I’m one of the wealthiest people in the world!
That may sound strange coming from a Part Time Professional Gypsy,
but it’s undeniable true.
(No matter what my bank manager might say)
It all comes down to the wealth scale.
If the units are measured in cash, investments, or stocks; I couldn’t compete with a child.
If it’s in assets; my only “valuable” belongings are a teddy bear and a backpack and I’m not sure anybody would pay for either.
I’ve stared broke-ness square in the eye too many a time,
I’ve zero-ed out, but I’ve never been in debt and that’s got to count for something (even if my lack of credit history means I can’t even get a cellphone contract, let alone a house. Not that I want either…)
If we measure wealth in experiences, I might stand a chance to prove my affluence.
I’ve immersed myself in the culture and beauty of a plethora of countries scattered over six continents,
More than most people will ever visit in a lifetime.
(No, I haven’t counted)
I’ve been lucky (and sometimes unlucky) enough to brave Neptune and the ocean and sail around the world.
I’ve seen seventy-three of the seven wonders of the world
(the list keeps getting longer and I don’t think anyone really remembers what the original ones were)
I’ve climbed exquisite snow-capped mountains and scuba dived to the depths of the ocean.
I’ve hiked and cycled and kayaked through some of the world’s most beautiful terrains.
These experiences would have cost millions, but thanks to the good people that have paved my life path and the innate discomfort levels I’ve acquired; I’ve managed them all on a gypsy “salary*.”
I’m truly fortunate indeed!
But none of this compares to the riches I have from family.
…not just blood relatives…
Family of all cultures, ethos, sophistications, and creeds.
“A group of people, usually of the same blood (but do not have to be), who genuinely love, trust, care about, and look out for each other. Not to be mistaken with relatives sharing the same household who hate each other. REAL family is a bond that cannot be broken by any means.
Parents actually enjoy spending time with their children. They help them help themselves make it into the world successfully.
Siblings look out for and love one another. Older siblings generally help take care of younger siblings.
The children respect their parents. The parents deserve their respect.
Spouses married each other out of love; not for money, social status, or fantasies of fancy weddings.”
by Lola5544 April 29, 2011 (Urban Dictionary)
I’ve been blessed with a colourful assortment of exceptional families around the world.
We usually don’t share common skin tones, features, languages, or parents;
But these are people who have gone out of their way to make me – a foreigner, a gypsy, and a stranger – feel right at home!
Some families I’ve only acquired for a day or few,
others I’ve shared long-term “adoption” and even Christmas.
And as often as I have been far away from home,
I’ve also felt right at home because my family has been there.
(I don’t even know how to begin to thank all of my surrogate families.)
This week, for the first time in years, I had my entire biological family not only on the same continent, but under one roof!
(Quite a feat when your family of four is spread over as many continents).
And while I’ve loved spending time with surrogate families around the world,
there’s something special about biological family time.
Even if my baby brothers tower over me in stature and brains [and have their lives more together than I will ever.]
Even if mum rambles on about the want of grandchildren and keeps trying to feed me more food
Even if we keep losing Ouma while she disappears to hand out tracts to save the souls of unsuspecting strangers.
It’s the one family that has known me my entire existence (and longer).
They are my worst critics and best friends.
And while we may not always understand each other,
I love them all too much and unconditionally!
(Terrible bathing attire and all)
With so many quality people in my life, I’m sure you’ll agree that I’m far wealthier than a billionaire!!!
Surrogate and real family, friends, and inspirational people I have met on the journey; thank you for making me rich!
*While I’d love to get paid to travel, to date all financial income has been generated from the intermittent assortment of eccentric jobs I’ve learned/acquired/accepted on-route (See more here: Gypsy Jobs)