Imagine that one day you find yourself walking a lonely road, a road away from the cities where everyone else lives. You are the only one on the road. All your friends looked at you with furrowed brows and confusion when you told them you were leaving. You ended up on this road after years of unease building inside you finally gave way to an unquenchable thirst for something different than the life you had known. The awakening hadn’t come easily; the cultural pull, and brainwashing, keeping you in the walls of the city had been strong for your entire life. Even though you are smart, and thoughtful, it still took you an incredible amount of persistence and mental energy to finally get up the insight – and guts – to start walking away.
Amazingly, as you walk the lonely road away from the bustling but walled cities, you start to meet others who are on the same new road as you. At first you see only one or two, but then there are more – dozens more. And even more amazing, you all happen to be heading in the exact same new direction, even having never met each other before. You start comparing notes on your complaints about the big cities you used to live in, and you notice that everyone’s notes are basically the same, even though you’ve never met each other.
And so this is how it is with the new FI (financial independence) caravan. We are all finding ourselves walking the road together, having gotten here independently after looking around our worlds, evaluating where we had been living, and deciding we were living someone else’s life on someone else’s agenda. It is an exciting time to be us, as the road ahead holds so much more adventure, satisfaction, challenge, and meaning than the life we left behind. We welcome new members of our group with open arms – it’s not an exclusive club. We love learning from each other and sharing the journey. In fact, we hope thousands join us as this way leads to a better life, and we want to share what we’ve found. We often blog about our new life passionately with the hopes that we can save others from the cities of enslavement we’ve left behind.
The further we go down this road, the more we realize there’s no turning back. We can’t unsee what we’ve seen, and we can’t unlearn what we’ve discovered about the old life. We march forward, each step more determined than the last. With each glimpse of the new life, with each new taste, we become that much more sold out for this life and that much more alienated from the old life. To turn back at this point would be self-abuse, or as my wife calls it (she is a social worker), “self sabotage.”
Those of us on this road spend a lot of time talking about how we are going to keep continuing. However, while the “how” of our journey is exciting and interesting, the “why” of the journey is what really gets us excited. We are like caged birds set free for the first time since our childhood. And that’s how many of us see this journey: returning to the freedom we once felt as kids. We aren’t looking to shed the responsibility of adulthood, but instead, the oppression of adulthood in a world where corporations spend billions of dollars on a rabid mission to convince us that our true state is one of perpetual dissatisfaction and that the antidote is tireless, endless consumerism and toil in jobs as unnatural as the conference rooms in the very corporations brainwashing us.
As we taste freedom, we are shocked at just how good it tastes. We had been beat down by the oppression of our deceptive masters (these masters go by the names of greed, dissatisfaction, corporate marketing, consumerism, among others) for so long, many of us actually forgot what real passion and excitement felt like. But we will never forget again.
And so, here we are, marching together toward a Brave New Life or a Better Life or a Mustachian Life (each of us on this road have coined different words for our travels, but we all know instinctively that we are on the same road, though it have different names).
The air outside is fresh, the days long, and the adventures pregnant with promise. I hope that one day I will meet you in the new country of Freedom; on the Road Less Traveled.