We are your average young couple, who graduated college, began climbing the corporate ladder enough to purchase a house in Hawaii. That’s many people’s dreams and we did it before we reached 30. We still have some college tuition debt after years of working and living frugally. Not once in our life have we owed money on a credit card for more than 30 days. One day we looked back and saw that we had been together for 10 years and remembered the days before we had a house and good paying jobs as fonder than the life we were living. The elder wiser ones were saying they hoped to retire one day, and they began to have health problems, finding retirement homes, and some of our acquaintances lived only a year or a few after they retired from jobs they never enjoyed. We were told things like “You can’t have it all” or “You can’t eat the pie and the pudding”.
Here we will attempt to prove that you definitely can’t have it all, but you can certainly eat the pie and the pudding as long as there is pie and pudding at your disposal and you do actually want to eat it. So we decided to embark on our own journey TO retirement instead of WAITING for retirement. We wish to contribute to society in meaningful ways that promote a healthier planet in every regard instead of pushing paper around and collecting money to buy things. The less we buy the more we allow others to spend time with their families instead of in factories sewing a new pair of shoes together, assembling toys, or sitting behind a desk waiting for quitting time. Do you really need holiday seasonal decorations to enjoy the time of year? Some would argue that by buying un-necessary items we are creating an economy where others can afford a family. I simply disagree. Redistributing time spent so that basic needs of food and shelter are met is where time should be spent, and it sure doesn’t take a dreaded-structured-40-hour workweek to meet basic needs or be happy. It’s generally better to walk away, than tolerate nonsense.
This journey we wish for you to take with us, and I hope it shows how easy it is to embark on it as soon as you can. There were simply almost no life-changing-useful orders we heard from the wise old ones we met besides “I wish I had done what you are doing when I was your age”. We have backgrounds collectively in engineering, firefighting, law enforcement and environmental and renewable energy management, so to say diverse. Top of the class with a masters degree in science from an IVY league and a bachelors degree that took 7 years to complete. Everything in-between never seemed to matter, and all that juice just tasted sweeter than the rind on the outside. Go figure.
It’s becoming increasingly clear the hardest part of starting a trip on the road is actually giving up your address. Giving away your belongings, selling, or burning it in the firepit behind the house was the easy part. Finding a car is as easy as craigslist now-a-days, but that’s where the trouble began. Without a job, or permanent address I found we were unable to get a new or maintain our current bank account. This leaves a sizeable amount of cash one can’t access to pay for a car, rent a hotel room or even an apartment. I started to wonder how moving from one country to another may present itself with even more challenges. Imagine if I were a refugee and not an American citizen just moving from Hawaii to the lower 48 states? The chance of getting arrested or thrown in jail sounds almost inevitable, and ALL you are trying to do is live in a “freedom” state of being. There were many sleep lost nights over this, and companies tended to treat us as felons, never mind police, to whom we are not even US citizens. In the very end after lots of fighting Melissa got a drivers license (it says she is male which I suppose makes our marriage illegal in some states).
Bank accounts require a physical address where you reside. Without a physical address I could also not get a PO box. Without a PO box I could not get mail except to pay for a business to accept my mail. The catch is the Department of Motor Vehicles is onto these businesses, and you can’t use their address to register a vehicle or obtain a drivers license. Now I could use a friend for family member’s address but how is that fair or realistic if I am to demonstrate that we all can be this free? Harder yet, I got warnings of freezing my assets and vehicles from the “State” department that I was in trouble because they could not find me. Interestingly enough I was a U.S. Federal Police Officer just a few years ago. It gave me pause, as I’m not sure how I would handle pulling over somebody like me. I’d never be qualified to have a desk job and write somebody like me angry letters without laughing, and probably quitting I presume.
This train of thinking led me to wondering what the homeless do. After searching around advice given about living on the road for a period of time I found no alternative but to declare homelessness. Depending on where you look the average homeless person costs approximately $40,000 a year in benefits to taxpayers, some cost that must in medical care alone. I do not wish to drain the system, but I am left with few other alternatives but to declare homelessness to have an address for the privilege to pay for car registration, taxes and where to find me.
I certainly don’t consider myself homeless. My soul dwells in my house, but my home is in my soul. Why cage my soul?
–Chris Written March 25, Edited April 25 2016