It is colloquial wisdom that the best way to understand oneself is to travel around the world. It was probably moreĀ  insatiable wanderlust than philosophical quest that lead me to pack my bags and say goodbye to my pleasant Austin, Texas living in 2014, but the profound widening of my understanding of the world and it’s values systems has addicted me nonetheless.

I always feel like an impostor writing about design. I grew up and went to school in the US midwest, and the design elite always seemed far away – New York, San Fransisco, London, Berlin, Paris, Milan… I never felt like an American either. I was surrounded by and grew up with a strong sense of neoliberal values – values that I hold to this day. These values are baked into the heart of every American – a country whose national story champions liberty over the oppressive forces that try to squash it. Whether the paternalistic evil force is the British government in 1776, the US government in the 1960’s, Obama mandating state healthcare or Trump doing… whatever it is Trump is doing, the same narrative always comes to the fore – we must stop the oppressive power from trampling our liberties.

This is part of the reason that eastern thinkers like Lee Kuan Yew have had such an effect on me. I fell into learning about China when I worked briefly there and sought to understand how…