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Europe, Life & Travel: v2014

It is close to two years now since my last Europe update, and with good reason. In 2008-2010, I was but a visitor in Europe, extending the frontiers of my little map petit à petit, but 2012-2014 has seen me live here like a local. Little reason hence to travel with the express purpose of visiting new countries for its own sake, and more of following my particular inclinations over time.

The one addition to the map since then has been Scotland, traversed from Edinburg to the Highlands to the Isle of Skye, and then by bus, ferry and train to Glasgow and back to Edinburg in April 2013. I have since gone back to countries that were already red, Amsterdam with the parents (a very different experience from the previous time), pretty little Saint-Malo in Normandie (of rain, galettes, and crepes fame), and Napoli (where one partook of five pizzas in five days the week before a half-marathon). Desireable destinations remain aplenty, but meanwhile life's evolving in its own way, which means travel is no longer a priority in itself.

In late 2011, just a few days after getting into Sciences Po, I fancied myself "a traveling economist, philosopher, and hedonist". I was very fortunate to be able to shift geographies and go back in time, back to school in a great program with some very smart and really nice kids. Over these last two years, through extremely geeky courses and considerable academic pressures, I've (re)discovered a few things about who I am and what I'd like to become. I no longer want to become an economist though: I rather think of myself as a (traveling) engineer, philosopher and hedonist.

Let me explain. Economists are the mathematicians of the world of the social sciences (including among others, sociology and psychology), and use an immense amount of formal modeling to describe the world and to prescribe good public policy. Both are desireable and worthy goals, and economists have made great advances in modeling an inherently un-model-ably complex human world (unlike physical systems which follow more precise laws of nature). Studying economics has increased my understanding of society and life, not least from courses in behavioural economics and game theory (and from one on matching markets, which yielded multiple epiphanies).

But given how rigorous and demanding academic economics is, I would rather use all the math, programming, modeling and general geekery to create something new, instead of merely explaining the world. Ergo, the engineer. It's been a long time since I could call myself an engineer, but I've seen in the last few months that there's enough there to fall back upon. Thus, it's with some excitement that I start 2014-15. I call it the second step in the journey of a thousand miles :).

That's all for the moment then. Until the next time, a la prochaine!

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Hello again!

It is nice to catch up on your life so far. If you do visit the US any time soon, you are welcome to stay at my place at San Francisco. Lots of gray in this part of the world! –Adarsh

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