Just got back from my two week journey to my homeland of Bangladesh. I call it journey rather than a vacation because the experience was far different than say, a trip to Miami. Yeah, it was hot, but insane traffic conditions, pollution, and extreme poverty isn’t what most people would call getting away. I’m not exaggerating, but I have to say it wasn’t all bad; a lot of good came out of the trip for me; without a doubt it was the most life-changing trip of my life
For someone like me born and raised in the US, I can’t put the culture shock into words. The family I have over there is very well off, but that’s just relative; no-matter where you are it’s still surreal and can’t be compared to life here.
For example, outside of the luxury condo where I was staying with my uncle and cousins, on one day I watched as the door-to-door chicken salesman was skinning one of his live chickens for his customers. At least it was a fresh source of protein!
Despite a dangerous and uncertain way of life, the people were very proud and good spirited. This part amazed me; how gracious and helpful they were wherever I went. To them of course, this is life and they make the most of it. It’s a slower way of life out there, with more time to spend with family. However, I’m just speaking from what I saw with my own family. I can’t guess what life is like for the average person. While I was there a major cyclone hit that killed thousands of people, and left many more homeless.
One of the only ways out in that country is education. Education is a huge part of life for those that are lucky and rich enough to attend school. For my cousins, it’s the most important thing they have going for them. There aren’t opportunities in as wide a range of career paths (for example Personal Training) as we have here, so it makes education that much more important.
Exercise is a much more rare acitivity than it is over here. This was funny, because it made me kind of a freak. Over here, I’m an average sized guy; in Bangladesh I was Schwarzenegger. People couldn’t believe how built and fit I was. I’m also short by US standards, but over there I was one of the biggest, strongest guys in the country – unbelieveable, huh?
As far as staying in shape, I found a couple of gyms; surprisingly, they were very good. They were fully outfitted with modern equipment and very clean and well maintained. However, the prices were astronomical; they were the same as in the US, which isn’t bad until you consider that the average per capita income in Bangladesh is $470 a year! Can you imagine that? A year’s gym membership costs more than the average person’s yearly earnings!
Among the many positives that came out for me on trip was I made some great connections in the tech industry. If you don’t already know, I recommend the Internet as the best way for a trainer to get new highly quality clients, and I spend a lot of time showing trainers how to do this. This has gotten me into technology a great deal lately, and I was surprised by how advanced many of the people are out there. They’re highly technologically proficient, and although it pays well for them, by our standards it allows us to use these services dirt cheap.
I found some extremely talented graphic designers and webmasters ; they can perform work that will cost thousands of dollars over here, but at a small fraction of the cost. I’ll look to pass these services over to my fellow trainers in the near future so all of you can benefit from these prices in building your businesses.
As I said the trip changed me. For one, I rediscovered family members I hadn’t seen since the last time I visited, which was 19 years ago. Also seeing the poverty, the way of life, and the fitness industry over there just made me appreciate everything I have here. The luxuries, the freedom to take care of my body and help others do the same, and the lifestyle and work situation I enjoy here couldn’t be more different from what I saw in Bangladesh. I think all of us need to appreciate our freedoms and opportunities here fully; when you consider that people in other parts of the world don’t have even a glimmer of these same privileges, creating your ideal career and lifestyle is your duty.