So far outside the box you can't even see the box from here.
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Friday, June 29, 2012
Status and the steady decline of income
My lovely wife and I were talking about our income the other day. In real terms, we expect it to go steadily down. Inflation could eat away at it, or the actual amount could be reduced. Either way, it’s less to live on. That’s been the overall trend for us over the last 20 years.
That doesn’t mean we live less. Just the opposite has happened. Ten years ago we could only afford to travel by living in a tent and staying at campgrounds. It came as quite a shock to realize we could not longer afford to spend most of our time in campgrounds. Last winter we spent time with friends, relatives and on the sailboat. Only a handful of days were spent in actual campgrounds.
Strange to think that living on a sailboat was cheaper than in a tent at a campground. We spent more time on beautiful beaches and went places that could only be reached by boat. Quite a few nights we just set the anchor and stayed for free. When we stayed at a marina, the price was pretty reasonable because our boat is short and they charge by the foot. We get the same services and facilities as everyone else, but pay a lot less for it.
Our custom camping van will save us some motel nights. We only would stay at a hotel to sleep. We can do the whole camp at Walmart in the parking lot thing and sleep just as well. At least the bed will be one we are used to.
Eventually, we hope to sell the house to the kids and move into something like a yurt on the land across the street. We could actually live pretty comfortably in a 20 foot yurt. Winters we would live on a sailboat where the water is warm and the sun is hot.
We plan on adjusting to diminishing income. The other way would be to find more work. Sometimes that’s what you have to do. If time is more important, however, you end up finding different ways to live. Some people work crazy hours to support the things in life that give them status: nice car, big hours, expensive vacations, all the physical signs that a person has made it. My status comes from other things. Having free time to do the things I love is one. Finding alternatives to the conventional way of life is another.
Some people look at something like my ambulance to motorhome project and think I’m some kind of crazy hobo. My vehicle is different looking. I’m handling smelly fry oil and lifting heavy jugs to fuel it. I don’t have a sleek RV with all the toys. I’m really not interested in impressing those people.
It is nice when someone checks out what I’m doing and “gets it.” Often it’s people who live lives of nonconformity themselves. I like talking to those people as we can trade tips on what works. Sometimes it’s someone who lives a normal life on the surface, but has an inner rebel struggling to be free.
Diminishing income is in a lot more people’s future. They just don’t know it yet. Keeping up with the Jones is a fools game. Listen to that inner rebel.
I live in an area of NH known as the Great North Woods. I'm in my dome-i-cile out in the county with my lovely wife and a varying number of family and friends
-part red neck, part hippie but all country. Experimenting and enjoying the adventure of life.