by Graham Brown
The Ironman Triathlon website spells it out with the words “Become One”. It’s an attractive proposition. It has to be, 12 months of hard graft training involving hours on the bike, losing weight and not to mention a fortune spent on things made of carbon. At the end the promise of those immortal words echoing out from the loudspeaker “You are an Ironman” as you cross the line.
Few journeys are, however, so clear cut. What of the journey to internationalization?
It’s been a long journey without any clear destination. Perhaps, as Danish philosopher Soren Kirkegaard said, we live life forwards but understand it backwards. Perhaps, it will be the last chapter in the book – the finale that puts everything else in context.
Quick summary of what I know so far:
- Internationalization means setting up a life so you can live and work anywhere
- You don’t have to take the option. You can internationalize but stay in the same town you were born in. The point is, you have the option and having options means freedom.
- Internationalization means letting go of a whole bunch of crap that’s meaningless – like for example, national identity, job title and having a nice car because these “things” weigh you down and ultimately limit your options.
I started my journey of internationalization some years ago. I don’t know exactly when. It could have been any number of pivotal moments like living abroad, starting my own business or losing a loved one. These things begin a process of awakening within. But, while it’s difficult to pinpoint the start and end in this journey, I know the direction.
Internationalization is about freedom, living life by your own choices. We are primed into a system that fails us, suffocating us with debt, mediocrity and nation politics. This system strips us of choice, coercing us into consumption and feelings of inadequacy. Living beyond the symbolism and idolatory means staying awake to the truth.
Here are 3 reasons why internationalization is more important than ever:
- The blatant destruction of the middle class. Within 2 generations, there will be nothing left apart from the super-rich and the poor. Granted the poor won’t be living in poorhouses or scrounging on the streets but they’ll be in bonded wage slavery working 7-8 months a year simply to pay off their government’s interest payments to central banks. By the time my children “retire” there won’t be a retirement age.
- Education system is failing. The skillsets our children need when they go out into the working world won’t even exist yet. Modern education is a byproduct of a bygone era, an era where we were trained to work in factories and in jobs for life.
- The tools exist. There is this wonderthing called the innurnet and we should embrace it. When we jettisoned our office in London, I started a significant step to internationalization. If we had no office, I could work from home. If I could work from home, why did we need to live in the expensive suburbs of London? If we didn’t need to live in the suburbs of London, why did we need to live in England? Why not earn London money but live somewhere in the world where your money is worth 2 or 3 times more? Think how difficult it is going to be to multiply your current income by 300%. Now think how you could do that by internationalizing. The internet makes all this possible. Once you start removing the unnecessary crap from your life, the whole thing starts unraveling. Be careful.
I coined the term “barefoot living” as the first real milepost in my journey into internationalization. I felt that Barefoot feeling when walking across the golden sands of Mangaunui beach in New Zealand, on the sharp sun-bleached corals of Fiji or the sands of volcanic Lanzarote. Barefoot is the sensation of walking across the ground and feeling everything from sharp stone to smooth grains of sand. It meant feeling the world around us for what is is as opposed to the numbness of simply existing. For many, it’s also uncomfortable:
- Our biggest enemy is fear itself
- If everybody decided to up sticks and live somewhere amazing, the whole system would break down. Nobody would watch Fox News. Nobody would buy Hello magazine. Nobody would spend their take home pay on gym membership or a week’s vacation in the sun. The system conspires to keep us living in fear. Fearful citizens are compliant.
- Fear keeps us bonded to the illusion. Failing could mean being very successful at work. You could be very well paid but spend your life at work and your money on maintaining a lifestyle you don’t fully agree with. That’s fear.
Living barefoot means a journey of Internationalization – losing the baggage of nation, tradition and dogma to become a part of a growing movement, a movement of people whose journey transcends the escalator of success carved out for us by the media industrial complex. It’s not as clear cut as the journey to Ironman. The destination is new, unknown. But have faith, the journey itself is the reward not the destination. What we become in the process far outweighs any arrival.