What is it that we really need in life? Shelter, food and water, clothes, love, safety? While those are the biological needs of the human being, the modern world has added a terrifying item to the list: money. In fact, money has created a world of wants over needs, a society of consumerism with a lust for wealth and power. But does money make us rich?
While most will refer to being rich as material wealth and copious amounts in bank accounts, I believe being rich is a quality of life. Being on earth is a gift of incredible wealth and money is only delusional. In fact, money creates unethical and immoral behaviours, and distracts and disconnects us from living a nourished and meaningful life.
Last summer I bought an RV. I was tired of paying steep rent and always being behind with money. Little did I know how much it would change my life. In fact, it made me richer. Here’s how:
I have time to appreciate the little things
When I downsized my life to live in a trailer, I never felt so relieved. I finally got rid of things I didn’t need, and only kept the necessary. Long hot showers, laundry and TV have become luxurious activities. Big dinner parties have turned into outdoor gatherings. A large wardrobe have turned into a small selection of clothing. Owning less makes me appreciate what I have even more. And anything else is luxury. Owning less makes you realize that you are doing just fine with what you have. It makes you appreciate the little details that life brings. It makes you slow down, take the time to smell the fresh air, and admire what’s around you. It makes you grateful.
I have the ability to live wherever I want
By opting for a life in a trailer, I can go day by day and and am not attached to any mortgage, or lease. I can choose to take on the road to choose a different backyard, or set anchor for a while. Having the freedom to move whenever and wherever I want means that I am not tied anywhere and am free to live the life I want to lead.
I am debt free
Owning less means more money in my pockets. In a few months I managed to pay off a travel debt that followed me for years. I was never able to pay it with my rent being so steep. Living in a trailer means that my bills are much lower. I also drive a used car that I purchased cash, as well as my trailer. Living with the minimum means that I have fewer bills (campground fees, cellular, and car insurance). Now I spend less than what I earn, and manage to have some savings that allow me to get closer to my dreams. Being debt free and financially stable is a pure freedom.
I choose experiences over possessions
I have less goods to take care of and don’t need a stressful high-paying job that I don’t like just to pay the bills. That way I have more free time being with the people I love, bonding with my dogs, spending time outdoors, getting creative, and pursuing my passions. With more money in my pockets and more free time, I get to travel more, adventure often and experience life at its fullest.
I own less, but I gain more
By owning less, I have the opportunity to live more. Living off grid gives me the opportunity to get closer to nature. Not only does living in nature is known to lower stress and increase happiness and physical health, but it also offers me a unique and incredible backyard overlooking the range of the Coast Mountains. I might live in a small trailer, but my backyard is immensely peaceful, inspiring and grand.
Wealth is subjective. But I sincerely believe that money doesn’t make us rich. We have to think beyond money to define success. In fact, happiness is the key to success. When you start appreciating the little things in life, take time for yourself, cherish love, kindness, gratitude and compassion, nurture social connections and family ties, spend less than what you earn, own less to live more, I think you find the true essence of being. Once you understand that wanting is a desire and not a necessity, you start living authentically. And being content and happy with what you have, I think that’s the richest a man can be.
Right here, tucked into wilderness, and inside my RV, I got everything I need. This lifestyle allows me to get closer to nature and to people, spend more time doing things I am passionate about, focus on dreams and goals, and connect with my one-self. And for me, that is true wealth.