Every year or so I revert back to my first post on this blog to review where it started and where it evolved to. This was post #1 on February 6, 2008. It was just a few days shy of nine months later when I left my ranch for the last time to pursue a very different lifestyle. And, it's now a little more than nine years ago since I wrote the original post. My notes indicating the changes and evolution in me, my lifestyle, my thinking and the blog are all in italics embedded in the copy of the original post.
This blog is about exactly what the title states - “living and working free.” Actually, the focus is now on how to live free including all facets of human experience and lifestyle and the name changed to "2 Live Freely” a couple years ago. Now, to make sure this concept is perfectly clear, I DO NOT mean living FOR free nor working FOR free. I mean living and working freely under our own rules, terms and conditions for our lifestyles and workstyles.
It is important to note that there are no rules, terms or conditions carved in stone that tell us how we should live or how we should work. The only rules are those that we each establish for ourselves in our own hearts and minds . . . unless we adopt the rules, conditions and terms that others may want to impose on us. This holds true to the current blog posts and my philosophical thinking - no significant changes.
My postings here are going to be based on MY feelings, opinions, concepts, wants and needs. What I say may or may not apply to you – or perhaps only parts of what I say may apply to you. So, do not, under any circumstances, consider anything I say here to be gospel. What I say only pertains to me and my life. The operative word in all of this is “FREE!”
I hope by posting my thoughts and feelings here that I might be able to instill a feeling of freedom in each person who lands on this blog and chooses to read it. Will it change your life? I sure hope so, but not to my benefit and credit – rather to your own benefit and credit. Again, I believe I've remained on course and on target over the years.
This is beginning as a blog. A podcast will follow very shortly. The podcasts will mainly introduce readers of the blog to various individuals who are living, what they consider, free lifestyles and have found a way to free themselves from the more traditional work models, so they can work freely. These interviews will not necessarily – and probably most likely not – be with financially wealthy people. However, they will all be with people who live rich, fulfilling lives.
Okay! The podcast is still a work in progress. I did do some audio versions of some of the blog posts and they were generally met with positive response. I've met many interesting and authentic people since I began the blog. Some I'm noted in the blog. There are so many more I want to meet. I still plan to create the podcast and I'm making current steps in that direction. I should note, with over 50 years in audio and radio production and having created my own audio magazine heard by subscribers internationally, a podcast is not rocket science for me. It's simply establishing priorities and making sure I can sustain a podcast once I start it.
Money is not the only measure of success. You can't buy happiness with money, but it can make life more comfortable. Everyone needs some amount of money to sustain whatever lifestyle they choose for themselves. The real issue, too often, is that we don't determine what REALLY makes us happy and fulfilled. My thoughts haven't changed any in this arena. So, we tend to center ourselves around the JOB and the largest amount of MONEY we can get. We spend 30, 40, 50 years of our lives slaving at some job that, statistically, is unfulfilling to more then 70% of the workforce.
Our most valuable – actually priceless – commodity is slipping by virtually unnoticed UNTIL – we reach or pass middle age and wonder where all the TIME of our lives went. My thoughts on this haven't changed, however, there has been a huge economic meltdown in the U.S. (and the world) that has changed a lot of people's thinking and lifestyles. It's actually obvious where the time went – it went to making money, too often trying to keep up with the Joneses or buying into the latest greatest trends, fads, gadgets, doodads, etc.
One day, we will realize all of this has just accumulated as so much “stuff” and we are now in the warehousing business. We are now storing outdated, unused (possibly under used or never used) things that cost us money to warehouse and insure and requires space that we wouldn't need for any other reason other then to store the stuff. Unfortunately, while the financial engine and position of a lot of people has been curtailed, whenever people can, even if it isn't necessarily financially expedient, they still exhibit this same behavior.
So, living and working free means determining in your own mind and heart what is REALLY IMPORTANT to you. Hopefully it's creating a lifestyle that reflects what really fulfills you and sets you free to enjoy the TIME of your life. It means finding work that you find fulfilling and you can enjoy and even be passionate about. Sure, you may not earn a six figure income – or maybe not even a high five figure income – but how much was the second, minute, hour, day worth that just went by. Can you buy, borrow, rent or steal another second of time . . . or a minute, hour or day?
Time is my most valuable – and priceless commodity. I am really no longer willing to sacrifice my priceless time to do anything that I don't want to do, don't like doing or just, in general, I find a waste of my time. I will only “trade” my time for “money” when what I'm doing with that time is fulfilling, satisfying and enjoyable – in my personal opinion. No one else's opinion really counts since it's my life and my time.
I'd like to say that I've been completely true to this last paragraph for the past nine years, but I can't. I have compromised my values a little from time to time. However, life is a growth process and I continue getting closer to my own personal ideals and values than when I started out.
So, that's what this blog is all about. I'll expose you to ideas, concepts, opportunities, lifestyles, workstyles, people, places and so on. I very much invite your comments and if you have something you'd like me to post as part of this blog – submit it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also find the email address in the "Contact" info on the blog. I'll review it and let you know if it fits.
I'll also go on a rant once in a while, so be prepared. There are a lot of injustices, incompetence, inconsiderateness, etc. in this world. Well, whoever said this world or life was fair, anyway? But, it's still my prerogative to rant on my own blog. I ask that you read my rules for commenting. I want this to be an open forum of thought and ideas, but I will not allow anything inflammatory or being unkind, abusive, negatively critical of me or anyone else who comments or posts on this blog. I will personally moderate all comments and, accordingly, act as judge and jury.
I've eliminated the "rules for commenting" because I found that readers of this blog are civil and contribute positive information and they are courteous. However, if someone does cross a line, I still have the "Delete Button" to revert to.
In closing this first, introductory post, I want to give credit to a book and its author as my inspiration for this blog. The book is Working Free: Practical Alternatives to the 9 to 5 Job by John Applegath. The book was published in 1982. I read it in 1986 or 1987 and it took me 20 years to, finally, locate the author. I spent three terrific days with John in Durham, NH and found him to be delightful. He and several friends he introduced me to while I was there, who basically live and work free. I have some recorded interviews with all of them and they will appear in the future in podcasts. Since part of what I have done over my lifetime has been publishing books – John has regained his rights from the original publisher and I'm going to republish his book in the near future.
I've decided not to republish John's book since I've left the publishing business. It's been my plan to get back up to New England and visit John again. Unfortunately, I haven't made it, yet. A little while back, John informed me he has been diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease. I have another friend in Texas, one of my former authors, who is also dealing with this disease. It's not something I'd wish on my worst enemy.
Another person you'll hear from and whose book also was an inspiration is Barbara Winter, whose book, Making a Living Without a Job: Winning Ways for Creating Work that You Love, is still in print, I believe. She was easier to track down and I have been in contact with her by e-mail and phone. Barbara and I have not yet met in person, but I intend to meet her this summer in Las Vegas. (Yeah, I know, Las Vegas is not the place to go in the summer – but that's where she is and that's where I'll be attending a conference and expo on podcasting.) And there are a lot more folks just like these that I'll introduce you to.
First, I never got to Las Vegas that year. Second, Barbara moved to California several years ago. I have met Barbara as I reported in an earlier iteration of this post. She is delightful and ever working at helping people discover ways to free themselves from traditional jobs and lifestyles. While I still have never been to Las Vegas (other than flying through the airport) I am hoping to make it there sometime early next year (still haven't made it to Vegas). And when I'm back in California, I'm looking forward to catching up with Barbara again. You can never have too many inspirational people in your life.
Thanks for reading this long first posting. If you think this is something that's going to be of interest to you, then please subscribe. And, when the podcasts begin, I hope you'll find them interesting, too, and will subscribe to them as well. Oh yeah – and I want to use the viral marketing concept (we used to call it word of mouth in my younger days) and so I would ask you to pass this on to your family, friends and colleagues. Invite them to read it and subscribe if it makes sense to them, too.
I'm going to repeat this posting from time to time so new readers will understand what this blog is all about – probably around the first of each month. So, if you see it appear again – it's really not deja vu all over again – it's really a repeat.
Repeating this post on a monthly basis isn't practical, so it doesn't repeat monthly. I think revisiting it once a year is enough. When this post went up initially, there were zero readers of this blog. Over the nine years that have since passed, the blog has been read in over 100 countries, has had thousands of eyeballs look at it and has a loyal group of followers, for which I am most thankful.
People contact me frequently and tell me of their appreciation for my efforts. Additionally, I have the great pleasure of meeting readers one-on-one while I'm trekking and exploring the U.S. If you know I'll be in your area, let me know so we can get together if you're of a mind to.
Meanwhile, I'll continue to do my part in providing useful and interesting content and hope you'll do your part by enjoying and gaining some insights you can implement in your own life. Drop comments or notes and let me know when I've struck a chord with you. Tell me of your goals and progress - and even your set-backs.
Please continue to share the blog with friends, family, co-workers and others you believe will benefit from reading it. As always, if you haven't already done so, please subscribe and become a follower. Connect with me on Google+ and "Like" my Living Free fan page on Facebook. I'm also on Twitter, but not as active and I also have a large network on LinkedIn if you'd like to connect there. My personal and blog growth are dependent on delivering "the right stuff" to you. I'll know I'm doing that when I see my page views and comments increasing along with notes and connections on the Social Media.
Like the old Virginia Slims commercial implied, "I've come a long way, baby." and I hope you have, too. We are also in a new political environment in the U.S. in 2017. I don't know how it will pan out, but I certainly hope it will be positive. I'm looking for the best, but only time will reveal the future.
As a further update, March 4, 2017, as I prepare to post this latest iteration of this article, I'm sitting in My McVansion in the parking lot of a large Walmart Supercenter where I spent the night last night with about 8 or 10 other mobile nomads. The Walmart is located outside Tucson, Arizona. After I post this, I'll be going into the Walmart to stock up for the next week or so of living in the desert outside Yuma, Arizona. I'll be meeting up with another nomadic, vandwelling friend and blog reader of many years. To date, I've visited 48 of the 50 U.S. states. I only have North Dakota and Alaska remaining to complete all 50.
On average, I travel through 24 to 30 of the states on my treks each year. I've been to many national parks, historic sights, monuments, etc. and camped in many national forests, state forests, and Bureau of Land Management public lands. I've long ago lost count of how many Walmart parking lots (not to mention Lowe's, Home Depot, Flying J, Pilot and other travel and truck stops) I've overnight parked in during my travels. I've visited many, many friends from coast to coast, met many new friends in camping venues, met some of the bloggers I follow and met many of those who read my blog.
My life has truly been blessed and each person who reads this blog and gains anything from it, even a tiny bit of inspiration, is part of my blessings. Thanks for hanging in with me and I hope we meet up one day.
Live free and be happy. EH