The Story: Delicious food and beautiful ladyboys in the Kingdom of Thailand
Depending on what type of person you are, you might know Thailand for its beautiful Buddhist temples, its tasty food, ladyboys, ping-pong shows, or just its happy, humble people. And it’s true, Thailand has all these things and more.
In this episode, Kurt explains a traveller’s perspective on Thailand, the pad thai and basil stir-fries, the gorgeous and prolific sex workers, the ubiquitous transgender women, and the Thai people’s love for the late king, his majesty Rama IX. Kurt also talks about south east Asians fascination with sugary drinks, and some tips on how to spot a shill.
Join us on the next pad krapow scarfing episode of … The Paradise Paradox!
The Story: The dream of cryptocurrency and what to do about it
Most people hear the word “Bitcoin”, they don’t think much of it, or they think only about drug markets on shady parts of the web. Bitcoin, Dash and digital currency in general are similar to the Internet itself in some ways. If you can think back to 1995, you might remember people saying how the Internet was full of paedophiles, pornography and other undesireable material – a place for nerd and perverts, but certainly not for regular people. Today, almost everyone who has the resources to access the Internet uses it on a regular basis, from shopkeepers in London to monks in rural Thailand. A technology which was once only for a few, quickly became a necessity for everyone.
Free digital currency – currency not controlled by any government – may be the greatest breakthrough in monetary technology since coins were first minted. However, just as with the Internet, the benefits are not obvious to most, unless they have a need to escape the restrictions of normal money. Farmers in Argentina use these currencies to escape the will of banks telling them how to grow and what to grow. Activist organisations such as Wikileaks use it to accept payments when governments try to block them. Impoverished Venezuelans use it to smuggle in food to feed their families, as the national currency collapses before their eyes. If you want to send money across the world cheaply, or to find a way to save money so it isn’t eroded by inflation, or you have a desire to see a better world where everyone has a chance to live comfortably, could a currency such as Dash or Bitcoin help you?
In this episode, Kurt discusses the dream, the highest ideals of digital currency – ending war and providing a means for the masses to escape poverty and reach prosperity, removing power from central banks and holding governments accountable to the public they are supposed to serve. He also gives an overview of how to acquire Dash or Bitcoin, some pitfalls to avoid losing your money, and some ways you can earn this currency.
Join us in an industry-disrupting episode of … The Paradise Paradox!
Disclaimer: Nothing in this video or podcast is to be construed as financial advice.
The Story: Have a little faith that things will be okay
Many people have an aversion to the word “faith”, because they think it refers to a superstition. However, it’s perfectly rational to have faith – at least a little bit, and you will see for yourself if you look back over your life, examine your experiences, and project the likely future.
Every day of your life, or almost every day of your life, you have woken up once more. Every day of your life you have faced your challenges, in one way or another, by yourself or calling on the support of loved ones, and helping your loved ones face their challenges. I know this is true, because you wouldn’t be reading this if you hadn’t. You might not have always found a perfect solution, but without a doubt, you did find a solution.
You might have gone through dark times, and you might even be going through dark times. Even so, when you look you can find things to be grateful for. If you’ve lost your house, you may still have your family. If you’ve lost your family, you may still have your health. If you’ve lost your health, you still have your life, perhaps even surviving against terrible odds. So, in one way or another, things have worked out for you.
In all probability, your life is much better than that worst case scenario. You may even have had the fortune of finding a partner to share your life with, or been blessed with children whom you adore, who inspire you to previously unknown purpose and resolve, or perhaps you have found some wealth by well-timed investments, or even just managed to get by, day after day – even when it seemed that fate was against you.
Think about when you were a child of 5 or 10 years old. You probably had many ideas of how your life would turn out. Your life probably turned out very differently to how you expected, and when examined, you may well find that it turned out much better than expected – with intricacies finer than the finest painting, and details that you never anticipated which delight you. So, things generally do work out, and you can expect that things will continue to work out.
Whether you think of it as a metaphor or a literal expression, putting your worries in the hands of Providence, expecting things to work out – providing you take all reasonable steps to protect yourself and your loved ones – makes sense. If you take that first step towards faith, opening the curtains just a chink to let some light shine in, who is to say exactly what it might illuminate, what courage it might grant, what change it might bring. Go ahead. Find out for yourself.
When travelling, it’s expected that sometimes you might not have all of the luxuries of home. You might not have a hot shower, or a clean towel. You might not have a western style toilet. You might not even have a toilet at all, or toilet paper, or even the expectation that that bus ticket you paid for would get the driver to wait for two minutes while you ran off into the woods.
Our hero Kurt found himself in a similar situation on the road from Cox’s Bazar to Dhaka in Bangladesh. In this episode, he relates the details of a spiritual experience, gaining insight into his character and exactly what a human is capable of. Join us on another bowel-rumbling, digestive-system-crumbling, existence-questioning episode of… The Paradise Paradox!
The Story: Feel gratitude for the peace around you
We took an uncomfortable 10 hour bus ride from Dhaka to Cox’s Bazar, which every Bangladeshi will tell you is the longest beach in the world. Technically, that’s not true, that honour goes to Praia do Cassino in Brazil at 250km. The rightful title of Cox’s Bazar is the longest *natural sand* beach in the world, at 120km, which is probably more impressive.
Looking around on the beach, or wherever you are, you might notice the lack of something. The lack of violence and intimidation. We are constantly bombarded with messages from the media telling us how dangerous the world is, how murder is waiting around every corner. They tell us so often, sometimes we forget to look around us and see that it’s absolutely not true – most of the time, things are peaceful. It’s good to connect with that peace every once in a while, and remember how lucky we are to live in a world where we can enjoy freedom from attack, where we can just sit silently alone or with friends.
Join me on a tale of gratitude on the next exciting episode of … The Paradise Paradox!
If you are passionate about something, it’s normal to speak out about it, and as a consequence, you can find yourself in debates or heated discussions in what would otherwise be polite company. In the worst case scenario, you might even get carried away, start talking over your companions or even calling them names.
In the heat of the moment, defending a humanitarian ideal, you might forget that there are humans right in front of you, with whom you have the opportunity to make a real human connection. The real tragedy is when you allow your political beliefs to interfere with your friendships, sacrificing something real and present for something abstract and distant. It can even tear families apart, and it can even be used deliberately by powerful people to do so – separating Republicans from Democrats, Labor from Liberal, ancoms from ancaps, Venezuelans who wear 7 stars from those who wear 8 stars.
After a bit of travelling, my friend David Robison wrote: “Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE whom I have talked with is willing to have a conversation. Left, right, up, down, doesn’t matter. If you simply approach them and demonstrate basic levels of respect as a human being they will sit with you and share their ideas, thoughts, concerns. All they want is to be UNDERSTOOD. You don’t have to agree, they just want to explain where they’re coming from and they want you to understand it.”
Understanding and being understood are things that are always available to us. Real human connection is always available to us. Feel free to debate, be controversial and contradict. But remember that we all want similar things – to be comfortable, to be understood, to be loved.
Sooner or later, everyone comes to certain points in their life where they start to realise that they’ve devoted a substantial amount of effort to something that turns out to be bullshit. Sometimes it’s a project or a partner that betrays them, but sometimes it’s something more simple, like an idea.
If you base your identity on an idea, it is inevitable that the idea will one day fail, leaving you confused and disheartened, because no one concept can ever fully express the complexity that is you, and no one ideal can ever capture the elegant simplicity that is your essence.
The question is, what do you do when you reach one of these mini existential crises, or “inbetween places”? What is an effective attitude to address the emotional discomfort? And what are we all doing here on Earth anyway? These questions and more will go completely unanswered in this soul-shaking episode of… The Paradise Paradox!
The Story: Learning about the world by travelling through it
Many modern schools are modelled after a military model – stand in a muster, follow instructions, respond to the bells. A student who doesn’t feel like being militarised – which is probably most of them – can be seen as a “problem child”, but for people who celebrate creativity, independent thought, and self-expression, that child is seen as a genuine free spirit.
People are starting to realise that these outdated systems don’t serve us or the children any longer, and they’re looking for alternatives, such as “worldschooling”, taking their kids on a family gap year to explore and find ways to learn and socialise in the real world. Some decide to never go home again.
In this episode, Kurt interviews Andrea and Lean, a mother and son who are worldschoolers and have been travelling the Maldives, India, Sri Lanka and Malaysia for five months, discovering new aspects of themselves, learning English, and facing the challenges that come with it. Join us on another globe-trotting episode of… The Paradise Paradox!
The Story: Let go of your past and reveal new possibilities
When you hold onto your old grudges, judging people for debts unpaid and old insults, you affirm that you too should be judged for the mistakes you’ve made in the past. When you let go of your old debts, you take a firm stance that you can be forgiven, that, despite all your errors, you can create new things, and be recreated. You are not a victim of your past, and by changing your perspective on your past, you can change your future.