I get these questions a lot – how am I traveling so much, what am I doing to make money, and don’t I like the good ol’ U.S. of A? I get it, these are all legit questions, but unfortunately many of you Americans who are living in the U.S. don’t really understand the world you’re living in now compared to the world that’s outside of your border. This is something that I think about a lot, so I figured what the hell – why not start writing again. Here goes.
Americans Buy So Much Shit
I’m just going to start off with something that could be a little controversial, but it’s the truth. How do I know? Because I lived it for many, many years while calling some of the most expensive cities in the world home. Also, don’t take this personal, people— it’s just something I want to point out (along with other things).
After living outside of the U.S. for a good amount of time, when I come back I quickly realize one thing that more than anything makes the U.S. a global powerhouse — we buy sooooo much shit (usually too much). Seriously, it’s like nothing I’ve ever seen in any other country — Europe, Asia, Africa, and everywhere else I’ve been there is no place that even comes close to the consumption of the land of the free and the home of the brave (and avid users of credit cards).
You think I’m wrong? Take a look in your garage. Go downstairs into your basement. Or, if you’re on another level, go open your storage garage that you’re paying to hold all of the shit you’ve bought. It’s both powerful and incredibly debilitating at the same time.
If you have this much stuff, you’re never going to be able to travel longer-term — you’re handcuffed to the stuff you’ve accumulated until you find a way to get rid of it.
Americans don’t fully understand the power of the dollar
The American dollar is the thing that dreams are made of. While in the U.S. I throw around enough dollars on enough Lyft rides, Starbucks drinks, and gas station snacks to pay for my living expenses here in China for a couple of months.
Depending on your style, you usually don’t need a lot of money to travel around the world and for what I would have paid for one month of rent in San Francisco I can pay for an entire year of Chinese language classes here in Hainan. Yeah, your first flight will cost some cash to get over to the other side of the planet, but once you’re there and aren’t in too much of a hurry, the rest is going to be soooo much cheaper than you could have ever imagined.
Now, don’t get me wrong — even in Asia you can burn through money just like if you were in NYC, but if you can live more like a local, deal with a little bit of discomfort, and understand the culture – your dollars will last a ridiculous amount of time.
An American passport is way too good not to use
One other thing that I never realized before traveling is just how amazing the American passport is and how easy it is to move around the world if you have one. For now, the beautiful, little blue book of ready-to-be-stamped pages is the key to landing in nearly any country without having to worry about getting a visa beforehand.
If you do have to get a visa beforehand, it’s usually a really, really good one that will be well worth the price. For example, I paid $150 for my Chinese visa, but it’s a 10-year, 60-day, multiple entry visa which means that for the next 10 years I can go in and out of China as many times as I want and stay for up to 60 days each time. That’s insanity compared to most other countries and for now it seems like it will stay that way (but you never know).
Plus, besides the passport, traveling as an American is really fun due to most other countries interest in our culture, politics, and people. So, it’s never too hard to find new friends and the usual American friendliness and ability to chat it up with strangers goes a long way while hanging in another country.
Is it time for you to travel?
I don’t know if it’s the right time for you to travel and who knows what your current situation is like, but if you’ve been thinking about adventuring out into the world for more than just two weeks at a Mexican resort (that’s not really traveling), it might be the time to do it (or start planning it). This is something I love to talk about, so if you need any help with coming up with a plan or need some additional motivation to make a move, hit me up and I’ll help out however I can.
I personally believe that seeing other parts of the world, especially if you’re an American, is important (and really fun), so it’s something I’m more than happy to spend some of my time on. Yee haw! 🇺🇸✈️