I consider my trip to Cuba in December 2008 to be the beginning of my transformation as an individual. Since then, I have seen myself grow to heights not seen by many yet what I’m proud of the most is how much I have grown on a spiritual level. There are many people who like me, escaped the rat race and tore themselves away from the shackles of corporate slavery but that’s where their personal growth stopped. Don’t get me wrong – escaping a cage is an important first step as cage keeps physical body so preoccupied, it’s hard to put enough focus on spiritual growth. But what good is walking a free man going to do to you if your mind is still enslaved?
There are hardly any people alive today who would understand how much real power and enlightenment one collects on the way to real spiritual growth. On my travels, the type of people I seek the most are elders of native tribes for there is a great deal of wisdom behind every day of their lives and that type of knowledge cannot be gotten from books. Sadly, people of real wisdom are exceedingly difficult to find these days as money crept into their lives and with it came corruption of minds.
On my travels, I’m the only one who seeks out wisdom. I see so many people around, who like me escaped the rat race, but they travel to be able to make their Facebook friends jealous. That’s all they care about, that’s all they ever have on their minds. One day, when they’re of age and a new generation of rat race escapists takes their turn traveling around the world, none will seek them out to share their wisdom for there is no wisdom to be found in minds that are enslaved and don’t even know it.
It goes without saying that I was just as excited as the next guy when I quit work to travel. I honestly thought this was it, I thought achieving this was my ultimate success in life. And in all fairness, a huge success it had been. Luckily, though, all it took were a few months of my brand new life before I realized that my new found freedom was just the beginning.
Real freedom is not partial. Being free from rat race, but enslaved to gadgets, the internet and money is like pulling one’s head up from underground and thinking the grass you are seeing for the first time in your life is whole world at your feet. It sure is exciting being able to see all this grass and touch it with your bare hands, but if you let pride of making it to the surface blind you, you’ll fail to see all that lays further afield. For you to see that, you’d have to keep sticking your head further and further up.
Compared to the multitude of difficult and challenging steps one needs to take in order to free their mind, an escape from corporate slavery which frees one’s body is as easy as farting in water. Yet albeit hard core, overcoming these challenges is very enlightening and empowering. It is a long and windy road with many roadblocks along the way, but you’ll experience spiritual growth with each single step forward. And what does experiencing spiritual growth feels like, you ask? Well, it feels like having a super orgasm you’re not faking.
Isn’t it astounding that money can buy you health, attention, power and many other material and immaterial things? Virtually anything your heart desires, regardless of who you are as a person, can be had if you have money? You could be the most unworthy person in the world, but if you have money, there are few limits as to what you can or cannot have. Similarly, there are some incredibly smart people out there but their ideas never come to be because they simply never had money to realize them.
Money is Divine
Have you ever noticed how many similarities there are between money and God?
Like God, money is everywhere
Like God, money is in everything
All things come from money, as they come from God
All things return to money, as they return to God
and As with God, if money abandons a person, they are faced with a demise
Whether you believe in God or not is irrelevant. Just replace word “God” with your favourite divinity and the message will be the same. And as for the last point – it is not only persons that can face fast demise when they’re out of money. Companies, cities, even whole countries can collapse just the same if they have no money.
A company – for instance – could be perfectly capable of delivering a worthy product or service, they could have the equipment needed to run their operations and people capable of doing the job, but if there is no money, the company will quickly go under. Even if many of the material and immaterial conditions are met (such as skill and knowledge to perform the job are acquired, necessary equipment and man power are available), for as long as the company has no money, they are headed for a fast bankruptcy. And on the other hand – even if a company has absolutely no skills, knowledge or experience to perform the job, nor does it have the equipment nor manpower – it can still do just fine for as long as it has the money.
I’m sure that each one of you reading this knows a person who is running a successful and profitable business because they had such financial backup, they could get anything they desired going. And I’m sure you also know a person who is really good at something and could do very well, but can’t get off the ground because they’re stuck struggling to meet their basic survival needs. How are you supposed to establish yourself if you haven’t had anything to eat for days and can’t find a place to get a good night’s rest in?
It’s that one thing called money – which is often immaterial (nothing but pieces of data on the computers or credit card chips) – that can make you or break you. It doesn’t matter where you stand with everything else – if you have money, you can finance your company’s path to success, but if you have none, even if you have some individual, unique qualities, you may never even get a chance to start.
Another unique property of money is that a man never seems to have enough of it and his/her desire to have more never ceases or diminishes regardless of how much or how little he/she has already amassed. There is hardly any other thing in our lives that would have quite comparable effect on people. It’s possible to get fed up with anything, but money. Even quality sex or Belgian chocolate – if you have too much of it, you’re gonna desire a break, but it never seems to be the case with money. Even a billionaire, a person who can buy anything in this world, would still desire to have more. Just what more could more money get him or her? There could be nothing, yet the desire to continue amassing more money not only never stops, it seems to grow.
No Community Spirit
It is the curse of pleasing others – the insatiable desire to satisfy external impulses, such as social acceptance or status even if it defects our internal needs, which systematically robs the modern generation of women and men off true community spirit. We satisfy our greed by responding to what external sources demand of us. But if you look deep down into the root cause of this phenomenon and compare it with societies where community spirit still reigns strong, you’ll come to realize that it’s money that’s behind this all. Somebody does something for you, you pay them and the transaction is closed. No emotional bonds are created in this type of exchange, only business bonds and business is a dog eat dog world fuelled by greed and ruled by money.
Whereas in a world without money, a world where community spirit still exists – such as in uncontacted rainforest tribes – if you get injured and must stay at home to recover for a few days, hunters will go hunting and gatherers gathering wild edibles and water to have enough food for whole community to eat, including you. Needless to say, when you get better and are able to go hunting yourself, you will dedicate your last breath to ensuring that you return to the settlement with enough food to feed everyone.
That’s the way it goes in real communities, in communities not fuelled by greed and run by money. Hunters don’t just hunt for food to feed themselves and their immediate family. They hunt for everyone. Similarly, gatherers don’t just gather for themselves and their families, bakers don’t just bake for themselves and their families and weavers don’t just weave baskets to trade with other tribes so their own family gets something in return. They do it for the entire community and at the end of the day, the entire community comes together to celebrate another day of life.
This does not exist in the world ruled by greed and run by money. In this world, people lost connection with their deep selves and the community by trading it for selfishness. They all want their house to be bigger than their neighbours’, their car to be shinier than their coworkers’, their body leaner than their friends’ and their connections more influential than anyone else’s. They are obsessed with celebrities because celebrities embody what they desire. They have those big houses, fast cars, pearl whites and prime time mentions on TV. And if you do see anyone “involved in the community”, it is only and solely because they counted on you watching and believed it is a necessary step to take them to their ultimate destination of having a bigger house, faster car, sexier body and broader fame. Blood donors take every opportunity to let others know how many times they’ve given blood, pro bono lawyers love posing with community spirits awards for the newspapers, companies and celebrities donate to affected areas under condition that it is made publically known and the list goes on and on and on.
This in a sense is a natural evolution as introduction of money into any community, even a community with strong community spirit, will eventually destroy that community spirit, simply because if you have money, you don’t need community. If no one from the community wants to help you, you can simply pay somebody else who will. In moneyless communities, there is no room for selfishness. In communities dominated by money, it’s all about selfishness.
Difference Between Having and Giving
The most significant difference between people who live in the world ruled by greed and run by money and people who live in the world ruled by the community spirit is that in the former – the more you have, the more respected you are, whereas in the latter, the more you give, the more respected you are.
In the world ruled by greed and run by money, if you are a wealthy businessman, you likely have powerful connections, have politicians for friends, police chiefs for friends, judges for friends, doctors for friends – you are plain and simple respected as a well accomplished person, even if you’re selfish and evil-at-heart. Whereas if you are poor, you get labelled a nuisance, a bottom feeder, a scum, a filth, a nobody – even if you are a good person who would not hesitate to help another.
In a world ruled by the community spirit, on the other hand, you are the most respected if you are a hunter capable of catching more animals than anyone else – so you can give the community more food, or if you have the ability to heal others – so you can help keep the community healthy, or if you have the skill to paint – so you can immortalize the daily life of the tribe on the walls of the caves – in a world like that, people don’t strive to have more, but to give more because the more you give, the more respect you get and it will be naturally returned to you in the same abundance when you no longer have the ability to keep giving. This is the way it used to be among humans for millennia. Even if you rewound as little back as 150 years, you’d still find this type of community spirit going strong and people gaining respect by how much they gave, not how much they amassed.
There is a pretty good kicker to it – people who dedicate their lives to accumulating financial wealth are gonna lose it all one way or another. Both experts and non experts alike predict a collapse of the financial system as we know it, but even if none of the financial doomsday prophecies were to take place, each of us will eventually perish. We the people are finite. Your money may outlive you, but once you have passed on, all of your investments, all of your bank accounts – every last penny will be worthless to you. You can’t take any of the material things you’ve accumulated with you once you leave the world of the living and your respect aka social status that your wealth has given you will perish with you. The one thing that stays is the memory of those who gave so much while they were alive so it became worthy of remembering.
Money Is Evil
So what is money? The notion that the love of money is the root of all evil has been with us for a very long time. People kill for money, abandon their morals for money and sacrifice their loved ones for money. Governments wage wars on other governments in order to gain control of their land, natural resources and trading routes because that will bring them more money.
From the above it would seem pretty obvious that money is evil as there is no other force in the world which would make people do such vile things to one another. Yet money is a tool which helps us do more, have more and be more. But as is the case with other tools, they have the power to be our tools or to turn us into tools. Money is ultimately not the root of all evil, it is the love of money that’s behind the actions of evildoers.
People Are Weak
Money is not the first tool with capability to turn people into tools. Internet, one of the finest inventions and the most powerful tools to date is also one of the most powerful tools that turns people into tools. So I guess the problem truly is in the fact that we as people are week and allow the tools which have the power to make our lives easier, richer and more fulfilling, to turn us into their tools and obsess over them to a point of insanity. I mean – look at Facebook users to see what tools can a useful tool turn people in.
Let me say it again: people are weak. I’m one of the people, therefore I’m weak. Money can corrupt me just as easily as it can corrupt anyone else. I don’t want to be corrupted. Therefore I choose life without money. I choose life without tools that turn me into tools. Leaving the corporate lifestyle cage behind was easy. Setting myself free from cute little gadgets was much more difficult. Yet both of these combined were nothing compared to the clutches of the internet, especially since internet was my bread and butter. However I knew I would never be really free if I were a slave to any of it. Slavery, regardless of whether it’s self imposed and realized or not, is still just that – a slavery.
It takes extraordinary aptitude to awaken into such self-realization. It takes even more to successfully carry it out. The trick is – an accomplishment of such magnitude puts one face to face with his final challenge; a challenge that tramples them all seven fold – freedom from money. Can a 21st century man, a man like everyone else born in this day and age, a man who lived every day of his life understanding that money is an inseparable part of everyone’s life – can he raise above and unslave himself from the almighty force of money? I’m about to find out.
Before I embarked on my long journey around the world, I used to go to that gothic club in downtown Edmonton. Being a gothic club, it was frequented by the most open-minded and tolerant people in the city. Because gothic people accept others for who they are without prejudices, everyone was able to come out of the closet regardless of how culturally questionable their kink was. Needless to say, the club was popular with gay people, cross dressers, transsexuals and practitioners of countless alternative lifestyles because whether one liked dressing up in a medieval armour, wearing weird flashy hair extensions or being on a leash, this club was the one place where they were never judged and never had their ways of expressing themselves questioned. It was also the only club in the city which wasn’t plagued by regular acts of violence.
Having been in a sub/dom relationship myself, I had a firsthand experience with BDSM and everything that comes with it. Contrary to popular belief, words cannot describe how emotionally empowering BDSM relationships are. The amount of trust and responsibility common among partners living in a sub/dom relationship is not easily found among people who deem the BDSM lifestyle repulsive or unappealing.
But this is not the topic of this article. Instead, what I want to bring up is an interesting phenomenon that sub/dom relationships reveal to a keen eye. I have never met another person who would notice and realize this phenomenon so I gave it the name of my own and called it “The BDSM Effect“.
The BDSM Effect
Healthy BDSM relationships are consensual expressions of love that involve dominance of one partner over another. They are based on the fact that the dominant partner (aka Master) draws as much pleasure from dominating someone as the submissive partner (aka Slave) draws from being dominated. But who really is the slave?
While there is no denying that Masters enjoy every bit of being in control of their slaves, they do it because they know their slaves draw immense pleasure from it. Even though they are masters of the play, the very purpose of their dominance is to please the slave. They are – even though it appears to be the other way around – servants of their slaves, doing everything they can to drive their slaves up the wall with ecstasy.
The BDSM Effect vs The Internet
I have written a lot lately about the internet and the danger this tool represents for weak-minded individuals when it stops being a tool and starts being an addiction. I believe that the above described BDSM effect, which nobody else seems to notice, is a perfect method to explain the fine line between using the internet to serve you and being under its spell.
In BDSM relationships you find a master and his/her slave. To the master, as well as (almost) everybody else who would look at the two, it would be unquestionably clear that the master has everything, especially the slave under his/her control. In a user/internet relationship it would likewise unquestionably seem that the user is in full control of his/her tool, but just because something seems unquestionably one way, it doesn’t mean it’s not the other way around, we just fail to see what really is going on under that obvious surface. That’s the BDSM Effect for you!
Shortly after I started this blog, as soon as I commenced my round the world trip, I realized that every info you can find about travel through third world countries on the internet as well as in popular travel publications is wrong. As if written by dim-witted imbeciles, every single travel guide in existence had dangerously misleading information, picturing travel as a positive and uplifting experience that involves encounters with friendly and hospitable locals and introduces cultures which despite poverty and threats of oppression always embrace peace and generously give even if they don’t have enough for themselves. What a crock of shit.
Because no realistic travel guides existed, the only thing people traveling abroad had to work with were these piles of whale poop. As a result, charts of people murdered, robbed, raped, scammed and otherwise abused abroad continued to grow exponentially. Yet instead of smacking themselves over their heads with a rock, these sickly deranged blockheads continued to spread their falsity while circle jerking one another all the while people out there were being mistreated having wandered ill-informed into the realm of inherent crime.
Enter Traveling Mark
Seeing all the misleading information the world of travel was oversaturated with, I stepped in and started sharing the full picture. If there was anything positive to share about the place I visited, I shared it, but if there was something negative, I shared it just as well. I told it like it was, delivering the full story without ever skimping on truth. I also never softened things up – if someone was a rip off artist, I called them a rip off artist, not a misunderstood individual who’s had challenging life and is struggling to find his place in the world.
You’d think the world would come together to thank the first ever writer of full truth about the world of travel, but the world remained silent. It remained silent because of fear of those who made themselves heard loud and clear right away – the very dim-witted imbeciles who wrote all those misleading half-truths on travel blogs and in tourist guides prior to induction of Traveling Mark.
Like a mob of gangsters standing by to “take care” of anyone and everyone who messes with their “business”, these loud-mouthed, dim-witted deluders showed me instantly why there is a complete lack of truthful travel guides and why no one dares to speak in favor of one. The slew of hate speech and threats was alarming but I stayed true to my cause and remained adamant to provide truthful information even if it meant going alone against the entire world.
What happened next was astounding. One by one, the bloggers who attempted the same truth telling but were trampled shut by half-truthers’ army of sheep started to re-emerged and contacted me with letters of admiration that I survived the lynching by the dim-witted imbeciles and not only that – showed them all a finger and came out on top. The momentum I created resulted in an unstoppable boom of full truth sharing travel blogs which ultimately shut the dim-witters down. They’re still used to yapping their loud mouth at anyone who doesn’t abide by their rules and have their own sheep circle-jerk one another as they gang up on non-compliers, but their undisturbed and unchallenged reign is over and done with.
The Half Truther Army
My path to victory wasn’t an easy one, though. I didn’t give in to the sheep for one second, yet it puzzled me beyond words how well manned the half-truther army was. Among them you could also find individuals who seemed otherwise reasonably capable so why would they trade their wits for half truths? Why would they not share the whole truth having had the capability to see it? And why would they not only fail to share the whole truth, but fight to their last breath on behalf of dim-witted half truthers as if theirs was the law? This were the questions I kept asking myself for the longest time until bit by bit, the complete picture started to come together.
Fear of Reality
How much many travelers suffer from the Fear of Reality became clear early on. It is definitely one of the chief factors influencing the weak minded individuals even if their intelligence level is otherwise pretty solid. It takes an exceptionally strong person to handle the truth so walking around with rose-tinted sunglasses permanently mounted on a face is a simple alternative that allows one to retain their false sense of security their weak minds can’t otherwise live without.
As with virtually everything that dumbs people down, those who suffer from Fear of Reality can’t see its effect on them and think they are entirely immune to it. The denial and inbred belief that they are completely above it makes them more susceptible to attacks on anyone who dares to point it out. From there, there’s just a small step to attacking anyone whose view of the world is unmarred by presentation of false colors, such as that of people with rose-tinted sunglasses.
Another significant factor that dooms otherwise seemingly capable individuals into a life of a half truthing sheep is a severe lack of ability to actually see the full truth. Those who base their living on taking advantage of others mastered the art of presenting obstacles before the eyes of their chosen victims in order to make their scam appear legit.
That’s why even an otherwise intelligent and educated person can become an easy victim of a scammer and come home believing that that missing money was his own fault though he doesn’t remember where exactly he misplaced it and will continue perceiving the perpetrator as his friend and someone who actually helped him. The victim would also go as far as to attack anyone who attempts to fill him in by clarifying that he was scammed.
Again, as with everything else that dumbs people down, this inability to read between the lines to see things for what they really are is something nobody who suffers from it would admit to willingly. This one more than anything, actually. People who suffer from this shortcoming, regardless of how otherwise intelligent and educated they may be, are so dumbed down they will take scammers’ lie for their own and will defend it at any cost. Typical thinking would go something like this: “The person smiled, hence he cannot be a scammer and anyone who dares to say something negative about him will have me on their ass.”
The Facebook sheep who travel and blog about travel don’t travel for the sake of travelling, but to broadcast their travel to all their friends. All they ever have on their mind is Facebook and the first thing they do when they get back from a trip outside is to get on their Facebook to post updates.
They don’t really interact with locals – they talk to them to get something that would make a good blog. They don’t really go to see a sunset – they take a picture of it for a better update than their friends made. They don’t really sample food – they merely mark the dish’s name so they can post about it.
Facebook sheep plain and simple travel to broadcast their travel on Facebook. They always think of that next Facebook update and of what picture to take to go with it. With their mind always on Facebook, they’re never really fully present in the moment so there really is no surprise that they don’t see the full truth. They only see that which makes the most interesting update for Facebook.
Being humans, we are not very good multi-taskers. Each of us likes to think that we can multitask, but every scientific and social experiment into it proved otherwise. Can you really blame a Facebook sheep for falling short of their travel experience with many things going unnoticed when their mind is focused on shooting a video that will make it on their next post? You truly can’t because it’s a natural human shortcoming but why do these Facebook sheep then insist on arguing with sane individuals who had the same experience but their mind was not on Facebook hence they got full picture of the reality?
Living For the Herd
One of the most influential downfalls of many, not just the travel half truthers is the curse of pleasing others. The sheep live for the herd. In travelers’ case – they don’t travel for the sake of traveling but for the sake of positive press. They want to be coveted by their Facebook friends so they limit their experience to interactions and reports that deliver the thumbs-ups.
It is understandable that because the herd of sheep composed of dim-witted imbeciles and their brown-nosing followers without brain is huge and easily capable of trumping anyone who separates themselves from the herd by being able to think for themselves, most people will volunteer to becoming a sheep because that gives them an approval of the herd.
Whereas the capability to think outside the box and rise high above the ground to see the forest for the trees (see the How High Can You Fly section above) is seen as outcast-ish by the herd, those who demonstrate the ability to think independently are frowned upon and ultimately singled out and victimized. Because nobody wants to feel singled out and victimized, people will sacrifice their individuality to become the respected sheep of the herd. Whether what they think and how they act is right or wrong becomes irrelevant and renounced in favor of whether what they think and how they act is favored by the herd.
The dedication to please the herd before anything else is one of the most dominant characteristic of vast majority of individuals alive today. As such, this characteristic, moreso than any other, would never be admitted to by anyone who suffers from it and is entirely addicted to it.
So eventually, bit after bit, the entire picture of why people, including those who seem to be otherwise mentally capable of thinking for themselves are so determined to pass on the half truths about the world of travel came together. They are the Facebook addicted sheep who fear reality and lack the capacity to see forest for the trees. But most of all, they live for the herd.
There are basically two types of people in the world today:
Sheep feel safe and secure being part of the herd. They abandoned their individuality and modified their thoughts and actions to match those approved by the herd. Like children following the Pied Piper into their doom, the sheep will jump into a well if other sheep of the herd do it too. And if someone were to come along to tell them that they’d be stupid to jump into the well for they would needlessly drown, they’d respond by attacking said individual and backed by the rest of their herd, they’d trample the individual for his nerve to think for himself and speaking in opposition to the herd.
The sheep are many, whereas the individuals are usually alone. That’s why many otherwise capable thinkers succumb to pressure and become one with the herd and start acting sheepish. If one sheep takes a step to the left, all other sheep take a step to the left. If one sheep bleeps, all other sheep bleep. To say something that’s not sheepish when sheep are around would get the whole herd bleeping and that’s pretty much guaranteed to shut any innovator up.
If you do as the sheep do, you’ll gain their respect so next time, if it’s you who bleeps first, all other sheep will bleep in unison with you. If you don’t do as the sheep do and dare to think for yourself, the sheep will bleep in unison against you, calling you a freak and forcing you into becoming a loner.
As for me – I’d rather be alone than become a sheep. I can look in the mirror and not see a puppet. And that is more important to me than all the bleep fanfare in the world.
While I was chatting it away at Banteay Kdei temple as part of my break from the sun, something happened that made me break my #1 rule of not supporting the culture of handouts. Saly, Sarein and Kai kept sharing stories of the village life with me when loudish, argument like screaming came out of the temple gate and one little girl walked out of there in tears.
I’ve had many children approach me with fake tears during the course of my stay in Cambodia, but this one was different. This girl was not faking it to trick anyone into giving her money, this girl was sincerely hurting. Everyone, including Saly, Sarein and Kai as well as everyone else who was around completely ignored the child as if it was nobody else’s, but her own business to get over it.
I was appalled and wanted to at least know the reason why she was crying so I could attempt to make her feel better. Everybody was telling me that it was nothing and that she’d be over it right away but I wanted her to tell me what it was that made her cry so much. Through endless sobbing, she eventually let me know that one of the other child slaves managed to make a foreigner buy postcards from her, a foreigner whom, as she said, she was the first to talk to.
Child slaves who are summoned by their parents to bother tourists at Angkor Temples are instructed to say certain things that are proven to maximize their chances of selling. Because foreigners are accosted on every step of their way at Angkor, they impulsively reject every attempt at being sold something as they would have had a million and one chances to buy the same stuff from hundreds of previous touts they were jumped by along the way so far, if they had any intention to own any of the junk.
Common responses to impulsive rejection include the “Where Are You From?” question the purpose of which is to get the foreigner engaged in a conversation so they eventually feel connection with the tout and agree to buying something because of that. If that fails and there is no stopping the foreigner from exiting the territory in which the touts is allowed to operate, the touts will utilize the last resort phrase by saying something like: “I’ll wait for you on your way back, OK? When you come back you buy from me!”
This is obviously what the heartbroken girl told the tourist as he was walking inside the temple where she was not allowed to harass anyone, but then when he was walking outside and already had his set of postcards purchased from some other tout, she felt betrayed by whoever the successful tout was and that made her cry and get in an argument with that other girl.
It felt as though the sale of that pack of postcards was a “must happen” for her that day. Perhaps she was threatened by her parents who control her that if she doesn’t sell anything today, she would not get anything to eat or worse. Why otherwise would a 7 year old girl cry like that over an unsuccessful sale? Whatever the reason, it didn’t matter to me at the time. I was right there and at that very moment there was one devastated little girl who was this close to making one sale but someone else ended up with the score.
Sadly, Cambodians draw great pleasure from other people’s suffering. Nothing makes them happier than seeing someone else get in a tight spot. Everyone around, especially the other little girl touts were laughing their asses off and so were the rest of the locals who were nearby. I found this behaviour absolutely atrocious and because there is no stopping of Cambodians who have themselves a good time because they see someone else suffer, I told the girl to follow me so I could withdraw her from this abuse and mockery.
I walked with her across the road where shops are lined up and told her that I would buy that pack of postcards from her. I had no need for any of her postcards – as a matter of fact, I could not possibly consider buying anything as when you are on the road for a long time, wasting money on useless junk is not a smart option but most of all – there is only so much room you have in your backpack and even if you stick with mere necessities, hauling it around on your back over and over will make you understand that you’re not gonna add to it unless it’s really important.
There was absolutely nothing any of the relentless touts could possibly say to make me buy anything from them. Yet in this very moment, all of my personal reasons and beliefs dwindled aside and gave way to making the difference in a life of one single person. The pack of 10 postcards she was trying to sell was of absolutely no use to me. But the one dollar she would make would mean everything to her.
Unfortunately, I didn’t have any one dollar bills on me so I took a five dollar bill to Saly and asked her if she could break it for me so I can buy the postcards from that little girl. And Saly did exactly what I should have expected – she took my money and came back with two one dollar bills and a Bayon t-shirt she said was worth $3 and I had just bought it. Well damn!
The premise of not buying anything you don’t need when you’re on the road is a big one. If I were to buy a t-shirt from every place I visit, I’d quickly need another backpack. This was simply not an option. I had just enough t-shirts to get by and the only way I’d buy a new one would be if I needed to replace one I had worn out. I wash my clothes by hand and wear them in all imaginable situations, including crazy adventures so when a piece of garment wears out, then I’ll buy a new one – to replace it, but not until there is such need.
Saly made a decision for me about this t-shirt, though. I ended up with a t-shirt I didn’t even like and a set of 10 postcards I had nobody to send to (I live in a digital age. Old school snail mail is not for me. Instead of postcards, I send my family and friends digital pictures I took via email). But that’s what I get for making friends with touts.
I wasn’t mad though. I ended up with more junk to haul around, but I thought it turned out being a wonderful day so in the end, it was all worth it. I didn’t want the t-shirt so I donated it right away and the postcards – yeah, I actually did haul them around until my return back to Canada in December.
I had to face a lot of rage from other child touts after the purchase of those postcards, though. Each of them wanted me to buy from them and I gave each of them a firm “No” so when they found out I had eventually bought the postcards despite previous claims that I couldn’t buy any, it gave them the reason to blame me. Honour is not a virtue that’s commonly found in Cambodia. Touts are used to lying – they’ve been lying every day of their lives since they could talk. Expecting any form of honour from a person whose life is based on lies would be foolish. As a result, any villager I didn’t buy from would treat me as an unwanted intruder during my 2 months long stay in the village.
I had it all clear in my mind. I knew this was it for me and my lifestyle of a corporate slave. Everything came nicely together, I had not a slightest doubt that spending whole life in servitude so I can enjoy myself when I’m 65 was an awful lifestyle choice. The challenge I was facing now was to choose the best place to start my worldwide travels. It was a challenge, but it was one I was happy to face because it provided me with the most amazing feeling, the feeling of freedom and independence.
For the first time in almost ten years I felt like it was me who’s in charge of my own life. Nobody had absolutely no say about my next step. It was going to be my unconditional choice. How awesome is that? This true freedom of choice opened up my eyes to accept new horizons and I’ve realized that I spent near a decade of my life living conrtolled by somebody else. I had to get up when the alarm clock went off, not when I felt like, I had to go to the office regardless of how beautiful a day it was outside, even though I’d much rather spend it by the lake, I could ask for a vacation but had to do it with advance notice and only had so many days I could use – everything in my life was being determined by someone else, not me.
And here I found myself with firm grip on my own life, independent and free, no longer the property of my employer, my government, my family or anyone else. There was just me and my goals. I was choosing directions, I was choosing speed, I was choosing terms of service.
By becoming a corporate slave you give away your independence and freedom almost entirely. While I was employed, I wasn’t the person I was dreaming to be. I was the tool of my employer. I was there to take orders and deliver the product as per the requirements. The value of my life was given a price tag. I did what I was told so I could collect the paycheck and spend it according to the current community standards. There was no real freedom or independence in my life. My purpose as a corporate slave was to please my masters – the employer. Being a corporate slave, I obediently obliged which is what slaves do to avoid being punished. Corporate slaves, same as normal slaves in its true meaning live their lives in fear. The fear of being punished by being fired, or otherwise put into an undesirable situation.
The actual difference between a slave and a corporate slave is that corporate slaves have their minds locked up, not their bodies. Even though physically imprisoned, actual slaves were provided with food and shelter – corporate slave must provide their own shelter and their own food out of after-tax money they receive in exchange for their obedience. Unlike an actual slave, a corporate slave who loses his shelter must still come to work and follow his/her orders or else he/she could be punished.
The saddest part is that corporate slaves not only lead themselves into this imprisonment, they even ask and strive for it. Their life’s joy is provided by the reality shows on TV. And so their whole life becomes a rat race. They work during the best days of their lives, get taxed and whatever they’re left with is spent on things. The culture of consumerism controls their spendings by keeping them on high through advertising and media exposure.
Most corporate slaves are voluntary prisoners. It is not possible to lock someone up in a cage physically nowadays so setting oneself free is a matter of choice. However, most people will stick with slavery and turn independence and freedom their backs. Cage is the world they are familiar with. Walking out could be risky. And so they spend their lives instead of living them and will die without realizing how much they could have accomplished in life.
It is hard for me to hold it against anyone. I was exactly like that only a few months back. However, I’ve allowed myself to step back and look at the bigger picture from the distance. And when the first glimpse of bigger picture has offered itself, I have followed it to see what the rest of it is all about. I have not stopped until I got clear idea about what the world outside of the cage looked like. Like other corporate slave, back then I felt comfortable in a cage too. It wasn’t the life I would have wanted for myself, but there were forms of security in place that kept me inside. World out there could be dangerous – at least that’s what the media says. Staying inside of the cage offers some protection from this wild, wild world. And if you do what they say, there will always be a place for you in a cage.
I walked out. I dared. I exposed myself to the fresh air and the sound of the ocean. I felt the touch of independence, felt the touch of freedom and chose to soar on my own wings. I can go as high as I wish, take a turn whenever I see fit because it’s me who holds the reins. And this time around I’m not letting go easily. I’ve done it once and it cost me 10 years of my life. I know what I want and I’m gonna take it. My life belongs to me so from now on, I’m rowing my own canoe.
I do realize that freedom and independence come with responsibility. There will be no one to make decisions for me, now one to blame. But I’m ready and willing to accept this responsibility. It will be like the old days when I lived on my own terms. I’m back to my old me and I’m ready to kick ass. My first task as a free and independent man is to choose my first destination where to start my travels. It’s gonna be awesome.
As I gave it to the pressure from my family to quit being a wandering bum and get a job, I started to change. I did not realize that, as it was a slow-moving process, but gradually, bit by bit my mind was getting twisted by the corporate bs. I have fallen into the lifestyle of a working class slave who voluntarily participates in repetition of his day to day tasks. I did as I was told, I collected my wage, I paid my bills and repeated the cycle over and over again. Every now and again I would meet with my buddies over a beer, we’d have some laughs and do something cool, but overall I was a working class man who turned himself into a slave for the best part of the week so I could collect the pay at the end of the month and exchange it for things. The lifestyle of excitement has dwindled away, the lifestyle of collecting possessions took over.
Of course you don’t see it that way when you’re stuck inside that corporate cycle. I didn’t see it that way until a decade later, when I had a personal awakening and got a chance to look at my past 10 years from a distance. Deep inside I felt that something wasn’t right, but I couldn’t find a name for it and opted for denial instead. There were signs all around me, but I chose to ignore them. I know what kind of toll this lifestyle took on me. I was aware of that fact that I’m miserable and grumpy all the time and that I treat everyone like crap, even though I never used to be that way. I didn’t know why I started acting that way, but instead of looking for answers, I blamed everyone else. It was all their fault, everybody is in my way, everybody wants to take advantage of me, everybody is there to piss me off. That’s who you turn into if you take away excitement from your life and focus on a lifestyle based on possessions. Corporate madness will change you so you won’t even recognize yourself.
The further ahead you get, the more possessions you accumulate, the more you get yourself locked in place and dependent on possessions you bought. If you finance a car, you have years of payment ahead of yourself you can’t escape. If you take a mortgage to buy a house, you will sentence yourself to living in this town for a minimum of next few decades carrying the burden of debt. But the worst thing is – corporate lifestyle will wash you up so badly, you will believe in it. You will believe in the system and will see acquisition of each new possession as a step forward in your life. This gradual downturn will continue for as long as you see the light at the end of tunnel – retirement.
You will voluntarily allow yourself to become a corporate slave because of the vision that one day when you’re 60 or so, you will be able to reap benefits of your whole life’s hard work. You will see yourself with mortgage paid off, owning your cozy house with a nice car in a garage and grandchildren outside playing with your cat. You see this distant picture and it’s good enough to keep yourself voluntarily enslaved. The enslavement makes you grumpy and miserable, but you see possessions accumulating and you see the retirement coming closer, so you don’t give up.
I was exactly the same way and when I saw one of my colleagues retire, I thought she lead the perfect life.