To be very clear, just because I am boycotting the retail extravaganza this weekend does not mean I do not intend to shop for Christmas gifts for my family. I do believe that we have to keep spending (to a responsible degree) to keep our economy on the path toward recovery. If everyone stopped spending completely, our economy would never recover.
That said, I want to revisit my theory about voting with our wallets. Here’s a tangible example of what I mean by that …
I am not a resident of California. As such, I was not given an opportunity to vote on funding for California State Parks this past election cycle. However, when I take my family on a road trip next spring to have the E-Camper pop-top installed on our Honda Element, I am really looking forward to frequenting the State Parks along the coast. I also happen to have friends and family that live in California who would love to continue enjoying the severely underfunded State Parks. So, I did a little research and found that I can purchase an annual state park pass for my friends. This got me to thinking that the same thing should exist for Washington State, which is when I discovered that I can also purchase a Washington and Oregon State Recreation pass for my local friends and family. Then I thought … there should be a National version of this awesome idea. And, as it turns out, there is.
I’ll be completely honest and tell you that I have not been hiking or camping or fishing since my parents and brothers dragged me into the wilderness as a child. I wholeheartedly believe that the fact that I live in the middle of the forest surrounded by swarms of mosquitos, and have to dodge deer every time I drive down the road amounts to more than my fair share of the great outdoors. Therefore, I have not calculated the cost:benefit ratio of paying for daily use of these amazing parks as you go vs. investing in an annual pass. But I do believe that if you have the pass staring at you from your rearview mirror on a daily basis, you might be more mindful of getting out there and experiencing Mother Nature at her finest.
And, since this Minimal Challenge is all about minimizing material goods and maximizing adventures and experiences, well … I have to admit it. I think I’ve found the perfect gift.
Even if my gift’s recipients don’t find the passes as useful as I imagine that they will … well, at least I’ve voted to save the parks for my children to experience … even if I don’t have a vote in that jurisdiction.