Actually, I hadn't planned on writing this at all. My intention was to try to catch up on some of the reading I've wanted to do but am terribly behind on. I was reading the Cost Conscious Cruiser (one of the books that was so generously gifted to me and that I plan to pay forward in the future) and in one of the stories, it made mention of the phrase "Freedom Chips". If you have been researching cruising much, you have probably heard this term used for money a number of times now.
Calling money freedom chips makes the actual transaction much more clear. I've traded my freedom for these chips by sitting in a soft-walled container staring at a glowing box on my desk (OK, I was diligently writing computer software) for 40 to 60 hours each week of my adult life. I would then trade these chips that represented my lost freedom for the bigger house, the newer car, the 65" big screen TV, or even just putting them in storage (bank) for later use. Once or twice a year I may even trade my freedom chips in for a little freedom, a vacation from the other 50 weeks a year where I was trading my freedom away.
Since we started this idea of leaving it all behind and going cruising, we have been converting some of these symbols of our success back into freedom chips. We've spent some of our chips to learn to sail and will soon be spending a lot more of them to acquire our traveling floating shelter. Over the next few months we should have far fewer symbols of success and far more freedom chips. We intend to trade a larger percentage of our chips for freedom as we move forward. Freedom to spend our time the way we want.
We will always have to trade some of our freedom for chips and some of those chips for life's necessities, but we hope to find a balance that better favors our freedom and not symbols of our past "success". The realization of our role in the rat race and the desire to change that role is what I'm most thankful for this year. Hopefully as we move forward we will spend our freedom chips wisely.