Wow! Where does the time go? It's been just over two months since my last post on the blog. It was titled, “Life On The Road. . .Living in 50 Square Feet - Part I,” you can click on the title and read (or reread) it if you haven't already read it.
Obviously, I was starting a new series of articles on life on the road, but it seems life on the road got in the way of writing about life on the road. My regrets for not keeping up with one of the passions of my life, writing about personal freedom, happiness and choosing simple, minimal and frugal lifestyles to enjoy a happy life.
Yes! I'll admit it, while the appearance of my nomadic lifestyle is one of simplicity, minimalism and frugality, sometimes life just gets complicated. We, of course, live in a very complicated world and society. Once upon a time, sans rapidly advancing technology, a society based on high-speed progress, the constant bombardment of material/consumerism messages (upwards of 5,000 such messages per day according to current studies), the constant need for higher levels of status and keeping up with the Jones's,and the loss (in my opinion) of a value system based on people and relationships, we were very different. I believe we have lost a significant part of our humanity over my adult lifetime.
Who am I to judge? I'm one of the billions (and hundreds of millions in the U.S.) who was part of this change. Albeit, I was barely a spot on the spectrum in comparison to the great industrial and retail moguls or the upstarts who (seemingly) became overnight billionaires from a place called “Silicon Valley.”
My gosh, I remember when the goal was to become a millionaire. Millionaire's and especially the super rich multi-millionaires numbered in the hundreds back then. Hey! That wasn't so long ago, maybe 60 years. Now, a net worth of millions is becoming common place. There are literally millions of millionaires in today's U.S. The bar has been raised. It appears that serious wealth status now begins when one becomes a billionaire. Will the bar eventually be moved up to a trillion one day?
My point is simple. While a certain amount of money can make one freer and certainly make life more comfortable and convenient, does it actually make life happier. Again, only my opinion, but in general, I'd say no. The more money, assets and stuff one has, the more complicated life becomes. With more complication comes greater responsibility. With greater responsibility comes less personal freedom. With less personal freedom comes less happiness. That's my simplistic way of looking at the equation.
Here's a simple example. I have a friend who will remain nameless. He comes from a somewhat upscale family background and made his sizable nine figure multi-million dollar fortune, primarily from his artistic talents and endeavors. He owns multiple high value personal homes in different regions, although he mainly uses one and his spouse mainly uses a second one (don't ask). He has many, many high value assets, possessions, tools of his talent, automobiles and possibly even a yacht (he has mentioned in passing). Maintaining all of this costs a huge amount of money annually.
I don't know of any time in the past decade he's used the yacht. I know of him only using the two residences previously mentioned. I have only seen two vehicles he drives – one a very expensive, European luxury car and the other a pick-up truck. He is always complaining about the cost of getting work done on his home in Virginia and finding reliable contractors and workers.
Once, he had to take his pricey luxury car about 100 miles to the nearest dealer for that brand to have a light bulb replaced over the rear license plate. The cost for the bulb and labor, according to him, was a little under $300.00. This, of course, didn't take into account of the value of his time to drive to and from this dealer service location nor the fuel consumed to get to and from that location.
It all seems a bit incongruous to me, that one with so much money should complain about the $300.00 for the repair. And, why wouldn't he simply hire someone to drive his car to and from the repair facility so my friend could better utilize his priceless time?
Does this make any sense to you? He's not the only person of sizable wealth I've known with this kind of complicated life who complains about it. My point? Life is complicated enough in its simplest form. Massive amounts of money only seems to complicate it more. And the bottom line is that we are our own worst enemies when it comes to complicating our lives – with or without a lot of money involved.
So, back to where I began. Remember that road to hell being paved with good intentions? Well, that's been me for the past few months. I've been loving my “life on the road,” but maybe a little too much. I built a schedule for myself that actually drained some of the personal freedom I normally relish in. And, while, I'm not any less happy, particularly, I know it had an impact of some aspects of my life. The one most obvious to you, the reader of my blog, being my lack of creating articles on a regular basis. Actually, if you look closely, you'll notice I haven't written many articles at all in 2017 and one of those was actually an update of an earlier article.
I'm back at my eastern base camp in West Virginia as I compose this article. But, I leave again tomorrow for about another week on the road. The event I leave for tomorrow is my 50th college class reunion at Montclair State University (a state college when I attended and graduated). My plans to attend this event were a major factor in my travel planning over the last two months or so.
This, recently ended (a week ago) national trek covered six months and 13,515 miles. A little over a month ago I was at my western base camp in California. I allowed myself a month to cross the country, but there were eight national parks I wanted to visit along with about 25 or more people I wanted to visit. What I didn't plan for were three breakdowns. They were basically minor, but in all cases, necessary repairs had to be made. Those subtracted time from my travel schedule. That caused me to eliminate several visits with people on my route. It also altered my route from the blue and red highways I normally take and placed me on high-speed interstate highways that created more stress, boredom and fatigue.
So, there you have it, I could blame the 50th college class reunion for complicating my life and causing me to be lax about posting articles on the blog. But, that is a cop out. The reality is, I created the environment and complications making it all too easy to not maintain my own personal self-discipline.
I'm sure, when I return from the reunion I'll have anecdotal stories about the event and experience to relate. I'm also sure this will all help me refocus on my simple, minimalist, frugal, personal freedom lifestyle because I'll be, again, exposed to the complex world I was born, raised and educated in and meeting with folks who are likely still living much more complex lives than mine.
Again, my regrets for falling behind on the blog. Stay tuned! I will make it up to you by getting back on the wagon and continue my Life on the Road series. It will likely be about a week and a half before I'm back and writing again. Until then, remember to live free and be happy.