My First World Problems
Overall, it has been an easy transition with little stress.
(Yes, I am aware that the real transition will happen when I enter the corporate world again.)
I was having lunch with a friend and laughing about some of the “challenges” I have been confronted with at home.
That would make for a good blog post.
So here we are.
I have been thinking a lot lately about living a simple life and consuming less. (You will notice those two things are mentioned in my short introduction on the sidebar of my blog.)
Those are goals I set for myself BEFORE I quit my job to backpack through Latin America.
Being back in a country with so much infrastructure (for lack of a better term) and being confronted with a culture that has different priorities and values has made me think about how adaptable we are.
Our attitudes easily change depending on our environment.
I am starting to ramble and will write more on this topic once I can get my head around it. What I want to share in this post is a less serious look at the problems we experience living in the developing world versus living in the first world.
I reached out to the travel blogging community to provide input, and they came up with some good ones.
10 First World Problems
#1 – It took three people and lots of muscle and brain power to get my KING SIZE MATTRESS up the narrow stairwell to the SECOND FLOOR of my home.
In the developing world, I slept on tiny mattresses and prayed I would not get bed bugs and that the poorly constructed bunk bed would not collapse and crush me. It was also rare to even have personal space, since I spent most of my time in hotel dorms or sharing a bedroom in an apartment.
#2 – I had to walk two blocks to the local coffee shop to use their FREE and FAST WIFI while I waited over a week for my internet to be installed.
Note that the coffee is also delicioso and NOT Nescafe or whatever that crap is they try to pass off as coffee in Bolivia.
#3 – Then I had to wait nine hours for my “installation window” to get my HIGH SPEED INTERNET at home.
In the developing world, I had no problems walking a mile or more to find a cafe with internet fast enough to upload a photo without timing out.
#4 – I have to get to the store by 9pm because it CLOSES EARLY ON SUNDAY.
In the developing world, it was a miracle to find a store open at all on Sunday.
#5 – I have to pay $3.50 for a bottle of water at the airport after having to discard mine at security.
When I was in West Africa last fall, it was a challenge even to find clean drinking water to purchase.
— Contributed by Kristen, Camels and Chocolate.
#6 – I had to pay outlandish prices for the coffee and snacks at the frosty air-conditioned cafe in Korea.
On the way home, I noticed a group of elderly Koreans hanging out at a gazebo in an attempt to cool down. They were likely unable to afford air conditioning in either their home or in a cooler establishment. Even though they were shaded from the sun, I could tell from the look on their faces that they were far from comfortable. Sometimes it is easy to forget just how good you have it.
— Contributed by Samuel, Nomadic Samuel.
#7 – I have to sit through traffic jams and waste gas while MY CAR idles and I blast the AC.
In Buenos Aires, I thought nothing of an hour commute with hundreds of other people sweating as the meager fan in the subway just pushed around the stale, stuffy air.
— Contributed by Rease, Indecisive Traveler.
#8 – During the summer, my mother runs the AIR CONDITIONING so cold and so strong that I’m constantly freezing at home.
It’s August and I’m currently wearing a sweatshirt and thick socks. This certainly wasn’t a problem in Thailand where I’d simply have to sweat it out under a lazy fan.
— Contributed by Stephanie, Twenty-Something Travel.
Note: I totally relate to this. I bring a cardigan with me everywhere because I know I’ll be freezing in someone else’s home and in stores even in the summer.
#9 – I feel like the only person left in the United States without a smart phone.
Everyone is busy instagramming their meals and foursquaring while I toy with my tiny red flip phone. I just can’t bring myself to upgrade. When I traveled I didn’t even have a phone at all.
— Contributed by Stephanie,Twenty-Something Travel.
#10 – I get malaise from visiting places.
Another cathedral? Another river? With houseboats? You mean I have to look at all these world-class paintings? It took a while to get off the tourism rat-maze and start digging into the quirky parts of the city I find fun. And if anything’s a first-world problem, it’s getting jaded over travel for pleasure.
– Contributed by Craig Martin, Indie Travel Podcast.
#11 - At home, I’m kept awake at night by my neighbor’s dog barking.
In Asia, I was kept awake at night by images of a similar dog roasting on a grill.
— Contributed by Raymond, Man on the Lam.
Maybe this will help put a”problem” into perspective today.
Note: There are major problems in the developing world, and I am not trying to minimize those. Also, those of us that live as expats in the developing world typically have access to a higher standard of living than locals, so we do not truly experience the most difficult of challenges.
Got any good ones to add to the list?
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