When we first sat down to figure out what we wanted out of life, we came up with this idea of traveling for a little while. The next obvious question was how to pay for it. Which caused us to look for a tiny house option. Which required us to downsize. Which taught us to buy less stuff. Which reminded us how much more money we could save. Which allowed us to see the disparity of riches in the world. And consequently made us never want to live a life where we were completely out of touch with the needs of others. That helped us look at how to live more sustainably. Which convinced us to make more environmentally conscious decisions. Which made us appreciate the world around us more.
Sometimes it just takes tipping over that first one
We have about 11 weeks left to live in this home that has been so dear to us. Every square inch of this place feels like a part of us, and leaving it will likely be the first time I have cried over leaving a home. (and I've left A LOT of homes in my life)
Obviously I'm someone who is open to new ideas. As a family we've pretty much turned our old lifestyle on it's ear and begun a journey to find peace and happiness every single day. This journey has changed me in sooooooooooo many ways.
But there is one way that has been a challenge for me for a long time, in part because I simply didn't want to be bothered.
I'm not here to rant about budgeting and the cash system and how it has changed my life. (you can read that rant here) No...today I'm going to talk about NOT budgeting as a way of saving money. WHA?!?! I know, that sounds crazy...until you hear it from the Frugalwoods.
The Frugalwoods from the Forbes article
Have you heard of these guys? They have it together BIG TIME. If I could go back and know then what I know now, we could have retired 5 years ago. For reals. But that's ok. My journey is what it is, and I don't live with regret. I am grateful and overjoyed at the choices we're making. What I do want to tell you is that you should head over to the Frugalwoods blog. But first, let this article in Forbes give you an introduction to what they're all about.
The part that REALLY stands out to me is that they do not follow a budget. In fact, their point is that following a budget promotes more spending. If you focus simply on not spending, then you will save. Whereas if you use a budget, you tend to spend the whole thing. And that (for us) has been true. If we have money left over at the end of the budget cycle, we do tend to blow it on something.
That really caused me to stop and think even more about our spending habits. Especially since we're still making full time money right now...but next year we will not. I don't want to spend more than we have because it means we'll have to stop traveling and start working again!
So right now I have been taking $200 out of the budget money every two weeks and putting it away in a can. (Just to see if we can do with $200 less.) Of course, that's not the point...the point is to simply face everything as a way to not to spend money just because you can. Every chance to spend can also be a chance not to. And since one of my favorite Thoreau quotes is "The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it" I feel like I've come a step closer to fully realizing my new spending philosophy.
Hank's kind of cute...right?
I like learning new things. It makes me feel stronger and more resilient against the mass consumer spending that permeates our world.
We have been known to have 2 family novels and 1 audiobook going at the same time. We have definitely been known to hold off all other school work to finish an amazing novel (thank goodness we're homeschoolers and we have that freedom!). We especially love books about kids saving the day, even more so if the background is fantastically creepy.
The Wildwood Chronicles (series)
I love this series! The Impassible Wilderness is very similar to our cedar & spruce rainforest in southeast Alaska. (Every time I go for a hike I imagine I'm walking into Wildwood.) Strong characters, rich landscape...and amazing illustrations. A little tidbit for you, the author and illustrator are a husband and wife team; the husband is also the lead vocalist for The Decemberists.
The Lost Children
My kids loved this one in particular. We read it in a dark rustic cabin in Alaska, by firelight no less. Kidnapped children, strange creatures, unknown worlds...yep, it's a good one!
This is not a series, which is nice. Sometimes it's good to just read a good book and move on with life. That's how Spirit's Key was. When it was over, it was just over...no need to wonder what happens next. And that can be a really good thing. Another strong lead character, a young girl this time...if you're turned off by the supernatural, then this one isn't for you. There are animal spirits, trances, and reading of futures.
The City of Ember (series)
Ok, I know I said Wildwood is my favorite series...but City of Ember is also my favorite series. They are quite a bit different, seeing as how Wildwood is fantasy, while Ember falls more into the dystopian future genre. What I love most is that her characters are good. There are no evil President Snow type characters here (Hunger Game reference, in case you were wondering). Not to say that everyone is perfect (there is a bad mayor in the first one), but mostly it's about always being willing to try, to fight for what is right, and to decide for yourself what is good and honorable.
The Giver (series)
I love this entire series, but I really love the second book the most. I love that each book seems unrelated to the one before, and eventually get weaved together into one story. The author is creative by nature (she has written MANY books worth checking out), but what I like the most is that she doesn't write for reality...imagination weaves in and out of normal life seamlessly.
The Five Kingdoms (series)
My son found this series, and thank goodness he did! We had just finished the last City of Ember book, and we were looking for something new. We felt like the writing was similar to the Percy Jackson series. It definitely has something for everyone...strange worlds, kidnapped children...and kids that can hold their own. (an obviously favorite recurring theme for us)
The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place (series)
The author's silly humor is infectious...and I swear, if Jane Austen were to write a childrens' series, it would be this one. The strength of the main character isn't quite what we usually like (a bit prim for our taste), but her unstoppable positivity more than makes up for it.
Why do some people do seemingly amazing things, while others do not?
ETSY print from FabulouslyFeminist
I've read a lot about this...and thought a lot more about it. And I've certainly allowed fear to stop me (a lot) in my life. It's a rare person who lives completely fearlessly.
Think about it, when a person is doing something amazing, something out of the norm...but it goes wrong. They get cancer, or someone dies...the first thing people do is attack their choices. But bad things happen whether we do amazing things or not; why do we feel compassion for those who choose a normal path, but judgement when someone veers from that same path?
Fear is so pervasive, it not only stops us from doing amazing things...it also causes us to judge others for their choice to do something amazing. Sometimes it's fear for their safety (like a parent would feel for a child), but more often it's fear that we're living our own lives wrong. If others can do amazing things, why can't I? But rather than dig deep and find their own amazing path, it's easier and safer to stay the course and judge others for leaving it.
I am reading a book right now that says that we approach everything in one of two ways; fear or love. The list of fear responses was eye opening...I could see my own responses over the years. I could see my own responses to what we're planning now, both the fear the love responses. I could see the responses of our parents, friends and perfect strangers...and it was easy to categorize them all into fear or love. Here is the list, which do you gravitate towards?
-try to control, manipulate, and micromanage people and situations, thinking we always know best
-think things are good only when they're going "our" way
-operate from our heads all the time, overthinking and overmanaging
-become reactive and get easily triggered
-react negatively and see problems first, instead of acknowledging what's good
-come from a poverty mindset and feel like there is never enough
-punish, judge, and close ourselves off from others
-trust-and allow those we love to follow their own unique path (even if we don't agree)
-practice acceptance and let go
-listen from our hearts in our interactions and respond in the moment
-communicate openly and be more receptive and flexible
-come from a prosperity mindset and see that there is always "enough" time, attention, space and resources
-see everyone's true essence, who they really are, not how they're acting in the moment
-slow down and experience gratitude for all that happens
So how do we change our natural responses? Well, I will admit...I am no expert. But from my own life I have been able to overcome fear by really digging deep and getting to know myself and my family. From there we really learned what we wanted out of this life. Once you do that, there really is no excuse for not trying to attain your deepest most important life goals. This process is not quick, or easy...and you will find that what you think is important will change. No matter what, you must continually remind yourself to approach it with love, not fear. Reread the lists over and over again to help you recognize when you're headed down the wrong path.
Fear. Fear. Fear.
I still have terrifying moments where I realize we're REALLY leaving our job, our life, our security...what happens if it all goes wrong?!?! And I start to let those deep dark feelings sink in. And I wonder if we should change our minds. Could we quietly just sneak back into our lives? Maybe no one will even notice. I can feel fear taking over...and I have to remind myself to approach it with love. Then my heart opens, and I can see clearly again.
This next few years of slowly traveling with my young (but quickly growing) kids, and my very loving husband who NEVER has free time, will be the single most important experience we will probably ever have together. We will talk about these days for the rest of our lives. We will draw from the love, patience, fun and adventure for the rest of our lives. It will become a benchmark for whatever comes next, and if it isn't at least as awesome as traveling, than why bother?
Becoming Maggie Blue is the journey to becoming the person I want to be. I live on a boat in Southeast Alaska with my husband, 2 kids, 1 dog and 4 fish. We are doing our best to live our lives right. We love nature (the ocean obviously), crafting, reading, homeschooling and having family adventures. This blog is where we share it all.