I was born in a performance-oriented culture in which acquisitions
frequently are the measure of a man. For the first twenty years of my
life, I listened to the gospel of money and materialism, but I never became
a convert. I confess to having a couple of close calls where for short
periods of time I felt the undertow of money's siren call. But I
always escaped before money took over my life, and I drowned in a sea of
I faced a choice. I could become rich in the experiences that come
with a life of adventure, or I could be rich in monetary terms piling up a
mountain of money and other acquisitions. It was one of the hardest
choices I ever made, and at the same time, one of the easiest. It was
hard because I saw how my medical colleagues were accumulating substantial
wealth. It was easy because I wanted adventure and freedom more than I
I have always placed a high value on my personal freedom, and I have
organized my life around the Freedom Principle. This principle says if
you don't worship at the altar of acquisitions and money, you'll never lose
your freedom. People who have no possessions have a remarkable amount
of freedom, because they have nothing to lose. People who have massive
infrastructure and millions of dollars have limited freedom because they
have so much to lose.
Although it's true rich people have more options than poor people, rich
folks have made an agreement with life that limits their freedom and
options. It's extremely difficult to feel free when you are chained to
endless infrastructure that you must work to support. Infrastructure
is expensive, and instead of it supporting you, you must work to support it.
You have the initial cost of acquiring it, and the never ending cost of
I'm not claiming you don't need money. I am purposing
most people would do fine, perhaps even better, if they had less
infrastructure to support. They would have more personal freedom and
probably would enjoy their lives more. At least, that's the way it
works for me.
I have a confession to make. I am addicted to expeditionary vehicles,
specifically, Land Rover Defenders. Even though I am sailing around
the world on a small yacht, I still have two Defenders parked in storage
facilities around the world. One is in Whangarei, New Zealand, and the
other is in Mooloolaba, Australia. If I worship at the altar of
infrastructure and acquisitions, that altar is shaped like Land Rovers,
fully kitted out for expeditionary travel with roof racks, long range fuel
tanks, two spare tires, roof top tents, heavy duty suspension, and
customized storage compartments. These freedom machines stand ready to
take me from Cairo to Capetown when the time is right.
So there you have it. I do have a certain amount of infrastructure in
my life, and I spend modest amounts of money to maintain it. There is
no other way to make my dreams come true. I need to have my Freedom
Machines ready to travel outback and beyond.
We all have compromises we must make when we come to our agreement with
life. My compromise is simple. I keep my infrastructure to a
minimum whenever possible. But when it comes to Freedom Machines -
Land Rover Defenders and catamarans - I am willing to do whatever it takes
to keep my dreams alive, and even make some of them come true.
Stay tuned, because when I finish my sailing trip around the world, I may
fire up those Land Rovers and make a truck convoy across the Australian
outback. Then, I may ship the Defenders to South Africa and make a run
from Capetown to Cairo.
I'm fifty seven years old and still kicking. I don't know how much
time I have left, but in the time that remains, I plan to keep on trucking.