at home in... w| Gerald Zhang-Schmidt

Look Closer, Learn More, #GetAtHome In This World

Tag: location independence Page 1 of 2

Avenue, Rio de Janeiro 1931

To Rio de Janeiro as an 8-Year-Old…

It was the year 1930. My grandmother was far from being my grandmother yet. She was only 8 years old, after all. Her father, a shoemaker, decided to join in the ranks of the many who sought their luck somewhere else – whether because he had fallen on hard times (which wouldn’t be surprising, given the economic situation in Europe at that time) or lured in by stories of success, we don’t know. In his case, the land of dreams was Brazil.

I wouldn’t normally talk about family history, but this story is old enough, and sometimes still influences enough, that it’s worth putting it up (especially, I find, on a medium that is as unawares of other times as the internet tends to be).

Also, there’s not much more to say, actually – my yet-to-be-grandmother had to return the following year already (alone, on the Cap Arcona liner, apparently), and her father returned a little later (having fallen ill, if stories are true).

There are, however, a few impressions to share:

The one missing image is one of the LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin airship which visited Rio de Janeiro in 1930 – but that photograph was, according to family history, passed on to an Austrian ambassador to Brazil.

What always strikes me – of course, given the themes I’m focused on – is how much of “globalization” and technology was already possible and ongoing at that time, and how many things we now consider normal were hardly even imaginable. It is an interesting vantage point from which to consider location independence and what may still be possible in an energy- and resource-constrained future, not least…

New Localizing – Networks and the Human Touch

As an “intellectual going public,” I appear a bit too aloof for some people – but aloofness is necessary to have the distance it takes to see connections hidden by what’s (supposedly) just normal. Thus, even as I enjoy it once I get into talking with people (sometimes, only too much so), I like to hold my distance, and don’t seem to be a person who’d call for the importance of community.

Yet, especially as many still think that location is – or should be (made) – unimportant, that you can nowadays live by yourself, create an entrepreneurial lifestyle in which you sell to the whole world, there is a strong case to be made for localizing, for being in and of particular places. In different ways from how it is often conceived, though.

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Lifestyle Designer, Writer, Inspirational Speaker… Can I Just Be a Live-r?

It’s a strange world I’ve been falling into: people who track their life in order to quantify their self, who try to design their ideal lifestyle – and live it, too –, people who aim to be location-independent… and it’s oftentimes the same usual suspects one encounters again and again.

Before long, it also tends to be the same approach one seems to find over and over: “manifests” of just how they want to dominate the world, and change lives for the better, a desire to speak at TED, e-books and courses, and ideas to drive web traffic and build a following.

Oftentimes, what’s presented is presented as something new and fantastic – and if only you buy the book, follow the course, you can be all new and fantastic, too!

I’ve seen it before, though.

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YongHeGong temple detail

Been There. Learned – Nothing?

For somebody whose “business” the diversity and fascination of this, our world, is, I have a pretty bleak view of much of what passes as traveling. Rather than because of the whole matter of carbon emissions from plane travel, it’s because escapes from this world have come to appear extremely problematic to me.

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at home–location (in)dependent

As part job-seeker in education, part independent scholar, part freelancer, and with a focus on the makings of identity and the interplay between happiness and ecology, I have a particular fascination with the role that location plays. Increasingly, it’s been going in two ways at once:

On the one hand, there continues to be a noton of its importance. “Geography is destiny” sometimes still rings true, with the influence of cultural background, living conditions wherever you happened to be born, and chances that different places have to offer. Not least, there is some continuing influence in economics. If you want to be an entrepreneur, for example, the USA continue to offer a more united market than Europe/the EU, and even selling overseas can be rather too much of a hassle for a small business.
And, of course – as this is what these writings of mine are all about – there is a strong interplay between your geographical location and your cultural, social and ecological locatedness within different networks of relationships…

On the other hand,

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