times of emergency.

Respectfully Submitted,

Lukas Condie

My Thoughts On: Breakthrough Moments

itstimeforyourbreakthrough

One of the biggest things I enjoy about life is the moments we spend making ourselves better people. Sometimes these moments are small, other times they are massive. It’s the massive moments in our lives that we refer to as our “breakthroughs” and they can be very humanizing and humbling to experience.

I have gone through a series of these moments in my own life, and I look at life knowing that there are many more yet to come. On this blog, I have written about people and characters who I consider to be my inspirations, and two particular people who I’ve based much of myself on have had breakthrough moments that gave me real hope for life.

kai53

Back when I was in high school, I modeled myself greatly after Kai Hiwatari. Kai had his (first) breakthrough moment in the first season of Beyblade in Episode 45: Breaking The Ice. It was there that Kai realized that his thirst for power had corrupted him to the point where he was isolated, and the people who called him friends proved their place in his life by defeating the source of his power-lust, a.k.a. Black Dranzer.

Kai_und_sein_Black_Dranzer

Kai had an emotional breakdown on the middle of Lake Biakal in Russia, where he was defeated by his teammates-turned-friends, the Bladebreakers. Kai was so distraught by his loss of his old, power-hungry self, that he was willing to drown himself in the lake in shame. Thankfully, his friends reached out and pulled him out, saving his life. From then on, he knew to be grateful for their influence in his life.

Seeing this moment on TV lead to a moment I had in high school where I saw how important it is to have close friends who you can trust and lean on in good and bad times. Until I was 18, I considered myself a serious loner who didn’t want to have a circle of friends, but rather to be by myself – always growing and learning on my own. I had a select group of people who I considered myself to be close with, and didn’t want to expand on that. Seeing Kai open himself up to having people in his life inspired me to open my life up to having other people in it. To this day, as an introvert I still struggle with letting people in, but I have gotten much better at it.

ncod

My next breakthrough came on June 17, 2006 – the day I officially came out of the closet. I had been fighting and struggling with myself about accepting who I am, and that was the day I got the courage to speak up about what was going on. Most people who knew me before that day and after could see the enormous difference it made. I was more outgoing, I was happier, I was free. For a good year or so, it felt like a birthday, since I’ve evolved so much as a person leading back from that beginning point.

droppedImage

To quote from Jerry Renault, in the book, Beyond The Chocolate War:

“How many Archie Costellos are out there in the world? Out there. Everywhere. Waiting. A thought crept into his mind: it would be nice to avoid the world, to leave it and all it’s threats and unhappiness. Not to die or anything like that, but to find a place of solitude and solace. Nuns retreated to their convents. Priests lived in rectories, separate from other people or in monasteries. Was it possible for him to do the same?”

Breakthroughs aren’t always a happy experience, surrounded by love and friends and family. 2011 was the year of my most difficult breakthrough, and what I consider to this day to be the lowest point of my life. I had put all of my thoughts, attention, and effort into moving from UW – Parkside to the rustic city of Waupaca, Wisconsin. In particular, I fought as hard as I knew how to purchase the Red Mill of Waupaca, and live there. In the end, my efforts were in vain, and I allowed myself to fail out of college in my attempts to move to Waupaca. That dream began with the happy memories of childhood vacations, but for a long time that area (which was my very first “happy place”) was a reminder of how drastic of consequences failures can be.

40137_552152746158_3065090_n

What made that breakthrough particularly painful is that I felt alone in my experience. I was dating someone who at the time was in the process of graduating college, nearly all of my friends were graduating, and here I was, failing out. I also had no person or character on TV to turn to to feel solace with, and go through the emotions with. While my boyfriend at the time was supportive, there was a sense of isolationism that I just couldn’t handle at the time.

Some time passed, and I found a television moment on a TV show I grew to love that I connected with on that moment. On the Third Season of RuPaul’s Drag Race, contestant Yara Sofia had made it to the final four where they competed with three different looks for the “Make Dat Money” Ball. Overwhelmed with emotion after being placed in the bottom two, Yara had a total meltdown onstage, disappearing into tears and pain of defeat.

Watching that moment, my heart went out to her. I felt her emotions about losing a major dream and was able to finally process my own feelings about losing Waupaca. In the end, it goes to show that “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” which is what I took to heart from the whole experience. Life moved on.

060514-Bianca-del-Rio-by-Magnus-Hastings-cover-image

2014 was a big positive for me. I was inspired by Bianca Del Rio (whose voice I still think in!) to pick up my life and go to a place where I could be a better person. I moved out of Wisconsin to Vermont, and began to journey to go back and finish college. I continue to aspire to be as strong of a person as I see Bianca to be in my mind.


With all of this being said, the bottom line is how important it is to have breakthroughs in one’s life. I got to thinking about how major of an impact these moments have as I was listening to early episodes of the podcast, What’s The Tee? The discussion arc of this concept began with Becoming The Observer of Your Mind, continued into the episode Personal Breakthroughs, and some final thoughts were discussed on It Gets Butter.

One of my views on life is how many things are cyclical. History has a reputation of repeating itself, and I know that I have more breakthroughs coming in the next few years of my life. Turns out, I didn’t end up becoming a student at UVM – tuition was too expensive and UVM wasn’t interested in granting me in-state tuition to make life easier. But the important thing is that I learned from that experience and continue to develop a new plan for the future.

The breakthroughs I’ve had now have shaped so much of who I am and what in life I can handle, and I can only imagine the kind of growing and elevating I’ll be doing as the next years of my life come to pass.

Respectfully Submitted,

Lukas Condie

What Makes Me An Apple Enthusiast

avatar

This is a more direct and obvious aspect to me, as the above image was my primary online avatar for over a year.

I’m not going to open this one with a talk about what Apple is, because let’s be real: everyone knows what Apple, Inc. is.

My first exposure to Apple products was in 1998 during a summer computer camp called Kids Byte at Marquette University. There were brightly colored Mac Computers that we would use to design movies, and we would use Apple software to film and edit our own videos. Considering that I was in Middle School at the time, I had no idea how much Apple products would become a staple in my life a decade and a half later.

My next exposure to Apple computers and products was at my first college, where the theater majors were very Apple savvy, to the point where non-Apple things were snubbed. I had just transition my music library into iTunes, but didn’t quite realize that it was an Apple thing, since I was doing it on my Windows Laptop.

2012 & 2013 were my “conversion” years to Apple as a tech company. I refused to get an iPhone until it could hold all of the music in my library (which was about 35 GB at the time) so it took until the iPhone 4S before I tried it out. I fell in love, and transitioned to a Macbook when my old laptop’s hard disk failed, and I lost nearly everything I had saved electronically at the time.

Since changing over, I have a much better organization to my electronic life, particularly my music library. Not that I ever expect for my Macbook to fail, but if it ever does I’m far, far better prepared to handle it than when my laptop’s crash permanently destroyed 99% of everything I’ve worked on electronically up to that point.

2014 brought my getting Apple TV, which had a major impact on my Netflix viewing habits, my ability to watch the video version of David Pakman, all of my video podcasts, and thus changed my TV habits for the better. I also switched back to iPhone, having done a brief stint with a Samsung Galaxy S4 when iOS 7 came out and before I understood how to use it properly.

Another thing about how much Apple has been an influence on me: Apple’s podcast suggestions led me to discovering both David Pakman and Armin Van Buuren, both of whom I’ve written about on here.

This article gives a nice slideshow about different tech products that Apple introduced to the world that created a sea change in the tech industry.

Here and here are examples of how Apple is also working on becoming a force for positive change in the environment. While Apple is nowhere near perfect in terms of harming the environment, the fact that the company is working to leave less of a footprint on the planet is something that the environmentalist in me agrees with.

Speaking of progressive and liberal politics, it’s been discussed that using Apple products can be a sign of political leaning as well. The implied political leaning has proven to be true in my case, even though my usage of Apple products has had zero impact on my political beliefs. Instead, my political beliefs have played a very tiny role in convincing me to use Apple products.

This is a famous infographic describing a “Mac” person versus a “PC” person:

Mac Person vs. PC Person

Click on it for a larger version if you need one. Many things mentioned in the graphic resonate with me.

Respectfully Submitted,

Lukas Condie

What Makes Me A Wanderluster

wanderlust-1000x666

What is a Wanderluster?

According to Wikipedia, wanderlust is defined as what the above image says: a strong desire to travel and explore the world. In sociology, wanderlust is defined more specifically by someone who is wanting to have more cultural experiences, instead of merely wandering and traveling to relax.

The above picture leads to a wanderluster who is blogging about her life traveling the world and immersing herself in different cultures. I only just recently discovered her, but her blog is great and resonates strongly with me, since I long to experience many of the things she’s been seeing.

How am I a Wanderluster?

My wanderlust began as “sunlust” in my childhood, when I would go with my family on vacation to other states and different parts of my home state. This was more for the relaxing time spent, instead of trying to have cultural experiences. However, it planted some thoughts in my head to make me want to learn about other lives and experiences. The Red Mill of Waupaca, Wisconsin started my interest in learning about history and what came before me. Visiting relatives in South Carolina, Florida, and Washington State all showed me that there is so much in this country that exists outside of the house I was growing up in.

My next big travel opportunity came in 2008 when the Rainbow Alliance that I was a part of at my first college would travel to a regional conference in February. The MBLGTAC Conference was always held at a major university, so while on one level it was showing me different campuses that I didn’t have the passion to reach out to earlier in life, it also showed me different cultures even in the same region of the country that I had known for two decades. That conference has brought me to:

  • Champlain-Urbana, IL (2008)
  • Bloomington, IN (2009)
  • Madison, WI (2010)
  • Ann Arbor, MI (2011)
  • Ames, IA (2012)
  • East Lansing, MI (2013)
  • Kansas City, MO (2014)

The last conference I went to was close enough to Kansas that I crossed the border and very briefly got to see Topeka, KS. Each new city brought a different perspective to me about my own life, and new experiences that I wouldn’t have been able to enjoy otherwise.

One particular conference experience had me cross through the city of Gary, IN. I had first heard about this city while watching a college production of The Music Man, in which one of the songs is about the city. I had done a little bit of research before I passed through, originally getting excited over the fact that the city was a theater reference for me, but eventually it became more about the possibility of a paranormal experience, which I also have something of a passion for. The feelings I had while just driving through some neighborhoods, and the emotions that I felt while quickly taking in the abandoned downtown main street were enough of a moving experience that I’ve always wanted to go back and see the city at night.

This interest continued to build and finally culminated in my permanent move from Wisconsin to Vermont. At it’s core, Vermont is a beautiful state, with so much to see and explore in a tiny amount of space.

10418365_888357617855272_3930601462114751148_n

As I continue to live in Vermont, my interest in finding new places to see continues to build. I have a Manchester, New Hampshire trip, a Portland, Maine trip, a Hartford, Connecticut, and a Providence, Rhode Island trip all in the works, and I presume I’ll have seen all four before 2017’s end.

The most famous fictional traveler I know, The Doctor, has been the solid rock that keeps my wanderlust growing. His TARDIS (a time machine that travels in space) stood as my primary avatar as a symbol of my continued interest in wanting to go out and explore more that the world has to offer.

What places do I want to explore, and why?

I have an old, physical diary with a few pages of places I want to explore. On the first page, I’ve listed that in each “place to explore” I wanted to see:

  • A famous “attraction”
  • A theatrical production
  • A Nightclub
  • A local dining establishment
  • A local coffee shop
  • Any local, notable Snopesters that I’ve connected with

This reflects on my personal interests in addition to the broad concepts of travel for cultural sake.

Just for the sake of including it, here’s my current working “Places To Wander To” List:

  1. New York, NY (Having been here on a high school trip, I want to see this city through my more mature eyes and brain)
  2. Pittsburgh, PA (The setting for the US version of Queer As Folk)
  3. Boston, MA (So much of New England history has happened here. Also big Massachusetts place.)
  4. Portland, OR (For a while I wanted to move here.)
  5. Seattle, WA (Having seen this city when I was a child, again I want to see it though my adult eyes)
  6. Miami, FL (Having seen this city when I was a child, again I want to see it though my adult eyes)
  7. Myrtle Beach, SC (Having seen this city when I was a child, again I want to see it though my adult eyes)
  8. Houston, TX (Near the setting for one of my favorite TV series, Reba. I’m also very strongly considering moving here.)
  9. Austin, TX (Another good representation of Texas.)
  10. Los Angeles, CA
  11. San Fransisco, CA (I’m stereotyping here, but this would be something of a pilgrimage for me)
  12. Palo Alto, CA (So much of technology is born here)
  13. Laramie, WY (To physically see the town made famous by a play, which they rightfully feel doesn’t represent them)
  14. Minneapolis, MN (This is supposedly like a sister to Madison, WI)
  15. Denver, CO (Originally wanted to see this because it was “near South Park” but now there’s so much more there)
  16. Salt Lake City, UT (I feel this is the place in Utah I would enjoy the most)
  17. Phoenix, AZ (I’ve been told that Pridefest here is the best in the country)
  18. Escanaba, MI (From my love for the stage play trilogy, beginning with Escanaba in da Moonlight)
  19. Atlanta, GA (Like Salt Lake City, I feel this would be a good place to start seeing Georgia)
  20. Las Vegas, NV (One of the settings for my favorite show in high school, Beyblade)
  21. Hong Kong (Same as above)
  22. Beijing
  23. Kyoto (This is the city where some of the central characters in the Beyblade anime are based on)
  24. Tokyo (Having been so into anime culture at one point in my life, I feel this is a given)
  25. London (I went here before I was able to immerse myself in so many British things. I want to go back, but as a Whovian)
  26. Paris (In addiction to being more aware of French culture nowadays, this was also a brief setting for Beyblade)
  27. Rome (Having worked for a self-proclaimed Italian restaurant, and this being a brief setting for Beyblade)
  28. Berlin (Both a few episodes of Beyblade, and my absolute favorite stage musical, Cabaret took place here)
  29. Moscow (One of the best Beyblade story arcs took place here)
  30. Mongolia
  31. The Amazon Rainforest (I was obsessed with the game Amazon Trail for nearly a whole decade, this is another given)
  32. Czech Republic (As part of my own heritage, I want to see this country)
  33. Copenhagen, Denmark (Also part of my heritage, if I ever decide to emigrate from the US, this would be at the top of my list of choices)
  34. Scotland (Another valued part of my heritage)
  35. Ibiza, Spain (One of the hottest Nightclub spots in the world)

Added In December 2016: Now that I’ve been working in the hotel industry for two major hotel chains and multiple properties, I can say that working in hotels has taught me the skills and given me the tools to make traveling easier and more accessible to me. The “industry” likes to refer to itself as “hospitality” but I prefer to think of the term, “Travel Industry.”

Respectfully Submitted,

Lukas Condie