2011 Happy and Grateful, and is Thinking Making me Cynical

I am truly grateful for being unbelievably rich, I am so rich it is nuts, everyone around me is poor, and I have endless wealth. If I had more money, I would by a new towel, mine is worn out, I have not idea why I purchased this ugly green towel, but I know it was cheap.

Why am I so darn rich?
What would I do if I had a million dollars?
"I would buy a new towel."

For this, I am grateful; I am free from want, except for wanting to get rid of the green towel that is intricate and personal part of my daily life. I am extremely rich in time, I have an abundance of time to think about my towel.

Elubo, Ghana West Africa --- Saturday, January 1, 2011


Thinking about African Girls with No Clothes
How rich is Andy Graham of HoboTraveler.com?
What is my the benefit of my lifestyle?

This is what I did yesterday:

1. Reading a book by Wilbur Smith called "Warlock." maybe 150 pages read.

2. I sat all day hoping some gorgeous, intelligent, chocolate girl from Cote d’Ivoire that speaks French would arrive. She did not, but now she says today, who cares, I am still in the game, I am hard pressed to know, which is better, anticipation or the real thing.

3. What did I spend the day thinking about mostly?

The meek and mild, politically correct photo, not the ones that are possible.

African girls with no clothes.
I sat around on my balcony, looking at women washing their clothes and bathing in the river in front of my hotel room. It goes all the way from a wet t-shirt contest to black bubble butts with beads splashing water on their bodies with no clothes.

I truly try to ignore the old women; there is always the good, the bad, and the ugly.

I am always toying around with photography, trying to explain and tell a story with photos. As of the last couple of years, I also try to this with videos. However, there is a problem, I live in the real world, where people walk around naked, and my readers do not always understand.

Google.com and YouTube.com censors real life, but encourages lies, go figure?

I Lost Most of You
There is only so much room at the top, and maybe life is grades on a curve. Nonetheless, why did I lose most of you, because you do not have time for thought. I believe generally, the majority of readers and people on the planet can only deal with reading something simple:

A comment on Facebook or a 155 character Twitter.com tweet, there is truly brilliance in Facebook knowing that people cannot read or focus.

I AM CYNICAL, or I am a realist, or I just do not care, and say what comes to my mind. Not important, I am writing and you have no choice, either read along, or click, I recommend you not take yourself or me too serious, this is all for fun.

Maslow's hierarchy of needs

I live inside that little BLUE triangle, and for that, I am grateful. I spent yesterday deliberating about the morality of taking photos of naked girls, boys, and old women. There is also a secondary moral issue that African are always harping on about photos.

Two Moral points:

1. I am talking photos and getting rich with their photo, the truth is there is almost no market for photos of Africa so this is crap and not a moral problem for me.
(Gong, not true.)

2. The Africa say,
"You are taking photo and laughing at us."
(--- Some truth.)

Hmm, there is some truth to that, but I also take photos of fat Americans, I take photos of Euro Trash, I am equal opportunity cynical person that takes photos. There is nothing more humorous than to laugh at just how stupid the world is, but there is a bigger issue.

I morally believe shame is a GREAT thing, I mean; shame got me to stop drinking, and become a good boy and allowed me to work hard and be here in Africa today. Well, when something is stupid is happening, taking photos slows it down. Newspapers are always denigrating and trying to make the President look like an idiot, this makes him work harder. Therefore, the fun and laughing at them versus helping Africa to compare their life to the rest of the world is a moral issue for me.

Now, girls with no clothes, it is hot here, I go through three shirts per day because of sweat, I wash my clothes daily and I am proud of the West Africans. They wash daily, very well, note, the East African stink, because it is cold at 1300 meters above sea level.

However, the West Africa are constantly taking baths, and because of the water situation here in Elubo, Ghana they wash their clothes in the river.

The girls washing story goes like this:
And well, why I am washing the clothes, why not get naked and take a bath. This is very functional, very sound, logical and practical, when clothing interferes with life, then maybe time to dump the clothes.

I am not National Geographic
I do not wrap my writing up in some glossy cliché crap, and try to act as if there is no rush to seeing women walking around with only their beads. I am also human, and even looking at babes gets boring, and I need to go read my Wilbur Smith book.

Cynical, it is hard to have respect and feel the world is with the program, my friend Mira told me, you are not part of the USA anymore, you went on by, and you blow the minds of the average American with your views. Hmm, thanks Mira, there is no hope of every being part of the group, I am abnormal.

So here, I am, lying in bed, it is now 2011, it is 3:40 am, I woke up at 1:00 AM and a preacher was screaming into a microphone.
"Jesus give me power."

I though to myself, I took a photo of that "Power" thing.

There is always the inferred, or explicitly promise being made around the world. The government is going to help you, God is going to save you, Buddha is the way, there are many dreams being sold.

Obama is a big topic in Africa, I personally like the Obama Girl shirts, but there is also Obama Rice. Obama is on underwear, bars, churches, many people in Africa want to be associate with Obama, this is good, I am happy they have a good hero, he did go to Harvard, that make me look stupid.

I sit around and deliberate, muse, think, is it right or morally correct to make people believe. I know I sell travel dreams, but people normally can see that travel is a dream, and they separate them. However, the idea of selling power, or change. A local asked, will Obama get reelected, a very astute question, from people who understand dictatorships and clueless on democracy.

I told the guy, I am not sure, what Obama has done is sold a dream of power to poor people, he has oversold and under-delivered. I am a realist, I know he has no control over unemployment, but he made himself a demi-God, he made the people believe, so he is in danger, a poor person wants to be saved, with zero work.

So, what did you think about yesterday? I said you, not me.
--- (For about 500-1000 per month, you can be here.)

The bottom line, I am so rich in time, I live inside that little blue triangle of Maslow, and it allows me to be honest, cynical, irreverent and free.

Maslow’s List of Human Needs or Motivations

I enjoy thinking, and I enjoy the enigmatic art of making others think. There is a joy in shaking belief systems that are the ego defense mechanism of humans. I know I am playing inside the brains of people. However, please think for one moment, if I drive you crazy, what about me, there are times when I drive myself crazy, I have to live with me. My mind is like a bad neighborhood, you do not want to enter alone.

Time is all we have, the time we give to people, the time we invest in truly listening to others. I sat with a young man last night, dressed in a suit, while I ate my egg sandwich. He explain to me that the girl that was cooking the sandwich was his mother. She is truly a beautiful girl or women, then you look down and you see this hard wood crutch next to her leg, she has a atrophied leg.

Three girls who talk to much, asked me the night before,
"Can you help her? (Girl with Crutch?)

This poses the question, shall I think about me, or shall I think about her? I am extremely grateful my Mother and Father gave me this great life, I am extreme grateful the USA gave me the freedom to believe anything is possible.

Now I am up in the blue triangle, and I had to ask myself,
"Can I help this girl with a crutch?"

I purchased two egg sandwiches, said thank you to the girl, and told here how good the eggs were cooked. I then shook the hand of the little man, her young son, and said goodbye. Please understand, the girl with the crutch has pride, she did not ask for help, the three girls who talked too much were beggars.

It is truly difficult to see who is rich in life, we all see the world from a different angle, but can you put on the breaks long enough to listen?

I am very grateful: The electricity went off in the Hotel and shut up the obnoxious preacher who was wailing about power has to stop selling vibration and noise, it is mesmerizing and hypnotic to listen to this type of talk.

Cynthia is not here
I have said all along, there is only a 30 percent chance this girl will show up, that is 1 in 3 for you bad at math folks. Well, she did not show up yet, she said Friday, and now she says Saturday morning. I am frustrated; I must set boundaries in on a continent where every rule is broken. Today is New Years day, and any way I do it; it is horrible day for travel. I have resigned myself that I will stay another day and night here and leave on January 2.

Cynthia is a good person, she is not a bad person, if she does not show up, it is because she is just part of the big picture of Africa, it is normal behavior, saying what we are going to do and not doing it. I am grateful, I told her I would meet here at the border, I am here and waiting, if she shows up, she will trust America.

Everyone I know is irresponsible, and everyone is a big word, it probably includes me, I am weighing this girl by her intentions, and she will be judge by her actions.

So go out and make a long list of New Years Resolution, with full knowledge you will break them all, or just be honest this year.

2011 Happy and Grateful, and is Thinking Making me Cynical


By clicking on the "Subscribe to Comments" you will receive an email when members post new comments on this page

The concepts of Happiness and Contentment cause people to be angry, I have already put two coments in the deleted bin.

I am going to rename from the words "comments and "deleted" to something like favorable and unfavorable., or helpful or unhelpful or supportive or unsupportive. I suppose constructive and not constructive.

I am leaning toward "Supportive Comments," and "unsupportive Comments."

What is sad here, i am one of the few Bloggers that allows you to every know there are negative comments, the majority just black hole them.

There also is the writers who use "We" or "Attack" someone else, and always refer to someone else, basically do not use "I" or "Me," somehow the burden shift and defer the responsibility to someone else, this is fun stuff.

However, back to the point, when I write about content or happiness, the readers anticpate 100 postive statements, happiness is aways an all or nothing concept for many readers. Fun stuff, because it is not possible for a human to be 100 percent content or happy.

I could start everything out with a quote or epigraph, then just support the quote, this is the easy way out, I am just agreeing with a famous person.

Example, I said,"I am free from want, except for wanting to get rid of the green towel that is intricate and personal part of my daily life. I am extremely rich in time,"

"Who is rich? Those who are happy with their portion.”
--- Ben Zoma


"Who seeks more than he needs, hinders himself from enjoying what he has. Seek what you need and give up what you need not. For in giving up what you don’t need, you’ll learn what you really do need.
--- Solomon Ibn Gabirol, an eleventh-century Spanish poet-philosopher

However, I have made up my mind, I am going to look for a new towel.

I am not free from want, I want Cynthia to arrive, she called and said she has left Aboisso and is on the way to Noe, the small city less than 100 meters from Elubo, the Cote d'Ivoire sister border city. (There is probably a city jargon term to explain two city on a country border, do you know what it is?)
Elubo / Noe
Lome / Aflao

I can be in any country, so I am free from wanting to be anywhere else.

Wanting food is sort of ludicrous, there is always temptation a person that is tempted does not necessarily want something.

My saving account is growing, so I do not want money.

I want to be thinner, I am losing weight, ok, yes, I wish i was 23 years old.

I an blab all day about the ying and yang, and I do not want you to read and I do not want you to not read.

To want readers to be happy is great way to be unhappy and not content, it just is not going too happen if you are honest.

Happy New Year

Having time to think about various moral issues like deliberating about the rightness or wrongness of such is a luxury that few people on earth can afford. Though the BLUE triangle may be considered the ideal reality in many ways it's not necessarily the happiest nor the most pleasurable and rewarding life experience. I've always said the Philippines is a poor country because the people are so content and easily happy and satisfied and the same thing applies to all of the poorer countries and the majority of their residents. The majority of humanity live in the YELLOW and RED section with smiles on their faces enjoying the simplest pleasures in life and the mundane routines which define their lives between birth and death. Definitions of "rich" or "love" or "friend" differ from person to person as does the meaning of life and the answer to "why am I here" or "what's my purpose in life". I wake up feeling LUCKY but rarely content or happy and satisfied nor do I wish to feel what those words mean and are most praised by the masses because I have chosen growth, variety, excitement and movement as my mantras in life. The Chinese idea of the constant movement facet of life seems the idea to embrace and their no nonsense practical philosophy.

Hope Cynthia shows up before you decide to take off and may both of you enjoy your time together. Sometimes all of us need to take a break from ourselves and keep our minds focused on actions or other objects.

I really like your towel. Nice pattern, favorite color green, BIG enough for beach, looks used enough to be soft and comfortable. It is much nicer than any of my towels. It is most likely much better than no towel?

Right on here, Andy,

The popular concept of happiness seems removed from the fact that you need to WORK AT BEING HAPPY AND BE AMBITIOUS enough to get what you want. It is my impression that people expect a movie world where they can just sit back and have happiness brought to them.

The culture of the USA once prided itself as being a place where if people worked hard they could achieve their dreams. No people seem to just want their dreams without the work.

You do sell dreams, but they are dreams that someone needs to work for. It is my impression that the work part is something that many cannot handle. So perhaps they try to make themselves feel better by trying to lower you down a few pegs, trying to make themselves think that you are not really living their dreams in reality.

Many people would like to sit around Africa with all the time in the world to just look at women without any clothes on, but it is far easier for them to just sit where they are and pretend that they don't really want this.

The life of perpetual world travel does not come for most on a silver platter, it takes effort and will power to get there. Honest travel writing will show this.

Oh yeah, happy new year.

It is my impression that sometimes women demand that man goes and gets them. Sort of a Lancelot saving the princess from the dragon sort of psychobiology.

You are not pc, you have been away from the USA for so long and probably will not return to start your 'carrer' whatever that may be, there is another guy online who travels around the world and he makes a lot of money, has book signings and seminars, claims to have been in over 100 countries and writes books, hires people, but like the so called but very popular Ex Pat site called 'IL' one needs to pay money to get the insider information, get inside and become a member, materialism keeps people together, back in 2002 met a nice lady from Canada online who spent $1,200, $200 per day, not including lodging, for 'real estate tours' of Costa Rica and introduction to an 'honest' lawyer, she came home broke, in tears, unable to afford a dream home in 'paradise', I could have sent her to honest long term ex pat couple who would have introduced her to locals and other ex pats, for 0 dollars a day, so two years later I sent her back to CR with the 'insider information' and she found a small place she could well afford.
If I am traveling to certain areas of the globe for the first time, can start by researching your site, then going on to others I know, many of them 'obscure', not on top of Google, and many personal contacts in many countries, so if I arrive late at night somewhere, I have an address in hand for the taxi, and away from the terminals and the area around it, you Andy, freely share information, besides I have been out of the USA since the mid 1980s, am not pc, despise hustlers, grifters and grafters, know what it was like to have once been on bottom and how to be grateful even when things suck (temporarily). I enjoy this travel journal, wish I could let people into my head at times without freaking them out too much, this morning I was depressed, I shared with an on line friend I knew for years in person and life goes on. Be patient, you have cut the umbilical cord to the States, if someone is late, maybe they do have a valid excuse, last month here in San Salvador I left 30 minutes earlier than usual to make an appointment, I got there 5 minutes late, auto accident, traffic and detours, stress, third world and all, glad the 'holidays' are over. saludos.

Come on Andy, you must remember all the anxiety which plagues most 23 year olds, the financial insecurity, the search and choosing a career path, the inability to be content alone always seeking friendship, the daily chase to hook up and the disappointment which follows al of the above. Thanks for the quotes I'll be searching the authors for more of the same you included. If we're lucky we have 20 more years of life to live and looking back at how full filling previous periods of time have been that seems like at least 3, 4 or more "lifetimes". I like Dan Brown's play on the word, "atonement" as at-one-ment. I'd lean toward "Supportive" and "Unsupportive" or simply "Positive" and "Negative" comments my wife and I decided long ago we'd avoid, evade, escape and cast out any person spewing negative vibes because it's like poison of some sort of virus which can infect even the most positive, loving life kind of people. Checking out your deleted comments is a good reminder about human nature especially the type of people who spend so many hours on-line. New Years is over so 2011's adventures await so the excitement inside me is growing but have a dozen "first things first" to accomplish before booking my flight to BGK or Singapore and heading to Sri Lanka.

Happy New Year Andy. Great post. Lots of mindbending stuff. Do you hate us or love us? I'm glad to see you are still focusing on Maslow. When you are not focused on girls, I should say. Freedom and creativity, who wouldn't want to be there?

It's been a few years since I've heard you mention it and I have been wondering. Are you are still making the "American average annual salary" or have you surpassed that measure. Do you forsee increasing your daily spending in the future? More towels, easier transportation or cushier digs for example?

Even with all your wealth (compared to most of the world), it really comes down to the same thing for all of us. Our own towel and someone to hold at 1am.

Thanks for sharing your moral dilemas and for sharing your interesting life on the planet.

I enjoy the supportive or mentally encouraging readers, when a reader spends their time trying to correct, or set me straight, well, I am too old for that crap.

I am making about 10,000 more than the average American.

I would buy a new towel, that is my point, I am rather free of want.

My life is good.

"I wish i was 23 years old."

I don't. I would love to have the body and sharper mind I had when I was 23, maybe without the excessive sexual drive, allowing me to make smarter choices. I would love to have an additional 27 years of good health and energy. I would not want the imaturity or so many other things that go along with being young.

"I am making about 10,000 more than the average American."

The average American has a negative net financial worth, owing more than what they own is worth. So, if you don't owe, you are far ahead of the game no matter what your income.

Maybe rather than happy and content, a better way to say it is to be positive. The people I envy the most happiness wise are those that can stay positive no matter what life throws at them. They may be unhappy at the moment, but they are sure things will get better, and they find good things around them no matter how bad things are.

My Account