Moving Back to Jamaica

A blog about my Move Back to Jamaica after 20+ years of living in the US. Most of the articles focus on the period from 2005-2009 when the transition was new, and at it's most challenging.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Lifestyle Design

In a powerful book I just read, the Four Hour Work Week by Tim Ferris, the author makes the case that instead of focusing on money -- a common American preoccupation -- one should focus on "Lifestyle Design."

He argues that the very American promise of hard work in order to one day retire is a mistaken one.

Instead, one should take advantage of the "good years" and take several min-retirements along the way, spending as much time in foreign countries expanding one's direct experience (assisted by foreign languages.)

It's an interesting philosophy, and he has arrived at a point where many Jamaicans reach after a few years of hard work in the U.S. -- the money is good, but the endless grind and commitment to earning more, buying more, discarding the old stuff and putting the new stuff in the home is tiring.  Statistics show that the US is one of the most productive countries in the world, but they also show that it's because US workers put in more hours than any most other industrialized countries.

He argues that money is no proxy for lifestyle.  And, it's nowhere near as important.

Most Jamaicans who want to return know this keenly -- the 5% raise they get from the job does not make up for the lack of fresh fruits, the proximity to family or the "exotic vacation" they'll have to take to merely return to the island they once called home.  (Just tell the average person in the world that you are visiting Jamaica and watch their reaction...)

We returnees know that Jamaica offers a lifestyle that is, in some ways, superior to that of the vast majority of those lived by Americans. The question raised in the book is an interesting one for those of us who are hoping to return.

Now that a Jamaican is living in the U.S., how can they combine their access to both countries to design the lifestyle the want NOW, long before the hills of Mandeville beckon a retiree home?  How does one design and live a life that gives the best of all worlds?

The book gives some interesting tips on exactly how to do that.


At 1/10/2008 11:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The "endless grind and commitment to earn more" is not just tiring to Jamaicans its also tiring to and, dare I say, killing Americans. I am an American, who, having tired of the rat race, have decided to leave - permanently. The south coast of Jamaica shall soon be my permanent place of residence. Thanks for the blog its been enlightening.

At 1/10/2008 2:46 PM, Blogger CGOODEN said...

Nuff Respect Cutter! I am one Jamaican that appreciates the near paradise we have hear and give thanks every day that I wake up here. Some things that make me waver in my commitment...crime, police excess, poor education opportunities for my kids, etc....all rampant in many poor countries like ours. When we fix these and other failings we will have the worlds first paradise

At 1/14/2008 9:02 AM, Anonymous caribstarr said...

This is the second well-respected blog I have read that promotes this book.
Clearly it IS a must-read!

On another note, you have once-again eloquently summarised the West Indian exeprience in the US and have put my own heart-felt feelings down in your own words. It is sad that we (who still live in the US and wish to be home) would rather spend our whole lives preparing to home than to make the leap earlier b/c of what others might say or what we might miss about the US's conveniences.

big up yuhself, man

At 1/14/2008 2:31 PM, Blogger fwade said...

Thanks boss!

At 1/23/2008 9:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Francis..your experience speaks to the desire of many Jamaicans who would return in a heartbeat but are scared of the crime situation. Yet, the grind abroad is real, never ends and does take a toll on mental and physical health. It's only the super rich in any environment who live well and some probably pay a price for the illusion. thanks for your blog and keeping it real as your thoughts are based on experience which many of us share but don't verabalize. there are folks returning home just as some decide to migrate. It comes down to quality of life and I don't think that can be easily measured.

At 8/28/2010 2:36 AM, Anonymous hope chest said...

It sound that you really learn from your experiences in life. I am so impressed in the article that you write. It is a well written article I think. I am so glad that I read this article.

At 4/29/2012 5:55 AM, Anonymous June Anderson said...

What happened? Your last post was in 2010.It seemed such a nice site too. Join us


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