The Arcology Garden

The International Trip


A User Story for the Arcology as part of a series called Towards Convergence and a Respectful Future. A Hypergoal in the most ideal sense. broad, emotional, and subject to evolve as I grow.

It's Saturday afternoon, and I've just finished my lunch. Nothing special, rice, beans and a beautiful tea. The afternoon sun is flowing in to my tea room, warming my flesh and my heart as I wash my gaiwan. This time tomorrow I will be in Japan, spending three weeks traveling from Tokyo, north to Hokkaido, and then down to Kyoto and Osaka to visit my favorite Tea farm. It's been three years since I've been to Japan, and I cannot wait.

I'm traveling light. One bag, 25 liters, no laptop. My phone and a 7 inch tablet with a stylus but no keyboard. This is the first time in years I've traveled without my laptop. It's been indispensable to me, the epicenter of my external stimuli, the interface to my external memory and reasoning. But the Arcology is feature-complete, for the time being, and capable of filling the spaces that I need filled, and capable of doing so on my tablet and phone without a live internet connection.

It's time, however, to get ready for this trip, so I pull up the project page for the flight, an index of all the things which are important for this trip, and I start going through it, item by item. My boarding pass is on my device, I am checked in to my flight and my seats were selected months ago. My bag is packed to specification, the packing list from my previous international travels is perfected down to a handful of things which need to be moved from their usual location to my travel bag. Weather is accounted for, this time we've added a wool under-layer since it's abnormally cold in Hokkaido. We're ready to go.

Sunday morning, I'm at the airport and I hate it. Traveling is still stressful to me, especially international travel. The quality of life in an airport is pretty tough still – the facial scanners everywhere measure your resting bitch face these days, and if you're frustrated enough and masculine enough some burly men will ask you to come in to a room with them and ask you where you're flying. But those parts haven't been under my control, flying changed when I was a child. The things under my control are under my control, and the rest will wash out. Security is a disaster, though, I've been in line for an hour now but I still have plenty of time to get to my gate. My phone and tablet both have a copy of my boarding pass, as well as information about my flight, and my directions when I land, all informed by my previous preparation and catalog work. At Narita, there is a shop which will accept my SIM card voucher, one of the few left that have travel SIMs which allow VPN connections.

In the meantime, though, I'm at my gate, and I've hopped my tablet on to the airport's free WiFi. My flight starts boarding in 20 minutes, which is just enough time to make sure that my feeds and my media are synced to the device. It's a long flight, and there's a few lectures and conference talks I'd like to watch and take some notes on. My tablet and phone are each running a fully reified Arcology node, syncing their state with the nodes at home and on my racked host via a VPN network running on all of these devices as well as a "local" VPN node I set up with a VPS provider in Japan for this trip. And so as long as they have a network connection, they have a tunnel home to my server, and they can federate with each other over LAN connections in my host housing and the hostels I'll be staying in.

The nice thing about a 7 inch tablet is that you don't have to store it under your seat during take-off. And so I run through my feeds. 800 unread items in total, though much of it will be re-hashes of today's developing political scandal, and speculation about yet another industrial data breach. And so I blaze through it pretty fast, down to 150 items at 15000 feet.

Some of these are worth sharing, correlations and connections flow through some of these blog posts and news items, and I weld them together with a bit of my thinking on the subject. The Arcology asks me for some tags, I say "publish to web" and "lazy musings", among the more particular tags, some implied by the system. Some of these are loose threads, and pieces of software that I am interested in. There is a new Elixir library for a federated data-store, and that is filed away in to my archive along with the others, tagged "Elixir" and "followup", with a followup scheduled for the next time I am idle on a device with a keyboard and a compiler.

It's 19:00 local time, I'm in Japan. The talks I'd saved to my device where interesting but not compelling, I spent a fair bit of time simply listening to music and reading a book on my tablet. But now I'm at the airport, and I have that blasted SIM card, so my phone and tablet both sync back to the Arcology back home. The musings are published to my site, syndicated out to Twitter and the Fediverse, and sent via Email to a number of folks who simply want to know what's going on in my head and my travels. My phone has a few items in its inbox, some messages from my family telling me to enjoy the trip, responding to these is quick and easy, though it's quite late back home now. They'll see them later, along with some photos of Tokyo's night skylines.

I've been in Tokyo for three days now, and have had a blast. Tokyo is still overwhelming, though, and I'm glad to be hopping on to the Shinkansen towards Hokkaido. Sharing photos from my mobile's camera is straightforward, they go through the same pipeline as my article shares, of course. My phone uploads the photos to a shared consistent store, and notifies the Arcology back home about it, along with a note that is attached to the image, the note published to the web with the images attached, emailed to family once a day.

My trip is largely un-planned. I have a pile of geo-tagged entries and loose threads, things to do and places to go. There are some items that have dates and times attached, my housing bookings, a few weekly events, and an endurance race at Suzuka next weekend, that I use to guide my trip.

Each morning, my start page contains the events that I had on my list of possibilities, and those I had scheduled that day, and I am confident that I will get a push notification from my phone in time to get there on the train.

On my third day in Kyoto, I ask my phone what's nearby and it points out a tea house whose owner I met at Northwest Tea Fest last year. With the notes from our previous conversation re-freshed in my head, along with a recommendation for a particularly beautiful kabusecha, I step in to the shop and greet the owner with a smile and a bow. It was a great trip.