Posted as an Opinion piece to Newsweek
February 12, 2017
My thirties started off in countries ravaged by environmental destruction and dictatorships. Back then, I was a journalist for National Geographic, spending most of my time abroad, even though I still called Los Angeles—my birth city—home. In the 100+ countries I visited, I reported on some harrowing stories: the Killing Fields in Cambodia, the near total deforestation of Paraguay, and the tense nuclear stand-off between India and Pakistan. I always hoped my words and on-camera television commentary brought some sanity and peace to the chaos.
While on assignment in Vietnam near the demilitarized zone, a near-miss with a landmine that could have been catastrophic sent me back home to the safety of the United States. Desiring stability, I started a real-estate development business with capital saved from my journalism. America was booming and my business thrived. I soon sold most of my real-estate portfolio, allowing me to live off my long-term investments.
I was lucky, for sure. Only a year later, I watched America, its banking system, and its real-estate market collapse. I watched friends lose everything, and my government try to fix something it had partially caused. The lessons—the distrust of big government, crony capitalism and unmanageable debt—seared themselves into my value system.
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