Tag Archives: global

“Shoot ‘Dem Like Birds” – Homophobia in Tropical Paradise

Shoot ‘Dem Like Birds Promo from Traveling Muse on Vimeo.

A fellow culturemutt

Meet Leslie Foster.  He’s a buddy of mine who is not just a fellow globetrotter and culturemutt, we have also lived in the same places – a school campus near Manila in the Philippines, South East England and Hollywood.  Leslie is a fascinating guy.  His dreams dwarf those of mere mortals.  He is the driving force behind one of the coolest ideas I have come across in the last few years…

A remarkable muse

Traveling Muse is Leslie’s baby.  It’s a collective of artists, mostly based in the LA area that, in its own words, is “telling the stories of people whose voices are not heard… exploring social activism, the collisions between art and spirituality, creating art communally, and celebrating our vagabond experience”.  I know several of these artists myself and can vouch for the fact that they practice what they preach.  And that’s where this next part comes in:

A trip to Jamaica… but not what you think…

The project Leslie and his tribe of artists are tackling next is nothing if not ambitious. It’s called “Shoot ‘Dem Like Birds / Stories of courage from Jamaica, one of the most homophobic nations on Earth.” The sad reality is that in addition to pristine white sand beaches and one of the most relaxed, fun loving cultures, Jamaica is home to some of the worst physical violence against gays and lesbians. Leslie and his team are traveling to Jamaica to shoot a film telling the stories of those who are doing their best to fight the violence. This is savvy, global do-gooding at its best. Check out the video and the fundraising page and do your part to wish Leslie good luck!

Bjorn Karlman

Want to share an idea or talk about savvy, global do-gooding? HOP ON A SOAP BOX AND LEAVE A COMMENT


If you liked this post, make it public by hitting the Facebook “Like” button or Tweeting below. Thanks!

Everything Popular is Wrong

Yabusame – Tim Ferriss from Kevin Rose on Vimeo.

For all the books I’ve read on work-life balance and crafting an ideal existence, no author has caught my attention quite the way Tim Ferriss did when I finally bought his first book in 2008.   I’d spent months laughing it off because of its ridiculous-sounding title: The 4-Hour Workweek. One day when my curiosity got the best of me I picked up the book and started reading.  I finished it quickly.

The 4-Hour Workweek turned out to be the closest thing I’d found to a liberation manifesto for over-worked office-bound yuppies who have a sick sense that life is slipping away as they sip lukewarm coffee at directionless committee meetings.  Tim Ferris’s core concept is what he calls “Lifestyle Design”.  What it boils down to is the need to define the ideal lifestyle (read: liberation from 9-5) and then, using the tools in the book (near-fanatical decluttering, starting your own automated income stream, etc), to achieve personal goals that he encourages readers to set unrealistically high.

His logic for such ambition?  “Doing the unrealistic is easier than doing the realistic… It’s lonely at the top.  Ninety-nine percent of people in the world are convinced they are incapable of achieving great things, so they aim for mediocre.  The level of competition is thus fiercest for ‘realistic’ goals, paradoxically making them the most time-and energy consuming…. Having an unusually large goal is an adrenaline infusion that provides the endurance to overcome the inevitable trials and tribulations that go along with any goal.”

I love Tim Ferriss.  I could spend the post trying to sell you on him but I want to focus in on some of the key principles that I like best and that I think best support the idea of putting an unusually strong emphasis on the importance of service in life.  The idea starts with his quoting Oscar Wilde (in The Importance of Being Earnest):  “Everything popular is wrong.”  From this starting point Tim builds a case for challenging commonly-held assumptions and the arbitrary crap that convention and “the way things have always been done” tend to force upon us.

His first rule for those that choose to join him in bucking convention, is “Retirement is Worst-Case-Scenario Insurance”… “It is predicated on the assumption that you dislike what you are doing during the most physically capable years of your life.  This is a nonstarter-nothing can justify that sacrifice.” I love this insistence on creating a life that can be fully enjoyed in the here and now rather than sacrificing everything for a pot of gold at 65.

Tim Ferris defines laziness as “to endure a non-ideal existence, to let circumstance or others decide life for you, or to amass a fortune while passing through life like a spectator from an office window.”  This resonates with me on a very fundamental level.  My parents were idealists who gave up financially lucrative work opportunities to work as missionaries in Africa and Asia for over 10 years.  Growing up in Asia with parents that were very intentional in choosing what they felt was the “ideal existence” while rejecting life lived from a sanitized office window certainly had an effect on me.  I definitely agree with Tim Ferris that just following what most do, going with what numbers define as popular, is a mistake.  It is life on cruise control – bland, lifeless and over-processed.

But what am I doing personally to reject crippling convention and embrace a life of intentional service?  This blog is one of my first steps.  I also took two years out of my life to work on service projects. The first time I was 16 and I left my family to work on service projects in the Philippines and Sweden.  The second was a year I spent working for an international school in the UK.  As a result of these two lifestyle experiments I developed a taste for nonprofit work. It has soul.

What about you? What are your ideas for rejecting the norm in favor of a life of service? If you are up for looking at unconventional ways to live a fuller life, I am excited to share ideas with you over the coming months as CultureMutt takes a close look at social innovators and service junkies that all have in common rejecting convention in favor of savvy, global do-gooding.

Bjorn Karlman

Want to share an idea or talk about savvy, global do-gooding? LEAVE A COMMENT


If you liked this post, make it public by hitting the Facebook “Like” button below. Thanks!

“You’re Hired.” When being in the multicultural know can mean a paycheck.

you've been around...
you've been around...

The difficulty of job hunting in this economy means that, more than ever, differentiation is the name of the game. You have to stand out to beat the competition for the few slots available. That said, multicultural savvy, overseas experience and a willingness to travel internationally can be your “in” for certain positions, regardless of the economic climate. In these professions, being in the know regarding global culture can literally mean a paycheck. Below I’ve tried to take some of the frustration out of finding international jobs by highlighting some of the most accessible entry-level jobs that would put to use your multicultural know-how, along with great online resources for finding a position in each of them.

English Language Teacher Overseas: Teaching English as a Second Language is one of the easiest areas to get work in because of the demand for English language instruction across the globe. This is a great option for recent college graduates who have a natural interest in learning more about global culture. Travel, adventure and a reliable pay stub are a pretty irresistible combination and definitely beat unemployed, post-college blues stateside. Check out this link to TEFL.com, the most popular resource for finding jobs in English Language Teaching (ELT).

Resort Jobs: Spectacular scenery, exotic locations and young, high-energy coworkers – resort jobs are perfect for college students or recent grads. Check out Job Monkey’s Resort and Spa Jobs Section for great information on the kinds of jobs available and an excellent listing of positions across the United States and abroad. As Job Monkey points out, the resort industry is one the easiest industries in which to find entry-level jobs so if lush vacation settings work for you, apply!

International Volunteer: This is not much of a money-maker (you’ll probably get a modest stipend) but I can say from personal experience that a volunteer year abroad is extremely enlightening and is a great opportunity to get away from the daily grind. The experiences you have and the things you learn about other people and other cultures are very hard to duplicate. It is absolutely worth looking into the options available. A great place to start your search is the volunteer section of idealist.org, an excellent resource for those who wish to “exchange resources and ideas, locate opportunities and supporters, and take steps toward building a world where all people can lead free and dignified lives.”

Professional Jobs Abroad: Finance, IT, pharma, consulting, marketing – you name it, and iHipo will have an international job listing for it. iHipo is a great resource for any professional that wants to do what they do at home, abroad. If you like your profession but would really like a dramatic change of scene and a chance to experience a new culture and way of life, check out your options.

Of the people I have talked to that have experienced living and working abroad, most found their experience valuable and a lot of fun. You will get to use your knowledge of global cultures and add substantially to it. Often, the experience of living away from your usual surroundings, customs and routine gives you excellent perspective on what is important in life, on what actually matters. So if you need a system reset, this may be your ticket.


Bjorn Karlman