The Millionaire Question

555km Warman to Dauphin

DSC_9539What would you do if you woke up tomorrow and found you’d won a million dollars?

Since the earliest days of our trip, we’ve asked this question of everyone we spend an evening with. “Camels. I’d buy camels,” said a nomad in Morocco, explaining that camels were the gold standard in that part of the world. Another man that night said he’d take his mother on pilgrimage to Mecca. Still others along the way spoke of buying tropical islands, going on shopping sprees and sailing off into the sunset.

But Brian, our newest friend from the road, gave an answer we’d never heard before. Sitting on the shores of Moon Lake in Riding Mountain National Park, listening to the waves gently lap up on the beach and the loons singing their first evening calls, Brian said simply that he wouldn’t change a thing.

It took us a moment to digest this idea. Nothing? Not a bigger house or a little hideaway cabin in a different spot or some other treat – anything – dreamed of but so far unaffordable? No, the answer came again. Nothing.

This, we thought, was perhaps the ultimate sign of true happiness: that you might have the potential to buy any number of new and wonderful things and yet saw no need for any of it.

DSC_9528And the more we looked at Brian’s lifestyle, the more we understood and admired and felt inspired, more than we have been by almost anyone else on our journey. We talked about how he managed to retire at 39 (no, we haven’t mistyped that figure). We stayed in his beautiful and entirely recycled home, built himself using materials that were salvaged from old barns, cabooses and other people’s abandoned projects. We learned about his winter vacations to warm spots and his summer’s challenge of building a log cabin to house a sauna and guest room. And all this on a pauper’s income but one used wisely to generate the maximum happiness and freedom.

This, we thought, is our dream.

We found our dream’s essence reiterated in a story discovered on Brian’s bookshelf:

“I’ve found one good way to live and be happy. There must be other ways too, but I don’t know ’em, so I mean to stick to my way-till I come to the end of it. The secret seems to be, to do everything you can yourself.

It’s difficult to explain, but take an example. Take travel. Allow yourself to be carried about the world in Wagon-Lits and cabins-de-luxe, and what do you get out of it? You get bored to death. Everything is done for you and you don’t even have to think. All you have to do is pay. You’re carried about with the greatest care and wrapped up and fed and insulated from everything. You see about as much of life as a suckling in the arms of its nurse. No wonder you get bored!

But get yourself about the world, on your own feet, or in your own boat, and you’re bound, you’re bound to fill your life with interest and charm and fun-and beauty. You’ll have your disagreeable and uncomfortable times, of course, but they merely serve to make the good times taste better.”

Those words come from the story The £200 Millionaire, written by Weston Martyr in 1932 . Words to think about as we continue further east…

Comments

  1. frank
    30th July 2009 at 12:12 am #

    hey guys i hope that you are both well it is middle winter here but 21-25 degrees so a great day once again brilliant writings so have you got a script writer now or what.

    you must be nearly home i imagine, what happens then i thinks you will be riding very slowly the closer you get to home as you will not want this adventure to finish

    ok my friends have a great day and keep smiling hugs from OZ and me to xx

  2. Alan Shea
    31st July 2009 at 5:30 am #

    I would share tonight’s draw of 32 million with my brother so he and his wife could still cycle the world–Take care, and see you soon–Alan/Carol/Maggie

  3. Nora
    4th August 2009 at 11:28 am #

    As much as I’ve seen more than my fair share of less than desirable things on the road, and had to make compromises to travel full-time, I’m in Brian’s camp. If I had it all to do over again, I wouldn’t change a thing.

    One of the beautiful things I have learned in my own full-time travel adventure over the last few years is that travel – and retirement – and dreams – are so different for everybody. Even two people on the same trip will see the experience with different eyes. I love it!

  4. kd 12 shoes
    23rd October 2022 at 10:59 am #

    I simply had to thank you very much all over again. I do not know the things that I might have implemented without the actual tips contributed by you over this problem. It actually was a distressing setting in my opinion, but witnessing your specialised strategy you managed the issue forced me to cry for delight. I’m grateful for the support and in addition hope that you recognize what an amazing job you are always carrying out teaching many people by way of your blog. Most probably you have never come across any of us.

  5. kd 15
    24th October 2022 at 12:54 pm #

    I wish to point out my love for your generosity for individuals that need help on your niche. Your very own dedication to getting the message around appeared to be unbelievably invaluable and have surely made some individuals like me to arrive at their pursuits. Your amazing invaluable information denotes a lot a person like me and extremely more to my mates. Best wishes; from each one of us.

  6. off white hoodie
    28th October 2022 at 3:43 am #

    I definitely wanted to make a quick note to say thanks to you for some of the marvelous advice you are showing on this site. My time intensive internet look up has at the end been recognized with reasonable facts to go over with my guests. I would declare that many of us visitors are really lucky to be in a really good network with very many marvellous individuals with good strategies. I feel somewhat fortunate to have encountered your weblog and look forward to tons of more fun times reading here. Thank you once again for all the details.

  7. kd shoes
    29th October 2022 at 3:48 pm #

    I want to show my thanks to the writer just for bailing me out of this type of incident. After scouting throughout the search engines and seeing things which were not powerful, I assumed my entire life was over. Existing without the approaches to the issues you’ve resolved through your main post is a critical case, as well as those which could have in a negative way affected my career if I had not encountered your blog. Your personal skills and kindness in controlling all things was useful. I don’t know what I would’ve done if I hadn’t discovered such a subject like this. It’s possible to now look ahead to my future. Thanks a lot so much for your reliable and effective guide. I won’t think twice to propose your blog to any person who will need counselling on this situation.

  8. off white t shirt
    29th October 2022 at 3:49 pm #

    I precisely wanted to say thanks once more. I’m not certain the things that I could possibly have gone through in the absence of the actual ways provided by you regarding my industry. It became the scary circumstance for me personally, however , spending time with this expert strategy you resolved the issue forced me to cry over gladness. I’m just happier for this information and in addition believe you recognize what a great job you have been undertaking training most people thru your websites. I know that you’ve never encountered all of us.

  9. bape outlet
    9th November 2022 at 9:50 am #

    I wish to get across my love for your generosity giving support to those individuals that must have assistance with your matter. Your personal commitment to passing the solution up and down had been remarkably insightful and has frequently encouraged individuals like me to realize their endeavors. Your amazing warm and helpful information denotes a lot a person like me and somewhat more to my fellow workers. Many thanks; from all of us.

  10. chrome hearts
    15th November 2022 at 6:51 am #

    I would like to express my gratitude for your generosity for individuals who require assistance with your situation. Your very own dedication to passing the solution all around appeared to be remarkably valuable and have continually allowed girls much like me to reach their goals. Your invaluable tutorial signifies so much to me and much more to my colleagues. With thanks; from each one of us.

  11. supreme hoodie
    18th November 2022 at 12:36 am #

    I really wanted to write down a small remark to say thanks to you for all the fabulous advice you are giving out here. My time intensive internet look up has at the end of the day been recognized with pleasant strategies to talk about with my company. I would assume that most of us visitors are undoubtedly fortunate to be in a great network with very many special individuals with great plans. I feel very blessed to have come across your weblog and look forward to so many more awesome times reading here. Thanks once again for everything.

  12. off white
    21st November 2022 at 6:38 pm #

    I happen to be writing to let you know what a remarkable experience our child obtained viewing the blog. She even learned a wide variety of pieces, including what it is like to have an excellent coaching nature to get many more without problems fully understand a number of extremely tough topics. You really surpassed readers’ expectations. Many thanks for displaying these great, safe, informative and even cool guidance on this topic to Kate.

Leave a comment