Please Take This Into 2015 With You.

A happy old woman in Hoi An, Vietnam - I Dreamed Of This

- Written and Photographed By Nathan Allen




December 29, 2014

 

Last night I saw a Facebook post by a media company I follow.  The headline read:

 


"10 Ways The World Will Get Worse in 2015". 

 


It featured a very depressing black and white photo of factories pumping thick, toxic fumes into the air.  The quality of their articles had been getting worse and worse, and I was so bothered by this last one that I finally felt the need to unfollow them


 

Yes, news and media companies are there to inform us, but we must not forget that at the end of the day, they are in fact businesses.  These businesses make money by getting our attention, and often, they get our attention by shocking and scaring us.  Fear gets our attention faster than anything does.


 

I was disappointed that they put such horrible energy out into the world - just as people are about to dive headfirst into a hopeful new year.

 





So what are the media companies not telling us?  I have spent the last 4 years traveling among some of the poorest people in the world - and I have to tell you, I am actually very optimistic about our future.

Had to stop my motorbike and take this photo before the moment was gone - Hoi An, Vietnam
Had to stop my motorbike and take this photo before the moment was gone - Hoi An, Vietnam

 

I started thinking about the article I wished I read instead. 

 

 

Then I decided to

 

write that article.

 

So here you go. 

 

 

Here are many, MANY reasons the upcoming year should put a big smile on your face...


 

 

 


 

Why Today is the Best Time in Human History to be

 Alive...and Why Tomorrow is Even Better


 

 

In my short lifetime, the world has gone through a radical transformation. Due to incredible leaps in medicine, technology, and communication, the quality of life for just about everybody on the planet has improved - and faster than any other time in human history.

 

 



Have a Look at the Big Picture:



Father and son in Intramuros, Manila
Father and son in Intramuros, Manila

 

  • Equality is on the rise - there's no doubt about it.  On top of that, we live in one of the most tolerant and compassionate eras in human history.

 

  • If you look back 50 years, the average person now makes three times as much money (factoring in inflation), and consumes 33% more calories.  Food production is at an all-time high.  

 

  • Today, two-thirds less of our children die by the age of 5, and we live 33% longer as well.  These numbers are still climbing...

 

  • Wind, solar, and hydro energy now make up 22% of the world's electricity.  The air (as well as both fresh and saltwater sources) in the U.S. is becoming cleaner as well.

 

 




Kids saying hi in the mountain provinces of the Philippines
Kids saying hi in the mountain provinces of the Philippines


  • Our ozone layer (the one with a giant hole in it) is expected to make a dramatic recovery by 2050.

 

  • International travel is more accessible and affordable than ever. 

 

  • In only the last 25 years, the number of people living in extreme poverty has been cut IN HALF. 

 

  • The Philippines, a country once known as the struggling "Sick Man of Asia", is projected to be one of the top economies in Asia by 2050. 

 

  • Death rates from infectious diseases have plummeted.

 

In 2015, kids are growing up more intelligent & tolerant - in a world

 marked by more peace and freedom than ever before.

 

 

A father feeding his daughter in Sapa, northern Vietnam.
A father feeding his daughter in Sapa, northern Vietnam.
  • While the media has hit an all time high for reporting crimes, actual crime itself has been steadily decreasing for the past 20 years.  Food for thought. 

 

  • Though we still have progress to make, right now is quite probably the least dangerous and most peaceful era of human existence. 

 

  • Yes, the wealthiest individuals keep getting richer, but the quality of life for the world's poorest individuals has also risen dramatically. 

 

  • We can now create our own opportunities.  We can use the Internet to expand our social circles, or master new skills - then create and market our own ideas and products.  

 

  • When you look at the big picture, in general, the world is becoming more rational and humane.  Cruelty and torture are very much on the decline.








    

 

 

In 1850, only 10% of the world's adult population could read

 or write.  Now, UNESCO estimates that number to be over 80%. 

 

Unbelievable progress.

 


 

 

It's a changing world, and whether we realize it or not, things are going in a great direction.


 

 



Happy To Be Here, Now.



I used to wish I was born in a different era, but now realize just how lucky I was to experience life before and after the invention of the Internet.  I have perspective

 

When we needed information, we had to physically go to the library, and use this horrible thing called the Dewey Decimal System!  Haha. 

 

 

Now?  Wow.  What a time to be alive.  Anywhere, and at all times, we have instant access to seemingly endless amounts of information.  It's hard to fathom just how convenient our lives have become!

 

My grandfather was born in 1911, in a small town in Arizona.  As a young boy, if somehow he was able to get his hands on an iphone 6, I think it would have made his head spin! 

 

 

 

An old man laughing with his granddaughter  in Sapa, Vietnam - I Dreamed Of This
An old man laughing with his granddaughter in Sapa, Vietnam

Can you imagine how incredible an iphone 6 would be to

 somebody in 1920?

 

 

 




 

 

On this sleek, pocket-sized little screen, he could talk face-to-face with anybody - anywhere in the world.  After that, he could download - from thin air - any number of games, books, songs and videos with it. 


 

He could use it to take his own stunning photos and videos, and send them to Australia - instantly.  He would be shocked to learn that this phone could joke and interact with him, and even track and monitor his health. 

 

 

This is how far we've come, and it's just one tiny example of our incredible modern world.  This technology is everyday life now. 

 

 



The Internet is Powerful - Ask A Travel Blogger


Actually, before I had a blog, I was a music artist.  When I started out at 19 years old, my brother explained to me what the brand new "mp3" technology was.  At the time, I didn't really understand - but I'm glad I took his advice and uploaded a song to mp3.com anyway.



To my amazement, it was quickly featured, and shot up the worldwide charts - even occasionally bumping my influences from the #1 spot.


 

My "office" in the Philippines - I Dreamed Of This
My "office" in the Philippines

Here I was, a lone, suburban teenager making music in my bedroom, but I had fan mail coming in from all over the world.  This is when the power of the Internet really dawned on me.



As I write this now, I'm in a sleepy seaside village in the Philippines.  Places like this - all over the world - have become my office.  I don't need to write for a big media company - in this day and age, I have grown my own audience.  I am not the only one



 Travel bloggers are out there, all over the world. 



They are their own bosses, and have completely redefined the game of employment.  The lines between work and play are blurring It can take a lot of sacrifice and effort - but if we really want it, the Internet provides.






Bringing Down Barriers

 


My rickshaw stopped in front of these kids during traffic in Bodh Gaya, India - I Dreamed Of This
My rickshaw stopped in front of these kids during traffic in Bodh Gaya, India

The world wide web has brought us all together in a big way.  It has taught the citizens of the world that at the end of the day, we’re not all that different

 

Israeli peace activists used it to reach out to Iranians during conflict between the two countries.

 

One of their videos stated "For there to be a war between us, first we must be afraid of each other...for there to be a war between us, first we must hate. I'm not afraid of you, I do not hate you."  It was very powerful.

 

 

We are connecting, we are learning, and we are growing

 

 

I've watched the face of poverty change.  I found that even the poorest people in India had cellphones, Facebook pages, and huge smiles on their faces

 

It seemed every rickshaw was playing the Korean song "Gangnam Style", and every driver knew all the dance moves.

 


 


The Internet has given people a voice, and the chance to lift themselves out of poverty.  It has plugged them into the massive database of human knowledge and discoveries


My hope is that we will always work to keep the Internet free, and use it's power for good.





Yes, when I take a step back and look at the world we live in today, it is TRULY AMAZING what humans are accomplishing.


 

 

 

...and despite what we've been told, I can also tell you that the world isn't such a scary place.

 

 

 

With local kids on the beach - Philippines
With local kids on the beach - Philippines

 

Just remember, when the media serves you a bowl of doom

 and gloom, you don't have to eat it. 

 


 



It's not about pretending that bad things aren't happening out there - it’s more about setting healthy limits for the amount of negativity

we allow into our world

 

 

The media will bombard us with it if we are not careful - and whether we realize it or not, the stress and anxiety it causes can slowly chip away at the quality of our lives.  Please don't lose sight of the amazing world that the media is not showing us.  It is all around us - we are living and breathing it every day.



 

 

When you see something online that warms

your heart and makes you smile,

 

do the world a favor.

 

Share

that

instead.

 

 - Nathan Allen


a better world...

#idreamedofthis




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More Blog Posts HERE

 

Sources for this article: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

 

Have something to add?  Please let me know!