Monday, March 3, 2014

The Money Trap vs. Freedom

Brigadoon, reaching.

Once Upon a Time...on a sea far far away...

Brigadoon courses along, pushing salt water aside, riding the pace and timing of the waves, in her element, in her home. We ride with her, on her, within her, between this place and that, on this ocean crossing; ten days behind us and maybe fifteen more to go. We've gotten used to this schedule by now, resting when it is time, working and letting the other rest when it is time. Seabirds occasionally come to rest aboard her. We are welcome for the company. Dolphins sometimes join us too, riding her bow wave, playing with us as we head ever farther west -- ever farther. It's been two years now, since we cast off the lines and headed south. We've learned much. One of those things is that our preparations were the right ones, that we made the right decisions, tool the right chances and paid the right price in sacrifices to get here -- freedom. I'm happy. We are happy. We worked hard to get here, to this place where the horizon of our past is behind us and our future lies ahead. Our past is merely what led us to this moment. Our future? Who knows but, it's our future...ours alone.

I remember all those years, working for a living, falling into the money trap. You get a job, you buy some stuff, you get some credit, and you go in debt. You work to get a better job, so you can buy more stuff on credit, going into even more debt. At some point, during that trap, I turned around and wondered how I got there, so beholding to others for what I owed them. I worked jobs I did not like for bosses who I did not respect and at companies that did not care about anything else but the bottom line.

Many times I tried to get out of debt but, I never got there. Prices rise, one has to have a home, a vehicle, and then there are the toys. Many of these things are built on debt, because we have to have them now or we are unfulfilled, unsatisfied. What a fool I was.

Then I met Kerry and we found Brigadoon. Living aboard was, at first, merely a different way to live. In finding her, we discarded many of the things we couldn't have. Living on a boat gives you only so much space to keep things. Things started to lose their grip on us. At first we sold and sold and sold things to get Brigadoon. Then we placed items we thought we would still need in a nice heated storage unit just blocks up the road. We visited it sometimes, then less and less. Finally, another price increase drove us to get rid of the storage unit and move to a smaller one at our marina. We discarded even more things and we had less.  Less burden, less obligation, and less debt.

Then we made the plan. We decided to see the world instead of just living aboard and cruising the Puget Sound for five years. Brigadoon was capable. We just needed to become capable and ready. A financial plan was developed to get us debt free. Once we owed no money, once we were beholding to no one financially, questions started to raise themselves.

If we had no obligations, and Brigadoon is a solid and seaworthy vessel, just how much income do we really need? The answer was surprising. Instead of the job that brings in large sums -- oddly connected to large amounts of stress, insanity, working in an environment that wasn't healthy for us, we could literally do whatever we want. Our choices opened up. The plan was solid. We hit benchmarks. This vehicle paid off, those credit cards cleared, and finally a last payment to the bank for Brigadoon.

Freedom. Any income we had was ours. All we had to spend money on was the actual cost of living simply aboard Brigadoon, plus any frivolity we chose to afford. We saved money, finalized upgrades to Brigadoon, closed the task list of "must-dos" and were done. Done. Nothing was keeping us here.

We quit the jobs that satisfied neither of us.

Quit. Resigned. No longer obligated to work in toxic corporate environments, with people or companies we didn't respect, for the paycheck to support debt  -- the debt was gone and so was the need. We broke the bonds of the Money Trap, the debt to others, the obligations, the control others had on our lives -- control we gave them. We gave it to them through our actions. But now? Done. Finished. Free.



I finished and self-published my fifth book -- the others were selling just fine. This would help. Kerry had played in the theater the last few years, building a foundation where we just might be performing in some foreign land someday. 


And so we finalized our plans, readied ourselves, let go the dock lines to the marina that was our home for over five years.  We left. We raised two bridges, transited the locks, spent a last night at Shilshole and headed north. Four days later we entered the open Pacific, gained sea space and headed offshore, turning left and south to see the world together.

And they lived happily ever after.