Thursday, December 31, 2009

I haven't posted in awhile because I've been waiting for Riki to take some pictures of our new location. He has just been so darn busy wrapping up last minute business at the old house in Clearwater. Hopefully today will be the last day of that since it is the last day of our lease. I've been sick with a blasted cold since Christmas eve. Yep. I don't think I was sick in like three months (which is pretty good with two small children around) and I got sick right when I needed to not be. Because of that Christmas this year was rather lackluster for me. I was grumpy, tired, and just couldn't muster to do the special things I wanted to like bake cookies and read some spiritual stories by candlelight. Oh well, there's always next year, right? Here we are on New Year's Eve and I still have this mess.

So we are now staying with Riki's family with a lovely view of the lake and magnificent trees. At night I've reallly enjoyed looking up at a clear sky with the moon and stars unencumbered by buildings or telephone poles. During the day we mostly hear the rooster and the cranes with some distant traffic in the background, nothing even remotely like the loud utility trucks, cars with loud music, sirens, or delinquent teenagers walking to their bus stop every morning we are used to. I will listen to a rooster crow all night long if I don't have to hear that again. Being out here has really made me realize how awful it was and how that negative energy affected all of us. Thank goodness we are away from it now.

On the downside we are horrified to find that the prices at the publix here are really high. The organic cereal I might buy for the kids for $3-4 is like $6 a box here....and don't get me started on the $8 loaf of organic preservative free bread. I didn't realize that grocery stores in low income areas charge less for the same products and more in newer developed places like we are in now. All I know is that I'm really missing our old local health food store right about now. Riki and I joked that it would almost be worth the road trip to Clearwater to save that kind of money. Whew.

I was watching an interview with the Dalai Lama the other night on netflix. He said something striking that I definitely agree with in my own experience...that wealthy people are generally more miserable than some of the poorest. The reason he gives for this is that those with lots of wealth spend more time trying to hold onto it or worry about losing it. Those who have less have less to worry about and therefore less attachment to things since attachment is one of the "delusions" that keeps us unhappy. It is interesting because lately I keep looking for reasons I should feel deprived in this experience. In all honesty I've been pretty content with living in such a small space and basically squatting somewhere else. There is this little voice inside which I suppose is the product of brainwashed society that keeps saying I should find some inherent flaw in all of this...that there are plenty of reasons why I shouldn't be okay living in an old small trailer and not having a real job. I feel almost guilty watching others get up to go to work while we sit by the campfire. Are we just lazy do nothings?

Last night by the fire Riki and I talked a little about this and zen. We both feel like we found this key, a key that everybody has the capacity to find if they just look for it. We aren't special or lucky or particularly blessed I don't think. We have just been willing to give up many things that other people aren't in exchange for a sort of freedom which also comes with uncertainty. This is where the zen comes in. We are so used to planning for so many things and feeling that we have to know where we are headed, what we are doing six months from now and really I think that is just another delusion that makes us miserable. We feel pretty okay right now not knowing where we are headed or where we will be. I know there are opportunities out there that will present themselves when we in turn put ourselves out into the universe. I just don't know what they are yet...but I don't NEED to know what they are either. I just know that they will be there when they need to be. Maybe this is akin to people leaving up to god to provide for them. I just tend to think that the universe inherently works in this way to some degree if we can see it.

So we hear a lot of people in real life and online talk about being jealous of our pursuits.. Don't get me wrong. I know plenty of people who would be perfectly content packing themselves into a huge fifth wheel or half million dollar motorhome to travel around the country with some sort of sizable savings. You may be downsizing some but you aren't giving up too much luxury or security in that sort of situation.This is a great deal different than that though. That is why I sometimes laugh when I read other blogs about how changed somebody's life is after they moved into a super luxurious motorhome.  We have a much smaller rig than most families doing the same thing and this is currently more of a lifestyle choice than a fancy extended vacation around the country. We don't have sizable savings. We are sort of going by the seat of our pants. We can't do Disney or eat out all the time or do other expensive sightseeing options. This is bare bones. We won't be on the road all the time or even once a week much of the time. We will have to sit and save money for gas to keep going, sort of like we are doing right now before we are able to leave the state. So when people say they are jealous I wonder if they are honestly jealous of what we are doing or some more romantic idyllic version of it....and at the same time for those who are ready to do the same thing on a small scale like us I know it can be done by selling houses and other possessions.

I've just had to sort this out in my own head because I'm not used to people being envious of me or my situations in life and well, I've almost felt guilty about it until I really sat down to think about why other people can't/won't do the same thing. So when other people are going through the motions of the rat race I can only deduct that there is something really important to them like a house or where they live or other luxuries that makes it worth keeping that job...and that is completely okay. I'm not saying that I won't be in that place at some point myself. You never know what the future brings. I just think that if people sat down and thought about this for a minute they would realize that either they wouldn't be comfortable living without the financial security and luxuries they have now or maybe it would start them on the path to figuring out how to do something similar.

Right now though I am completely blissfully free of a lot of nonsense that keeps others tied to the rat race...and that my friends is why I can sit in front of a campfire without any worry in the world other than what the next day might bring. I like to think this is in some ways how our ancestors lived before the industrial age when you worked your land, grew your own food, and built your own house from scratch, before credit and college degrees and cubicles.

I often wonder how people would live if they didn't have credit to buy houses...if they had to use their own two hands or the labor of friends to build one. Would their lives be as comfortable as they are now? Would their houses be so big? What about transportation? What if you couldn't get a loan to buy a car but had to buy one with cash? I hear a lot about moneyless or cashless society which I find appealing to some degree but I think just a society without credit would produce huge changes in the way we live and interact with one another.

I guess that is sort of a long term goal of ours. We don't want a mortgage, a car loan, or anything else that can be taken away by a bank if we can't pay for it in an emergency. If you already own what you have and are living with minimal expenses you aren't as devastated in a crisis and most importantly to me, you aren't so dependent on making a certain amount of money or working a certain amount of hours to pay for said expenses. Again, that is freedom to me. That is why we can live off of a very small monthly income right now. Sure, we are poverty level but that is all relative when you are living in an rv that is paid for and not paying a large rent or mortgage.

So New Year's approaches and it just dawned on me that this will mark the tenth year Riki and I have celebrated together. I have two bottles of champagne chilling in the cooler as we speak and some much appreciated cheap plastic champagne flutes. It will be champagne, campfire, and blue moon watching tonight. Woo hoo. It doesn't get any better than that folks.


Jen said...

good for you, I hear where you're coming from. I don't know where the envious are coming from exactly, but it may be of your bravery to actually leave the comfort zone. Perhaps envy of follow-through. I find what you're doing very appealing, but my husband would never. Maybe people's compromises lead them to view this lifestyle from the sidelines. I wouldn't feel guilty though - we could all find time to sit by the campfire if we turned off the TV.

Lisa G said...

Hi there, just found your blog and I've really enjoyed reading about your plans, good luck with your journey, I'm looking forward to reading your updates!

brits on tour said...

LOL, I think we are everything you are 'anti'! I do have something for you though, looking forward to meeting you at the rally.
We have also worked hard to save money to be able to do things we love with our family. We still have a house, we do move every week, we spent a day in Disney, Dave still works while we're on the road, I follow a curriculum for school with my kids - we have a safety net for sure and it's a life that we are very comfortable with. I honestly don't think I could upsticks and take off with no savings, just would not work for us. We are pretty conventional, just living a somewhat unconventional lifestyle. Our motivation for being on the road is to educate our kids in life - ourselves - without outside influences being a major source in their belief system. We/They had busy lives and I am not missing one iota of that this year! We love to sit under the stars and enjoy being outside. We bought the National Park pass for $80 and have visited many, many parks - what amazing opportunities for seeing nature this country has to offer. Your reasons are very different from ours but I respect every person's reasons for taking this journey, what a wonderful privilege for our families to spend time together and see 'life'. I am so interested to meet the families and to see all the different rigs at the rally, I'm sure we'll be quite the motley crew! See you soon, Ali (touringbrits)

Little House On Wheels said...

Aww...I'm not anti any of those things really. That just isn't where we are in our own path and sometimes I think we are the minority in the full timer lifestyle. I too can't wait for the rally! It will be great to hear from so many others who have a lot of experience under their belts.

The Munday Family said...

I have just found your blog and have enjoyed reading it! We are similar to you in having a class C motorhome, but with just 3 of us and a dog. We are departing this summer coming up, not sure where we are heading to yet..we will just follow the road!