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Saturday, June 7, 2014

When travelling some places in the world, being authentic and real makes my day tiring, frustrating and inefficient.

I prefer to be myself; open, smiling, goofy and impulsive – not having to play a role, be selective, hard, dismissive and analytical.

Being in Nepal and India in the past weeks, this city is the perfect embodiment of my point. 
It's a place that gives you a crash course in humanity. 
Do bring humour and a big Zen-bubble, you'll need both.

I've been in rough spots, dodgy places and lived under basic conditions in many regions in the world and would say that this atmosphere is fairly common to most populous, poor and warm places in developing countries.

Jumping around the world, both through work and travel, I've learned that my fluffy spiritual beliefs about oneness and humbly embracing the present experience need to be adjusted to the local environment to get through the day. 
One actually has to be practical.

Being nice and kind is less important to me than staying safe, sane and getting things done. Wish I could use a friendly tone and a carrot, but often I have to resort to the stick.

My natural state is to move from a place of abundance, knowing that I'm safe, protected and that there's enough cake to go around – little fear, lots of flow.

This attitude works well in New Zealand, Australia, America or Budapest, when you interact with people who have a somewhat similar mindset and quality of life.

However when you move into the chaotic life of people who have to fight for their security, food, shelter and attention – you need to adjust your perception of reality.

I believe their behaviour is partially based in culture and tradition, because you see the middle class and well-educated people displaying common traits, but mainly it's the theme and modus operandi of the poor and less fortunate.

They live a life where they have to grab any piece of cake they can, and are less concerned about the way in which they get it. In their eyes I become a resource first, attention-giver second, sense of wonder and fellow human being distant third.

In more hostile environments I could be considered a threat, annoyance or bounty.

Be it Central Africa, India or Bolivia – for poor people, everyday becomes a routine of lack; getting basic needs met, grabbing resources and money wherever they appear. 
This is especially evident in urban areas.

I read the local newspaper and talk to people on the street. I've seen the effects of humanitarian and military intervention, and experienced appalling treatment of human beings.

I notice the corruption and feel the gloomy vibe and disposition of the local youth. 
I feel the tension, the slow improvements in social welfare. 
I smell the trash, feel the lack of basic infrastructure, governance and see the environmental challenges.

I'm also able to see the big picture, and know this is all a reflection of myself, here to give me the opportunity to experience myself through contrast – but sometimes I get to a point in a long day where my Yoda-powers go flat.

I just sit down at a restaurant, grab a cold beer or spicy chai, and silently think to myself; what a bunch of fucking monkeys, you really don't get it. I guess you are all doing your best, but O’boy am I glad I'm not in your shoes this time around.

There are of course many bright spots, smiles and perfect details of creation I notice throughout my day, and I know deep down that all is well.

Consciousness is evolving, but reality hits you hard sometimes, and I feel it. 
So, this leaves me feeling discouraged and less connected.

I'm reminded that the external situation only serves as an impulse for me to choose my internal response, so I'll take a deep breath and thank myself for the learning experience.

I have the freedom to take a flight out of here, they do not.