Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thankful for a few Freedom Chips and the Wisdom to Use Them Well

It's Thanksgiving Day in the U.S., and we have been busily preparing to take possession of our future home afloat. While I don't generally like those "I'm thankful" messages that seem to be so pervasive (and not always sincere) and pop up in our social media society always connected conscience this time of year, today I decided to write one. So my apologies for writing this, and I do hope you find it interesting or at least sincere.

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.

Freedom Chip
I think it is a great term.  In our society we seem to be well trained to try and collect money but not to really see what the true cost of that effort is.  Sometimes there is a specific goal for the money and it is needed (food, shelter), but most of the time it seems it is just collecting money for the sake of trying to "keep up with the Joneses", to prove success or justify our existence.  We trade it for the newer shiny car, the bigger house, the big flat screen TV, or other symbols of our success.  At least that is what I feel I've spent most of my adult life doing anyway.

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.


  1. Nice post and a good reminder of why we're all pursuing the cruising dream. Cheers - Ellen

    1. Thanks Ellen. It is certainly why we are in that pursuit.

  2. Mike, I was wondering if you have an email address I wanted to ask you some questions about CatzPaw

    1. I do have an email address that goes along with this blog. In order to prevent programs that scour the internet looking for email addresses to send spam to (I get enough junk mail already), I don't have it printed out in any formatted manner on the site.

      So, here's the easy riddle to arrive at my email address that hopefully the "bad programs" won't be able to figure out. Take the name of my blog as one word (just as it appears in your browsers URL field after the slashes but before the ".blogspot"), append the at symbol, and then append

      Any real people that aren't trying to sell me anything are welcome to use that email address to talk about all things sailing/cruising related.

  3. The problem with using freedom chips to buy freedom (vacations, cruising, etc), is the same problem you have with any other form of energy - you lose some with every transfer. You just need to get out here so you can stop worrying about them :)

    S/V Kintala