I was born in a
performance-oriented culture in which acquisitions frequently are the
measure of a man. For the first twenty years of my life, I listened to
the gospel of money and materialism, but I never became a convert. I
confess to having a couple of close calls where for short periods of
time I felt the undertow of money's siren call. But I always escaped
before money took over my life, and I drowned in a sea of dollars.
I faced a choice. I could become rich in the
experiences that come with a life of adventure, or I could be rich in
monetary terms piling up a mountain of money and other acquisitions. It
was one of the hardest choices I ever made, and at the same time, one of
the easiest. It was hard because I saw how my medical colleagues were
accumulating substantial wealth. It was easy because
I wanted adventure
and freedom more than I wanted money.
I have always placed a high value on my personal
freedom, and I have organized my life around the Freedom Principle.
This principle says if you don't worship at the altar of acquisitions
and money, you'll never lose your freedom. People who have no
possessions have a remarkable amount of freedom, because they have
nothing to lose. People who have massive infrastructure and millions of
dollars have limited freedom because they have so much to lose.
Although it's true rich people have more options than
poor people, rich folks have made an agreement with life that limits
their freedom and options. It's extremely difficult to feel free when
you are chained to endless infrastructure that you must work to
support. Infrastructure is expensive, and instead of it supporting you,
you must work to support it. You have the initial cost of acquiring it,
and the never ending cost of maintaining it.
I'm not claiming you don't need
money. I am purposing most people would do fine, perhaps even better,
if they had less infrastructure to support. They would have more
personal freedom and probably would enjoy their lives more. At least,
that's the way it works for me.
I have a confession to make. I am addicted to
expeditionary vehicles, specifically, Land Rover Defenders. Even though
I am sailing around the world on a small yacht, I still have two
Defenders parked in storage facilities around the world. One is in
Whangarei, New Zealand, and the other is in Mooloolaba, Australia. If I
worship at the altar of infrastructure and acquisitions, that altar is
shaped like Land Rovers, fully kitted out for expeditionary travel with
roof racks, long range fuel tanks, two spare tires, roof top tents,
heavy duty suspension, and customized storage compartments. These
freedom machines stand ready to take me from Cairo to Capetown when the
time is right.
So there you have it. I do have a certain amount of
infrastructure in my life, and I spend modest amounts of money to
maintain it. There is no other way to make my dreams come true. I need
to have my Freedom Machines ready to travel outback and beyond.
We all have compromises we must make when we come to
our agreement with life. My compromise is simple. I keep my
infrastructure to a minimum whenever possible. But when it comes to
Freedom Machines - Land Rover Defenders and catamarans - I am willing to
do whatever it takes to keep my dreams alive, and even make some of them
Stay tuned, because when I finish my sailing trip
around the world, I may fire up those Land Rovers and make a truck
convoy across the Australian outback. Then, I may ship the Defenders to
South Africa and make a run from Capetown to Cairo.
I'm fifty-nine years old, and I can hear the sound of
my dreams. I don't know how much time I have left, but in the time that
remains, I plan to keep on trucking.