I am reading the book Walden on Wheels for my book club. It is a memoir by a guy who details his time trying to live simply to pay off his student loans. He works in Alaska at a camp here he gets free room and board, he works as a park ranger, he hitchhikes home and when he goes to grad school he lives in his van. As I read this book(and listen while sitting in rush hour traffic) I think two things: 1. This guy is a dick and 2. The simple life doesn’t sound so bad.
While I have no desire to be this guy
I wouldn’t mind making some changes. I’ve written here before about how much I dislike the suburbs. The suburbs is the opposite of the simple life. The suburbs means a bigger house with room for lot s of stuff. The suburbs means a yard you have to keep manicured so your neighbors don’t hate you. The suburbs means the need to drive everywhere you go. I’m here until my kids graduate and get their own places. Once they are settled I will work on convincing my wife to consider a condo in the city. I’m not sure how successful I will be, but I would love a life of no lawn and the availability of public transit.
A simpler life also means the possibility of lessening the need for a job you don’t love to make the money you need to live life in the DC suburbs. The condo in the city won’t be any cheaper, but I hope to be retired by then and can save money by having no need for money for more than a couple of Metro rides a week. I was at Panera today and again longed to be the person who could enjoy sitting there sipping my coffee with no office to get to. I could deal with the suburbs if I could somehow make a living writing or doing some other job I could do from my laptop at Panera. I would take the simple life of living in the suburbs with no need to deal with rush hour traffic and no need to leave the house and deal with difficult people.
So, while I have no desire to live in a van down by the river, I do desire the ability to live a life less dependent on a traditional career.