Category Archives: Opinion

How Do You Afford to Travel so Much?

A lot of people have been asking me this, so here it goes. This is very base level stuff for people who’ve never traveled long-term before.

Experiences, not things. 

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Miss You Always Butterfly Shirt

I moved out of my parent’s house when I was 21 and haven’t really stopped moving since (eight times and counting). Because of this, I’ve learned how to not get too attached to things. I don’t own a ton of stuff, but the things I do own, I adore. And, with the exception of an amazing butterfly t-shirt that I used to wear to concerts, I don’t miss a single thing that I’ve thrown out. Just think, if you get rid of all the crap you don’t want and only buy things you really love – you’ll forever be surrounded by only the things you love.

I’m not talking about being a hippie and casting away all your worldly possessions. I like nice things.  We all deserve to have a bit of luxury in our lives, but the trick is learning to spend money on the things that are actually providing you that.

So yeah, in short, don’t buy crap. Don’t own crap. Drop cash on nice things that last and forget the rest. It’s a hard habit to adopt in our consumer-driven culture, but so so worth it.

I could write a whole book about this, but it turns out someone else already has. Highly recommend: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and Mr. Money Mustache’s blog for more info on frugality.

Travel and Work

Many options here: teaching english (TEFL), WOOFing, teaching yoga, babysitting, working at a hostel. The options are endless. It’s really easy to extend your travels by working abroad. Some jobs pay (especially TEFL), while others exchange room and board.

For more info try:

Workaway.info  – This site has a lot of farm work and hostel jobs. I worked on a farm in Guatamala and taught yoga in Costa Rica, both of which were really positive experiences. I also was going to teach yoga at a hostel in Nicaragua, but left after two days because the culture of the hostel (ie: drinking until you blackout before breakfast) wasn’t for me. So, it’s important to have back up funds in case you really don’t like the set up.

Stay with Friends

I’m #blessed to have done Air BnB in my home for over a year when I lived in Brooklyn. Through this, I met a ton of people and gained an enormous amount of insight on the benefits of experiencing other places through the lens of someone who already lives there.

When traveling or just living life in general, you’ll come across a lot of people who will invite you to come stay with them during your travels. Take them up on it. Bring a gift. Don’t overstay your welcome. Cook a meal or two.

Couchsurfing is also an option. I can’t personally recommend it, as I’ve never actually done it, but I’ve heard good things. I’ve also heard a lot of bad things, so I think it’s important to have a back up plan.

Save Money on Dem Flights and/or Boatsimg_1888

Google Flights, Travel Pirates and Secret Flying are my favorites. It’s helpful to be flexible on dates and
not buy any round trip tickets if you’re doing long-term travel.

It’s also super important to be flexible on your preferred method of transportation. I actually saved money by taking a ship to Europe, instead of a plane. Specifically, a cruise ship. Definitely not conventional. Definitely one of the highlights of my trip.

Travel in Countries That Aren’t Expensive 

Costs of living per day are not that high in places like Central America, South America, Eastern Europe and Southeast Asia. You’ll spend way less then you would just living at home and paying rent.

Do Your Research

Considering how many people fund their travels by blogging about it, the internet is an endless resource for money saving tips. My favorites are just plain old Reddit and Youtube.

Get Thrifty

I’ve made money in some seriously weird ways. As mentioned, Air BnB is one way to make money on the side. Others have included, BIZARRE jobs found on craigslist, non-bizarre jobs found on craigslist (thank you Sangha Yoga Shala for being so incredible), helping friends with random side gigs and my job as a health educator for insurance companies.

Believe You Can Do It…

I wanted to travel for so long, but never did it, because I thought I couldn’t afford it and/or it just wasn’t the right time. Then I just booked a ticket to literally the cheapest country I could find, Guatemala, and decided I’d figure it out a long the way.  And I did.

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When Alternative Medicine Isn’t Enough

Going off my last post, there is a public fear of conventional medicine, a fear that extends way beyond the scope of vaccines. Antibiotics, psychiatric medicine, fluoride, x-rays, MRIs, chemotherapy and the like have all been under attack at some point in time by diehard believers of alternative medicine.

And who can blame them? The list of side effects for some of the most commonly used medications are sometimes worse then the actual disease it’s supposed to be treating. Consider, Humira, a psoriasis medication that may cause, I kid you not, psoriasis.

Many doctors have also neglected nutrition in their practices for a very very long time. Only now are they starting to see the light and accept nutrition’s crucial role in a patient’s health.

Conventional medicine, in all it’s glory, can be kinda of scary and downright wrong at times. Resulting in many people rushing to WebMd to diagnoses themselves or relying solely on nutrition and exercise to stay healthy.

In more extreme cases, people have even turned down medical doctor’s advice in the face of more serious diseases, like cancer. In one such instance, mother of Neon Roberts, a seven year old boy, fought and lost a legal battle trying to seek alternative treatments for her son, who has a cancerous brain tumor.

However, sometimes alternative medicine just isn’t enough. Steve Jobs, founder of Apple, tried living off fruits and vegetables and hydrotherapy before opting to more advanced treatments. In one of his last interviews, he admitted he wished he’d tried  chemotherapy and surgery sooner. It might have saved his life.

As a future health educator, I am so happy that so many people have put faith in the healing powers of exercise and diet. Yet, I’m sorry to see it has come mostly out of distrust for the professionals. In the future, I hope to bridge this gap so people can reep the benefits from both forms of medicines.

To vaccine or not to vaccine?

With more than 40 states reporting wide spread outbreaks, flu season is definitely underway. Usually people don’t start getting sick until around late January/early February, but this year it is striking particularly early and particularly hard. According to the CDC, about 24,000 Americans die each year during flu season. Which makes me wonder, why don’t more people get vaccinated?

Personally, I’ve been weary of vaccines and most conventional medicine since High School when I began researching and experiencing the pitfalls of conventional medicine. Not only is it expensive, but often the quality of care is poor and many patients are given a slew of drugs with harsh side effects. Next to antibiotics, vaccines have accumulated quite a bad reputation.

It is believed that vaccines:

  1. Cause autism
  2. Contain mercury and other toxic ingredients
  3. Have never been tested
  4. Don’t even work

As a result of these beliefs, this is why many people avoid getting vaccinated while others run to health clinics, but it is hard to determine which side is actually right. On one hand, getting the vaccine is said to be 62% effective against the flu. Additionally,  the research correlating autism with vaccines is scarce. This is especially true considering the first researcher to ever make this accusation has since been unveiled as a frued, resulting in all his work being discredited.

On the other hand, it is hard to completely disregard all the vaccine propaganda when stories such as the polio vaccine causing “vaccine-acquired paralytic polio” are being released.

Despite my qualms with conventional medicine, I think I’ll be getting a flu shot this year. For me, the benefits outweigh the potential side effects. My advice is that in the end, it’s up to the consumer to do their own research and make their own choices.

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Rape Culture & Sex Education

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Thousands are outraged over the death of a 23 year old medical student after being publicly beaten and gang-raped on a bus in New Dehli, India. Jyoti Singh Pandey died trying to protect herself, exposing the perils of what it means to be a women in India.

Meanwhile at home, a small town in Ohio has gained the nation’s attention over an unfolding story of social media and rape. This small town became the target of the national spotlight after this 13 minute video (featuring athletes light-heartily joking about the rape of an unconscious girl) became viral.  In addition to the video, several incriminating tweets and photos have also been released.

Combined, these two stories have brought rape to the forefront of current issues being discussed. Yet when politicians like Todd Akin are still questioning what is “legitimate rape” when discussing abortion, it honestly was no surprise to me that these two incidences occurred. By and large, we still live in a culture where women are considered second class citizens, particularly in our younger college-aged populations. Walk into any frat party and  you are bound to see tons of young men abiding by the ridiculous ideology that women are merely objects by sporting one of these t-shirts or using the “date rape” drug.

The stories of the women in Ohio and India may come as startling to many, but considering a sexual assault occurs every 2 minutes in America, they are mere caricatures of a problem that’s been present for centuries.

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