The Good Life

the-good-life1Today I have a question for you all to think about. What does the good life look like to you? If you could have anything you wanted, do anything you desired, live anywhere in the world, and money was not a factor, what would your ideal life look like.

I’m fairly certain I spend more time than the average person thinking about what the good life looks like for me. Some look at this as a pointless exercise, because the world doesn’t hand you everything you want on a silver platter, so why waste the time to think about it.

I think it’s useful for two reasons. First, because most people have had very little practice thinking about their dreams even in terms of practical goals that can be accomplished, and this little exercise can jump start that.


Second, most of us who do have dreams are thinking in the shorter term, and this exercise can give you a glimpse into what you want for the long term. For instance, right now I’m really enjoying RVing, and it’s a goal I’m still working on in that I’m still saving up for equipment that’ll let me go boondocking and realize my dream more fully. But having thought about what my ideal life would look like, I know that eventually I want to travel overseas as well, as well as try a plethora of other things.

Knowing this is useful, because it gives me some perspective and takes some fear away from my current situation. If something were to come up in my life that would mean I had to get off the road, like an illness in the family, a personal health issue, or money constraints due to an accident or some other misfortune, while I know I’d be upset about losing my current dream (I’m only human after all), I also know that there are other dreams I can strive for and be happy pursuing. It would not be the end of my world, just the end of a chapter.

While life will never hand you everything you want on a silver platter free of charge, it’s certainly not unreasonable to pick the one or two things from the platter that look the most enticing and get working on how to afford and achieve them.

I’m not asking for you to share your answers, because this is a very personal exercise. I just hope you’ll think about it from time to time as a way to make your dreams more clear.


* * *

Back to work today! I had a nice two days of doing next to nothing and it felt really good after 50 hours of hard work (I didn’t even get a single 40 hour week as a buffer) but now it’s back to counting bins. The temperatures at Coffeyville have been very reasonable so far, but it looks like Tuesday night is going to be the first hard freeze here with a forecast low of 23 degrees. I learned from my error last year and will be bringing my water filter out of the cold this time. Have a good week all.

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At IO I teach people how to ditch the status quo and travel full-time before retirement, and share stories of my adventures (and misadventures) to inspire future nomads and armchair travelers alike. Included at no additional charge: seizing your dreams, living boldly, and making a difference.


  1. J. Dawg on November 21, 2013 at 10:07 am

    Good post. Made me ponder the question. At age 59, having worked for a living, suffered from diseases, and having family suffer close calls with death, I can answer as follows.

    For me the good life is;

    1. Being healthy and having vitality to live an active life.
    2. Being able to spend time with family and share experiences together.
    3. To be safe and secure and not have to live with fear.
    4. To have freedom and time to pursue what interests me.
    5. To be challenged and continue to learn.

  2. OpenSpaceMan on November 13, 2013 at 12:09 pm

    Well here’s the first thing that came to mind when I read the heading of your post.

    *I play this song at the old folks homes…in a one man band. I don’t know if it’s bad or good to feel this way but when I started volunteering to play these places, that’s about the same time I started building my off-grid van and planning my escape…probably helped me realize how little time we have and that it should be spent living in the present. Unfortunately I have to delay gratification for a few more months to build up my travel funds.

    Good Post.

    **I don’t know much about blogging etiquette and understand if you have to delete the link.

    • Becky on November 14, 2013 at 4:49 pm

      Heya OpenSpace,

      Links are fine as long as they aren’t spammy or crude in nature, which yours isn’t.

      And I’m definitely a fan of living in the present. Like you once I realized I wanted to go RVing I got frustrated that it would take me more than a year to get on the road, but I’m still very glad I did it. Otherwise I would have had to settle for less than I wanted in a RV or left without much in savings to cover emergencies. Even the preparation time was enjoyable in it’s own way, I knew the time I was taking to keep working was furthering my goals in the long run.

      Best of luck on your van conversion, and hope to see you on the road someday!

  3. Crabman on November 12, 2013 at 10:40 pm

    For me the good life is waking in the morning looking forward to whatever the day brings. I do like Charlene’s ideas on contentment.

    • Becky on November 14, 2013 at 4:44 pm

      Thanks for commenting Crabman

  4. Reine on November 11, 2013 at 12:02 pm

    Thinking about and identifying what you want in the future allows you to map out a plan of what to do NOW to move toward that goal. If you read all of Becky’s posts from the beginning or read RVSue’s ( posts from the beginning you will see that both of them (and many others I’m sure) identified a goal and then made a plan to reach the goal.

    A lot of plans to do something neat, interesting, fulfilling in the future involve some type of sacrifice in the present but it’s a sign of maturity when you can consciously choose to delay gratification now to accomplish something more important in the future.

    Good thoughts Becky, keep them coming.

    • Becky on November 12, 2013 at 4:16 pm

      For me it wasn’t too much of a delay in gratification because I’d always been a saver instead of a spender, and it definitely worked out to my advantage. The way I look at it, going RVing was sort of the opposite really since I’d been delaying my current happiness by working jobs I hated (but made good money) for a possible, but certainly not certain, happy life in retirement.

      But yes, there was a Big Huge Plan laid out to make it possible, I highly recommend making a plan for a change this drastic. 🙂 Thanks Reine.

  5. Kirsty on November 11, 2013 at 11:30 am

    Admittedly I only completed Steps 1 & 2 of that exercise but those sheets of parchment paper held up by magnets on the back of my apartment door, stayed up until the day I was packing my boxes and moving into my RV!
    Kirsty recently posted..100 Days on the RoadMy Profile

    • Becky on November 12, 2013 at 4:11 pm

      Congrats Kirsty on changing your life. 🙂 What originally spurned me was something similar, well it wasn’t laid out this neatly as a step by step guide, it was a blog post a friend of mine had linked to on Facebook that basically said “you don’t have to do what society thinks you should do, figure out what your dreams are and get out there”. It took me four months of serious thought after reading it to decide that I wanted to go RVing, but that was the catalyst.

      I applied to work at Yellowstone last summer with Delaware North and was accepted, but I applied so late that the only RV sites that were left were going to cost an arm and a leg in rent. Apply as early as you can for the cheapest accommodation choices!

  6. Kirsty on November 11, 2013 at 11:19 am

    On January 3 I read a ‘CNN Living’ link to this Oprah page: Five months later I had quit my desk job, moved my stuff out of an apartment and into storage and picked up a 25′ motorhome on my 40th Birthday! Another five months later I have driven 10,000 miles through 15 states, visited several dozen National Parks, been to 15 Rotary Club lunch meetings…and decided this lifestyle is for me! I’ve just completed my first week as a stower at Amazon in Fernley, NV (your blog kindly let me know what I was in for) and today I plan to apply to Yellowstone for next summer!

  7. George on November 11, 2013 at 6:52 am

    Your question is intriguing.

    I’ve sat and thought about this for a while. There are two things in my life I would want to change. First, get a better 5th wheel to travel in. Mine definately needs replacing. Second, be able to retire and travel more, with my grandkids. I want, and want them to see all the places and meet all the people we haven’t met yet. People like you make my life more interesting. I have met some people that are downright dumb and others, so intelligent, it makes my head spin. I love knowledge.

    • Charlene Swankie on November 11, 2013 at 8:08 am

      George, I like your thoughts about your grandchildren and I also wish I could do that but I can’t. I always wanted to be the kind of grandmother my Grandmother was… good luck with that dream.

      Aug. 20, 2013, I kayaked the Holgate Glacier in Alaska… only amazing considering it was the 49th state I have kayaked in four years and that in 2004, I was shopping for a wheelchair. I have new knees, better health and a kayak. Thank you for following along and won’t you join me in May 2014 to kayak Hawaii, my 50th state, and celebrate my 70th Birthday, the finale to the wonderful adventure of Kayaking America? Next up… Hiking the Arizona Trail, 820 miles in 2015.

      • Becky on November 12, 2013 at 4:05 pm

        Haha, you should see me in a kayak Swankie. I’m rubbish in the smaller steam/river kayaks, can’t keep myself going straight for anything. I didn’t learn to love kayaking until I did a sea kayak tour in the salt marshes along the South Carolina coast. They have rudders! How amazing.

        • Charlene Swankie on November 12, 2013 at 5:32 pm

          The first kayak I used with a rudder was my 49th state, Alaska. I’d like to try it again in a single kayak. Didn’t think it was much fun with another adult in front of me.
          Charlene Swankie recently posted..Desert TortoisesMy Profile

          • Becky on November 14, 2013 at 4:43 pm

            Ahh, yeah the kayaks on this tour were singles with rudders, they were really long, 13-14′ I think? It was to keep them more stable since they were subject to ocean swells.

    • Becky on November 12, 2013 at 4:00 pm

      Hehe, I love knowledge too. Glad to help get your gears spinning, especially on a Monday morning. 😉

      If these two things are that important to you, the next step would be seeing what the costs would be to make them happen. After that, coming up with a plan to meet those costs and deciding on a deadline. It’s pretty straightforward for buying something like a 5th wheel, but you’ll have to decide whether retiring sooner or having more money by working more for a higher quality RV is more important to you. You’ll also want to keep in mind how much room the grand kids will need when you’re looking for that 5th wheel.

  8. Charlene Swankie on November 10, 2013 at 10:52 pm

    I am happy and content, here and now. I have everything I want and need.

    • Christopher on November 11, 2013 at 6:16 am

      After traveling the world for many years, I have discovered that all people are basically seeking the same peace of mind through many divergent paths. It is a wonderful diversion to globe trot but in the end you must be happy in the shell you are in where ever you land. There is an old saying…No mater where you are , there you are. I have found this adage to be useful in my Buddhist/Pagan life in Kempton, Pa. Charlene said it best (above) if you understand the concept of contentment. Continue traveling and discovering the joys of this beautiful country or the fulfillment of a single flower.

      • Charlene Swankie on November 12, 2013 at 3:35 pm

        Thank you, Christopher.
        Charlene Swankie recently posted..Desert TortoisesMy Profile

      • Becky on November 12, 2013 at 3:50 pm

        I think you’re right Christopher, but I’d like to add something. With inner peace you can be happy no matter where you are or what you’re doing, but travel is a great catalyst to make it possible.

        When you’re in one place doing the same thing day after day, month after month, and year after year, your thinking gets stale. It requires a certain amount of inner work to learn to be at peace with who you are, and I have found that travel erases a lot of the surface problems of what my boss thinks about me and what bills are coming up in the next week, the kind of thoughts that occupy so much of our waking day but at the end of the day don’t allow us to grow as a person. Without those routine mundane things to trip over every day, I have more time to reflect on who I am and what I’m doing here. Not that I don’t still think about those kind of things, but it becomes less of a routine when traveling.

        I’m not sure I said that very well, but I hope you get what I’m talking about.

    • Becky on November 12, 2013 at 3:37 pm

      It’s a great feeling Charlene. Not every day I have feels like this, but I’ve had a lot more of them since I hit the road.

  9. Kim on November 10, 2013 at 7:36 pm

    The most important question one can ask oneself! Great post, Becky. You are wise beyond your years.

    The only thing I would change in my life right now is that my husband is able to retire, like yesterday. Other than that, I’m loving life as it is at the moment. It’s taken me a while to get here, and it certainly didn’t go according to plan but …… I’ve never been happier.

    For me, it’s all about freedom to be who you are. And probably reaching the age when you no longer care what the rest of the world thinks. Self-actualization according to Maslow.

    I think it just takes a lot of life experience to reach this stage of contentment and deep appreciation. At least, that was true for me. I’m 55 now, at the top of the pyramid, and loving every minute of it.

    I look forward to others’ comments.
    Kim recently posted..Greenville, SCMy Profile

    • Becky on November 12, 2013 at 3:35 pm

      Thanks for commenting Kim, I’m behind on reading blogs again but I can’t wait to see how your trip has been going.

      I tell myself that I don’t care what the rest of the world thinks about who I am. Sometimes I’m more successful at it than other times. Like most things in life, I imagine that it takes some practice and if that’s the key, then I should continue getting better. 😉

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