A sentence like that probably scares a lot of people. I think it would have scared me at one time too. It's everything that we've been taught, everything that we've been told. Get an education, get a job, buy a house, have a family, keep working until you can afford a holiday at some point. At the center of this is the family home.
I'm no economist, but I have experience, half a brain and plenty of observation. There are few basic truths that have evolved over the years, which has turned the ideal that many people strive to achieve into a trap. And has come down to greed. Employers want more productivity. Employers want to pay less. Companies want bigger bottom lines, and growth every year. Countries are chasing the same thing. I've worked for several big companies, and growth is absolutely imperative in everything you do, as is lean management.
What's lean management? "Lean management is an approach to running an organization that supports the concept of continuous improvement, a long-term approach to work that systematically seeks to achieve small, incremental changes in processes in order to improve efficiency and quality."
Ie spending less money, making this more efficient and increasing the bottom line. The effects of this in real every day people's lives has become more and more evident every year. You are working more. You are working for less, and you have less to show for it. Unfortunately, people feel like they should still be able to achieve their dreams we mentioned in the first paragraph, the system is designed to make that dream, without falling into a debt spiral, impossible for most people. While growth has happened, so has inflation, so peoples actual real earnings stopped growing 3 decades ago. Again, I'm not an economist, I probably explained that all badly, but what I am right about is that people work more for less and have less to show for it at the end.
This chart emphasises the real strive of nations and business to help grow bottom lines for big business, while keeping workers wages down, slowly chipping away at the well being of the middle class.
The next chart highlights the disconnect between productivity growth and wage growth. ie you are working more for less.
And finally to cement my argument... so what do people do? How have they got by with a shrinking ability to spend? Debt. Sweet beautiful debt has been the answer. Property prices are now out of reach for most people in urban areas. The rental generations are now taking over. All of this really creates a slave of the average person.
So where am i going with this? Well that's the bit I'm excited about. I've decided to get out of this trap. I've worked hard my whole life, owned businesses, worked over a year without a day off, saw my family less and less, got sicker and sicker and sadder and sadder. The more I tried to grow, the less I had it seemed. When I cashed out of being an entrepreneur, I was left with very little for my efforts. So I got a job again. Having not been in the job market in North America for some 20 years, it was a hard fall to realise that when you have a well paying job, you are owned by the business. 18 hour days are not uncommon. Working 20+ days in a row, is not uncommon. The trade off for earning a decent salary in certain industries is ownership of the individual. I have always worked in hospitality, as a manager or a chef. And in this industry, you are really handcuffed to your job. You work more, you earn less, you get in debt, and you are unhappy. This increasingly is becoming a common norm.
What's my plan? Well I sat down and listed the things that make me happy. I love travelling. I love camping. I love being outdoors. I love cooking. I love meeting new people. I love being creative. Those things have always made me happy. So I've decided to make the first step in removing the shackles. I'm exiting the renters market, which has taken up half my salary for about the last 10 years. To get the good jobs, you have to live in the big cities. Globally, housing prices are out of reach of the average person, which leaves people paying more for space that doesn't have them commuting hours a day.
1. So step one is to be homeless
2. Step 2 is to buy a mobile home
3, Step 3 is to do all the things I love doing in the way I love doing them.
Will this be easy? Probably not. But I don't think it will be as hard as the worst case scenario. As I said this is my first step to transitioning out of the rat race and into an off grid, independent life on my own terms.
So my adventure is about to begin, and I've decided to document what I've always dreamed of doing. Travelling the world, sourcing, foraging, catching food where it comes from. Not in plastic, processed and totally removed from it's origin. Cooking and living life every day for myself. Not being chained to debt, to an employer, to a landlord. So 24 days til I'm homeless, and I couldn't be more excited. I hope you follow my culinary adventures, and my journey to a bit more freedom to live my life on my terms.