Tag Archives: Travel

Your Face Without Facebook.

A piece inspired by a hacker’s intrusion and my resulting time without Facebook.

Imagine a world without Facebook.
Difficult, I know. But strangely a reality that existed only a decade ago.
Whilst our parents never foresaw a world compressed by social media, most Gen Y-ers simply cannot live without it. Today, with sources claiming that there are over 1 billion Facebook users, social media’s redefinition of the way we interact with our world has become unignorable.

So let’s cross over to a parallel universe. One that never encountered the force of Facebook; where the natural evolution of human interactions are uninterrupted by social media, and this juxtaposition warrants assessment of how each affected facet of our lives may have otherwise independently developed.


Your circle of friends would be small, and updates would be facilitated by phone calls to those who matter, as opposed to the 638 people on your news feed.
The scary part? Friendships would be built on seeing one another, not Facebook chat. Birthday invites would be sent in the mail to people who know more than your relationship status, languages and sexual orientation. And texting would replace the daily stalk.
What’s that? Real friendships take work?! Who would have thought…?

 Relationships and Romance

Chivalry is dying;
Romance is defunct;
And relationships are fleeting.
What ever happened to the days when a gentleman approached a lady in a park, asked her out on a date, and discussed music and study over a hearty meal?
Parks are now friend requests, dates are now Facebook video chats and getting to know one another is whatever image of yourself you wish to portray.
By the time relationship status’ change to confirm a bond, they’re corrupted by unnecessary Facebook drama.
In another world, maybe the traditional ideals of honesty, trust and privacy would remain requirements of a modern day relationship.


Your family can be two things:
Unwillingly absent, or unnecessarily nosey.
For the latter, Facebook is the perfect tool for competitive cousins to monitor your progress and transgressions.
For those you love but never see, sometimes separated by masses of ocean, Facebook allows for greater communication and reduced periods of silence.
Without social media, the expensive overseas phone rates and irritating time differences will continue to dictate how you communicate with your family, wherever they are in the world.
For some, that’s a blessing, for others, a curse.

Self Worth

We all want to look and feel good, and Facebook helps us pretend to do that. According to MNN, 250 million photos are uploaded to Facebook daily. If only there were statistics telling us how many of those photos were edited, featured a girl posing in a little dress, or a topless gym junkie standing in front of a bathroom mirror. When teamed with check-ins portraying a stealthy social life, a friends list with names you can’t even pronounce, and a keyboard warrior conversational style, you get an individual with an unhealthy facade of who they want to be.
These are the lucky ones, because without social media, they would be forced to develop a real personality, build a back bone and increase their own self confidence. Facebook wouldn’t be there to protect them from facing the world and accepting who they really are.
Believe it or not, the value of a man is not measured by the number of likes on a profile picture, but by the integrity in which they lead their life.

Work and Business

Gen Y has been famously dubbed lazy, unpassionate and ‘generation why bother’.
And with productivity down 1.5% due to time spent on Facebook, it comes at no surprise.
However, many businesses have thrived with social media, utilising it’s qualities as a free marketing tool. In addition, new roles have been introduced to meet the demand of changed communication methods; roles that require those same lazy Gen Y-ers.
Remove these layers and you get an unmoved business landscape, with a greater proportion of Gen Y employees who still know how to impress beyond web 2.0 requirements.


Exploring the world has forever been a human desire.
Take Captain Cook for example, or the Phoenicians. They set sail for far-off lands and wrote the history we read about in books.
Today, we hop on Facebook and see photos from Abz Kebabz’ holiday to Bali, and Cellulite Sally’s check-ins around Europe.
It’s fantastic to have experiences of the world so accessible. But does it raise expectations to share and impress?
Remove Facebook from the equation and your closest family and friends will see you off at the airport for a long absence of backpacking and cocktails. Then, overwhelmed by joy, you reunite having felt forever separated, with stories to tell and photos to share; instead of one’s Facebook presence making it feel like they never left.


Have you ever read Sun Tzu’s The Art of War? But surely you’ve read the phrase: “If ignorant both of your enemy and yourself, you are certain to be in peril”.
How about The Prophet by Khalil Gibran? Yet I bet you’ve heard: “love knows not its own depth until the hour of separation”.
So do I dare ask to what you attribute these? Maybe a status you read last week?
Let’s live in a world where fewer youth dedicate time to recycling snippets from their news feeds, and more time to reading entire collections of classic literature.


What ever happened to Kony2012? Point made.

Don’t misunderstand me, Facebook isn’t being pinned with the blame – Twitter, Instagram, MySpace; they’re all contributors to today’s social environment. In fact, MySpace was the most visited site in the US in 2006. However Facebook is highly pertinent and its dominance in the contemporary Sydney landscape simply qualifies it as a representative for all social media platforms.

In summation, the moral behind today’s exercise is this:
Consider what your life would be like without Facebook;
Give it a try;
Watch how you approach life differently;
And then decide whether you can live without it.

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The Life and Times of a Real Life Time Traveller

Andrew outside the Roman Colosseum

Andrew outside the Roman Colosseum

Andrew Merheb. Your average university student, with a perfectly radiant smile, iPhone and inherent love for the YSS blog.
So what is it that sets this young man apart from other testosteron-ians his age?
He’s a real life time traveller.
Merheb has travelled to more countries than you can count on your hands, soaked up more cultures than can be spotted in Parramatta, and built an immunity against the wrath of jet lag.
He even spent the remaining hours before his final exam booking flights to his next destination.

Like most students, I carry a desire to witness the world. For now, I’ve chosen the next best thing, and slightly more affordable option… A chat with Andrew Merheb.

Which countries have you visited?
“So far I’ve visited Thailand, Singapore, Lebanon, Spain, France, Italy, Czech, Poland, Hungary, England, Denmark, Germany, Belgium, Holland, Mexico, the USA, Canada, Austria, and the United Arab Emirates”.

Nineteen destinations? That’s almost one country for each year you’ve lived!
Laughing shyly, “Yeah, except I did it in a much shorter period of time. If you want to travel, you’ve got to just do it”.

Which was your favourite, and why?
My favourite would have to be Spain. I Love the culture, the language, food, people and climate. I even love the Lifestyle, it’s about minimal work and being very social”.

If you could pick a city to live in, which would it be?
Definitely Madrid, Spain,” he smiles.

Country with the most beautiful women?

“There are a few. Once again, Spain, love their tans! Then there’s also Lebanon, Italy, anywhere Southern European or Mediterranean, really”.

More importantly, how about the men?
Laughing, “I don’t know, I wasn’t really paying attention to them!”

City with the best shopping?
“So far, Los Angeles. They’ve got awesome outlet malls that are so cheap! But apparently New York City is the best. I’ll let you know in a months time”.

Country with the richest history?
“I couldn’t pick just one. Firstly, Italy and the Romans, and Mexico’s Aztecs & Mayan tribes. There’s also France. But for me, Lebanon’s history of Phoenicians would probably be the richest”.

Language with the most sex appeal?
“Hands down, the Spanish language”.

Nation with the tastiest food?
“Okay that’s a tough one. I love my Mediterranean food! I’m talking French, Spanish, Italian and Lebanese food”.

Country with the craziest sports fans?
Spain and Italy. When you’re there, it feels like Football/Soccer is their life”.

City with the rowdiest parties?
Laughing, he says, “Once again, Spain! I’m sorry! It seems like every second answer is Spain. Any excuse for a fiesta I guess!”

Coastline with the best beaches?
“Mexico and Spain. Of course, that’s not including Australia, we’ve still got the best coastline and beaches,” looking proud.

Region with the greatest climate?
“The Mediterranean countries have great weather! Spain, Lebanon and Italy are great. Mexico is also one of the best for weather, it’s nice and warm all year round”.

The nation exerting the most natural beauty?

“Mexico and Canada were absolutely beautiful, worth a look if you love nature”.

The city most beautifully constructed?
“Definitely Dubai, you’ll find that it has amazing modern infrastructure. Dubai’s perfect in every way, it’s just really hot! We were enduring 45 degree days when I was there.”

Most affordable location?
“I found that Thailand and Mexico were the most affordable. The Australian dollar goes a long way in those areas. But in general, everywhere in the world is more affordable than Australia”.

Anything else you feel we should know?
“Each and every country has something unique to offer. Each of my experiences were different, and were definitely impacted by who I was with, the weather at the time and some other factors. Sometimes its hard to say which is your favourite country. Still, overall, I learnt something valuable from every country, through good and bad times. I got to experience things that would have never been accomplished had I stayed in Sydney. Everyone deserves to travel. It’s a real wealth of knowledge”.

Where are you planning to travel to in the near future?
Looking bright-eyed, “In one week from today I’ll be headed to the USA. I’ll be starting in Vegas, then heading to Miami and New York City. From America I’ll be jet setting to Jordan, followed by Israel, Lebanon and then Backpacking in Asia!” But further down the track, South America and more of southern Europe are on the to do list. I just need more money and time, and to improve my Spanish for South America.”

You may currently be feeling hugely inspired, or slightly jealous. Regardless, use those emotions as motivators for an unforgettable trip only hours away!
Travelling is one of the few things that will make you richer with money spent.
Travel Safe!

Canada's natural beauty - courtesy of Andrew

Canada’s natural beauty – courtesy of Andrew

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