WHY ARE WE DOING THIS?
Of course, this is the question that most people ask us when we tell them that we are in the process of selling virtually everything that we own in order to start travelling the world as wandering nomads for probably the next 20 years. What is amazing that do date virtually nobody has tried to talk us out of what we are doing. Almost without exception we get a very positive response from people of all walks of life. That is because virtually everybody in our circle of friends and acquaintances is also fed up with the modern consumerist, capitalist lifestyle which has made us slaves to our mortgage bonds on our houses, our leases on our cars and the ever-increasing cost of living experienced in large cities. “I wish I was you” is the most common response…”If I could get out tomorrow I would as well” is another. So we know that what we are doing is not as crazy as it may at first appear.
The problem that most people have is that it can be exhausting and complicated to extricate yourself from the tentacles that modern society winds around you if you have followed the formula which we were told should be followed in order to be ‘successful’ in life. A billionaire friend of mine called just yesterday to ask me to help him track down a rare vintage Mercedes in Cape Town for him. He collects vintage classics and has millions invested in his collection. In addition he owns well over 200 buildings and several luxury homes. When I told him my plans, he was excited for me, but said that he was “In too deep to ever get out” of his current lifestyle. He will die extremely wealthy, but not at all a free man who has explored our fragile world and in some small way tried to make a difference.
So when I recently got a valuation on my beloved Victorian house in the leafy suburb of Gardens in Cape Town from Sotheby’s, I sat down and did the figures. I discovered that if we sold the house, our businesses Central Castings and Classic Camper Hire, and six of our cars then we would be in a financial position to follow what has been a lifelong dream to exit the rat race and just travel the world. By investing the proceeds of the sale of our assets, we could generate a monthly income of around US$1800 for close on 20 years with an annual inflation rate of 3% taken into consideration. As South African’s we do not access to any government pension or social security payments, so we have to provide for ourselves. If we live frugally and volunteer for at least 6 months of the year for at least the next 10 years, and barter our skills in exchange for accommodation and food for another month or two each year, we can afford to travel around the Southern Hemisphere and really live the life we believe we were born to live for at least the next 20 years.
We will no longer be hamsters running endlessly on the wheel of never-ending work, too afraid to take a break of more than 3 weeks vacation each year in case the debts begin to build up too much.The financial benefits of a nomadic life straight off are pretty dramatic:
- Without a house or cars we will pay very little insurance for starters – I have been paying around $1 000/month just on this for much of my life just because I have owned so much ‘stuff’.
- As we will be travelling with a large backpack each which holds only essential clothing, three pairs of shoes and a few other travel items, no more need for costly designer clothing each month. I judge those savings to run at another $300/month at least
- Just maintaining and driving several personal cars has cost me at least $300/month just for fuel and basic maintenance, so another saving there.
- Eating out at pricey restaurants and hanging out at trendy spots must run at another $200/month at least. As nomads we’ll be eating healthier locally made food much of the time…and some of it will be free as it’s included in our volunteering deal.
- No more bond repayments on a house saves another $ 500/month for us.
- I will no longer be buying new electronic equipment as I will have no need for it and nowhere to put it…the savings are endless here as I’ve always been into the latest gear.
- Then of course there are loads of other savings on magazine subscriptions,gym club membership, etc. etc. All of the things most people get hooked on in their quest to lead the perfect life of the ‘successful’ businessperson. All of those costs GONE as soon as you opt out of that lifestyle.
While the financial benefits are obviously quite substantial, at this stage of our lives , the other benefits related to personal happiness and well-being far outweigh any financial considerations:
- An immediate drop in stress levels linked to having to make ever-increasing amounts of money to pay for the endless increase in the daily cost of living one experiences in ‘developed’ cities in over-developed mainly western countries. So less chance of a heart attack or stroke 🙂
- Actual happiness in enjoying the simple pleasures of life as we will no longer need to race around on a daily basis to business meetings to earn a living, and have to put up with all of the nonsense that entails.
- By eating simple, healthy meals within a few months of starting our travels we should both be fitter and healthier. Akhona has already been trying out a vegetarian diet and she’s loving it.
- Travelling the world in an unrushed manner makes it possible to spend weeks or months in one place, getting to really know the local people and culture. This is virtually impossible to achieve on a rushed annual vacation. Sadly most Western people buy into the package deal tourist vacation trap and only ever get to meet resort staff on their holiday. We want to be true travellers, exploring each place we visit and “knowing” its people on a very personal level.
So that is my first short answer to the question above, written off-the-cuff. As the days, months and years pass we will both share our thoughts and experiences on why it’s a good idea to escape the rat race in greater depth than many may expect. Hold onto your hats folks!