Thousands of students are drawn to overseas study

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The modern approach to education is one that, quite frankly, is still taking shape. The modern era that we now live in is one that has, without a doubt, taken hold of modern marvels digitalisation and technological advancement. We are more interconnected than ever, and a large part of the reason why that is, centres around the truth that technology has changed life as we knew it. Today, every aspect of modern life – including, as it turns out, education and travel respectively – is changing significantly, and the transformations are far from over. In the education industry, one of the most prominent evolutions is the introduction of mainstream abroad study. While students have been studying overseas for a while, this is a concept that has only relatively recently taken flight, becoming a mainstream sensation all around the globe. Making the decision to study overseas is not a decision to take lightly. Temporarily uprooting your life to maintain your studies while simultaneously exploring a new part of the world takes courage, guts, and determination – but alas, it is a trend that is continuously on the rise.

It is not uncommon for a student to want to quite literally run away when they are stressed out of their minds, thinking “I wish I didn’t have to write my research paper at this same old desk, in this same old place”. What has been uncommon, at least up until recently, is the number of students who actually take action on that thought, researching and then applying to study overseas for a change of pace and a life experience that will inspire them to continue to work hard towards their degree. Now, it is more surprising to encounter someone who knows nobody who has taken on abroad study – even if it is not they themselves. Around the globe, more and more eager and bright-eyed students are taking on the challenge of taking their studies across the ocean for a semester or two. There is an undeniable appeal in travelling abroad that seeks to expose students to a whole new world, while allowing them to live and continue learning (essentially, giving those students the best of both worlds, both collectively and respectively).

The appeal of studying abroad is one that continues to attract the attention of students from all over the world, but why exactly is that? At the end of the day, there is something profoundly exciting about going on an academic endeavour that seeks to give you the chance to better yourself in every sense, while allowing you to continue flourishing academically. Students who study abroad are often the very same individuals who are willing and able to jump out of their comfort zone and take a leap of faith to explore something exciting and fresh. And what could be more exciting and fresh than experiencing a new part of the world while you simultaneously work towards the future you have been building up to through your studies? As if that were not appealing enough, there is a definitive appeal in doing something different than your peers, while maintaining the same level of course content – what better way is there to be inspired by your studies than to study in a beautiful inspiring setting?

And then there is the professional edge that studying abroad gives you. Having a real-world experience on your resume throughout your academic career makes you stand out to potential employers once you graduate, and it does not get much more “real-world” than opting away from the traditional education experience and instead gravitating towards the more unique academic journey. You meet people you never would have otherwise, you exponentially expand your global network, you see the world, and you grow not only academically and intellectually, but personally. All these reasons and more are the bread and butter that ultimately make studying abroad such an appealing approach to modern education. If ever there was a take on education that perfectly balances between traditional ideals and modern perceptions, it is without a doubt studying abroad study. Amid the rise of a modern era that is paved with good intentions and technological enhancements, it should come as no surprise that the world we live in today is more interconnected than ever.

Practically every industry there is – including, as it turns out education and travel respectively – has undergone its fair share of transformation. In education, one of the most prominent (and ongoing) transformations thus far is the mainstream introduction and ongoing rising popularity of studying abroad. Students have been choosing to study overseas for a while, but in recent years it has become a global sensation, with thousands upon thousands of eager students applying to study somewhere new and exciting for a semester or two. Studying abroad is not for the faint hearted, but for those who do take the leap of faith, it is more rewarding than you could ever imagine. The rise of abroad study continues to surge, and there are no signs of it slowing down.

Heavy use of social media is linked to mental illness

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We live in the digital era, and in this digital era modern innovations rule. One of the most prominent modern innovations there is, is social media. Designed to be a network of global virtual platforms that allow for instantaneous and easy communication around the world, social media has more than lived up to the hype that has propelled over the years. But on the flip side of that same coin, is the dark undercurrent of social media. That decidedly negative undertone is hinged on the reality that social media has heavily impacted mental health – and not in the most positive of ways. Social media is an environment that emphasises the appeal of honest and open communication and connection, but it is also an environment that can be incredibly toxic for people to invest their energy and time into. And it all comes down to the comparative nature of social media, and how that impacts those that are struggling with themselves. This is an important issue, and finally it is getting the attention that it has always deserved. As the world hinders on the verge of a mental health crisis that borders on epidemic standard, this conversation is more important than ever.

The complication with social media is while it is intended to boost communication, it also sometimes inevitably isolates individuals from the real world and their real connections. The more energy and time that one invests in the social media landscape, the more disconnected they become with the real world around them. This is where problems often arise. Social media can be a dangerous, even fatal environment, and the reality is that there simply is not enough awareness surrounding this truth. Because of the comparative nature that has evolved over the history of social media, users can feel an inclination to mould themselves into what the social media platforms appear to find the most widely appealing aesthetic, body image, or way of communicating. This often leads to inauthentic representations of the self, which can obviously lead to some very serious health implications. The pressures of social media warrant a type of mental health strain that, quite frankly, is unparalleled to anything else.

There is a massive pressure in the landscape of social media platforms. Individuals can feel pressured to buy likes on Instagram, or try to change how they look to fit into the standard perception of what social media deems to be the most appealing aesthetic or approach. Additionally, they can spend hours and hours investing energy, time, and even money into ensuring that the representation of themselves they give out via social media, is one that puts their best [virtual] foot forward, so to speak. And while this can work for some time, it nearly always comes to a point where it becomes more of a problem than a distraction from the true self. The immense pressure to not only concede to those perceived ideals online, but to maintain those ideals over time, can be quite taxing. This is where cracks tend to appear, and if left unchecked, these cracks can bloom into dark bruises that become more and more difficult to contain. And just like bruises, it becomes obvious too often after the damage is done, that there is even a problem.

The links between mental health and social media are becoming more and more pronounced the more that studies and research focus on this topic, and the more that awareness becomes more prominent. When individuals spend so much time on their social media, they inevitably drain themselves emotionally and mentally. It can be exhausting to constantly see what is perceived as many people living the perfect life – especially if their own life does not feel even close to what their perceived ideal idols and friends live online. While it is easy enough to tell someone to remember that social media is often (if not always) a highlight reel of someone’s life, a snapshot of what really goes on, it is quite another to tell that to someone who is struggling with their mental health because of that reason. Mental health is a serious issue, and it is one that, quite frankly, is not given nearly as much attention as it should be. There is a very real sense of isolation that goes hand in hand with heavy use of social media, and it is important to pay attention to not only your own use of social media, but those close to you, and to do your best to let them know you are there if they need to reach out.

The digital era is absolutely rife with exciting innovations and revolutions that have changed life as we know it, in many different ways. One of the most globally renowned innovations of all has been, without a doubt, social media. A revolution initially created to serve as an all-new frontier of instantaneous global communication, social media has since ballooned to become so much more over time. While in many ways, social media is an immensely positive space, it can also be a place of dark undertones that can be difficult for some individuals to deal with. The comparative nature of social media today has resulted in the realisation that, for some, social media activity can have a devastating impact on their mental health. This is an issue that, up until recently, was given nowhere near the amount of attention that it warranted, but now that the world is bordering on a mental health epidemic, action is finally, at long last, being taken. Social media can have devastating effects on users, and it is important to pay close attention to the signs that people are struggling. Lives literally depend on it.

Social media gives the travel industry the ultimate free marketing

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Travel (also known as the art of the chase). There is something definitively exciting about the allure of getting to see the world. Over the years, the number of avid travellers has continued to grow and grow, and today it seems that quite literally everyone wants to travel to some place, at some point, for some amount of time. There really is a certain unique type of magic that continues to draw people in and prove itself to be unforgettable. The travel industry has never been one that has exactly struggled to maintain its integrity, but there have certainly been times where travel has been on the definitive backburner for many, many people. It is rarely (if ever) by choice, but even so, the point remains the same. Travel is one of the most enduring industries in the world, and it will continue to be for quite some time. However, in recent years, travel has become more and more popular, and it is all thanks to the introduction and ongoing depth of the rise of the social media age. But what does social media have to do with travel?

Whether it is solo travel or adventuring with loved ones, it is safe to say that travelling is the adventure that practically everyone wants a piece of. This has always been the case. However, in recent years, as social media has become more and more popular around the world, it has become easier and easier for people to map out all their travel experiences, from the global sensations to the hidden gems. Social media has essentially created a marketing platform for the travel industry that requires practically no upkeep or industry intervention – it is all carried out through visual marketing objectives and word-of-mouth reviews, in real time, in one place. That is the magic of social media, and that is the allure of travel in the modern world that we have built and maintained for ourselves. Everybody has different travel bucket list ticks, and social media essentially provides a place to not only share those bucket list ticks when they have finally been achieved yourself, but to enjoy and experience it from the perspective of other travellers – many of which you have not personally met (yet).

Whether it is camel riding holidays in the desert, or underwater explorations of reefs and wrecks around the world, or any number of travel adventures in between, it seems that more and more these days, we capture these moments in time just a much for our social media and our followers, as we do for ourselves. The appeal in travelling is that you can obviously experience exciting places and moments, but it is also about knowing how you can best approach those moments in the lead up. that has been made easier than ever through the ongoing longevity and success of social media innovation and motivation. Travel is the ultimate industry, and social media is now the ultimate modern marketing strategy. Together, they form an indestructible force, creating the greatest clash of the titans turned power team that there has ever been. More than ever before, travel is the hottest commodity around, and that is (at least partially) thanks to social media.

Travel is one of the most dominant hashtags on Instagram. Boasting 439 million posts and always counting, travel is the world’s hottest commodity, the biggest dream. Being able to log into one’s social media and see an instantaneous real-time catalogue of destinations and experiences happening to those around them and those they look up to, is in many ways the ultimate form of wanderlust. Whether you are planning your own dream trip abroad or throughout your home country, or eagerly dreaming of the next time you will be able to take off on your next big adventure, there is something exciting about being able to see the places near and far, in real-time, even if you are not there yourself. It creates a sense of hope and determination to get to those places yourself, to tick them off your travel bucket list, and to make your own memories in the places so beautiful that they do not need filters to bring out their shine.

Travel is one of the most globally popular adventures of the world. In fact, for many people, it is the ultimate adventure. There is power in taking off to explore the big, wide world, and a lot of that power hinges on the distinct appeal of being able to take in all the destinations and experiences you have seen elsewhere, for yourself. This is a notion that, since the introduction and ongoing exploration of the social media age, has become more and more prominent all over the world. These days, a large appeal of travel is knowing that you can log onto social media at any time, type in a destination or experience, and get a real-time catalogue of others being there or doing that, on your form. This is the ultimate instigator of wanderlust, and it is everywhere. Social media has done for travel what it has done for modern businesses: create the ultimate form of 24/7 marketing that essentially runs itself with little need for human interference. And the world loves it, we crave it, we chase it.

Ecommerce has taken women’s fashion to unprecedented heights

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The fashion industry has enjoyed a significantly prominent rise over the years, most recently being transformed in the wake of digitalisation and technological advancement. And at the forefront of that revitalisation, has been the impact on women’s fashion specifically. While it is true that women’s fashion has always enjoyed a significant scope of attention around the world, the introduction of the worldwide web, and subsequently, ecommerce (the single largest market for everything – including women’s fashion, of course), has changed it all from the ground up. Fashion is an ancient industry by this point, but the introduction and ongoing advancement of ecommerce has introduced an entirely new frontier in women’s fashion (and the entire fashion industry in general, for that matter), that has taken it to all-new and unprecedented global heights. And what is more, is that this is just the beginning; from here on out, there is more and more to come, and it all points to a stronger industry going into the future.

Ecommerce is essentially a backing for consumer-driven marketplaces that plans the globe and is recognised and accessed through the worldwide web. Here, the consumer-driven marketplace never stops moving and transforming. Today, this is where the clear majority of women’s fashion purchases are made, as well as practically every other type of consumer-driven purchase there is in the modern world. Women’s fashion has only gotten bigger, better, bolder, and sturdier in both design and quality, and the rise of ecommerce has given a platform for those fashion brands and labels to be given exposure and be bought by eager consumers on a bigger, better, bolder, and sturdier platform. Through ecommerce, women now have a 24/7 front-row seat to the latest and greatest fashion shows around the world, as well as constant access to not only the storefront window to a specific product page (the landing page of the website), but the entire store in its entirety (the entire website). And we are all hooked.

Boasting every women’s fashion staple there is, from a large selection of rave shoes, to a widespread choice of lingerie, and every fashion item there is, ecommerce is the consumer platform that women – and the rest of the world, for that matter – have been calling out for, for years. Since its introduction a few years ago, ecommerce has made women’s fashion an even more globally inclusive and successful innovation – a feat that is not only impressive, but ultimately quite awe-inspiring, considering the incredible depth of success that the women’s fashion sector achieved before ecommerce became a mainstream sensation all over the world. Today, thanks to ecommerce, women’s fashion is not only bolder, but more readily available – and that is a facet of fashion that is worth backing, through and through. More to the point, it is also an innovation in fashion that people are becoming exceedingly obsessed with, if you can believe it (and you should be able to).

Ecommerce seems life-changing because it is… but what is truly the most exciting thing of all, is that it is only just now getting started. The best is yet to come when it comes to ecommerce advancement and ongoing expansion, and the whole of the modern world is waiting in eager anticipation to see what rabbit ecommerce pulls out of the hat next. Women today are busier than they have ever been (as are men – this is beginning of the digital era, after all), and having a platform like ecommerce where they can obtain the latest and greatest fashions with a few clicks of a button, is entirely transformative. It boasts the beginning of a new frontier in women’s fashion that is more convenient, more efficient, more exciting, and more reliable. Put simply, ecommerce is the backing for women’s fashion that is set to entirely transform the way that women become aware of, buy into, and sell their own fashions. The world is changing, and so is women’s fashion.

Fashion has now reached the point that it is practically an ancient industry. And women’s fashion specifically, has enjoyed a rather infamous rise over the years. However, now it reaches its most pivotal point yet, and that point rests on the introduction and ongoing advancement of ecommerce (i.e. the world’s largest virtual consumer-driven marketplace). For women’s fashion, ecommerce has taken an industry that, quite honestly, seemed to have hit its peak, and has somehow allowed and encouraged it to expand further and further, to the point that this is a whole new world for women’s fashion. Thanks to ecommerce, women’s fashion is a sector of fashion that has not only grown exponentially, but has somehow managed to attract the attention and consumer loyalty of women around the world, to the point that they are buying more than ever. And we love it. We are hooked. And better yet? The best is yet to come. Ecommerce is nowhere near finished growing, and neither has women’s fashion in that marketplace (or in general, for that matter). 

 

InvolveSoft Co-Founder Saumya Bhatnagar Leads The Way For Women In Tech

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InvolveSoft CTO Saumya Bhatnagar

Last week marked 50 years since man first stepped foot on the moon. It was a monumentally world-altering event viewed by over 650 million people around the world, people who watched history unfold as they heard Armstrong say the words “…one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” 

Emphasis on man. 

What is often forgotten is that a handful of unmentioned women, from brilliant mathematicians to secretaries to chemical engineers, played a central role in putting man on the moon. It’s just one of thousands of other historic feats that resulted from the equal ingenuity of women working alongside men, but where little mention is given to the ‘inferior’ sex. We saw just this week the world’s worst country for human rights violations against women – Saudi Arabia – lift its longtime ban on female drivers as well as remove a decree that says women can only apply for passports and jobs if they have the consent of a male guardian. Ever so slowly, we are seeing opportunities for women flourish not only in the darkest corners of the world but also in the until-now-dominated-by-men boardrooms of the world’s most developed economies. Women are coming into their own at last, it seems, and the tech space is no exception. 

Though you wouldn’t know it just yet. 

According to the National Center for Women and Information Technology, in 2015 women accounted for just 25 per cent of all “professional computing technology” jobs in the United States, while that same year women held 57 per cent of all occupations countrywide. The issue is a systemic one and symbolic of a much deeper ‘man’s world’ kinda culture that pervades the tech sector. 

According to Saumya Bhatnagar, co-founder and chief technology officer (CTO) of Los Angeles-based workplace community platform InvolveSoft, finding one’s feet as a woman in the tech industry is far more challenging than it is in other industries.

“In the tech industry, there are no specific gender-based roles; in Hollywood, for example there may be female roles that need to be filled,” she said. “But in the tech industry, it’s all about knowledge and having the skill and ability to do business with people who might not even be comfortable with the idea of sharing a conference table with a woman.”

Despite this Saumya has forged a name for herself in the tech world and garnered the respect of male and female colleagues – and employees – alike. Prior to co-founding InvolveSoft, Saumya co-founded a startup right out of high school which focussed on using technology to identify and reduce female birth-cessation across India – a system now used by India’s regional governments. Having then gone on to earn a Masters in Computer Science from the University of California before founding yet another nonprofit in India focussed on female empowerment, Saumya has become an increasingly well-known advocate for stronger representation for women in the tech sector.

Today she is well on her way to succeeding in her second venture: that of creating a platform that facilitates communication between senior leadership and lower-level employees in an effort to unify distributed workforces. InvolveSoft has leveraged the shift towards a more physically distributed workplace which is seeing up to around 50 per cent of the U.S. workforce working remotely. While workplace flexibility has its advantages both environmentally speaking and in terms of mental health, it presents constant challenges to employers, supervisors and those working remotely, especially in terms of work-related communications. 

“The disconnect often leaves workers feeling devalued and not motivated or engaged with the company culture,” Saumya said, whose background includes coding and natural language processing. “We wanted to create a platform that helped employer’s align company vision with top-down communication to support workplace retention and make it a more fulfilling experience for everyone.”

But Saumya and co-founder Gaurav Bhattacharya also wanted to make a social impact through InvolveSoft. Having faced gender-based discrimination all her life as a female born in India, Saumya has spent much of her professional life challenging the pervasive belief that women pursue male-dominated careers merely as a hobby and are far less adequate at it than their male counterparts – especially in the tech space. 

“I’m an immigrant. I’m brown. I’m a woman. I’m in a chief level position. I have once been asked to my face if our company was so desperate to hire coders that they hired a woman,” she said, before going on to explain how InvolveSoft had supported the #MeToo campaign among other social movements that support female empowerment. 

Already, Saumya has been featured in Forbes Magazine and is paving the way for women in tech alongside the likes of fellow female tech leaders including Shopify’s Gail Carmichael, Oracle’s Safra Katz and Microsoft’s Amy Hood. 

Fashion trends: Where they begin and how they end

_ARC0013-1_djncq1.jpgMesh panel jeans and fishnet bikinis – where are these outrageous fashion trends coming from? While fashion used to be largely based on the catwalk and fashion magazines, there has been a shift since the introduction of social media and gave everyone the potential to be a fashion-influencer. In a world that is obsessed with the next big thing, the craziest trend, the most original idea, it is no surprise that fashion is becoming increasingly nonsensical. Nowadays, you can most probably find t-shirts with cheap shirt printing selling at couture prices and find something as ostentatious as a condom dress at the same shop. It is almost as if the whole industry has gone haywire, with everyone trying to one-up the other and celebrities looking ridiculous at the Met Gala. 

Men are not exempted from this phenomenon – now sporting ridiculous looking cargo pants and casual wear tuxedos to making a statement with neck pouches. They look as awkward as they sound, a pouch big enough for a phone and a vape pen, perhaps, but leaving not much room for anything else, slung around the neck and resting in the chest area. If that is not disturbing enough, the recent rise of gender fluidity and rights for people of every sexual orientation or gender identity, skirts and heels have become popular with men who are willing to experiment. 

It is not a new revolution, however, actor Will Smith’s son, Jaden, who regularly cross-dresses has been seen leading this trend of questioning societal values and gender roles years back. He says that it is not a sexual orientation but merely a preference and a need to express himself. Why should women be allowed to wear both pants and dresses while men are limited only to their wardrobe of manly clothing? This kind of forward thinking will hopefully start conversations and shift the perspective of “feminine” and “masculine” to reflect something more than just shallow preferences such as what clothes one decides to wear. It is commendable that someone as young as he is to be able to understand that you are not what you wear, and you do not have to follow the masses blindly. 

All fashion trends have a time and place. The hipster trend overtook the bohemian fashion back in the early 2000s, and today it seems like the modern basic look will be challenged for its number one spot by what is referred to as the “hippie modernism” trend which attempts to merge hipster wares with a boho touch, according to Elle. However, it does seem that fashion magazines have lost their touch and are no longer as influential as they once were, losing out to fashionistas on Instagram or Youtube. Consumers are more likely to look to a relatable individual rather than to the impersonal pages of a glassy magazine. While traditional media hang on by tooth and nail to stay relevant, the truth of it is that they are losing their audience as they seek their inspiration elsewhere. 

One of the outlets that people choose to look to, are celebrities. Whatever they are wearing is what they want to emulate. What Taylor Swift wore on her daily routine is much more interesting than reading about how overalls will be making a comeback and trying to get on that trend instead. This is because Taylor Swift – or any celebrity for that matter – is relevant. They are what is right now. Even when reality TV star, Kim Kardashian, made a blunder with her trademarking the “kimono” which sparked international outrage, people were still interested in her up and coming clothing line. Why? Because it is Kim Kardashian and because she is one of the most, if not the top most influential person of the 21st century. 

However, what consumers fail to see is that they are the masses and they are capable of influencing change and trends. There is absolutely no need for us to be sheep, but rather, choose for ourselves what fits our personality, taste and budget. Vintage fashion or hand-me-downs can also look good. New does not necessarily mean better. Latest fashion does not necessarily mean good. Anyone else remember the horror of the early 2000s? Denim and Juicy Couture, paired with cheesy and chunky accessories and ghastly glitter. All it takes it a look into the past to remind us that mainstream and what is commercial is not always the best looking. 

Furthermore, every one of us are relevant and we do not need social media or celebrities to tell us what is. Whatever we choose to put on our backs is more real than anything else. We are seen by friends and family, the very people whom the media targets. If we focus on our own styles, there is absolutely no need to focus on fads and trends. As Coco Chanel famously puts it: fashion fades – style is forever. 

Companies leading the way to healthier workforce

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The modern workforce is remarkably different to the one that has existed in previous decades. We live in the beginning of the digital era, and with the evolution into this era has come the inevitable change and consequential shift that has changed every facet of life, from life at home, to the way we work, and everywhere in between. In the case of work, it has changed drastically, with the modern workforce being a healthier representation of where work is going next. Regardless of if your career pathway is dedicating your professional life to the arts, or getting a job as a dental assistant (or any manner of other job pathways, for that matter) it is not nearly as difficult to manage in collaboration with life at home, as it once was. More and more, practically all industries are working towards ensuring that employees have a healthier work/life balance – something that, in previous years, has unfortunately not necessarily been a priority. Finally, the wheels are turning, and the industries that make up the workforce are seeing and valuing the importance of a healthier workforce all around.

Demanding careers shaking up the workplace with more flexible schedules

Take the dentistry industry, for example. This is an industry that is dedicated towards dental health, and it can be a particularly demanding job at times. Teeth, like all aspects of health, are in consistent need of upkeep to keep them at their best. Dentistry companies can get quite busy, and the result of those busy periods is a surging sense of demand on the shoulders of those who work at, or own, those dentistry businesses. But now, even these demanding companies are seeing the light and making positive steps in the right direction. Companies are increasingly geared towards ensuring that their employees have a greater work/life balance. This is achieved through allowing them to create their own schedule, set their own rates, and choose their work location. Just one example, it is a great one of how the workforce is changing. But this is a movement that is impacting all industries, and it is calling for a drastic change that will see a healthier and happier workforce from all angles.

Remote work becoming increasingly common

Consider the rise of the remote workforce. If ever there was one, this is the primary example of how a modern take on the workplace can increase quality of life and work/life balance a million times over. The remote workforce is one that is driven largely by millennials and the other younger generations. These are individuals who have grown up surrounded by and immersed in technological efficiencies and digital innovations, and they expect their professional environments to mirror these ideals. Moreover, they do not want to spend their days working overtime for little to no extra pay or bonuses, and they want to actually enjoy their lives. So, the remote workplace has come into play, and it continues to draw the attention of millions of people all over the world. Remote careers are the ultimate in work/life balance, as all individuals need to do their jobs is a skillset, a reliable device, and a steady (and preferably quick) internet connection. This is a taste of what the future workforce looks like, and it is very exciting, to say the least.

Employee mental health is being prioritised

While all businesses exist to serve consumers, we must also remember that the health, quality of life, and wellbeing of those working in those businesses is just as important. Just as the individuals who go to these businesses to have their needs and wants met are people, those who work within those companies and industries are people, too. No matter the industry, no matter the company, there is a growing realisation that there must be more to life than working to sustain that life. People are demanding and desperate for change, and it is finally coming. While it is currently an impressive start to a promising future for the modern workforce, it is likely going to prove to be the humble beginnings of said workforce down the line. And people are rejoicing at the fact, and embracing their newfound realities. Never has working been as easy to balance in coordination with life outside of work (for the most part). There is still a lot of work to do before this is a workforce-wide movement on a global scale, the new norm on all fronts, but this is an incredibly positive start.

Technology disrupting the workplace

The way that we work is just one aspect of life that has drastically changed under the weight of technological advancement and rapid digitalisation in recent years, but it is definitely one of the most important. For generations, the workforce was one that was actively engaged towards a broad structure of life at work, and while for many years this presented little challenge, it has since been fundamentally proven to be damaging in some cases. It goes without saying that life at work can be stressful at times, presenting many challenges and hurdles along the way. But there should still be room to enjoy life without always having some part of you pulled back into the professional mindset that comes with work. Now, finally, that is a mindset that is increasingly coming to fruition. The modern workforce is geared more and more towards embracing and encouraging a healthy work/life balance, and that is how it should be. While there is still work to be done, this is a promising start.

Social media has changed the way we travel

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When it comes to understanding how we experience travel, and how it in turn impacts us, it is fair to say that each of us have our own understanding of its vast expanses. We are lucky to call Earth home, and this is a notion that, more and more lately, is becoming abundantly clear to us. The best way to get to know this incredible planet, is by travelling it. As has been said before, adventure is in the pocket of the traveller, and that has never been truer than it is now. Travel has always been a wondrous adventure, and it has long called to all of us in our own way. While many of us experience travel from a unique perspective, there are also those that adhere to the broad viewpoints (at least, before they experience a destination for themselves). We thought we had travel all figured out. And then along came technological advancement, to prove yet again that just when we think we have reached a peak, technology can – and does – somehow reach higher.

Technology has changed the entire world. The modern world as we know it is one that is paved with digital intentions, and we are the masters, the creators of this world. If not for our stubborn insistence, we would not have the modern world that we do today. From the way that we work and the way we experience life at home, to the way we learn and even the way we travel, technological advancement has been an empowering ideal that has long been impacting us and the world that we have come to know and love over the centuries. We are a unique species in many ways, but it is our own self-interest and determination to push forward our own progression that is most prominent in this digital era. The way of the modern world is pivoted towards continuing to enhance all aspects of modern (and future) life, and travel is one of the most deeply impacted aspects of life, of all.

There have been many technological advancements that have changed the way we approach and experience travel, but perhaps the most influential of them all on a wide scale is social media. This is a virtual network of platforms that were designed to connect people in their social circles, in ways that allowed them to continue smooth, fluent communication from across oceans. Over time, people became more and more obsessed. By the time Instagram arrived, society was collectively hooked on social media. Instagram introduced a new way of sharing (yet again) that encompassed aesthetic programming and ideal photos and footage. This aesthetic promoted individuals sharing only what they wanted to, and travel has always been one of the most common trends the world over. So, travel quickly became a key hashtag on the social media platform. Today, the hashtag #travel has over eighty-four million posts on Instagram alone, and it is a number that continues to consistently climb by the second.

We all lust after travel and lifestyles that promote travelling to the core. From the urge to get out of the classroom on a beautiful day, to the steps getting onto a plane to somewhere exciting and new, travel evokes a sense of excitement and wonder in all of us. Now, as we stand amid a social media revolution that we are all positively obsessed with, we are more drawn to travel. Every time you look at your newsfeed on any social media account, or respond to a notification, you are bound to see someone you know (or even people you do not know, just follow online as if they are long-lost friends) travelling and experiencing somewhere exciting and new. So, people take screenshots of these travel posts, and they make new buck lists with the whole new world of exploration they have, right on their device screens. It is the new norm of travel, and it is one that is continuously evolving all the time, in all the best and brightest ways possible.

The world of travel is one that is constantly proving to us just how special and wondrous the world around us is. We are always endeavouring to see more of the world that is largely mapped out around us, that quite literally immerses us all. Humanity has spent generations exploring and adventuring around the world, and we thought that we had it all figured out. However, over time, what has become more and more obvious in recent times, is that while our peak may have been nearing possible completion, technology can always take us further. While technological advancement has changed the face of travel in many different ways, perhaps the most widely acclaimed is that of social media. Social media has given the world a new, unlimited perspective on travel, and it is one that is constantly elevating and updating. In short, social media has changed the way we travel, and it will likely continue to do so for the foreseeable future (if not always). This is just the start, and it is sure to be a wild ride.

International surge in solo travel adventurers

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Travel is something that we all want to experience, in some way, shape, or form. In travel, we often find the sense of adventure and excitement that sometimes tends to lack due to the necessity of balancing work and life in general. Travel can be the perfect solution to any problem. If you need to get your head out of the books for a long weekend, a road trip up the coastline could be perfect. If you want to backpack around the world, a global trip starting in Australia or Europe fits the bills. For adventures with family, or relaxing with friends, a camping trip can be the perfect anecdote to the chaos that is an inevitability throughout life. We all want to get away sometimes, and often the best way to do that is to literally pick up and get away. Of course, owing to the nature of the standard work/life balancing act we are all juggling, it can sometimes be difficult to etch out the perfect escape that suits everyone’s schedules. For this reason, there is an ongoing international surge in solo travel adventurers.

There is a growing trend in travelling solo that is capturing the hearts and the minds of eager adventurers the world over. While there will always be a unique magic to travelling, and experiencing life and all it has to offer with loved ones, there is an unparalleled sense of appreciation and achievement that comes with stepping outside of one’s comfort zone, and into the wild world that surrounds us all. Solo travel allows you the chance to see the world from a lens of your sole creation, and that is something that is at once empowering and profound. Seeing the world without someone else on your tail gives you a deeper sense of appreciation for all the world is, all that it offers, and all that is made possible by its very existence. We are but a small piece of a monumental planet, and travelling alone encourages and embraces the appreciation of that fact.

The world is a big, wide place that is full of adventure and promise, and those that take it upon themselves to travel it on their own – even if only once – experience not only the world to themselves, but the world within themselves as well. We are all driven to understand what it is about this big, wide world that we love so much, and solo travel gives you the chance to understand it on a deeper, more personal level. When you travel on your own, there is a keen, undeniable sense of understanding now just how the world around you works, but how you work as a piece of it, and as an individual that is finding their way through the world. This sense of self-discovery is one that is unrivalled, and it keeps drawing more and more adventurous souls into the throes of its reaches. And sometimes, solo travel is the push that even the most introverted people need to leap out of their self-imposed boundaries and embrace the unfamiliar in exciting and new ways.

The rise in solo travellers taking the world by storm is the result of a building sense of urgency to see all the world has to offer, in due course. There has never been a time where travelling the world solo has been such a coveted experience, and it is a motion that is likely only going to continue to bloom and flourish further and further as time goes on. In a world that is hinged on self-respect, love for the environment, adventure, and compassion, solo travel is the perfect solution for many of life’s big questions. There is little that cannot be put into perspective when one is travelling the road less travelled, in an entirely new place, with no company but the backpack on their backs and the phones tucked into their pockets. If nothing else, solo travel encourages us all to trust ourselves more, and to embrace the unknown in unprecedented and wild ways, always.

We all love to see the world in our own way. Whether that is through backpacking adventures or by the big blue sea, or any other manner of escapes in between, is never the point. The point of travel is to open our souls wide open to new experiences, to delve in the unexplored, to adventure in the great, wide unknown. And for more and more people, they are realising the potential in travelling the world on their own, on their own terms. Solo travel is a notion that has been steadily gaining traction over the years, and it is now in full swing. All over the world, more and more individuals are being driven to explore the great unknown solo, and it is no at all difficult to understand why. In solo travel, there is a sense of complete freedom that comes with travelling on one’s own terms, without having to cater to the needs or schedules of anyone else. There is power in travelling solo, and it is that power that has captured the hearts and minds of adventurers the world over.

The Obsolescence of Men: Are Men Becoming an Endangered Species?

By Stefan Aarnio

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Is it just my imagination or is man becoming an endangered species? Oh, I’m not talking about the anatomical male gender. I’m talking about masculine men. You know, the stuff cowboys are made of. Why is it that we have to watch old western movies to see role models of men opening doors for ladies, tipping their hats beautiful belles, or risking a fight to the death to defend their woman’s honor?

I confess, I’m unashamedly male, comfortable in my masculinity and I have little patience for males who flee to crying zones on college campuses when someone hurts their feelings. In my newest book, “Hard Times Create Strong Men,” I chronical millenniums of history but realizing how tight time is on college campuses these days, I’ll sum up the history of mankind in a 10-second quote:

“Hard times create strong men, Strong men create good times, Good times create weak men, Weak men create hard times.”

There, you just save $20 on my book. But in case you want to read more details, as well as such topics as proof of failure of the feminist movement, you may buy it from the company owned by the company founded by bourgeois billionaire businessman Jeff Bezos.

Meanwhile, here are some questions to ponder, most of which is addressed in my book, “Hard Times Create Strong Men.”

25 Questions to Help Determine if Men are Becoming an Endangered Species?

  1. Why are men so afraid to be men?
  2. What is the difference between being feminine and being a feminist?
  3. What were the goals of feminism, how many of them have been achieved, and what has been its outcome for the beloved women of our planet?
  4. What is the expanded version of the 10-second quote: “Hard times create strong men, Strong men create good times, Good times create weak men, and Weak men create hard times” as put into the context of historical cycles?
  5. Who were some of strong men in history?
  6. A popular buzz phrase these days is ‘toxic masculinity.’ Isn’t advocating traditional masculinity bucking the trend?
  7. From a temperament perspective, do you view President Trump as a strong or weak man and why?
  8. What is Zeitgeist and does Trump embody it?
  9. Who are the strong men in business? (Mark Zuckerberg? Elon Musk? Jeff Bezos?)
  10. Man is defined by his work. Is that an oversimplification of who a man is?
  11. Who is Stefan Aarnio? (besides a self-made multi-millionaire before 30 and 6 foot 4 inches tall and quite thin)
  12. Why did you fast in the rain forest of Costa Rica and do you suggest others fast?
  13. In seeking spiritual truth, what did you discover during your recent 40-day fast?
  14. How can a man or a woman balance virtue and vice?
  15. Historically, the term “Strong Man” has not always that complimentary, has it? Why do you use it?
  16. Strength is often measured by muscle and machismo but is there more to manhood than this?
  17. You like to quote Will Durant who said: “A nation is born a stoic and dies an epicurean.” How does that apply to our modern culture and where does the United States stand in its historical cycle?
  18. Back to philosophy, but not yours, this is a quote by Ayn Rand.. “A Creative man is motivated by the desire to achieve, not by the desire to beat others.” Agree or disagree and what does this mean?
  19. Zeitgeist: The defining spirit or mood of a particular period of history as shown by the ideas and beliefs of the time. What is the current defining spirit of this dot in space called earth?
  20. You’ve told us a lot about what men want, but what do women want and need?
  21. Is it possible to pursue manly goals, marry a woman, and have children, without abandoning the goals we have set out to do as men?
  22. And let’s say we hit it off with a woman and we want to tie the knot. What power shifts should we expect as we transition from single cave man into monogamous middleclass morality?
  23. Chapter 30 of your book, “Hard Times Create Strong Men” is titled “Extinction: The obsolescence of man.” What does this end look like?
  24. In the book, you wrote: “The greatest generation, the World War II generation, was born in the 1920s. By the time they were 10 years old, they were living in the Great Depression, a hard time that created strong men. After the Depression, these strong men fought in Europe in the 1940s, storming the beaches of Normandy. Wounded or not, they returned home to build a house with their bare hands, have several children, raise a family, and work at a job they may or may not have loved for 40 years until retirement.” Are we ever returning back to those days?
  25. How can men reverse the trend in becoming an endangered species?

ABOUT STEFAN AARNIO:

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Stefan Aarnio is an award-winning real estate investor, award-winning serial entrepreneur, motivational coach, educator and author of multiple books including his latest, “Hard Times Create Strong Men.

Having built his fortune through purchasing real estate at 40-60 cents on the dollar, Stefan became an avid student of negotiation at a young age testing and learning the principles in this book first-hand in the real world. On a day-to-day basis, Stefan is the CEO of two multi-million-dollar companies and travels the world educating business people and entrepreneurs to bring forward the next generation of success.

Currently, Stefan is on Talk Show encouraging men to be men and debunking so-called ‘toxic masculinity.’ His clarion call is for men to make a mass exodus from the crying zones on college campuses into inject themselves into the real world to showcase and celebrate their masculinity.