Travelling The World, II

Thursday, July 21, 2011 0 Comments

The-Expat-Life-Of-Budget-Travels

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11. TV is the greatest black hole of time available to mankind

I wasted so much of my life before age 21 spending 3-4 hours a day watching TV. Following shows that I “had” to see, in order to “relax”. I regret almost every second of it. The whole world was passing me by outside.

TV was an important part of the 20st century, bringing communication and news to the masses, but now it’s wasteful. People get biased news through it, when much better alternatives are available, watch terrible TV shows through it that teach them nothing, and it sucks so many hours of their lives away that they seem to forget about when they delude themselves into thinking that they don’t have time to pursue real passions in life.

TVs encourage people to be antisocial. The only TVs you should be watching are someone else’s - go to your friend’s house to share a series you like if you must, or go to the bar with your mates to watch sports. Your life will not be enriched by sitting at home watching a screen with zero interactivity to it.

12. The Internet is the greatest tool ever available to us, but daily use must be capped

Unlike TVs, the Internet is interactive and allows you to take part and become virtually social. It connects communities all over the world and without it, the last 8 years simply would have been much more difficult for me for many reasons.

Having said that, it has the same potential as TV to become a black hole of time. Use it to enrich your life, but put a cap on how much you use it so you can get out and live that life. Replacing one screen with another (even when you use it to chat to people) is just escaping the real world, which is much more beautiful.

13. Get outside and do something with other people

My favourite website in the world is Couchsurfing.org, precisely because I spend so little time on it. It has simplified my travel life tremendously by allowing me to host people to maintain my languages, and to search it for interesting people to meet up with. The world that is worth experiencing is not in books or on TV or computer screens. It’s with other human beings. Stop being shy and get out and meet them!

14. Speaking only English is incredibly limiting to non-tourist travellers

If you are visiting a country for a weekend, then you can check into your hotel and order food in an expensive restaurant and get a guided tour in English. You can even make local university educated friends, and successfully create a bubble to protect you from the local language for as long as you like, and delude yourself into thinking that this is the way things are.

But you will never truly experience the local culture if you limit yourself to being able to interact on a deep level just the well educated part of it. English-speaking travellers miss out on so much - not speaking English has defined most of my travels and the amazing experiences I have had would have been impossible if I didn’t try to learn the local languages.

ANYONE can learn a language. When I was 21 I thought I couldn’t do it, but one day I put all the bullshit excuses to one side and just spoke it. 

15. Modern foreign culture does not have to satisfy your stereotypes

Every country in the world is modernising but this does not mean that they are westernising or Americanising. What makes them unique does not have to satisfy your “quaint” tourist-brochure view of them. Leave ignorant stereotypes aside and have an open mind about how modern life is like in that culture.

Not all Irish people drink, not all Brazilians samba and play football, and Germans, Dutch, Filipinos and everyone else will surprise you if you leave your presumptions about them at the airport.

Respect the differences, try to adapt to them yourself and realise that to them you might seem backwards in many ways.

16. Take your time

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from living in countries that are more “easy going” it’s that they are way wiser than the rest of us in their pace of life. People and countries that do everything quicker also do it worse. Take it easy and go slowly.

Enjoy every bite of food, walk at a slow pace and take in your surroundings, let the other person finish their side of the conversation while you listen attentively, and stop in the middle of your day, close your eyes or look at nature and become aware of your breathing.

17. You can’t please everyone

“I don’t know the secret to success, but the secret to failure is trying to please everyone” - Bill Cosby.
State your opinion and stick to your guns. If you are confident enough and share your idea with enough people, you will piss off someone no matter what you talk about. That’s their problem, not yours.

18. Trying to be cool or following trends is for mindless sheep

Peer pressure is for people who are afraid of their individuality. Stand up for yourself, and go against the flow if that’s what you feel is best. What’s cool now will be frozen over in a few years.

19. Make mistakes - and LOTS of them!

Mistakes are how we learn. Failures are the stepping stones to success.

20. Wear sunscreen

Seriously. Protect your skin. 




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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