Because I've been traveling a lot and haven't been able to post as much, I've been saving up some links you might enjoy. Now, in the lull between NYC and California, here is a good one:
It's about families who are living super-simple, super-frugal and, in some cases, nomadic lives. This might not be for everyone, but to me it sounds like heaven: I hate owning a lot of stuff (with the associated maintenance burden), and would love to spend a large fraction of my time on the road, traveling, giving workshops and meeting people. I'm working toward that goal now - one reason for the recent bump-up in travel. The elderly dogs are one impediment, and my lack of mechanical skills are another. Another major barrier was that years ago I ran a budget and couldn't make the numbers work. Apparently, though, you can: the people quoted in the article are living on the road for as little as $1,500 per month.
Excerpts from the article:
"Like many other young couples, Aimee and Jeff Harris spent the first years of their marriage eagerly accumulating stuff: cars, furniture, clothes, appliances and, after a son and a daughter came along, toys, toys, toys.
"Now they are trying to get rid of it all, down to their fancy wedding bands. Chasing a utopian vision of a self-sustaining life on the land as partisans of a movement some call voluntary simplicity, they are donating virtually all their possessions to charity and hitting the road at the end of May.
"'It’s amazing the amount of things a family can acquire,' said Mrs. Harris, 28... The Harrises now hope to end up as organic homesteaders in Vermont.
"'Mr. Harris, 30, who dropped out of high school and 'rode the Internet wave,' agreed, saying they were 'letting the universe take us for a ride.'"
That last quote could sound like the height of irresponsibility, but given the state of the economy and the many people struggling desperately to maintain an unhappy facade of middle-class existence, it doesn't seem so to me. The Harrises could well succeed, and even if they don't, if they have the resilience to recover well from "failure," it will be a phenomenal growth experience for them and their children. Their kids, I think, are lucky to be raised by such independent thinkers and risk-takers.