Where do I get away from it all, when "it" is consumerism, militarism, and my general sense of first-world-problems ennui?
23 year old male, living in the US, still dealing with the existential angst
I asked you about 10 months or so ago, along with my fair share of anxiety and depression. As part of digging a little deeper into where my feelings come from, I'm starting to realize that it's not just that I'm morally or ethically against lots of elements of mainstream US or western culture, they really bum me out
. I've lived in a bunch of different places around the country, in big cities and small, and I find it very hard to leave the house without feeling surrounded by advertising and its effects or constant reminders of the privileges and luxuries afforded by being reasonably well off and coming from privilege.
My solution to this problem, in the past, has been finding romantic and personal relationships I see as antidotes to the culture - obviously, this approach has its limitations and, at the very least, my friends and I both seem to believe that finding someone in my age range ready to take on the antidote-type role is a big long shot. So, a new thought: I have a graduate student's schedule and, if I start saving now, I could probably afford an extended vacation next summer just about anywhere: say two weeks in the most expensive parts of western Europe and more someplace cheaper. If I want to use the time and the money to test the idea that a change of venue might make me feel less anxious about the sorry state of the world around me, where might I go? Does such a place actually exist? Anecdotal evidence and real data are both appreciated.
One important note: There's lots on volunteering in the last thread, and I'm definitely going to be spending some time doing what I can over the next year. I don't think, however, that it's emotionally or practically to my benefit to go on Peace Corps style service trips: I'm both too mentally unhealthy to take something like that on at present, and don't think it gets at the core of the question here, which is whether and how I can live in a place that gives me the mental space necessary to really consider the things I like to do and the people I like to spend time with. Having read (part of) and been irritated by "Eat Pray Love," I'm also a bit wary of the spiritual tourism style approach.