Saturday, August 19, 2017

ignorant is the new wise


This post contains offensive and judgemental opinions on people I don't even know.
It is full of verbal violence, intolerance and negativity about some post-modern crap I've read lately and its author.
If you're a Buddhist, or believe in respect-over-freedom-of-speech, you may not want to read any further.
If you're a 'digital-nomad' moron whose mouth and mind are full of global BS, or if you worship cheap travel for the sake of it and making money through a click-bait shitty blog, while aiming at making the world a better place, reading this post may make you feel miserable (my secret hope), or feel upset (my secret agenda), or feel like punching me in the face (my first guess).
This being said, and for the rest of us: last call for passengers to doucheland, now boarding!


Ever wondered what to do while stuck long hours at an airport terminal waiting for a flight? Or stuck between your two neighbours on a flight? How about reading (or writing) an (hopefully) interesting and inspiring blog post? Well, now you mention inspiring pieces of reading - or did I mention that myself? how convenient! -, there was indeed one I came across randomly about a month ago, on a very fancy blog. I soon discovered it was written by a travel supa'star, a wanderlust heavyweight, some sort of #digitalnomad schredder, a Marvel hero with a cool name and a trendy 2.0 backpacker costume: the Connor Mc Gregor* of the travel blogosphere! A living myth! A unicorn in hawaiian shorts!
#MyNewHero: un(re)touched and raw.
If you excuse me for being way too sincere, way too soon - that's the writing equivalent of smuggling one's toothbrush on one's one-night-stand's bathroom shelf before leaving their place the next morning - I'll confess I was simply amazed that one of Facebook's almighty algorithms fished that piece of raw rubbish just for me. This idiotic gem was targeted and selected based on my profile, feed, activity and so on?  I'll have to think about this thoroughly later and make amends: no way I'm getting away with that without practising some self-criticism.

So, what did the algorithm get for me, just for me and for me only? An authentic little treasure of moronic millenial bullshitting. Un-censored. Director's cut! So neatly superficial, so powerfully short-sighted, so disgustingly self-satisfied and so genuinely ignorant, it was close to pure genius. Really moving. A brilliant example of CS's the sky is the limit, wooo!-philosophy (a.k.a. "let's go carping all those diems!") under the pen of a <quotemark> travel writer and journalist </quotemark>, who self-introduces himself as <quotemark> New York Times best-selling author </quotemark> and whose best-selling product was written and intended to make you <quotemark> Travel better. Cheaper. Longer <quotemark>**. Now, that's what I call a good start, mate: travelling as a dick-measuring contest! Classic and classy old-school junk-ology. Implacable rethorics: the cheaper and longer, hence the better. Pay less, get more. "How many miles must a man walk through, sang our unexpected literature Nobel prize in his early years, before you call him a man?" Well, forget about that. Nowadays in Millenniala-land, it'd be something like "How many miles on your airline program, before you get a free flight?"... How did he say, the unexpected Nobel Prize? "the times they are a'changing...". Indeed. Joan Baez, if you're still around, don't cry. It's useless. They're everywhere. Resistance is futile. They won the war already. Deal with it: Ignorant is the new wise.


"LEARN HOW TO SAVE MONEY ON YOUR NEXT TRIP. Hi! I'm New York Times best selling author ---. If you're overwhelmed by all the travel information on the web, sign up here to get proven step by step tips and tricks that'll save you time, money and have you traveling sooner!"


Wanna travel like a local in France? Try our rusty shitty Citroën c15!
So, if you've got time and you wanna take a chance to give him a fair trial, you can read his nice piece of travel writing/journalism here. Just cruising through the introduction, you'll learn that "sharing economy" is "the term given to the plethora of websites designed to connect travelers with locals, offer more unique experiences, and make travel more affordable". Wow! Thank you so much #MyNewHero, it took Wikipedia 150 bibliography entries to define, refine and analyze what the sharing economy is (or isn't), what it looks like and what it may become, only scratching the surface of it. So yours is indeed a great synthesis: "a bunch of apps to help you travel cheaper!" And this is just for starters. I so can't wait for the main course, but let's be patient...

There he goes: "While I’ve used the sharing the economy frequently before (I am a big fan), they have never been the primary focus of my entire trip. I usually add a few activities in while I’m being a normal tourist seeing the main attractions." And also, wondering how it was going to work: "Would this be the best way to meet people? How much cheaper is it, really, to use only the sharing economy? Would it be more work? Would I even like using the sharing economy all the time?". Down to the two important ideas: he's a big fan of the sharing economy and he's used it before. It so sounds like "I'm not racist, man. Look: I even have a black friend". And cheaper - is that the point? Apparently, yes. Could the sharing economy be about not wasting resources, not over-consuming and not getting so much new stuff and services when you can share, borrow, co-own or rent... Thought spending less was secondary to trying to act more sustainable, the 3Rs, all this. But it looks like I had it wrong: sharing is all about cheaper deals. Oh, and the best so far: "what if don't like that too much?" As a customer of the sharing economy, what if the act of making the world a better place is not enjoyable enough? First experience: a BlablaCar ride with 2 locals. Buckle up!


"I was little nervous (...) because I was worried we wouldn’t end up talking much. I was right. After making some initial small talk with her and the other rider, we exhausted their English and my French and they just spoke French to each other. I can’t blame them though. It'S a lOT EASIER TO SPEAK IN YOUR NATIVE TONGUE THAN GRASP FOR WORDS IN A LANGUAGE YOU DON'T KNOW WELL."


Exactly, my fwiend! If you want to live like a f-ing local in any country, start by learning the f-ing local language. Or - at least - stop assuming every f-ing local has to talk to you in YOUR f-ing language! What kind of a self-centered, narrow-minded, imperialist prick brags about living like a local in any country in the world with an English-only approach? You know what? Go live like a local in NYC. Go get some spicy-tasty-yummy sharing economy with a taxi cab in Manhattan and leave us indigenous people of the Fwance alone! Seriously. "Live like a local bla bla bla". My ass like a local. But look, at least our hero is a fair-player: "I can't blame them though". Oh thank you my lord! Why is that? Come on! Blame 'em a little! Is it by any chance because you don't speak a bloody word of any foreign language yourself? While you self-define your-arrogant-self as the supah travelah-supah stah, Mr. NYTimes Best-selling author?

me doing the sharing economy with a cat: come share our couch! hashtag vanlife!

Then we learn he had another disappointing experience with some other sharing economists from the AirBnB platform. Btw, a platform that is making millions just by charging a (huge) percentage fee on illegal/alegal rentals between peers and peer-profesionals, actively involved in global gentrification and making cities some fake theme parks for tourists, with sky-rocketted rents unaffordable for the working class locals who have to go live in the suburbs and commute long hours everyday. Live like a local, my ass. It's like the Nokia add, but with 2 l's instead of the 2 n's, look at that:

<> AirBnb - Collecting People! <>

Anyway, as he briliantly wraps it up: "in Orléans, my Airbnb hosts were young graphic designers, super accommodating, helpful, and had an excellent tea selection. However, they spoke little English, weren’t so keen to hang out, and mostly left me alone." Oh! The poor little thing! His AirBnB hosts weren't so keen to spend 24/24 with him and they spoke little English. They looked cool, though: they were young graphic designers with an excellent tea selection! How sad he purchased a service from them on AirBnb and not, say, AirCnC, like in CONVERSATION AND COMPANY! Or didn't anybody tell him BnB actually stood for BED AND BREAKFAST? That is to say: place to sleep and morning coffee with pastry! If you wanted friends, you should have tried another approach: the sharing economy does not usually sell any. Neither does the regular, individualistic, capitalist one. You just do not buy friends. Period. Like a local my balls, #MyNewHero: you're learning to live in France like a pathetic spoiled kid, not like a local! Then the thing goes on and on: he meets other AirBnB hosts who are desperate as he is and need some company. They hang out with him and speak his language, so he can finally feel like a local. They even fake having feelings towards him, putting a candle on his croissant for his birthday. As he reckons: they are an older couple (probably suffering an empty nest syndrome and inconsciously looking for some child-like ball of fur). They laugh with him as they swap stories over a bottle of wine! Oh my God! Is there anything local-er than that?


"I met a local psychologist, a recent college grad touring his own country, a Syrian refugee from Aleppo (which I found to be an enlightening – and very depressing – experience), a fun Dane and a Japanese tourist who wanted to be a farmer. They filled my time with laughter, fun, and insights"


Another beautiful life lesson from #MyNewHero: apparently, Pokémon Go is part of the sharing economy too! You can hunt and capture interesting people with only 1 (one) trait. And they're like items or cards, to be added to your collection. Purchase them for free on! Wooooo!

What's up with this creepy little man? He keeps sayin' he wants to live like a lo-cow...
"They filled my time with laughter, fun and insights" made me smile, but I almost puked with "which I found to be an enlightening - and very depressing - experience". My balls, like a local. Like a mo-ron, you mean. The rest is not as good as he expected: not so many people are willing to get paid for sharing authentic stuff, apparently. The food sharing economy is disappointing, even though he admits a jazz musician cooked him an awesome burger. Why would you have a cook cooking you something to eat when you can have a jazz musician doing it instead? He also had "a Thai guy and his boyfriend, make some delicious Thai food". I know what you're thinking: a Thai guy cooking Thai food is a bit too easy for the sharing economist learning to live like a local. You would have expected, at least, a Colombian plumber to cook Thai food on a solar stove, right? But read more carefully: the Thai guy and his boyfriend! Now you have the cherry on top: he got his meal cooked by a gay Thai! To our NYTimes best-selling author, that made him special Pokémon-style and worth mentioning. They're not persons, just jackets... But the whole thing keeps getting better: now comes the time to analyze and conclude, to nail the nail (local saying!):


"I started to have mixed feelings about the sharing economy. First, it’s not convenient. You’re dealing with people, not companies"


Well yes, exactly! Congrats and thank you for this briliant awakening. You're dealing with people who happen to be humans too. They have lives too. And don't dedicate most of their time to match your needs. Do you dedicate most of yours to match theirs, #MyNewHero? No, you don't, right? In my humble opinion, a good starting point would be that instead of "using the sharing economy", as you repeat again and again, you try and participate or get involved in the sharing economy! Not just "What do I need?", but also "What can I bring?", "What is my goal?", "Why do I want to do it in the first place?" These questions take us naturally to Mr. success' second concern: the argent!

what the hell is the sharing economy useful for if it's not at least 30% cheaper??
"Second, it’s not always cheaper. (...) the listed tours were quite pricy too, often rivaling traditional tour companies.". So, to make it crystal clear:  a service costs merely the same in the sharing economy as it does in the real world? How weird! How curious! Alternative ought to be cheaper, right? Because those dreamers who want to make the world a better place don't need to buy food nor to pay a rent, right? They feed on their colourful dreams and graze the sun, right? Well, apparently, the ones on the other side of sharing are expected to: the ones who sell the sharing. Those who pay to buy the sharing, they need it to be cheap, right? Back to my humble opinion: stop using the sharing. And start sharing. But this is not the point. The sharing economy being as expensive as (or not substantially cheaper than) the regular economy is just a simple problem of perspective: your concern is money, value. Not quality. Or only an incomplete concept of quality. You're missing the point. Very similar to politicians telling us public schools or public hospitals are not profitable enough, or cost too much. Of course they're not profitable. They've never been meant to be profitable in the first place! They're meant to cost public money so as to give a service to society: free education, free health. They're not profitable in money. They are profitable in knowledge, culture, tolerance, peace, well-being, happiness, stuff like that, you know. Maybe the sharing economy works the same? Imagine the mythical beast called "the sharing economy" was never meant to be cheaper economically, but rather to invent, experiment, develop and promote new ways of consuming together. Wasting less, buying less new, not feeding giant companies and corporations, not shipping worldwide. Instead: spending and earning on a smaller scale, shorter circuits of distribution, repairing, sourcing local, exchange, swap...

imagine you looked in the mirror and instead of yourself, you saw the whole picture.
Think about this shared car-ride again: it's not meant to entertain you more, nor to be more comfortable and convenient for you, while also being cheaper for you. Just get your belly-button off the center of the damn equation for a second and imagine this shared car-ride means not using 3 cars, spending 3 times gas, insurance, tyres, tolls. Not producing 3 times carbon dioxide... Now if the 3 of us decide we want to do that, commit to it and manage to find a way so all the needs of the 3 of us are met with 1 single car and 1 single trip, it is going to be globally better: "for the planet", for the human beings, for the message we send to the car industry, the insurance business, the tyres and oil market... It should be cheaper. It may be better for us if we take turns to drive and enjoy some nice conversation and find less cars on the road. Now, the tough truth: this is certainly NOT going to be more convenient for each one of us than simply following each one the schedule and route that best suit one's individual needs! Not more convenient and certainly not faster. Actually, when you decide to do that, you reckon it's going to take longer and to be less comfortable, but you believe it's better (not for you but collectively). Indeed, if you expect a shared car-ride to be faster, cheaper, easier and more fun than any other transport option available on the market, you're a fool, you're going to be disappointed and there's nothing I can do for you. Keep using an app to live like a local and get mixed feelings when the locals don't speak your (foreign) language or don't show you around.




All this being said, live long and prosper, Nomadic Matt! I'm not angry at you, it's nothing personal. I don't blame you either for totally missing the point. You're a product of your circumstances and for a very short amount of time, you became a symbol of what's wrong with the world: a bright shooting-star of stupidity. As we all are, at some point, from some perspective. I just find it sad you're influencing so many a would-be traveler into believing living (like a local) is a matter of consuming, instead of committing. And success a matter of paying less to get more.


* I haven't mentioned yet anywhere on this blog that I am a huge fan of the notorious Conor McGregor. He's my hero. He's just SO amazing. He's my hero. I've seen ALL his fights. He's my hero. - Am I overdoing this? - When I can't sleep at night, I watch him fight on youtube and an average 4 minute treatment is enough for me to fall asleep like a baby! He's an artist and did I mention he's my hero? I'm totally overdoing this.

** the <quotemark> tag doesn't exist, I know. It should, though. Consider it an attempt to produce the visual illusion, or mental image, of my two hands doing the <quotemark> sign as I say this, with my intonation slightly over-doing it. Now: could you see it? Would you say the quotemark tag helped? How would rate its image-generating effect on a scale from 1 to 5 - one being a minimal image-generating effect and 5 being a strong, vivid vision of the fingers of my two hands doing the quotemark gesture in slow-motion?

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