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Connecting the dots

7 March 2020

“you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future” -Steve Jobs [1]

When I look at my life now, and look back at who I was, doing what I do now almost feels inevitable.

I long had an interest in travelling. I wanted to get to know other parts of the world. This reflected itself in the movies I liked: My favorites were the James Bond and Jason Bourne series. Those guys went everywhere, and adapted themselves to any environment they found themselves in. I especially loved Jason Bourne’s ability to adapt. I found it so cool how he could find himself in a random city in the world, with CIA-trained assassins looking to kill him, and with nothing more than his wits and whatever happened to be in his surroundings at the time, escape to see another day.

In terms of video games, I liked Assassin’s Creed and Splinter Cell, for similar reasons. I was also into food shows that combined cooking and travelling. I have distinct memories of watching Made in Spain with José Andrés on PBS late at night, where I learned about the culture and culinary traditions of Spain.

I knew Spanish long before coming to Chile. I went to an immersion elementary school, where classes were taught in English and Spanish, so I was exposed to the language from a young age. I didn’t practice it more than I had to to pass my classes, but the basics were drilled into my head early enough, so I never really forgot them. They just went dormant. Going to South America, and hearing Spanish all around me, and having to communicate in Spanish, brought it back.

Skateboarding was my outlet. It’s what I loved to do most. I liked the rebellion associated with it: doing something not-quite-totally accepted by society. I liked the creative aspect of it, and how it was creative in a different way. When you skateboard your creative expression is out in public, for all to see. I liked how it forced you to find new ways to interact with your environment. Skateboarding in the city was the best: skating in Washington, DC was like going into a giant playground. I still have that creative itch to express myself using my surroundings. It’s what got me into photography. Walking around and taking photos of whatever looks interesting to me pushes the same creative buttons as skateboarding.

Connecting the dots is a fascinating exercise. Look at your own life and see the results. Of course, it only works backwards, because we don’t know what the future holds. It’ll be interesting to see how I can connect the dots from me five, ten, fifteen years down the line to who I am now.


[1] Stanford University. (2017, June 12). Text of Steve Jobs’ Commencement address (2005). Retrieved from https://news.stanford.edu/2005/06/14/jobs-061505/