Sam and I are on our honeymoon traveling Europe. We started in Krakow Poland, then went to Prague in Czech Republic, and we are currently on a train to Munich, Germany, to experience Oktoberfest. We are having a blast and experiencing a lot. Traveling like this is a lot of fun because you get to see what is common in other parts of the world. We tend to think the world revolves around us and our community. So, going outside of your community and experiencing how other parts of the world operate, gives you a new perspective on life.
In Prague, we noticed how many people are self-employed. A lot of these people have little cafes or shops they run. There seems to be a huge support for small businesses in comparison to large businesses. A lot more people seem to be self-employed and making their own way, than working for large companies/corporations like in the U.S. There are chain businesses and big businesses but there seems to be a lot more self-employed, which is really cool to me. Back in the older days, about 150 years ago and older, the majority of the population (around 80% I believe) were self-employed. It is a neat way for people to have ownership of what they do, because their actions directly impact if they survive.
In today’s society in the U.S. if you have a pulse and show up most of the time to work, you can have a pretty decent job, making a living. When you are self-employed, you have to take action to get customers and produce the service or product you provide. Your livelihood is directly correlated to how much you can show up. My perspective to this is, in the U.S. a LOT of the population think its risky, scary, and foolish to start your own business. They think you should work for someone and punch the clock. They think benefits, a 401k, steady paycheck, and a safe job is the answer in life. On the contrary, over in Europe, there are tons of small businesses making it, which makes it seem like a noble and less scary thing to do.
Every store front we saw in Prague and Krakow were filled with cafes, restaurants, stores, or some sort of business. In Eau Claire, Wisconsin, this is not the same case. Half of the store fronts are vacant. Brand new buildings downtown, have vacant store fronts. It is mind blowing to see the difference between these places.
I encourage everyone to get out and travel. Look at these communities you are traveling to, what seems like the norm in the places you travel, that would be taboo back home? It is fun to have a perspective change.
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