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Thursday, August 8, 2013

The 7 Hindrances, and the 20% Accomplishment Rule

I might dream of conquering the world, but Reality reminds me that we rarely achieve more than just a fraction of our goals. How much of a fraction is a troubling question -- from my experience it could be a quarter, it might be just a fifth. In the summer of 2006 I was enthralled by a Utopian hope: despite my deepening debt I sincerely believed that medical trials could save me, and manifest for me the jetsetter life I was craving for. Not only would I be able to kick back in Kagoshima (鹿児島) with the cool kids, living it large, but I could use the payments from each trial to party around the planet. Of course, it never worked out that way, and Telephone English (TE) became my actual saviour. Here was evidence of the 25% Accomplishment Rule in action... I didn't qualify as a lab rat, but I was delivered from poverty just in the nick of time, and pumped full of cash. Some of my goal was realized, to be sure, but not all of it, and that was the thing. There were a few Hindrances standing in the way: love was one of them; health, another...

When I started teaching at TE I had big plans to take two months off every year and fly off to Thailand, Iceland, Australia and destinations even further afield, such as Jamaica. In the end I got stuck at my first port of call in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, and most of my funds were squandered there, entranced as I was by tropical romance. I did score a short stopover in Bangkok and two trips to Australia, but much as I would have liked it, I never reached Iceland. Jamaica was completely out of the question. So, my original plan was only partly achieved (25% achieved, perhaps, or only 20%, I haven't figured out the exact percentage!) I had a lot of fun nonetheless and Nga became a cause in herself, a Baudrillardian seduction... she derailed my plans, blew my budget, and in the end I accomplished only a quarter of my aim, or even less than that (how much? how much?) In 2011 I quit TE and abandoned Japan and returned back to Australia, where I the One World Orbit was conceived. Imagining that Google Adsense could free me from employment entirely, I researched the cost of living in Indochina, which various guidebooks suggested was the cheapest region on Earth. I intended to spend three years jaunting around Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, northern Thailand, and southern China, mucking about on the Mighty Mekong (the Great River, the River of Nine Dragons, ແມ່ນ້ຳຂອງ, 湄公河, etc, etc.) I called it the Indochinese Triennium. It would have been perfect, but my Adsense collapsed, and then I lost Indochina. All I have left is China, which is one-half of Indochina, semantically speaking, but pragmatically much less than that. It is just one-fifth of my original plan, or even a sixth. Furthermore, when I go to China I will have to work to survive, at some school like Wall Street. It sucks but it is better than nothing, and at least I will be back on the road. I can always visit Cambodia in my holidays, and plenty of other nearby nations! That is, if the Seven Hindrances give their assent.

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