One of the great things about Carol and I is that after years of independent evolution prior to meeting we had come to a similar place in our financial thinking. We both had the big house and had the new car and realized that wasn’t really what we wanted. In fact, we both had big empty houses because both of us, consciously or not, were putting our money where our priorities were – experiences not things. Even though we both love shiny new tech toys (and own some), for the most part we prioritized plane tickets for climbing trips in Mallorca over new phones. I had a big, beautiful, hardwood floored, passive solar house…with a folding picnic table in the dining room that I “planned” to replace with a nice dining set. Each month, rather than buying the dining set, I bought plane tickets, evenings out, great meals, gear (stuff) that I used in outdoor pursuits, wine.
I think our vagabonding life is an expression of putting our money where our own personal values are. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not making an anti-stuff statement. I’m making a pro-happiness statement. As anyone who has known me long enough can attest, my personal motto is “you are in charge of your own happiness”. If stuff made me happy, I would own it. Sometimes stuff does make me happy, like my clothing cubes, or my Nook. Stuff is neither good or bad (how silly to have to say that, right?).
What brought all of this up for me? A few things together:
- Our own realization that we spent 4 times more on fine wine during our recent road trip than lodging. I started calling us “inconsistent dirtbags”. Given a limited income, we would prefer to sleep on someone’s floor and then have money for great lattes and a round of ballpark dogs and beers for our hosts and ourselves.
- A number of posts on different blogs or forums that felt anti-wealthy to me. As if people who are wealthy boaters are lesser boaters or as if the people judging them would somehow turn down wealth if offered to them. I know, I know, forums are stupid places to form opinions.
- Have you seen SV Totem’s post about taking charge of their own happiness? They felt their family was becoming too embedded in “stuff” and moved them onto a boat and crossed the S Pacific. They will be featured in the upcoming movie “American Dream”. The trailer they linked to is very interesting. I plan to see the film.