How Travel Put The Thirty-five Cent Sale Into Perspective


posted on 2nd of february, 2012

Thirty-five cents. It seems like such a meager amount when I'm in Canada. Perhaps it can buy a cookie, a few candies, or in my city, a call on a payphone. For most living in "Westernized" countries, this meager amount is barely worth keeping in your pocket due to the massive increase in the cost of living over the last few decades. When the basics cost so much, thirty-five cents doesn't seem like a lot.

For the rest of the world though, thirty-five cents is held at a much greater value.
In Ecuador, a public bus cost a quarter. In Vietnam it's even cheaper at twenty cents a ride. In China I dined on Baozi (steamed buns which are stuffed with different fillings) that set me back about fifteen cents each. A few of those made an excellent breakfast. In Ghana, I bought fried plantain chips for a dime, and in Korea where I used to live, my favourite snack of pastry filled with red beans cost me thirty cents every morning.
Traveling around the world has definitely put the value of thirty-five cents into perspective. For us in North America we can buy so little, but in countries that are developing, your money can go far and not just for the little things.
Thirty-five cents can make a huge difference for many. I've seen it happen, and it often has a very positive domino effect.

Thirty-five cents can buy a few eggs which can provide protien and vitamin A for a young child. It can buy oral-rehydration salts to help a child who is sick, or a few tablets to lower a fever. Depending on the country, it can pay for a child to be vaccinated against disease or help educate a new mother on how to take care of her baby.
It can pay for pencils and a notebook or a pair of flip-flops so a child can go to school. It can buy clean water, or a toothbrush or soap.
It's the chance to catch a bus when the roads are dark and dangerous, or a needle and thread to patch your clothing.
Thirty-five cents can buy so many things around the world, the list is long and often covers many of life's necesities.
Those above are just a few.
Traveling has indeed changed the way I see money, and has made me grateful for whatever sale I can get : )
Here are a few sites that you might want to take a look at if you're interested in what one dollar can buy, and on a larger scale, what five dollars can buy.
Until next time,
Ang

Comments (12)

Posted by Angelaostafichuk on February 06, 2012
Thanks for the feedback and kind words everyone. All good points made...
Posted by Ewapix on February 04, 2012
I think it is one of the things that photography can give you - a chance to see and then tell the story. If you are brave enough, talented enough, with big enough heart. Somebody said that - who was it? - that to be a photographer you need a steady hand a big heart. Photography can help those communities too - by telling the story. We all know that one photo is worth a thousand words! I hope people like you will help to change the world for a better place. All the best and thank you for the blog (and the previous one too!).
Posted by 19838623doug on February 03, 2012
Your post sure puts things in perspective. Well Done
Doug
Posted by Ewamewa2 on February 03, 2012
it is so true. I spent a lot of time in India so I experienced it myself, though it might be surprising if you come from Eastern Europe as I do.
Posted by FabioConcetta on February 03, 2012
Wonderful blog, travel according to my judgment is one of the most interesting experiences, which allows you to grow up and see reality very different, congratulation Angela!
Posted by Peanutroaster on February 02, 2012
I guess Dreamstime's payouts should be adjusted for the local economy's? ;-)
Posted by Gmargittai on February 02, 2012
Great blog but I don't get it. What are you really trying to say? That people in US Canada and Europe are rich? Or should we donate the 35c to those less fortunate?

There are places in the world that somebody could live off stock photography as you say... but in those places it is hard to upload stock photos, there may not be computers, broadband internet, no high end cameras.

I really hate visiting those places where the shoes on my feet could provide subsistence for a family for a few weeks. I think the temptation is too big and I don't get anything out of seeing how miserable some people live. Does not mean that I am not sorry for them.

We have been once on a trip to Mexico, beautiful beaches blue water. One is not expected to leave the hotel area. We still rented a car and ventured out. The nice paved roads ended a few km outside the resort, but we were able to see the slums. They start where the paved roads end. I was not aware there are different degrees of slums. I've...(More)
Posted by Jdanne on February 02, 2012
Your are so right!
Posted by Egomezta on February 02, 2012
Great blog, it made us think how money is different all over the world.
Posted by Calyx22 on February 02, 2012
Angela, what a great blog post. It's true that 35 or 42 cents doesn't buy you much in North America. Or Europe, even less! But while I was in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos this past summer, it buys a quite a bit more. I think travelling to other countries is a wonderful perspective adjuster. It certainly was for my daughters. They made donations to orphans from a school that we saw at Angkor Wat having art class. It was 20 US Dollars from each girl, but the headmistress told us it would buy art supplies for a year for the whole class. She cried, our guide cried, my girls cried and I cried. We are so very fortunate and it's good to remember experiences like this when we feel underpaid and undervalued as photographers. I hope you get a lot of people to read this! :) Best wishes to you.
Posted by Karenfoleyphotography on February 02, 2012
Thank you for helping us keep things in perspective - something I'm afraid I'm guilty of not doing all too often!
Posted by Picstudio on February 02, 2012
Great blog.



Comments (12)

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Photo credits: Angela Ostafichuk.

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