I stumbled onto my old post about my time living in a tent in the desert and I started to think about how my life has changed since. Back then I didn’t have to work because it cost me so little to live. And now, recently, I have finally achieved that status again. My land lording income covers my living expenses, which remain small compared to my neighbors, but enormous compared to my past self. – That guy who called a tent in the desert his home, and a foraging rabbit his dinner.
I rode out of that desert for the final time on my motorcycle, determined to work, save, and invest enough so that I could spend the rest of my life as peacefully as I spent that year in the desert. – Without deadlines, commitments, mandatory projects or assignments. And with time for reflection, friends, rest and solitude.
Here I am, it’s been eight years since I lived in a tent without needing a job. And now, after years of effort, I live in a house without needing a job.
All that work to get right back where I started! Except now I have a refrigerator, a car, computers, a tv, a varied and downright indulgent diet; I don’t have to light a cow patty ablaze to cook my supper. I have air conditioning, a washing machine and dishwasher. – As much running hot water as I could ever want. – A flushing toilet, virtually unlimited electricity, a warm hearth and even a paved driveway. If I could stand next to my old self it would be like seeing a king with a pauper.
Back then I was worth maybe a couple of thousand bucks. Now I’m up over a quarter-million and climbing.
It was a lot easier to be free then because my costs were so few. I had almost nothing but was able to go for over a year without a job. All I needed was a steady hand to catch my dinner. My more typical lifestyle I live now requires, as a minimum, my quarter-million bucks to maintain without income from a job. – Quite a difference in start up costs between the two ways of living.
For me, it was worth the effort, because it really didn’t take all that much. I was lucky enough to land a high-paying union job, diligent enough to save the vast majority of my earnings, and smart enough to make some clever investments along the way. But if those opportunities weren’t there I probably would have been better off just building a small adobe cabin where I was, rather than trying to toil away at some job for the rest of my life just so that I could have silly things like a refrigerator.
My modern house is comfortable, and I’m grateful for it. But it isn’t necessary for a happy life. I’m sure of that. And it definitely takes a lot of effort to accumulate enough assets to keep such a home without an earned income. Especially when you can go live in a tent for close to nothing.
Having that knowledge, and the ability to be comfortable living in a tent again if I had to, is empowering. It makes me fearless.