Forget Jet Setting – Here is a real JetSetCitizen

JetSetCitizen?

I  Made a Mistake

JetSetCitizen is not a very good name for this website. The idea of jet setting to exotic locales, while exciting and romantic, is definitely not the message I want to promote. My idea of a JetSetCitizen is more about being a global citizen and the personal responsibility that requires. Really experiencing foreign cultures and connecting with people around the world can be transformative and enlightening, if you let it.

Travel is Not a Competition

Travelling for the sake of getting passport stamps or crossing items off a bucket list are just other manifestations of our rampant consumerism. Some travellers compete by how many countries they have been to or attempt to regale in tales of how authentic or exotic their experiences are. How different is that from trying to one-up your neighbor’s latest purchase? Instead of keeping up with the Joneses, many of us are keeping up with the Indiana Joneses.

Maximize Profit or Maximize Good

We have been sold the idea that we have to produce and consume more to ‘advance.’ The strength of an economy is measured by growth in total production, whereas other measures like happiness, health, social relationships, clean air, wildlife, access to water and countless other factors that make life worth living, are ignored.

So much of what we do seems focused on making as much money as possible. Look at the late night commercials for ab machines, fake antique coins, replica jewelry and countless other falsely advertised products. Sure it is possible to profit by selling get rich quick schemes, promising easy weight loss, or marketing over-priced affiliate programs, but is that really how we want to spend our lives?

All of us on this planet, particularly those of us fortunate enough to come from developed countries, are a cost to the planet. We consume, waste and destroy to live and entertain ourselves. The impact of our individual environmental and societal footprint varies by our life choices, but definitely all of us are a drain to the ecosystem in some form or another. We can choose to live a self-centered life and take as much as we can for ourselves, or we can find ways to give back.

An Excellent Life

I have been thinking about these issues for a long time. The search for more meaning is a big reason why my wife and I sold everything to live a nomadic lifestyle, but the real inspiration for this post is this video of Dwight Turner and his work helping urban refugees in Bangkok, Thailand. I am not going to summarize the video, just watch it. It is only a few minutes of your time. Better yet, visit his website and watch it there. You might just be inspired to click the donate button on that page to give a few dollars and have a major impact on the lives of a family you will never meet.

 

Food for Thought

At the end of every single day ask your self this question:

Did I give more than I took today?

If you are answering”no” for too many days in a row, maybe it is time to change what you are doing?

 

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My name is John Bardos. My wife and I gave up our business, house and possessions in Japan to search for more meaning and fulfillment in our lives. We've discovered that a satisfying life is about rich experiences, quality relationships and meaningful contribution, NOT consumption.

6 Responses to Forget Jet Setting – Here is a real JetSetCitizen

  1. Jannell says:

    Yes, travel can be ‘Indiana Jones’ exciting. Mostly it is the unplanned happenings that make it so great. I wouldn’t worry about the name of your website, because your message has been consistent, and valuable. You helped me think outside the box.

    • John says:

      Thanks as always Jannell! Your support is most appreciated.

      Yes, travel is incredibly rewarding and exciting. However, there are really two issues that bother me. The first is that so many bloggers preach how we should do ‘epic shit,’ live life on our own terms, stop mindlessly consuming, etc. What that often translates into is crossing off experiences on a bucket list or selling over-priced ebooks. My argument is that chasing after experiences is just as vacuous as chasing after the next consumer item.

      The second problem is that travel is generally incredibly selfish. We pollute to get to our destinations, demand western style standards, food and conveniences, tip poorly and leave without any real connection to the local culture or people. There are exceptions of course, that is why I included Dwight’s video. However, the Dwight Turners of the world are definitely in the minority.

  2. Jackie says:

    Actually I like the name.

    It was interesting enough for me to click on and follow you consistently so do not worry, the people you want to speak to will “get you”

    My husband and I are starting our own nomadic lifestyle in January, starting in Thailand and this site has been useful for the preliminary research phase.

    Our best to you

    Jackie

  3. steve ward says:

    John i agree with you BUT you seem to be making the same mistake why for what purpose what end goal are you giving for? It is the same as consuming to just consume so why are you giving? For instance im looking into giving the gift or i should say basic need of water.

    I’m looking at supplying 10 villages with a well, I know we are not created equal and that each of us has to work for it BUT, to not have clean drinking water to me is just crazy and at the end of the day i can measure my progress towards helping others.

    So at the end of the day i will be able to ask myself “Is my giving reaching my goal?” like you said IF the answer is no.

    If you are answering”no” for too many days in a row, maybe it is time to change what you are doing?

    • John says:

      Hi Steve,

      Thank you for taking the time to comment.

      It is fantastic that you are giving a well, but I am not sure I understand what you are saying here.

      My view is that giving more than we take, makes the world a slightly better place. Consuming is all about taking and I don’t believe it brings any lasting happiness. I like to give because it makes me feel better AND improves the lives of others. My consumption is mostly harming others in the world, so I prefer to minimize my waste and environmental destruction.

      One problem I have is that I love to travel. I have a strong feeling that I could be doing more socially beneficial activities with that time and money. Look at the impact Dwight is making in Bangkok. That is the type of contribution more of us need to make.

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