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Yesterday I came across an interesting interview transcript. While it’s somewhat slanted, I found the answers quite interesting. This isn’t news to me, but I thought that some of the people I know might be interested. So, I e-mailed the link to a couple hundred of my closest friends and awaited the replies.

I got some very wide ranging comments, everything from “Sounds like a communist hiding behind religion” to “We are living in “the richest country in the world”, which is actually just a house of cards ready to collapse from our excesses”. So far only about 1 in 10 of the replies are from people who knew even some of the facts mentioned in the interview.

I was curious if there was any correlations in the comments I receive back so I began to correlate answers to what I know of an individual’s viewpoints on life. The more conservative among them, with a few very notable exceptions, essentially believe that it’s not happening or that the interview exposes nothing worth reading about. The more liberal the individual, the more their opinion veered towards “Yes, I already know this” and “The whole thing is about to fall apart”. By far the most interesting replies I’ve seen are those who think that this is all part of a conspiracy theory of some sort, but those are generally from the more eccentric people I know and I kind of expected that.

If anyone ever gets around to reading this and wants to reply in the comments, please feel free.

In February, I went to our friend Tiina’s wedding to Brian at Turtle Bay Resort in Oahu, HI. It was a happy event that went off without too many issues, but I would have loved for Holly to be able to come. Alas, she had to stay home with the children for various logistical reasons. In the end it was probably best that I went by myself, as it gave me some much needed solitude.

I spent a good deal of time sitting on the point on the north side of the hotel contemplating both the nature of the universe and my place in it. I took the video below there but it doesn’t really do it justice. It was really quite peaceful.

Thinking back, that’s probably when I unconsciously started to make the decision to lead a simpler life. I realized when I was there that money doesn’t really bring actual value to my life. I’ve spent my entire life using money as a scorecard, trying to prove everyone wrong. Now I realize that I don’t need to prove anyone wrong, I just need to make myself happy. That may sound selfish to some but I have come to understand that I can’t take care of anyone else unless I take care of myself first.

I’ve been involved in owning, starting and/or managing businesses one way or another for the last 10 years. By working 60 hour weeks I’ve managed to push my salary well into the six figures within the last two years. Now, I find myself wondering whether it’s all actually worth it. Have I been brainwashed by the cult of consumerism to believe that material things equal happiness? Yes, I think I have.

I’ve spent the last decade of my life yearning for material things that don’t… really… matter. While my salary is well above average I still find myself living an average life. We no longer live above our means as we used to but we still live just within our means. We’ve never really bothered tracking where our money comes from or goes, we just spend whatever we want whenever we want, never thinking about the long term cost of anything.

These thoughts first entered my mind last fall, but I didn’t want to listen to them. I continually made excuses as to why I couldn’t play catch with my son, why I couldn’t have a tea party with my daughters or why I couldn’t even find the time or patience to have a conversation with my wife. I believe I started traveling so much primarily to avoid these thoughts.

What worries me the most about this situation I find myself in is that children accept all that they are taught without question. By extension of my actions and belief patterns my children have been baptized into the cult of consumerism. This saddens me greatly but I believe they are still young enough to escape from these belief patterns…. as long as I can escape them myself.

So I’ve decided to lead a simpler life. I have no grand plans yet, nor even small plans, but I am dedicated to achieving this. I will chronicle my quest on this blog in the hopes that it will help someone else escape from The Rat Race. I hope you, dear reader, enjoy the ride as much as I surely will.

In roughly six weeks we’re leaving on our cross country move from Fredericksburg, VA to Seattle, WA. It should be interesting with our three kids in the van (8,5,4) but we’re trying to make it “fun” and “educational” at the same time. We’re going to be taking the northern route along I-90 as I’ve already driven west to east on I-70 twice in two years and now want to try the northern route. We’re going through the following states on our journey; Virginia, DC, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Washington.

According to Google Maps it will be a 2,874 mile drive and take approximately 43 hours of drive time to complete. At the average 23 MPG our van gets, that’s approximately 125 gallons of gas to drive cross country. Strangely enough when I include the price of fuel and the billable time lost in driving it’s actually about $700 cheaper than 5 one-way plane tickets. 🙂

I plan on taking my laptop, Sprint EV-DO card, GPS and camera with me. I’m going to publish photos of the journey to Flickr so everyone can follow along virtually.


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