Sunday, August 30, 2015

You don’t have to be a millionaire to take off for six or eight months and ride around the world. In fact it has been my observation that wealthy people have way less free time than I do. Being rich is a full time job. Meeting with accountants, lawyers, financial planners, insurance agents, business associates and a plethora of other service professionals becomes increasingly a necessary and time consuming activity as your net worth increases. Not to mention the time required to store, heat, house and maintain the cars, boats, swimming pools, vacation homes, luxury furnishings, etc, etc. The people I worked for in my earlier years rarely took off more than a couple weeks at a time to fly to Europe. If I was building a stone wall and patio in their back yard for a few weeks, I generally spent much more time at their estate during the day enjoying the beautiful views while they were busy working and out shopping. As I get older it becomes increasingly clear that none of these material things that people amass over the years pass with them into the afterlife as the Egyptian pharaohs surmised.

Now don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against people who spend their lives amassing a lot of wealth and material possessions. And yes, Porsche Carreras are fun to drive. It’s just that I now choose freedom over material possessions. I happen to prefer taking off for several months traveling every year and avoid things that limit my freedom to camp in the Patagonian wilderness and view the southern hemisphere constellations at night. In order to aquire those memories I have had to ruthlessly eliminate recurring monthly expenses and just say no to excess material possessions that tend to weigh you down like a boat anchor and draw you home like a magnet.

This is much easier to do when you are young and single in those magic few years after school before you become entangled with family and career. Or in my case if you are older and single, with no family responsibilities or pets. Not that you can’t travel for months at a time with children and pets. It’s just that I have met very few people with kids and pets that leave the country for more than a couple weeks. Which is why I enjoy other people’s pets and children but have none of my own. Although in certain countries like India where it is socially unacceptable to have no children, I have been known to invent a son who is a doctor and a daughter who is an electrical engineer. I do dislike telling polite white lies for social expediency though.

On a separate note, now that I have successfully completed my 3 month stint at the PWTBFCFNA (Poor White Trash Betty Ford Clinic For Nicotine Addiction) also known as the Johnson County Texas Correctional Facility where smoking is verboten, I was able to cut nicotine out of my recurring monthly expenses. Holy Cow! That was HUGE. And since I quit drinking last year when I got arrested for drunk driving, I am now down to food, water, gas and lodging as my only daily expenses while on the road. My addictions have been reduced to motorcycles, travel and blogging. It turns out that the Texas Department of Corrections, through fear, intimidation and deprivation is directly responsible for saving me hundreds of dollars this travelling season in South America.

I can’t wait to get back to South America in a couple months and see if I can travel for under $1000/month this year and live mainly on Social Security. I just got my first check automatically deposited in my checking account. It’s like money from heaven. Imagine if a rich Uncle (Sam) was depositing money in your checking account every month. Wow! In my younger years I honestly didn’t think Social Security would be around when I got old enough to benefit from it. And with gas prices dropping like a rock, the prospects for budget travel are suddenly improving in my little world this year.


  1. great news. ANything that prolongs the advernutre is good.

  2. I'm glad that you're back on the trail, John....and collecting SS as well. Life is good.

    I'm a little older than you but living on SS basically. I scaled back from a acre+ piece of land in Ca with all my pack rat belongings. I got rid of everything that I could and stored the rest, and moved into a condo with my wife. That storage costs me 268$ a month and has for 10 years now. The value of what's stored there is a couple thousand buck if I sold everything on Ebay....a lot less for a quick liquidation.

    I just can't get myself to give it all away so I continue to wrap my arms around all of it and spend 20% of my income on storing it.

    So I completely agree with your blog's synopsis of the complication of a man with possessions has to spend much of his effort just managing it all.

    Hope to see you some day...until then, I'll keep up with you when you write something.

    1. Hi Pete,

      Ah yes, the material world can easily weigh you down if you let it. Like you, I have a storage garage full of things that I need to get rid of. Old BMW motorcycles and parts mostly. Along with expensive contractor tools I no longer need. The space doesn't cost me anything since it is in a place my Mom owns. I have finally come to the point where I just need to get rid of all that excess baggage. In my life as a contractor I was quite good at organizing other people's garages. You can't get rid of other people's stuff until they are ready to let it go. The same is true for me. Sometimes it takes a few years, but if I haven't used something for a long time it is time to get rid of it.