Start Here

Hookah ManHello, and welcome to my blog! I truly hope that everyone who reads any part of it finds something they can take with them and be inspired by in some way.

Let me start by talking a little bit about who I am and how I got to wherever the point in time is that you are reading this.

My Past Life

In my past life, I was a full time software engineer/programmer/coder working in the rat race for a variety of video game companies around Vancouver, Canada. Like most people, I spent 8 hours a day, 5 days a week sitting at my desk, sometimes more but never less, working hard and diligently to make me a decent salary, and a bunch of other people a much more decent salary than mine. But I got to make video games which seemed really cool for a while… I had a “dream job“, as some like to say.

I spent 12 years keeping my head down, a slave to the grind, always too “busy” to do the things I knew I should be doing: exercising, relaxing, writing a blog, learning how to renovate my house, traveling, reading, playing the guitar, keeping in touch with friends and family, etc, etc, etc.

And then I made that inevitable realization at around age 35: remaining life was decreasing rapidly, and I was on a collision course with spending much of the rest of it not being as happy as I could and should be. A perpetual state of waiting to live, I like to think of it as.

Big Changes, Spring 2013

“Big changes, spring 2013” was my mantra starting around one year prior, and how it would be as of January 27th, 2013 – the last day I worked as a full time employee for a tech company.

At the time, we lived in a little house that the bank owned for us in East Vancouver, and as well we were partial owners of a weekend getaway property over on the Sunshine Coast, a short ferry ride from Vancouver. We had always dabbled with the idea of maybe one day living at our place on the Coast; what better way than taking the plunge and making the move to get us out of our comfort zone and thinking in the new light!

The other very important reason for the move would be to drastically cut down our cost of living (like, around half), giving ourselves some room to breath while we figured out how to go about making enough money to thrive in this new life. That I think will always be a work in progress.

And so it would be on February 28th, giving us exactly one month to rebuild the rotten deck falling off the back of the East Van house, to find renters for that house allowing us to continue the charade with the bank, and to pack our stuff and make the move.

Keeping the Boredom at Bay

I will admit, I wondered if I would get bored in this new life over here before it got started, and so I can’t give people too hard a time when they ask the question, but I’ve gotta say, not even for a moment have I been bored since the day we moved. In fact, I have a list even longer than the one I had while living in the city, because I now actually accomplish things on that list, and seeing that happen motivates me and so I add even more things to my ongoing list because I know I’ll actually do them one day!

I will also admit that the first couple of months after moving did leave me a tad lonesome at times, mainly due to Jen still working quite a bit in the city, and me adjusting to the quietness of the location of our cabin, especially during the winter months.

But summer soon came bringing with it all sorts of action, including a trip to Turkey, a decrease in Jen’s work schedule, some new friends in the neighbourhood, weekly volleyball sessions, a stream of weekend renters through our Airbnb listing, work on a side project with some friends, and most recently building our new deck! Indeed, boredom has not been a problem, and I don’t think it ever will be.

My Contribution to Society

I’ve had this question a few times now from people (and have seen the question a number of times on the Great Internet about the lifestyle I’m aiming for), and quite frankly I find it pretty funny. For starters, everyone who I’ve seen ask the question wasn’t a teacher, or a doctor, or a police officer, or a fire fighter, or anything I would think to be in that category of jobs that greatly contribute to society.

Secondly, what was I contributing before? I was one of a hundred or more people slaving away on some silly video game that might have the honour of being a “hot” ticket item on this year’s Christmas list for Little Timmy. Big whoop. In case you’re new to this blog, consumerism isn’t exactly something I strive to support. Ironically as you’ll learn if you keep reading, it is to be avoided at all costs if you hope to retire young enough to enjoy some of the life you have left in you before you’re dead.

I’ve actually had this discussion many times before with people, and they always like to disagree wholeheartedly, because “entertainment is a human necessity”. Sure, I don’t disagree. But playing a game of cards is also fun, and wouldn’t it make more sense to put that unmeasurably large amount of brain power towards something of greater importance, like actually trying to cure cancer?

I digress!

My contribution to society now is far greater than it ever was before, and the bottom line comes down to this: life is way too short to be spending all of your healthiest years enjoying it less than you could be, in the hopes that one day you will have saved up enough money to be able to enjoy it more like you actually want to be. Way too many people in society are obviously doing this, as was I for a very long time, and I am going to do my best to demonstrate how it is possible to stop doing it now, hopefully leading by example for others.

Geez, that’s quite the statement; and what I feel is a wonderful contribution to society. Let’s hope that I can pull it off now that I put it in writing so boldly!

This Blog

Which brings us to this blog. This blog is the biggest weapon in my arsenal for fulfilling the above stated contribution to society. I’ve actually floundered a fair bit with it, never quite nailing down what exactly it is supposed to represent. At the moment, it is something like this:

Money is clearly the biggest thing holding people back from living the life they actually want to live. I feel that I have a fair bit to say about the topic, both relating to ways of making it and more importantly ways of spending less of it.

DIY projects interest me, and they have immense potential to both make a person money, and save a person money. So they should probably interest you too.

Travel is my passion. Maybe it’s not yours, and that’s cool. In any case travel writing has always interested me as a way to maybe make a bit of money one day, but also to demonstrate that I actually am doing the thing I enjoy most.

Life is just there because sometimes I like to spout off shit that doesn’t really belong anywhere else :)

I’m sure these sections will change with time, but for now, that’s how it is!

Spread the Word!

Please do me a favour and share posts that you read and get some enjoyment out of. Unfortunately the only way this weapon will operate is if everyone who agrees with it does their part to help me out :)

Thanks for your time, and I hope to see you soon in the comments!

16 Responses to Start Here

  1. Alana says:

    So awesome reading this Gary. I envy your fearless freedom to live and let gonof this rat race called life. If only we didnt owe so much damn money for our short term pleasures that get us through this life. I hope to someday be able to give it all a rest so we can start living our passions too!! You Inspire!!!!

    Must try and visit you one of these days.


    Alana (& Jude)

  2. Awesome writing and sentiment, Gary. I look forward to more!

  3. Christina says:

    Wow, really inspiring article!
    As you know, I’m only in the starting stages of life, I have yet to really experience a “job”; but it’s nice to know that in the future there are possibilities of leading a life outside of the seemingly unavoidable “9-5” that everyone thinks they’re stuck with! I think we all spend way too much time focusing on what’s next as oppose to the big picture; especially in the city because you get caught up in the rat race of day-to-day living.
    I’m glad to hear that your enjoying life with Jen at the Cabin, I hope we can come and visit you sometime this winter! :)

    • mzungu says:

      Glad you enjoyed Chrissy! It’s good that you recognize the Big Picture at such a young age… Don’t lose sight of it!

  4. Nicolen says:

    Hi Gary, i love reading your posts. I feel the same about life!!! Lets enjoy and have fun and just ‘be’. I’m following your blog and learning some little tips along the way. Like, for example, your post about used cars..i totally relate and just hearing that someone else is ‘ok’ with used cars made me stop questioning my car choices. Thank you! And congrats on following your dream. Nicole

  5. Dana Gibson says:

    So happy for you guys!! This sounds awesome. Hope I can come and see your place some day when I am back in BC! Totally hear you about living your live and not working your life away, oddly enough that is part of the reason I moved to Kuwait as odd as that sounds!! Take care and enjoy

  6. Manu Singh says:

    Good for you for making this realization, Bearch! I am sure you will enjoy your much more enlightened life from now on. Furthermore, I’m sure you will develop new interests and hobbies that will support your lifestyle. Never fear change! Cheers, dude!

    As another mountain biker once stated to me: “Work to Eat, Eat to Live, Live to Bike, Bike to Work!”

  7. So happy to see someone gladly confessing he has nothing to sell, nothing to teach and quit everything none the less.

    I’m going to stay updated on your adventures, noble anarchist, for I’m sure I have something to learn from your brutal honesty.

  8. Kaiser says:

    Nice work on the blog dude! I’m taking my first steps down the road you have gone down…..freedom from the rat race. Perhaps a few years late but definitely something I’ve seen coming. Just never got around to doing anything about it.

    If we’re ever in the same area, we need to meet up for a beer!

    • mzungu says:

      Sounds like that is exactly what we need to do! Thanks for reading and commenting – it is much appreciated :)

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