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Real Escape, and What I Learned From It

Real Escape is a Japanese phenomenon, which is generally enough to get me in the door. Through my Japanese teacher I met one of the creators a few months back, and he described a real life puzzle game that sounded like a ton of fun. I was invited to go to their Doctor Mad event a couple weeks ago.

Going in, I had no idea to expect. I knew that there would be some sort of brain teaser and logic puzzle element to it, but that was all I knew. I want to give away as little as possible, so that you'll get the most out of it if you go, but it's essentially a real life computer game. There are no fancy graphics-- you're basically in a minimally decorated room with some stuff stuck to the walls, but the skills needed and the procedures of the game reminded me of and old-school adventure game like Monkey Island.

Suffice to say, I had a ton of fun. I've always wished that there were more non-drinking based social nighttime activities, and Real Escape definitely fits the bill. It's very entertaining, if you go solo you'll be put into a group that you'll get to know a little bit, and it's good for your brain.

It's also hard. Very hard. I sort of think that I'm a genius of logic puzzles and the like, but my team failed (unless you count me cracking the lock that the answer was in before the game started). In fact, only one of the ten or so teams actually completed the puzzle. And while I'd like to blame my team for our failure, the most interesting part of the experience was being faced with my own deficiencies.

Leaving Your Job

On The Constance Chronicles

Here's the scenario: I would wake at 7am, be at work by 8am, have an hour for lunch, then get home around 5pm. I would lounge at home for about an hour before starting dinner. Dinner would be ready by 6:30pm. I would be finished with dinner and and the kitchen would be cleaned by 7pm. I tried to be in bed by 11pm. That means I had a total of 4 hours to myself. Out of 24 hours, I had allotted 4 of those for me. That is under the assumption that between the hours of 7-11 I would not get a parent phone call, have to answer emails, or grade papers. About 83% of the day was centered around work and sleep. No matter how enjoyable I might find teaching to be, I could always find something else better to do with my time.

However, the thought of leaving my job simply to have more time to spend reading, watching movies, playing outside or traveling brought on a lot of anxiety. I felt naive and almost silly for thinking of resigning from my teaching position. For a couple months, I could not shake the thought of 83%. Bottom line, it doesn't matter how much you like your job. For me, it was still a job. It served as a means to an end. Ultimately, it kept me tied to a location and a routine, which at times made it impossible to explore the possibilities of my life.

Currently, I am living in South Korea. Granted, I have a steady job, health insurance, and a loft. You may be wondering what has actually changed aside from residing in another country. Well, at my current teaching position, I work the afternoon shift. Three days out of the week I work from 2:30-8:30 and the other two days I work from 5:40-8:00. Where I was working 200+ hours a month in the US, I am now working only 88 hours. I managed to cut my work time by more than a half, which also means that I spend less than half of my day doing work related activities. I went from 83% to about 33%. My loft is paid for and everything here, food, clothes, and entertainment is about 25% cheaper than in the US. I'm also constantly updated on upcoming travel opportunities. I visited Bali, Jiri Mountain (in Korea), Muui Island, and this winter I will be spending New Years in Tokyo, Japan. This is the beginning of how I half assed the life nomadic.

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