Authentic | Business | Hipster | Luddites | Personal Brand | Purpose | Spirituality | Vanlife

Finding Harmony in Cultural Concepts: Exploring the Similarities between Hygge and Ikigai

In a world where different cultures offer unique perspectives on happiness and fulfillment, two concepts have garnered significant attention for their emphasis on well-being and contentment: hygge and ikigai. Despite originating from distinct cultural backgrounds — hygge from Denmark and ikigai from Japan — these concepts share more similarities than one might initially assume. “Hygge”…

Coffee is the meaning of the #vanlife movement?
Authentic | Counterculture | Hipster | Vanlife

The A to Z of Vanlife Buzzwords: A Roadmap to Rolling Your Eyes

Introduction Pack up your Pinterest boards and stuff your self-help mantras; we’re taking a scenic drive down the winding, confusing, and downright hilarious road of Vanlife Buzzwords. From A to Z, we’re debunking, demystifying, and, let’s face it, making fun of the jargon that has turned #VanLife into the Ivy League of hipsterdom. Buckle up;…

My #vanlife trip to Mexico: Story 1

Digital Nomad Lifestyle Issues

Digital Nomadism: An Erosion of Local Ties and Human Connections? Digital nomadism, like any global trend, is a multifaceted phenomenon, and understanding its true nature requires exploring various perspectives. Here’s a deeper look at some of the prevailing views on this digitally-driven lifestyle: Why I STOPPED being a Digital Nomad Being a Digital Nomad: A…

Tragedy of the Commons is a Myth
AI | Brand Archetypes | ChatGPT | Commoning | Counterculture | Culture | Permaculture | Politics | Singularity | Social Entrepreneur | Surveillance Capitalism | The Backyard Futurist | Vanlife

Commoning Groups: A Survey of the Spectrum

As we continue to advance into the digital age, the interplay between technology and society grows more intricate and intimate. One fascinating area of exploration is the intersection between commoning groups and Artificial Intelligence (AI). The world of ‘commoning’—a term describing the collective ownership and management of resources—seems to be on a collision course with…

My #vanlife trip to Mexico: Story 1
AI | Counterculture | Culture | Permaculture | Politics | Portfolio | Quantified Self | Social Media | Surveillance Capitalism | The Backyard Futurist | Vanlife

The Deeper Meaning in #Vanlife

Although these articles are directed toward #vanlife many of the same issues could apply to YouTube sailing channels. #Vanlife and YouTube Sailing Channels The rise of the #vanlife and YouTube sailing channels have both captured the imagination of many people looking for an escape from the traditional 9-to-5 lifestyle. Both movements have attracted individuals who…

VW Bug
Advertising | Authentic | Counterculture | Hipster | Vanlife

From the Creative Generation to the Hipsters

There are two ads that both play intertextually on the hipster aesthetic to effectively create meaning. They are the Volkswagen’s Think Small by Doyle Dane Bernbach (1959) and Hungry Jacks Keeping It Real television ad by Clemenger BBDO (2017) in Sydney. The Think Small advertisement is responsible for initiating the creative generation in advertising which…

Petri Dish – A sci-fi short story
Fame | Gamification | Mockups | Permaculture | Politics | Social Media | The Backyard Futurist | Vanlife

Petri Dish – A sci-fi short story

See the difference between different versions of ChatGPT and the original story. Title: Petri Dish – A Sci-Fi Short Story Author: Ricky Wright Improved by ChatGPT 4 Date: May 27, 2019 In a vibrant, cozy bedroom, young Delphia, a primary school student, carefully sprinkles small fragments of bio-material into a petri dish. She observes the…

Clouds Gamify life
Fame | Gamification | The Backyard Futurist | Vanlife

Exploring Gamification

My recent experiences with gamification.   1) Connecting with the Community I started collaborating and gamifying the experience early on the #alm201 hashtag by introducing myself via video and then continued to contribute and respond to other students’ efforts. I responded to the layered quests Adam (our unit coordinator) set, and by liking, commenting, awarding…

The Democratising Potential of Celebrity and Cosmopolitan Solidarity
Fame | Social Media | The Backyard Futurist | Vanlife

The Democratising Potential of Celebrity and Cosmopolitan Solidarity

The role celebrities play in promoting cosmopolitan values over communitarian tribalism was highlighted in the recent presidential inauguration of Donald Trump which was shunned by many A-list celebrities. This was contrasted with the widespread support for anti-Trump rallies like Alec Baldwin’s. Trump’s communitarian, tribal, and divisive America First campaign strategy which was an affront to…

You’re Fake Microcelebrity: Performing the Commodity of Authenticity
Authentic | Fame | Social Media | The Backyard Futurist | Vanlife

You’re Fake Microcelebrity: Performing the Commodity of Authenticity

This is my undergraduate video and exegesis attempt at understanding celebrity culture and authenticity. Also, see the follow-up article The Democratising Potential of Celebrity and Cosmopolitan Solidarity My video (below) opens with scenes from the French dystopian short film Logorama (2009) which is a critique on “the loss of real authenticity” in a world that…


Vanlife, Mindfulness, Minimalism, Serendipity and Finding Purpose

Question:  You make some interesting points, though I do find myself finding a great deal of beautiful serendipity in media-making too… Thanks also to Adam Brown for sharing these ideas on Serendipity: Answer:  Sure. A great insight you have presented to explore. Let’s think of serendipity as those happy accidents that seem to happen by…

vanlife-side-hustle-passive-income (12)

The Complete Guide to Creating a Passive Income, #Vanlife, and AI Communication Generation

Introduction: What is Vanlife? “How do you make money on the road?” It is one of the most commonly asked questions by those who live in vans. There are many reasons why someone may choose to live this way: it’s cheaper, they want to reduce their environmental impact, they want more freedom, or they just…

Episode 1 transcript:

I’m Ricky from Communication Generation and this is episode 1 in the Van life Culture series. Where we put the lens on the van life traveling and blogging movement established by Foster Huntington, who famously quit a Manhattan corporate job to travel, and blog full time in Volkswagen.
Vanlife is made possible thanks to the democratising potential of the internet, and crowdfunding sites which allow the little guy to participate. But increasingly the digital media legends I follow who have been there since the internet begun and were celebrating this democratising potential are now claiming capitalist monopolies are now crippling those early utopian visions. What does this mean for van lifers?

Like a lot of creative people, van lifers depend on a relatively level playing field if they are to participate successfully.
Hippie culture is intrinsically woven into the fabric of van life. Van life’s origins begin with the hippies of the 1960s who were in search of a romantic idyllic, natural, authentic way of life, free of the perils of modern consumer culture. A revolutionary VW ad called Think Small was launched and was considered the Mona Lisa of advertising. This was a masterpiece that would come to transform the teenager experience, and consumer culture as we know it – James Dean and blue jeans. At the time the post-war government was encouraging people to spend, spend, spend, and big cars were celebrated as status symbols, in top top-down authoritative one-way conversations.

In contrast, the think small was a revolution in promoting the type of rebellious progressive democratic values we now associate with the hippy movement. The ad launched what is referred to as the Creative Generation in advertising, which was made well known through the Mad Men series. Teenagers tore the Ad out of magazines and put it up on their college dorm wall – it was a big deal. In the new consumer society, lifestyle promotion and performing a cool, youthful, progressive brand identity were to become the new norm. The van life hippies of 1960 then adopted the VW because to them, think small symbolised the subversive, non-consumerist, non-conformist values imbued in their utopian dream of a more open, participatory, democratic society.

These utopian visions continue into the early days of the internet in the form of the disruptive counterculture, tech geeks who transformed Apparent into the World Wide Web. From the start, the utopian vision of the internet has been of the empowered user with access to unprecedented information, a more informed citizen, who crushes authoritarian power, and competes on a level playing field. Today big tech companies led by baby boomers continue to promote themselves as rebel saviors disrupting the status quo.

Democratic, cool, authentic, youth culture is presented as the hallmark of these progressive firms with open offices, slides, skateboards, and flexible working styles. When Apple launched its first ad during the 1984 super bowl it promised to disrupt the authoritarian status quo and think differently. From Steve jobs, to Mark Zuckerberg tech gurus enjoy cult celebrity status. They perform this, cool authentic youth persona but ultimately it is only a performance. For a great commentary check out Douglas Rushkoff in his book Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus and in his podcast Team Human and how these tech gurus’ interests in democracy ends where shareholder profits begin. Uber puts people out of work in India and, Air B and B means the cost of housing rises from Barcelona and Hobart.
Robert McChesney’s book Digital Disconnect: How Capitalism is Turning the Internet Against Democracy further exposes the myth that capitalist interests will create a level playing field,. Increasingly, only a few websites get nearly all the traffic? Google and Facebook, for example, hold some of the biggest monopolies in history and have excessive power to control, the government, the democratic system, and sell our data to advertisers. The era of fake news, mass surveillance, slacktivism, and digital distraction are symptoms of the central problem that capitalism tends to create anti-competitive monopolies without regulation.

Crowdsourcing is a way to push back however. Patreon co-founder, Jack Conte was a musician on YouTube he was collaborating with artists like Ben Folds and had millions of hits. In a real-world stadium, he would have made a lot of money, but on YouTube, his take-home was about $50 a month. After founding Patreon his support comes from the people who enjoy his work and contribute a few dollars to have an active role in supporting him. In 2018 his company Patreon is hosting 100,000 creators, supported by two million patrons, and has paid out $350m. It is getting bigger fast because people want a distributed economy.

Foster Huntington and the van life crusaders also use Patreon to create their art. On social media, these modern-day democracy crusaders promote an enviable lifestyle where traditional ideas about buying a house, consuming, and having a huge debt are inverted and getting paid for it. With each new generation, a new subculture is created, with its own democratic vision.

But we can explore these ideas and more, on the road in another podcast.

  • Making YouTube

    Have you ever wanted to create a YouTube channel but don’t know where to start.  Here is my guide to getting it all together and some reflections on what has been a rewarding and enjoyable challenge.   Embrace Your Weirdness The road to authenticity is not always easy, but with a little effort, living a…

  • Van Life Travelling and Blogging Movement Podcast

    Episode 1 transcript: I’m Ricky from Communication Generation and this is episode 1 in the Van life Culture series. Where we put the lens on the van life traveling and blogging movement established by Foster Huntington, who famously quit a Manhattan corporate job to travel, and blog full time in Volkswagen.Vanlife is made possible thanks…