Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s need, but not every man’s greed.–Mahatma Gandhi
In the midst of our travels we’ve met so many different people from different walks of life. People of different religions, people of different political persuasions, people with small families and people with large families, friendly people and un-friendly people have all crossed our paths. We’ve also traveled through large cities and small rural towns, we’ve seen overtly rich people and overtly poor. In fact, in Johnson City we stopped to pick up a prescription for Elly who had been running a fever for a few days. We were supposed to stop prior, but the doctor’s office hadn’t gotten the message so we kept driving. It was a totally random stop. Dan ran into Walgreens and I stayed in the RV with the kids and my sickly little Elly. Soon, there was a knock at the door, a man stood on the other side and he was profusely apologetic for bothering me, but proceeded with a lengthy story that culminated in the fact that he had car problems, his wife’s “piece of junk PT Cruiser” … the fuel injection system maybe? … and had to fork out $750 to get it fixed, which he did. But this, unfortunately, left his with nothing to get back home to FL. He had commissioned the help of the police, he said, and with their help he had contacted every church in the area, to which he had raised a measley $20! I finally cut him off as he was visibly in agony having to ask for help and asked if he needed gas money. To which he replied, defeated, yes.
Of course we helped him. I would never, no matter how destitute I was, turn away anyone who asked for help. We’ve all been on the needy side. We’ve experienced financial despair, we’ve turned to family and been told, “I wish you lived closer, I could bring you dinner.” And, “At least it’s summer, you won’t freeze if you lose your home.” The callousness of some people, of family even, could cause one to become callous themselves, but what it did for Dan and I was just the opposite. I have compassion for people who are struggling temporarily. I don’t have compassion for people who choose to remain in a cycle of need. I also don’t have compassion for people who turn to others for wants and desires. So, your daughter wants to become the best gymnast? NO, I will not contribute to her fundly account — there are starving children, homeless children, abused and abandoned children, children fighting cancer and missing and exploited children. I believe needs come before wants and I also believe it is a disgrace to ASK for things such as this – do we have no shame? All of us are responsible for ourselves, and it is our responsibility to be charitable to those who are in need, true need. I could easily set up a fund for drytops and paddles, etc … but I would be beyond humiliated!!! Wouldn’t you?
Gandhi, the greatest philosopher of all time, is also the greatest motivator for love and charity and simplicity. We all know people who accumulate stuff like squirrel’s preparing for winter. People’s whose homes are so filled even the air is stuffy. People who can’t have families come visit because they are so terribly concerned about their possessions. We all know people who gauge their success by what they have — we used to be these people. We married young and started having children young. We were very poor, but we were very happy, we needed nothing much at all — however we allowed other people to affect the way we felt about ourselves. We literally brought ourselves to the brink of financial destruction in the sheer desire to not be thought of as poor! How stupid does one have to be? Really? But here we are 19+ years later and we are going in the complete opposite direction. We are shedding our stuff, opting instead to live, to truly be happy in our simplicity. And it’s working. I wish we had people in our lives who, instead of pushing us to further our education, instead of encouraging consumerism simply said, “Live simply.” Think of all the years of difficulty we would have spared ourselves … I plan to be that person for our kids.
” How do you do it?” is something everyone asks us. My answer is that we are in the process of figuring it out. I don’t know, we are new to this. What I do know is that life is overcomplicated — however if you eliminate the unecessary then the need to work endlessly ceases to exist – the demands on your finances have to be smaller – it’s basic economics! We’ve always known this was the way we were called to live, but actually getting to the point where you begin to live your true life is a totally different story, it’s hard! You have to be honest with yourself and be true to yourself. It has been a process for us. The final step was homeschooling, from there everything seems to be falling into place. Our final destination is to be 100% off the grid.
I never bought into the dual income malarkey, so we are used to doing with less than most. And add the new lifestyle and we are certainly making huge sacrifices to travel as we are. We have no luxuries, we have no money, Dan continues to work a 40/hr work week, we have no peace and quiet and we are going to have to sell our home, being stone broke is no fun, it’s stressful — but what we are getting in return is without a doubt more than worth it – the unity, the bonding, is priceless. We could have easily stuck Grady and Brody on a plane and sent them out on their own, but that’s not how we roll. We are a family unit, always, all the time — we do everything together … EVERYTHING! That will never change.