I started asking them, “Why not?” The answers most involved kids in school and spouse’s jobs, which I totally understand. For some, though, it seemed that the big house full of nice things was acting more like an anchor than they realized. Castles can become prisons if you let them.
When Liz and I decided to leave the States, we had a huge garage sale, gave away what didn’t sell, sold the house, and put a few things in 10’x12’ storage facility. We gave away my old truck and left the other car for my parents to keep for us.
I don’t miss any of it.
All of the possessions we actually cared about really did fit into eight Rubbermaid storage bins and a few carry-on bags. We currently live in a 950 square foot house, drive one car, and have one (very dumb) cell phone. Our boys play with rented toys from the local toy library. I make less than half of what I made at my previous job.
We’ve never been happier as a family.
The decision to trade our American Dream of working a great paying job to own a comfortable home full of really cool stuff, for the adventure of living on the other side of the world, seems a no-brainer in retrospect.
And that doesn’t even account for the amazing friends we’ve made and the indescribable beauty of the land that surrounds us.
Don’t misunderstand; I still have a great paying job and live in a comfortable house with really cool stuff. Eight Rubbermaid bins, a car, a cell phone, and a house with a roof probably put us in the top 10% or wealth on a world scale. We are by no means roughing it. And in no way would I equate what we’ve done to the sacrifices of our friends who are really living large by serving the lost, poor and sick around the world. (These guys are the real deal, and deserve your support: http://rickyandheather.blogspot.com, http://mccropders.blogspot.co.nz/, http://matthew24fourteen.blogspot.co.nz/).
But it’s all been scaled back drastically, and as a result, we have a remarkable sense of freedom.
It’s an awesome feeling to know that if we were given the opportunity to go live anywhere in the world, we could probably be ready to depart within 24 hours. It's the nearest I'll ever be to being a secret agent.
I know that I am remarkably privileged by the occupation I have, the health of my family, and the adventurous spirit of my wife that allowed this whole experience. But I would wager that anyone with a computer and an Internet connection to read this probably has been remarkably privileged as well.
The only difference between a castle and a prison is who holds the key. If the things you own have you locked into a life you don’t love, take the keys back and get out. Get out of the mortgage, the car payment, the city, the state, maybe even the country. But get out.
My advice (and remember, free advice is worth what you pay for it) is to live large by going small.