Why the New American Dream Is Nomadic

The tired, huddled masses of the next generation are waking up to realize that flexibility and movement are the keys to unlock joy.

The American dream is dead. While still nestled in infancy, star-spangled hopes of anything resembling my parents’ life had pretty much vanished, and a strange subtext for what was to come silently gestated as I grew. The car, the house, and the child before age 30 were all near impossibilities for those of us who inherited the great recession. We were taught to dream small and assign great meaning to the tiny crevasses in which we were held, to play the game the way it’s always been played, though the rules have shifted greatly. Cultural milestones carved deep into society’s structure suddenly feel staggeringly out of reach for this generation of misfits, caught in the middle. So, what are we to do but erupt? To transform? To leap daringly into that which we can hold and experience with the limited resources we have been given? The new American dream will be forged not in matter, but in memory. A bleary-eyed tumble into the ephemeral nature of all things, seen through the lens of conscious nomadism.

We have taken to the road. The new mark of success will not be how young you made your first million or the square-footage of your house, but the stamps on your passport and the mileage on your odometer. The internet is a funny thing to unleash upon a generation, and I feel we are just beginning to use it well. Couch-surfing, ride shares, and freelance work are all within the click of a button, which has made the nomadic lifestyle within reach for anyone who puts their mind to it. Keep personal overhead down and maximize experience.

We have seen our planet suffer. It is no longer chic to accumulate goods and stuff plastic into landfills. The new hive-mind is keen on reversing climate change, recycling, and reusable materials. We can research anything within arms reach at a moments notice, and we are smart enough to know that buying something that lasts 10 years is better than buying ten things that last 1 year. We have had to lead big lives inside of small spaces, creating worlds within wee studios well into our 30s and downsizing to what is essential.

We have accepted a new definition of “home.” There’s a reason that the van life and tiny house movements have picked up so much steam in the last few years. The materialism that previous generations could afford via job security, lack of community, and a void of climate awareness are no longer sustainable or sexy to a tribe of youth raised on the net. Anything we want is right at our fingertips, and perhaps this certainty makes hoarding all the less desirable. The new zeitgeist is one that hoards information, media, and data. We can fit the whole of the world into a backpack, allowing for hyper-mobility and massive curiosity.

We have redefined that which is essential to include warmth, camaraderie, play, purpose, and flexibility. We are aware of our mortality and the world around us more than any generation prior, thanks to the 24-hour news cycle, and we are waking up to the notion that life’s meaning is best found in the deep wells of experience. We are hungry for experience and ready to start digging.

We are blurring the lines between friend/acquaintance/lover. In a world ruled by social media and meetups, finding like-minded friends or groups to try new things with has never been easier, and advancements like FaceTime and Skype give us the power to buzz through electrical currents and maintain friendships thousands of miles away. The new American dream demands inclusivity. Not out of disdain for society as it stands, but out of too many years of living like ill-fitted puzzle pieces in homes we were told to call our own. We have assembled a new definition of community, one that encompasses people we sat next to on a flight to Copenhagen who recommended a bar in Edinburgh. Playmates are everywhere, just look for the smiles.

The new American dream was birthed in the wake of globalization. Unlike ever before, our generation has the power to simultaneously recognize the immediacy with which we need to explore and defend our planet and the absurdity and transience of all things on earth. Between the two lies a web we feel called to traverse again and again, rather than adhere to a rigid, stairway-shaped career structure. The new narrative holds space for several careers within a lifetime and does not believe that traveling is something bestowed only upon the retired and the moneyed.

Technological advances have given us the tremendous gift of all the world’s information, photo-supplemented, at our fingertips. The breathtaking whoosh of Alice down the rabbit hole is just as near as a how-to course on calculus or a selection of vintage Ganesha statues. It seems only fitting that the first generation raised in such expansiveness would begin to carefully rip the seams of society’s cozy sweater and invite in the gale-force winds of the wild unknown. We are waking up to a new version of the future, a new narrative that welcomes the mess, the squish, and the inevitability of impermanence, knowing that goodbye is never a dirty word when the wind’s in your hair and the tiny device inside your pocket holds infinity. Maybe enlightenment isn’t found in the pursuit of solitude, meditating atop a mountain for years on end. Maybe it’s a swan dive into the messiness of life itself and a gentle recognition of the sublime, unwavering force of transience.


Originally written on by Emily Pennington on The Outbound and published on August 3, 2017


The Greatest Lesson I’ve Learned From Travel

The Greatest Lesson I've Learned

Written by Wandering Earl and originally published on WanderingEarl.com

I know nothing.

That’s the greatest lesson I’ve learned during all these years of travel.

Sure, I can tell you where to snorkel in Bali or give you a great route for a road trip around Romania or explain where to find a unique spa experience in Kyrgyzstan, but when I really think about all of the issues and situations that the world faces these days, I really know nothing at all.

I read. I meet people, all the time, all over the world. I talk and discuss at length with others about politics, about religion and conflicts and economies and why it’s so difficult to find a good pair of sunglasses that actually fit my head shape.

But the more I read, the more I converse with others and the more I travel this fine world of ours, the more I realize that not only do I know nothing, it’s almost impossible for me to know anything.

Travel has shown me that the very global topics that I am interested and eager to learn about, the very topics that we all read about, are even more complex and complicated than I ever imagined. It has also shown me that no matter how many countries I visit, I will always continue to discover that every aspect of life in every single nation is defined by an infinite amount of different thoughts, actions, deals, motivations, interests and beyond.

Every single person involved in anything has their own stake and as a result, has their own views, desired outcomes, reasons for taking sides and so on.

How can I know what every person involved is doing or thinking, both in the open and behind the scenes (where it gets even trickier)? How can I know the reasons why they are doing or thinking something?

I can’t.

And if I can’t know any of that, I’m just left with media reports and the conversations I have with the people I meet, which does provide some information and access to a handful of perspectives, but certainly not enough for me to claim that I actually know what’s really going on, that I actually know the complete story.

I can say I know what’s going on from one or two angles perhaps, but that’s about it.

Does it even matter? Maybe it doesn’t.

All I know is that over the years, I’ve learned time and time again that what’s bad for some people is good, or even wonderful, for others, that what at first seems to be one thing, so often seems like something else, something so completely different, soon after.

And that’s why it becomes so extraordinarily difficult to give sweeping statements about a government, about a conflict, about any situation whatsoever without taking into account every single person that is affected or that plays a role. But it’s impossible to take into account everyone’s position, which is why it’s impossible to possess complete knowledge about anything.

The more time I spend online, and the more time I spend talking about various issues, the more I realize that the internet has tricked us into thinking that we are ’experts’ simply because we have such access to so much information. We feel more comfortable making broad statements about the Middle East, yelling out our conclusions about poverty or claiming that we absolutely know what is going on with Greece right now because we’ve read 100 articles on the matter. But in reality, we still don’t know much at all because the internet can’t provide us with a completely unbiased view of what every person or every group involved is thinking and doing and why.

I’m Just Naive

When someone writes to me through the blog and tells me that my political views are naive or my thoughts on some global problem are overly simplistic, based on something I’ve written, my response is…


To me, naivety is thinking that we, ordinary citizens, know enough about some situation to be able to claim, with such certainty, that we are right and others are completely wrong. None of us have been in the meeting rooms, none of us have seen the deals made, none of us were present at every conversation or heard the exact reasoning for every decision, none of us have spoken with the very people, on all sides, who are dealing with the issue first-hand.

And while relying on the media might give me an interesting story to read, it is important to recognize that whatever I do read is one small, and usually very biased, perspective. Thinking otherwise can be dangerous. Media is big business and with any big business, there’s always a hidden agenda behind everything. They work hard to try and hide this of course but what we read is exactly what they want us to read, not necessarily what is actually taking place, or at least not the complete story.


This is why you won’t see me talking in-depth about conflict, politics or many other global issues. I’ll gladly share my thoughts and general opinions based on what I’ve learned over the years but I’ll always add a note that I really have no idea what I’m talking about in the end, simply because there is no way for me to really know what I’m talking about.

Make sense? Maybe not. Maybe I really am just naive.

But, I still think it’s better to recognize that we only know a tiny fraction about everything. I still think it’s more useful to realize that each of us has been exposed to different information and therefore, each of us sees things in completely different ways, none of which can possibly be fully accurate.

Realizing these things has helped me try to seek out as many perspectives as possible with anything I want to learn about. It has helped me to hold off on making judgments and reaching conclusions without gathering as much information as I possibly can. It has helped me realize that every situation in the world is much more complex than it seems and that I should always remind myself of this fact.

Thank you, travel. Thank you for teaching me that I am indeed quite clueless. Funny enough, this lesson has actually helped me understand the world so much better in the end.

12 Simple yet Powerful Rules for Life from Jordan Peterson

Renowned psychologist Jordan B Peterson’s answer to this most difficult of questions uniquely combines the hard-won truths of ancient tradition with the stunning revelations of cutting-edge scientific research. Peterson is currently working on a new book called 12 Rules for Life, and listed 42 rules in this Quora answer.

We’ve shortlisted some, here are 12 Simple yet Powerful Rules for Life from Jordan Peterson.

Written by Owen Fisher and originally published on Live Learn Evolve

27 Things I Learned By 27

Written by BY EMILY HIGGINS and originally published on Soul Anatomy 

1. Those who move through each day with a happy spirit will find that things always work out.

2. Learn to laugh at yourself. Let people laugh at you. Pronounce things wrong. Trip over your own feet. Spill coffee all over yourself. Accept it, people will love you more for it.

3. If you’re feeling wildly overwhelmed by everything, try this: organize your room, go for a long walk or run, light and candle and lay on the floor, make dinner plans for tomorrow, write down the good and go to bed before 10pm.

4. If he wanted to see, talk or be with you, he would. Simple as that– no ifs, ands or buts. If the feelings are mutual, the effort will be the same. This will take a while to learn.

5. Do not shrink or be ashamed of your life path to check some imagined set of boxes people/society have formed in their mind. I cannot tell you how many parties I have been afraid to attend because I was ashamed of my “job status” at the time. Everyone starts somewhere. Quietly carve out a life you love on your own terms.

6. Contrary to what everyone says, I do not think you should always wear sunscreen. Do this instead: go to the pool, beach, front yard, roof- wherever, on the hottest day of the year wearing no sunscreen. Turn yourself around every 20-30 minutes like a rotisserie chicken. After the sun dies down around 3pm and your body is fully dehydrated, go shower and wait. Stand in front of the mirror to find your skin now matches the red shirt you had planned to wear out that night. Lay in bed, not able to wear or touch anything other than the flimsy sheet that covers you and the bag of frozen peas you are now cooking with your hot skin. Repeat this once or twice in the coming years—you will start to notice the sunspots appearing on your chest at 24. Then and only then, will you really learn how important sunscreen really is.

7. Write things down. Keep a journal on your bedside table– (Highly recommend The 5 Minute Journal). Your memory will fade, but nothing beats looking back —you’ll be surprised at how much good you forget.

8. Life is hard: everyone knows that. Though no one really tells you how utterly terrible and brutal it can be and I wish they had. Awful, terrible things are going to happen around you and to the people you care about most. You will find sometimes the worst things happen to the best people and you will learn that you will never be able to work out the sorting system for tragedy or who gets allocated what, when. With that said, there is a strange sense of relief when you accept that sadness and grief is inevitable and there’s no way to avoid it but to continue to stare down that fear with your unrelenting love and hope for life.

9. But there’s light and happiness coming your way too. There will be holidays and birthdays in rooms and homes too small for the size of your family and friends. There will weddings and conga lines. First kisses and slaphappy Sunday’s. Cotton candy sunsets in places you don’t even know exist yet. There will be newfound friends and loves, pay raises and really good haircuts. There will be dinners with loved ones that last far after the meal is finished. There will be nights that turn into mornings and apartment dance parties that end in tear-filled laugh attacks. There will be road trips, forehead kisses and sweaty palms from holding hands for too long. Be present in every moment.

10. At one point or another, you will lose your friends to love– This will most likely be your first love. You will learn this the hard way, but the good ones always come back.

11. With that said, keep the people you love close to you. Make an effort, put in the time and care for these relationships. Take the 30-minute train ride to visit Mom and Dad at home, plan a girl’s night, call your best friend from high school and catch up over coffee or drinks—reminiscing will leave you both with tear stained cheeks after laughing so hard. Only with age will you be able to appreciate their worth and realize they are the best investment in your life.

12. The first time you do something kind for someone who cannot repay you is the first time you realize that giving love will bring you infinitely more joy than trying to receive love. You can still be generous even when you have little.

13. You won’t always be the smartest person in the room (let’s be honest here) … or the most talented for that matter, but you can be the kindest. The bravest. And this is what people will remember.

14. Continue to take pictures. Cover your walls with them. Your future self will thank you for it. I once heard that you photograph the things you are most afraid to lose. Remember that. Every photo you take means something to you in one way or another.

15. There are 24 hours in a day… Dedicate one of them to exercising. Learn to move and love your body every single day. Running will change your life. It will become your therapy and safety net… Your one constant during a time where most things are uncertain.

16. Stand up for yourself and set boundaries even though confrontation is not your thing. Do not let people walk all over you. It’s okay to distance yourself from people who don’t treat you well. Teach others how to treat you.

17. Life experiences will teach you far more than any class/school will. I spent the four years of my college career at three wildly different schools. From the deep south in Mississippi, the corn fields that carpet the state of Iowa, all the way back to the bustling city of Chicago… each experience provided me with a heavy backpack full of wisdom and a backbone that I wouldn’t have grown otherwise. I can’t remember one ounce of Spanish from freshman year, but I can tell you about living in a frat house in Iowa City, being a “new girl,” aka: Cinderella, in a popular sorority, how to manage and live through football Saturday in The Grove and how to be your own best friend when home seems to be worlds away.

18. When it comes to chocolate or fries, resistance is futile. Not sure if you have heard this before, but life is short- order the damn fries.

19. Never apologize for being overly enthusiastic. There is nothing wrong with loving the crap out of everything.

20. Money does not buy happiness. Count your blessings, not the number in your bank account. Some of my favorite moments happened when I couldn’t afford to go out.

21. With that said, be careful with credit cards. Fear them. Do not buy anything with a credit card that you cannot afford with what’s in your bank account. You won’t realize you are in a financial hole until you are stuck (and panicking) watching those numbers climb every month because you are unable to pay them off.

22. The only way to find out if you can trust someone is to trust them.

23. No one really knows what the hell they’re doing. It wasn’t until I graduated college that I realized life isn’t linear. There isn’t a step-by-step instruction guide on how to reach a certain goal or be at a certain stage in which society claims to be appropriate for your age. We’re all on different timelines, shoveling our way through life to reach different goals. Define “success” in your own terms. Those who matter in your life will love you for you—not because of your paycheck or where you spend your days.

24. Do not let anyone intimidate you. You might be intimidating, ever think of that?! Everyone is insecure and nervous from time to time and it is crazy how much we can get in our own head. People are just people. Do not let differing personalities make you feel less. You don’t need to be loud, harsh or Type A to make an impact. This will take a while to learn as well.

25. Most of the things you worry about never happen. Worrying and overthinking is only praying for something to go wrong.

26. Follow your heart. Because we learn about trusting our gut only after we haven’t. And we are only able to learn about love after digging through the trenches of heartbreak.

27. There is no short cut to growing up. I needed to learn every last thing on my own, and in my own time. Because it has been how I have learned each thing that has shaped the person I am now–and the person I’ll be tomorrow and the day after, and the year after next.

Here’s to 27. I think it’s going to be a good one.

Your brain hallucinates your conscious reality- Anil Seth

Right now, billions of neurons in your brain are working together to generate a conscious experience — and not just any conscious experience, your experience of the world around you and of yourself within it. How does this happen? According to neuroscientist Anil Seth, we’re all hallucinating all the time; when we agree about our hallucinations, we call it “reality.” Join Seth for a delightfully disorienting talk that may leave you questioning the very nature of your existence.