Future possibilities

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Anytime one looks at global events, hears the news, they are always plastered with terrible things, whether its round the clock cable news tv, online news portals, or in campuses. As people are more focused on the ‘dangers’ of our environment, this gets more attention within each of us, rather than focusing on the tolerant aspects of our world.

That is not to say that we shouldn’t ignore the ‘dangers’ of our environment, however I feel that they are being ‘magnified’ by certain groups in our society. Most people are doing the best that they can to improve the environment, society, and the economy; whereas there are those who constantly whine and grime about society, expecting apes that came out of the Savannah several million years ago to fix things immediately.

As one travels the world, and observe astutely of society, people, and culture they can see hope and optimism in so many areas. It is a wonder that apes out of the jungle have built sophisticated technology, infrastructure, and complex structure that allows anyone to travel all over the world. We are now living in a world, where one can have breakfast in Singapore, have lunch in Dubai, and then have dinner in Paris.

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We are now living in a world, where one can have breakfast in Singapore, have lunch in Dubai, and then have dinner in Paris.

Think about the statement for a second, a person can eat their breakfast in a cafe in Singapore, go to the airport with excellent transportation facility, travel at the speed of sound in a jet airplane, stop over for lunch in Dubai, then head to Paris for a beautiful candlelight dinner. Our ancestors hundreds of years ago could never imagine that people one day will be able to eat their meals in different continents within a day.

Our ancestors hundreds of years ago could never imagine that people one day will be able to eat their meals in different continents within a day.

While this access isn’t available for every person on the planet, a quick tour to any mega airport will reveal the answer, the latest data shows more than a billion people have traveled internationally last year.

Where does this lead us, one can only guess as the physicists Michio Kaku, stated that we are seeing the changes of a multicultural society, based on scientific principles, and tolerant people. Obviously there would be a lot of conflict and hesitation by people, but we can also see the evidence of a society that is the pinnacle of human excellence.

In a Farm

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swearihadsomethingforthis.co.id

I was having second thoughts of staying in a farm while I was being taken up the steep hills, in a rural part of the town. I decided to stay in a farm, because it provided free food and accommodation, it was an easy way to save money during my stay abroad. I also wanted to try farming; growing up in one of the most densely populated city the only thing in my mind was to get away from the chaos to being out on the open in the fields.

The car drives up the steep hill, then takes a right turn along a narrow grass road and stops at the end of the hill. It had rained, and I looked around the bamboo structures that were incomplete and dripping wet. Then a man came to greet me, I had no clue what to expect. When I got to the dormitory that I was going to stay I felt sick, it was dirty, messy, the beds were made from wood gotten from cargo containers. Even the shelves were made from that wood, the shower was dirty with no tiles. Toilets were covered with curtains, but had no doors. I wanted to stay for the night and get out of the next day.

I knew about this place online where one can register and look for a farm that they can stay, I was told about the place and expected contribution to the farm in return for food and accommodation. The one thing that changed my mind about not leaving the place, was meeting two volunteers from Europe, one of the girl was from Denmark, she had been in a farm in Thailand where there were rats living in the room and the bed was on the ground, another volunteer was from Hungary he looked pretty satisfied with the conditions of living in a tent. I had to realize the context, I was in a farm in the steep hills of a rural part of the town, this was a completely different environment from living in a city, I can’t expect a 5 star hotel to be in a farm !

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swearihadsomethingforthis.co.id

It took me a couple of days to adjust, and I was eager to get my hands dirty, the one thing that I realized very quickly is farming is a lot more difficult than one realizes. It’s physically very exhausting, with repetitive hand work, toiling under the harsh sun. There were more volunteers coming mainly from Europe, I was the only asian there, which made me realize why are only westerners working in farms and yet no asians.

Most of the people there were spending their holidays, and learning about permaculture, enjoying every bit of it. The place was very quiet and peaceful, with trees, plants, fruits all around, the environment made the whole place lively. Meeting people from different parts of the world, learning about their views, yet having a common understanding made it an incredible experience.

Sunny Country

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It wasn’t on my radar, until I looked on the map to see what other options I had. This was another country that had no prior visa requirement, which means I can easily go there, and the plane ticket was quiet cheap, due to the large number of tourists.

I didn’t know what to expect when I had planned to go to Sri Lanka, an island nation south of India. I already had a blast being in Bali, and was reluctant to go to the south asian region, expecting dirty broken roads, selfish people, and not much to see. Things completely changed, when I was seated in a large jet in the airport, it was literally filled with tourists from all over the world.

That was the most shocking aspect, I never realized a country that was only a couple of hours away from us would have more western tourists than what I had seen in Bali. I was surprised that a country, whose GDP is lower than us, would have excellent roads, latest traffic signals, higher quality infrastructure than us. Travelling around was easy due to the affordable public transport system. Food, hotels were all cheap, no wonder hordes of tourists were coming there.

People are laid back, with curiosity and a smile, practicing a peaceful religion, and respecting their culture and values. Population is very low compared to us, I rarely saw selfish bitches that I see regularly in my own country. It was a trip that I am glad to have taken it, with so many scenery, animals, culture, food, oceans and plenty of sunshine.

Gift of GPS

gps1Imagine going to a country that one hasn’t been before, not knowing anyone, not speaking the language, or even a place to stay, that is how hopeless I felt when I had lost my phone abroad.

A smartphone is one of the best ways to navigate the world, and without it most travelers would be in limbo. As soon as my phone was stolen, I felt a heavy burden on me; yes I would have been fine had I been in a country where I knew the local language, and therefore could ask people to aid me. The smartphone was my only companion as a solo traveler, guiding me across the vast world.

A smartphone is one of the best ways to navigate the world.

I was never keen on buying a smartphone, until I was on a tour and a passenger sitting beside me was using the gps, to navigate to his destination. It was extremely helpful for not only him but also to me, as I knew exactly where to go with pinpoint accuracy.

Without gps technology, I wouldn’t have been able to find a place to stay that is walking distance to the beach, touring nearby places, restaurants, finding the quickest route to my destination, and dozens of other stuff that was so helpful to my during my stay. I would have been stuck in a forest with wild elephants for the whole night if it wasn’t for gps !

As I had written before about the dangers of technology creeping in, again it depends on the context of the situation, we can use these wonderful tools to enrich our lives or we can use it to create ‘the matrix’. It is people rather than the tools that will determine the outcome. My greatest fear is people will not utilize the full potential of our wonderful tools to create a better society.

It is people rather than the tools that will determine the outcome.

Back Home

It’s been almost two months, travelling to different continents, crossing the oceans, seeing whales, living in quite mountains, observing nature, culture, meeting amazing people, eating delicious food, checking out of hotels, flights and airports and finally arriving back home.

A home that I no longer wanted to call it, but due to family circumstances had to come back to this shit-hole, this crowded city, garbage infrastructure, selfish people. It’s been a while since I had any access to a computer, where I could sit and right about my thoughts.

Ever since my journey started I could barely stop and think about what to write, I don’t use smartphones to write blogs, it’s not for me. I could write thousands of blog posts about my experiences abroad, however I wanted to see what it is like to stay away from a pc, but not a smartphone. Technology is not the issue here, without technology I wouldn’t have been able to cross oceans, go to amazing places, rather technology is the driving force that allows me to explore the world.

My travel itinerary would have been longer, much longer but family issues had bought me back; on the other hand, carrying a heavy backpack, finding hotels, eating out was taking a toll so I wanted to take a break and plan my journeys better.

As soon as I step into the matrix, shit storm begins, and I will be writing about this later on, both my body and mind has taken it’s toll. I am glad that you as a reader of this blog has stayed with me, and I hope to explore our deepest philosophical questions, our culture, our society with you.

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.

 

Red Tape

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Looking at the passport index of the list countries I can go to, is extremely limited. There is probably a dozen countries that lists port entry for our country, the rest needs to be applied through official procedures. Just having the thought of going through ‘red tape’ is enough to put me off.

My earliest experience of going through ‘red tape’ was when we applied for US immigration. I was in primary school, wondering why all those people are waiting in line for hours, when they got their visa they looked as if they won the lottery. However, when they arrived on the other side of the continent, their core belief was broken, all those months of standing on gravel, going through hundreds of security checks inside the embassy, filling out thousands of forms, waiting in a room with bright fluorescent lighting, seeing morbidly obese foreign officials, and then to put their foot on the ground, reality hits them in the face.

I came across several countries, that I never thought would have allowed ‘visa free access’, most of them are in Micronesia, Caribbean islands, Barbados. All these countries are very far, but they look incredible, most of them offer several months to stay. It’s countries where our citizens won’t usually go, there is no point going to carribean islands, because there isn’t any economic opportunity, if there was I can assure you the islands will be overrun.

Maybe that’s the best place to go, where people are not there in hordes, where the society doesn’t run like a factory, where one can relax with happy people. However just to go that far, is going to cost me a fortune, and there is no direct flight, I have to apply for transit visa, that’s the catch to enter paradise.

Journey to unknown

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Every once in a while, I just feel like packing my bags, and hitting the road, not knowing where I will go or end up. It’s not wanting to be in a environment that is unhealthy for my mind but also my body. The thought of spending my days here, is torturing me inside, maybe I need to move somewhere else, a place where I can enjoy nature, with caring people, live a relaxing lifestyle.

Most people didn’t know that’s how most of our ancestors had spent their life living with nature, until the start of a destructive revolution. Life of hunter gatherers was made to look like, terrifying, starvation, barbaric, that’s what our culture tells us, in fact it’s quite the opposite. They were the first original affluent society according to anthropologists  Marshall Sahlins.

That’s what many people are still trying to accomplish, whether it’s people who are hopping of to a different part of the world, or taking regular vacations. Most of them are just trying to get away from the ‘system’, our socioeconomic system, which has made society run like a prison industry.

There are hundreds of questions that arise, as soon as I start packing my bags. Starting from what I am going to take in my bag, the expense, where to go, how to get theres, visa issues (for south asian people big problem), having all these questions are a barrier. To break this barrier, it’s best to just take a deep breath and head out for a journey to the unknown.