Travel Lifestyle Leisure and Happiness can be found in the most unlikely places

First World Countries – America Isn’t One!

My second wife and I were talking about where our next holiday will take place and I was struck by the thought of 2 recent holidays we took.

It was more along the lines of ‘Lifestyle happiness isn’t based on being a supposed 1st World Culture’

And I’ll tell you why.


Las Vegas

On our Las Vegas trip a few months ago, we had an amazing time.

The place is dazzling.

It’s bigger than Ben Hur in every way imaginable.

The Outlet shopping saw us saving hundreds of dollars in clothing purchases as well as her handbags and Nike runners and the like.

And we ended up seeing both a wonderful Cirque Du Soleil show as well as having all accommodation and food is paid for by the Mirage Hotel we stayed at!  We were exhausted by the whole trip as well as being introduced to how well the Americans can ‘do the show’, probably better than anything else I’ve witnessed.

What we were struck with was the underlying poverty within Las Vegas.

We were in one of the most affluent areas inside the US yet people were begging and picking food out of rubbish bins.

Hey, it happens the world over in First World countries, the US isn’t alone.

This is more a comparison of recent trips.



I’ve been to Bali a half dozen times and love the place.

It’s gotten a past poor reputation of the Bali Bombing many years ago. That time is well and truly over. There are guards in the vast majority of public tourist areas and hotels. Bali is a comparatively poor country when compared to here in Australia.

Yet, the people are humble and internally wealthy.

One of our favorite people in Bali, Wayan, is a wealth of information – if you’re destined to travel there, definitely contact him at Tour of Bali.

Everyone seems to work in some way. As an example, the resort we stayed in, saw us having a morning coffee on our balcony.

Gazing across the grounds saw a guy climbing a tree to trim the palm fronds.

Interestingly, he had two piles, one of which were carted away by another grounds person. It turns out, the ‘tree guy’ sold these other fronds to someone else to supplement his income. The fronds were then turned into native vases and other products which supplemented someone’s income.

This seems common, nothing is wasted.


The Difference?

Seems there’s far more of a community feel in Bali than with the population of First World countries.


So-called civilized countries and their societies have severely fragmented the community spirit.

What a detriment that is – your concern is for yourself as opposed to others. That’s the ‘take mindset’ instead of the ‘give and you’ll receive abundance in return’ mentality.

This is just a cursory observation and I suspect you’ll all have your own views as to whether this holds true for you and what you’ve experienced.

What have you experienced to either agree with my thoughts or otherwise?

As always, let us know in the comments below.

First World Countries - Bali Rates No. 1 & Is Ahead Of America 1

Enjoying newly found freedoms in South-East Asia, Martin is a down to earth, honest, quirky humor, compassionate and upfront kinda guy. Easy going and love to laugh. Into good food, wine and great company. I’ll talk and try to help anyone.
Drop me a message and let’s start there, OK?

Martin Cooney – who has written posts on GeekandJock.

7 thoughts on “First World Countries – Bali Rates No. 1 & Is Ahead Of America”
  1. Hey Martin, good article. I totally agree. Interesting timing that I read this now. I'm in NZ and last night was talking to some people about the Christchurch earthquake. Not saying there was no damage but they said it's life as usual. A long way from the view I had from the news.

    I'm in no way opposed to the reporting of current events but tying the reporting of facts to financial gain has led to an obvious gap between what really should concern us and what will generate ad revenue.

    Now back to Kent Brockman with his reports on the cat that can count and Roberta Williams new breasts.

    1. Hey Bruno – great to hear from you, mate – been ages.

      The 'news orgs' always view the bad news as a viewer attraction that bolsters their profits. Small amount of good news and it always lists last after everything else.

      Happy reading on the cats and boobs too

  2. Thank you, Martin, for the thought-starter.

    Take a look at Fredrik Haren's new book called 'The Developing World'. Or even simpler, visit and watch the video there.

    The basic proposition is this: when we call ourselves a 'developed' country, we (by default) stop innovating and creating. And that's why, right now, most innovation is going on in the so-called 'Developing' world.

    There's much more to it, of course. And the bottom line is whether we consider ourselves to be 'developed' or 'developing'.

  3. Martin, you have hit the nail on the head. People in 1st world countries have the mindset " I'll be happy when"….I get the new car/house/girlfriend/wardrobe etc.

    This is perpetuated by the non stop barrage of commercials for every imaginable product.

    In the last three years I have lived in Thailand, India and PNG and also visited Vietnam and Bali.

    In these so called 3rd world countries people are happy now, living in the moment! The know they are not going to get the stuff they see Americans, Europeans and Australians have, but they don't need this stuff to be happy.

    I had an 18 month relationship with a Thai women, a devout Buddhist, who transformed my way of thinking.

    Since meeting her, I have changed my mindset and I now am happy with what I have – and I have found I really don't need the "stuff" being rammed down our throats by commercials.

    The greatest help I have found is that I have totally stopped reading newspapers and watching news on TV.

    Anything of any import that occurs in the world is being commented on on facebook/twitter within minutes so I do not lack for information. I just avoid the fearmongering slant that news services put on everything that happens.

    Live in the moment, be content and grateful for what you have, give of your time, your enegy and your money and the universe will reward you with more of everything.

    Focus on lack or fear and you will be miserable and what you have you will lose….

    Cheers and keep smiling


    1. Great comment, Duncan and many thanks for sharing – fantastic to see you.

      I did the same, for many years, regarding news and newspapers – my Dad always used to tease me about I'd never know anything yet I'd always hear anything worthy in either conversation or through digital channels, much like you.

      We've got a lot to learn about ourselves from those society views as 3rd World, haven't we?

    2. While I think a lot of other countries think we Americans are a bunch of thickheads with no thought for our fellow man, a lot of us are actually trying to change things in our own patch of turf.

      Totally agree with Duncan here too. It's just plain overuse, greed and gluttony which possesses a lot of so called 1st World Country citizens. Move over Gordon Gecko!

      I repeat though – some of us do care and are doing something about it. Much like the people involved in this post.

  4. I first saw your post on Facebook Martin and made the below comment.
    "What great insights and revelations of societies Martin… Travel is certainly a great gift to understand countries cultures and equally ourself. Look forward to popping over and commenting on your blog on And the travel club, what a great opportunity to live the lifestyle of our dreams as we embrace the teaching of Balinese people as they show us totally the energy of co-operation and support"

    As I reread your thoughts, I feel so many emotions leap out of the page.
    Happiness and Joy: Travel
    Fun: New Experiences
    Love: Sharing the journey
    Disgust: Poverty
    Education: Other Cultures
    Co-operation: Truth in Action
    Wealth: Support given

    What great insights to ponder Martin as it truly brings together components which when harmonised bring about balance in our lives.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

you're currently offline