Today I'm rich

In the last three years I have spent eleven months working, I haven’t had a job since Rose and I said goodbye to Australia almost a year ago. In three weeks we make for Cape Reinga to begin the Te Araroa trail, if we’re successful we should reach Bluff by the end of February – five months of walking, five months of freedom. By then the balance of work and anti-work will have stretched out to eleven out of thirty seven months or three and a half months work a year. I don’t have a job, but I’m rich.

I’ve never had a job that paid much above minimum wage – I wouldn’t know what to do with a lot of money – because truth be told, spending money is boring. I’ve tried it, it stuck for a while, but it’s boring. Spending time is what I’m good at, and I’m getting better at it the more that passes. I spend my time – of which, unlike money, I have a steady income – on the things that bring me joy: time spent in the company of friends, trying to put my world into words, cycling, exploring the culture, cuisine, and communities of wherever I happen to be living, discovering unique and inspiring voices and thinkers, getting ever more savvy in this life of frugal hedonism.

I treasure too the opportunity to spend a great deal of time in my own company. Getting to know myself is my enduring ambition and having the freedom to spend great tracts of time in that idle pursuit is the greatest gift I can grant myself. I don’t have much money, but I’m time rich.

At intervals over these three years I have asked myself if perhaps I’m missing something – blithely neglecting some reason to want more, more money, more things – but I don’t see it. Each month our expenses trend lower yet life’s pleasures climb ever higher. I’m as happy now as I have ever been, happier and healthier and more fulfilled and yet, incomprehensibly, even greater joys seem yet to come. More countries and continents, twists and turns, journeys and – just maybe – more jobs lay ahead. I’m twenty four, I have no qualifications, no job, and little money – I hope I can say the same at forty four.

Today I’m rich.