Road Interview Chris Haulmark, Former Wanderer And Current Candidate for Congress

We don’t find our path. It finds us. Chris Haulmark learned this lesson the hard way. By most standards he had it made. He had a good job, children and a marriage. And sure, he dreamed of seeing the world, but that plan was on the backburner. “I thought I’d get to all that when I retired.”

Then his father died far too young at the age of 54. The resulting shockwaves reverberated through Chris’ life and knocked down his foundation. As he dealt with the sorrow of the sudden loss he started questioning everything.

“My father had worked all his life for his retirement, never to get there. I started to wonder how I would feel if that happened to me. From there I started wondering if this was the life for me. Was I living life to its full potential? Was I all I could be? If I ended up where my father was, would it fill me with regrets?”

For a time he wrestled with dark thoughts like these. He kept going back and forth between his commitments and his desire to see what was out there and – equally important – what was inside him. He couldn’t decide which way to jump.

So his children finally pushed him.
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The Myths Of The Noble Savage And The Inevitable March Of Progress (And How They May Destroy Life As We Know It)

“It’s been incredibly hard to teach them conservation,” The caregiver tells me. “The local people don’t get it. ‘Why should we conserve?’ They ask me. ‘Our ancestors have been living like this for centuries and the jungle always provided.’” And on one level that argument makes sense. The Amazon did provide.

Of course, on another level, the argument doesn’t. Their ancestors didn’t kill half as many animals and so the jungle had the opportungropuity to replenish itself.

That changed. The reason? A mixture of innovation and traditions.

  • Technologies like guns and motor boats allow the people of the Amazon to travel farther and kill more effectively.
  • Medicine allows more people to survive, even while their ideas about how many children they should have hasn’t changed.
  • Tourism and technology offer new ways for people to earn a living. But of course, those people (and the tourists) still need to eat. So hunters – many of who still believe the jungle is infinite – go out more often and kill more animals.

All this is causing an unprecedented strain on the environment. Animals that were common only a little while ago have disappeared. Plenty of guides told us how alligators, sloths, and monkeys used to live on the edge of town only a few years before. The only animals we saw while there were insects and monkeys. And we only saw the latter because we visited a sanctuary (where I met the caregiver who explained all this to me).
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The Judgment Fairy

Picture by Etienne Koch.

This is the Judgment Fairy! Isn’t he pretty? Yes, he does have green hair, but don’t judge. It isn’t some statement of rebellion. He was born that way.

His whole family is a bit different. They’re all in the fairy trade. Like his sister the tooth fairy and his mom, who you might know from the Cinderella stories, he does his job at the edge of sight. But where his sis loves enamel and his mom has a thing for pumpkins, his interest lies elsewhere.

His obsession is those who judge.
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Are Digital Nomads Exploiting The Locals?

I keep running into some incarnation of this question in nomad circles. Only this week it reared up again in a Facebook group dedicated to digital nomads. In this case, the question was, ‘when digital nomads outsource their work over the internet to low-paying countries are they exploiting them? Isn’t that damaging the digital nomad image?’ The discussion got heated. Nasty things were said.

To be fair, the original poster didn’t frame the question quite like that. Sure, they used a question mark, but it wasn’t actually a question. For them, the issue was already resolved. Now it was just time for everybody to agree. Low wages weren’t fair. They were exploitive. The digital nomad movement was betraying its roots. Anybody that disagreed with them was a small-minded greedy capitalist.

As you can expect, many people – particularly those who outsourced work to low-paying countries – weren’t happy. Who likes to get judged, right? Some of retorted with well-reasoned arguments. Others were nasty, brutish and small-minded – thereby proving the original poster right about that part.
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How to Really Keep the Immigrants Out

If you’re already regularly reaching out to help those less fortunate than yourself around the world, then this article probably isn’t for you. If you already give to charities and donates your time and effort to those less fortunate half a world away, then good for you, but this article might not help you much.

This article isn’t aimed at the converted.
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Spreading Words to Help People Help Themselves

On both our about page and in our post introducing this website, we talked about spreading words to help people help themselves. Today we’d like to talk about what words we meant.

We were talking about all of them.

Yup, that’s right. We want to spread all words – be they liberal or conservative, long or short, rude or complimentary. It doesn’t matter if they’re religious, sacrilegious, scientific or mundane.

We hold no prejudice, we aren’t biased and we have no preference. We’re not here to indoctrinate. We’re not trying to convert. In fact, you could say we’re here to do exactly the opposite.

Our aim isn’t to build walls but to open minds.
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Introducing Vagabond Writers

Welcome to the Vagabond Writers first blog post! Thank you for taking an interest. Oh man, what a journey it has been to get here! I had to choose a template, a color scheme, take some pictures, write a couple of things, Skype with my mate Jascha at JSICS who then actually did all the heavy lifting of building the site while I nattered aimlessly in his ear, have cup of coffee, stare out of the window for a bit… Well okay, that was it.

But that took a while. I had to refocus my attention span at least three times!

That reminds me, did you know they recently discovered our attention span is shorter than that of a goldfish? That’s pretty amazing, isn’t it?
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