Ok - well since we still have our internet (life IS really good sometimes isn't it!) and everyone else here is either sleeping or sitting by the fire outside - I will take this biggy on. This is one of the posts that has been on my mind and I knew it was just a matter of time before I brought it up.
Well we may as well get on with it.
As you can imagine, with the work and type of travel we do, we meet a lot of people. And I mean A LOT. Many many more on the job then when traveling interestingly enough. Not Derek so much but I sure do since I am the one that does all the registering of campers at the two parks. So if you figure that I just worked approximately 145 days and probably average speaking to - say 40 people per day/night - thats a huge 5,800 people that I talk to. These are not all lengthy conversations and they aren't always just about us - but I do have to say that people are very curious little creatures and I do talk a lot about our lifestyle to the campers because - well - they ask.
I suppose many look at me, figure I look pretty young for the job (since many seem to be older (read retired)) and are just trying to figure out how to make such a job/lifestyle work when they know that I only work 5 months out of the year.
Most start with - 'so, where to you live?' which automatically starts the conversation because when I say at the bottom of the hill in the cabin - you know what the next question is 'oh - all year?' to which I say - no - and off we go. Although there are all sorts of reactions I have to say about 85% of the responses are very very positive - as in - boy do I wish I could do that, what a great life, that's great, how wonderful, how great for Cassia and on and on. I then go on to say - 'well you can live like we do …… ' - but that is another story!
Here I want to address some of the other responses that we get - the dreaded 'aren't you too young for that?'
On a hike through the historic village of Tumco CA where we were boondocking.
We get this loaded question both while working and traveling.
To be truly honest I can kind of see where they are coming from. Snowbirding or taking the whole winter off to travel is generally something that only 'retired folks' do - right? But is that true even though it is a commonly held view? What about all those other people that have jobs that take them abroad. I guess that is different - the fact that we don't actually WORK during 7 months of the year is what gets people wondering I suppose.
When we first got that question I would sincerely and seriously construct an answer explaining how and why we live as we do. But what I quickly realized is that the people who ask this question just hold a very different view of life then I (we) do. Nothing I say is going to make them agree, change their minds and even just see my side of the issue.
And so to save myself the frustration, I now just wrap up the conversation quickly but politely and move on.
Cassia walking at Ironwood National Monument - boondocking - near Tucson, AZ.
I then proceed to continue that conversation alone on my way to or from the other park. As in I drive and come up with all the things that I wish I could say to defend our lifestyle and choices.
I say things like:
- what 'are we too young to travel - to enjoy traveling - does that come with an age limit or is it only for the retired?'
- or 'are we too young to want to get the most out of life and really have some interesting experiences'
- or 'are we too young to live outside the box, colour outside the lines etc'
- or 'should we be like others and just go through life plodding along, punching the clock, children in daycare, at a job that you may hate, just to have a big house that the bank owns ($300-500 K in most urban areas of southern interior BC), a fancy car, ATV, Jet-Ski, big screen TV, credit cards, so on and so forth?'
- or 'are we too young to not want to keep up with the Jones or to realize home ownership is out of reach for a lot of younger people ?'
The days where you worked for a company with good benefits , home ownership was a reality and a secure retirement (entitlement generation) are becoming obsolete. Some individuals were able to sell a home for an over inflated price when the markets were good or they were part of the baby boomer generation and took early retirement with a healthy sum of cash and benefits, not so for everyone. The world has changed and not for the better, we have learned to adapt to the reality of a new world system.
Now you can see why I walk away from this question -
because it seriously gets me pretty riled up!!
P.S. Reading this over now in the morning I think that I should add that Derek and I are generally thought to be in our mid 30's -
Derek is 46 and I am 41.