Sunday, September 3, 2017

IS A 'NOMADIC' LIFESTYLE FOR YOU?

Every few days, when I have to get up between 6 and 6:30 AM, I long for the days when I had little responsibilities; the days when "the summer" was a thing and I could wake up in the middle of the afternoon if I pleased. My mother didn't like it, but I knew that my life in general would not be affected negatively if I decided to sleep for a few more hours. Then Adulting happened. Without warning, without a grace/training period, adulting came out in full force and forced me to be a work robot, only motivated by the fear of becoming homeless. And as a millenial, I know that my story and feelings about adulthood are hardly original. So it made me wonder, can the nomadic lifestyle work? By "Nomadic" I mean the courage, guts, balls to wake up one morning and simply say "I'm not gonna take this shit anymore!" The guts to decide that from now on, you're gonna do your own thing regardless of the consequences that may befall you. In this post, I will explore the different ways in which this lifestyle can work OR fail, depending on the circumstances and personality of the person involved.





So I've played several different scenarios of how I could escape the plantation myself, and none of them truly lead to a sense of safety FOR ME. Knowing my temperament and unending urge to always find stability in anything I do, I know that at THIS moment in my life, I'm not quite ready to make such a drastic life change. But there are people out there who are 'bout dat life and are willing to do whatever it takes to escape the 2 hour daily traffic (conservative estimate); the mundane, stressful routine of waking up everyday to do a job that you hate so that you can barely pay your bills at the end of each month.....ONLY to repeat it again and again and again until you die!!! Not RETIRE, but DIEEEE!!!!!!!! But how do the few brave people who dare to go where no man has gone before take care of themselves? How do they sustain themselves without a steady form of income?




Well, some move around the country and do odd jobs here and there for a few months. Others decide to take the entrepreneurial approach and use their skills for their basic necessities. These people usually decide to leave the United States (or other Western countries) in search of a simpler, but more exhilarating life in Latin American, Asia or Africa. I myself have been contemplating taking the latter approach every single day for the past two years of my life. Not only does it sound exciting, but it also sounds healthier for my longterm mental and physical wellbeing. Not to mention the financial and social benefits one can reap from taking this approach, depending on what country/countries you choose to migrate to. I believe that the lifelong experiences and benefits one can gain from taking this approach far outweigh the perceived stability one gets from working up the corporate ladder while looking forward to retirement in an age that will almost always guarantee that you will be too old, too weak, too sick, and perhaps too dead to enjoy your retirement.





I believe that the most important thing to have embedded deep in you when brainstorming ways to "escape" is a strong entrepreneurial spirit. What are you bringing to the people of the country/countries that you are interested in moving to? How will your urge to break beyond the boundaries you've been given lead you to amazing things that were never thought possible before? This is precisely what I am brainstorming at this point in my life. It takes great planning, putting thoughts to paper, and YES people, it requires that you save up a decent amount of money. This post, more than anything else, is really about me talking to myself. Forcing myself to think of ways in which the "Nomadic" lifestyle can work for ME and yield longterm benefits. Because these two hour commutes, the 60 miles of driving per day, the 10 hours of sitting per day, the minimal monetary benefits per month, NONE of it is worth it for me. They say that the best ideas are formed in a person's lowest moments. In many ways, this post is my way of "crying out" for something better; something meaningful; an actual LIFE, and not accepting that this is all that life has to offer to me. So let's join together in this brainstorming session!

Saturday, August 26, 2017

NEVER BUY A ROUNDTRIP AIR TICKET TO DUBAI

If you have ever traveled outside of your country or are thinking about it, you might have (at one point or another) contemplated the idea of traveling to the playground of the wealthy, Dubai. Located in the middle of the Arabian desert in the United Arab Emirates, Dubai is a city/emirate of about 2.8 million with the vast majority of its population being composed of immigrants. It is also ground zero for some of the world's most ambitious construction projects stemming from airports, resorts, and man-made islands. Oh the wonders that oil wealth can produce! This makes Dubai a tourist destination, attracting about 15 million visitors per year. Despite an impressive resumé the likes of Singapore, here are the reasons why you should NEVER spend a dime on a roundtrip flight to Dubai, unless of course you're a wealthy person with money to blow. Here are the 3 reasons why you should never buy a roundtrip air ticket to Dubai. 





1) DUBAI IS A CITY

Now, I understand that many countries in the world have become tourist destinations because of ONE CITY. England is virtually forgettable without the city of London. The Netherlands is nothing but a sinking swamp without Amsterdam! However, all of these cities share something in common with Dubai. They are major HUBS for International Airlines. London-Heathrow International Airport is perhaps the lifeline HUB for a significant portion of Trans-Atlantic Flights from North America. Amsterdam-Schiphol International Airport is the hub for KLM Airways, one of the largest airlines in the world. So why would you spend a ton of money when you don't plan on venturing outside of Dubai? Considering that the city is surrounded by a vast desert, it is probably not a good investment as far as international travel is concerned. Which brings me to my second point. 




2) EMIRATES! EMIRATES! EMIRATES!!!!

Emirates Airlines (simply known as "Emirates") is slowly becoming one of the largest airlines in the world by passenger volume as well as fleet. Emirates conducts daily flights to 140 destinations in the world, including 12 in the United States. And of course it is only fitting that the airline would choose Dubai International Airport as its global hub. Most of Emirates' destinations are located in Asia and Africa. Thus, I've had the opportunity to see Dubai during my trips to Tanzania and India, simply because I opted for a longer layover (about 18 hrs). I was so happy that I essentially got a 2-for-1 deal with my flight. In other words, if you want to see Dubai, pick a different final destination. Perhaps Thailand, Kenya, or India are the actual countries you might want to visit. Opt for a longer layover in Dubai. That way, you get to see two countries (if you can call Dubai a country) for the cost of one roundtrip ticket. Perhaps you may even get to see Dubai a second time during your return trip home. 




3) DUBAI IS A 1-DAY EXCURSION AT BEST!

When the Emirati (might I add rude) Immigration Officer stamped my passport with a 24 hour VISA into Dubai, I could not fathom the hype of the mass media as it pertained to Dubai. Watching television and conducting google searches gave me the impression that Dubai was bigger and grander than its reality. And don't get me wrong, the city itself is magnificent and very intriguing to the eye. But it is smaller than people think. From the moment we left the airport, we were able to see a palace resident of Dubai royalty, the mega Dubai mall, The Burj Khalifa, the Burj Dubai, ALL of downtown, and went to the Palm Islands in a span of less than 5 hrs. And to be honest, Dubai felt like a small town with big buildings. Now, I get it. The city itself has about 2.8 million people, making it about the size of Chicago. But in Chicago, you can feel the congestion. You can feel the traffic. You can see the people. You are able to experience that feeling of being in a big city. Dubai's roads were mostly empty, with traffic only in some streets. In terms of the people, I knew coming into the city that the migrant worker population was big in Dubai, with most of them living in very poor conditions. And perhaps that's why being in downtown I was not able to see the reality that was perhaps deliberately hidden to tourists to save face. BUT that still doesn't change the fact that I felt like I was in a small town with big buildings, albeit the buildings and structures were amazing marvels, but this city felt empty in more ways than I care to explain. After the short tour of Dubai, most of our layover was spent in the hotel that was located inside the airport. While our layover in Dubai was about 18 hrs, we saw everything we needed to see in a span of 5 hours. 




CONCLUSION:

After reading, some of you might have second thoughts about visiting Dubai. And to that I would say, go anyway, if for no other reason other than saying "I went there! I saw it!" And of course a magnet to put on your refrigerator. Dubai is a city like no other, sprouted from the desert out of nothingness. Again, the wonders of oil wealth. But make sure your flight does not end in Dubai but rather Dubai is just a layover destination, one that is prolonged for at least 12 hours or more. And when you get back home, you will happily be able to say that you got a 2-for-1 deal. Safe Travels!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Social Consciousness...

Marx advances this analysis under the rubric false consciousness. How people think about the past is an important part of their consciousness. If members of the elite come to think that their privilege was historically justified and earned, it will be hard to persuade them to yield opportunity to others. If members of deprived groups come to think that their deprivation is their own fault, then there will be no need to use force or violence to keep them in their places.

---James W. Loewen, LIES MY TEACHER TOLD ME

Friday, January 11, 2013

Hypothetical Architect

When I was in my teenage years, my only dream was to become an architect. However, I was rudely awaken when I realized that I was not up to par in my Algebra and Geometry courses. As a matter of fact, I was less than "comfortable" with Math in general. It was the subject in which I struggled the most with throughout my high school years. In other words, my hopes of ever becoming an architect were quickly flushed down the toilet. However, the dream that could have been a reality still exists within the realm of my artwork, mostly in my sketchbooks which are filled with imaginary structures, buildings, cities. In the meantime, enjoy one which I sketched on Monday, Jan 7th and was inspired by my recent visit to St. Louis, Missouri, USA. Please click on the picture to get a larger view.


Friday, December 21, 2012

Operation: Mayan Apocalypse 2012

According to "knowledgeable" people who deemed themselves experts on the meaning of the contents of the ancient Mayan Calendar, today (December 21, 2012) is when our beloved planet ceases to exist. Our beloved human race is allegedly scheduled to become extinct effective 5 am (who knows what time zone). By the time I post this blog, it will be 4:43 am Eastern North American time and 10:43 pm in New Zealand. Mind you, their 5 o'clock hour has expired on both am and pm standards. The Apocalypse enthusiasts might just be disappointed today, as they were on May 27, 2012, October 21, 2011, and the most famous date prior to today, January 1, 2000 (the Y2K Apocalypse). This 5 o'clock time frame has expired for all continents except North America and South America. 

I guess this becomes just another one of those days where we all sit back, sip on our ice cold drinks, and are reminded that "those who stand for nothing, fall for anything." I am comforted by my Abba's word rather than the random rants of the people of this world. Matthew 24:36 states: But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only. A simple answer to a simple question answered by a mighty God. Have a great day everyone!!!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

The Northeast Megalopolis

I have always been amazed by the people and cultures of different cities in the world. But you don't have to get a travel visa to see different cultures in different cities if you live in the Northeastern part of the United States. I have always found it amazing how a one hour drive can make a load of difference in culture. Now before we get into this, let us define the term "Megalopolis". According to Merriam-Webster, a Megalopolis is 'a thickly populated region centering in a metropolis or embracing several metropolises.' I have found that the Northeast Megalopolis is the perfect example of this phenom.

I live right outside the city of Washington, DC in the nearby Maryland suburbs. If I decide to drive 45 minutes to the northeast, I run into the city of Baltimore, a former industrial city on one of the most important bays in the United States, the Chesapeake. This city, although only 45 minutes from DC is culturally, environmentally, and economically different from DC. But if I decide to drive 1 hour and 30 minutes to the northeast, I run into Wilmington, Delaware which happens to be the largest city in the state. However, in comparison the population and feel of most major East Coast cities, it is merely a big town. It is apart of the Delaware Valley Metropolitan Area in which the principle (largest) city is Philadelphia, PA. This city is only 25-30 minutes from Wilmington. I have to say that Philly is one of my favorite cities. It is a very large city of 1.5 million people and scenic with its many city fountains, its exceptional downtown (city centre) area, and the famous Art Museum, in which Rocky Balboa did his famous morning exercise routine. I just simply LOVE Philly.

1 hour and 30 minutes to the northeast of Philadelphia, you run into the city of all cities...the concrete jungle...a city of 8 million people within city limits and a metropolitan population of over 22 million people, New York City is a world class city. I am not much a fan of the crowded environment, but NYC is a marvel once visited and it amazes me every single time I do visit. From the Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building, United Nations, Central Park, and many more attractions, it is a city to be reckoned with. Maybe that's why New Yorkers have such a huge ego, and some might say that they have that right. Last but not least, drive 4 hours to the northeast and you come into another world class academia city known as Boston, located in the state of Massachusetts. Higher Learning Institutions such as MIT, Harvard, and Tufts Universities call Boston and surrounding areas home. Within the Northeast Megalopolis, Boston is the farthest from any of the previously mentioned cities by car. Boston is the only city within the Northeast Megalopolis that I have not visited yet, but am definitely planning on visiting in the near future.

In conclusion, all these cities are no farther than 4 hours from each other and an average of 2 hours from each other with some closer to each other than that. Some much smaller cities in the area which are apart of the Megalopolis are Annapolis, MD, Camden, NJ, Trenton, NJ, Atlantic City, NJ, Dover, DE, Hartford, CT, New Haven, CT, Providence, RI, Montpelier, VT, and Newark, NJ. There are some more smaller cities that won't be mentioned. The whole megalopolis boasts a population of nearly 45 million people. Of course as the traveler that I am, this is all amazing and interesting information that makes me want to travel even more to explore more parts of the United States and the rest of the world. What amazing place have you visited lately or in the past? Tell me about it in the comments below.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Photoblog 2: Lafayette Square/Park--Washington, DC

Between the 40 hours I give to TransAfrica Forum a week, I occassionally take my lunch break outside the building I work in. It is a very beautiful park and a soothing place to relax while on break. The park is a 2 minute walk from my TransAfrica Forum and it is located right behind the White House.

 The intersection of 16th and H street Northwest.
 The building in which I work.
 TransAfrica (5th floor)
 Inside the building
 TransAfrica Forum1
 TransAfrica Forum2
 Lafayette Park and White House
 Lafayette Park and H Street
 Lafayette Park1
 Lafayette Park2
 Lafayette Park and White House
 Tourists gathered around President Obama's residence
 People enjoying the weather at Lafayette Park
Lafayette Park and H Street