Thoughts From Places

Lots of thoughts, from lots of places.


Thoughts From Germany


Here is my VidCon Thoughts From Places video. I had one of the best times of my life at VidCon despite the negatives. I can’t wait till next year.


"Scarecrows & Nostalgia: Thoughts from My Hometown"

This "Thoughts from Places" video was my first vlog ever, and I still think it’s one of my best. I was really struggling with various things after moving back to my hometown as an adult (specifically: how it much it didn’t feel like “home” anymore). So I made this video to try to make sense of it all.

The night I published the video, John retweeted it and called it “very very good.” I’d been a fan of his for years, and it was the first time we’d interacted. During that tough period in my life, it meant the world to me.

(Life is weird and beautiful, sometimes.)

- Mike


Thoughts from Places: K.I. Sawyer Air Force Base


Naming Babies: Thoughts from Rural Ethiopia

In which John Green visits rural health care centers in Ethiopia with Bill Gates and Gates Foundation CEO Sue Desmond-Hellman and learns about how Ethiopians are working to improve health outcomes with minimal resources. 

The Gates Foundation:

The Last 10K Project, which works to improve health care in rural Ethiopia:


Thoughts from places! Keuka lake, New York.
I always love being at the lake house. Now it’s a familiar place, after being here for the third time. I realized how it’s almost surprising - last year today would have been my first day of orientation. I was just getting to school, I can trace the whole week with these phantom events and exact memories of what I was doing when.
It’s interesting, then, that I’m ending up on that same day with old friends from high school and a place I’ve been. As much as starting college was a new chapter of my life, it was not a complete departure from this old one, though at times it seemed that it was going to be. Also, a note about how people process memory differently. I had a conversation with a friend about this - sometimes I remember more about details from his life in the past few years than he does. Part of that might have to do with the relative importance of these things from each of our perspectives, but plenty probably has to do with simply how we process memory.
Anyway, if this is going to be a thoughts from places it should probably actually have something to do with the place I’m visiting. The lake is beautiful, and I love being right here and the lake house is a lovely little place. As we’re driving in, I can’t help but wonder about the way the lake is sort of exploited - every little section of the shore is parced up and built on. Most are little properties - lake houses like this one. There’s nothing necessarily wrong with it, it’s just very… Inhabited. People go by on motorboats every so often. I can’t help but imagine what it would have been like 50 or 100 years ago, completely undeveloped and probably practically unknown to people. Anyway, it would be nice to simply enjoy being here without analyzing the downfalls of society. But what else is thoughts from places, so… I tried.


New video! Me bumbling around a Chicago airport giving thinky-thoughts.



Yesterday I visited for the first time the Père-Lachaise cemetery and going through its paths I had a couple of reflections (guess what kind of place makes you think about the temporary existence we all share…).

I have to say it didn’t strike me in the same way that most cemeteries do, by this I mean that I felt that most of the time I was in a museum rather that in a graveyard. It was odd… It made me wonder… why people came here? why did I came here in the first place? to pay respect to someone who I never knew but had an influence in my life? to cross it from the list of places to go to in Paris? To take a selfie with Oscar Wilde’s grave? Not really…

After thinking about it for a while I figured out that none of them corresponded to the reason I had… I went there to somehow being able to see with my own eyes that they were just like me, just mortals. Beings that no matter how talented and brilliant, shared the same physical destiny that any of us…

This of course brought to my mind another pack of philosophical questions about our role in the universe…and God knows there’s not enough space in a tumblr post for that.


Thoughts from Places: Cancún

August 7, 2014 - Metepec, Mexico

Last Saturday, August 2, I traveled to Cancún for the first time in my life. My expectations were reasonable: I sought after warm weather, kind people, and lots of sunshine and green spaces. I found them all. 

However, something bugged me. Cancún is a fairly new city having been created in 1970. It was designed to be a tourist attraction and it has lived up to its potential. So much so, that Cancún International Airport is the second largest airport in Mexico in terms of air traffic, the first being Benito Juarez International (Mexico City). And I learned all this after on my way back.

Being part-Mexican, I expected Cancún to have its own history, traditions, people, and culture. Boy, was I wrong. Cancún is too young for any of these things. I made the mistake of imagining the city to be similar to Acapulco. It definitely is not. 

Cancún represents an unusual creation. It is designed to allure international tourists to a beautiful and exotic locale as well as inundating them with shrill, cold stereotypes of Mexican culture. By all means, Cancún is both the most and the least Mexican place on Earth.

Mexican food (tacos, cochinita pibil, enchiladas, chilaquiles), drinks (tequila, mezcal), music (ranchera), and even clothing are all present in Cancún. The problem is that they reek of in-authenticity. However, the tourists don’t seem to mind. They revel in delight of these one-dimensional Mexicanisms as they explore Mayan ruins, sunbathe on the beach, and dance in the clubs. 

Visiting Cancún is a wonderful idea and I highly recommend it. But it is by no means an accurate representation of Mexico. Hell, it’s barely a representation of Mexico at all. Cancún tries desperately to offer an experience that embodies Mexico and fails spectacularly. The omnipresent, somehow ominous, fluency in English throughout the city really nails the coffin shut.

As a hotel employee told me, “No one is from Cancún”. And it makes total sense. Again, the city is too young. The first generation of Cancunenses are only starting to blossom. But it’s not enough. Cancún is beautiful. It really is. But it is not Mexico. 

Cancún has no culture of its own. It has no music of its own. It has no traditions of its own. Cancún is an isolated chamber of Mexicanisms coming together to create a fictional, unilateral representation of Mexico. it is both beautiful and disturbing.

I want to go back. There are so many things I have to do in Cancún. So many adventures to have and more stories to tell. But next time, I’ll go with a clean conscience, fully anticipating the reality of its existence. 

Cancún just is. It does not think. It does not grow. It does not love. It does not breathe. Cancún without its hotels, clubs, and airport behaved the same way it does now with all of its wonders.

The only difference: people.


This is a Thoughts from places of how Argentina lost the final of the world cup. 

(submitted by )