One of the blogs I follow is that of a fellow, John Bardos, and his wife who sold their successful business in Japan not quite three years ago and became "location independent." In other words, like me and others like me, they are nomadic and don't have a fixed base of operations other then his family in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. They may choose to stay in one location somewhere in the world for some duration ranging from a few weeks to several months, but then they move on.
John said two things that caught my attention. One of them was in one of his latest posts. I quote him here because I couldn't express it any better. He was discussing the possibility of settling down again at some point in the future. They have been enjoying this lifestyle for 33 months at this point.
One of my biggest fears of settling down is going back into consumer mode. I don’t think people realize just how much of their lives are dictated by materialism. Think about it for a moment. How much of your life is spent buying, evaluating, maintaining and cleaning possessions? If you are not shopping or caring for possessions, it’s very likely that you’re either working to pay for those possession or you’re watching TV, where you’re made to feel inadequate for not owning the most recent fad. It’s a sad fact that most of us are consumers, not citizens. By the way, everyone I have this conversation with, thinks they do not consume excessively. It’s always a problem that others have.
I'll let you ponder his thought, but I believe he is making a very true commentary and basically states my philosophy pretty well.
He also pointed out something else when I was reading on another part of his site. Interestingly, and I'm sure it caught my attention because I've been putting some thought into this very thing myself. I guess I'd have to say my personal motivation for this thought process is watching the devastation caused by the recent Super Storm, Sandy, who destroyed thousands of homes and tens of thousands (perhaps, millions) of lives recently as she impacted about 23 states, nearly half of the United States.
Here again is John's thought that inspired me.
Another direction I’m going to subtly push on this site is social good. Money and new possessions are nice, up to a certain point, but after that, they don’t bring any lasting fulfillment or meaning. In fact, my excessive consumerism actually got in the way of doing what I most wanted with my life. To that end, I will be spending more time volunteering and trying to have a positive impact on the lives of others.
John definitely made a strong impression with this short paragraph. I enumerated my years of experience and the knowledge and abilities I've accumulated during my lifetime. But, life is finite. There will be an end of the road for everyone of us. Sure, I could go back to generating large amounts of revenue and, unfortunately, as John suggested, probably fall back into the trap of consumerism or materialism, pretty much the same thing. But, here's the question. What degree of fulfillment will I have when I die. I very strongly believe the simple adage that "he who dies with all the toys . . . is still DEAD!" Since my personal lifetime mission statement is "to leave the campsite (Earth) better then I found it" - one of the things I learned from my short tenure as a Boy Scout, then rather then adorn myself with all the trappings of "success" in the form of "stuff," how much more fulfilled will I be knowing that I made the lives of others better. As I said, Sandy, the Super Storm, has really made me think hard about this.
John Bardos has some wonderful ideas, information and philosophy on his Web site and in his blog where he interviews other "location independent" and U.S. ex-patriots living and traveling the world. Many are volunteering their services to help others. I've added John's Web site to my Blog Roll, but you can have immediate access to it by simply clicking right here - Jet Set Citizen