christopher federer

: farmer of collaborative arrangments

‘trade vs. aid’ : Need a diet

No Ice Cream for You!

Growing up I was obese and ever since I’ve been conscious of my diet.  I’ve yo-yoed a bit over 15 years but on average I’ve kept my weight at a slim 170′ pounds.

If you go on a diet – seriously – there are some things you need to do.  First, purge your refrigerator and cupboards of junk food.  Second, decide on a simple eating plan and stick to it patiently and persistently.

After college, I worked and lived with my father on several occasions. We would fight because he would fill the house with candy and ice cream and I would throw it out.  He would antagonize or accuse me of lacking willpower.  “You need to learn to say no!” he would tell me.

Get serious!  Our ‘environments’ affect our behaviors, and most of us don’t have the willpower to surround ourselves with people, food, and places that don’t align with our goals and still achieve them.

“Everything you see, hear, smell, taste, and touch is an environment. And those environments are either adding energy or draining energy.” — Jim Bunch

Trade vs. Aid : Needs a Diet First

The developed world has donated ‘billions’ of dollars to Africa with little benefit to the people for whom it is intended.  Maybe it’s a combination of aid organizations ignoring local stakeholders real needs, myopic economic policy, or political systems that reward corruption.  But the results have been abysmal.

‘Trade’, or making more efforts at inspiring entrepreneurship has been the development industries battle cry since I can remember.  ‘Give a man a fish and he eats for a day, teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime.’

Sounds great!  But sadly it’s not worth going fishing if the lakes still polluted.

If we’re serious about ‘economic development goals’ the first step is to help ‘communities’ purge their systems of junk.  It’s not as fun as brokering trade deals with China but it’s the truth.

The desired goals are the byproduct of healthy ‘investment ‘environments’.

*My name is Chris.  I’m a lab rat with the and I run— a community of travelers that exchange marketing skills for authentic experiences that make a difference.

10 Thoughts after a week in Laos

10 Laos half-baked travel thoughts :

A gutted 2″ binder can be lumbar support, ergonomic workstation, laptop case, and head rest. Add it to your travel gear list.

Fools romanticize poverty instead of simplicity.

How do you explain backpacker behavior to a local when taking mushrooms and falling off cliffs is the norm?

North Asian tourists will pay and endure extreme discomfort to avoid the sun. Rent them wetsuits and umbrellas.

Laos is the perfect country to ride your bike through… Empty highways and stunning scenery.

Thai immigrations is a nightmare. If your base is Bangkok take domestic flights and hop the river in and out of Laos. It’s cheaper, faster, easier.

A small dry-bag makes the best inflatable pillow.

Laos and Thailand have cracked down on Prostitution. Keeping the sex trade in the dark allows it to flourish and makes it more difficult for sex workers to assert their rights. It should be legalized and monitored like in Las Vegas, Amsterdam or Singapore.

It’s not antisocial to spend time collaborating on the internet instead of bullshitting in the bars… It’s often just more interesting.

If you join up with locals you’ll miss 60% of the activities you planned on doing but gain more in insight.