I was mesmerised the first time I saw it. This was something that ‘spoke’ to me. The main protagonist felt the way I did and still do! I watched it again and again! And, this moment of revelation? Simply a spoof music video by the Swedish house DJ behemoth, Avicii (and Nicky Romero)! The song, ‘I Could Be The One’ is brilliant and one of many successive hits from Avicii, but it is the story portrayed in the video (despite its silliness) that really hits home. I guess you could read the video one of two ways; firstly, a woman bored of her inane job and equally pedestrian colleagues has a wild time on holiday – dancing crazily, drinking lots, having tons of great sex and generally revelling in 2 weeks of freedom from the daily grind. Or, secondly, the woman in question is dreaming of an alternative way of living; something far removed from the 9-5 existence many of us lead – a life away from the pursuit of money; something more fulfilling than anything 21st century capitalism can offer.
The video, set in Barbados, for me, depicts something many of us crave…freedom. Freedom from the restrictions of daily life that we have imposed on ourselves, usually unwittingly, as part of a capitalist agenda drilled into us from a fairly young age. Our parents, school, the media and society often remind us of our ‘duty’ to get ‘good’ qualifications, so that we may get a ‘well-paid’ job, earning enough money to buy a nice place to live and then fill it with lots of things. However, recent financial crises and an associated decline in buying power has left those in Generation X and Y thinking, ‘why are we working our fingers to the bone in dull jobs for the sole financial benefit of our bosses while we suffer rising prices and increasing levels of debt?’
So, why am I writing about this? I have noticed a growing movement, a way of thinking amongst the younger generation; the generation that is largely eschewing the long-term relationship, having children or being tied down. For them, life is about living each day as if it is your last. Living with no regrets. Measuring the life in your days not the days in your life. You’re here for a long time, so make sure it a good time. And, who can blame them? When faced with pressure from advertisers and the media to live your life a certain way – working long hours to pay for the childcare of the children you hardly see, the expensive TV you never get chance to watch or for the top of the range new car that you are up to the hilt in debt for – a growing number of people are looking at living their lives in a different way. A life where the accumulation and possession of material goods is not the primary goal in life. A life where the family and friends reign. A life filled with experiences. A frugal life; living more simply, away from the incessant technology interruption and oppressive, greedy overlords we allow to rules us.
And, for me, that is what travel feels like. I have written before about how extended travel changed my viewpoint, giving me a whole new perspective on how we can live for our lives. Why can’t we live in a small place in a beautiful location, doing a job that keeps a roof over your head and allows you to feed yourself – surrounded by like-minded people who value friendships, relationships and people over their bank balance? I guess the answer, for many, is because it is a difficult habit to kick.
Who amongst us knows someone who has done this? Someone who has cast away the shackles of the rat race and found greater pleasure in a life less materialistic? Someone who went travelling and never came back; settling down in coastal Australia and swapped the sharp suits for a vest, shorts and thongs? I admire these people. The brave ones who, like the lady in the Avicii video, do not fear the simple life and, actually, embrace the truism that ‘the best things in life are free’. Travel helped me realise that you live life by your rules and it is up to you to have the confidence to break free. Free from the stipulations, inanity and money-chasing ‘thrill’ capitalism brings the vast majority of the world. After all, money does make the world go round…apparently. It is up to you to decide what truly makes you happy and then up to you to go out and get it.
All the best with it, if you ever take the plunge and go for it. Please tell me how you get on. You never know, you might inspire me to do the same!