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A “short” story of me-the wannabe digital nomad

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Had a stop in Chiang Mai to work a bit on promoting my Skype English lessons(with success,gained one new student-yay!).I had been here before,so it was a good place where I wouldn’t be missing out on seeing new things.

 

Let me introduce myself-I am Anna,I was born in Warsaw,Poland.When I was 4 yo,I moved with my family to New York City for 4 years,then came back to Warsaw for 3 years and to New York again for 4 years.Then I came back and lived in Warsaw until I kind of moved out.

I actually was a late bloomer independent traveler(but it’s never too late).I spent my teenage and student years on travelling with travel agencies with friends.I really started in summer of 2010.Me and my bff,planned(not precisely at all) a 3 week trip around Norway,from the south to the (not so far,Lofoten the farthest)north and back to the south.The tricky part was,that it was to be done only by hitchhiking and couchsurfing(our first time doing both).Long story short,we managed,had a blast and got to experience Norway firsthand.I fell in love with nature there.But also with travelling independently.Then I did some short trips with friends,Erasmus students who I took care of.And in 2012 I went off on my first solo trip(after a failed trial of hitchhiking the Balkans with a girl met online,I quit that after the first night in a forest in a tent by a road).I went to the Baltic countries.I figured I’ll travel by bus and sleep in hostels,no hitchhiking or tent on my own.I went to Lithuania,Latvia and Estonia.Riga,Latvia ended up being my favorite,mainly because of the people I met in the hostel,in bars and on couchsurfing.That was when I learned the cliche,that you do learn a lot about yourself when travelling solo.You also experience adrenaline,a never ending challenge and constant drifting into the unknown.In the meantime I took a 2 year break from University,thinking of never coming back,but to have the option just in case.I planned to travel long term.I ended up going on many short trips with friends and then solo trips to Georgia and Goa,India.In India somehow,I had a revelation,I was ready to travel long term for sure.

After all these trips,I knew I had been living in Warsaw for far too long(apart from travels,I was annoyed to always have to come back to living in the same place).Until the year 2014,then I went to Inveraray,Scotland to work in a hostel.I was a Joint Hostel Manager(there were only 2 people working there:P) and Publicist(managing the website,blog,social media,pr,marketing).It was heaven on Earth.I had just a bit of work.I was living in a beautiful small town.I had contact with the guests.I had a cool challenge doing the Publicity work and had a creative flow of ideas.I had plenty of time for myself,to travel,wander around,read,do yoga,jog,explore.My idea was,that I could work in Europe during the summers and travel during the winters.And so I bought a ticket for 4 months,to India for November.I was a bit in panic.I am afraid to solo travel around there,that’s the reason I bought a ticket.I thought if I’m afraid,I should face my fear.But I got a ticket to Thailand instead:)So,I was to be in Mumbai 2 days and then safe and civilized Thailand.In the meantime,I also started to give English lessons on Skype,so I was already working when travelling,plus I still did the publicity work for the hostel.I went off to India,then Thailand,traveled  around there,plus Cambodia and Vietnam.Then went back to Scotland.

Glasgow wasn’t my thing from the first night out there.But I tried to get a job.I was still teaching through Skype,but Polish money in the UK isn’t so strong.I loved this possibility though and didn’t want to lose my students,so I was trying to get a job which could fit in with teaching.It wasn’t easy.In Poland I never had problems with getting a job,which wasn’t complete shit.Here I didn’t even get the job of a waitress.I got a part time job in a guest house,but it was a bit shady.I had secured a hostel job in Edinburgh,which became the best option.

In Edinburgh I met like-minded people,who traveled and worked,traveled for work,or worked to travel.I still kept teaching through Skype all summer,connecting it with my hostel job.Working night shifts to do that,didn’t leave me with much time to enjoy Edinburgh though.But the thought that I would have money to travel plus to pay some part for my school,that I was planning to finish kept me motivated.Then on the day of my flight back home,I a)first time in my life missed my flight cause of a fire on the highway b)lost my second flight cause of c) losing my bag with everything.I had taken up almost all my summer’s pay,to not lose money when drawing it out in Poland(I know,how stupid,never again).And apart from the money,I had all my documents,my DSLR camera and 2 phones.Fortunately I had my laptop in my luggage which I left at the airport and my phone that I use, in my pocket(the chargers were in the bag though-but whatever).

So my travel plans were quite ruined.With this situation I didn’t feel like going back to school,after not having traveled for about 9 months,I knew I would quit school again if I didn’t travel soon.So I skipped school and got a job in a corporation for 2 months.I was still teaching through Skype and gathering new Skype students.I got a one way ticket to Bangkok for March.The company wanted me to stay longer,but I couldn’t. I actually got a migraine,I was so overworked,with this job,teaching,maintaining my great social life that I so much enjoy in Warsaw plus ME time.ME time was suffering too much.Fortunately,I live with my parents when in Warsaw,so I did not have to work to pay the bills.Call it egoistic or childish,I call it sacrificing to achieve my goal,which is being self-sufficient,with a remote job,which one day will allow me to support myself even in the richer countries in the world.For now,I can do this in South East Asia.I do have to go back to Europe unfortunately,to finish the school thing.Then I will have more opportunities to work and live around the world.One of them can be teaching English in for example Japan,or somewhere(in Asia they need a degree,doesn’t matter the qualifications or experience).

I have this blog,which is not making any profits,to gather other travelers’ stories,interesting places,pro-social or remote business ideas,anything to do with living differently.I hope to interview people or present their stories here.I know that many people don’t live their life the way they would like to.I want this blog to inspire,give ideas of achieving your perfect lifestyle or purely entertain.

I must say,I prefer to present others’ stories,as I don’t know how exactly I want to live yet.I know at my age-30,people have a direction.I find my way good as well,I am flexible:)I try to gather many different skills,working different jobs,live in different countries,try all kinds of lifestyles,to maybe find one direction.However,I don’t think I have one and I don’t have to have one.This world gives so many opportunities and why not try all of them?I have been teaching English for 10 years altogether,so this is quite a long time of doing the same thing.Now,that it allows me to travel,I don’t think it will ever get boring.I just need good WiFi and to get up at night(the only minus of the time difference between Europe and Asia).I travel with a laptop,that’s the only additional burden apart from working a bit at night.I am writing this from a beautiful Thai island-Koh Samui,which I explored by scooter and will spend some days here relaxing at the beach,enjoying good food,shakes and Thai massages.So,the advantages greatly exceed the burdens of this lifestyle:).I just can’t be in one place for too long,and then I can be happy.I do have a place on Earth that I call home-Warsaw,where I have the people that I love and whose company I enjoy a lot!However,I do not see myself living there for long.Having to be there,or close to it,for one year is a tragic vision for me already,but I know it’s a must.I know I will want to settle down in one place from time to time,for a month,2 months,maximum for 2 years.I have hobbies that I can’t develop easily when on the road.Even exercising or doing yoga is a challenge,but I would like to work more on DIY projects,making,remaking things,baking,cooking,selling things(trying to:P),learning new skills which require focus.So being on the road for too long can get a bit disorderly.With time I think I will come up with an idea and the means for a lifestyle which will allow me to balance all the things I want to do in life.For now I am travelling around Asia,teaching through Skype and trying to gather interesting stories plus interesting products to buy here and sell in Europe!

This is my story,but I want your stories.If you travel and work,are an expat,travel long-term,live differently in any way,then please contact me.Share your story to inspire others!

Now I am in Thailand.I plan on going to Malaysia and Indonesia and I’ll see what then.For now,here are some of my photos from Thailand,which I post on Instagram(onehapeehipee).

 

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Koh Samui,Chawang beach

 

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Lemon shake in a restaurant in Koh Samui

 

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Scooter driving is the best-daily rental cost is about $5!Koh Samui once again.

 

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Easter pleasures in Chiang Rai.
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Thai food in Chiang Rai.

 

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White temple in Chiang Rai.I’ve generally had enough of temples in my life,but this one was different,beautiful and really worth seeing!

 

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A pagoda near a lake in Udon Thani.

 

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Wild jungle Buddha in Chiang Mai.

 

 

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Is social media making us less…social?How technology is killing communication.

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I feel like the whole world is chatting on WhatsApp,Messenger,Viber etc.instead of talking.Taking photos of their life etc.and posting them on Instagram,Tumblr,Pinterest etc.,instead of talking.Posting their life on Facebook,Twitter,LinkedIn,Blogs etc. instead of talking.

Social media makes communication easier and more accessible,yet at the same time,not meaningful.When was the last time you called your friend to TALK(and listen)?Or better yet,met in real life?It happens less often than in the past and not only because some are out of school and have steady jobs and less time.People before technology and phones used to pop in uninvited,unexpectedly and no one was annoyed.With these social networks,we’re not really together with others(physically),but not alone in a healthy,relaxed way as well(vibrations,ringing or the screen light up can’t let us focus easily on just BEING).Now it seems we’re more accessible online,yet more distant live.We’re active on Facebook,yet passive in reality when sitting in front of the screen.We have lots of friends on Facebook,but we feel lonelier than ever.The quantity and quality of face-to-face communication has gone down,and the quality of online communication,yet flattened it completely.Body language plays a key role in interpersonal communication.There is no space for that through chatting.We can’t understand the real message of “I’m fine” or “That’s great” if we don’t see and especially hear the person.We hide most of the message behind written words,so we are misunderstood.However,it seems,that this form of communication is becoming the leading one.

Continue reading Is social media making us less…social?How technology is killing communication.

Money=happiness?

A never ending cash flow maybe would be satisfying and could make us happy. But money doesn’t come easy. You have to spend a lot of time earning it, by doing something dull, or even if not, the time is wasted. Living in a materialistic society makes us work hard with too little free time, therefore we are prone to some illnesses, physical as well as mental. The level of satisfaction with life is low,if we don’t have time for ourselves. Taking part in a rat race gives no meaning to life. We must have time to evolve and for our hobbies. Long working hours don’t let us concentrate on all aspects of life, to live life to the fullest.

Buddhism is an old philosophy, which teaches that “suffering ends when craving ends”. So, the less we need and want,the happier we are. It concentrates on the more important matters in life, like humanity, love, the spiritual aspects of our life etc. There is some reason for this philosophy being so popular especially in western cultures. Our capitalistic society has a totally different outlook on life and other values (if any). Some who notice the negative side of society, modern civilization and technological development, have a need to free themselves of this kind of money and time prison, and turn to unconventional methods and lifestyles.

“DO LIKE STEVE JOBS DID: DON’T FOLLOW YOUR PASSION” This article shows how hypocritical Steve Jobs was by saying “The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking, and don’t settle.He was just on a way of spiritual enlightenment at a Zen Center,when he realized he could make good money off of his friend’s idea.Suddenly his enlightenment(what he did for free,so it must have made him happy) stopped being necessary,as soon as he started to benefit financially off of this.So,when large sums of money are involved,some can sacrifice everything for them.I don’t want to be negative,but let’s remember how and at what age Job’s life ended,wasn’t really a happy ending,didn’t even get to use that money properly.However,even if he lived to be old,that’s not a great time to use money as well,when you’re weak,sick and tired.
Job’s motto,doesn’t really include basic jobs,which are very important,but not lovable or fun.We need all kinds of professions,and there shouldn’t be such a financial hierarchy.Actually,physical jobs should be paid a lot,as they’re very important and not so fun.Another aspect is,if you love what you do,don’t do it for money.Some people actually would be less motivated after a while,if what they love to do became an obligation.We need a passion after work.Or we need fewer hours of work,to enjoy life,which is another thing.If I would love to play video games,and I got paid to do it 8 hours per day,5 days a week,wouldn’t I get sick of it?Such an amount of work on some specific thing,doesn’t allow us to develop ourselves completely,just in one direction.After work we have so little time,that we can’t dedicate ourselves to anything else completely.
It’s hard for me to say which values should be more important for happiness than money, but any higher(at least in some way)values cannot be maintained if we’re thinking about earning money, paying the bills, buying material things etc. Of course money is needed, but you never know when the need can overwhelm us and if we don’t control ourselves, our needs will become whims or suck humanity out of us.And this article-“Happiness Comes from Giving, Not Buying and Having”-shows the opposite.Giving away money and spending time on helping people,makes us happier than earning money.
Deficiency actually,sometimes may lead to boosted creativity. For example, in the past, when there wasn’t such a variety of toys in the shops, children had to make their own toys or think of games to play. This automatically enhanced their imagination. People before used to spend time by having meaningful conversations,creating games and activities,now they mostly use technology or stimulants when with people.So having less may be helpful.Creativity doesn’t have to bring in more money,but just by different forms of activity,communication,ways of spending your time not depending only on money,we can benefit from this.
Therefore, money itself may not be the problem here, but the way we come to achieve it. I have no easy way out for people in general, I know what some may do to run away from this kind of life trap. But it’s not a solution for all, because society must function somehow, and if we can’t change it, there have to be people to work for it.If all people earned enough for a comfortable life for less than 40 hours per week,the world could actually be civilized.I don’t understand why that hasn’t happened yet.All economies are different,yet the time of work is more or less the same.What I want to do in life is treat myself,people I love,my hobbies as priorities and work as a mean to have time for these aspects.As I am low-maintenance with few needs and much flexibility,I don’t mind having not a fun job for some time to save money, and have time for what I want.With a retirement account,I can be secure for old age,health insurance can protect me to be safe and that’s all I need.I like to enjoy life and the simple things too much,to be obsessed with money and work.My passion can become at some point my job,as long as it’s not my whole world.We need higher values to appreciate life,and to have them,we need time for development,and I mean the real development,not just the professional one to get more money.I think even if I were a millionaire,I still would want to live like this.My goal isn’t to stop working.Even the not so fun jobs can be positive,as long as they’re temporary.People need some structure in life,but from time to time.So,it’s not that I’m lazy and don’t like the idea of work.I just want to work enough for my own entertainment of doing something and getting an income for a life full of simple pleasures,time being most important,not money.

 

 

 

30 is the new 20

 

This ted talk once scared me.I looked back at my 20’s and realized I hadn’t worked on my adult ME in my 20’s at all.I didn’t focus on relationships,a career,finishing University(just starting and quitting),settling down,saving money for real estate etc.I did not claim my 20’s.I was focused on myself and on pleasures.I was a hedonist.

With all this,I still don’t think that my 20’s were a waste of time.I do feel ready to claim my adulthood now in my own way,or at least start.Maybe it’s my 30th birthday or my life experience,but I feel ready to focus on serious things now.Still not in a traditional way according to the rules of society,but in my way.I feel I’ve grown emotionally,spiritually as a woman and human being.I feel I am getting to know myself better now-my needs,values,identity,priorities etc.And actually I still don’t need that career,University degree,to settle down,have a house.

What did change, is my perspective on relationships.I don’t think they are the worst thing that could happen to you,anymore.However,as always,I am not going to settle for having whomever.I learned I can give a lot to someone,but I need that person to give as well.I will always give my all,but I will stop if I don’t get the same. Continue reading 30 is the new 20

Where has it all gone?

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Where have all the past values gone?Does anyone else wonder about this as well?Where has the intelligence,curiosity,mindfulness,values and emotions(I could go on and on)gone?Oh yes,everybody goes to college,university these days.I have studied many faculties at many universities,however there isn’t much intellectual activity or curiosity going on there.Mainly a rat race with the goal of finishing whatever to get a (good,better,the best)job.If universities didn’t give diplomas at the finish point,I guarantee more than half of the students would vanish.

What about the values nowadays?What’s important to people?Their Nikes,smartphones,Facebook profiles,credit cards,etc.Materialistic and shallow tools of corporate manipulation and products of the consumerist era,all shoved in the minds by successful advertising agencies which persuade the superficial society.Successful these days are the ones with the most expensive cars,biggest houses,collections of gadgets and the highest positions at work.

But I have some questions for you.Do you enjoy working minimum 40 hours per week(plus the commute so for some 50h)?Do you feel you have enough time for yourselves?Do you feel you have enough energy and time for your loved ones?Do you dream of quitting your job.Are you truly happy most of the time?Do you feel you are doing something valuable with your time on Earth?Do you like to wake up early 5 times per week?Are the 8 free days per month enough for you?Do you feel you are paid enough for the time you sacrifice at work?Do you have to time for self-reflection on who you are and what you think,feel,love to do,represent?

How are you so sure you have so much time on this planet to be wasting it on not valuable,superficial,meaningless activity?There is so much we have to explore.So many books to read,knowledge to get,places to travel to,cultures to learn about,hobbies to have,activities to learn etc.Plus,most important,we need time for ourselves to develop our consciousness,mind,behavior,health and emotions.Are there many entertainments in this kind of world that allow us to do that?What do you do with your free time?What do you do everyday to develop yourself,not as a worker,but as a human being?

For computers to not take over,and for us not to turn into ones,it’s vital to maintain humanity.To be aware of our inner selves and others around us.There’s no space for egoism and individual “success”.We form a whole and everyone matters.That’s why self-development is necessary.If we are taken care of,society is taken care of.For all these things,to be taken care of we need well organised time and encouragement to have more of it.If we use our time better,we may get back the values,intellectual level,emotions,curiosity etc that we once had.If we have time to think more,we might actually do it,and when we think more,we probably will be more active intellectually in life,not take part in shallow entertainments and foolish activity,because we will be more free and independent thinking.Everyone can find their own way of achieving this.Hopefully,it will become a priority for people now.Like I said,we don’t don’t know how much time on Earth we have.Would you still be living as you are,if you found out you had one or two years left to live?

 

“Not all those who wander are lost”-J. R. R. Tolkien

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I may not know much, but I like to learn, mostly through practice. (Another good quote-“I know that I know nothing”-Socrates). I’m quite chaotic and erratic, but it makes it all the more surprising, fun with unexpected twists. Why make it simple, when you can make it adventurous?

Here, I will share what I think, feel, make, learn,  read and/or find interesting. I do not guarantee everything is a fact,100% sure or tested. However, it could serve as motivation, food for thought, inspiration, something to try, double-check,contradict…but the point is to do something. Keep a curious and open mind, take action, talk with people, go to the library etc. Although maybe it’s a good idea, to try to test the information through surveys, experiments, research etc. And you can do that as well. The topics that will be presented here include-travelling, making a life not only a living, spirituality in all forms, life, Art, psychology, DIY,exploring etc etc.