Travel Insights - Completing the Square

I believe that Completing the Square is one of the great travel insights. It comes from the problems of Mathematics in dealing with a real world.

Warning: This travel insights section is a bit over the top with Math Theories (including Physics) that might or might not "explain the universe..." Being a deep thinker and an incurable engineer, I decided to include these ideas and their problems once and be done with it. If you are uncomfortable with such heavy-duty philosophies than skip this and go on to a more useful page on my website.

But if you want to share a Moroccan sunset with a want-to-be dreamer, than this is your section.

This might sound strange, but travel has a lot to do with Mathematics. From the concept of time zones, to currency exchanges, to the flight dynamics of a modern jet airline, to the bargaining for that special gift found in a Moroccan market stall, travel is filled with numbers.

These numbers aren't only very useful, but they have "feelings." Really, follow me on this.

A friend once asked me what the mathematical discipline of Calculus was. I thought about it and replied that it was the feelings of nature. When nature acts, it must produce changes to its environment to make things happen. The better it does this, the better it works. How is does it, is everything.

Bird in Flight.

As a bird flies, it must use its wings to direct this motion against the wind in certain ways to move forward. It feels its way through the air with the way its body is constructed and used. It decides, adjusts, feels, and flies, repeating this over and over.

I believe that nature and its animals and plants can make decisions, take actions, and feel the results of those actions. To fly right, birds must obey the ways of calculus and air dynamics in order to survive.

Mathematics in the form of calculus is the nuts and bolts way of the body does things and feels things.

You make a decision in your brain, send of a nerve signal, a muscle moves, you sense the muscle movement, a nerve returns the signal, your brain interprets, you feel the movement.

A miracle of everyday life. A miracle in every way. All with certain ways that I believe to be partially or fully governed by Mathematics in some way or another.

In other words, Mathematics governs the movement of the universe; it's one of the great travel insights.

But Mathematics has its problems.

Mathematicians tried to figure out this Mathematics and did a pretty good job of it. But they ran into what I call the "God factor." Yes, almost all can be explained by math and science after the fact. But almost nothing can be completely controlled and determined by math or laws of nature in course of everyday life. There is a randomness and a probability that cannot be ignored.

These problems (two of them, see below) I call Mathematical kinks, and much can be learned from these travel insights. The real world has flaws and these flaws are good. If these "problems" weren't there in Mathematics, neither would we be here. This is Stephen Hawking's latest discovery as described in A Brief History of Time which includes a few travel insights : The universe is the way it is (Mathematics, travel, and everything else), because it is the only place that we can find ourselves in. Any change in the way the world works and we, along with all world history, would not exist.

Do these mathematics kinks give any travel insights?

Yes. Nothing is exactly the same, close but different. Croatia is different from Brazil, which is different from China. The French have a phrase for it, "Vivé la Difference!"

I say "Hooray!" for the similarities and differences in the world we see and live in. So relax and enjoy the complicated, fascinating way the world is.

What exactly are the two Mathematic problems (kinks) that Mathematics geniuses can't solve?

  1. Everything is relative to its position and speed changes in relation to anything else. This is Einstein's Law of Relativity in a nut shell. Heisenberg Principle adds one more thing to this: One can't even measure anything without affecting the results.

    Everything is more complicated, convoluted, unpredictable and, therefore, problematic than ever imagined.

    Smell the Roses.

    Does it give any travel insights?

    It means slow down and smell the roses.

    No matter how fast you scoot around visiting stuff, you NEVER will get it all. AND you will change (ruin) your trip by over traveling and doing too much. You will not have that extra wonderful sunset because you are carrying your oversized bag to your next destination. You will miss meeting the locals. Quiet time for reflection, gone.

    Too much is too much.

    Einstein's Travel Law of Relativity: Slow down and enjoy... You'll miss less and gain more.

  2. The second problem of mathematics is trickier to explain. I call it "You can never Complete the Square in exactly the same way." There always have to be minute differences on the final place you end up. (Non-Euclidean math for you math geeks.)

Square Figure Drawing with Completing the Square

Mathematics explains it like this: If you go around the sides of the square in exactly the same length at exactly 90 degrees turns, you will not return to the exact spot you started from. Errors get in the way due to relativity (curvature of space-time) and the randomness of life (quantum mechanics.)

Better stated: You can't do anything exactly the same way twice. There is always something that changes.

It's not only relative, it's always different. To me, this allows life to live, a.k.a. the "God Factor." We can make mistakes and get to correct them. We get to live our lives.

Does it give any travel insights?

Again, it means slow down and smell the roses.

Differences are not only good; it's what happens to a life that's lived. So, slow down and enjoy life.

I keep my eyes open for changes in the world and myself. At times, I choose to follow those changes and select another path for a better trip.

Sometimes I follow streets and get lost, just to get lost. I feel the travel location, the differences, and the problems. I use all my senses.

I love this kind of travel.

Sometimes I ask open questions or just plain sit down and listen to what's happening around me. I never know where I'll end up.

It's one of the great travel insights.

Here is a quick list of Travel Secrets I found out about on my trips. I hope it helps you in your search for better travel:

Go to the Page on My Way to Travel

Slowing Down

Nervous about travel?

Travel is Scary

Learn to Like Yourself as You Are

Time Slows Down when Traveling

Retirement Plans

KISS - Keep It Simple Stupid

Being Stupid

The Power of the Open Question

Ask the Unbusy Police Officer

Ask the Locals - They know

Listening - An Important Skill in Travel

Contrast the Old and the New

Some Unusual Travel Insights

Be a Good Guest

Take a Walk - Relax - Enjoy Good Travel

Get Lost on a Bus - I Dare You

Change Course - Follow Someone Else's Idea of a Good Trip

Good Exercise is a Travel Bonus


Interacting with Children in a Foreign Land

Treatment of Americans Abroad


After All - It's Your Vacation

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