Minding the Borderlands

Mark Koester (@markwkoester) on the art of travel and technology

About Mark Koester


Welcome to My “Webbed” Space.

A post shared by Mark Koester (@markwk) on

Hi, I’m Mark!

I’ve been writing this blog in some form since 2007. On multiple occasions, I have sought to try to establish a “theme” for my blog, but to little success. Instead, I use my blog and writing in general to thinking through, document and share various ideas.

Broadly speaking my writings have included at one time or other: philosophy, sociology, web design, cross-cultural experience and understanding, religion and atheism, storytelling, language learning, running, traveling, digital nomad life, life abroad  (specifically in France and China), startups, running a tech business, doing business in China and Asia. These are just some of the ever-evolving trains of thought that regularly appear in my writings.

I’ve recently taken a stronger bent and focus on self-tracking and personal data, and I have an on-going series on “Tracking Everything,” which covers a range of topics related to self-tracking, health, and the quantified self.

If you enjoyed something you read, I’d love to hear from you or read something you’ve written. Please send me your comments and questions to markwkoester at gmail.com or reach out to me through one of my social media accounts.

Where am I from? Where am I now?

Currently Somewhere in Asia

I was born grew up in the Omaha, Nebraska, United States. I went to university in Chicago and later in Paris and Strasbourg, France. I have lived abroad in France, China, Singapore, and a few other countries since 2005.

I am fluent in English, French, Chinese, and Spanish, proficient in multiple coding languages, and can manage a blathering of other tongues.

I am a digital nomad. I currently spend a lot of time in Southeast Asia, especially Singapore and Thailand, but regularly travel throughout the world. I also own a house in Western China. SEE: Living in Qingchengshan.

Who am I? (Written in Early 2008)

I am a lay philosopher and indoctrinated foreigner. I stake no claim to authority nor truth. I am human and search for answers humanly in the Nietzschean genealogical tradition of the “art of mistrust” and Husserl’s phenomenological approach. In the spirit of the Islamic Mystic Ibn ul’Arabi’s words, “Deliver us, oh Allah, from the sea of names,” I avoid name dropping and referencing. Saying “according to So-and-So” or “he said that” does not improve human thinking, it is only a technique to makes you seem more informed. I am open to mistakes and thoroughly enjoy criticism and intellectual challenges I am neither guard but simply a guardian of critical thinking

My primary targets of thought are situated in “in-between” places where the certitude of our normalized ways of thinking and our everyday assumptions cease to provide the answer. It’s easy to talk about our homelands when we are at home but once we’ve been abroad, à l’étranger, guowai (国外) or outside of your country you begin to feel all homecomings as fragile. The fragility of our homes and these awkward feelings of our own alienation (as a person and as societies) speak a truth that I hope to call more attention to.

There is no god guarding the light, only us homely humans minding the borderlands.

Previous Blogs / Iterations:

HackingLanguage Blog: Various writings on language learning and the science and techniques on how to optimize it.

MysticAtheist: Understanding what it means to be “the still point of the turning world”

Reflected Places: “There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.” - Edith Wharton