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Posts from the ‘Features’ Category

20
Oct

Trading in the art of Freedom

The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion – Albert Camus

Meet Marcello Arrambide. Seven continents, over eighty countries, and this Venezuelan-born day-trading travel-blogger is still looking for more.

In November 2010, Marcello took out $25,000 in private student loans, and traded a full-time job in for his very own ‘journey to Freedom’, leaving the States for a life of travel. “I was very scared to leave what society calls the norm – a 9 to 5 job and a weekly pay check”. Since then, the traveller has become the CEO of his own company, Day Trading Academy, in which he passes on his own experience to future travelling day traders, and has a well-established blog and website, reaching thousands of readers each month.

When asked about his reasons for leaving America, Marcello admitted that he had been looking for freedom: “My definition of success is not money or fame, just freedom. The freedom that comes from being able to live anywhere in the world, work anywhere in the world, and travel at a moment’s notice, has always attracted me”. Having recently visited his seventh and final continent, Australia, Wandering Trader seems to be close to fulfilling a life-long ambition of freedom, but Marcello still finds time to visit some unique destinations: “When I heard about the stone forest in Madagascar, I immediately bought a ticket to Africa, and was living there in a matter of months”.

Marcello’s blog has been commended by many as one of the most influential blogs at the moment, but that was never his main goal, rather a side-effect of his success: “The initial goal for the blog was to drive traffic to a day trading company I was a member of”.  The blog became a way of connecting with similar, like-minded people, and keeping track of his journey.

Life as a day trader is one of the most profitable professions at the moment, and has been known to survive an economic crisis or two. Wandering Trader started working as a day trader when he was 18 years old, with $25,000 from private student loans. Day trading refers to the practice of speculation in securities, specifically buying and selling financial instruments within the same trading day on the basis of small, short-term price fluctuations. After Marcello started teaching other traders his techniques and methods at the Day Trading Academy, he found that the success rates were increasing. “Day trading is one of the only professions that I know of where you can do well in any kind of economic situation.” The Wandering Trader blog is not simply an account of his travels, but a collection of travel hints, language lessons, and lists of must-see destinations.

His company, theDayTradingAcademy.com dictates mainly where he travels, particularly as it continues to expand. Marcello is in the process of opening day trading centres around the world, most notably in Peru, Brazil and South Africa, where he hopes to train the locals in the art of trading. “The day trading industry is a unique one. Most day traders sit behind a desk, within the confines of their comfort zones, but it’s much easier now to travel around the world and to experience new things.”

Marcello’s response was confident when asked whether he has yet achieved freedom: “Travel has assisted me in framing my concept of freedom. Visiting third world countries and seeing how other people live has kept me extremely grounded. Freedom isn’t only about your own life, it’s all about being able to help others and have an impact on their lives”.

After having travelled to over eighty different countries, Wandering Trader has no plans to stop writing or travelling, and will continue to visit some of the world’s most unknown places. This traveller is one of the few travel-bloggers to have visited the world’s newest country, South Sudan, and is one of the only people to have visited Somalia, a country located in the Horn of Africa. When asked about the most memorable culture shock, Marcello replied with Singapore: “Being raised in a multicultural household, I am pretty used to experiencing different cultures, but Singapore was my first taste of a true Asian city. Everything seemed a lifetime away from America”.

“I am most inspired by the people who have faith that the world will unfold the way it’s meant to, and are confident enough to take a risk and follow their dreams.”

His final word of advice to future travellers was simple: “Let go of your inhibitions, let go of your material possessions, and follow your dreams. We all have to work and make money to live in this world. The real question is how exactly you want to live”. Although he currently lives in Singapore, Marcello eventually would like to become one of the few people to have travelled to every country in the world, and will be moving to Columbia at the end of May 2013 to open his first day trading centre over there.

“Freedom to me is not simply financial, cultural or physical. It is the ability to live your own life, dictated under your own terms.”

20
Oct

The Hunt

The Hunt explores the devastating consequences of a false accusation. It highlights the sinister tendency that we have to mete out punishment to our peers despite their being found wholly innocent in the eyes of the law; it is a film which reflects how “innocent until proven guilty” can swiftly become “guilty despite being being proven innocent.”

Mads Mikkelsen (Casino Royale, A Royal Affair) is Lucas, a lonely kindergarten teacher who has been forced to leave his job teaching at a secondary school due to cutbacks, and who is currently fighting his estranged wife for custody of his son. One of the children, Klara, who is also the daughter of Lucas’ best friend, develops a childish crush on him when he walks her home after finding her lost at the local supermarket. When Lucas discovers how Klara feels about him, he sets her right and tells her instead to give the gift she made for him to one of the boys her own age. Klara is upset and tells an innocent lie to one of the other teachers. Fairly soon, Lucas is accused of sexually abusing her.

What follows is an unflinching documentation of how the community ostracises Lucas based upon purely the suspicion of his wrongdoing. Highly relevant given the on-going furore surrounding allegations of institutionalised paedophilia in this country, The Hunt chronicles the hardship that such allegations can force upon the innocent. I do not intend here to speculate precisely who is or is not innocent of the alarming range of alleged crimes that currently saturate the airwaves, because, as the film shows, this is counterproductive.

The residents of Lucas’ community all-too-easily allow themselves to be carried away by a sense of self-righteousness that goes well beyond the realm of law. He is prevented from shopping in his local supermarket, physically beaten when he refuses to leave. Without giving away too much of the plot, it is safe to say that Lucas’ very life is endangered by the judgement passed upon him by the community, even when fully exonerated.

The film’s devastating conclusion is that Lucas’ life can never go back to the way that it was, that he has become the perpetual “hunted” – that even though the community grudgingly, and superficially, accepts the law’s decision, he will be dogged for as long as he lives anywhere near these people. The film asks the question to what extent does punishment for a crime, or in this case for a perceived crime, range beyond the regulated legal system? Does the ephemeral, unregulatable ‘community’ have any right to confer additional punishment to that deemed necessary by the state? Should we be concerned when it does? And even if the law decides we deserve to be free, can the same be said of our peers?

None of these questions have easy answers, but for anyone interested in them (and how can one not be?)The Hunt makes for essential, if uncomfortable, viewing.