Over the last couple of years, I’ve had many conversations with friends and fellow travelers about global issues and the lack of understanding that exists between people in different places. We don’t have a perfect understanding of the issues that the world faces. However, we’ve had the added perspective of traveling to and living in many countries other than the ones we were born in.

“If only people could understand….” fill in the blank. “Then things would be so much better.”

I grew up in a sheltered community and for many years didn’t once waver in the American exceptionalism and…

Do you believe you or some part of you will exist forever? Most of us have experienced death firsthand as we’ve looked at a loved one lying in their casket but we can’t comprehend the idea that at some moment we won’t exist. In his book Immortality, Stephen Cave calls the conflict between the reality of death and our inability to understand or accept it, the “mortality paradox.” This book explores how the immortality paradox has lead us to create “immortality narratives,” or stories that explain how we will live forever in some way. …

Photo by Bob Blob on Unsplash

“No one wants to see disaster coming, but those who look, do.” Wallace-Wells, David. The Uninhabitable Earth (p. 219).

It’s no longer a question of whether climate change will be destructive to human civilization, it’s now a matter of how much and how soon. In his book The Uninhabitable Earth, David Wallace-Wells outlines the latest predictions by climate scientists for how bad things could get, how climate change is an issue of inequality, the roles certain countries play, and what we can do to slow the disastrous effects of the climate crisis.

Anyone who’s been following the climate crisis will…

It’s been two years this month since I cleaned out my apartment in Austin, stuffed a few belongings into my parent’s garage and set off to Asia with a backpack in tow and a rough plan to be gone for six months. Obviously, the plan has changed quite drastically along the way.

I’d always dreamed of living by the ocean and so the place I now claim as my base, Bali, has been in many ways a dream come true. Back in 2017 during my first week in Canggu, my current town in Bali, I wrote in my journal, “I…

Photo by Ruthson Zimmerman on Unsplash

What would a perfect world or society look like to you? What would that include?

For most people, it would be quite daunting to come up with a comprehensive answer to this question. It’s common nowadays to hear people talk about all of the problems in the world and changes that have occurred and to think that things look grim. While there are countless real and pressing problems, In reality, there has never been a safer, more healthy, more just time to live than now.

The fact that for many of us life is relatively comfortable, combined with the reality…

A beach in Bali during the rainy season. © 2019 — Jason Childs

Imagine going on your dream beach vacation. You plan to visit a pristine beach with soft sand, clear blue water, and warm sunshine. You spend weeks planning, preparing, and daydreaming about what it will be like. When you finally arrive at your destination you find everything you were hoping for… plus trash.

The beach is lined with plastic waste, the waves break, littered with bottles, plastic bags, and packaging, and the vision of the relaxing beach vacation you had imagined vanishes in an instant.

This isn’t a fictional scenario, it’s happened to me personally on several occasions.

A man approached me as I headed on the tram towards Fitzroy in Melbourne. He seemed friendly but a bit disheveled. He reached out to shake my hand and asked if I was from overseas. “Yes,” I replied, “from the States.” He continued to make small talk before asking me for a coin or two. “I’m sorry I’m not sure if I have any,” I replied. “Just check, maybe a dollar or two.”

As we spoke the middle-aged couple standing in front of me were listening. When I reached for my wallet they turned and stepped in.

“You don’t have…

(Photo by Damir Sagolj/Reuters)

“Hi sir!”

“What’s up!”

“Where are you from?”

Everyone I passed seemed to want to greet me as I walked down the street in Manila. I’d never seen a neighborhood teeming with so much activity — it was as if the entire community spent their evenings together out on the streets.

Kids and dogs ran around in groups while teenagers slowly drove their friends around on their parent’s motorbikes. Bright barber shop windows revealed chairs of people in for a trim. Little shops connected to houses were surrounded by people in conversation.

Each home seemed to spill out onto the…

A speck of dirt flies directly into my eye and my eyelid goes into high-speed shutter mode. I fight to get it out and keep my other eye open as I swerve around the pedestrian standing in the middle of the road and then slam on my squeaky, mostly functional, breaks for the truck that just backed out into my lane.

After living in Bali for 4 months of the past year, driving through intense traffic on a motorbike has nearly become second nature, but it wasn’t always that way.

Upon arriving in Bali last year, I discovered that the…

When I left Austin to work remote and travel over a year ago, one of my primary goals was to delve more into side projects and work on something meaningful to me that would potentially have a positive impact on the world. I hoped to meet either an individual or an organization that I could partner with to work on something that I was excited about. While traveling I looked for different volunteer opportunities before enrolling in an online social entrepreneurship course offered by Acumen+. …

John Challis

Designer, focused on sustainability.

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