I am currently sitting at my desk at 1:20am writing this newsletter. While I am certainly no early bird and frequently work into the evening, it’s a rare occasion for me to be writing at this late hour. But this has been a very interesting week.
Over the past week I probably have spent more time with friends and family than in the past year. Breakfast, lunch, dinner and late nights have been spent with friends and family every day.
Tonight I had an excellent dinner with my sisters and their spouses. I don’t think I have eaten a meal at home in at least 10 days.
Two nights ago I had a group of my buddies kidnap me for an evening of debauchery. Of course I didn’t resist much.
You see tomorrow is my last day in the US for awhile. I have traveled extensively around the world and have lived outside of the US before, but this time it’s a bit different.
Before, I always had a residence in the US to call home, but not this time. I have sold my house, cars, motorcycles (sniff, sniff) and every stick of furniture. I even sold my vintage arcade game.
This time it’s different. This doesn’t mean I will never live in the US again, but it does mean there are no plans for that in the foreseeable future.
Many of you reading this newsletter have either taken the plunge to live beyond the borders of the United States or are seriously contemplating that decision. Of course there are also many of you reading this who may think, “Why in the world would you ever leave this country?”
Over the past few weeks I have had to answer this question on more than one occasion. At this point I think the most of my family thinks I am either running from the law or evading creditors. Rest assured, neither is the case.
To be honest, it’s not an easy question to answer. The easiest response is just, “I want to live an interesting life full of adventure and without undue influence on the choices I make.”
Of course this is a pretty vague response, but I think it sums it up pretty well. Many people are content to lead a mundane life similar to their peers and following in their hereditary footsteps. There certainly is benefit to this. It’s comfortable, low stress, and familiar.
One thing it is not though is extraordinary. Living an extraordinary life is one of my core values. Every decision I make needs to pass the ‘extraordinary’ test.
Adventure is another one of my core values. My life choices must include adventure in order to pass the test. I have raced motorcycles at over 170mph, been skydiving, obtained my black belt in Tae Kwon Do, flown small airplanes and earned my private pilot’s license, been snowmobiling in Siberia in -30c, and even rode a camel in Africa.
Possibly my most important core value though is freedom. Even as a child I was not comfortable with authority (just ask my family). During my teen years I was fired from a few jobs due to ‘differences of opinion’. I have been my own boss since age 19. Freedom has always been ingrained in my DNA.
On a grander scale though, many freedoms we have taken for granted as Americans are rapidly deteriorating. If you don’t believe me, go to your local airport and watch the security area for about 30 minutes. You will see little old ladies and small children embarrassed, demoralized and violated with the intrusive ‘random’ searches meant to protect us from these villains.
In a recent interview with Joel Salatin of Polyface Farms (author of ‘Everything I Want to Do is Illegal’), he discussed a school in California that grows its own carrots. The children pick the carrots and wash them before eating, but the local Health Department came in and said that the children are not allowed to wash and eat those carrots without a food handler’s license.
While this may sound like a joke, rest assured it’s for real. The health department is requiring each child to become licensed to wash their own carrots.
I was also recently copied on an email from Kerry Carr with Global Resources for Education and Travel. Kerry’s company sponsors foreign exchange students that want to come to the US for study. She was just notified by the State Department she would need a minimum of 5 years verifiable experience (which she has) and be able to place $1000 in escrow for 2 years for every DS2019 form needed by her company.
The DS2019 is the form foreign students need to apply for a visa. Kerry’s company would need a minimum of 500 DS2019 forms, which means she would have to come up with $500,000 that she cannot touch for 2 years. Her company is small and cannot afford it. She is closing her doors.
Does this sound like an improvement in economic productivity? It sounds like heavy handed politics filtering out the small competition leaving room for the bigger companies to operate unfettered.
From an economic perspective I don’t see the tides changing for the better anytime soon. Congress rode in this week on their white stallions to save the day by raising the debt ceiling by $2.4T averting a government default.
Of course the only thing they really saved is their own asses. The last thing the politicians wanted was for the people to wake up to the reality of how utterly useless they really are. So they flood the media with the idea that Armageddon is on the cusp if we don’t raise the debt ceiling and Republicans and Democrats alike pranced around playing their game of cat and mouse.
So let me get this straight – in order to fix the debt crisis we increase our debt? Huh?
Isn’t that equivalent to fixing a syphilis problem with more unprotected sex?
Long term, the implications of increasing the debt ceiling is pretty clear. Eventually our creditors will require a bigger yield to loan us money. Or they just stop loaning altogether. Neither option is good for the country. Soon the fat lady will stop singing.
This my friends is why I am leaving on a jet plane. I am leaving in order to live a free and extraordinary life of adventure. How are you living your life?
Are you content with status quo? Do you feel that the political and economic situation in the US is getting better or worse?
What are your own personal core values? Are you living them? Are you fulfilling your own dreams?