Over the years, I have been able to visit quite a few countries around the world. In many countries, I arrived by bicycle, train or bus and left as well. For example, Mongolia, we entered from Russia by train and left through the south-end towards China. Some borders, however, are more difficult to cross. Kyrgyzstan, we entered by bicycle across Kyzyl mountain pass into "Noman's Land", which stretches a good 10km. 

I painted the world in red for those countries that I visited for at least 1 day.


Travelling experiences have been truly exhilarating and looking back on those experiences brings great joy. Experiences - rather than buying stuff - seems to be the rage recently, summarized in Doing makes you happier. So, I came across some well-read articles by Thomas Gilovich (Cornell) on heuristics. One article on Heuristics and Biases (2002) summarizes some of these sentiments. A more recent publication in Journal of Consumer Psychology (2014), A wonderful life: experiential consumption and the pursuit of happiness, shows that it may be even more important during the younger years (21-54), much more so than during retirement, see Figure 1 of article, and below.

It also discusses the "letting go of comparison". Another important question is how bad purchases and bad experiences affect the equation. In my experience, bad experiences are usually forgotten, see Silk Road Race.

Having bicycled part of M41 of the Silk Road through Tadjikistan and Badakhshan, ending in Kyrgyzstan, I know the beauty of Central Asia. It's wonderful to bike there, so the Silk Road Mountain Race has great routes through that part of the country, plus Kyrgyzstan, the visa is easier, as well as flights in and out, since Tajikistan does (did) not have EU approved runways at the time, flying in was difficult.

Machine learning can be useful for data analysis, so I have gotten more familiar with a few techniques using mostly online books and tutorials. Here is a another list of online machine learning tutorials