This has been a tough year for me. I am not just joking around when i say that Bowie dying took a serious emotional toll on me. And Brexit hit me very, very hard. This is the year where i typically get itchy feet. I've been living in the same city for 3 years, and i feel like i've seen it all. I passed my one year work anniversary, which is historically when the everyday frustrations of a job start to eclipse the novelty for me. I have spent the last six months trying to rein in my alcoholism for the benefit of my direct reports only to have it slip again in the past month. I am ready to move on.
Visiting Namibia at the beginning of the year exposed me to the ugliness of capitalism and income inequality run wild. Visiting rural America this year reminded me how good it felt to be free, to wander alone and without a purpose. Then San Francisco drove home, for the second time in as many years, how high tech money can completely destroy communities. Even in my founder-bootstrapped, profitable, charitable, firmly left-leaning company, my colleagues want more money to buy more fancy dinners and more Apple baubles because God forbid we, in our privilege, ever try to curb our consumption. It makes me sick that i work in such an elitist industry that massively overpays its workers, drives gentrification, celebrates consumerism and is primarily funded by ultra-rich speculators. Even if some of the top guys are liberal philanthropists, i am not sure the cost is worth it.
Brexit basically pushed me over the edge. Pretty soon i will no longer be a citizen of the EU. I will be a guest worker here, just like i was in Canada for 4 years, just like i was in Australia for 12. If i am going to be a guest worker and not a citizen, then why bother staying? I could go anywhere in the world and enjoy the same disenfranchisement and prejudice that all international hobos or economic migrants face. I would continue to have no safety net. I would continue to own no assets. But i could be an outsider all over again. At least each time i start from nothing i am learning a new culture, maybe a new language, experiencing things that somehow make the inevitability of doing exactly the fucking same job i did 17 years ago less depressing.
Or, you know, i could move back to Canada. And i have been thinking more and more seriously about that. Not because i want to settle down, but because Canada is the only citizenship i hold that i actually want. Post-Brexit my EU citizenship is being stripped and replaced with citizenship of a country i was born in but haven't set foot in for 30-odd years. At some point in my life i want to stop working, i really do, and then how am i going to survive if i am stranded in whatever my latest country is without anything to fall back on? In Canada i could buy some land. I could buy a trailer home. Then work my ass off for enough years that i actually qualify for more than the $7200 a year that is the base Canadian pension. Or just hope to hell that universal basic income happens before i die. But is that just giving up? Living in a trailer in the middle of Saskatchewan because that's all i can afford and doing remote work till i die? On the other hand, why would i want to live in the insanely expensive cities of Vancouver or Toronto, perpetuating the gentrification and income inequality that embodies everything i hate about the cities of the developed world?
I started looking at land in Saskatchewan a few weeks ago. I am looking in a triangle from Coronach to Leader to Milk River, Alberta. Basically the tiny slice of Canada that is sunny more than it isn't. The sliver of Montana that was ceded to Canada in exchange for bits of North Dakota and Minnesota. The only towns worth mentioning are Medicine Hat and Swift Current. It is one of the most conservative parts of the country. The only things out there are cattle and wheat and gas stations. But it is sunny and i might be able to afford a bit of land where i look out the window and see nothing till the horizon. And then what? I don't know. I don't know if i could live somewhere that has no techno music or public transport or real Chinese food. But i can't afford to buy anywhere else. How ridiculous is that? As a software engineer with over 15 years experience i can still only look at a savings account of around 30k. And this is the most money i have ever saved in my life.
Huh. I guess if i stopped blowing it all every 4 years because i need to take 6-12 months off...
But you know i am almost there again. If i blow all this cash on some land, then i have to keep working. I have no choice. If i don't blow it on land, then very soon i will probably snap and spend 6 months bumming around just because i can afford to. Having to work is killing me. This uninspiring life, day in, day out, same people, same problems, it just wears away until i can't take it any more. I don't know how people do it. Work a job they don't care about for 45 years straight, living in the same goddamn town and ever-so-gradually paying off some home they will only truly own once they retire, at which point they realize now they are still stuck in the same goddamn town till they die. Buying land gives me a town to die in. Buying land in the sticks means i am forced to start working remote. And that, in turn, would set me up for snowbirding. I may still spend the next 30 years working, but at least i could travel across North America while i was doing it, and still have a pension waiting for me at the end.
I dunno. I also looked at jobs in Kenya.