Location Independence

Consume & Update: Stuff, Tsunamis, and 15 Days

I found some good reads this week! Take your laptop outside, enjoy the warming breeze, and read on, my friends, read on.

Writing Wherever

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I seek location independence. I would love to be able to write and create multi-media work without a permanent anchor to my geography. Therefore, I look to those with the exact career I desire for the best advice tailored specifically for me. And though this interview about a location independent writer in Barbados didn't offer an incredible amount of sage advice, it introduced me to a few new sites that can do the trick.

Freelance Writing Jobs

The Writer's Bridge

Get Paid to Write Online

A Mission to See All Countries

I talk about this guy all the time. This week, Chris Guillebeau updates his following on the status of his mission to see every country in the world before his 35th birthday. With some quick trips here and there, he does tap into the reality of his limited exposure to the cultures he visits with this huge goal in mind. Chris relates this extreme desire to mountain climbing, justifying his goal as a triumph of the human body and spirit that connects him to the world in some sort of cosmic way.

Someone else asked if travel is “still fun” for me. This is another question that is hard to answer in a sound bite. Travel is fun, except when it’s not, and that’s perfectly fine. My theory is, if you think travel is supposed to be 100% fun all the time, I’m not sure how much you’ve actually traveled. Sometimes it’s not fun at all, and that’s OK. Most things that are worth doing aren’t always that easy, so you have to take the bitter with the sweet.

He's only got 65 countries to go in his next three years. I wonder if he'll make it...

Justice and Oil

While I was working on making a recent Nakavika Project video, I came across this animated video set to a Justice track. And judging by the comments under this one on Youtube, people had a lot to say about it. Can't deny the interesting animation style and editing (not to mention the great audio syncing). Just interested in what people think.

The Anti-Stuff Movement

Luggage full of donations

Every time I come home from a trip (or get ready to leave for one), I go about purging my closet of anything that's been sitting in there unused for far too long. That means altogether, I've probably purged my closet at least eight times, each instance taking away a large box of crap at minimum. My closet still looks pleasantly plump with things, and I don't often go shopping. How do I still have so much stuff?

It's incredibly liberating to rid yourself of sentimental knick-knacks and clothes that remind you of a different decade, especially when I'm on the road and consider my backpack's contents as my only possessions. Even when back at home, I never need as much stuff as I own, and it ticks me off. They are barnacles on my butt, sand bags tied to my ankles; my stuff seemingly weighs me down.

Matt Madeiro was robbed, and instead of mourning the loss of his unused paraphernalia, he considered it a positive disconnection from the "culture of stuff" he was being sucked into.

Cathartic? Definitely. Time spent organizing the endless mess is now time spent living, a change so simple and wonderful that the next step fell in line almost immediately: stop buying. That sounds a little extreme, I’ll admit, but putting it in practice warrants just a few tweaks – think renting versus purchasing, borrowing versus owning, and so forth.

For those of us who prefer a solitary existence, is the accumulation of things similar to the accumulation of patches on a backpack, travel scars and photographs from far reaches and amazing adventures? Does this wall of books and picture frames at my parents house signify they've lived a fulfilling (and wordy) life so far? Do we all need to collect mementos from our past in order to remember what we've done on a daily basis? Is the "culture of stuff" a biproduct of our poor long-term memories?

What do you think about the "culture of stuff?"

Crusoe and a Wall of Water

Intelligent Travel posted an interesting story about Robinson Crusoe Island off the coast of Chile and the unfortunate blast it incurred from the recent earthquake and subsequent tsunami. To be short and sweet, I thought this post accentuated an interesting locale with a fantastical history, and the visual of the water wall impacting this beautiful South Pacific island was a vivid one.

Pedro Niada, Fabianna, and their two children were sound asleep, but a guest on the second-floor awoke and noticed water seeping through the floor. He looked out the window and thought he was seeing things: there was a fishing boat out the window, almost at eye level, and in the distance, a wall of water was racing toward shore. The guest woke the family and the five of them jumped into the boat, clinging to it with all their strength until the wave passed. Finally, they steered it to shore and raced up the hill just before two more giant waves hit.

Yikes.

Sporting Old Glory

Natalie Grant calls out to the American wanderers around the world: reclaim your flag.

In fact, Benjamin Franklin had a tasty little metaphor: “A great empire, like a great cake, is most easily diminished at the edges.” Our country’s reputation is easier to nibble at abroad, where there are fewer people to stick up for it.

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Whether or not your office is an embassy abroad, you become an ambassador the moment you board an international flight. On the road, I find myself acting very differently than I normally would, because I often feel the pressure to represent young females, 20-somethings, backpackers, Americans, etc. worldwide. I read up on world news, especially that which is occurring inside my borders, before taking off on a trip, because I inevitably become a representative for the 308 million still at home.

I collect country flag patches and sew them on my big backpack. It's a traveler cliche, and I don't care. It actually bugs me when other people do it (rational, huh?), but I've found it's an incredible way to meet people. A woman on the train to Denmark commented on my Brazilian patch, and we soon got into a conversation about her mother land and the amazing hiking experiences I had in Bahia. An old WWII refuge in Ukraine started a conversation with me about my Malaysia patch and began posing questions that opened up a dialogue between myself and history.

And in 2008, I added the American flag to the mix, partially because I've technically traveled in said country and partially because I want to be a proud American backpacker. Other than by a drunken, homeless Parisian, I've never felt hostility for being an American, and I thought it'd be a good baby step toward becoming a better ambassador for a country I often misunderstand but continue to appreciate and love.

Other Discoveries

Getting the youth discount even if you're not so "youthful"

Our village in Fiji is getting a traditional make-over...no more modern hair styles

Sadly, kids aren't reading enough great travel literature these days

Update on Nomadderwhere

I am sick, sadly, but I'm still a productivity machine! I also got some great news this week - like huge, amazing news - that I'll be sharing in the coming month! It involves my future plans, and boy are they swell!

1 Minute or Less Moments: Last week, I announced the weekly posting of raw video files from Fiji onto my Nomadderwhere Facebook Fan page. This week, three new videos are ready for your viewing eyes. Click on the icon below to watch us farm with the kids, walk through the jungle, and sit at the Sunday dinner table with our host clan.

Nomadderwhere's Facebook Fan Page

Nomadderwhere's Facebook Fan Page

15 More Days: Though it's a normal day for most, I'm making it into a spectacle. My domain's "birthday" is coming in about two weeks, and I'm already knee-deep in plans to present a carnival of blogs for you, my beloved readers. Prepare yourself for a week of straight content that highlights the year's best stuff, a wide range of media, and a couple brand new ideas and series to Nomadderwhere.com. And if you're a fan of my Facebook page, don't worry; you'll receive a little reminder so you don't miss the good stuff.

Consume & Update: Bloggers on Happiness, Ambition, and Reason

I did a little reading this week, and this is what stuck from the lot. Click on the images to read the articles.

Good Investments

I've only recently come to hear of Rolf Potts, and I look forward to reading his novel "Vagablogging" in the coming months. Here on his blog, fellow writer Scott Gilbertson discusses possible reasons for unhappiness as a result of putting your money to the wrong use: stuff for yourself, and not on experiences for yourself or the people around you. I've really tried to apply this philosophy to my life in the last three years, running from buying stuff and saving for memorable experiences...maybe not with the direct goal of happiness at the front of my mind but more for the "I know I'll be a better person for doing this" reason. I've never been Miss Moneybags and have been spending my own money for quite some time, but I've known I always had enough to do the things I wanted. It may also be that I've only chosen to desire the things that are within my reach. Travel the world? Who needs twenty years of savings! Buy some drinks for people I don't know? Bottoms up, strangers! And the times I've spent money on dresses or crap for the shelves have never been as fulfilling as the money spent on a chicken dinner and dance party for kids. I'm not trying to say I'm holier and happier than thou, but it's all we can do to make the sensible, compassionate steps toward being people we're proud of. And if we're proud of who we are, we're probably pretty happy.

Shake Up Your Lazy Inertia

This the second Vagabondish article I've really liked from author Turner Wright. His piece entitled "Why it's easier to stay fat, stupid and untraveled" is pretty straightforward. It's too bad our priorities as a mass population reflect a desire to do very little and be happy with that. We never stay still when we eat, or rarely even cook with known, natural ingredients. If your trigger finger is strong and nimble, you can shoot down every online deal you spend hours on your butt searching for. I guess I fall into the sloth lifestyle upon coming home. I work online or read sixteen hours a day and drive to the gym when I need to move around. I rationalize it as time spent researching and building a foundation for those times when I'm running around the world with a mission and a desire to live out ambitions. Anyway, this is an interesting article and one I'd love to hear reflections on from fellow readers.

You're You Everywhere

Lea Woodward writes well and often about being unattached to a place and still making a living. It's called Location Independence. Look into it. Often it's easy to look at a purpose-driven life that's created from one's passions and think "That is the life!" Well, wherever you go, though, there you are. There you are doing the same things, and even though the initial thrills will please you and your travel objectives, we humans are habitual and get into routines, which often feel remarkably similar to those we once had at home...in that stable, stiffling, mundane environment. Wait a minute. Her article isn't to say creating your own lifestyle anywhere in the world is unnecessary because everything's the same everywhere, but it's a "reality check" to make sure you're not in a dream world. Travel and location independence for some is the holy grail, but romanticizing it too much will lead you astray from the realities.

Toxicity Kills the Journey

If I'm honest, I've felt very toxic for the last few months. The acid in my mind (figuratively speaking...) almost felt tangible at moments, and sometimes it takes all the energy you can muster to make those thoughts liquefy and disperse in the name of happiness. This blog from Brave New Traveler, a Matador magazine on the inner thoughts of a traveler, could have been very useful to me in preventing toxicity during my travels.

Update on Nomadderwhere

Since I've been home from the World Traveler Internship, I've begun work on my new website, researched potential projects, and connected with many people interested in my trajectory. My work week is something like 90 hours. I drink a lot of tea. It doesn't feel like work, which means it's the right path, and surprisingly I still don't feel like I have enough hours to progress as far as I'd like.

So what does all this mean for Nomadderwhere?

  1. I'm learning how to write first and write well. Objectives = great subject matter, great blogs, potentially great book material

  2. I've scheduled four different speaking engagements throughout the Northern Indiana area, some directed at photography passionates and professionals. I'm moving from online expression to that of the verbal kind.

  3. The book on my solo RTW has begun its morphing process into a complete idea. It will take many years and many sessions in front of a blank screen...but that end result will come to be.

  4. A new website will be ready and raring by September 23rd that includes more travel advice, suggestions for reading, technology and destination highlights, free city guides, and an even more exciting development for photography.

  5. I have the incredible fortune of cheap travel in the near future, which gives me the perfect chance to create new work on places I've never been or really observed. October is the Mexican Riviera. November is Chicago, Illinois. Who knows if December will hold nothing or a fantastic travel opportunity with a favorite vagabond pal...