In so many ways, this episode with Alastair Henry affirmed exactly what It’s Never About Money is all about.
In our conversation, Alastair told his story, with its many twists and turns, learnings and unlearnings, and eventually a firm resolution: being successful doesn’t necessarily make you happy, but being happy makes you successful.
Alastair immigrated to Canada from England by himself when he was 19. He became a typical yuppie – family, house in the suburbs, and a big job in the corporate sector. Following London Life’s Freedom 55 plan – he retired at 57 and went to live in the country.
A year later, disillusioned with the passivity of retirement, he shed his material possessions and went to live for two years with a small First Nations band in a remote fly-in location in the Northwest Territories, Canada.
Cultural differences and a challenging environment ignited in him fresh perspectives, inspired a new way of being, and fueled his soul searching. The experience changed the direction of his life which he wrote about in his memoir: Awakening in the Northwest Territories.
Alastair initially looked at the Łutselkʼe Dene First Nation people through the lens of his upbringing, steeped in Western capitalist ideals. However, as he spent more time with them, he realised that they ‘live in the moment’ and ‘find happiness in simple things’. They do not worry about the future, or strive for material success. Instead, they focus on being content with what they have and the community around them.
Since that experience, Alastair has been motivated to continue to help others, volunteering all around the world in countries like Bangladesh, Guyana and Jamaica. He’s also backpacked with his partner through Central America and Southeast Asia, co-writing three more books: Go For It – Volunteering Adventures on Roads Less Travelled, Budget Backpacking for Boomers, and Tides of Change. He’s also written a fiction titled The Soldier and The Orphan.
Alastair’s journey exemplifies the transformative power of embracing change and finding fulfilment. By immersing himself in different cultures and mindsets, he gained a deeper understanding of others and their way of life.
The byline of his first memoir sums it up absolutely perfectly: One Man’s Search for Fulfilment.
To hear the full conversation with Alastair Henry, listen to episode 54 of It’s Never About Money.