Dec 312017
 

The goal oriented, forward looking, growth mentality of the modern world is a two-edged sword me thinks.

Yes, I enjoy the marvels of the modern world. Technological advances mean we have the potential to a quality of life so far removed from a hundred, even fifty years back, it’s just astounding.

But I don’t know if we’ve handled it too well as a species. We seem to always be looking to tomorrow, planning the next big thing, all the while neglecting to really live and enjoy today. The electronic toy we buy today is obsolete tomorrow and the landfill bursts to overflowing with perfectly functional machines, discarded in the rush for the next big thing.

Perhaps, without that drive, we wouldn’t have the marvels we have today? Perhaps, without the endless stream of new and improved gadgets and the consumer mentality fueling their production, we would be back fifty years? Who knows?

The trick is, I think, to not get caught up in the endless bigger, faster, more mentality by default. It’s fine to desire and acquire cool toys – if you put them to productive use. At least that’s my take on things.

But also remember that the more you take on in life, the more you have to maintain – both physically and emotionally. That on it’s own is enough reason to strive for simplicity in all things.

 

Nov 302017
 

Life becomes interesting when theory turns to practice!

It’s one thing to have an FU-Fund, hidden away in a financial institution somewhere, purely represented as numbers on a spreadsheet. It’s quite another to actually be deep into the process of cashing it in, preparing for a period of unemployment sabbatical from January 2018.

I’m doing the calculations over and over and over, cutting back all unnecessary spend, looking into capital gains tax implications, trying to make the best decisions to ensure that the bucket of cash stretches as far as possible without sacrificing any too much quality of life. It’s too late now, the deed is done….

People ask of me “Was this planned?”

Yes and No!

I’ve known for a long time this day was coming but never knew exactly when. To be honest I was only expecting it in 6 years time, at age 55. Also, the plan, if one can so grandly call it that, was always more to gather enough in order to be able to quit permanently.

But, as an old salt knows, plans should always be drawn with a stick in the sand since the tides of life have a habit of washing them away at times.

And so it has come to pass that events at The Office have become too much for me to stomach. “I quit!” is now a reality.

The FU-Fund consists of 2 portions. The first, held in unit trusts and shares, will fund phase-1; 8 to 10 months of living. If, in that time I still haven’t found another suitable and sufficient source of income, then phase-2 will be funded by the corporate pension fund (which will be transferred to a preservation fund on resignation). There’s about another 2 years of living there. If I cannot come up with some income in that timeframe then I’m going to call myself pretty useless!

The problems are few but potentially critical:

  • The FU-Fund is also the emergency fund. And we all know that life has this nasty habit of throwing “emergencies” your way, especially when they’re not needed.
  • In order to stretch the money, all savings and investments are put on hold. This obviously impacts the final FIRE date and needs be addressed asap. It also means that the FI stash is now on its own. No added monthly boosters. Only compound interest.
  • Cashing out the corporate pension should be a last resort. We need this growing towards the final FIRE date. But, there is uncertainty about whether it will be needed or not and that’s why it’s going into a preservation fund. It maintains the benefits there but allows a single transaction to cash out before 55. Just in case!
  • I’m 49, pale and male – living in South Africa. Enough said! This is most likely the end of normal, corporate career – forever.

Not all of these are negative factors. The last is probably the incentive I need to be autonomous, to create and run my own little lifestyle business?

So, while I still have one foot in the door, hoping for some kind of “offer” to keep me working here, deep down I know it’s not worth it. The stress and misery of this particular corporate is killing me. It would be a huge mistake to stay. I need to search for new opportuniies closer to the boat.

And so, for better or worse, the plan has being put into action, not in exactly the same way as envisaged but close enough. Now it’s time to ensure that my free time is not wasted.

Nov 132017
 
“They’re thinking of selling their Astove 31,” a friend tells me.
“What’s the plan?” I reply.
“Thinking to maybe one day head offshore” he muses.
“What’s wrong with the Astove?” I wonder.
Same thing holds true for dual-purpose motorcycles. If you don’t have at least 1000cc underneath you then you can’t possibly tour the remote places of the planet.
4×4? same thing. Have to get all the gear before you can think of going outside the parking lot.
In my opinion, bigger isn’t always better or even necessary. That’s why I’m happy with my 30’Miura [and we will cruise offshore one day], my tiny x300 [yes we will adventure far and wide and on the dirt] and my aging Isuzu 4×4 [perhaps we might even head off-road one day].
The irony though; even I cannot possibly have enough time in my current life to use all these properly. Even by going small I’ve crossed some paradoxical line.
Perhaps going nothing at all would have been better under the current circumstances?.
Certainly – bigger is not always better. Sometimes though even smaller isn’t better. Sometimes total abstinence is the only logical path.
Why is that so hard?
Nov 082017
 

24/7, 365 days a year. That appears to be the new regime’s expectation.
It doesn’t leave much time or energy to further life’s important goals.
It’s an important factor that needs to be considered in the “stay and suck it up” or “leave” debate.

Oct 222017
 

Markus awakes yet again to the cold sweat of fear.

He finds himself in a long, dark corridor, right at the very end. No matter which way he looks, he can perceive but two options.

Former colleagues, knives out and heads like snakes, block the return to a bright and cheery cubicle hell. Worse still, some advance with malicious intent.

At the dead end, a vast and intimidating fire escape door emblazoned with the words “Exit Only. No Return!”

Unable (or perhaps unwilling) to fight his way back to the light, Markus rests one trembling hand on the door release, sensing full well the turbulent vortex beyond, waiting to suck him out. Its a drastic move he now contemplates, with no turning back once it’s done.

The unknown looms fearfully on the other side. A drop to a grimy sidewalk eleven stories down? A sailboat voyage to tropical paradise? Or something unknown in between?

Uncertain and afraid, Markus pulls the covers up and returns to restless sleep, hoping with all his being the situation might resolve itself, but knowing full well that only he can change things by opening that damn door…….

Jun 172017
 

“They’re thinking of selling their Astove 31,” a friend tells me.

“What’s the plan?” I reply.

“Thinking to maybe one day head offshore” he muses.

“What’s wrong with the Astove?” I wonder.

Same thing holds true for dual-purpose motorcycles. If you don’t have at least 1000cc underneath you then you can’t possibly tour the remote places of the planet.

4×4? Same thing! Have to get all the gear before you can think of going outside the parking lot.

In my opinion, bigger isn’t always better or even necessary.

That’s why I’m happy with my 30’Miura [and we will cruise offshore one day], my tiny X-300 [yes we will adventure far and wide and on the dirt] and my aging Isuzu 4×4 [perhaps we might even head off-road one day].

The irony though; I cannot possibly have enough time in my current life to use all these properly. Even by going small I’ve crossed some paradoxical line.

Perhaps going nothing at all would have been better under the current circumstances?.

Certainly – bigger is not always better. Sometimes though even smaller isn’t better. Sometimes total abstinence is the only logical path.

Why is that so hard?

May 152017
 

Another night down and no calls, no messages. And so it continues.

The day has dawned cold and grey. At least it’s drier this morning. The weather this past weekend sure has matched the mood. Gloomy, foreboding and sullen.

This bag of coffee is the pits. Same brand as usual but something is different. It’s as weak and tasty as reheated dish water.

Another week down. Another starting. Time marches on despite all our plans. Yet, in some instances, time stands still, the end that should be now, dragging, dragging, dragging.

The morning sky presents a deathly grey countenance to the world. There’s joy and happiness out there somewhere but elusive and hidden at present moment.

A few stubborn leaves still cling to the branches in the kitchen window. Tenacious, strong-willed, refusing to bow to the inevitable. What foolishness is this belief that they can win over the Grim Reaper of Winter? “Let go”, I say, “Let go!” “We’re not ready yet” comes their reply

Somehow life goes on, needs to go on. Pressing concerns, however ridiculous, mandate a shower, a groom and a deathly commute. Another faceless day as time rolls relentlessly on toward the end.

Feb 232017
 

I suddenly realise why it is I keep going back to Art of Hookie – it’s for the reminder that jumping off and “living the dream” is a perilous undertaking.

Here is some random dude, supposedly broke, who talks big but, in reality, is struggling with life in general. Just like everyone is. Perhaps more than most is the impression? And yet, he is doggedly pursuing his version of the dream, no appologies, no excuses. That’s inspiring.

It’s a constant reminder to me that it is possible to live a non-mainstream life. Its a reminder to throw yourself at your dreams. It’s also a reminder that if the safety net is not strong (especially the financial one & the health one) life can get pretty miserable, pretty fast.

It’s hard to feel that things aren’t coming to a head at the Big S. What with the old project wounds still fresh and new project politics looming. I’m making ‘friends‘ enemies throughout the global organisation now. Not just locally. Not that I particularly care but, it is unpleasant! And to cap it all I didn’t sleep well. Food poisoning? Stress? Either way, not happy.

The power has been out since shortly after midnight. I write these words to the hissing of my Camping Gaz light. Coffee courtesy of the matching stove. The day ahead is most likely to be filled with friction. Unhappiness over the schedule. Anger about the order cancellation………

I think of the boat, of the Freedom Fund. I’m glad for the upcoming long weekend, a chance to escape for a short while. A chance to clear my thoughts, to potter away on the little tubby yacht that seems to be the only place I’m truly content.

Feb 182017
 

What does a man need – really need? A few pounds of food each day, heat and shelter, six feet to lie down in – and some form of working activity that will yield a sense of accomplishment. That’s all – in the material sense, and we know it. But we are brainwashed by our economic system until we end up in a tomb beneath a pyramid of time payments, mortgages, preposterous gadgetry, playthings that divert our attention for the sheer idiocy of the charade.

The years thunder by, The dreams of youth grow dim where they lie caked in dust on the shelves of patience. Before we know it, the tomb is sealed.

Where, then, lies the answer? In choice. Which shall it be: bankruptcy of purse or bankruptcy of life?

– Sterling Hayden, Wanderer

Dec 062016
 

I don’t have the desire, continually, to buy a new hammer.

So why should any of the other tools in life, like cars, computers and tablets, be any different?

Every cent spent reduces the ability to make Glencairn and The Boat happen.

Be very thoughtful on what you spend on!