1) Your problem will be there for a few days but will most likely be forgotten in weeks.
2) Bring a notebook, write your journeys in detail. The food you eat, the tea you drink.
3) Observe local culture.
4) Take a lot of pictures.
Basically, try to forget your day job.
If you travel, I'd suggest you to go to Asia (Japan, Korea, China, India, and SE. Asia countries such as Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia). Go to a place with rich culture. Spend a few weeks or even months there.
Those pictures and stories would hopefully make you feel better on your gloomy days.
I've been living in North America for almost 10 years (in particular Vancouver) and the cities get boring quickly. Lack of personality and culture. Asia is completely different; more vibrant.
More importantly: change your perspective on how to live life.
I grew up in Asia (up until my high school year). Back then, my generation were influenced heavily by western culture: basketball, hip-hop, R&B, rap, pop, boy-band, baseball, pizza, steaks, computers.
Many of my friends went to study abroad (mostly US and UK) and hope to settle as long as they can like my uncle and aunt who had done the same thing 20 years ago.
About 2 years ago, I saw a change in tide where most of my friends (or friends of friends) were going back home. Most of them prefer to go back home because they would get a better job, which is normal for western educated young worker.
I went back home twice since 2009 and traveled in SE Asia a bit. I see why people wanted to go back: it's not just the job, it's the culture, the networks, friends, family. The whole package.
It's easy to "connect" with people who have big businesses there. Often you meet them in odd places like noodle shops, outdoor markets, food courts.
Night life is definitely better. By night-life I mean strolling down the Clarke Quay in Singapore, eat dinner outside style food court in Jakarta, or wandering around Ginza in Tokyo, enjoy Seafood in Jimbaran (Bali) mostly with your husband/wife and kids. Not necessarily means clubbing or bar. Thus better here is relative.
After a while, the fried chicken and the filet mignon became dry and tasteless to my wife and I. We've decided to pursue ways to go back to Asia starting this year. We'll see if we can go back there soon enough before our retirement (plan was to go back to retire).
I also (same book lineup as you and 4 hour week, Godin stuff, those other bad books from Gladwell, yes all of them, I still like Black Swan) came to the conclusion those hype cycle blogosphere books are not for me and only distract.
They do indeed. Funny though, I was cleaning up my bookshelves 2 days ago and I stumbled upon old books "Software Engineering in UNIX/C Environment" (1991)[Honest: I copied the book from my university library before I graduated a few years ago] and "The Greatest Secret in the World" (1997).
I browsed found interesting information. For example: SE in UNIX/C Env book mentioned Unit, System, Integration, and Acceptance Testing. Just like those Agilist/Scrum books are doing these days.
Og Mandino book is sort of self-help book that seems a combination of a few recent self-help books.
They're both thin and easy to read. I suppose I would believe reviews about old books than newer books from now on.
There's not enough detail of what kind of "gold platting" the author had done. Now I'm not an expert on "architectures" or "patterns" and my view is just a personal observation when I glanced over HN, slideshare.net, and InfoQ to some extend.
Often I saw 2 types of architectures:
The System-Level type of architecture usually shows up in companies (or person that does the explanation) where the tools being used are UNIX-y: python, ruby, rails, django, apache, nginx, mysql, linux/command-line, syslog, etc. These people/companies tend to adopt a strong "pipe"-like architecture.
The mindset here is to write a program/application that does one thing really well.
The Component-Level type of architecture usually shows up in places where there's a strong OOP/Java/.NET culture. Often, this is the place where many people try to write the best damn code possible. You'll see some sort of "ManagerXYZ.java" or "XYZService.java" or "PolicyXYZ.java" or "XYZProvider.java". The Component-Level type of architecture tends to link many components tightly together and somehow each Component acts as if it is a "mini-API".
The mindset here is to write a library/component/class that does one thing really well.
Which one that the author chose?
Now when ugly code happens. Well.. I'd like to stay away from flame-war and all that stuff so I suppose you'd have to make your own judgement which way is better: System-level or Component-level.
It's going to be strange to live in a world where there is no longer a double-digit percentage of poor people. There may still be pockets of poor in areas at war or under very dysfunctional regimes. But poor continents or regions will be things of the past. It's so incredibly different from anything that has happened before in all of recorded history.
That depends on whom you asked. From my perspective the world was a better place in the past but that's my personal opinions.
Has India become a better country because of all the offshoring? Their GDP might increase, but what about their quality of life? What about those overwork IT workers?
There are 2 things I learned in life so far:
1) There's this thing called "balance".
One gives, the other receives. One gets something, the other lose something. Addition, subtraction.
2) Money is the root of all evil.
I've never perceived that money can make the world a better place. In 1998, money nearly destroys Asia. In 2008, money hurts western countries.
US residents probably have more money than the other countries. But at the same time, check out the obesity level of US residents. Check out how many trash US produces. Why do you think people are buzzing over "green" thing.
If you have more money, you will want more of everything. The end result of this cycle hasn't been good so far.
As of today, the world has more problems than it was. Eliminate one, then two or more problems will arise.
>>As of today, the world has more problems than it was. Eliminate one, then two or more problems will arise.
For my information, how would you describe someone that has a total lack of sense of size of problems?! Someone that confuses losing money on a stock market crash -- with seeing your loved ones die young from treatable diseases?
(And I'm not arguing everything is better than it used to be.)