Getting Free of the Rat Race...
by Israel Davis aka ClassWarrior
(Denver, Colorado, USA)
Old Man Me
Mr. Grist, I know nothing of gold or searching for gold, but I am sure I can learn quickly with your assistance to become proficient enough to accomplish my goals related to that endeavor.
At this point, however, that is the least of my problems. I’ll tell you my story and perhaps you can help me with suggestions as to how to overcome what seems to be an insurmountable barrier.
I am 61 years old. I live in Denver, Colorado, in the United States. I am not anti U.S., but I’ve become disillusioned with this country’s government. The prospect of having of a reasonably comfortable lifestyle to live out my remaining years is rapidly going up in the smoke of an economy that daily continues to become more and more unstable.
I think it’s highly unlikely Social Security will survive, not to mention the small amount of money we have tied up in our house, which is our only (financial) hope for the future. Selling our house and taking the money to buy a condo then living on Social Security is what my wife envisions will be our future. I think she is sadly mistaken since all indications are that the U.S. dollar will fail and her “dream” will fail with it. If we can sell our house, I intend to put the money directly into gold as quickly as possible.
Quite frankly, I want out of the U.S. I don’t agree with the direction this country has taken as an exploiter of the rest of the world. I don’t agree with almost everything this government has come to stand for in my lifetime. The war-mongering and war profiteering that has become synonymous with the world's view of the United States has made me ashamed to be an American.
The selfishness, greed, and desire for riches that has become the hallmark for success while ignoring the suffering of the rest of the world that represents "the good life" in America is not attractive to me. I don’t see being rich as being the be all, end all, to a happy and productive life. On the contrary, I just want to be reasonably comfortable, healthy, live a very simple life, and help as many other people as I can in whatever small way I can. I see Ecuador as the perfect place to do that.
My wife, on the other hand, is a sophisticated urbanite who has never lived more than ten minutes from a Target/Walmart/Sears in her entire life. She has never lived outside the city limits of a metropolitan area with a population less than a million people.
In short, she is somewhat skeptical that moving to Ecuador is the answer to our problems. She sees it as a disastrous idea that will force her to live in unbearably primitive conditions. I believe Ecuador is paradise.
Where I want to live is Zamora. As I understand it, there are about 16,000 indigenous inhabitants, few people who speak English, and the cost of living is extremely low. The temperature ranges between 50 degrees Fahrenheit at night and 80 degrees in the daytime.
I believe we could purchase half an acre of ground and build a couple of small duplexes in the native style architecture quite easily with the money we will acquire when we sell our house.
My son and his wife would occupy one and my wife and I the other, then rent out the other two apartments for a little extra income. My son and I would hire local labor to help us do the building ourselves.
After we're settled, we can live on Social Security until it fails, and build an online export business selling Ecuadorian products (hand made leather goods, coffee, flowers, woven goods, etc.) in the meantime. I could perhaps teach English or do some other type of volunteer community service work.
Given the climate, we can grow much of our own food and maybe have enough to share with people who may not have resources to buy food. And, last and possibly the most important, we can pan for gold to build our resources.
I would like very much to use as much as we can of what we earn to help the people of Ecuador, especially in the region where we will be living, to improve their lot in life. I am not in the least interested in bringing the modern world to Ecuador; rather, I would like to help the people living there continue to appreciate a simple lifestyle while enjoying the benefits of medicine, affordable or free housing, education, public transportation (green), and the opportunities to choose how they want to live their lives that the aforementioned amenities might allow. Incidentally, although I try to lead a spiritually fit life, I am not at all religious.
I'm sure I sound like some bleeding heart liberal left wingnut, and maybe I am. Thing is, I have always had food to eat, a warm place to sleep, medical care if I needed it, and the chance to be happy if I chose to be happy. I want to give some of that back if I can.
There are so many people in the world who live literally out of garbage cans, sleep on the ground enduring whatever foul weather may arise, many die of medical conditions which are unbelievably simple to care for if they had the resources to acquire medical treatment, and live in worse than abject poverty with nothing but a bleak, bleak future. I cannot in good conscience live my life as long as that is the case.
I know this sounds silly, but my big problem is my wife. I need to convince her (a hard-headed German) that the life I describe is indeed paradise. I want her to understand that we will not be living in some totally remote area so far from “civilization” it will be dangerous at the worst, and inconvenient at best. I want to convince her to at least visit sometime early next year (2010). I know I will not be happy living here in the U.S., and in fact, in addition to being unhappy, it will shorten my life.
I imagine you understand my predicament. I know it’s a lot to ask, but if you could somehow pass along some ideas or suggestions as to how to accomplish my ends, I will be forever indebted to you. Thank you so very much for your time and attention.
Live long and prosper!
P.S. Some suggestions as to where to safely put gold as soon as I can purchase it from the sale of our house would also be appreciated. I know there are many scams out there, and I don't have the expertise to sift through them and make a safe decision as to which is legitimate and which is not.
Stan's response: Hi Israel,
Thanks for your e-mail. I truly understand how you are feeling. I understand how it feels to be in a situation that you want to change. I know what it’s like to feel the difficulty of getting all of the right ducks in a row; to be able to change your situation and live the life that you are dreaming of.
I receive so many e-mails from people every month who are in a very similar situation. I would venture a guess that there are many thousands of people in North America and around the world who will read your e-mail and say, “Ditto, I’m basically in the same boat as you, Israel.”
OK, perhaps I might share a few thoughts of how I was able to escape from a life that I was not very happy with many years ago. Much of my personal liberation started with finding a great book in a used bookstore entitled, How I Found Freedom In An Unfree World, by Harry Browne.
The book helped me to completely understand the nagging feeling inside me to be Free. That feeling had been bothering me for years up to that point. Harry’s book also inspired me to get off my duff and get to work.
I came to realize that I, alone, was responsible for my situation and that I, alone, would be responsible for making all of the necessary changes in my life to become Free. I made a plan. My plan included a big, fat checklist of tangible chores and objectives that I would need to handle in order to reach my goals.
My plan also included a type of daily meditation to help change a great deal of the mental programming and false beliefs from my childhood that had contributed to getting me into my unpleasant, slave-like situation.
By the time my “escape” was complete, I felt like a bird that had been set Free from its cage. I began to experience what it was like to spring out of bed each morning, excited about my day and anxious to enjoy the next adventure. I felt like I had been reborn somehow. I still feel that way every day, many years later.
If I had to regain my Freedom in this decade, I would first establish a few residual income sources that I could mostly run on auto-pilot. My favorite ventures these days are digital product and service sales on the internet. Sitesell.com is one of my favorite vehicles for doing this. You must find your own income sources, though, that best fit your own personality and strengths. Your apartment rental idea sounds great, for example.
Please read the book I recommended by Harry Browne. Pay particular attention to the chapters on relationships, family and marriage. You’ll have to search your own heart and draw your own conclusions there. Just be sure to be true to your own heart and have the strength to follow your path. It’s more difficult to be of service to others if you aren’t happily on your own “path of passion” first.
As far as Zamora goes, it is one of my personal, favorite places on the planet. It is unusually clean, organized and full of productive citizens who begin their day early. That said, Zamora is somewhat rustic; no Sears or Costco. You definitely need to visit the place before making any final decisions. It is not for everyone. However, it is a place to build comfortable, inexpensive housing with natural materials and grow large quantities of your own, nutritious food.
Well, Israel, I hope that from everything I wrote, you may find a morsel or two of help or assistance. I’m always here to answer your questions and give you my opinions. Remember though, my opinions are only opinions, not necessarily the absolute truth for others.
Keep in touch,
p.s. we can discuss gold storage further in private correspondence...