The last few days have been really long days now that we have started the long trip to our new adventure on the other side of the world. The 1 100 mile (1 760km) drive from Wauchula in Florida to Livingston in Texas was uneventful but boring. Fortunately the interstate highways are good and we were able to do the trip in 3 days with two rather noisy nights at truck stops. To add to our never ending list of things to do before we leave, the electric steps have decided to stop working and a trip to the local RV repair shop has revealed that the control box and electric motor have failed. Their quote of US$800 for a new set of steps seemed exorbitant and we have managed to find the parts we need for US$236. Now we need to find out if we can replace the parts ourselves. The net result of the long drive and the endless to-do list is that we are both feeling a tad wrecked.
Not being hooked up over the past few days has given me a chance to catch up on some of my reading. I have been reading Lin and Larry Pardy’s book the Cost Conscious Cruiser. They really perfected the art of ‘Champagne Cruising on a Beer Budget’. There were two issues in the book that really stood out for me.
We often meet people who are envious of our lifestyle and express the desire to also get off the treadmill and realise their dreams. They however always seem to have a multitude of excuses for not being able to do so. This extract from their book sums it up far better than I ever could.
“In her book Journey into my Mind’s Eye, Lesley Blanch listens to her mother’s tale of romance with a charming Russian Traveler. Lesley asks her mother why she hadn’t run off to Russia with the Traveler, since “she was grown up and free to go anywhere she liked.” “One is never really free,” was her mother’s enigmatic reply. But this didn’t satisfy Lesley, for, as she put it, “I had begun to discover that my mother rather enjoyed restrictions. They saved her the strain of adventurous decisions. Ill health, lack of money, her duty to others – all these things gradually became her allies. She had opted for quiet.”
I think most people opt for quiet and enjoy the restrictions that they place on themselves. The reality however is that you only get one life to live, if you aren’t living the life you want, then do something about it.
The second thing that stood out was the concept of “Freedom Chips” or “funnits”. The money you save by being cost-conscious and not being a slave to the ‘latest and greatest’ and ‘bigger and better’ allows you to build a reserve to realise your dreams. We see it particularly in the USA – the constant desire for a ‘bigger house, bigger car and another TV.’
“The world of advertising well understands human nature, and ruthlessly exploits human frailty. It generates new needs so that it may endlessly sell us new products. Advertising fuels our wants and desires. For it to succeed, it must persuade large numbers of people that enough can never be enough. It works by making us fell unhappy or insecure about our diet, appearance, and possessions, in other words, every aspect of our lives. Nine times out of ten it is selling us something we don’t really need. But it proves irresistible nevertheless.” – from Getting a Life, by Ghazi and Jones. Hodder and Stoughton, 1997.
It is no wonder then that the advertising industry is a multi-billion dollar industry and why so many companies spend so much money on advertising. They want your Freedom Chips. The choice to live free and get off the treadmill is exactly that – a choice.
We now have a week at Livingston while we get the RV cleaned and ready to be sold.