Guidebooks are for tourists and self-help books are for internal journeys, but what about the personal growth that comes from traveling? Where are the guides for navigating cultural gaps and building a life in a country?

Welcome back to the Author Hour Podcast. I’m your host, Hussein Al-Baiaty and my next guest, Freeman Fung is here to talk with us about his newest book, Travel to Transform. Let’s get into it.

All right everyone, I am here with my good friend, Freeman. We were just talking off-microphone about the importance of being a global citizen, and how we shared some stories and some overlap just from my book and his book, and I’m super excited to have you today, Freeman. Thank you for joining me.

Freeman Fung: Thanks for having me, Hussein. It’s definitely my pleasure to be able to be here at this seat and doing this interview with you, and share the message, like you said, on global citizens with everyone.

Hussein Al-Baiaty: Yeah man, this is really cool. So, at first, before we get into the book and all the amazing things that you brought to the table, I really want to talk about you as an individual. Where did you grow up, where did you study perhaps, what got you into this work? 

How you started traveling and getting into that world of looking at the expansion, instead of just traveling down the street or down next state over. You really thinking about global idea here, so it’s really powerful. Can you tell me a little bit about your personal background and we’ll build that from there?

Freeman Fung: Yeah, sure thing, and it’s actually always fascinating when I looked back as well to see where I started, because I never had a silver spoon in my mouth and I was just an ordinary Asian male growing up in Hong Kong with a family of four.

I mean, I would always struggle in life as well. I was just this kid in class, I didn’t score an A in mathematics as our Asian culture we have the expectation on, and I really, really, really feel confused throughout my early childhood, growing up in a really high-stress and competitive environment.

And I think that’s where it start made me thinking as well around university time, because I think growing up, I was living in pretty much the shadows of my parents and living up to expectation of what does society want me to do. I mean, I have my dreams but I need to bury them. Until when I was in university, I got an opportunity to start traveling solo and it may sound a bit random and many people thought I was crazy as well, but I went to Romania and lived there for a whole summer by myself. 

Which turned out to my greatest, greatest trip of my life and it transformed my thinking to finally realize, I’m not here to please others. But we are all unique to come into this world and we have a purpose to be here. So I think that experience was the start of me traveling and fast-forwarding now to today, I’ve been traveling across the world around a decade now.

I’ve traveled, living, studying, working, backpacking, relocating to over 30 countries and that transformed my life. It’s such a powerful journey where I got to meet people I never able to talk to. I’ve got to experience and go to places I never even thought is possible to go and now I’m living a really joyful and happy life, which I’m very grateful for. My mission now is to awaken more global citizens as well, so more people could come into this world of possibility. 

I’m a true believer in the power of the mind and I genuinely believe we are all citizens of the world and hold equal power to make this world a better place. So yeah, that’s kind of my background and where I’m at here today, fast-forwarding a bit.

Hussein Al-Baiaty: Freeman, I got to tell you man. I mean, just listening to you, I feel like I can continue listening to you for the next couple of hours, because I feel like you’re the type of person who has just really recognized something within themselves and now you’re seeking the experiences to really start to develop your own wisdom, and I just appreciate that about you because realizing something at a very early age like, there’s something around me even before university, I’m sure.

I can relate to this. Coming from a refugee camp, there’s the pressure of you’ve got to be successful. Success is such a broad term, right? But what it means predominantly for immigrant and refugee families is that, you have a great job and you’re going to earn a lot of money, making you more comfortable than perhaps your parents are. Again, all the definitions are varied, of course. 

But to us individuals who are creative, who see the world just a little bit differently, who observe the actions and behaviors of others and really say, “Is that something they actually want to do or is society pressuring them to do something like this?” Having that innate ability to ask yourself that question and further explore it when you get to university, right? 

When you have a little bit more freedom, maybe a few more options where you can sneak away and go to Romania, of all places, and completely and utterly change your perspective on life because you start to see people that don’t necessarily look like you. They don’t speak like you, they don’t think like you, right? They don’t eat like you. That is so powerful because I guess, at a young age, I was brought to America. 

So like that, I felt that experience but I didn’t choose it. I feel like destiny chose it for me, right? And I feel like I’ve been, in a way, seeking opportunities like that everywhere I go, whether it’s from state to state, country to country, or just relationship to relationship, friends to friends.

Seeking a little bit more of myself and understanding how I can reach a deeper wisdom, and I think your book is really cool because you talk about this in a way that’s really cool. In self-development, we do talk about reading a lot of books, going to seminars, doing all these things, but we don’t really talk about the power of travel, which I really love because I feel like the most I found myself is in the essence of travel, and really going outside of myself and my community.

So can you tell me a little bit about pieces of your life after that Romania trip, how that really transformed your way of thinking and what you decided to do next?

Traveling Is The Ultimate Fast Track to Personal Growth

Freeman Fung: Yeah, absolutely and first, I really want to say I resonate with what you just said so much, because traveling is actually one of the key messages in my book as well. Traveling is actually the ultimate fast track to personal growth in this globalized world, right?

And there are so many seminars and self-help book out there. I read hundreds and hundreds of them and also thousands of them out there, right? And then at the same time, there are also thousands of travel guides, guidebooks, right? They prepare us to become amazing tourist but they don’t teach us the global mindset we need every day, right?

So in the sense, they prepare us to become amazing tourist but not world citizen. So that’s why this book is spawned because I see they are gaps in between all those things, and this is why in this book, I’m also if you see, I stick to, I use my own travel experience to share all the self-development lessons and like you said, right? 

There’s something we all experienced one way or another in this globalized world but there are not enough information and knowledge out there to share, and just do personal things together so that we have the map, right? When we are traveling, we always see the map to see where we are going.

But when I was at younger before the trip, right? And very similar to you with your loss, because we don’t have this map, right? You tell us what to do, what is assessed, and try to make all the definition for us. I think that is the reason I really want to share all these messages in this book, so that we are able to help those who need this map. 

And to ask the question, which has about how that experience in Romania transformed me. So I actually shared this on my TED Talk as well which I did back when in 2015 and that experience, we are actually in Romania doing a volunteering project in tourism and then we have 40 internationals or volunteers coming from 16 different countries. And before the trip, like I said, I was just an ordinary Asian. 

My English wasn’t that good, I have self-esteem issues. I was actually pretty afraid to go out of my comfort zone. But I came to a point where I have almost no charge. I almost end my life in that way because it’s just such a high-stress environment to grow up with back in Hong Kong. And then, in that trip, I start to meet people who speak different languages and people coming from all different countries with different skin color. 

Then the more we talk about life. The more we share our own personal story, we’ve realized, we aren’t that different from one another after all. Yeah, we did this amazing project called the Global Village as well. So all 40 of us we are literally sitting in this square in Timisoara, which is one of the cities in Transylvania in Romania, and we are just sitting and having a booth for each country in that square. 

What we did there is just to genuinely talk to whoever come to our booth, and we have this cultural exchanged or firsthand exchange to talk about ourselves, our culture, our food, our language with no barrier, and then that day we just removed so many stereotypes from one another and then we have beautiful exchanges to see that, “Oh wow, yeah, even though we are in a different age, we have different financial background, we have different education level, wow, we actually really just living in the same global village together.”

That experience really transformed my whole mindset because I realized, “I am Freeman, I am Hong Kongnese but at the same time, I’m a citizen of the world as well,” and there’s no contradiction between each of the identity. It just makes me better, it just makes me become a better version of myself, become a better version of a human being because I become more inclusive to understand other people’s culture as well.

So starting that point, I was actually encouraged to explore more of Europe. And after Romania, I also went backpacking as well. So I went to Swiss land, I went to France and then I went to, I actually did a whole hiking trip as well at Jungfrau, the Alps, the mountain chains there and all by myself, and it was a – and I am a big story there. You know, just wondering in the mountain by myself, reconnecting with nature, and seeing things that are so different from the concrete jungle I used to live when I was in Hong King and realizing, “Wow, there’s such a beautiful outside world.”

The world is literally enormous, you know? And there are so many things for me to explore and understand better. So after going back to Hong Kong, I immediately applied for academic exchange and then I went to study in Oxford in the UK for half a year, and then the more I explore, the more I get you to understand the outside world, the more I want to see.

So I went back to Hong Kong and then go back to the UK to study my masters, so I keep traveling back and forth and then I start traveling and backpacking in Europe again, in Poland, to Greece, to Netherland, to a lot of really beautiful countries and then, to a point, “Okay, you know what? I want to get paid travel around the world.”

Hussein Al-Baiaty: Yeah, yeah, might as well.

Freeman Fung: And at that point, I’m really grateful to come across and work for this multinational company, to start their international marketing career, which I’m working for them. Just two years ago, I got transferred to Australia, living in Sydney here right now. So it is a span across years of traveling to where in different countries with different teams with different cultural backgrounds and different functions as well.

So that drives me to this beautiful journey of experiencing life and cultivating an international life that I already aspire to. Coming from that high-stress, ordinary Asian kind of culture to today, becoming a citizen of the world and able to unleash that unlimited opportunity to myself and to people around me as well.

I realized that it’s such a big, powerful lesson there that I love to keep sharing with everyone, because everyone can cultivate an international life as well, and the only barrier between us is our mind, really, because the moment we say, “Oh, I want to travel around the world,” then you the voice keeps coming. Where it is saying, “Oh, you don’t have the money to do that, who are you? Are you from a rich family?” 

Always this voice saying, “Oh, but I need to find a job to do that, it’s difficult. I have my family, I have friends, and my home, how can I leave them?” And all this voice who keep talking to us and that becomes the only reason we are changing ourselves not to unleash our life into this beautiful world, and that’s why I think these beautiful lessons I share in this book to show people. 

I actually have been through this journey as well. I’ve been there, I struggle as well, but having an international life is not an overnight occurrence. It’s like building a Lego, it comes step-by-step, brick-by-brick and at the end, it’s the intention. It’s that global mindset that matters most. So yeah.

Hussein Al-Baiaty: Yeah, no man, that’s really powerful. I can’t agree with you more in the – I just love the storytelling, the tapestry that you laid out. This idea of that voice in our minds, that it’s really fear. I have this quote literally over my desk and it’s one that I always try to refer to and it’s so beautiful, but I didn’t really understand it because my next book now is about this idea of fear and creativity and this urge that we need to have, this calling that we sometimes ignore. 

Just keep hitting ignore. And it’s like, it’s calling you because you’re the person, you’re the being that can bring it into fruition and especially sometimes it’s not a thing. It’s not a business, it’s not a, it’s actually just an experience that you can have, so that you can just see the world just more beautifully.

The quote goes, “When you’re afraid of something, dive straight into it because the intensity of abstaining from it, it is greater than what you are afraid of.” It’s by Imam Ali and it’s such a beautiful quote because I love this idea of the intensity of the fear, it’s actually better used by just answering that call than avoiding it, right? 

It’s like, “Where do you put your energy?” And I feel like you did such a good job with understanding yourself and just having this urge to say, “You know what? My friends and family are always going to be here but if I allow their voices to hold me back from these experiences, then I’m not being a good friend to them.” 

I’m not bringing back an experience they can learn from. I’m not getting them to see the world the way that I get to see it, you know? And letting go of that and going into the mountains all by yourself or going exploring or backpacking or just signing up for a job that actually gets you to travel, right? 

So it’s positioning yourself so that you can have those experiences and intertwine how to earn money from it. I mean, you obviously fell in love with something very young and then you decided to learn how you can continue to fall in love with it further, because that’s the thing, it’s commitment.

Now you’re committed to this idea of a global citizen and how you can travel the world with and I just really appreciate that because you took a lot of action. So, can you tell me a little bit about, for those of us in the audience and people that are listening, what’s one thing they can start thinking about if – because I’ll be honest with you. 

If you ask anybody, it’s like, you want to make a lot of money, why? “Oh, because I want to travel” Travel is a human thing. It’s really – I don’t know anybody that I’ve met that says, they don’t want to travel as a part of who they are. However, it’s the taking action. 

It’s thinking about how do you do that? How can you incorporate more travel in your life? In your case, you decided to make it a part of who you are. What’s something that people can start thinking about? If they say, “I want to travel once, two, there, four times a year?” How can they start working that into their mindset first?

How To Start Rethinking Travel

Freeman Fung: Yeah, I love that question. That is such a central idea and one of my chapters as well in Travel to Transform, and I encourage people to rethink travel, really. And the concept I share and introduce is called, travelspiration. So travelspiration. It’s like, inspiration to travel and because for a lack of better words, I just create this word myself.

And it refers to the inspiration to keep traveling, because it determines the extent of our inner desire or intention to go outside of our comfort zone, and it’s a powerful tool to help us consciously to incorporate travel into our personal lifestyle because you see, traveling is actually a commonly oversimplified term and you know, I work in the tourism industry with my modern-day career. 

So I know how powerful it is when it comes to tourism advertising in our modern world, and most people tend to see traveling as a break from the real life and then, you know, short-term vacations, booking a holiday package becomes a really, really easily accessible form of traveling for most people, but there’s nothing wrong with that. 

If I just want to go on a luxury holiday or show off my carefully selected edited pictures on Instagram, trust me, I’ve been there like, “Okay, detective boss.” But the issue is that most people stop there because they subconsciously placed the idea of traveling into an unrealistic basket, the basket for people who are lucky or wealthy.

And what I learned with the concept of travelspiration is that not only this is untrue, but by doing so, we actually rule out all the possibility that any type of traveling can give us. So in a sense, when you ask, “Okay, what tool we can use?” and actually, at the end is really this mindset, because we have to first be clear why we want to travel at all and why travel is so important, that can connect with our deeper purpose and our inner goals, right?

Just like Simon Sinek, I always say is in the Golden Circle, right? Start with why. So once we are clear with our core purpose, why we do what we do, to how, and what would actually follow, and put it into their traveling context as well. For me, I have backpack. I use my career as a platform to travel and before that, I was studying overseas as well and used the opportunity to get myself overseas exposures.

But in reality, there are actually countless type of traveling the listener can consider as well. Not just all these cultural exchange or business travel, but the thing about working holidays, hitch hiking, coach surfing, living on a cruise ship, volunteering overseas for a cause or maybe biking across a continent, a spiritual retreat, missionary work, whatever it is, right?

The list is literally endless. What that means is, we are not lacking the tool or lacking the kind of travel. We can go do it, but most people actually liking the why, liking the travel-spiration because when we think, “Oh, that’s not for me” you know when we say, “Oh, I don’t want to do that, I don’t like that,” then we are essentially missing the opportunity of incorporating travel to the personal lifestyle, right? 

We are lacking the why. So scientists nowadays aren’t talking enough about why people intentionally use travel as more than just a short-term vacation, and no offense there, “I need a break from my boss,” always about this time of the year is the primary reason to travel, right? Then, that’s only so much growth we can get from the trip, right? Because travel isn’t a magical fix for an unsatisfying life. 

But travel does shift our perspective, it’s a profound shift and it gives us a new lens to look at life, again, when we come back from the trip or maybe during the trip, or when we are meeting other fellow travelers on our trip. However that form is, if we are conscious on how we can use this amazing tool and realize what our travelspiration is, then that is the spark, right? 

That is the spark and the fuel and it keeps us traveling and no matter what form it is. I know it might sound a very theoretical, a very conceptualized concept, but putting it into practice, right? What that means is, let’s say if the listener aspired to become a technology entrepreneur one day, then maybe consider an internship in Silicon Valley, maybe that could help you to start your startup. 

Let’s say if the listener is inspired to be the best Italian chef in your city, then maybe a working holiday in Italy, just to go on a food trip may equip you with the skills for that, Or maybe, let’s say, if you are inspired by education, you love working with kids, then maybe teaching English in Asia can offer you an opportunity to explore a new world, right? 

There is never right or wrong when it comes to travelling, only an open mind. So what that means is if, so the one tour that I always want to share with people is to have inspiration to really ignite and align with our core purpose, knowing what our goal is in life, and then incorporate travel with that. And that is the biggest lesson, biggest tool I have when it comes to travel to transform. 

Hussein Al-Baiaty: No, that’s so powerful man. I mean, as you are speaking and I am thinking about the place that I went to and got the most inspiration out of when that was in my life. It was my junior of college, we got the opportunity to travel to India and it was in my architecture class, and although these things lined up perfectly and I got the opportunity to go, and it was to work on this monastery in the Himalayas, in the town called Leh. 

I was like, I wouldn’t even sign up for this three years ago or three years from now. This is the opportunity to go and see something that I probably wouldn’t sign up to do, and we got to go with at that time with other students and all that good stuff too. So it is just an experience and experiencing that man, I was hooked. I was reminded of a couple of things, the poverty in which I grew up and the situation I was in. 

But also, it reminded me of where I am today, just the fact that I am able to do this and travel and see people beautifully in their own tongue, in their own language. It just reminded me of, like you said, I am part of something so much bigger than myself. All I have to do is appreciate this, to allow it in, and go see and hear and taste as much of it as I can when I can, being intentional about that. 

So I think I have always been comfortable to travel and I’m always like a little kid when I go places, because everything just feels like it’s new, and when everything is new around you, yes, there is fear but fear is also excitement, you know? So I’d really go into that exciting place of just being innocent and ignorant to what’s happening around me, but also there is a freedom in that. 

That brings me to my next segue of how you talk about traveling is really freeing ourselves. Can you talk about that ideology a little bit more? Because I really resonated with that topic and message in your book. 

Travel to Free Ourselves

Freeman Fung: Yeah, absolutely. So I think traveling, we really experience this journey that helps us to become more self-realized or self-aware. In one of the parts of my book, how I always structure is, I love the way you’re weaving into this as well because it is so similar to how I share my journey from my background to your traveling outside our comfort zone, to have that first taste of traveling, and then traveling to transform ourselves, and then the next part is to really travel to free ourselves as well. 

I think it’s the part five of my book where I really talk about more into that emotional freedom and also mindset freedom as well, because the more we travel and the more we learn, we realize there are so much more we can explore and learn. 

Hussein Al-Baiaty: It’s like infinite. 

Freeman Fung: Like infinite, absolutely. That’s no boundary about what this world could offer to us and not just even in our modern timeline, right? We think about traveling from an Asian civilization perspective, if we bring ourselves back to decades or centuries ago, the Asian wisdom and knowledge, because I practice martial arts in the Shaolin tradition as well, it is something also in my recent travel journey that I get to reconnect with all those Asian wisdoms. 

The more we learn about, “Okay, what civilization or human beings or the citizens of the world in many centuries ago are doing?” We realized, “Oh wow. Actually, a lot of the things that we are doing, more than one, are actually a change that we’re putting on ourselves.” And to be a bit more specific, right? It could be thinking about the way we operate. This is one of my favorite big influences in my life, Vishen Lakhiani, who is the CEO and Founder of the Mindvalley, which is also where I am volunteering as the ambassador for Australia on the platform. 

What he says is, he always uses the term ‘the system of living and the model of reality’ and I think it’s a rebuild for us, to help us to understand the framework of life, because since the day we are born, we are actually taught and in a sense programmed to operate in a way that we fit into our culture, to fit into our societies, to fit into our family or friends or environment around us.

In a sense, we are growing up with all these senses of ruse, which become the model of our reality. Then when we combine all of these models of reality together, it becomes a system of living, and in a sense, we are living in autopilot. And like the story we’re just sharing earlier of me being so confused with that rat race, we always feel, “Oh, it’s painful in that rat race” right? 

We run and run, we want to run faster to chase the next goal there, to climb higher at that ladder and try to run towards a destination that everyone is pointing to, that most of us actually don’t know where it is. That is actually a painful process to do, because our deeper inner beings know that we want to dream. We want to fulfill our dream and we always know, and there’s always a deeper part of ourselves knowing that we come to this world with a purpose. 

Travel to free ourselves, which I also share in part five, is where it really comes to bringing that deeper sense of being out into our life rather than chasing the next country, chasing the next promotion or chasing the next thing we are seeking, that we think happiness is going to come to us when we have it, because even when I was traveling, I actually fall into this trap. Actually in my blog, I call it the machine. 

When I was back in Hong Kong, I really love this saying, “I am just one cog of the big machine.” It is essentially a way of saying, “I am part of the rat race.” The issue with the rat race, even if we win the rat race, we are still a rat .The moment I realized that, oh wow, that is liberating. Because now, I have a choice not to run that race anymore. 

That doesn’t mean that we need to give up whatever we are doing, quit our job and just go travelling like a nomad. No, no, not like that. But we do have a choice to stop and rethink our life starting from this moment, because we can now ask ourselves, “Why am I even waking up and then go to work and then go back home watching the TV series that ‘feel fulfilling’ before I went to bed? Why am I doing all of these?” 

Because travel to free ourselves is essentially saying, when we travel and when we disrupt our pattern, when we disrupt our mode of reality, when we disrupt the system of living, we now have the power to construct or to create our own reality, to create our life in a different way. Essentially, that is something all the self-help books is also teaching us as well.  

Being able to realize that your emotional intelligence within us, not to tie happiness with the external material or tying our happiness with the external goals, but just to be present and grateful with what we already have and able to live in the moment and enjoy life and, essentially, that is what Jesus, Mohamed, all the greatest saints of the world teach us, right? 

It sounds so simple but it is so easy to forget. When we are living in the modern world, we have our nine to six, we have our kids to take care of, we have the relationships we need to patch, the bills to pay. It is so easy to get tied up with all of those and running the rat race without knowing why. Traveling to me is the ultimate tool to wake us up from that self-autopilot. 

To wake us up from that false paradigm, to wake us up into the world of possibility to now recognizing we can create our reality, we can create our life, we can create an international journey that we aspire to and yeah, that’s where travel to free ourselves comes in. I go even deeper in the book as well to share a bit more tools from my story of peeling the onion, as I say. When I experience my own meltdown when I was in London, I thought, “I have everything in life finally,” but then I lost it all. 

That’s a big hit to myself as well but I realized, “Okay, stop indulging in that negative mindset” actually, it is such a great timing for me to rethink my model of reality and to create a new system of living for that but yes, that’s how to use travel to free ourselves. 

Hussein Al-Baiaty: I feel like there are so many of us that seek that freedom, that seek to unleash our inner self in some way, shape or form, but may not really know how to do it. I think I always tell people, go to the other side of your community, start there. I used to live Beaverton, across the street from Nike World headquarters, okay? We were in the house that was government subsidized and all that stuff. 

So we lived on welfare, all the government assets, again, I was very young but anytime we got to go, I went with my dad a few times, I remember this very vividly, he was looking for – my dad was an artist so he was looking for this art store and it took us downtown, it’s now called the Pearl District, super fancy now but back then, it was where all the artist were. Oh man, just that trip alone, right? 

Just to go to a completely different environment and then from there, it was like going to where the waterfalls, Multnomah Falls, and then going to the beach and then going up to Seattle and then going and seeing California. I just felt like I slowly start to spread around this area and I still know people until this day that hadn’t made it to California, you know what I mean? Like down this, you know? 

So it’s like, think of travel as a thing for you to really go enjoy. People want to know everything, they want certainty and I get that, for especially entrepreneurs, right? It’s a really fine line between certainty and creative joy, but we also really like things that are unexpected. We also really like mystery. We also really like the unknown just as much as we want to know, we also very much want to be in the unknown, right? 

I love that because that is a dichotomy in our humanity that we have to fulfill both, right? If you constantly know everything, because if you are going to wake up and go into the rat race and be the cog, that’s okay. There is a knowing there that can help you solidify that need, but then there’s got to be another part where there is an unknown and you’ve got to give yourself permission to be free to go and act, and be who you are in those spaces that are unfamiliar to you because seeing different people, languages, skin colors, eye color. 

You know, height and width and just all these different things, everything that is different about us, I believe, is quite essentially the spice of life. And it is not just that we’re different as human beings, we’re actually, like you said, very similar. All trees look different but for the most part, they all have a similar job, right? All vegetables are all different, they all serve us in different ways, but have a purpose, which is they are food or can be consumed for energy. 

So that’s the thing is that, we all are different however we approach our purpose in how we serve differently from that taste, from that spice, and I just appreciate it because you don’t get to even appreciate your own value, your own spice until you go see others and then you start to see or ask yourself like, “What’s interesting about me? What’s valuable about me?” 

You know, there is a lot of people that will come on the show and say, “I’m not interesting. I am not valuable,” and all these things. But here they are, they’ve had this remarkable life, they have done amazing things in the world. So we just have this really unique perspective on ourselves in the world and I think by traveling, everything you said, everything you talked about, I deeply resonated with because you’re right. 

Traveling is very much – it is a gateway, it is a wormhole, if you will, to more of yourself and more enjoyment and fulfillment. I mean, I could talk to you for hours, brother. I really appreciate your conversation and just how much we’ve been able to resonate with each other’s ideologies here. I really appreciate that. So Freeman, I want to say congratulations to you on your book. 

I feel like this is one of many that’s to come but with this book, if I were to walk away from it, what is your hope? What is the one thing that you hope people who walk away from, what is the idea, the message that you hope resonates with people? 

The New Global Citizen

Freeman Fung: Yeah, absolutely. The one, one, one key message or lesson I love the readers to take away, is that we are global citizens of this world and it is a really, really powerful realization because say, in the past, let’s say a century ago, no matter where you’re born, you likely spend your entire life in just one culture, in one house, living and dying in the same plot of land. But not anymore. 

Today, we are geographically mobile. We have planes all over the skies and our cultures are interacting with each other and at the same time, let’s say a decade ago, we tend to think global citizens are those who only fight for humanitarian causes, at the forefront fighting global justice and solving global crisis. We typically think, “Oh, global citizenship is just an ethical concept, it’s an ideology, it’s a utopian fantasy, it’s very far away from my day-to-day life.” 

But it is actually not true because we are citizens of the world already when we are living in this modernized world. We just haven’t realized that. It’s just most people haven’t realized that. This waking up moment is the biggest sharing I have to anyone who is listening or anyone who is going to read the book. 

Almost always call these new global citizens. It is not really the new type of global citizen or old type of global citizen, but a new way of thinking about global citizenships, new way as if we are conscious to think about this. We are conscious and aware about this mindset because new global citizens are aware that every one of us have equal power to change the world, by first transforming our self and then transforming others and eventually, transforming the world. 

I believe new global citizens possess a world-centric mindset and an inclusive understanding of others as well as our own personal growth, and I believe global citizens are holistic human beings who could embody compassions, understanding, and love into our day-to-day life. It doesn’t matter what our skin color is, it doesn’t matter where we are from, it doesn’t matter what our finance background, occupation, where we live, our sexual preference, our politics views. 

It doesn’t matter any of those. If we truly believe we are one race living on this earth and that’s it because I – 

Hussein Al-Baiaty: That’s the ultimate freedom. 

Freeman Fung: Yeah. 

Hussein Al-Baiaty: Understanding that really is. 

Freeman Fung: It is. It is liberating. And this globalization mindset, why this is such a powerful tool to gain, is that to recognize and having this map of awareness on how to navigate life in this modern world, I truly believe that is our journey out there, was to travel and explore and understand the outside world equally, significantly, doesn’t even work journey, as well inside us that we have to upgrade the depths of our mind, body and spirit. 

So in a sense, there is simultaneously an evolution of the world outside and also an inside evolution of self-growth inside, and new global citizens are those who are conscious of both and always continue to grow, because when these two journey coincides or overlap, that is where the ultimate growth come from and that is how it transform my life, and that’s what I call is the travel to transform. 

I think that is what the really big message missing from our world right now, and I hope that by sharing this one key message that we are all global citizens can aspire and inspire people to live a different life, and make different choices in their day-to-day global mindset with world-centric decisions. 

Hussein Al-Baiaty: So powerful. Freeman, I have to just thank you for just sharing not only your stories but your deep experience. You’re very much an optimist and I love that because you wove that throughout all your stories and experiences, and it’s your appetite to really indulge in this world in which we live in, this opportunity of a lifetime to live on earth for the moment. 

This short amount of time that we get, and really to make the best of it by realizing this idea that we are a part of something that is greater than ourselves, and the more we commit to that idea, the more freedom we have, the more joy we have, the more present we can become, and that is the ultimate experience. So the book is called, Travel to Transform: Awaken the Global Citizen in You and Thrive in the Modern World. Besides checking out the book, where can people find you Freeman? 

Freeman Fung: Yeah, so they can find me on my website as well, so it is the same as the book, And thank you so much, Hussein. This is such a great conversation and that’s one thing I love about being global citizens, because we just cross paths with more global citizens. 

Hussein Al-Baiaty: Yeah. 

Freeman Fung: Your story, I would definitely love to just chat on your story as well because it’s such a powerful transformation on your own journey as well, and that’s where the powerful comes in. We all learn from one another and travel to transform is not just something for me, for the journey for Freeman. 

It is the journey for every global citizen, for you as well, and for anyone out there who is inspired to find their purpose in life and to reconnect with the modern world, in a way, with the global citizenships, that we can all become better human beings on this earth. 

Hussein Al-Baiaty: I can’t agree with you more. Thank you so much for spending some time with me today, man. I really appreciate you. This was an amazing episode. I’m sure that a lot of our audience learned a lot, were inspired and felt hopefully provoked to book that next ticket or plan the next trip, so they can get out and see more of the world. Thanks again so much Freeman for your inspiration today, I really appreciate your time, brother. 

Freeman Fung: Thank you, Hussein. Appreciate it.