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More and more people are starting to pick up on the “secret” of how to afford and fund long-term travel.

All photos by Gloria Atanmo, used with permission


The fact of the matter is, if you want to travel longer than just your standard paid time off (#Murica), you simply need to spend a period of time living and working abroad to take advantage of budget airlines and cheap intercontinental travel.

But even if you’re 90% convinced that a year abroad is exactly what you need to refresh your perspective and find your zest for life again, somehow, the idea of the big move can still be just a tad bit overwhelming.

So we’re about to do some soul-searching to determine if this is indeed exactly what you want for your life.

Get out a journal or open up a document on your screen and physically write out the answers to the following questions. Then send them to a friend — someone who can be your accountability partner. Sound good?

Here are the 10 questions you need to ask yourself before making a big move abroad.

1. How independent do you consider yourself?

Does the thought of being on your own scare you or excite you? Do you always need someone to help get you out of sticky situations? Can you go more than a year without being in a relationship?

These are all serious things you need to consider because no one will hold your hand through job searches, visa paperwork, or breakups. Life happens to everyone whether in the comfort of their hometown or halfway across the world. I’ve had to cry on my own shoulder, pick up broken pieces, and figure out plans many times on my own.

It’s all a part of your journey and you become so much stronger in the end. But know that this part of the journey is inevitable, so be ready when it comes.

2. What do you want to gain from this experience?

Besides seeing as many places as humanly possible, traveling without a purpose could leave you feeling emptier than your wallet.

You want to make sure you’re doing this for the best reasons. Not to find love. Not to make your friends jealous.

You need to find the deeper value in what you’re about to embark on, so that you don’t come back with your money depleted and an opportunity wasted.

3. How will you fund your travels?

In between traveling, you need to find a side hustle. What can you do or offer others to help sustain yourself on your travels? Do you own a digital camera? Are you a social media guru? Do you have a musical talent? Can you sing? Can you write? Are you multilingual? Do you like teaching kids?

All of these are legitimate skills that can make you some side money whether on the streets or doing freelance work for a major business. Never rely on just one income when living abroad because you need a backup for your backup when your backup is backed up.

4. What’s your Plan B? (No, not that kind.)

If you’re like me, your Plan B might be to keep trying Plan A until it works. This is the definition of insanity, and I’m 100% OK with that. But again, life has a funny way of working out sometimes, and you need to be prepared to switch gears and take a detour if necessary.

Whether a local employer is going out of business or you have a minor injury that inhibits your ability to get around, life happens to all of us, so always hope for the best, but definitely prepare for the worst.

5. What is one thing you’ve always wanted to do before you die?

And can this be fulfilled while traveling? What better time to do this than while on the road creating memories of a lifetime anyway?

I think there’s a liberation you gain from traveling in general, and the idea that we should wait for the right time to reach our goals is something people take to their grave and might never fulfill. Use this time abroad to accomplish as many of your bucket list items as possible!

6. How can this experience enhance your next chapter?

How can you use this experience to land your next job or plan your next trip? How can you format this on your résumé or CV to make this experience look like a million bucks to a potential employer?

Never underestimate the power of life abroad when talking to CEOs upon your return. That experience says so much more on paper than a 4.0 GPA, and there’s a global market for just about anything these days. Network to get work, my friend.

7. Will the job you have now still be there when you return?

If the answer is yes, then good. If the answer is no, then even better!

Chances are, you’re in a job you’re not too passionate about anyway. It pays the bills and gets you by, but do you rush to get out of bed to get there every morning? Didn’t think so.

8. What second or third language can you pick up?

Outside the U.K. and France, most people you meet in Europe will speak (at minimum) three languages. It’s amazing. It’s inspiring. It secretly makes me sick!.

So many doors of opportunity and communication open up when you’re able to connect with more people of more cultures.

So if you have the time, try picking up another language before you move. I’ve found it takes about three months to get the basics and six months for intermediate proficiency. So there’s that!

9. What “luxuries” can you cut back on now to help pay for the flight and getting on your feet after the move?

You’d be surprised how little you actually need to survive. Believe it or not, there was actually a time Starbucks didn’t exist. Or nail salons. Or overpriced gym memberships. But some way, somehow, people managed.

Cut back on your Starbucks coffee and brew your own at home. Quit the nail pampering and buy $1 polish that will last you over two months. Cancel the gym membership that you haven’t used in a year and buy a home workout DVD and a couple of weights. BOOM! What’s up, new savings of $300/month? I see you!

10. And most importantly: Are you ready for your life to be changed forever?

Are you ready to take the good with the bad and remember, no matter what happens, this experience, this moment, and this journey is something you will never regret?

It’s hard to imagine what I thought of the world and life in general before globetrotting across 30+ countries so effortlessly ripped my mind apart.

It tore up all the narrow-minded stereotypes and replaced them with gems of light, compassion, and understanding. It helped me see people and life with a new perspective.

Life abroad is every bit of what you make of it. And me, personally? I choose to continue making this life nothing short of extraordinary.

Pop Culture

Artist uses AI to create ultra realistic portraits of celebrities who left us too soon

What would certain icons look like if nothing had happened to them?

Mercury would be 76 today.

Some icons have truly left this world too early. It’s a tragedy when anyone doesn’t make it to see old age, but when it happens to a well-known public figure, it’s like a bit of their art and legacy dies with them. What might Freddie Mercury have created if he were granted the gift of long life? Bruce Lee? Princess Diana?

Their futures might be mere musings of our imagination, but thanks to a lot of creativity (and a little tech) we can now get a glimpse into what these celebrities might have looked like when they were older.

Alper Yesiltas, an Istanbul-based lawyer and photographer, created a photography series titled “As If Nothing Happened,” which features eerily realistic portraits of long gone celebrities in their golden years. To make the images as real looking as possible, Yesiltas incorporated various photo editing programs such as Adobe Lightroom and VSCO, as well as the AI photo-enhancing software Remini.

“The hardest part of the creative process for me is making the image feel ‘real’ to me,” Yesiltas wrote about his passion project. “The moment I like the most is when I think the image in front of me looks as if it was taken by a photographer.”

Yesiltas’ meticulousness paid off, because the results are uncanny.

Along with each photo, Yesiltas writes a bittersweet message “wishing” how things might have gone differently … as if nothing happened.
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All images provided by Adewole Adamson

It begins with more inclusive conversations at a patient level

True

Adewole Adamson, MD, of the University of Texas, Austin, aims to create more equity in health care by gathering data from more diverse populations by using artificial intelligence (AI), a type of machine learning. Dr. Adamson’s work is funded by the American Cancer Society (ACS), an organization committed to advancing health equity through research priorities, programs and services for groups who have been marginalized.

Melanoma became a particular focus for Dr. Adamson after meeting Avery Smith, who lost his wife—a Black woman—to the deadly disease.

melanoma,  melanoma for dark skin Avery Smith (left) and Adamson (sidenote)

This personal encounter, coupled with multiple conversations with Black dermatology patients, drove Dr. Adamson to a concerning discovery: as advanced as AI is at detecting possible skin cancers, it is heavily biased.

To understand this bias, it helps to first know how AI works in the early detection of skin cancer, which Dr. Adamson explains in his paper for the New England Journal of Medicine (paywall). The process uses computers that rely on sets of accumulated data to learn what healthy or unhealthy skin looks like and then create an algorithm to predict diagnoses based on those data sets.

This process, known as supervised learning, could lead to huge benefits in preventive care.

After all, early detection is key to better outcomes. The problem is that the data sets don’t include enough information about darker skin tones. As Adamson put it, “everything is viewed through a ‘white lens.’”

“If you don’t teach the algorithm with a diverse set of images, then that algorithm won’t work out in the public that is diverse,” writes Adamson in a study he co-wrote with Smith (according to a story in The Atlantic). “So there’s risk, then, for people with skin of color to fall through the cracks.”

Tragically, Smith’s wife was diagnosed with melanoma too late and paid the ultimate price for it. And she was not an anomaly—though the disease is more common for White patients, Black cancer patients are far more likely to be diagnosed at later stages, causing a notable disparity in survival rates between non-Hispanics whites (90%) and non-Hispanic blacks (66%).

As a computer scientist, Smith suspected this racial bias and reached out to Adamson, hoping a Black dermatologist would have more diverse data sets. Though Adamson didn’t have what Smith was initially looking for, this realization ignited a personal mission to investigate and reduce disparities.

Now, Adamson uses the knowledge gained through his years of research to help advance the fight for health equity. To him, that means not only gaining a wider array of data sets, but also having more conversations with patients to understand how socioeconomic status impacts the level and efficiency of care.

“At the end of the day, what matters most is how we help patients at the patient level,” Adamson told Upworthy. “And how can you do that without knowing exactly what barriers they face?”

american cancer society, skin cacner treatment"What matters most is how we help patients at the patient level."https://www.kellydavidsonstudio.com/

The American Cancer Society believes everyone deserves a fair and just opportunity to prevent, find, treat, and survive cancer—regardless of how much money they make, the color of their skin, their sexual orientation, gender identity, their disability status, or where they live. Inclusive tools and resources on the Health Equity section of their website can be found here. For more information about skin cancer, visit cancer.org/skincancer.

via Dion Merrick / Facebook

This article originally appeared on 02.09.21


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