“Money for nothing and your kicks for free”

A thought struck me whilst Pete and I were planting trees recently; it’s impossible to tax our way of living right now. We are not making money so it can’t be taxed. However we are “earning a living” for want of a better term. We are currently dividing our help between two work stay projects; one to provide our housing and one to provide our food.

It requires a lot of time management, schedule reshuffles and quiet prayers to the god of weather but it works. And it really makes you appreciate every meal, every sleep in a bed and every rest period when you can enjoy what’s around you, essentially for free.

When in the rat race I was earning but I was also spending in order to earn. I used to spend an average of about £60 a week on fuel just to get to work and back, not to mention the cost of the wear and tear on the car and the hideous amount of sugary snacks I consumed just to stay awake on the journey. That meant practically an entire day’s earned wage just spent on getting to work and back before I could earn enough to feed and house myself. Costs add up scarily quickly even before any luxuries or taxes are added to the budget.

But here we dig or we shovel or we do some other form of work for a few hours which earns us our food and then we go down the road to look after a house and its inhabitants and stay there for the night.

Did I mention this “work” involves animal cuddles?

The work is enjoyable and rewarding, especially when a big project gets completed. And it also happens to be set in the most beautiful New Zealand landscapes of the Wairapa. Our “office” is a riot of autumn colour and, even though there are frosts at night now, the daily temperatures are often still very pleasant and pierced with blue skies.

I am sorely tempted, when we eventually get home to see how it would work out in the UK. Work stays can be done all over the world so why not do them in your home country too? It might not be a forever solution but it would certainly prolong the time before I begrudgingly have to shuffle back in to that rat-like routine.

The problem is that I loved my job and i miss my job. I am actually very much looking forward to getting back into zoo keeping full time and never wanted to leave the zoo world when I quit. But why isn’t it possible to do a job without the rigmarole of the rat race itself? I wish it were possible to cut out the “middle man” of money and make work a little simpler the way we are doing right now. I wonder how many people would walk into their office a little cheerier if they knew that the next 2 hours of work would result in some delicious food rather than the money to buy it.

Such a simple concept which would hopefully result in less materialism, more work satisfaction and more co-operation amongst the human race. Alas I fear this is a pipe dream but I can enjoy it a little longer before the pipe full of rats desperate to claw their way to the top calls me back.

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