Tag Archives: escape from America

Escapee guest post: Ken the Hipster escapes to Kyrgyzstan!

Ken, the hipster, is a recent coaching client who sought my advice to bring his “escape from America” dream to life! After a single session, Ken, who was born and lived all his life in New York, embarked on his first-ever trip outside the United States to experience Japan! He enjoyed it so much that upon his return, he immediately booked a flight to Kyrgyzstan (Kyrgyzstan is a rugged Central Asian country along the Silk Road, the ancient trade route between China and the Mediterranean) where he is now living out his dream life!

Readers of my own Jamaican in China blog know that I’ve written a few books to help people discover their passions, escape from America, and live a nomadpreneur lifestyle. So, I asked Ken which of my books was most instrumental in helping him escape!

Ken, replied,

[begin] “Hmm, This is a really tough question. I do not think there was one particular book/concept that inspired me more than another. ALL your books and concepts had great value in giving me the confidence in escaping the west. It was more like a combination of everything!

“However, if there were any books in particular that set me off to escape…..hmmm…… I probably would have to say there were two.

“The first one was certainly, Jamaican in China for a couple of reasons. Going to Asia has always been one of my number one destination goals. Back then, it didn’t matter which country it was as long it was East Asia (because at the time I was ignorant of the distinctions between South East and Central Asia). Although I did choose Japan as my number one destination, I was always still curious about China and maybe even Korea.” (Download my Jamaican China adventure in ebook form here)

“One powerful reason that your Jamaican in China inspired me so much is because it was a non-biased testimony of your experience while traveling there. It was one of the most authentic experiences I have ever read on the Internet. You talked about the friends you made, a little bit of your romance life, the different foods, HOW you traveled and got to places even though you did not speak the language, the different ways of life and much more. Your books and other articles about your experience in China and other parts of Asia, even today, are of much better quality than most other written works! There’s no similar story of what other people’s experience was like when they were in China or another Asian country that does not “tear down” that country. Many other writers resort to “fear validating” (meaning they validate what our news media and TV shows project on to us about other countries). Even those writers and travelers who may have enjoyed their experience abroad always have to have some sort of negative tone or exaggerate aspects of the culture to dissuade others from having a genuine interest in visiting that country.

“In every forum I read, there is always some sort of one sided bias about China. It’s always a rant, complaint, or whining about certain things that the writer doesn’t like and thus they will end up dissuading others from having genuine interests of visiting that place themselves.

“However, you had a very balanced experience in which you explained all aspects of life in a fair, just, unbiased way so that a reader can have a fair assessment and form his or her own opinion in the matter if they are interested in going there or not. I loved reading about your experience on how you made a lot of friends, how friendly people were, and most importantly the interpersonal relationships that is present in the relationships between people. It is the kind of story that many of those who are stuck in the US, can relate to and would love to experience what you did if they knew what kind of life one could live if they were able to read something that is bias filtered.

“(Living here for one week in Kyrgyzstan, I can say for one thing, that even though it is a different culture and a different ethnic group from China, although they look almost exactly the same as Han Chinese, my experience here almost parallels your JIC book and your blog posts/articles from Laos, Singapore and other places in Asia. For an example, people do indeed stare (out of curiosity), are very hospitable, very authentic, have shown me lots of support, friendly etc. In fact many people have even gone out of their way to introduce themselves just to shake my hand. I’ve had girls actually follow me around in a mall just to have the courage to ask me for a picture with them! It is almost like reading your book was reading some sort of prophecy about what I would experience in Asia. Hence the reason why I am now inspired to write my own book about my life in Kyrgyzstan)

Ken and friends in Kyrgyzstan!

“However, the book that I would say REALLY inspired me was certainly How to Become a Nomadpreneur. The reason most folks cannot travel most of the time is because we are employed. If we do not go to work, we lose our income. So, in order to experience the freedom to live freely anywhere in the world without being chained to an employer it is necessary to freelance or start your own business as an entrepreneur. That way you are free to go any where you want, set your own schedule and be free from being chained to one location. Having an instruction manual on HOW to find ways to make income without the good ol’ American Dream pathway, in going to school for a loooong time, being in debt and finding a “job”, is surely one of the best ways to find freedom.

Ken and more friends in Kyrgyzstan

“The thought of making an income, even if it is not much as what a white collar makes, while being independently located somewhere where you are FREE to dress how you like, eat when you like, work when you feel like, and so on, is the ultimate happiness I can certainly find while nomadpreneuring. Seeing the long list of ideas and plans that were described and explained in the book gave me reassurance that there had to be something I could do to make enough money to live on without wasting my life and years going to a prestigious school just to be chained to a another prison. While thinking about what my life would have been like if I stayed working a job and then comparing it to a livable income and living the way the Jamaican in China lives, I ended up saying “That does it!! I’m outta here!””

Hope that helps!

Ken, the Hipster
https://www.kenthehipster.com

p.s. the other two books that also helped influence my decision to escape were Masculinity 2.0, and Turn Your Passion Into Profit, for similar reasons above. [end]

 

Thanks, Ken, for sharing your experience and the value of my coaching and books! Let’s start a movement! If you, too, would like to “escape” from America (or any other place you feel trapped), and want to request some coaching help, visit www.passionprofit.com/coaching

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What I Learned from my Three Evictions


“On the day I returned home to find the sheriff’s eviction notice on my front door, I smiled. I smiled because I knew a secret…”

If you’re hoping that one of the lessons I learned by my third eviction is “how not to get evicted,” then you might be disappointed by what I have to share. However, what I did learn may be more valuable to you even if you’re not facing a similar situation.

Yes, in the process of transitioning from being an employee to being a full-time passionpreneur I was, in fact, evicted on three separate occasions from three separate apartments. Once in the Bronx, New York, and twice in Silver Spring, Maryland. The records are there! Before I was evicted from my apartment in New York, I really enjoyed my time here, and so that’s why I wanted to have a look for some apartments for rent in the city. Unfortunately, it wasn’t meant to be and I had to start looking for somewhere else to live, which wasn’t ideal but it was something that needed to be done.

However, not once during those episodes did I doubt my decision to walk away from my civil engineering job to pursue my passion. Not once did I consider going back to corporate employment.

From the very beginning, you see, I saw my journey as similar to a quest to get from one side of a deep canyon to the other. On the side of the canyon on which I was dwelling at the time, there was the soul-killing, life draining unhappiness, restriction, imprisonment and lack of fulfillment of my nine-to-five job. On the other sidewhere I wanted to be-there was the freedom of being self-employed, the fulfillment of living my function, and the fun that comes with being in control of my days.

I knew there was a way to get from here to there. There must be. Every journey from point “A” to point “B” is nothing more than a series of steps. I knew that if others could do it, I could too. If others could quit their jobs and become successful entrepreneurs, then I could too. As a civil engineer, I knew there had to be formula. And, I knew was smart enough to figure it out.

So, on the day I returned to find the sheriff’s eviction notice on front door, I smiled. I smiled because I knew a secret. I knew that if my dream life existed on the other side of the chasm, then the only way to get to that other side was to take the journey and risk the uncertainty and the fall. That eviction notice was a clear indication that something in my life was changing. This was my “fall.”

By welcoming and enduring the fall, and the changes that came with it, I emerged on the other side with a few lessons. Here, therefore, is what I learned from my three evictions:

I learned about the reconstruction crisis

Based on what I had learned in the many self-help books and courses I had taken, I knew there would be chaos. I knew there would be drama. I knew there would be ups and downs. In fact, by my third eviction, I coined a name for it that I now share with my coaching clients who find themselves at similar crossroads in their own lives. I call it the “Reconstruction Crisis.” Here’s how I define it in my book, Living True to Your Self:

[begin excerpt]
“If you are living in a house and wish to build a bigger better house, it may be necessary to demolish the existing structure to its very foundation before you start building anew. In much the same way, once this creative universe we live in gets its orders from you that you want to change your reality, forces are set in motion that begin making the necessary changes in your life. If you’ve been living with people who think negatively, who are going nowhere in their lives, you may find that you argue more frequently. You may realize that a person you thought you knew, has grown in an entirely different direction from where you are now. You may have to make some hard decisions about who to keep with you on your journey, and who to leave along the way. If not, these individuals may hold you back from reaching your dreams.

Similarly, if you’ve found your self in a nowhere job, and you wish for the fulfillment and freedom of living true to your self, don’t be surprised if things start happening which lead to a (forced or voluntary) separation from your present place of employment.

These strange occurrences, which at first may appear to be the onset of chaos in your life, are part of a phenomenon I call “reality reconstruction.” It usually happens right after a new reality is wished for and committed to significantly.” [end excerpt]

Yes, my evictions taught me about the “Reconstruction Crisis.”

I learned that there’s life beyond eviction

Being evicted is not a death sentence. As you think about now from the safety and comfort of your home, it may seem embarrassing. It may seem humiliating. It may seem like the worst thing that could happen to you. Trust me, it is not. It is survivable. There are options. There are choices. For me, it meant living on a friend’s couch until I could see my way clear of the chaos. For others it may mean leaning on friends, relatives or the federal government. My evictions taught me that there’s life beyond eviction.

I increased my tolerance for risk and uncertainty

I knew intuitively that this was the necessary path life had carved out for me–or more accurately, that I had crafted for myself–by my choices here on this plane, as well as from on the “other side.”

Yes, my evictions taught me to live with a certain amount of risk and uncertainty.

I learned how to let go

I’ve learned that most all of life’s lessons are designed to teach tolerance, patience, faith and detachment. In the pursuit of freedom, function and fun (my definition of living true to my self), I can never be free if I am attached to anything. In the process of going through three evictions, I learned how to give up many things. My attachment to a particular definition of your self. My attachment to money. My attachment to what others think of me. All of these were weights that kept me bound.

Later in life, this ability to let go served me well when I pursued my dream of being a nomadpreneur and escaped from America to live on an island in the Pacific. Yes, my evictions taught me how to let go.

I increased my confidence

My evictions–and the subsequent turnaround and upswing in my life–increased my confidence in what I was capable of enduring as well as accomplishing.

I learned how to conjure up money

Today, I live a magical life. Money comes when I need itsometimes at the eleventh hour and last minute. My evictions taught me that I live in an abundant, supportive universe, and that money and assistance can come from the most unexpected places once I was free to recognize the source, for instance there can be many sources that can seek out for assistance, such as this public crowdfunding for rent assistance.

Yes, my three evictions taught me that money does not come from an employer. It does not come from a job. It does not come from people. It comes through these individuals and institutions as a function of the value you bring to the world. The people who hand you money are compelled and are merely reacting in response to the natural law of exchange. This brings me to a very important lesson.

I learned what I needed to do while couch surfing

The purpose of my evictions was essentially to teach me a new way of being, thinking and acting. While I was surfing my friends’ couches, I was not looking for a job. I was not sending out my resume. I was creating a different concept of myself. I was creating value. I was creating a different relationship with money. I was building websites, experimenting with business ideas, creating products and services based on my concept of myself and my value. I was un-becoming an employee, and becoming a passionpreneur.
Yes, my three evictions taught me how to create real value.

I learned the secret to it all

The secret to it all is this: you can achieve anything you desire if you have two qualities–courage and discipline. These two qualities are essentially two sides of the same coin. Courage is discipline in the face of fear. Discipline is courage in the face of distraction.

If, despite the fear, you have the courage to jump into the chaos to see where it takes you, and if, despite the distraction or derision of others, you have the discipline to keep doing so, eventually the dust will settle, the path will become clear, you will see what the chaos was creating for you, and you will eventually discover the you you have been dreaming about is waiting for you on the other side.

I learned to view them as friends

I think of my three evictions as friends who appeared in my life to teach me certain lessons. Without them, I wouldn’t be where I am today.

As I said, being asked to leave a place of residence because of failure to pay my rent is something that happened to me three times within the space of a few years. I joke that what I dreamt for myself was so different from who I was, and where I was, that it took three different evictions to teach and reinforce who and what I needed to become in order to move to the land of my dreams. (If your life is going through a similar shakeup, let’s hope you don’t have to go through three of them yourself in order to get it right, but you never know!)

Of course, sometimes evictions bring with them the simple reminder to live life more responsibly. Sometimes, however, evictions appear because they are exactly what YOU have requested of the universe in order to shake things up, help you let go of limiting beliefs about yourself, about others and the world you live in, reveal your strength to you, place you in a different reality, and lead you to the life you’ve been dreaming of! Here’s hoping your eviction serves you well in discovering the real you!

For the record, I have learned how to create value and earn money to pay my rents (i.e. “how not to get evicted”), and even travel the world, . However, that lesson is not nearly as important as the knowledge I’ve gained along the way. I’ve learned how to live true to my self so that “evictions” (a metaphor for the chaos of change) are not as drastic as they once were. However, as I evolve and redefine myself, if, for whatever reason, I ever find myself living in a way that is inconsistent with my purpose or my aspirations of who or where I want to be, another “eviction” may just be required to shake me up and set me free! I’ll let you know!

p.s. This article was inspired by a friend who, right now, seems to be going through a similar reconstruction crisis. I’ll share with you what I shared with him:

“The symphony of change often begins with an overture of chaos. Listen to it well. Embrace it. It means change is afoot. Run towards it as fast as you can! Resistance is futile, and simply delays the inevitable.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
PassionProfit.com
“Make money doing what you love!”
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

F R E E D O M I S A C H I E V A B L E!
Freedom to Live on Purpose!
Freedom to Prosper
Freedom to Escape!
Freedom to Love Honestly
Freedom to be Ageless!
DISCOVER HOW!

____________________________
Walt F.J. Goodridge
“The Passion Prophet”
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I support The Zeitgeist Movement

The Real World

OBSERVATION:

Yesterday, I looked out my apartment window, and saw a woman sitting in her car. She had just parked in order to visit someone in the building, and as she sat preparing to exit her auto for a visit, she was pounced upon by a marshal and a tow truck operator who proceeded to seize her car.

The way it works is that the marshals drive around the city punching in license plate numbers into their computers, and when they find someone who owes unpaid fines above a certain threshold, they pull up along with a tow truck operator, plaster a sticker on the window of the vehicle, and simply tow it away. To retrieve your car, you’ll have to pay the Marshal fee, tow truck fee, as well as the fines owed.

New York City Marshals are public officials, appointed by the Mayor, but they are not paid employees of the City of New York. They earn income by performing certain tasks in Civil Court cases, including the enforcement of judgments. City marshals charge fees for their services and receive a percentage of the money they collect. (from the NYC.gov website)

This woman had to suffer the embarrassment of having her car towed away while she frantically searched the trunk, the back seats, and the glove compartment to make sure she had all of her valuables. People stopped and stared, traffic was held up, cars’ horns were blaring for the approximately 20 minutes it took for the whole scene to play itself out, leaving her car-less, with her shopping bags stranded on the street.

An on-looking tenant in the building I’m in, commented, “That’s how things are in the real world.”

I thought about that, and later had a conversation with the doorman who had witnessed the whole scene, and we talked about people being evicted from their homes, pawn shops, repossessions, law suits, exploiting others’ ignorance and weaknesses for cash, and the mercenary nature of those who prey and survive on the misfortunes of others, and I thought to myself, “I don’t want to live in a world like this.”

Sure, regarding the scene in front of my building, you can justify it anyway you wish–yes, there was money owed; Yes, we all can’t keep shirking our obligations, people have to pay for their utilities, rents, etc., or the whole system crumbles. I know. However, I’m taking a step back, and looking at the bigger picture. There’s just a certain inhumanity and lack of compassion in the way the officials/agents treat other humans in situations like this, in addition to how the entire system is constructed to begin with. There’s a whole perverse, mercenary nature to how things are organized in our money-makes-the-world-go-round society that is disturbing to me. Where’s the compassion? Where’s the courtesy? Where’s the humanity?

 

CONVERSATION:

Earlier in the week, I spoke with a friend who is feeling the stress of her life and feels like making some major life changes. She is feeling a bit overwhelmed by what she feels is her inability to cope; she’s worried that her desire to make changes will be seen and judged by others as “merely” a mid-life crisis. I reminded her that what we’re all doing here in our society–particularly in big cities like New York–is trying to live a natural, normal and sane life in an unnatural, abnormal and insane bizarre world. The normal things you want to do–raise kids, sustain a relationship, survive and thrive–are actually thwarted and made more challenging by the abnormal things you have to do–work away from home and children every day, live in polluted environments, conform to arbitrary societal expectations.

And all the things we’ve come to accept and call “real” are so totally out of alignment with who we truly are, and what is truly normal that it’s no wonder we get stressed out. It’s no wonder we feel like escaping. It’s no wonder we have “crises.” I suggested to her, that while society’s label of “mid-life crisis” implies that one’s actions are irresponsible or flighty, that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with aligning your thoughts, feelings and actions and doing the things you think and feel will make you happy. Rather than being flighty and ill- advised, honoring those desires may actually be the most sane thing you’ll ever do!

 

COMMENT:

Finally, a friend of mine, who has lived all of his life in South Asia as well as the Pacific, and who raised his now three teen-aged children there, is now visiting New York.

As I was giving my newly-arrived friend a tour of New York, I had to help him make sense of the isolation, the lack of eye contact, lack of camaraderie and lack of compassion he’d already noticed just by being here in New York for only 14 days. At the same time, and for that very reason, he commented that he wants his kids to come to America and live in New York so they can experience “the real world.”

I commented to him that I, personally, wouldn’t call this “the real world.” I suggested to him, “Just because a portion of the planet has fallen for the deception of competition and cutthroat, doesn’t mean it is better, advantageous, or more real than the compassion and camaraderie you’ve left behind in your homeland. It’s common, but it’s not natural. It’s accepted, but it’s not normal. It is now ingrained, but it is not real.”

Empires rise and fall. The time to follow Rome is on the way up, not on the way down.

Don’t mistake devolution for progress. What’s needed is NOT for you to join the madness and to participate in the fall, but to see it for what it is, and most of all, don’t let it change you.

The Real World?

I wouldn’t call it real, my friend
there’s danger in that thought
Accept it and fall victim
to this madness we’ve been taught

We’re taught to seek advantage
at another man’s expense
and build a wall of wealth
to serve as comfort and defense

Pit one against another
in a struggle to survive?
It doesn’t have to be like this
My friend, it’s all contrived

Yes, think of what we suffer
in the playing of this game:
the fear, and the suspicion,
and the anger and the shame

No please, no smiles, no thank you
for the nice are seen as weak
No one is made to answer
for the havoc that they wreak

Or, think of what you gain
in this mad scramble and pretense
You trade your soul for salary
and hope that it makes cents

And what shall be the outcome
of such madness left unchecked?
The loss of what is human
with no way to reconnect

The time to follow Rome’s
not in the fall, but in the rise
It’s time to change our hearts
and see the world through different eyes

© 2012 Walt F.J. Goodridge

Please let me know what you think of my first life rhyme in 6 years! Should I do like Sylvester Stallone and keep making comebacks?

HISTORICAL NOTE:
Starting back in 1997, and every Friday for nine straight years thereafter, I wrote and emailed my own brand of motivational poem I call a “life rhyme” to the 10,000+ subscribers to my Walt’s Friday Inspiration newsletter. After a very exciting and fulfilling run, I wrote and sent the last official life rhyme just about the same time I escaped from America in 2006. The full archives are here at LifeRhymes.com and if you want it in book form, you can order here or on Amazon.com

What is Achievable Freedom? What is Jamaican in China?

What is Achievable Freedom a concept by Walt Goodridge

So, I’m putting all the pieces together to make 2012 a great year! If you’re on my PassionProfit.com subscriber list, you’re receiving one my newsletters. You can sign up to my mailing lists here. The “Achievable Freedom” concept essentially encourages you to create the life you want by acting on five freedoms:

1. The freedom to live on purpose.

2. The freedom to prosper.

3. The freedom to escape.

4. The freedom to love honestly, and

5. The freedom to age less. 

The Jamaican in  China blog you’re reading represents the “freedom to escape” component of the Achievable Freedom message, but also much more. The unexpected juxtaposition of the storyline of a Jamaican in China is a metaphor for the freedom to roam, the freedom to step outside the box of conventional thinking and lifestyle; the freedom to challenge boundaries; the freedom to overturn stereotypes. It’s the tried and true “fish out of water” theme of many successful hollywood movies. However, it’s not all about fun and games. It’s not intended to be just an entertaining read. My goal is to offer inspiration for you to act on any or all of the five freedoms.

So, there’s really no specific point to this little rant, except to say that as we move forward, I hope that you enjoy my adventures, and use them as a source of empowerment to create your own freedom in 2012 and beyond!

p.s. Oh, and by the way, as you know, I’m currently in New York City. However, it’s getting warmer here, and I’ve promised myself that I’ll be going outside more often. In fact, later today I’ll be hanging out with my friend, Ken. Ken was the fellow who introduced me to Saipan all those years ago! So, stay tuned for some Jamaican in New York excitement! 

Why do I go abroad? To create a world without borders

Here’s the conclusion of Jamaican in China: Guess Who’s Coming to Dim Sum, inspired by GoAbroad.com’s “Why Do I go Abroad?” Contest:
[BEGIN]

Well, that’s my story! And I’m sticking to it! I really had an absolutely, positively, wonderful and life-changing time being Jamaican in China, Singapore and Laos, and I hope you enjoyed reading about it.

In addition, I hope you got something much more from Jamaican in China than just an entertaining read. I hope it expanded your awareness and consciousness in some small way. Wherever in this world you may call “home,” (even if you already live in China), I hope it gave you a little peek into a reality that you might not have otherwise been aware of. I hope it showed you people, places and possibilities in a way that affects how you see yourself, your world, and your place, role and identity within it. I hope you can see a little bit higher above and a little bit further beyond the misconceptions and fears that often flavor our perception of “others” and those we consider “not like us.” The fact is, we are and have been manipulated to live in such fear.

It seems an unavoidable outcome of this manipulation, and the fractionalized, brainwashed society that we live in as a result, that people are taught to, and thus become inclined to identify and separate themselves according to arbitrary and meaningless national, ethnic, racial and religious lines. We are taught to fear these supposed differences and thus we perceive “others” who are “not like us” as threats to our individual and/or collective identity, control, autonomy and survival. This fear leads to a false sense of elitism, then to bias, prejudice, preferential treatment, discrimination, and attacks of psychological, verbal and even physical nature.

This is all a construct. It is not natural. We are not wired to fear, attack and ostracize others because of these differences. This is all learned behavior. If you don’t believe me, then simply watch young children–before they’ve been brainwashed–playing with each other in harmony if you wish to observe the instinctive, communal, inclusive, welcoming “wiring” that we are born with. Yes, something has been taken from us.

As the Occupy Movement in the states, as well as on-going protests worldwide reveal, people are ready for a change of the existing paradigm of manipulation, fear and the strategy of divide, conquer and exploit. People are agitating for change. They want to take that thing back– that thing that has been taken from our natural wiring. It can be done. It is being done!

The internet and our technological age makes possible the reality of life without borders and other arbitrary lines that separate humanity. It can be used to encourage the sort of boundary-breaking, limitless, expansive and inclusive thought and action that will unite and free us. Jamaican in China is just one of many real-life adventures which offer alternative ways to be, think and act in the pursuit of such freedom.

Now, it may be presumptuous or naive of me to hope and believe that my little nomad adventure, and a relatively obscure book about it all can somehow contribute to the massive paradigm shift in consciousness for which the world yearns, and for which it now seems poised. However, I’ll share with you a thought that caught my eye some time ago. It’s a truth with which I resonate profoundly, and it represents an ideal to which my life (and thus this 6 month chronicle of my life) is a testament.


“To create a just, sustainable world, nothing is more important than being able to think and act across borders. Whether our passion is protecting the biosphere or preventing war, we will succeed only if we have the passion and courage to cross the national, ideological, ethnic, and religious borders of our time.”
–Mark Gerzon, author of Leaders without Borders.

These borders are all arbitrary lines. They do not exist in reality. They are all learned and superimposed upon the now fragmented minds and thinking of individuals who should instead be thinking and acting as a global community on a single planet.

In my naiveté, I believe that Jamaican in China has the power to plant the seed of a thought about “others” who are “not like us” that says “Perhaps things are not as I’ve been led to believe. Perhaps these people are not my enemies. How do I know? Well, there’s this Jamaican guy who went all the way to China, and let me tell you what he experienced….!”

And with the single click of button or a tweet of technology, you can use this book to change someone else’s perspective as well. It only takes one.

There’s more of a global ideological shift going on than we may realize. The “social networking” paradigm which has existed for millennia has now been dramatically enhanced by the Internet. It has changed everything. Videos go viral, protests proliferate, movements gain momentum, and individuals are impacted in meaningful ways by a “tweet” or a “like” or a “friend” an upload, or by a single post in a forum often by a single individual on a single gadget, Nook, Kindle or keyboard. Yes, my friend, keystrokes and a click can change the world!

It is from this place of sincere respect for the power of communication in general, enhanced by the potential of the internet in particular, that I travel abroad, write, blog and “share what I know so that others may grow.” I hope you will fulfill my humble request to use my adventure to communicate some new possibilities to at least one other person somewhere else across the arbitrary, imaginary (and slowly dissolving) lines that seek to divide us.

If you are reading this on a Nook, Kindle, iPad or any e-reader, you have the ability in most cases to share this book electronically with others. I encourage you to do so. Feel free! Please share a link or a like or a tweet with someone in your world, and thanks for being part of my adventure!

To share my borderless world, order and download Jamaican in China: GUESS WHO’S COMING TO DIM SUM in Kindle, Nook and pdf ebook formats CLICK HERE

2018 addendum: Also, please visit and subscribe to the Jamaican in China Youtube channel at

https://www.youtube.com/JamaicaninChina

Happier Abroad: Isn’t it a pity how most people want their slavery and feel empty without it?


“Isn’t it a pity how most people want
their slavery and feel empty without it?”

That’s a quote from the HappierAbroad.com website. I came across the site while checking my tracker statistics, when I noticed that someone on that forum had posted a link to one of my Saipan sites in a discussion about dating abroad.

The site focuses more on the social and dating side of being happier abroad. It has a lot of information and perspectives of many other aspects of life and happiness, and mirrors what a lot of people I meet on this side of the world are saying about their former lives back home.

That particular quote (“Isn’t it a pity how most people want their slavery and feel empty without it?”), is something Happier Abroad founder, Winston Wu, wrote to me during an email correspondence about his essay on true freedom on his site. Check it out!

What is JIC all about? (Caveat #3)

CAVEAT #3: I SKEW THE RESULTS

It may actually be impossible for me to ever really get a pure, untainted impression of what life in China is like. Why? Well, to borrow a concept from the Dictionary of Scientific Experiment Phrases Applicable to Jamaicans in China: “I skew the results.”

I found this example of the use of the phrase on the web:

“If you add too much of a redox indicator you end up changing the equilibrium of the main reactants and skew the results..”

*A redox indicator (also called an oxidation-reduction indicator) is a substance that undergoes a definite color change at a specific electrode potential.(how appropriate, eee?)

I get a very skewed perception of people’s behavior as I walk the streets of China. Very few people are acting normally once they see me. I hate to belabor the point (if you’ve been following the journey from the beginning), which I’ve covered at length here (download the free ebook), but in certain quarters, my very presence changes the natural equilibrium of the main reactants, and skews the results.

Entire groups of people, families, tourists and little children stop what they’re doing, stare, point, turn around as I pass, point some more, quip amongst themselves, giggle, (some will turn and follow me for a while), when I walk by. Strangers ask to take their photo with me. People (men and women, uninvited, at least the men) reach out to touch me as I walk by.

Like a redox indicator, there’s just too much of a visual difference when contrasted with the everyday norm. It’s a bit of challenge for me to disappear into the crowd. I’m working on it, though.

Now, this is different from the familiar Observer Effect.

Observer Effect: The difference that is made to an activity or a person by it being observed. People may well not behave in their usual manner whilst aware of being watched or when being interviewed while carrying out an activity.

No, this is no ordinary observer effect, this is an observer effect on steroids (or MSG), where those being observed become themselves fascinated observers of the observer! So, I’m taking photos of them taking photos of me taking photos of them!

Of the people I meet, I get a uniquely friendly, foreigner-curious sampling of people and those who aren’t nervous about testing out their English-speaking abilities.

 

Many people have told me, “You’re my first foreign friend!” One woman saw me and her first words to me were, “Can I be your friend?”

Being the first foreign friend puts me in a unique position. For example, I’m learning things that tourists never learn, and that only transplants will ever know about life, living, learning, working, dating, marrying and more in China. I’m hearing things that people might not say among familiar Chinese ears. For example, did you know that most single girls are–um, well, why don’t I just save that for another post…..or the book!

 

On the other hand, as a first foreign friend, I’m sure there are many things I am NOT being told. As a foreigner, I’m sure there is some degree of “put your best foot forward for the visitor” going on.

So, with that said, knowing my prime directive and the questions I ask, my stance on non-judgement, and the fact that I’m skewing the sample, I’ll (finally) attempt to answer some of YOUR questions about being Jamaican in China (and Laos).

 

What is JIC All About? (Caveat #2)

CAVEAT #2: THE NON-JUDGMENTAL PERCEIVER

So, the second thing to know about my answers to your questions about life in China is that I’m very careful about how I interpret what I see, and how I phrase what I say about life in China. My Meyers-Briggs personality type is INTP (Introvert, Intuiter, Thinker, Perceiver) In contrast to its opposite type, which would be an ESFJ (Extrovert, Senser, Feeler, Judger; Look it up!!) I tend to perceive and observe without judging–at least, I make the effort. I live by the belief that there is no good or bad except believing makes it so.

 For instance, it’s tempting to see smokers and smoking and think “bad,” or to see certain behavior and want to attach judgement-laden words to them. If you and I were talking about life in China, you might  often hear me use the phrase “what we might refer to as [fill in the blank]” For instance, I might say something like “I’ve noticed that in the subways in Beijing, there’s a lot of what we might refer to as pushy behavior.” I do this to separate the words I use to describe the behavior (i.e. “pushy”), from any judgement you might believe I am making about the behavior itself.

 I’ve had interesting conversations with people who are visiting China, but who are unable to step outside of their predominant paradigm. Everything from vehicular traffic, personal habits, communication styles, dating expectations, to gender roles provides a never-ending, fun exercise in how to observe without judgement, how to see things as others who are not raised within a western paradigm might see them. The more you know about how people think, how the system works, the more that certain behavior makes sense given the new paradigm. Of course, I’m not saying anything remarkably profound here, but you’ll have a difficult time really understanding certain aspects of life in China if you are not aware of to what degree your own observations and expectations are flavored by a foreign (non-Chinese) paradigm.

 Of course, I have my own pet peeves. Inhaling second-hand cigarette smoke is one of them. As much as I realize that the choice to smoke and the percentage of smokers in a country are functions of many things including politics, economy, health education, cultural norms, gender roles, etc., the distress I feel when I am forced to inhale it does not lessen with that realization.

 However, I’m here in China with my own agenda and on my own dime and time. I’m not working a job, so I have the freedom to pick up and leave if the smoking or the (cold) weather becomes unbearable.

So, anyway, my point is simply that I strive to be non-judgmental in my observations of life in China.

Went to a wedding reception the other day.


This man is handing out cigarettes.


You can never have too many. (A spare, in case one goes out, I imagine) 🙂


And, before entering the hotel for the reception, you can get candy and….cigarettes.

What is JIC all about? (Caveat 1)

JIC=Jamaican in China!

Yes, I’m still in Jinghong City, Xishuangbanna, Yunnan Province, People’s Republic of China! As the voting phase of the Jamaica Blog Awards draws to a close, I slowly return to regular posts. The purpose of “What’s Jamaican in China All About?” is intended to answer the many questions I receive about life in China.

However, before I answer, consider the following disclaimers as you attempt to understand my blog and the eventual answers.

CAVEAT #1: COULD I LIVE HERE?

Let him beware that the underlying question that permeates all my travels is “could I live here?” Given the natural things that are important to me (warm weather, sunshine, clean air, access to organic fruits and vegetables), the societal things (friendly people), as well as the household amenities (a kitchen and internet access), I make an overall assessment and arrive at a yep or nope.

If it passes the “Yep Test” and the majority of my wants and wishes are to my liking, I unpack, hang out for a while, and explore.

That’s one of the reasons I stay in a place for a few months. It takes time for the pall of the visitor paradigm to wear off and for the real rhyme, reason and rhythm of the region to take hold. And, as I’ve said before (and which some are tired of hearing), I’m not a tourist. A hotel is an unnatural setting. If I can get a real apartment, that makes it even better. That way, I can observe the comings and goings of regular folk. Watch how business is done, how quickly products and services are delivered, learn what the REAL price of things are, gender roles and dating rituals, something beyond the quick, superficial view of things you get through temporary eyes and with your boarding pass still in hand.

 The comings and goings as seen from my third floor apartment

What is Jamaican in China all about?

Recently, after reading one of my blog posts, a friend asked me, “What are you trying to accomplish?”
I was grateful for the question. It made me stop and think of a good answer. But before I explore and share that answer with you, I feel I must insert a few caveats, preambles, disclaimers, forewords, parentheticals (is that a word or a waltism?) and footnotes to establish the ground rules and a basis for mutual understanding.

So, what is Jamaican In China all about?
First, as a writer, it is simply the latest phase of my creative expression.

Second, it can be a travel log of sorts, exposing people to new places in a way and from a perspective they may not otherwise have the opportunity. I’ve been told that my blog offers a vicarious travel experience for the stay-cation (stay at home vacation) lifestyle.

Third, as the Passion Profit coach it is the latest manifestation of a lifestyle blog intended to show people one option to choose from and emulate. I’ve announced that my theme for 2011 is going to be “Reclaim Your Power. Break Free. Live True to Your Self!” In addition to its entertainment value, I’d like to think this blog can help people break free. How? By

1. Showing different realities, and

2. Dispelling myths

SHOWING DIFFERENT REALITIES

I am Jamaican. I am in China. I am vegan. I am a minimalist. This is not the typical prism through which travel is experienced. (I have other predilections and peeves that define who I am, but I’ll save those for later.)

DISPELLING MYTHS

One of the things I’m aware that this blog is able to do is teach as well as entertain. Many people, myself included, have and had certain ideas of what China is all about. I don’t pretend to have a handle on a complete answer after only a few months here, but I do know that simply by being here, I am able to dispel certain ideas and misconceptions people have about China, its people and possibilities.
A few months ago, I wrote a facebook post where I threatened jokingly that I would hold my next blog post hostage until people spread the word about my blog to help me increase my subscriber list. A friend wrote back about my choice of (hostage taking/ransom) tactics, “…that’s what happens when you live in a communist country!” For those of us outside of China, that might be a humorous statement, but it does give some insight into what people perceive life in China to be like.

So, with that said, over the course of the next few posts, I’ll share my developing answer to my friend’s original question and many of the questions you’ve emailed to me (walt@jamaicaninchina.com) about what I’ve learned about China, and what I’ve come to learn about being Jamaican in China! Stay tuned!

 

Jamaican in China…and Beyond!


Blog Mission: “To create an alternative travel narrative to encourage kindred souls to break free and see the world fearlessly and inexpensively!”


Where is Walt? See photo:


I am now on Saipan! (September 2021)

The Jamaican has been in:
New York!
Saipan!
jamaican in china logo
China!

Laos!

Singapore!
Kingston!
Virgin Islands!

Pagan!
Macau!
Hong Kong!
Vietnam!
Thailand!

 

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