Our lifestyle isn’t terribly different from what most people define as “normal”. We’re not on a constant vacation, we just live life on the road. So if there is someone we want to go visit, or somewhere we want to see, we just pick up and do so, taking our life with us. But beyond that, our days are fairly normal.
Like everyone else, we live in our home. I “go” to work every day, just like Kathryn has her daily lessons. Then in the evenings and on weekends, we do things that we enjoy. The difference is that our backyard is bigger and constantly changing. Back in Minnesota, we enjoyed walking and biking around the many lakes and other waterways. We still enjoy doing this, the scenery just changes fairly regularly, as does the view from my desk. Rather than visiting the same eating establishments when dining out, we get to literally partake of the local flavor around the country. While we do the same general things, we are able to patronize new stores, enjoy new downtowns and constantly meet new people.
I am blessed with the ability to bring my profession with me on the road, and Kathryn is able to be homeschooled. These two things have opened up a world of opportunity for us, but we do still live a basically normal life.
I’m employed with a financial services firm. This requires that I keep normal office hours. So unlike many telecommuters, I’m not free to work whenever convenient. But I have the freedom of location. About a third of the company telecommutes, I’ve just taken the concept to it’s logical conclusion. If I can do my work from anywhere, then why not do my work from any and everywhere? Thus far, I’m the only one who has done this, but a couple of my coworkers have expressed an interest in doing it as well.
While she is homeschooled, Kathryn still has the same required classes. The difference is that the length of her school day is pretty much up to her. If she remains focused, she can get the work done much quicker than she would “at school”. If not, then it can take much longer. And she definitely doesn’t want a reason for a meeting with the principal. Though I frequently hear Mary having a parent, teacher conference….
Since we don’t have to worry about a commute, to either work or school, we have time in the morning to savor the start of a new day.
Mary gets her coffee and crossword.
Or just to have fun.
Our days typically end with some quiet reading time.
One interesting discovery I’ve made is that I don’t feel a great need for a vacation. Prior to this job and lifestyle change, I would typically take a month off every year to relax and unwind. It would typically take me well into the third week before I actually felt rested and free from work concerns. Now, I will take time off for special occasions like Airstream rallys and such, or I’ll sometimes take a day off as a travel day. But I don’t feel the burning desire to get away from it all. I think that’s a good indication that my life is now in more of a balance than it previously was.
Thoughts on life
On one of my hikes last year, I was struck by a thought. I was hiking up a narrow, winding mountain path that was full of rocks and tree roots, so I had to watch the path to keep from stumbling. About half way up, it hit me, here I am, going up a mountain and I’m not even taking time to enjoy the view. After stopping to do so, I got to thinking how much this is like life. We focus on the mundane, doing the same required tasks over and over, doing what we find as necessary. But we don’t open our eyes to the big picture. Not only do we so often miss what is truly important in life (God, family, friends), but our eyes are also often closed to the possibilities that surround us. We focus on minutiae that truly doesn’t matter. We’re too busy “making a living” to have a life.
In Walden, Thoreau said:
“”I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practice resignation, unless it was quite necessary.”
There is so much in our society to catch our eye, to keep our minds off of what is important, that we can find easily find ourselves missing out on life, on living as we were truly meant to. The “rat race” is deeply engrained in our culture. Gaelic Storm has a song, “Hello Monday” that has the lyrics,
Kiss the dog, pat the wife this ain’t living this is life
Check to check, nine to five, I’m waiting for my weekend to come alive
Morning follows night, evening follows afternoon.
If tomorrow comes today wouldn’t be a day too soon
Paid on Thursday, gone by Sunday
Hello Monday! Here we go again!
Paid on Thursday, gone by Sunday
Hello Monday!… Here we go again
I know this was true for me for way too many years. Day in and day out, it was always the same, without taking the time to focus on the important, to focus on LIFE. I was doing all the things I was supposed to do when you’re a grown-up. But it finally hit me that it wasn’t real. It was like Plato’s shadows, just an image of life. When my time here is over, can I say like Paul that “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith”, or will I say that I have 10 U-Hauls worth of stuff and can name every character of some forgettable TV show, but never lived?
With choosing this lifestyle, we don’t have nearly the distractions we used to have. When we left Minnesota, we also left almost everything we’d accumulated over the years. We gave away and donated as much as we could and then discarded the rest. What we kept won’t even adequately furnish a small apartment. We’ve gone from a three bedroom house to living in 240 square feet. The difference is that almost every foot is constantly in use. The items we have are also the things we use. If we don’t use something, then we don’t keep it. If you looked at us, you’d think that we missed the boat on the American dream. But in reality, we find it incredibly freeing. Kinda like power, with stuff comes great responsibility, which takes lots of time. Now that we focus only on those things that are important, we have much more freedom and more time for the important.
We can finally begin to live.