May 14 • 7M

Sidd and Slim's Story: Part II

America Looks In The Mirror

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Texas Slim
We talk about #FoodIntelligence, the Texas Beef Initiative, and how to design an "International Lifestyle" that you can start from home.
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Guest written by Sidd.

This is part two of a three-part series. If you missed the first release of the story, go back to part one. To keep reading, jump ahead to part three

Sidd & Slim Part I

Sidd & Slim Part III

During my time living in Thailand, I gained a new perspective on America and its culture. Leaving the USA gave me the chance to reflect and, upon returning, I saw things with fresh eyes.

Before I left, I knew there were aspects of American society that bothered me, but I couldn't quite put my finger on them. After two years away, these issues became crystal clear.

For one, we're more connected than ever, yet we feel lonelier than ever. Life in America often takes place behind glass: indoors, in cars, and through phones. In contrast, Thailand is full of people out in the open, smiling at one another, cooking on the street. There's a warmth and openness in Thailand that I found lacking in America, where spaces often feel cold, lifeless, and confined. While climate might play a role, I believe there's more to it than that.

Americans also seem to have a complicated relationship with institutions. We either mistrust them completely or place our trust in them blindly. Some turn on the TV and sip a glass of wine, laughing at grossly mischaracterizing political cartoons while booking our next vaccine appointment because the pretty face on CNN told us the experts said we should. On the other side, we’re rapaciously watching YouTube videos about the deep state’s control of everything while cursing at Bill Gates on Facebook.

Very few people are setting aside blame, taking control of their own lives, and focusing on building strong communities resistant to what we see wrong in the world. I first encountered this sense of self-determination at the Beef Initiative in America, and it reminded me of the people in the hills of Northern Thailand – communities that have lived a sovereign lifestyle for millennia.

Safety was another surprise. I used to assume that poorer, "developing" countries would be less safe than America. When I moved to Thailand, that perception was quickly proven wrong. On my first night, a friend laughed at me for carrying my helmet into the bar. “Just leave it on your bike,” he said – and he was right. I’ve never once locked my helmet away on my bike in Thailand, and I’ve never had a single one stolen. In fact, I’ve left my keys in my motorcycle for hours and never had it stolen. A friend of mine witnessed a group of Thais turn off a bike left running by a careless tourist.

I never worry about my safety or property in Thailand. That feeling is one that I cannot describe to you – you must come live here and feel it for yourself. The best way I have to describe it is to imagine the whole world is your living room. How much more comfortable and content would you be with your life if the world was your living room and everyone was a friendly relative?

Labeling Thailand and similar countries as "developing" now strikes me as ironic. It seems the West thinks these countries are just a few IMF loans and World Bank development programs away from finally becoming ‘developed’, like America.

In many ways, this place is far more developed than America. They eat real food, prioritize family and community, and care for their elderly. What they lack are material goods, extracted from other nations through domineering financial control; or a heavy bombardment of shells and missiles for those who resist the yoke.

That said, it does feel as if many parts of Thai society are inching toward the debt-laden, isolated existence that characterizes the West. This cancer hasn’t metastasized nearly as far here as it has in the West, and there are pockets of strong resistance to its spread.

As Americans, I believe we have so much to learn from Thailand and its people. We need a mirror, and Thailand provides that reflection—along with beautiful weather and endless smiles.

Most tourists in Thailand never go beyond the beaches and fresh coconuts to find and stare in that reflection. I believe Slim committed to visiting me here because he was seeking it.

A Texas Cowboy Enters The Jungle

As Slim and I planned his trip to Thailand, he kept mentioning his desire to "get lost in the jungle." What drew this Texas cowboy to Thailand wasn’t beaches or women or fresh fruit. For him and myself, the attraction to Thailand isn’t about these things. 

It’s about looking in the mirror at ourselves. It is about picking apart and reflecting on the culture we’ve been immersed in. It’s about letting the current take us way out of our comfort zones. Only a culture completely different from the one we were raised in, encountered off the path beaten by tourists, can bring that experience.

During Slim's visit, we were fortunate enough to visit a community that actively resists the debt-driven consumerist society that has consumed America and much of the Western world. That community is a so-called "hill tribe" in Northern Thailand. Often seen by much of Thai and international society as poor subsistence farmers only one government school away from wealth and happiness, many of them are deeply misunderstood. 

In reality, many of these tribes are well aware of how modern society tears apart communities and destroys wealth. They have little interest in handouts and much prefer their traditional, self-sufficient ways. Donated rice might be fed to their pigs; they grow far better rice. Donated clothing might be stuffed in the walls of their homes; they make far more comfortable and suitable clothing by hand. 

They don’t want your pity, and they definitely don’t want your misery. 

These people are living and breathing self-sovereign communities, and they didn’t learn it from a Bitcoiner’s blog post – they learned it from their ancestors, going back thousands of years. They don’t know what ESG means, but they know how to be responsible stewards of the land better than any keyboard warrior at the UN. 

Our modern societies – drunk on debt, destroyed in health, and exhausted in spirit – could learn a great deal from societies that never strayed down that path.

For us born and raised in those modern societies, the challenge lies in forging a new path. Slim always called it a “new international lifestyle” – but it took me a year to begin to understand what I think he means by that. 

A new international lifestyle should be based on sound money, sound food, sound health, and sound communication. 

A New International Lifestyle

What is sound money in today’s world? Money that cannot be debased, but also moves at the speed of global communication and commerce. That’s Bitcoin; there is no alternative that comes even close. However, there's still much more to build on Bitcoin to unlock its full potential.

What is sound food in today’s world? Food that provides the nutrition your body needs, without additives and chemicals that hack our brains and interfere with our natural instincts around satiation. For Slim, that means beef raised on pasture and organic feed. I tend to agree. 

What is sound health in today’s world? An approach to health that starts in our daily life and our kitchens instead of the doctor’s office or hospital. Sound health is preventative rather than reactive, and much of it is found in time-honored wisdom. Sound health means a regular weightlifting routine, or martial arts, or hikes in the woods come before pills and shots. It includes meditation, breathing practices, journaling, and many other practices – both ancient and modern – for cultivating a sound mind and body. 

What is sound communication? Shaking hands. Looking in each other’s eyes. Talking face to face as much as possible. Recognizing that the digital mediums we use to communicate have their limits and are not replacements for in-person interaction. 

Moving forward, we must adapt the wisdom of the past to the realities of the present, especially the inevitable impact of technology on our lives.

We can't turn back time. Technology advances like a tidal wave; if we close our eyes and pretend it doesn’t exist, we'll be swept away. We must learn to surf it, to use that wave to support a healthy and fulfilling life.

Smartphones are a great example of how we must adapt rather than ignore. 

Smartphones give us a constant, on-demand stream of dopamine. We can spend hours staring at the screen. Those are hours not spent laughing with a loved one, building a business, or reflecting on ourselves. 

Communities like the Amish deal with these detrimental impacts by banning smartphones.

But if you aren’t using a smartphone in this day and age, you’re a pariah. You are not just out of the loop, you are unable to keep up with or participate in many modern processes and norms. Now that smartphones are ubiquitous, services and society are built around the assumption that everyone has one. 

Besides that, they are incredibly useful tools for building businesses, maintaining relationships, and self-reflection; if used correctly. 

The question is how we move forward with balance: embracing smartphones as useful tools while mitigating their negative impacts on our lives and communities. 

I’ll let you down now by admitting I do not have the answer to that question. Truth is, I don't believe anyone can – or will ever – hand you the answer. Because you cannot read the answer

You must create the answer for yourself through your life and your experiences. 

I want to help you do that; but we’ll have to wait for the final part of this story. 

This is part two of a three-part series. If you missed the first release of the story, go back to part one. To keep reading, jump ahead to part three

Sidd & Slim Part I

Sidd & Slim Part III

Subscribe to this Substack to stay up to date on the series. You can reach Sidd for comments at

Don’t forget to visit the Beef Initiative website. Many new products and offerings unfolding weekly.