The other question everyone is asking us is, What are you going to do for money? Meaning: It is fun to travel and all, but to live you need money. And, unless you are millionaires (which we are not), you need:
A: To work
B: To buy stuff
C: To pay taxes
D: To pay rent or mortgage
E: To pay more taxes
This is a tough one. But before attempting to answer it, let me explain what our attitude towards Money and the System in general is. Today, it is believed that money is an element like water and air. We need money in order to survive. Our western capitalist economy needs us to shop irresponsibly in order to flourish, to spend more than we can afford for things that we do not need; urges us to live beyond our means. We are greatly appalled with the predatory capitalism we live in; the excessive taxation everyone seems to hate but accept; the cult for wealth defused by TV propaganda which closes our minds; the unhealthy practice of borrowing credit and paying interest; and all those cruel trick-or-treats that make us slaves in a corrupt system ruled by free market economy and centralized banks. We don’t want to participate in this anymore. We have no credit, no mortgage, no TV, no phone. We have given up many comforts, and are about to give up even more in order to find other things we consider more precious: freedom and independence.
Many think we are insane immature romantics. Others don’t see us at all. I remember, some time ago, the most terrible thing happened to us when Ivo and I accidently strolled into a bank. A small quiet building filled with everyone’s money. There, in a room made of glass and small framed diplomas, waited a human financial adviser. A serious young man, bigger than life. With trembling voice and out of curiosity, I asked him, “Your bank, what does it do?”
“Oh, it can do anything,” said the financial adviser. “Like the Almighty, it gives and it takes and you shall fear and respect it. But tell me, good citizen,” he continued with a voice full of sweet tapioca pudding, “what can I do for you, what can I offer you, how can I serve you?”
We started answering questions. As time went by, he became worried and anxious. “Do you have a mortgage with us?” he asked firs.
“No, we paid off the house, we don’t have a mortgage at all.”
“Do you have any investments, a business?”
I felt something cold and disgusting gnawing on my foot.
“No, sir, we do not.”
“Do you…” here he paused and he waited a bit. “have credit cards?”
We shook heads. He leaned back in his chair made of human hair and bones and with an almost imperceptible voice concluded, “I’m afraid, dear clients, you don’t exist…”
We might not exist for some institutions, but we still eat food and wear clothes. So the question remains, What are we going to do about money?
It was much easier to write about our seamanship expertise than to answer this one. But I will try…
We would like to defy the vicious circle of work-watch TV-buy stuff-pay taxes-need more money-work more-have no time-get tired-get sad-retire by alternative living. Here is how we are planning to do it, first in a motor home and after that in a boat:
We will work whenever and whatever (as little as possible and only if needed, and hey, thus we will not have to pay much taxes!).
Let’s say that we got to Australia and we have spent all our savings. Well, then we will have to find a job in Australia (maybe trucking again for couple of months) and save up some Australian money! Here you might attack us saying that as Canadian citizens we can’t possibly just show up in some country and work there without a proper permission. Well, we will probably have to apply for such permission. There is also the possibility for freelancing as well as short period cash jobs. We’ll find out. Any ideas or information are welcome.
Next, we will only buy the stuff that we absolutely need.
Actually, we have always done so. We are already experienced in the art of defying consumerism by limiting our shopping urges, by budget tracking, and by adopting some money-saving techniques, without living like “hobos”, as some might assume.
For example, we have been scavenging secondhand clothes in church basements for 12 years now. Thus, we are not only saving on money, but also recycling cloths that would otherwise end up in dumpsters and landfills. Besides, It is fun to find some really expensive good quality item and pay for it 0.50 $. It is also fun finding someone else’s old undesired dress, or t-shirt, or pants and give them another chance.
Same goes for other things too: books, furniture, household, anything. We pay full price for new things only if there is no acceptable alternative. Like my photographic equipment for example. Digital cameras and lenses could be very expensive but I wouldn’t risk buying them used, as their quality deteriorates with time and this is something I can’t compromise with.
Finally, we also save on food by shopping responsibly and preparing our own meals. I love cooking! And by this I don’t mean opening cans or reheating frozen meals. Growing up in communist Bulgaria, I didn’t know what the expression “to cook from scratch” meant until recently. For me there has never been any other option; in Bulgaria to cook always implies “from scratch”. Moreover, we take our health seriously, so we try to eat healthy. Thus, we never step in fast food joints and we rarely go out to eat in restaurants, except when we visit a new place. Experiencing local food is a major aspect of travelling and we are determined to enjoy it at any cost! Luckily, in most places we are planning to visit, the food is a lot cheaper than in Canada, so I don’t think trying local delicacies should be a problem. And, of course, once we move in the boat, we will have the ocean with all its fishes beneath our feet. And we love fish!
Our biggest expense will be the boat. We will try to find a cheaper older one. Selling our house in Canada should be enough to cover the price of the boat and get it ready for cruising: fix whatever needs to be fixed and upgrade it. A couple of things we will have to have are reverse osmosis (a machine which transforms sea water into fresh water), as well as enough solar panels to produce all the electricity we will need. We decided against a small wind turbine, because it is noisy. Ivo is hoping to install an electrical engine powered by solar panels, if this is at all possible, so that we will be completely off grid. But before starting to think about solar panels and reverse osmosis, we need to find the right boat…