The freedom to choose a lifestyle

Over the last days I had a few chats with one of my hosts. He’s a couple of years my senior, has a family and runs his own business. One morning we were having a chat about investments and he said “if you have good karma, your business will succeed”. Quite a difference to the business plans, risk assessments, etc. that preclude pretty much any form of investment in the western world.


The last two weeks have been an interesting learning experience in regards to culture and lifestyle. It’s not the first time I’m in a country were most people are Hindu/Buddhist, but it’s the first time I’m spending a lot of time among them and am also able to communicate (thanks to the Nepalis’ unusually decent command of the English language).

For me it’s especially interesting to see how other cultures lead their lives, as I’m not convinced by how my culture (the western world) leads theirs. It feels like in my home country, people constantly worry. About old age, their jobs, newest gadgets, ISIS, etc. Living in the moment, walking through life with a smile on one’s face, aren’t exactly top priorities.


All that would be a matter of “to each his own” but what bothers me a lot about all the western world is how so many people are oblivious to the horrible impact our lifestyle has on the rest of the planet (and has had so since the times of colonialism). We screwed the world up properly over the last centuries and there is no slow-down in sight.


Germany is special in regards to its history. Every student learns at school how horrible it was to send Jews, Sinti, Roma, communists and all the others to the death camps. However these days nobody seems to have any issues with sending African child slaves to the mines (which we do every time we purchase a modern cellphone).

Nor do many people seem to care about the atrocious working conditions under which consumer electronics are assembled in China (workers commit suicide to escape the conditions). Thousands of Bangladeshi textile workers killed in a collapsed building makes the news for a few days, but after that everybody happily continues shopping at H&M. It just strikes me as fundamentally wrong.


Whether I’ll ever be much different (I own a laptop, two phones and two cameras), I don’t know. I’ve been molded by the west for more than three decades. Whether I’ll ever make a difference, I don’t know either.

For now it is interesting to experience how “the others” live their lives. Those who are not inside the golden cage but outside of it.

The amount of freedom my current living situation gives me is unprecedented for myself. I can work remotely from pretty much any corner of the world, as long as it has an internet connection. My passport allows me to enter most countries on earth hassle-free. I have enough developing country experience to feel fine in a country that is on position 146 of the human development index.

Sometimes that amount of freedom can be scary. Nobody tells me what to do, I don’t have an office to show up in. How I lead any given minute of my life is fully my own responsibility.


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