Travelling The World, I

Sunday, July 17, 2011 0 Comments

The-Expat-Life-Of-Budget-Travels

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1. Everyone everywhere basically wants the same thing

Vastly different as the world’s cultures are, if you speak to Italian millionaires, homeless Brazilians, Dutch fishermen and Filipino computer programmers, in their own languages, you start to see that we are all incredibly alike where it matters. Everyone just wants validation, love, security, enjoyment and hopes for a better future. The way they verbalise this and work towards it is where things branch off, but we all have the same basic desires. You can relate to everyone in the world if you look past the superficial things that separate you.

2. Deferring your happiness to the future is a terrible idea

Too many people presume that when they have that one thing they can work towards for years then “everything will be alright”. This is delusional.

When you get it, there’ll be something else missing in your life. I fundamentally believe that long-term pure happiness from one particular situation or achievement is a pipe-dream, but we can learn to be content with what we have, live in the now, all while enjoying the progress and changes we are making.

If your whole life is working up towards one really big major goal that you hold on to for years, then you will have a major anticlimax after the dust settles. Work towards it, but stop deferring your happiness.
Get there slower and enjoy the ride. I like how it is portrayed in this video:

Enjoy the show, and don’t wait for the finale. The present really is all we have.

3. “Someday my ship will come in” is bullshit. You will NEVER win the lottery. Be practical.

People seem to have a strange concept of how luck works and how the universe/some diety/karma/their lucky shoe or how “they deserve it” will mean that things will eventually fall into place for them. You are “due” to win the lottery or will get swept away by prince charming any day now. “You deserve it” (as if others don’t).

This is a misunderstanding of how the world actually works. Perhaps I’m wrong and praying or hoping that it will all work out, or generally being a nice person is what really “does the trick”, but why not actually get off your ass and do something tangible too while you’re at it.

I personally don’t believe in magic or fairies or astrology or sky wizards or large-scale invisible inexplicable forces at work on petty daily activities of humans. I’m skeptical about such things, and believe they are all impossible/ridiculous, and knowledge of this has enriched my life. As a practical person, I see the world as a very logical place with physical and social rules and understanding this has helped me live well in it. The universe owes you nothing, you owe it to yourself to be the master of where your life ends up.

4. There’s no such thing as destiny. This is excellent news!

Destiny is used as a cop-out and standard excuse by most people for why they don’t do something with their lives. The thing is, it doesn’t exist.

Your limitations are not set by who you know, where you were born, what genes you have, how much money you have, how old you are right now, what you did before or other things that you can claim are your stamp of failure for life.

If you are determined enough there is a shitload of opportunities in life that are totally achievable with minimal cash, regardless of who you are.

5. Seek out people with different beliefs and views of the world to yours and get to know their side of the story

As you can probably guess from #3, I have some beliefs about the world that don’t jive with a lot of people’s. However, a lot of people get their meaning in life from believing in things I don’t. If everyone thought like me, the world would be a very boring place.

So when I meet someone with a very different belief system to mine, it’s better to get along than to try to “convert” them. This is as true for how the world works as it is for language learning methods, fashion, movie tastes etc.

When someone is sure about something and has believed it for many many years, then you cannot convince them with a few cleverly picked words. Everyone is closed minded about something. They have to discover it themselves over time or just continue believing what they do. Don’t take responsibility for convincing the world you are right. It’s important to acknowledge that maybe you are actually the wrong one.

The world is much more fun with people of varying interests and beliefs. Despite my scepticism, in my travels I have hung out with astrologists, palm readers, very religious folk, conservatives, and people who hate technology. And my life and experiences are enriched so much because of it.

Spending time exclusively with people who agree with you on everything would never challenge you and allow you to learn so much more.

6. Living a good life is the best way possible to convince people

Enough words and enough arguing. Just live by example and soon you’ll have people on your side when they see your results and how passionate you are. No need to “convince” them. Just show them that you are there, tell them how you got there, and they will start to realise that maybe you aren’t that crazy after all.

7. Nobody has it all figured out

Almost everyone has problems and puts on a brave face - don’t presume they have it easy. You see of each person what they let you see. You have no idea what they are going through or what they had to put up with to be in a situation that you can consider “easy”.

This is universal - millionaires, students, the cool kid, the party animal, the introvert and everyone in between has more to their story than the superficial restricted one you see. Never dismiss them as having it easy if you don’t know the entire story.

8. There’s no shame in saying “I don’t know”

There is a stigmatism in some cultures to admit ignorance about a particular topic. Don’t dance around the issue - just say I don’t know. Honesty is way smarter.

9. More money will NEVER solve your problems

As long as you are not living in the street or going hungry, then you do not “need” more money. When you spend enough time with people who are actually living on next to nothing, but having a full life, then you will truly understand this. Everything that is wonderful about life doesn’t cost a penny, and the rest is way cheaper than you think it is.

10. Possessions own you

Look at the real reason you want to buy more expensive crap and realise that it all comes down to validation from others in one way or another. You don’t really need any of it unless it’s directly related to essentials in how you work or survive.

The need to buy new crap dictates your life - it fixes you in one location with that house and furniture, and it governs how much money you need to earn. And it almost never actually enriches your life in any way. The less you own the better.




Bowdy is an amateur adventurer, a coffee sleepyhead, and a start-up rooter, with a penchant for classic-looking photos. At last count, he has visited some 53 countries, and is now living in Singapore. He's always in search of fascinating routines to exploit, within the edges of after-office hours and (un)limited holidays.

For collaboration ideas, email bowdywanders@gmail.com.

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