See what we’re missing?

san francisco bay area trafficAnyone speeding through life who spends a lot of time on the road may be interested in how Trapster sends speed trap locations to your mobile phone. With that said? Why is everyone in such a hurry?

I think it has to do with stuff. Too much stuff in their closets. To much stuff going on in their lives. All the “amenities” of life in the big city come with definite drawbacks.

accumulation of stuff when living in a in stick houseThe fine flatware, the library, the house plants, the wine cellar … these require lots of space, which only means you end up accumulating more stuff. Which in turn means you need more space.

The hot tub, the workshop, the garden, the manicured lawn … these things require time. Lots of time. Less quality time.

The big screen TV, the Wolf range, the Sub Zero side by side … these things require debt. Debt requires a good paying job, which often means a commute, and only adds to stress and speed of life.

full-time RVer jim and busy worker randy compare blood bressureStress is the killer road big city life leads us down. Everything is rush, rush, rush. We forget about humanity and the things that really make us happy. It’s all about me. Now. My job. My time. My stuff.

Stuff does not equal happiness. Having lived on the road for a year and a half, and come to sense true freedom, it’s easy to feel self righteous when imersed in the typical daily grind. But I can tell you one thing about the pain and suffering metropolitan life inflicts upon people without them even being aware. It’s contagious.

It’s hard not to be affected when confronted with the lack of smiles in the supermarket or while sitting in traffic. I say slow down. Ask yourself what truly makes you happy. And don’t rush to come up with an answer. But feel free to share below once you know.

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11 Responses to “See what we’re missing?”

  1. “Why is everyone in such a hurry?”

    They’re in a hurry to get home to sit eight feet away from a giant TV screen that could be viewed comfortably from 30 yards, the same TV that is the source of information for our highly opinionated, but woefully ignorant fellow citizens.

  2. Amen to that! I did NOT want to “chuck it all” for a year for a cross-country road trip when my husband first proposed we do just that. (In fact, I asked, “Why can’t you be like a normal husband in a midlife crisis and have an affair or buy a Corvette?”) But, at the end of the trip, I was the one who said, “Instead of selling our rig, let’s fix up our house and sell it instead.” And, that’s what we’re in the process of doing.

    We realized we were spending more time and energy supporting a lifestyle – not each other, and in 340 sq ft with our 60 lb dog and two cats who hated each other, we were happier than we’ve ever been.

  3. Eric Auckerman January 23, 2009 at 3:41 pm Reply

    El Jefe wrote that I didn’t include “family” on my list? A tragic over-site on my part as I’m getting married this year to a wonderful woman with a huge family in the mid-West.

    However, it’s never really been my habit to make the distinction between family and friends cause over time those lines begin to blur (at least for me), but who am I to deny the El Jefe?

    11) Family – The people we should always look forward to telling how much we love.

    Adios, Enrico!

  4. eric don`t you have any place on your “list” for family ?

  5. Maybe instead of mandatory service laws, we should have mandatory accidents?

    I do hear you on the small towns to medium cities thing about needing a car. I left Erie PA precisely because of that: all of the housing was on one side of the city and then the stores all stuffed way far away. The last couple of generations I guess got a sense of independence and power from their vehicles and so they didn’t mind the drive. I think current America is pushing to get back to cities and towns you can walk through, but it might be my son’s kids who really see it all having taken place.

  6. Eric Auckerman January 22, 2009 at 8:17 pm Reply

    I take a deep breath and say, “knowledge is the horse, experience the rider”. Juli and I deeply respect the voyage and journey all of you road jockeys have elected to pursue, by the by, your life-styles reflect so much of what is absolutely amazing about living in this country to begin with.

    True Nathan, folks are reluctant to be civil when pushing the pedal but not the bike pedal as there’s no friendlier smile than from a fellow cyclist who has tasted the wind from their nostrils rather than from the vent.

    I completely get this as I ride my bike so much here in Newport Beach, CA, that I cannot tell you how many times I wonder if folks would better enjoy their days if they just slowed down a bit, sold their Aston-Martins, and got on a cheap beater for some serious leg pumping – ever seen a fat Chinese leg? Never!

    Then there’s the ‘ole, “Who the hell do you think you are telling me how to live and what to do.” Right on mister, tell me where to go as I probably deserve it especially during times like these and living in the culture that we do. We don’t like being told what to do in this country even it would do us some good.

    Southern California folks have a tendency to drive as if they were in a cage-match with all of the grunting, near misses, flying sweat, hell, it’s all there when you visit LA or surrounding communities. When I lived on Kauai if you demonstrated any form of aggressive driving habits people would call you and ask if something was wrong and so on.

    I remember getting pulled over one night when I lived on Kauai with a fine if not delicate Chianti on my breath and the policeman saying, “Hey Eric, you OK to drive home, you were doing 35? “Yeah, I’m good Kimo”, “OK then, be safe”. Is that a small island or what?

    In terms of the money chase and a certain happiness factor that might get lost in said chase, well, what can I say, there’s nothing like a Viking range when it comes to sauteing the wonderous chanterelle, but alas, all things come with a price especially for those who pursue excellence (no matter what form).

    All that aside, here’s my list for what I have observed makes people happy (not by order of importance):
    1) Friends – Can’t live with ’em can’t live without ’em
    2) Money – Simply put, gives people options
    3) Books – “The man who won’t read good books has no advantage over those who can’t read good books.” Mark Twain
    4) Travel – Enriches the tongue when in the company of others.
    5) Love – Softens many of life’s edges especially ones own.
    6) Health – The greatest from of wealth unless you’re poor, then what?
    7) Intelligence – A true crap-shoot but worth cultivating if and when you make the time.
    9) Curiosity – The essential quality when you’re done with mediocrity.
    10) Humor – “To those that feel life is a tragedy, to those that think life is a comedy.” Shakespeare.

    Enrico out!

    • Well said my man, and not bad coming from someone who’s master bath is larger than my entire living space.

      “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only a page” – Saint Augustine.

  7. One case where I might disagree with you a bit, Jim.

    I believe that the big rush, whether you’re in New York City or on a back country road, is fundamentally tied to the fact that cars are capable of rushing. Sure, there are many other factors, like our desperate need to get so many things done in one day (part of the rush, rush, rush you’re talking about) and the emphasis put on the value of multitasking for whatever good that does us. Add to that the fact that because of that debt you’re mentioning, we actually do need to rush since we’ve spent over 2/3rds of nearly every day working or sleeping, and you can see why so many people might be in a hurry.

    I personally found, though, that the transition from speed demon to life liver came right around the time I gave up my car. The automobile shrinks our world, makes everything between point A and point B irrelevant, you enter your car and exit with nothing but a blur in between. How many times have you made it 5 miles down the road and realize “I can’t even remember driving that…”

    When I walk or ride my bike, and I do both almost exclusively (aside from the whole driving the RV from place to place every few weeks or months), I am forced to take it slowly (not always as much on the bike, I suppose), I’m given a chance to just let it all sink in. If I step in front of someone, or decide to rudely walk through a door before someone else, I’m dealing with a real human there – rarely do we flip one another off and run as fast as we can down the sidewalk. But in a car, this is almost a common occurrence. When you walk, you’re forced to deal with your own limitations – if I walk five miles across town, that’s five I have to walk back. If I want to smoke and get drunk into the night, I’d better be ready for a stumbling, wheezing crawl through the cold back.

    I don’t know. I think the car has helped fatten us up, lazy our bodies and souls, and eliminate our daily how-do-you-dos. Well, that last one is probably mostly the fault of the iPod, but I’ve probably gone on long enough….

    • Nope, we agree there. All good points you raise. Living life with the “one less car” mindset will force one to slow down and smell the roses. But for those who “must” drive, there is the option of choosing to not drive so damned fast.

    • Nathan, I agree with you. I was car-free as a San Francisco resident in the ’90s, and I felt more at-ease and laid back than I ever did. I grew up in L.A., with car keys in hand, so I know about how jerky being a car-driver can make a person. While living in SF, I rode my bike to work, to bars, to wherever. Life was a lot less stressful when I didn’t have a car payment, insurance, etc. But San Francisco is an anomaly…

      Once we moved to the country, I discovered the awful truth about the reality of life in America; this country was designed for the automobile, an in 95% of towns across the nation, you can’t get away from it

      If we are forced to drive, the least we can do is be NICE to one another, and slow down for cryin out loud. As someone who’s skull and bones have landed on pavement at 35 mph and faster on more than one occasion, I can say that I think the reason most people are jerks on the road is because they’ve never been in a real wreck before. If more people have, maybe we’d all be nicer to one another out on the roads.

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