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International Travel and Culture Post
Level 2 - Value Investor
Welcome Avatar! As many of you know we started rolling out city guides. These will come out every week or two depending on schedule. Starting with Miami. That said, this will be international in nature so it is a good time to provide a overview first.
As a note we’ve banned comments from this post. Had a hard time deciding (hence the delay). It’s better to just put this out without comments to avoid the inevitable unless comments like “not everyone is like that” or “what about a 5’ 2” dude with a $40K income”. Just not the crowd we want to attract.
So with that aside here is a *broad* overview of cultural differences. Your experience will always differ however this should be a good enough structure to help you understand how things work in any particular region.
Part 1: North America
This is pretty easy and can be confirmed by simply visiting parts of the USA and Canada. It’s actually quite simple:
Costal cities like LA/NYC are more likely to have high diversity due to population size and numerous direct flights to and from Europe, Asia and South America
Canada is a lower key version of the USA, Toronto is much cleaner and the people dress up a bit more proper compared to NYC. Montreal and Vancouver are completely different vibes but that is for a separate post. Just think of Canada as USA “light”. This is not great for dating in general (unless you’re in Montreal)
Southern USA is generally more “racist/prejudice”. Once again, feel free to disagree. If you’re going to a place like Miami that is certainly more latin, if you’re going to a place like Oklahoma, you will likely feel out of place if you’re not a typical Anglo American
North West and North East have more diversity. Boston is the nerd capital of the USA due to high concentration of colleges. NYC is still the “mega” city of the USA and if you want to go to North West USA… best of luck with the Skrillex haircut crowd
Hot weather cities generally attract more materialistic type people. Los Angeles and Miami certainly have a name for this. As does Vegas. Honestly, even a place like Scottsdale has a pretty big “you better look good” feel to it. Per usual, none of this is good or bad. It has an upside and a downside like anything in life
Opportunities: Easiest place in the world to get rich. The main reason why is the mainstream media. At age 0 they teach you that “you deserve a Cinderalla life for being born”.
This is perfect because the majority actually buy into this non-sensical type of thinking. They go through life thinking they are important for simply being alive and expect a “short cut to riches”. This is also why affiliate marketing will never die. Always someone looking for a magic pill for love, weight or money. No one wants to put in any hard work.
The Good News: If you recognize that this is just a lie, you can then start to understand how the USA works. The USA works as follows: 1) attention is everything, 2) the majority are self obsessed - so all you have to do is align incentives and 3) there is no sense of community/belonging in the USA. Back about 30-50 years ago as a range, it was extremely common to be “Proud Americans”. That has largely changed to “how can I scam the system for my own benefit”. Unsurprisingly, this has led to a lower trust society and a more independent “node” type society.
Getting ahead is rather easy in the States compared to anywhere else. Unlike a third world country where even hard work won’t pay off, in the USA if you work 60+ hours a week when young (20s), it’s practically impossible to not become a millionaire. The only way you would fail is if you are either 1) lying about your actual work output - mostly watching Netflix while on the clock or 2) you fall into the debt cycle trap and end up bankrupt due to too much leverage - many will be here in the coming 6-12 months.
The Bad News: Since the USA is so focused on individualism, this means more and more will flow to the top of the top. Why is that? See the Cinderella comment.
Since the majority of women believe this, they expect to find a handsome guy who makes $1M+ a year that will also provide excitement. Who can provide all that? Once again just the top guys. The trick is that none of the top guys would stoop to such a low standard and would just remain single.
Since the USA is a heavy hook up culture you’re either at the top in something (money, looks, etc.) or you’re pretty much ignored. Being an average girl in the USA is 100x better than being and average guy. That said, you’d much rather be a top 1% guy than a top 1% girl since the girl will struggle on the dating market (the guys can do whatever they want and have no interest in creating a power couple when their phones are blown up 24/7 for dates)
Future: The future of the USA is actually pretty simple. “United States of Asia”. More and more wealth disparity that actually becomes entrenched. You’ll see a lower number of upper middle class or “lower upper class” society. Those jobs will see the top income bracket drop.
As a simple example the top 1% earning in the USA is around $500K gross income. We’d expect this to drop down to $350,000 (inflation adjusted) in the next 10-20 years. The reason is simple. A lot of high paying slots are middle management which won’t be needed with automation and KPI tracking. This means *producers* make more though. If you’re a top sales guy you won’t be making $500,000 anymore you’ll be worth a clean $1,000,000 since you’re a bigger profit generator.
Summary: Summary of personality in the USA is simple. “What do you/I get out of it”. After that it is all about attention grabbing. We don’t reward the top 10 we reward the top 3. Pareto principal scales in the USA.
As a rough warning. If you can’t make it in the USA, you *wouldn’t* make it anywhere else with 90% confidence in that statement (always some weird 10% where they are better off not being state side).
That sentence is also the reason for so much social tension. People know they are sitting on a winning lotto ticket by being in the USA. Yet they don’t see progress which is maximum pain for the human ego. Realistically though, from what we’ve seen, the people upset = not even working at all. They are usually working max 20 hours a week and then complaining that they should be getting more. Sorry but life doesn’t work that way in the USA. You have to pay the effort tax/toll.
General rule, stay southern USA (west or east) NYC or Montreal.
Part 2: Western Europe
Europe has been in purgatory for quite some time. Jobs pay a lot less than they do in the USA on a like for like basis. If you were making say $200,000 in the USA, that same position would pay around equivalent of $125,000 in UK/Germany etc. This is due to taxes, cost of living differences and more. It’s quite rough and this is why a lot of people out there consider moving to the USA.
Germany - This is our favorite country of the group only because it is so direct and brutal. People make it clear if they like you or hate you. This is both for business and for dating as well. It is simply straight forward. If you have thin skin you will hate it here
UK - Pretty similar to the USA. A lot of passive aggressive behavior in the upper middle class. The only difference is they are typically wearing nicer outfits and dressed more properly. In the end though, London is just a worse version of NYC.
Spain - This is the “feminine/clean” look of Western Europe. If you’re out here you shouldn’t have a rough looking face/body/style. A classic Russian guy probably wouldn’t be the right look. Someone like Ronaldo the soccer player is certainly the better look
France - France will tolerate a bit more roughness vs. Spain. As long as you dress sharp and pretend to care a bit about french culture and speaking french you’ll be fine. The breakfast here is terrible but that’s for another post
Switzerland - If you decide to go to Zurich you may as well take a mortgage against your house. This would be funny if it wasn’t true. It’s like $75 for chicken and potatoes at a dinner. It’s also freezing. Just avoid the experience and order the chocolates online
Opportunities: Much worse than the USA. Basically a worse version of the USA except in terms of people. The people are a lot thinner and nicer than the USA depending on where you go. Europe is a great option for someone who doesn’t need to make a bunch of money anymore and is happy with the income they have.
Notice, we’re making it vague since we don’t want some meaningless comment about “what is a lot of money”. If you’re happy with $5K a month great, if you’re happy with $50K a month great. The point is the same. The opportunities here are simply worse so you better be coming to visit for fun or you are coming *after* you cashed your heavy checks.
Culture: As you can see it is a big mess! Depending on where you go it changes drastically. Hence city guides. That said for guys you’re probably better off in Germany unless you are easily offended. Girls would probably enjoy the UK more than Paris.
Summary: Worse version of USA for opportunities. Much more attractive people on average and depending on what city/country you go to the bill could be massive or similar to the USA.
If you’re a guy you pretty much want to be in the center and lower west. Avoid the North West ***except*** for Iceland
Part 3: Eastern Europe
The developing world all has one thing in common: you better have money. This of course is relative but it rings true in Eastern Europe the most. If you’re foolish enough to believe none of the girls there are being “sponsored” or in some sort of sugar relationship, we’re more than happy to laugh out loud. A large chunk are involved with this largely due to socioeconomic conditions. You didn’t show up and suddenly become more attractive. You showed up and you went from being the top 10% richest to the top 0.1% richest in their eyes (true or not does not matter, what they think is what matters)
General rule of thumb is if you go more East the more vicious the girls become. Vicious meaning you will think you’re talking to the love of your life but it is really Cruella de Vil in disguise. If you’re going to mess with Eastern Europe start with Poland where the style is a lot more laid back. If you want to dance with the devil enjoy Russia and Ukraine
Appearing nice is a bit of an advantage here. Not because the girls reward it but because they view you as a “mark”. That’s how vicious it is over there. This is probably due to the brutal history of Eastern Europe in general. If you’re seen as a nice guy this is good in their eyes because they might be able to jump up a socioeconomic class
Don’t be fooled. If you lose your money you will lose the girl. If you’re upset by this that’s great. It is still true. There is a heavy expectation for men to be the protector and provider. They’ll stick around through a rough patch but not forever
On that note you don’t plan on being broke do you?
Final note, each “level” has a different expectation. If you’re going to try and date a girl from a rich EE family we wish you the best of luck. See you at the future divorce and funeral (half joke)
Opportunities: Pretty rough. If you have an internet income, you can live here instead of a place like Germany though. That’s the weird part about the whole Europe thing. If you’re making a bunch of money online you’re better off in Eastern Europe than you are in a place like Germany. However, if you for some reason need to work in Germany a bunch, there is no reason to go to a place like Eastern Europe
In the end you’ll have more options in Eastern Europe on an equivalent income threshold. If you have $200K no matter where you are, just take a direct flight to Eastern Europe (just not Kiev or Russia right now due to the war)
Culture: For this one its all pretty similar to be honest. You’re free to point out specific tricks and nuances but it is a pretty similar mindset. They just go about it differently. Easy mode left to right on the Eastern Europe map. (Note: no clue on Turkey)
Part 4: Asia
Moving to a completely different region, Asia is another massive region. As a rule of thumb here it goes again: 1) Japan is basically the cleanest and most introverted, 2) Korea is more extroverted a closer to America but with air pollution, 3) Singapore is somewhat of a mix of Japan/Korea and 4) the degenerate part of Asia is Thailand/Philippines/Vietnam.
For the typical American, you’re going to be looked at like a zoo animal. If you want to just date and meet girls Thailand/Philippines is where being American carries the most “status”. If you can’t get any interest here you’ve got serious issues
Japan is probably a great starting point for those too afraid to punch their ticket to a developing country. It’s extremely clean and all of the metros have english translations on them in Tokyo. The downside is the food is likely strange for a foreigner so you should stick to safe stuff like rice + cooked seafood or the beef options
Korea is bit tougher for a foreigner not due to the food but due to the faster pace and infrastructure. Much more polluted and has more of an American pace but… no english. If you’re going here we already know what your e-com biz is. IYKYK if you don’t you haven’t even researched a single line item from Efficiency out in 2016
The summary paragraph was likely a good enough start. If you’re just looking to party go to a place in the pink/red color from the map below. If you don’t feel comfortable with that, start in Japan within the Yellow since it is the easiest for an American to adapt. Other than that, if you’re going to China/Korea first it is likely for business. Don’t have too much experience with Hong Kong/China but might be worth a trip just for the entertainment value after doing a few months worth of city guides.
Culture: Huge range. If you want some broad strokes though there is a heavy focus on being “orderly” and following “rules” particularly in developed spots like Korea/Japan/Singapore. If you’re in the south east side, then practically speaking you’ll be seen as a party boy unless Vietnam is an option for future manufacturing of products.
Opportunities? Ugly. In Asia the wealth disparity for the ultra rich is enormous. Born into rich families = set for life. If you’re not willing to work hard, we’d suggest a one way ticket to Korea/Singapore/Taiwan'/Japan and work for 2 years doing anything. You’ll never complain again once you’re back in the USA. The effort people put in on a day to day basis makes the USA look like Europe’s “siesta” culture.
The good news is you can utilize Asia for manufacturing/production since they pride themselves on being organized. That said, anything you make will be “copy pasta’d” soon. Xiaomi says hello!
Money wise? It’s actually quite cheap right now due to the US dollar strength. If you’re interested in checking it out, the prices are not terrible at all.
Part 5: Central/South America
There is a big need to show importance in this culture. Brands and things like that are important. If you make a lot of money you should spend a lot of money. Saving is less engrained vs places like Asia. Probably due to the failing currencies of many nations. Simply calling latin people “lazy/irresponsible” wouldn’t be entirely true despite mainstream media saying this. If your currency was going to be worthless every 5-10 years you’d probably dump it into a rolex watch as well to preserve value better than the Argentinian peso.
Given the above focus the culture is “easily offended”. Not sure why this is but likely due to the constant stress of needing to get rid of a dying currency. The absolute worst thing you can do is “lower” the status of a Central/South American person
Due to the prior point, you are more likely to get scammed "“obviously”. Since there is a big focus on short term money making, you will likely be blatantly scammed on something while visiting. While Asia and other countries will also scam you it won’t be as obvious. You’ll know you got scammed on something (cost of item, taxi etc.) and they don’t really care about creating repeat business. Once again see the major point of currency collapse being common so a massive focus on money now
High quality service is largely reserved for the top tier areas. This would be places like Polanco in Mexico City, Parque 93 in Bogota, Piantini in Santo Domingo etc.
Dancing is a big part of the culture as compared to Asia where there is a focus on Karaoke/singing type environments
Opportunities: Once again not much, see issue with currency. We’ve brought this up many times because it actually helps explain why the culture developed like that. Hard to stress how important this is. If you can’t save because you *know* the currency won’t hold stable over decades, the culture will naturally change over a 100 year time frame.
Just like any other country speaking the language (Spanish/Portuguese) is going to make your experience 5,000,000x better. That said, definitely do not go to South America or Central America for anything related to economic opportunities (outside of tax structure stuff like Paraguay).
Culture: Big live in the present type culture. A lot more day to day type thinking since it’s the best mode of operation for a local. Limited trust in government as well (much worse than USA/Asia/WestEurope). Emphasis. Much worse trust levels.
On that note you’ve got a good feel for the broad stroke differences. We don’t have enough info on areas not mentioned in this post like Africa, India or the Middle East. (Note, we have a couple cities not listed in these major sections but not enough to do an entire continent type overview, for example we’re aware of culture in Auckland and Egypt)
Depending on how much people enjoy the city guides we might even book some tickets. Next guide? Will be Bogota due to the poll results!
On that note, Back to the Tent.
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