Non Financial EOY Thoughts & Musings
This might turn into an unorganized brain dump, so reader beware.
2020, despite it's many struggles and challenges, turned out to be a relatively great year for us. While our initial itinerary was completely disrupted between Covid and DW's work injury shortly before we left, there was a tremendous silver lining. When planning the trip, we thought that spending 3 months traveling from Portugal to Poland would be "slow" and had a dozen locations on our list. In hindsight, that would have been entirely too much, and are grateful that we had to hunker down and live in one foreign place for 3 months. It changes our plans on future trips, and we believe it's a much more sustainable and authentic way to experience places we are interested in living.
One thing that we both really want to try when the world normalizes again, is WorkAway/WOOFing. The arrangement seems almost perfect from an ERE standpoint, and from reading more about it over the past year, looks like many of the hosts/opportunities provide a unique insight into local culture/economy/society that an outsider typically would have a hard time getting on their own. Not to mention the different skills one can learn by working on various projects. It also keeps the $$ out of the hands of hotels/AirBnB, and in the hands of the local people.
Over the past month or so, I've shared my struggle with direction and purpose. Especially after rereading a post by Ego from several months ago where he outlines some important thoughts/advice on returning back to "home base" after an extended period of travel. And due to circumstance and the gravity of our previous lifestyle, like we had fallen into a similar pattern as before we left. I felt a sense of defeat due to the lack of creativity to create a new life upon return. Our situation right now is "comfortable" and "safe", but that's not how I want to remember my life. The timing could not have been better yesterday, when WRC posted the links to Mountain of Storms and a video remembering Doug Tompkins, in the ERE Adventure thread. DW and I watched them together, in that respective order. It revived an extreme sense of adventure and compassion for our planet, and made me realize that I need to determine a path forward as soon as logistically possible, to get back to what's important to us.
Jin+Guice wrote: ↑
Fri Jan 01, 2021 3:36 pm
One thing to consider when thinking of the job vs. wanderlust tradeoff is that adventure can be had through employment. It's really hard to decouple dollar remuneration from employment, but if you can accept that you don't need to earn money anymore, adventure awaits.........
I've also experienced a real sense of loss on the journey from 5/6.....
Wanted to address your thoughts on these points.
1) You're certainly right, but my job is not a very adventurous one right now. I'm past the point of not needing the $$, and experienced the benefits of taking big risks and using FU$ to strengthen my backbone. There are aspects of the work that a certainly enjoy, the salesmanship, negotiation, and learning about how different business and industries I am selling into operate and grow.......but what's that led me to? A disdain for corporate America and most aspects of modern society. I've become an indirect part of the problem, by making it easier for companies to squeeze more profit at the expense of the planet/people. In the future, I would like to find work that is part of the solution, those have to exist, and I'm sure could equally leverage my skillset and abilities. Around September, after 11 months off work there was an itch to do something again. Rather than jumping back into a corporate W-2 position, I wish I had taken some more time to figure out something that aligned more with my values.
2) The sense of loss is very real. About 4-5 years ago, I started feeling a bit like an outsider at work primarily. Everyone talked about what car they're going to lease next, the extra addition to their house, and what activities their kids need to succeed at outside of academics to have a good shot at top schools. I observed, as these people were VERY high income earners, but turns out complained about lack of money like you wouldn't believe. Still, I made a few friends, and did pretend to be more like them to fit in. It was still awkward at lunch or company happy hours when pop-culture references were made and I was clueless (don't watch TV for decades). More recently though, I have a much harder time relating to "normal" people. Watching the way even close friends and family live their lives to simply consume, is nauseating.
I don't think I could spend money how I used to, even if I tried. Even looking back on when my spending was relatively low, I would still create sooooo much waste. Back then I was an optimizer and deal-getter like yourself. It felt good, but it was driven by my understanding of FIRE, not so much ERE.
There is no going back. The future needs to be built based on true values, and I hope it attracts the right people.