Money For Nothing and Your Dog's Love For Free...

I learnt one of the most valuable lessons of my life four thousands miles from home, when I was only eleven.

We had been travelling for months, driving around Australia in a little car - just my Mum, my dog and I. My father had left us when I was very young and it had just been the two of us ever since. So when my Mum's long service leave came up she decided that she wanted to get out of town and see the world, we packed up the car and left, driving straight away from home and our boring old lives. At times we wanted to kill each other but we knew that like always we were all we had. This reality began to set in as our finances began to dwindle, we picked oranges in Orange but that still didn't give us enough to get home. We had one lifeline left - the refund from my mum Tax Return. Finally we could no longer afford the cost of fuel, the Tax Refund check was late and our money was tight. Eventually we found ourselves stuck four thousand miles from home in a town called Mackay in Queensland in a little run down old caravan park. The price was cheep and that was all that mattered.

We were alone - on the other side of the country with just enough money to pay for the place to park the car and eat. We kept to ourselves mostly, to a single mother with her eleven year old son and small dog with no money the world looked pretty scary. One hot sunny day as I made my way to see if the pool had been cleaned like the owners promised it would be, it hadn't, an old man living out of an old beat up yellow ute that had appeared overnight smiled and introduced himself. His dog, an old cattle dog, wagged its tail playfully licked my hand. I excused myself, he seemed friendly but you can never tell, and went to tell my Mum about this nice older man. The next day when I went down to the pool my Mum came with me, half to check out the pool and half to check out this old man. Again he introduced himself and soon we got to talking. We formed a quick friendship as his humour and kind manner put us at ease.

Over the next couple of days we went back and chatted to him, my Mum enjoying a cup of tea or coffee while I played with his dog. Eventually the conversation turned to money and how expensive it was to travel. We were shocked as he told us how much it cost him to fill up his ute and I joked that he must be a millionaire. Laughing he replied that he was and then he told us his story.

In a pervious life he had been a rich man, CEO of a minor multinational corporation. He had it all - money, fast cars, money, mansions, more money, boats, and even more money. His wife couldn't have been happier, his kids went to the best schools and where directors and CEO's themselves. But for all his money and all his possessions there was one thing that he didn't have - he wasn't happy. Every time the stocks went down his stress went up, he felt his wife didn't love him just his wallet and he never saw his kids since they were so busy themselves. He couldn't call anyone he knew a friend because they all wanted what he had and would say and do anything to get it. In short he was totally miserable. As his health began to deteriorate he called his family together to tell them of his decision. He was going to leave his job and wanted to travel, not in the lap of luxury but just get on the road and drive. His kids were shocked and his wife stormed right out to get a divorce lawyer. Finally when he had paid her off and liquidated his assets he bought an old yellow ute and taking his faithful dog hit the road just as he dreamed of doing. His health improved straight off and more importantly he loved what he was doing, like the king in Shakespeare’s immortal play he was among the common man again - people who were genuine and honest and often happy as well because they were travelling themselves.

Looking at me he said "Money is only worth what you can do with it, believe me I know." That day I learnt that money means nothing, it is little more than a means to an end. A hundred dollars spent on food for myself will keep my belly full for a week but a hundred dollars spent buying food for a friend in need will keep my heart full for much, much longer.

A few days later the yellow ute disappeared, the old man continued on his journey and so did we. The tax check was enough for us to get home but this time money didn't seem tight, there were always a few spare dollars to spend on buying food for a BBQ at a rest stop with our fellow travellers. Even though since then money has been tight it has never really bothered either of us, we just think back to the man who had everything but gave it all up for what he really wanted.

arthurn arthurn
26-30, M
21 Responses Sep 8, 2009

This is so inspirational to read, but I must admit,, because I was raised by a single mom who struggled all her life to support my sister & I, I really wish we would have had more money. I agree that some of our precious memories had nothing to do with expensive gifts, but because of the stress, my mom had her 1st heart attack at the age of 40 and was sick constantly until she died at the young age of 61. I know that if she hadn't struggled so hard & life had been financially easier, she probably would have been with us a bit longer.

Just brilliant. It's transcending. I am a Digital content professional in my mid thirties. I am also an aspiring sc<x>riptwriter for movies. I have been looking for a truly touching story. The hunt ends here, as it seems. May I know your email ID Arthurn? ... Regards. Best...

great story! thanks for sharing

Nicely Written .. Thanks A lot

Really inspirational story........i can relate to old man's story......i come from family where i have anything and everything....u name, luxury, home cars, clothes, jewelry, everything except freedom........everytime i want to do something i have to think what will others think.....any of things that i would do won't reflect on my family etc feels like u are living in the diamond cage........i very much agree with what old man is worth only if its spend wisely

Really inspirational story........i can relate to old man's story......i come from family where i have anything and everything....u name, luxury, home cars, clothes, jewelry, everything except freedom........everytime i want to do something i have to think what will others think.....any of things that i would do won't reflect on my family etc feels like u are living in the diamond cage........i very much agree with what old man is worth only if its spend wisely

That is bloody brilliant and inspiring, I wonder what happend to that old man, I hope that him and you and all of us no matter what road we're travelling with no matter what money find what it is we're looking for.

Checkinto, I am sadened by your comment. Firstly let me say simply that this is a 100% true story, it actually happened to me. <br />
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The moral of the story is that money is not everything, yes it may be crucial to life as we know it but it should never become everything, the be all and end all of life. If you spend to much time working to earn a living then you are simply living to work and not actually living at all. Yes money may open doors but think for a second why that is. Why does money open doors for us? Because someone at some time closed that door to make money. <br />
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A perfect example of this occured in Spain. A news story was publiched just a few days ago of a woman who claimed ownership over the sun, and no I'm not pulling your leg. Technically since no country can claim ownership over items in space, space comes under the principal of first in best dressed. She claimed that she would place a traffif on the use of the sun and and give portions to various agencies, while keeping 10% for herself as admin fees. <br />
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Now, whether this actually happened or it is something someone just made up is immaterial, it perfectly illistrates my point. In the beggining everything was free. If you wanted it you would have to get it yourself, but then someone said 'If I get that for you will you give me that?' And this system worked well untill greed came in and soon it was not 'that' it was 'those', soon after it was 'this is mine but you can have a small bit for all that!' And so we end up here today, the banks a mess, greed and incomptence forcing the global economy in a spiral from which it may never recover.<br />
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But at the end of the day, money is nothing but a means to an end. Money does not buy your daughter's time, it buys you gas to get there. What if you were to catch a lift with a good friend? Would money buy you that or would your years of faithful friendship have earnt it for you? I hope your job hunt ends soon and you can get back on your feet but remeber, when you look back on the good times in your life what do you remeber the money you had or the good times with the people you love. <br />
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Life really is measured not in seconds or dollars but in moments.

I think your story is a nice one But what happens if your money runs out? And your out of gas, food and every day needed items? You do need income of some sort to survive... don't you? <br />
I am trying to learn a lesson from your story and I know it's there but In these hard times money seems to be harder and harder to come by. I use to have everything as well, money in the bank, a nice house, a family and kids... good friends and a good life.<br />
Well I ended up being laid off my job and have not found a job since. This is two years now. In this two year span I have lost my house all my toys, cars, even my family. My wife divorced me but I see my child as much as possible but some times I don't even have enough gas money to see her. Anyway I believe money has more meaning to just a means to an end. It is crewshall to the cycle of modern life. It's the means to the begging, middle and end. It allows freedom in our lives with out having to scrounge for food and beg at a corner or a place to sleep instead of a blanket near the freeway off ramp. Money is very important. Just my 2 cents!

Awesome story. I love how those we only know for a short while and meet in the oddest of circumstances can have such a profound impact. <br />
The highlight and lowlight and most life altering life lessons I've learned thus far have been from a 2 week road trip out to California when I was 18. <br />
May we continue to remember the lessons and live joyful lives!

the most Important things in LIfe are NOT Things nor Money, but People a Human touch. l LOVE your Life Story. "God Bless us All in our Journey" <br />
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I wonder if he ever reconnected with his children again, and taught his children this valuable insight?

I love your story! My parents always took us out on the road every chance they got. And through them my brother and I both got wanderlust. My sister could care less. I spent two years just wandering around, knowing any road looked good as long as there was enough gas. I had some money, panhandled some, did small things for a few bucks. My husband doesn't have wanderlust, but he likes to go with me. We have 4 children, and all of them are happy staying within a hundred miles or so of their homes. They don't think we're looney, this pastime is just not for them. Yay for you and me.

thank you for this story. At this point in my life it is a very valuble one.

thank you for this story. It is just what i needed to hear this a.m. :-)

Beautiful! Moments like those are what make life so pleasurable living.

Thanks for sharing this beautiful story. What a wonderful lesson to learn so early on in life.

Thanks for sharing this beautiful story. What a wonderful lesson to learn so early on in life.

We didn't need it, we had just enough to live on. Anything else would have been a luxury.

He did not offer to help you out?

Great Story!!! thank you for sharing this with us. we should always remember this.