Finding Meaning

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uncharteredbackpacker.com

In mid-afternoon, the air dry the sun smoking up any traces of water, eerily silence ensues as people stop buzzing around for a lunch break. Railway tracks, beaming in the heat, it’s surface as hot as a pan, I can see him from another railway crossing, his bright skin attracting the attention of other kids. Mindlessly walking along the rail tracks, the filth and smell didn’t bother him, walking with no clear purpose, physically tired, his eyes looking for answers, avoiding questions the kids were asking him, he looked similar to the picture above.

One of the last places you could ever think that a foreigner would go to, especially walking along the filthy rail tracks, for long distances, to pass time. A quick tour to any part of western europe and north america will give you the answer, people there are living meaningless lives. That’s why you can find them hoping from one place to another, like gypsies, staying in peculiar places that even locals don’t go, doing things that others wouldn’t expect, they are looking for meaning.

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jules.de.com

From the safety of their comfortable home, where they can be sipping coffee, driving suv’s and going to the latest shopping mall, yet these women are getting their hands dirty in south asia. So you have to ask the question, why someone from the ‘modern’ civilization be toiling under the heat ? This answer can only be told my ‘natives’ people who had evolved and adapted to their surrounding, testing and experimenting ways of life that works.

Anthropologist Dr. Joseph Tainter offers to explain this as well, complexity is what drives society to collapse. The west are in a civilization collapse, because of civilization itself, without complexity there is no ‘modern’ civilization, and the increased sophistication from technology, architecture, government, corporations, laws, affects the social dynamics and lifestyle.

“We need a society in which market incentives play less of a role in people’s lives, where people can find happiness in things other than material consumption.” Dr. Joseph Tainter

Hunter gatherer societies have a dozen social personality, whereas modern civilization has over 20 thousand occupations, these increased level of social hierarchy is bound to collapse. Increased commercialization, technological tools in other parts of the globe, hold similar outcomes, the key is can the world learn from the mistakes of the west, or will they succumb to the selfishness of the human desire.

Travel: Voluntourism

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guadangmyart.blogspot.co.id

Most volunteer opportunities always involve teaching, it’s usually tourists from the west, travelling to ‘exotic’ locations and teaching locals, who don’t have access to schools, resources and teachers. Whether these projects are effective at all, considering they are only short-term stints, depends on the kind of project, the resources, intentions and lastly the teachers.

There are almost none or very few exception of volunteering for ‘free’, even teaching at these locations require some form of ‘donation’ to institutions, however it may be a good deal, as the accommodation and food costs will be far less than staying in a luxury villa.

Research projects that I had seen online, are one of the worst offenders of making people work and charging excess fees. These projects are mostly animal related, it involves statistics, field work, collecting specimens, so a lot of adventure hence they are very popular among tourists. Although there are some good organizations, majority of them are just ‘cash cows’. They want excessive fees from volunteers, by saying they need cash for saving endangered species all the while having dozens of Lexus.

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‘Voluntourism’ has become a huge industry, thanks to the appetite of the westerners, eager to travel to exotic locations, putting their moral high ground to others, just to take a selfie with local kids in the background. Organizations which used to provide free food and stay has turned into a tourism industry.