Not Reading Minds and Having Fun

What Am I Doing Here? Having Fun and Not Reading Minds

02 Jan 2013
Sefrou, Morocco

It’s funny, as you get older and time passes, you notice things that would have escaped you before. Yesterday, I watched a group of very full of themselves teenage boys walking down the street with two Moroccan girls both obviously enjoying the attention of the guys. Suddenly, one of the boys (they were all about 13 or 14 I think) ran and leap-frogged over a bench. That wasn’t the part that was funny though.

The part that was funny was the look on his face as he looked back at the girls and his friends. He was looking for approval – I could see it on his face. His first look was sort of ‘Look what I did! Isn’t that cool? Aren’t I cool?’ About what you’d expect from a kid that age.

Not Reading Minds and Having FunThe reaction was great though. The boys all looked like they wanted to cheer him on or try it themselves but then, every one of them looked at the girls to see what they’re reaction was. The girls pretended to have not seen it at all for some reason and so, that’s what all the guys did too. And then, the leap-frogger got a blank look on his face and he pretended it never happened too. And I’m guessing that was the end of leap-frogging for those particular boys.

Man. It was totally sad. It bummed me out for a little while. Childhood ended right there. Doing things spontaneously, having fun, not being constrained by what others think.

I was that 14 year old kid once and then (to some extent albeit less than some others I know) I stopped having fun and became controlled by what I thought that others might be thinking about what had just been fun for me.  Let me emphasize that -

I stopped having fun and became controlled by what I thought that others might be thinking about what had just been fun for me!

How stupid is that? I’m not a mind reader. I had no idea what they were thinking just like that boy didn’t know what his friends were thinking and his friends didn’t know what those girls were thinking. The girls might have been thinking “That looks so fun. I love that guy because he is having so much fun!” Or they might have been thinking about exams or dresses or exercise.  The thing is nobody read their minds.

Those guys, they thought the girls might be thinking “That guy is a child.”  Or a clown, or a little kid, or foolish, or something negative.  Then that kid thought “My friends think I’m not cool for doing that” or something similar.  And the end result – THE FUN STOPPED!

All because of people pretending to be mind readers.  I repeat. I’ve been that kid and guess what – 27 years later, I realize that it’s actually more fun to leap-frog like a madman, to dance like a maniac, or to do other things that are fun for me and if someone thinks I’m an idiot, a fool, a child, a bad person, or whatever they might want to think – THAT’S NONE OF MY BUSINESS! 

In a big way, it’s that which has kept me from making more videos, taking more great travel photos or great street photography, and especially here in rural Morocco where everyone is very up in everyone else’s business – it’s even kept me from wandering around, making friends, or having fun. I’m not Moroccan, but my wife and her family are and I can tell you that nobody worries about what other people think more than they do…It’s a culture that is so rooted in and buried in what they call hshuma that it’s very easy to stop living life the way you want to.

We bought a great child backpack for our daughter, but my wife still ties the baby on her back because as she says “People look at me like I’m from another planet when I wear that” – never mind that it’s more comfortable for both of them, more fun, and more practical (because it also has pockets for diapers, milk, and things). So the backpack sits there until I use it and then we argue over why I don’t want to use the baby carriage instead. It’s all so incredibly silly because it’s all based on pretending to be mind readers and thinking that what other people think is your business.

It’s not. What you think is none of my business and if I could read minds it would be criminal to do so. It’s not my business. My business is having fun and enjoying life. My business is having fun with my daughter and teaching her how to enjoy life. My business is getting my family out of Morocco so my wife can stop being a mind reader (because I’m sure she can’t read American minds based on my own American mind.)

My business is to have fun. And that’s what I’m doing. I think I’m going to leapfrog something tomorrow when I’m out walking with my wife. I can’t wait to hear her scold me for it. :)

Chelsea Thames Sunset

Sun on the Thames from a Houseboat in Chelsea – Photo of the Day

Chelsea Thames Sunset

Sun on the Thames from a Houseboat in Chelsea.

I was very fortunate (as I often am) to be able to spend some time on a houseboat while I was in London in 2012.

My friend Julian lives on this houseboat at Chelsea and when I came back home the first day, I was simply entranced by the fact that I was suddenly living on the Thames river, literally on it.

Watching the ferry traffic go by, watching the cars cross Chelsea bridge and watching the gulls swoop down to the water of London’s famous waterway. This photo reminds me of how fortunate I am.

I’m very happy with my life and looking forward to what is coming.

have fun with vagobond

What to expect from Vagobond in 2013?

have fun with vagobond
Vagobond makes travel more fun.

Before we move into Vagobond’s regular content and features, I want to take a moment while the New Year is extremely fresh to let you know what to expect from Vagobond in 2013.

It’s hard to believe we passed the Mayan Apocalypse and into a new era over the past few weeks. Over the past year, we’ve done so much and shared so much with you.  Personally, 2012 was one of the longest years of my life. They say that the years pass more quickly as you get older, but for me, that seems to not be happening. I think it’s because I pack so much fun into this one life.

The Mission of Vagobond in 2013 is to bring more fun to your travel and your life. Here’s what you can expect to see…

*Go Vagobond. I am very pleased to have revived our monthly newsletter. Expect to get an email from me once a month with something special in it. I’m not sure what that will be, but it could very well be a pony. If you haven’t signed up yet you can sign up in the sidebar or at this link.

* More video about travel, more video about culture, more video about art. I can’t promise that the video will be life changing or even well edited, but I’ll do my best.

Glamouous Travel
Vagobond is Glamorous

* More incredible travel photography. I can say that because Dave Stamboulis’ will continue to publish his photo essays every Monday afternoon. See the World Through a Photographer’s Lens. The rest of us will continue to share our photos too.

*Photo of the day. I’m going to begin sharing a new photo with a short description each afternoon.

*Amazing writers will continue to share their amazing words with our amazing readers …. (see what I did there…?)

Vagobond Foodie Fun
Food is Fun with Vagobond

*Travel quote of the week. This may seem silly, but I often come across travel quotes that inspire me, not just in travel, but in life. Each Sunday, I’ll share a new one with you.

*Travel Tools - each Tuesday, I’ll share a travel resource, website, or piece of gear that has the potential to improve your travel and maybe even your life.

*Amazing Vagabonds – in 2012, the Saturday feature was called Extraordinary Vagabonds. We looked at great travelers from throughout the ages. This year it will be Amazing Vagabonds each Saturday.

Luxury Travel
Vagobond makes travel fun for everyone – even Cary Grant.

*What am I doing here? While I don’t expect to range as far or have as many adventures this year as I did in 2012, I will continue to write my weekly Wednesday column.  I’ll try to be focused, but I’m not sure on exactly what. :)

*Foodie Adventures. In 2013 I want to introduce you to more great foods, extraordinary ingredients, and regional cuisines. Plus,  we will keep letting you know about fantastic restaurants, chefs, and foodie experiences.

*Vagobond Travel Museum will return on Fridays with a focus on looking at some of the many adventures and stories that we’ve shared with you in the past. Like old issues of National Geographic, Vagobond is worth digging into.

*Travel Deals. While I won’t create a weekly or daily feature for this, you will find the best deals that cross my desk in the sidebar of every story on Vagobond.

*Vagobond Hotel Planner. I will continue to develop and work on the hotel planning too.  Here’s the best recommendation I can give – when I’m looking for a hotel, it’s what I use. This is also in the sidebar or at

Vagobond in 2013 Down and Out
Down and Out Travel with Vagobond

*More offbeat travel stories. While we’re still going to provide you with solid destination advice, museum tips, and city guides – we will be searching far and wide to find you things to do that are more fun, more weird, more unexpected. 

*More quirky luxury and more glamorous adventures.  While I will always love a good hitchhiking tale or an amazing budget travel tip – the truth is, it’s more fun to dream about a private jet, a private island, and a private yacht, right?

*Down and Out Travel…how to hop a freight train and eat your way through the dumpsters of North America…because sometimes it’s fun to go to extremes.

Whew! That’s a lot. Happy 2013 everyone. Go Vagobond!


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