Freedom Is A Gift That Is Free

Freedom is a state of mind over money.

I have been reading a great book called “Woman in The Wilderness” by Miriam Lancewood. The book is about time she and her partner spent in the wilderness of New Zealand. They stayed in huts, spent enough time in places to grow a few gardens and Miriam hunted with a bow for game and then some hunting with a rifle. 

No, I am not thinking of taking two years and going off into the bush, as tempting as that sounds. I know that I am not in good enough physical condition to even consider it. I could get there with lots of motivation and discipline but no, I am not going to do that. 

What has intrigued me in Miriam’s insight into the human psyche and our perception of the value of quality of life. 

In one part of the book she talks about how most of us have been persuaded to work for years to save a nest egg for retirement. We forgo instant gratification for the potential of a better life far into the future. As someone who has spent a good sum of time with seniors, both professionally and personally, I have come to realize that waiting for the magic number in the bank account or societal accepted age of 65 or older is a facade. A lot of seniors, who do hoard as much money as they can, usually don’t end up spending it. The benefactors come in and most often have no problem using it as fast as they can. 

So what’s the point of collecting all those pennies if you are letting life pass you by. Waiting for some sign that “now” is the time to start living the life you dreamed of?

Would I still have the courage, the health or the desire to do and see the things that my younger self thought important when I reached the appointed golden age?

Miriam goes on to say that “you don’t have to be a millionaire to find another way of living”.

I agree. I can have all the security in the world with a fat bank account and investments that give me a false sense of stability. One fall, one illness, one prolonged dip in the market and it could all be gone. Would I be willing to start again at an older age?

What if I changed the way I perceived freedom? In this case, financial freedom.

Do I really need everything shiny and new?

My 58 year old self has changed dramatically from that 20 or 30 year old. I once had two closets full of shoes. Just shoes. I now wear mostly hiking boots or ankle boots and switch between them in winter. In summer? One pair of sandals until they break.

I feel rich when I can breathe in the mountain air or take a paddle around a forested lake. Stepping into the depth of the pine trees and discovering the varieties of moss that grows on the deadfall or the lichen creeping up a rock are sources of entertainment. I pay with physical exertion and respect for the fragile ecosystem I may pass through.

Having enough money for the basics is a practical way to look at retirement to me. Putting aside funds to plan an epic trip or pay for the gas that gets me to my next destination is part of my strategy now.

If you are interested in an alternative view to life and living, I recommend Miriam’s book. If nothing else, it’s full of things to think about that might change just one aspect of behaviour or thoughts on money. I know it has for me.

Here’s to sustaining a life of adventure and a path chosen based on doing things now instead of later.


Wild heart, free spirit, shaman enthusiast who loves to be curious about anything and everything. Avid traveller who is itching to explore more of this wonderful world when save to do so.

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