Must be pretty galling for W, huh. He is finally declared
the winner only to discover the family silver has been switched for
tin. (I note in a some tiny footnote that they recounting of all the
chads has finished and Gore really did win.) Bet Gore is kinda mixed
up about this now. He so wanted to be president, but right now old W
has got the ball and the whole word is running the other way.
There is something very familiar about this. The economy in a tailspin,
everyone over-extended on loans to buy shares that have now halved in
value. Naturally they are going to have to pay it back and that means
stopping spending, something that might be very hard for some people
to do. Hard landing, soft landing? Its all hard if you dont
have the cash, or the job any longer. Feels just like the last time
a Bush was president doesnt it. The Clinton years will vanish
from memory so fast it will be like Bobby in the Shower,
they just wont have ever happened and the Bush recession has just
rolled on from 1990. God we even have Dick Cheney and the old boys in
the rocking chairs on the stoop.
A friend of a friend was touting his company shares in November. Buy
now, theyll double when our results come out in January,
he said. Well I investigated, the shares were about $48 bucks each on
Nasdaq. Last week they were $24. If I had rushed in, Id would
have halved my savings. Sure they are going back up a little now, but
it was sobering. Never stray from the righteous path. I have never bought
shares and I have watched some of my friends make a lot of money from
investing. Right now, they are all worried about their jobs, their mortgages
at five times their incomes, the huge debts they have and the Z3 payments,
never mind their credit cards. Its kind of hard to feel sorry
for them though.
Armed with the knowledge that I could have lost a lot of money, I went
out this week and bought a real investment. A car. (If you want to see
spectacular depreciation, a car is a perfect way to lose money. If you
must know, its a SEAT Toledo and some poor sucker paid $21,000
for this car, new, just over a year ago. I get a pretty good car albeit
with 20,000 miles on the clock for $13,500, still with manufacturers
warranty for sixteen months. I like its pedigree too. Designed
in Germany by VW on a VW Bora platform, built in Belgium with a Spanish
label. Thats Euro-economics. I could have shares and a nervous
breakdown or a fast little Spanish car in sleek metallic black. I guess
it comes down to this. If my money is going to depreciate , I want to
at least sit in it and enjoy it as it disappears.
2001 is already throwing up surprises. Ws shock at the state of
the US economy, the weather, and that feeling of restlessness you get
when you know you arent in the right job. Its kind of funny.
I just got off the phone with my ex. Everyone, and I mean everyone she
graduated with in1998 has packed in their web jobs and or other media
jobs and they are all taking a year out to travel the world. The ex
is desperate to follow them, but isnt sure how to pay for it.
A quick survey of my own contemporaries reveals that if they didnt
have kids, husbands, wives, mortgages, jobs, theyd also go on
the trail of self discovery. Just last night I was talking to our Cornish
travel correspondent, the most travelled woman I know and she is desperate
to go somewhere again and shes only been in the UK two whole weeks
since France and Vancouver in December.
So why do we set traps for overselves? I just set myself one, a new
car. These things keep us in one place, prevent us from snap decisions
like chucking in our jobs and going to Vietnam. Why is our Kiwi correspondent,
Helen, out there alone exploring New Zealand. Because she
can, I suppose.
We can only read of her exploits with envy.
So by way of a survey, ask your friends, your partners, right now. Would
you pack it all in and go travelling for year and hang the consequences?
No matter if you are 22 or 42, just leave it all behind, hand the keys
to the flat back, sell the car for what you can get and go?
What happens to those who go? What happens to the thousands who go and
just cant face coming back. How do they live? Is it really better?
Or is a life without money, prospects, health-care but good weather
a better lifestyle that the grubby street in the UK, Or the daily commute?
Or teaching? Or selling derivatives? When you run out of cash, is teaching
English to Japanese businessmen really better than working in PR or
behind a keyboard at Ceefax? You tell us. Wed like to know.
Better yet write for us when you go.
Details on how to become a HackTravel Writer here..
If you want to know something now email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
We welcome new writers.
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