According to the Department of Labor, the average federal minimum wage in the United States is $5.85 an hour. Gary Garner, a vagabond for the twenty-first century and author of the new book Through the Eyes of Madness, spent five years of his life traveling around the world to remote villages and more often than not, earning less than a dollar a day. “When I left for my trip around the world, I decided that I would work with the locals whenever I could, to gain get a better understanding of their culture and their way of life,” says Garner. “I soon found that the local pay scales in third world countries amounted to pennies per hour in American currency, often for long and difficult days of work.” He adds, “I encountered many families who worked their fingers to the bone, and had barely enough food to feed them selves. I was amazed at how quick they were to share what little that they had with a complete stranger such as myself.” Garner remembers the villages he visited where material possessions and wealth were not necessities. He was surprised by the apparent inverse proportions of wealth and happiness. “It seems that once a society is above the threshold of being able to feed and shelter their families, the more content they really are. I can remember being in villages where the people lived in dung huts, and children at the makeshift school shared one piece of chalk for three years. Believe it or not, these were some of the most satisfied people I have ever met. They were extremely wise, and knew the true value of life,” says Garner. “For them, it wasn’t about how much you made or what material possessions you had. They appreciated the things that mattered most: family, health and helping others.” While roaming all seven continents in search of a simpler life, Garner experienced:
- Witnessing a brutal murder on the South China Sea
- The wrath of an angry mob in the midst of a Nepalese civil war
- His own near-death at the heights of Mt. Everest
- Being ambushed and robbed in Costa Rica by very unusual suspects
- Countless other harrowing escapes that illustrate valuable and moving life lessons
His experiences have motivated him to promote the sale of his book, Through the Eyes of Madness, and offer a portion of the proceeds to benefit families around the world. But the author’s charitable work doesn’t end there; he is hopeful that the impact made on these families in need will expand to others who need help. To date, as a result of book sales, Garner has delivered funds to three continents, to assure that children will receive education, appropriate school supplies and hot meals. In upcoming months, he will launch new efforts and new adventures focusing on the education of children throughout the world. He promises that more eccentric adventures will ensue.