We take our luck when we get it, and roll with the punches when we don’t. Though we certainly can effect our destiny, and influence our odds of being lucky or socked, when it’s all said and done we are all still statistics and every event in our lives is a measure of probability and chance.
Fact: Lightening kills 6x more men than women. Is nature a sexist sociopath bent on righting an imbalance in humanity? Maybe. But perhaps more plausibly: you are most likely to be struck by lightening when you are fishing and you are most likely to be fishing in a thunder storm when you are an idiot, and if you are an idiot, you are most likely male. And another aside: you are 2x more likely to be killed by a falling coconut than by lightening. So yeah, seeking shelter from the storm beneath a palm tree = bad idea.
My point is…. well, I’m so far off topic I think I’ll start over.
Right, so…. unicorns, these magic beasts of fantasy and fortune. I imagine the odds of encountering a unicorn to be fantastically small, but I am equally certain that if I found and captured a unicorn, put it in the back yard and fed it a steady diet of wishes and goodwill, it would be no time at all before I was knee deep in unicorn poo.
People frequently tell us, “You guys are living the dream.” And to that I will agree, we are certainly living OUR dream. And if this is YOUR dream, I implore you to get out there and live it too! But do remember that the lives we live through social media are almost always lives projected through rose tinted lenses on the greenest side of the prettiest fence. Nothing wrong with that… who wants to share pictures of finger smudges, leftovers or chin canyons…. but sometimes I think a little honest reflection is good for restoring the connection between social networking and humanity, and since at least half of you are human, here are a few things that just haven’t quite gone to plan in our quest to live the dream.
Shortly after we decided that this highway adventure was right for us, we began looking at the logistics and realized that my job could easily be managed on the road, as long as I had a quiet space to work and a good wifi and cellular connection. I reached an understanding with my long time client that I would travel to their California HQ and work onsite any time they had a heavy program lift or needed more face time and when they didn’t I would reduce hours and work remotely while exploring the western states.
Long story short, just before we took delivery of our RV, I received an alarming text from my client. “Have you seen the news?” I hadn’t, and when I saw that they had just been acquired by another massive company and were expected to be divested, my heart sank.
We had a decision to make. Sometime in the next 6 months, my long time client would no longer exist, and some time before that, neither would my job. Do we stay the course and hit the road, or do we stay put and look for traditional employment? You’re reading this blog, so you know we went ahead with the plan. Here’s why.
No matter what choices we made, we still had to find a new source of income and we had to live somewhere. We knew we wanted the experience for the family and the only real risk is that we would use this setback as an excuse to not follow our dreams. The worst case scenario is that we have to abandon the highway and settle back into a normal state of life, which would basically be exactly where we started, except with a few months of amazing memories from our travels across the states. That didn’t seem so bad.
Where there is a will, there will be a way, and now it’s time to double down on this commitment and find work that will continue to support this life that we love. Which would be a lot easier if it weren’t for the….
For nearly half of our time on the road, I have been driving across the country with my right arm locked above my head in a perpetual wave. Thanks to those of you who waved back!
Somewhere in New Mexico I woke up with extreme pain in my right arm. That pain never went away but could be somewhat relieved by holding my arm above my head. We weren’t able to stay in one place long enough for proper treatment, as we were on a schedule to reach my clients by first of March, but I did score some nice scripts in Arizona and a steroid injection for what the urgent care doc said was likely caused by compressed nerves in my neck.
Nothing helped, although the pain killers did take the edge off and prompt some creative writing. By the time we reached LA 2 weeks later I had had enough. While the family headed off to Disneyland, I went to Anaheim Urgent Care for another steroid dose and this time the doctor ordered an MRI. It would be another week before I could get the MRI done in Palo Alto, CA.
The MRI revealed “severe foraminal stenosis” in my cervical spine, and the recommendation was that I have two spinal disks replaced. The doc said the loss of strength I’ve experienced in my right arm would likely be recovered if we acted quickly (within 6 weeks of the nerve compression) and that if it was his arm, he would schedule immediate surgery (with whom, he didn’t say). I tried to schedule the surgery and ran directly into….
Despite authorizing the MRI in March, when I went for additional lab work I was notified that my health insurance had been terminated on January 31st. Come again?
It turned out there was an error in the application of the auto-payments and because I had opted for paperless invoicing when I setup the auto-pay, their system did not send me notice of the failure or balance due. Sigh….
It’s being fixed now, and I’ve been assured that there will be no real lapse in coverage, but the process of fixing will take 30 days. In the meantime I’m showing as uninsured so it’s impossible to go ahead with the surgery.
So, in summary: I’m waiting for insurance that may not come, so I can get a surgery that may be too late, while working a job that will soon not exist.
This changes nothing of course. We are still exactly as we were before I wrote this post, living our dream. Living a dream isn’t always sunshine and butterflies. Life is still going to be life… the good, the bad and everything in between. My point is: don’t let setbacks stop you from living your dream. You can’t ride unicorns without stepping in a bit of poo.
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