A Month of Writing to my Brother

Bay of Fundy Coast

Scenery near where my brother lives (I took this when visiting him about a month after we finished writing to each other).

Last Christmas, a gift that I received from one of my brothers was an offer to do one of my upcoming month projects with me. I accepted, and we did something together in April.

Since my brother lives a 16 hour drive from me, it had to be something that didn’t require us to be in the same location. My brother had a few other conditions also, one of them being that what we decided to do couldn’t affect his family (he was volunteering only himself – not them also).

Here’s the list of ideas that we came up with together:

  • Watch 1 hour’s worth of TED talks every day.
  • Watch a documentary every day.
  • Do Ramadan (only eat & drink while the sun is down) – but Ramadan is in July so we’d be doing it at the wrong time.
  • Improve memory – maybe by doing some sort of memory course.
  • Philanthropy – learn about the most effective ways to donate money to good causes, and start doing that. Could include reading books like The Life You Can Save and maybe even anti-philanthropy books like Billions of Drops in Millions of Buckets to get a balanced perspective.
  • Whenever possible, avoid intellectual conversations and have emotional ones instead.
  • Contribute somehow to getting people to Mars – maybe volunteer with SpaceX or other group(s) remotely.
  • Prepare food only 1 day per week for the entire week. Zero food may be prepared for the rest of the week – not even peeling an orange.
  • Have a conversation with a new person every day (this could be someone we’d spoken to on many occasions but never had a real conversation with or someone we’d never spoken to).
  • Read a Wikipedia article every day, with each article being a link found in the previous day’s article.
  • Learn something significant about every country in the world…there are approximately 196 countries so that would mean learning about six or seven countries per day. This could include a goal to be able to describe the geographical location of every country by the end of the month.
  • Take a single random object from the room you’re sitting in and learn as much about every single detail as you possibly can, studying the same object for the entire month. For example, take a lamp and research the company that made it, the materials it’s made of and their molecular makeup, the history and evolution of the object, etc.
  • Start a YouTube channel and upload a video every day.
  • Eat something we’d never eaten before every day (like all the weird foreign fruit at the grocery store).
  • Do some “stream of consciousness” writing for half an hour every day.
  • Write each other an email every day describing some experience we had that day.
  • Some kind of contest.

In the end we decided to send each other an email every day describing an experience we’d had that day (one of my brother’s ideas). It was fun, and we both learned things about each other & our lives that we didn’t previously know. It was also nice to be connected after having mostly fallen out of contact when my brother & his family moved to Nova Scotia 2 years ago.

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