Welcome! I’m Jeff.
My Goal is to help you earn your freedom by living sustainably and shattering through the walls of an ordinary life.
“Conformity is the jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth.” John F. Kennedy
Why I Want My Freedom
Above: Me at Denali National Park in Alaska. I want to spend more time in places like Alaska, and less time in an office.
It all began one day in 2009 after I had left grad school. I was at the beginning of my 150 miles per day commute to my two jobs and couldn’t help but think “If you would have spent sustainably from 2003-2008 you wouldn’t have to do this”. (I’ll be honest, at first I didnt think like this, but after a while I did) It was true – I was trapped by my massive debt load, and was forced to live in a manner that I hated. I spent all my time driving, working or sleeping (including on the weekends).
As you can imagine, that sucked. I didnt get to spend time with my then-girlfriend (now wife), I didnt get to exercise and I got to see my friends about once every month or so. Have you ever been in a place where you were forced to do something you didnt want to do? Something that really made you question what it was all for?
Like everyone else going through their mid 20s I started to wonder: Is this all I’m going to be doing for the next 40 years of my life? Wake up, drive to work, work, go home, eat and then go to sleep? I’ll never get to spend time with my family or friends. I’ll never get to read any books or learn any new things. I’ll never get to exercise. It was going to be all work and very little fun until I could barely get around, and I figured there had to be a way to opt out of that lifestyle. I settled into a routine, and shoveled all of my spare earnings from both jobs into paying off my debt. After almost exactly 5 years of payments, I was debt free (except the house).
Unfortunately, I still wasnt happy. I didnt feel like I was growing as a person and felt like I was stuck where I was at, going to be forced into the traditional work 9-5 to 65 approach, and I knew It wasnt for me. Just figuring out that it wasnt going to make me happy was a struggle. When something is so ingrained into your head, you start to wonder if you’re crazy. Well, the good news is, you’re not. There are many others out there, just like you that are not satisfied with a 9-5 to 65 approach to life. Sustainable life blog is a gathering place for those that want something different. That are tired of watching precious resources of all types get wasted (or used with very little thought).
Pushing Back against a “traditional lifestyle”
Once I figured out that a “traditional” lifestyle wasnt for me, I went to work cutting waste out of my life. I stopped driving 150+ miles per day, giving me back about 3 hours (per day) and savings hundreds on gas per month. I started walking to work. I stopped wasting my money on gas and things, and started using it to pay down debt. I was intent on stepping off of the consumerism path. I cut cable tv so that I wouldnt be tempted with new advertisements and other marketing ploys. The chains that were holding me toward a normal life were starting to lengthen and weaken. The freedom from all of it was coming, so I dove in deeper.
Old habits and ways of thinking faded away, as new ones replaced them. I no longer bought the cheapest item if I needed to replace something, I started doing my research and buying things for life – no matter the item. The traditional path of work, buy poorly made things, waste resources was in the crosshairs, and I was taking it down one thing at a time. Nothing was too small a task. I even make my own laundry detergent. While I am nowhere near as tied to my job as I was in 2009, I’m still chained down, so the battle continues.
Above: My Wife (the brains behind the operation) and I at the Damnoen Sudak Floating Market in Thailand.
If you’re here reading Sustainable Life Blog, I’m guessing that you’ve felt similar a time or two in your life, and that’s how you ended up here. You’re tired of the old way of doing things, and are looking for a life more fulfilling (and way less wasteful) than what’s traditionally available. The good news is that you’re not alone! There are many other readers like you, who look around at others and wonder if you’re crazy or if they are. As I found out in 2009 (and still continue to learn) it doesnt matter what others are doing, you can cut your own path and live a life you want. For me and my wife, that means spending more time with each other and our daughter, more time with each other, and more time experiencing life and traveling. To do all of those things, we have chosen to cut out more common things that we deem wasteful (such as cable TV and a large house).
Join Us and Push Back Against Waste
As I said before, I’m Jeff. I’m really into synergies that I can be found on my road to FI. Im looking to untether myself from everything I possibly can, as I believe that a having a high degree of self-sufficiency is critical to obtaining FI. This has required that I do things differently than normal, a task that I’ve grown to enjoy. It’s not always sunshine and roses though, as I have trouble staying on task and working on one project at a time. This means that I have quite a few unfinished projects at any one time. It keeps me busy, but I dont mind. One dollar saved is one dollar closer to freedom. What I’ve come to realize over the last 5 or so years is that I dont want to conform to a “traditional” life path. I would rather spend time with my family and doing things that we enjoy. I knew I always wanted something different, but could never quite put my finger on it. Once I did find something close to what I wanted, I did the mature thing and saw people who were living awesome lives and scoffed at them, and made excuses as to why I couldnt do that. After about 5 years (and getting 100% debt free except the mortgage was a huge catalyst) I finally realized that I wanted the freedom they had. I’ve finally found the courage to push back against the traditional life path, and I want anyone who is tired of a traditional lifestyle and yearning for freedom to join us and start building your freedom. I dont mind being the different one now – because it means that I’ll be the different one later too.