A long-distance phone call from my brother last winter turned into a spirited debate about the position of money in our lives. I championed the more calculated point of view - the one that plays it safe, the one that prepares for winter. He supported the braver option - breaking the boundaries, the 'you only live once' option. The call continued while we used our familiar structures of thought and habit, standing well on the opposite sides of the standard dichotomy - here and now vs. there and then. But the more we tried to convince each other in reason, the harder it was to understand. Why do we have only two options? Save or spend, where on this scale are all the people who choose to leave the fortified walls of conventional economic logic? Those who sell everything and go kayaking around the world, buy a castle in France and turn it into a rustic Bed & Breakfast, and move to live in a caravan in an olive grove on a sunny Greek island? All those people who see money as a direct vehicle to their adventure?! Once these questions began to arise, the seed was sowed, and the journey to answer them began to take shape. A few weeks later, we set out to try it ourselves, or at least to see it up close. We embarked on the most absurd financial adventure we could think of.
We set out to buy an abandoned village in Italy!
The short flight to the boot felt different. We knew we didn't have the resources to tackle such a project on our own, but the very thought of it was exhilarating. Barak (my brother) made all the necessary arrangements in advance. He had the right style, the right jacket, and the right attitude. So, all that was left for me was to enjoy the ride and take pictures.
Our village. 01.2022.
It took us a couple of days of driving, but the Italian food and country roads rapidly led us to our destination. Twenty houses with stone ovens, five wine cellars, three grain warehouses, two pens, and one bell tower. An entire 18th-century village for sale!
As planned, we quickly met the representatives of the Neapolitan family who wanted to sell the village and the horses that were to be ours. We met the head of the local council in his warm office and several real estate agents who wanted to be part of the deal. We all knew that such a project is a life mission, and one should be genuinely committed to it. We all knew that we didn't have enough money or the specific dream power to succeed in such an endeavor, but we enjoyed the sherd moment of imagining our potential. Realizing how possible it is, imaginable, and absurdly inexpensive it is compared to our standard way of life.
Starting to imagine what it's like to be local.
Money is a subject that troubles me greatly in my travels, and our relationship is complicated to say the least. I usually understand money as a socio-cultural construct, but he insists that he exists and that I can't live without him. He is usually right. In my journeys, I have met many people with different perspectives on money: those who keep it close and those who let it wander. But the most exciting and interesting of all are the people who see it as an adventure.
We learn to think in a certain way about money, just as we learn to think in a certain way about our options in life. It excites and surprises me every time to see how little is needed to break through the fortified walls of conventional economic logic, how vast our life options are, and how little money is necessary to make our life an adventure.
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