Tag Archives: Consumerism

Photos of Budapest Cafés

Ráday utca, Cafe streetBudapest: Café Culture

In another photo post, I wrote about why Budapest is one of my favourite cities in the world. There are few cities that can match Budapest for shear beauty, culture, good food and of course, its amazing cafés. The best part, is that Budapest and Hungary in general remain very affordable. Paris is nice, but it can easily be four times the cost.

My wife and I are huge coffee people and Budapest cafés don’t disappoint. Most are still one-off, privately owned restaurants with huge amounts of character and charm. In virtually every café, you can get great food, decent wines and alcohol, all with full service. They are not the generic chain stores that have proliferated the North America.

Most cafés have are adorned with interesting art and furniture and attract a very diverse audience. Even the way that Europeans drink coffee is so different. People go to cafés to talk and socialize, not just get some work done or pick up an over-sized dose of caffeine on the way to work. I just shake my head every time I see cars lining up to buy coffee through a drive-through in North America.

Where is the

My Experience with Minimalism: Less Stuff Equals More Experiences


It’s been a couple of years since my wife and I got rid of our business, house, car and most of our possessions. Culling our possessions and reducing and our materialism has been very liberating. I haven’t talked about minimalism or voluntary simplicity much on this site, but I’m starting to realize that it has become a defining part of my lifestyle.

It’s not Minimalism if you are a Backpacker

It is very easy to not own many possessions if you are travelling long term. If you can’t bring it on a plane with you, then it is essentially useless.

When I left Canada for Japan some 15 plus years ago, I had a ton of stuff in storage that I thought I would use again someday. I had clothes, books, kitchen supplies, bedding and a ton of other stuff. Virtually all of that was raided by my siblings, sold in garage sales or just thrown away and I don’t miss it at all. I can’t even remember what most of it was.

I went to Japan with only what I could carry on a plane. Did that make me a minimalist? I don’t think so. If it were free …

Travel the World without Flying – Interview with Niall Doherty

Niall Doherty

My favourite new blog to read is Disrupting the Rabblement by Niall Doherty. Niall offers comprehensive, well-thought-out posts with a level of transparency and honesty that are definitely rare in this age of mass-market consumerism and news sound bites. Niall also happens to be the first person that I have discovered that is travelling the world without flying. I am thrilled to have this opportunity to interview him.

Side Note: I highly recommend Niall’s blog for anyone interested in living a better life. It is also a great example of how to blog successfully on any subject. Niall is definitely a rising star in the lifestyle design niche. Here are some ideas to copy for your own site:

Success online takes a lot of hard work and Niall Doherty is definitely willing to put in the effort.

Here is the interview.

Please tell us about yourself.

I’m 30 years old, born and raised in Ireland. Before …

Is this Lifestyle Design – Digital Nomad Stuff Foolish?

Is Lifestyle Design Foolish?Many people have ask my wife and I if we’re worried about our future. Quitting your job to travel the world and start new businesses is great in the short term, but is it the wisest choice for a secure financial future? What if I get sick? How will I survive when I am too old to work? What if I die, how will my wife survive? There are a lot of questions we have considered and continue to discuss.

 Lifestyle Design Take One

I was in my twenties the first time I gave up everything to move abroad. It was just after finishing university and a failed start up attempt so all I had to look forward to was an entry level job in a company I wasn’t particularly enamored with. I needed to reset my life, and leaving Canada for the unknown was the best way I new. I bought a plane ticket to go to Japan one week later with $1000, no work visa and no job. It was probably the best decision I ever made.

Lifestyle Design Take Two

I was 40 years old the second time I decided to change careers and leave Japan, …

JetSetCitizen Manifesto

I have been wanting to create an infographic manifesto for a long time. This is how I summarize the main concepts I want to promote on JetSetCitizen.

Forget Jet Setting – Here is a real 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 …

Can I Afford to Stop Being Location Independent?

Location Independent in CalgaryI have written previously about how my wife and I need routine in our lives. While it is great to live in new countries, constant travel is very time-consuming and stressful. We have been consider setting up roots again and having a more stable lifestyle.

The big problem with settling down is that it costs a lot of money. It actually costs a huge amount of money to have a normal western lifestyle.

Here is a rough breakdown of monthly expenses that we would expect to incur if we permanently relocated to my home city of Calgary.

  • Mortgage on an average starter home: $1800
  • Property taxes: $200
  • Utilities: $350
  • Telephone, Internet: $150
  • Cell Phones: $200
  • Car Payments: $300
  • Car Insurance: $100
  • Car Maintenance and Gas: $200
  • Furniture and Household Items: $500
  • Clothing: $200
  • Food: $500
  • Entertainment: $500

Total $5000

The North American Idea of a Normal Lifestyle

We don’t have to spend that much money of course, but it is hard not to when all of your peer group does. Expenses of $5,000 per month are normal for a professional couple in Calgary.  It doesn’t matter how independently minded you think you are, we are all influenced by society, …

Interview with Long-term Traveller, Roni Weiss

Perpetual Traveler Roni Weiss

Many people wonder how my wife and I can afford our location independent lifestyle. Savings are part of it, I also do some part-time consulting. However, the key ingredient is that we don’t spend much money. This is a difficult concept for many to grasp: you don’t have to work much if you don’t spend money. My wife and I cut our expenses to about a quarter of what they used to be, now I have the flexibility to only work on projects I care about.

Long-term traveler, Roni Weiss has perfected the art of frugality. By keeping his living expenses extremely low he can maintain a travel lifestyle that is only a dream to most. Roni shares his story in this interview.

Please tell us about your travels.

My first big solo backpacking trip was in 2004, two months in Western and Central Europe. It could have been longer, but I chose not to bring a laptop, something I changed two trips later. Sharing hostel computers is for the birds. Now, I have been to 70+ countries, including every country in Europe, as well as every continent except Antarctica. 40% of the countries in the world.

How many months

Travel on $500 per month, Interview with Digital Nomad Raam Dev

Interview with Long Term Traveler, Raam Dev

Don’t have enough money to travel? Raam Dev went on a six month trip after bankruptcy, living on about $500 per month. He then went on to coordinate an ebook, Small Ways to Make a Big Difference, with 40 contributing authors that has been downloaded 27,000 times. He is another great example of what can be accomplished with the right mindset, talent and hardwork. Raam Dev is a fantastic writer with thoughtful and inspiring blog posts. I highly recommend subscribing to his blog at raamdev.com.

Please tell us about yourself.

In my late teens I decided to skip college and focus on building a career in the IT industry. Self-directed education wasn’t new to me: I had been home-schooled my entire childhood and began teaching myself at the 8th grade when my parents became too busy with the growing family business.

Technology has always come naturally for me so a career in the IT industry seemed like the best opportunity. I have since held titles like Lead Support Engineer and Software Developer. Although technology is what I’m good at, what I truly love is spending time outdoors, exploring the natural world, and traveling.

For most of my life, …

Goodbye Hungary – Traditional Cultures are Disappearing Fast

Hungarian Goulash on an Open Fire

Hungarian Goulash on an Open Fire

Motoko and I have made it to Hungary. Hungary is my father’s home country and I still have a lot of family here. I first visited when I was 5 years old and have returned many times. It really is astonishing how rapidly the country has developed in my lifetime.

Hungary in the Good Old Days

Some thirty plus years ago, Hungary was still in control of the communist U.S.S.R. This meant severe restrictions on everything we take for granted. It was impossible to travel to western countries because passports were only valid for communist block countries.

My father escaped in the 1956 revolution. Even though his escape wasn’t politically motivated, deserters were still viewed as traitors for a long time. It was 18 years before he was able to return to visit his family.

In order to buy a car, you had to pay a sizeable downpayment and apply for a number which indicated your order in the queue. The list of numbers was published in the Sunday newspaper so that everyone could track how long it would take to get a car. My uncle had to wait for six years in order …