Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Gypseh Life for Me!

(On a stopover in Seoul, South Korea.)
Well, as we all know, we have a huge advantage being nomadic when it comes to work, life and the comforts of home. Home is where the heart is for most wanderers and gypsies.
And so it is for me.
Wherever the living is good, we move there. It just makes sense, no?
And at times of tight budgets, some of us even move offshore for a while. (or in my case, why wait for bad times? Just go ahead and make the move early.)
That's been me now for the last few weeks.
Offshore also means moving to a country where the US dollar goes further, can buy more, etc...
I still get questions of where I am based. So I just say, wherever I am, there is my home. Which is a true statement when we are comfy with wherever we are.

Right now, I live in my original offshore home. Very lucky to have this abode, I must say.

The power of the nomad is the ability to move even countries. Many more seasoned travelers than I are all probably out here as well... making best use of a devalued US dollar and living like kings and queens on Social Security or retirement or just earning an income through some internet business that can be accessed through any laptop in any of the world's coffee shops.

Eat shrimp the size of large sausages... Everyday is party time. :) In a world of international commerce, we now have all the signature brand restaurants all over the world. And of course, the ubiquitous McD's, if that is your thing.

I am still reveling in my decision to leave the fixed life and go nomadic. I haven't regretted a single day. It's a wonderful life to be had. Sure, there has been times of sacrifice and a bit of hardship. Nobody said this would be easy. But the rewards of being able to make money on the road... to earn some silver on the run... that is priceless...
Even more priceless is the happiness of those people whom I visit on my travels. We are given so short a time on this Earth to spend... I'd rather spend it with people close to my heart. To them, I am fast becoming not a visitor... but almost a regular neighbor who travels around.

As long as I can sustain this... yohoho... the Gypsy's life for me.
Good night and happy travels.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Home of the Brave

So the other day, an airline pilot wanted announced his mom had a birthday that day on the plane... But the PA system might have been weak, and some people heard "bomb" instead of "mom".
And of course, pandemonium ensues.
I am freaking embarrassed for my own countrymen, I have to say.
Dammit, people should stop being so scared all the time. Ever since that fateful day, this country seems to have stopped being the "home of the brave". Well, my near indifference to terrorism is my way of saying I believe in living the "land of the brave". If the rest of the sheep want to cower, so be it. I have never and will never be afraid. I will fly when I want, where I want. yellow, orange, purple alerts... I never listened nor made plans according to those things. If just hearing the word "bomb" makes them twitch, then I am sorry for them. When you sing that anthem so lustily with that flag waving and fireworks going off, do you believe in those words, or do you just pay empty homage? Your choice, right?

But that said, I can understand, I guess.
This country was brought up insulated from all the terrible things that happen in the world. Which is probably why apocalyptic movies are prime entertainment here. I never understood that appeal, to be frank. I have seen and witnessed true poverty and misery. I have no wish to see it in my entertainment because I am not entertained. It doesn't amuse me to see people being smashed, drowned or killed in great numbers.
Perhaps a lot of people here have been insulated for a long time from the terrible things in the world. No longer, I suppose.
And we should learn from that. And open our eyes to the truth instead of just burying our heads in the sand and pretending nothing is happening.
I always said we should have acted like the Israelis. Bomb? We grieve but, life goes on. We are not terrified or panicked. 
And when you think about it... really think about it... Americans kill more Americans every year through crime and violent acts than any foreign terrorist. Yet we still come out of our homes and drive down freeways..
I guess I'm just tired of hearing this pathetic bleating all the time about terrorism.
I hate to say it, but we all need to grow up a little hardened with experience. If that means exposing ourselves at a young age to suffering of others, maybe that'll instill a solid foundation for a good, moral citizen later on.

Saturday, February 11, 2012


Yeah, still a very hot topic in the States right now. 
Last year, I visited my own boss who had an accident. His insurance put him in a room with 4 other people. (he's better now) He checked himself out a day later preferring to heal up at home. I thought: "This is my boss! Why did they stick him into this public ward???"

This year, I visited an uncle in LA who had a stroke. He's in a room with one other dude who can't stop coughing. You feel like you're getting sicker as you stand there, unwilling to breathe.
The nurses are too few and are always tired (understandably). There is a smell of feces in the air as you go through certain parts of the place. The hospital chlorine smell is overpowering.

My grand aunt in the Philippines is in the hospital. I visited her recently. 
The room is air conditioned, private, has its own toilet and shower stall. How much is something like this, I asked. It cost 1,300 pesos per night --$30. Place is well ventilated and there are enough nurses that each visit, I see 4 of them come in and out of the place (not to mention they're all young and pretty).

Staff's all pro. They are after all, the same nurses that staff US hospitals. 
It's really bad when you compare it like that.
Even if you pay the doctor out of pocket, a stay like that is cost effective and affordable.
Not to mention the medicines are cheaper as well. Same company. Pfizer provides cheap meds in the Philippines while US consumers has its dick in their ass.

I lived in Australia for close to a year. My former girlfriend is an Australian doctor who does the roving medical service (if you are too sick to go to the hospital or prefer to be treated at home, you can call the medical people over). We drive about the place treating rich and poor alike. The service is standard and the same for all. For those paying more into the system, they get extra frills. The car we drive about in is like a cop car but with different decals. It was quite an experience. This just tells me those who say universal healthcare is like the Soviet Union 1960 have never left the country and have never gone anywhere else in the world. 

I get to compare our supposedly best medical system against another first world country and a third world country. From the standpoint of a working man like me, both of them have better amenities and more timely and adequate staffing. One gets paid through people's taxes and the other is out of pocket (the US model) but is cheaper and better.
Sure, there's first class amenities in the US no doubt. But what does it cost? 
When people say we have the best healthcare, they are talking about the healthcare that only the rich can afford.

I post this here because as travelers and those who live nomadically, this is our issue.
Luckily, because we travel far and wide, we can compare and contrast.
The cheapest way I heard for most is to go up to Canada and marry a Canadian. 

But currently for me, this is my best healthcare model.
I go to the Philippines to get my annual medical and dental needs taken care of.

It is cheaper and with less hassles. It is out of pocket, but neither will it destroy your finances. 
And because it's the Philippines, let's admit it... Just like any other tourist destination like Thailand or Vietnam, there's tons of cool places to go to as long as you have money.

For the price of a plane flight, you get to take care of your pressing needs... and get a little vacation in while you're at it. Of course, it helps if you know people so you can just couch surf on over. 

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Money on the road

Ah, the sweet vision of a Paypal confirmation!
The beauty of my chosen profession as a graphic artist is I can now do my work from anywhere.
When I began this trip, I really had no inkling I'd get a new job while in transit.
I just trusted to serendipity, the openness of the world and a dose of my own industry to see me through. Not everyone would go trundling off into the great yonder not knowing how they will make their way in the world. But I guess this is something I now share with my fellow wanderers.
Little by little I am becoming as fearless as they are when it comes to tomorrow.
We trust that all will be well and the world will provide.

As my recent experience proved, the world did respond as long as we take the initiative and grab the bull by the horns. I took off not knowing where my next contract will come from. But opportunity comes and thankfully, my eyes were open enough to see it and grab it.
 A good hunk of cheese now sits in my account.
I will savor it and look for more tomorrow as always.

Good night, America!