I called my friend Sam last night. I used to work with Sam at my first job out of law school. Sam is the kind of guy who generally has a plan for every situation. For example, if I accidentally killed someone, and had to hide the body, I would call Sam, and he would walk me through the whole process.
Not that that has happened, of course; purely hypothetical. Honestly, I don’t even think Sam has hidden even one body – but I am pretty sure he could work through the process just fine.
“You are going to have to get a large tarp” Sam would say, “and a chain saw – but buy the saw. Don’t rent it.”
Something like that.
Anyway, Sam is a super-saver. He and his family are really committed to storing away money for a rainy day. Yesterday he got a bonus from his work – a big one. As a celebration, he purchased some flowers for his wife, and went out for some pizza. That is it.
I mean, other people would buy a boat.
The purpose behind Sam’s frugal ways is that he wants to retire in ten years. Well, nine and a half now. And, talking with him, I think he’ll do it.
And that is great.
On Sunday night we went over to the Kannas’ house, and watched a video Randy made about when our two families biked through France together. We rode for two weeks through these tiny little French towns, on the tiny, empty French roads. Bought long baseball-bat shaped breads at the boulangerie, and squeezed soft cheeses on to it. Fwah grah. Had impromptu picnics in front of thousand year old castles.
“It is going to be a windy day!” Steph says into the camera, “But we have pastries!”
We brought three changes of clothes each, four bicycles and a vague idea of where we would go next.
In my dreams, I will do that again. But not for two weeks. In my dreams I will learn six languages and be suntanned year round.
Because we are only lucky dirt. Centuries of blackness and being eaten by worms, and now we have some time in the sun where we can look around. In another sixty years or so it is going to be dark again, and I want to make the most of the sunlight. And I want to start when my legs still have strength in them.
Now, if I were a really brave and confident person, I would just cast out on my own. Pack up my family, and ride through the hills of Spain on borrowed bikes. We would be fine. We’d find some way to get a roof over our heads. Or maybe we’d just learn to love the rain. National Geographic would write an article about us, maybe.
I am not that brave, or that confident.
Instead, Steph and I are stashing away our own money, keeping an eye out for that ten year mark. But, honestly, the hill looks really, really steep from where Steph and I are standing. Ten years is gonna come fast, and we can only earn so much each year. The math doesn’t really work out for us. At least not right now.
And that is the entire reason we got rid of our car in the first place. Not because we are trying to save the earth from carbon emissions, or because we are trying to save a dollar for retirement – although we are probably trying to do both of those things.
We got rid of our car because of the adventure of it. Because it is hard, and because when this year is over, Steph and I are going to remember it.