Value and Money (2)

Last week I wrote the first part of this two part blog post. There, I wrote about how my vision on money has changed over time. In this second blog post on the subject, I will explain how I try to incorporate this vision to find the right balance between value and money in my life.

Starting off, I believe it most important that I should not be afraid to be without money. Or if I have money, to lose it. In a recent blog post on fear-based life, I wrote about how fear can corrupt my behavior and does not serve me at all except for life threatening situations. This is not the case though, when it comes to losing or not having money. Nevertheless, I am made to believe that only through money I can acquire what I need. Consequently, making me prone to be afraid of not having any, because I can not survive otherwise. However, this is not the case. The true things that seem to be allowing us to live long and happy are: purpose, social contact, physical activity and a balanced whole food diet. The question is then, for which of these do I really need money?

The more money I have though, the more afraid I tend to get. When I would barely have enough money to buy my food, I will only lose that option. But what if I have so much I can buy a Ferrari, a boat and a house? When I lose money then, it seems I am losing a lot more. That is the moment life stops right? I lost it all, or not? As soon as I start seeing that money is corrupting my worldview I can start making decisions based on value. At the same time I believe, that when I run out of money, helping hands will be extended from places I could not have imagined before.

The second thing that I think is essential, is to do something I believe is valuable. Then, if it really is, the people around me will eventually notice it’s value as well. Regardless if this is expressed in my job, the way I treat my friends or how I use my garden. I believe this mindset will eventually spread in to every part of my life. Consequently, because we created a society that expresses value in money, the things I do will eventually be payed for in some form.

Equally decisive though, in this process, is that I enjoy doing what I do. This is more true than it is cliché. If I want to live a life that is sustainable for me I should be motivated and content with what I am creating. This supports my creativity, reduces insecurity and fear, but above all attracts positivism from the world around me.

Then, another thing that is critical, is to let go of the idea of retirement. From my perspective, retirement is the biggest anticlimax built in to our working society. Not before my 65th birthday when my body starts failing me, I am “free” to do what I want. Ultimately living with the physical and mental consequences of having been enslaved to this idea all my life. However, when I disconnect my purpose from money and I am concentrating on creating value doing something I love, I see no reason to stop when I am 65. Simultaneously, when I am young and physically strong there are so many things to enjoy I can not at that time. I believe it better to use these opportunities now and to not worry about the effect this might have on my retirement. As things go, my future I am creating today.

My final point is, that I believe there is no gain above a certain living standard. Once I have a safe and comfortable place to live, hopefully in an area I love, quality food to enjoy, means of transport, and I am lucky enough to be able to acquire the usual technologies, I do not see my quality of life increasing after that. I can turn my Fiat in to a Jeep and my Huawei in to the newest Iphone, but what am I really gaining here? The amounts of money I need to spend only make me more afraid of what might happen because I spent so much in the first place.

I think everybody should find their own balance between value and money. Nevertheless, I believe it is important to take in to account the false perspective that was drawn in my life. When I break down these walls I am more free to chose my own direction. Maybe even taking in to account that all I need to live a happy healthy life is whole food, physical activity, social contact and purpose.

Why I Started This Blog

Hi everyone, and welcome to my third blog post. I hope you enjoyed my previous posts and that you will continue to read the ones that follow. If you have any feedback, in whatever form, I really appreciate it if you get in touch. This really motivates me, and helps me improve. Because, having an idea in your head and then getting it right on paper can be hard. Anyway, I thought the time to be right to explain why I started this blog in the first place.

I Like to Write

First of all, I like to write. To me it is the easiest form to express my creativity. During my years in school I had little problems filling pages, putting what I knew in to writing. Nevertheless, only occasionally I would write something for myself, a poem every now and then, or I would work out an idea, but never to a point where I kept doing it regularly.

Where, I suppose in my younger years I was not aware of what I could do with my writing skills, later on I just had too many other things going on to get my mind into a state where I could write. An urge developed in me nonetheless over the last year and a half. Where I would get inspiration and had ideas but still felt blocked to get them on paper.

In retrospect, I understand why this happened. At the time I was living a life where my work would always be at the forefront of my mind. Most of the things I thought of were related to work, my perspectives on the human body and mind, and on nutrition. Similar ideas still fly around, but now I identify less with myself as a Physical Therapist. Therefore, I feel fewer obstructions in my thoughts and I actually have more headspace to follow up on them.

Stream of Ideas

Also, I realized that the less I identify with my thoughts in general and the more I reduce the amount of things I do, even more head-space opens up. Consecutively, thoughts and feelings do not dictate my state of mind as much, but rather come in to being as a result of it.

Further, during my travels I felt a growing sense of connection with the world around me. I noticed that wherever I go people will tell many similar stories, even though they all come from different places. Regardless of where they are from, if they are rich or poor, healthy or unhealthy we all seem to be sharing this human experience of ours in the same world.

Therefore, I figured that my travels should not necessarily be limited to my own experience. Before I took off I really had the feeling that this should be my time, my experience, in solitude and disconnected from the rest of the world. Soon though, I realized that this is nonsense and impossible. I had no idea at the time that I would be able to travel exactly how I want and still share this experience. Where I used to disconnect from the things that happened around me, they now inspire me to express myself in my own way.

Everybody Does What He Can

There are great people around, both alive and in history, close to me as well as people sharing their knowledge, lifestyle and ideas through blogs, vlog’s and other mediums to let the world profit from what they know. Not everybody has the time to read 100’s of science articles every year, but there are people who do this and break it them down for us.

There are people sharing their lifestyle on YouTube allowing us to profit from their experiences and there are people sharing their recipes so that we can still eat an awesome healthy meal when you are without inspiration. In general, there are so many perspectives being put out in to the world, it is up to us to let them shape us in whatever way you want.

In conclusion, this bigger sense of connection led me to revalue certain thoughts and feelings. As a result, I feel more confident and find it easier to express myself despite what other people might think. At the same time I am being inspired by a variety of people and causes that actually motivate me to do the same.

To join in on this exchange, I chose to write here to offer my views and story, so that people can profit from what I do. I hope this will inspire them finding their own way in to living their own authentic life, from repairing cars to working in an elderly home, and from volunteering in a neighborhood to writing a blog, every single one of these things are equally valuable.

My Current Travel Philosophy

I have been travelling through South America with my particular travel philosophy for four months now. I experienced enough to write a couple of books already. During this time I had the opportunity to meet many people, listen to unique stories and experience a lot of things I could not even imagine before.

Some of these experiences still blow my mind when I think of them. Experiences like ending up in a car accident to joining family parties and a pit stop in juvenile prison. During these four months though, I always tried to travel my way, sticking to my ideas of what traveling is about.

Before I took of, I set myself the goal to try to stay with people in their homes as much as possible and to use hitchhiking as my main form of transport. At that time I had no idea how this would work out, because I had little to no experience with both of them.

Sleep and Transport

To stay with people at home I use Airbnb or Couchsurfing to get in touch with locals. Also, I have had the fortune that on several occasions people offered me to stay with their family just because I was travelling in that direction. On one occasion even, just because I was in the car with them, after they picked me up hitchhiking. Regardless if this fit my plans or not, the answer was always yes.

Why I Stay Away From Tourist Attractions

However, when I meet other travelers I sometimes get the idea I am doing something wrong. I am not running from one tourist attraction to the next one, and I do not live from photo to photo. On the contrary, my way of traveling usually takes me to places that are not pretty from a photographic perspective. At these places though, is where the people live, unbiased by tourism, and unbiased by the idea of how much money I might spent.

In these places the beauty of the experience is harder to capture in a photo. In these less scenic places I have to speak different languages, I have to continuously adjust to different life values, different daily routines, and I am confronted with a wide variety of perspectives. Where after, the reward is so much more than a pretty photo. Even though, there are times when I feel so tired of having to adjust, again, until I do.

Really, looking for discomfort rather than comfort, increases the travel experience a thousandfold. Hitchhiking is one of these “discomforts”. At times, I am standing in the burning sun, collecting layers of dust on my skin, blown up by passing cars. Where after, somebody will stop and give you another chance to learn a million things. Sometimes, taking a bus might be quicker or more convenient, it reduces the chance of getting in to unexpected situations. Getting out of these situations though, is how I become more confident in dealing with everything that comes after.

YES-philosophy

Together with the above I also try to stick to a “YES-philosophy”. Along the road plenty people have invited me in to their homes, to family parties, to the cinema, to barbecues, to dance, to sing, to play an instrument, to a friends’ house or to their work environment (where the last, on one occasion turned out to be this juvenile prison). Regardless if my plans are different, if it might complicate things or if I feel uncomfortable accepting, I will always try to say yes.

This discomfort and feeling of insecurity, is there because it is sometimes hard to see what is coming. Also, at times I am afraid to show my “weaknesses”. Nonetheless, I believe all these feelings to be natural and valuable. I try to deal with them my way. Not seeing them as a code red situation, but rather as an opportunity to learn. Handling from this perspective has made my life a lot more exciting.

However, I have certain things that are very important to me. Mainly the way I take care of my health. I aim to eat a whole foods plant based regardless if I am at a Brazilian barbecue (there will be just meat) or if somebody offers me “Dulce de Leche” while I am getting a ride from them, the answer is always no. I do not eat animal products and I stay as close to zero with the amount of processed foods I eat. This means that sometimes I say no in the midst of enjoying limitless hospitality. Even though, looking from the outside this might seem rude, people have always respected my decision.

Two-way Street

I am willing to try everything but I stick to my core values, because that is who I am. If they will not hold up anymore I trust to keep an open mind, and to replace them with different values. In general, sticking to them will show people who you are, and the beautiful thing about this is: as much as the people I meet enrich my life, I do a little something in their lives as well.