This is a question that I have been struggling with the last few days, since being deported from Indonesia for a tweet. Where do you turn when your birth nation, the place that brings most people joy and warmth to their heart, just feels cold and alien?
America is driven by materialism and consumerism, two things that I — and most long-term travelers — do not agree with. Neither one is sustainable in the long run, in the grand scheme of things, so why should both be pivotal to daily life? “Oh the economy is doing bad.” “Go out and spend some money to stimulate it.”
Not only does this mentality keep most Americans locked in a financial prison (much to the joy of big businesses profiting off them) but it is also destroying our beautiful planet. We are consuming natural resources at a scary, unprecedented pace, and this continues to escalate exponentially. We are raping the world to retrieve these raw materials, polluting the environment to refine and manufacture them into desirable commodities, and then further trashing the landscape six months later when all those countless “like new” laptops and cellphones end up in landfills across poorer nations like India and Ghana. Are you proud to be a part of that?
I can take a minuscule amount of solace in the fact that right now I am in Austin, one of the most forward-thinking cities in all of the 50 US states (still waiting for marijuana to be 100% legalized…) but even here this possession-based mentality persists. As such I now find myself a stranger in a strange land.
The folly of endless consumerism sends us on a wild goose-chase
for happiness through materialism.” ~Bryant McGill
I may still hold an American passport however I am no longer an American, not in my heart and certainly not in my mind. So now the only question is: where do I go from here?
What Country Is Next?
I’m currently researching countries to travel next. I’d like to go somewhere new but also somewhere not terribly expensive. Thinking maybe India or Laos. That, or I could go somewhere that I’ve already been before and focus primarily on catching up on work, such as maybe Mexico or the Philippines. What would you suggest?