I wrote a book some years back called Boys Becoming Men, in which I advocated organizing adventures to serve as a puberty rite of passage for boys. After its release, several men wrote me saying "It's alright for you - you can afford it." I was dismayed for three reasons:
First because our children are worth the investment;
Secondly, I, in fact, am not wealthy so it was a matter of deciding priorities;
and thirdly, it is a false assumption that adventures and goal setting need be expensive.
Money is important . . . . it makes the world go around.
But, it does not matter as much as many people think. This is why...
1. Your will is more powerful than your wallet
No, I am not talking about inheritance but rather the amazing, even mysterious way in which, humans can, by the power of choice, will something to be! I was born into a family that loves to travel. My father had an inclination to suddenly announce, a year in advance, that the following year we would be in such-and-such a place doing a particular activity. It always came to pass, even though at the time of the declaration no plans had been made or money saved. I often thought he was crackers when he made what seemed preposterous pronouncements.
His philosophy was: "What you say is what you get", and I have found since that my dad was not far off! When I think of an idea and then decide in my head, I am going to do it followed by an announcement then set a course to achieving the goal! Perhaps that is the secret to accomplishing the impossible: be decisive, make a plan, exert your will, and go for it.
"I'm a big believer in will and its power", said Francis Mayes who saw her dream come true of owning a home in Tuscany. "You have to trust your will! I believe in wrenching what you want out of whatever circumstance there is in front of you."
I have met folks, time and time again, who have done just that: they make a decision and then mysteriously the opportunity presents itself.
2. Going first class is second rate
Twenty years ago, I went on the biggest adventure and challenge of my life to date. I rode the length of Japan by bicycle. Not only did I revel in the delights of rural and mountainous Japan, but I was surprised by the pleasure derived from living simply and cheaply for 6 months. My entire belongings fit into two small panniers (saddle bags). There is nothing like feeling the weight of your stuff on a bicycle to help you reduce your baggage.
Arthur Frommer wrote, "When you live lavishly you're really living a kind of life which only a small fraction of the world enjoys and which is enjoyed primarily for social emulation." I agree. Yes, of course money does perhaps buy extra convenience at times, BUT my most enriching times traveling have been when I have traveled low budget and enjoyed the interaction with other travelers in pension breakfast rooms or the common areas of a hostel. Now, all that being said, we must not ignore the relevance of money, and how to spend it and how to make it. And, to guard against greed. Let me end with a story told me years ago by a successful entrepreneur. It is about a boy that everyone at his school thought was stupid. One day during recess, to prove their point, offered the boy a dime (ten cents) and a quarter (25 cents). They told him he could choose one coin only. The boy chose the dime and the boys guffawed their way all the way back to the classroom. The next day the repeated the exercise this time drawing a larger crowd of children. Again, the boy chose the dime. The next day the same thing happened, and this went on for weeks as the other kids ridiculed the boy for being stupid. Eventually, the headmaster learned of the daily scorning and asked the boy why he allowed the kids to make fun of him. Did he not know the quarter was worth more than a dime? "Yes, I do", the boy replied. "But if I took the quarter the first time, they would never have offered me money again."