“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” – Mary Oliver
A good financial plan would ideally have some immediate, short-term, and long-term goals. For a recovering spendaholic like myself, immediate is going day-to-day with not blowing any money on shopping. Short-term is making sure all my debt payments are made early each and every month, and long-term is getting out of all my consumer debt.
However behind the goals, there’s an over-arching “why” that keeps them all in motion. I think everyone has a why. For some, being out of the red and owing nothing to no one is enough of a why to keep them going. There’s also many like my mom, who’s why is to make sure she will never be vulnerable if there should ever be a downturn in her small business, her family life, or the economy.
My why may be a bit more whimsy, and admittedly not centered on responsibility. Simply put, I don’t want to live in one place and have one “life” there. I don’t want a house, I don’t want the kids, I don’t want the 9 to 5. I don’t want the car or the lawn or the cottage or the pool or the garage. I have zero negative feelings towards those who do (to be clear, I believe being a loving parent is bar none the most important job in the world), I’ve just had 31 years to get to know myself, and I realize it’s simply not for me.
What I do want is the freedom and mobility to get up and go somewhere else and be a part of the fabric of different communities instead of just one. I’m not sure where I got this from as I grew up very traditionally, but I always knew I wanted to just kind of float. I’ve always found peace in change, and a sense of home being a nomad.
Along with a nomadic free spirit, I’ve also been blessed (or cursed, depends how one looks at it) with an overarching sense of doing something “responsible” with my life. I’ve met people that have dropped off the grid to go work on a beach in Thailand. Just as much as I can’t see myself living a grounded life in my own home with some kiddos in hockey, I also feel I can’t turn my back on a “responsible” life path and head out to go live on the beach. By golly, I would love to, but it’s not in my nature to do it. I still want to keep trying my hand at finding a career path I love rather than loathe, and I very much want to help my mom retire early. I can’t do that by hawking margaritas on a Thai beach.
So how do I make this happen? I know what I want, and it’s a mix of both nomadic freedom and responsible steady income. I want nothing more than to marry the two.
I’ve decided that I will happily eschew the dream of home ownership here in Canada so I can funnel my money into destination homes that I can rent out on platforms like Air BnB. It’s a way I can marry my love of hosting people and enthusiastically sharing the things I love (helping people create great experiences is something I adore) with the ability to travel with the ability to earn income. The destinations I am hoping for also keep me close to family, thus tying in full circle all the things I love best.
To share some of my hopes/dreams, the first place I’m thinking of is here:
My partner’s family is from here and they own land and property on the island. We would have to be buy out portions of the land from other family members and the old home will need a complete overhaul, but we’re lucky the land is there. It’s about a 4 hour flight away from Toronto which makes it close and a great place to spend a few months per year. The thought of welcoming guests and sharing with them the best beaches to swim at, the best hole in the wall for a delicious meal, and where to hear great live calypso music fills me with joy.
However the dream doesn’t end there. I’d also love a rental place near where my family is from. My parents are from the same country, one from the mountains, and one from the islands. There is a place within just a couple hours from where the bulk of my family currently resides that marries both mountain and ocean, and it is here:
It may be a pipe dream to be thinking of this while I’m so deeply in debt, but this is what makes my heart sing. This is my why, and I have to keep that in the forefront of my mind whenever I’m tempted to spend on a short-term pleasure. Will that dinner out get me closer to renovating the old family house? Will those shoes get me closer to owning homes in places I adore, spending my life between the places I love most, with the people I love most? Absolutely not.
It’s actually preposterous when I phrase it that way. And it would be ridiculous if I kept on spending money, now that I am crystal clear on what it is directly taking me away from. I need to keep my why a real and present goal in the foreseeable future instead of letting it slip away, which it easily does with all the distractions we face on a day to day basis. It’s time I navigate over the little road bumps and start seeing out far into the horizon. That’s my happy place, and I want to do what it takes to get there.
So that’s my ‘why’. What’s yours?