I usually start my “program” with a relocation closer to work and shopping. This allows one to shed at least one car. The rest is just variations and polishing that theme. Extreme early retirement can thus be reached through a frugal antisuburan lifestyle without car dependence, hour long commutes, and big houses.

Note that this is fairly similar to the college lifestyle without the room mates and eventually with better stuff. Being a graduate student, which is an excellent study in enlightened poverty, I was ready to dive right into this, but for the more “established” with societal expectations and a developing appreciation for bling, I realize it is not so easy.

The steps to get ready are very similar to going cruising by which I mean serious cruising as it moving aboard and sailing around for many months (not a short charter in the Caribbean). The primary requirements are as follows:

  • Obviously the right mindset is the most important. You have to want the “destination” more than you want the other things in your life. If you do not think about it constantly, it is not likely to happen. This has nothing to do with magical thinking about attracting things into your life. Reality doesn’t work that way. However, thinking abut something constantly means having made it a top priority. I have thought of various things along the way: Not being mortgaged, anticonsumerism, capitalism, environmentalism, etc. These are all compatible so it worked for me.
  • Second, I did not have a huge weight dragging me down. I had moved often and so I did not have a lot of accumulated junk. In other words, I was not owned by my stuff. However, a lot of people are really owned by their stuff. If they can’t move because it would mean that they would have to give up their sofa set, then they are owned by their sofa set. Here, possessions need to be substituted for anything that is less or not tangible: Hobbies, missions, dreams, relations, etc.
  • Third, I could walk. Not only could I walk 6 miles on a daily basis, I did not mind it. For someone going cruising, walking almost merits its own chapter, for how else are you going to get around without a car or a bicycle. Sure, a bicycle is convenient, but you don’t always get to park it and so it is not always available. Walking is a prerequisite; specifically the concept of walking is. I see many wives and couples around the housing developments in their sweats our walking swinging their arms around with ipods strapped to their shoulders. This is walking for exercise. If you walk to get somewhere and isn’t dressed in neon, please don’t swing your arms like that, okay? 😉

It may take as much as a year, maybe two, to get comfortable with this new mindset. For changing your mindset, you can either talk to people (this is tricky, since there are very few of them) or read blogs or books. For downsizing, start selling or giving away or using the regular tricks. Most importantly, stop buying. For walking, just go out and do it.

Daily Yakezie Short Carnival: Should Everyone Buy a House? @ Little House in the Valley & Why This 25 Year Old Should NOT Try To Make More Money @ Wealth Pilgrim.
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Originally posted 2010-03-06 09:18:41.