My Journey: A review...Part II.
Trip Start Jul 22, 2009
163Trip End Ongoing
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Five years ago, today, was 604 Moose Squadron's 50th Anniversary "Salute to Cadets" celebration that was the culmination of one and a half years of planning with me as the event Chairperson. At the time I was also the Squadron's treasurer, webmaster and probably had a half dozen other job titles. I enjoyed doing what I was doing. I was happy, even with the stress levels associated with doing all this stuff.
Six months later I was in a minor car accident and later, after a year or so, of every medical test imaginable was diagnosed with fibromyalgia/chronic fatigue syndrome. I didn't work for 6 months after that car accident, went back full time for a few months, then part-time for the next 6 months, or so, after that due to the fluctuating energy levels.
Three years ago I went to Italy to cheer on my daughter at the University Olympics. She was on the woman's curling team, representing her country. I had just seen the movie "The Secret". This trip, looking back in hindsight, was the start of more than I could ever have imagined. I became "Captain Canada", cheering on the young curling team to a Gold Medal. I stepped out of my comfort zone, dressing up in various "costumes" to lighten the girls stress level. I also "predicted" a few days before the final game that they would win the Gold medal. Lucky guess? Or was it the start of a new path in my life?
A few months after that and I had no energy to get out of the bed in the morning to go to work and went on permanent leave from my 20 year career as an accountant.
About this same time, "What? Is! inc" came to be. A business name I "thought up" from a purely marketing perspective. If I couldn't work a 9 to 5 job might as well do something I've enjoyed all my life and try and make a few dollars at it. Photography! Selling online. Which words are most used in a Google search..."what is...?".
Then a "thought" to spend 8 months traveling around the USA and Canada and write a book. Me, an author? I've always been a man of few words. In a crowd no one ever listens to me. Why write a book? Authors go on speaking tours and give interviews. I suck at that.
So I made plans and then left for an 8 month trip around the USA and Canada documenting my journey in a travel blog. I came back from those 8 months of "study" and quit my job. I "jumped off the high board into the deep end of a very large swimming pool". I could have gone back to work, had an energy relapse, then collected long-term disability for the rest of my life. Now that would have made my life simple...NOT!
Then I started planning a motorcycle expedition around Europe. With less then 500kms of riding experience and I would be riding a very big and top heavy motorcycle through various northern European countries...by myself. Talk about not thinking things through. Off I went. Completely broke, riding "on a wing and a prayer" not knowing why I was doing that other then it was a "thought" that I had had and that if I had "thought" it, then I must follow through on it.
Back from that trip and I edit and self-publish my 8 month travel journal as my book. That was a year ago. In the epilogue I make some wild assertions about proving that we can make our Dreams come true. I order about 300 copies of the book to sell to family and friends and for sales through my website. One year later and I've sold 1 book through the publisher's website, none on mine, about 50 copies to family & friends (Thank You!!!), and given away about 150 copies to people I've met in my travels and to people I know wouldn't spend a dime buying a book from someone they know (but will spend hundreds on books from other authors they've just heard about). The "it can't be a good book because I know him", or "I've read the travel blog so why support him by buying the book". (OK. Just a little sore about that)
That book published and I'm waiting, and waiting...and waiting for things to start materializing. Nothing. Nada. ZIP!
I've been doing everything I've read about...I think? The Law of Attraction. Tell the Universe what you want and wait for it to show up in your life. No Dream girl. No interview on Oprah. Not even a few book sales to strangers. Doesn't anybody want the answer to "The Meaning of Life"? What did I do wrong?
But that's OK. Since Italy, and the girls Gold Medal, I've learned a lot. Eight months in North America and two traveling in Europe, plus the time at home and I've gone through many periods of doubts. Why? Why? Why am I doing this? What's the purpose?
I am not proving anything. I do have the few followers who are benefiting from and appreciating what I'm doing. There are probably 100's of people that I have met who congratulate me on my courage to do what I'm doing when I tell them my story. Has it made a difference to their lives? I doubt it. That's the first lesson. We are all in control of our own life. I can't control what others do or do not do with their lives. And so, am I bitter? No!
Why? Because I know stuff no one else does. I see life the way no one else can, or believes it is.
Finances. I said a few days ago that during my hike in Indian Canyon I asked, while meditating, for a sign and received an email from my friend Theresa. Theresa had responded to a mass email I had sent to family, friends and people I've met in the past few years indicating that this blog was up to date and to advise those who don't care to read this blog where I was and what had happened in my life as of late.
Theresa was glad that I was OK, as she and others from that social circle were wondering how I was doing (and hadn't read the blog). The sign? She was curious about what I was living on, though she did indicate it was none of her business.
But actually, it is everyone's business. If I'm trying to prove something here, I can't hide the facts.
The basic facts are like this (all financial records are available to anyone who "requires" them to support my assertions). Hey! I was an accountant for 20 years. I keep good records.
Savings? I've never actually had savings. I love to buy stuff. I always knew I had an amazing pension so why worry about the future. My 8 month journey was financed by credit cards and lines of credit (about $80,000 available). I borrowed the $14,000 to buy my BMW motorcycle for the Europe journey and paid that back from my severance package when I quit. I left for Europe and had no credit available. Traveling is expensive plus having a house with mortgage payments. There was/is no other regular income. Then I took my pension from the government and transferred the non-cash-able portion into a RRIF (which I can't touch till I'm about 60-about $225,000 which does me no good at this time). The remaining $100+ grand that had to be paid in cash paid off my debts...almost. Most people don't take this option when leaving the government because over half is lost to taxes. But not me. My travels are a business and my losses are large (I know tax law). But I still did pay about $30,000 in taxes that year. I've basically paid for my Mini Cooper using my credit cards. Yes, an accountant doing what they all say you shouldn't do. I was lucky in that house prices appreciated quite a bit in Calgary the past few years. I lost some equity when the markets dropped then when I couldn't sell I dropped the price another $30,000. The equity that remained in my house paid off all my debt, for about 2 weeks.
I've had to spend about $12,000 to repair my truck in the past year. After the first major expense there was no turning back. I need my truck, and I need my Mini and I need my motorcycle. They all serve a purpose. They are tools to me just like my computer and camera equipment.
When my house sold I was completely broke again. No credit remaining. I had to have someone else pay to have the graphics installed on my car hauler. The way I was paying for stuff during that period was by selling the stuff in my house. Bills would come due and I would end up selling just enough stuff to keep going.
I'm now on the road to bankruptcy. Car, truck and motorcycle might give me $40,000 if I sold them. I'm already about $20,000 in debt since December. That's why I've stated that if things don't materialize( ie. money doesn't start to flow in) by the time I get back to Canada in June that I go back to a 9 to 5 job. Get an apartment, a job, scrimp and pay off my debts. Experiment a failure and spending the rest of my life figuring out what it was all about.
What was really the sign from Theresa? That I have a lot of marketable skills. Yes, I can do anything I want...except maybe making money working for myself.
But why stop here? I could scrimp and make my money last longer. Do I spend my money frivolously? By the definition of most people that I know I would have to say yes. My aunt Dolores has paid for the accommodations here in Palm Springs. I've offered to pay half and she won't let me. Says that she was going to have the expense anyway. I don't kick a gift horse in the mouth. Thank You very much! I do pay for most of the food and she hasn't had to pay to rent a car. So maybe we are even?
Maybe my lesson at this time is to learn to accept from others. I've always given more then I've taken (I think). I do spend frivolously (by some other people's definition) on myself, but do so even more for others. I buy the stuff that I need, to do, what I believe I need to do. We all do. We also all judge other people on what they spend their money on without looking in the mirror about our own spending habits. It's all a matter of choice.
But I've had another "thought".
Motorcycle through Australia!
So what am I doing?
I'm signed up for a BMW off-road motorcycle training course here in California that takes place in May. After the 3 day course there's also a 5 day "expedition" planned to take the training one step further. Total Cost? $3000. I've already ordered about $1,000 of camping equipment for the course and Australia trip plus have an order ready for another $1,000 of motorcycle gear. My motorcycle needs off-road tyres plus a full tune-up, factor in airfare to Australia for me and my motorcycle and I'm into this "expedition" for $10,000, and that's just to get to Australia. Never mind the costs of being in Australia for 4 to 6 months touring.
Am I nuts? I don't know anymore.
The money has always come in to pay off my debts in the past. Is this the final test? On the verge of bankruptcy and still planning another expensive trip. Maybe my Dream girl is in Australia?
To be continued...