Productivity. Connectivity. Accumulating Wealth. These are considered positive attributes and goals for working Americans to strive for. Yet “Ecologists warn that economic growth is strangling the natural systems on which life depends,” writes Carolyn Lochhead in the San Francisco Chronicle.
You read nearly everyday that we are running out of – or eventually will run out of – many of our natural resources, for example lithium that powers most of our devices, or we will hve to ration some resources, like water that comes from diminishing aquifers and – at least in California – decreased rainfall threatening devastating droughts and wildfires.
“As the world economy grows relentlessly,” Lochhead continues, “ecologists warn that nature’s ability to absorb wastes and regenerate natural resources is being exhausted.”
And if that isn’t enough to be concerned about, psychologists and health professionals warn that our drive for wealth, continuous connectivity, and relentless need to work more hours, produce more, improve efficiency, and all the other pressures on today’s workforce to be ever more competitive, could have deleterious results on both our mental and physical health.
Whether you are a believer or non-believer in global warming, worried about diminishing resources or believing that nature or science will provide, or are a political liberal or conservative, there may be a solution that would be acceptable to all sides. And that is . . .
Go RVing. Think about it. If you are currently a fulltimer, did you say to yourself, “Why didn’t I do this sooner?” Did you discover that you worked at a stressful job a bit too long, thinking that you needed to build up more wealth than you are now finding that you actually needed. Or are you finding that a simpler lifestyle fits you just fine and you could have started serious RVing – even if you are not a fulltimer – years sooner?
RVing, by its very nature, teaches us to preserve our natural resources, be less wasteful, act more responsibly toward the environment – Reuse, Reduce, Recycle is the mantra. And is there anyone that doesn’t admit that when they are RVing they are happier, more relaxed, more satisfied with life. Some countries even now are trying to gauge their citizens’ happiness index as part of future planning.
No other developed countries drive their workers to work more hours, take fewer vacations or time off – and for shorter periods – and to always stay connected in case the boss needs to reach you, as life is in America. In fact, in most countries, the government requires a certain number of paid vacation days – 30 in France, 25 in Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden, 24 in Germany. Do you know how many paid vacation days our government requires? 0.
Not only that, but America has the lowest number of paid vacation days of twelve developed nations – 13. Compare that to Brazil, Austria, Germany, France, and Italy, all with 34 or more paid vacation days (see chart).
By the time we get around to retiring (or are forced to retire due to downsizing) we are pretty much useless to the workforce, have health problems that prohibit activities that we would like to pursue, and too old to enjoy all those activities that provided enjoyment when we were younger. We don’t possess the drive any more to stay in top physical shape, or pursue hobbies or art or music or mentoring or any other form of creativity.
Give it some thought. Is there any reason you shouldn’t start backing off, go RVing more, downsize, hit the road, consider retiring early, fulltiming in your RV and exploring this great country, pursuing your dreams?