choice signs

The Life I Chose: Thoughts On Manifesting Destiny

I should feel guilty about being a loser and staying inside on a sunny day like today, but I don’t.

I should want to go out and soak in this amazing world, feel gratitude for living here right now, but I don’t.

Instead, I’m 100% tired, dreading my Monday, and knowing that I’ve got to Make It All Happen for another five days. It’s the same feeling I’ve had just about every Sunday night since January, 2013.

Fact is, I’m two years and four months into “working overtime.” When I started this whole journey of Working More, it wasn’t with a dream of seeing the world. Hell, I didn’t even know if I could get enough scratch together to live abroad for a year. All I knew was, I needed to claw out of my unending financial desperation so I could finally do things others took for granted, like maybe get some takeout dinner and buy a $15 wine instead of $9.

But back then, I thought I’d be working so hard so long to get what I want that I’d have to move abroad just so I could pay down my debt. Somehow, I kept finding new gears. I kept working more, finding different clients, trying out different writing jobs.

I valued myself more, I charged more, I earned more, I paid down more.

When the first two weren’t getting me anywhere, I finally doubled down on the third.

Faking It Like a Pro

Somewhere along the way, I started thinking more about Anywhere But Here. What would living abroad mean? How could I do it? What model of nomadic life might be the right fit for me?

Next, I became a classic case of Fake It Till You Make It. In fact, I’ve developed a superhero power for my ability to, no matter what the conversation is about, mention in the first three minutes that I’m on the verge of “selling everything and travelling the world for five years.”

One could easily assume I’m just being a braggart and a jerk, but in reality, I’m still so much in disbelief that THIS is what I’m doing that I’m telling everyone in an attempt to make it more real for me. Sometimes it even works and I believe I’m that girl. I try to tell someone new every day or two.

It’s weird that I can undertake such a massive life-change while being completely unable to tell you when I actually decided to DO IT. The idea just kept evolving.

The more I learned about long-term travel, the more empowered I felt that I, too, could be a nomad. The more I learned about the stuff I owned and the unavoidable emotional pull it all has, the more I started to think minimalism and Owning Nothing might be the best crash-course of psychic healing I could ever get. The more I learned, the less I felt like it was a life for Other People.

wpid-img_139641969635076Choice Happens

Eventually, I decided I was brave enough to say I, Too, Will Travel Like Them. Eventually I thought I was exactly that kind of person, even though I spent my life thinking I wasn’t. So I told other people this was my audacious plan.

Then a funny thing occurred when I started to think about what it would take to do what I’d need to travel: I just started to make it happen.

It’s like I wrote for my friends on Facebook this past week:

It’s real weird when you say, “Self, this is what I need. Now go get it,” and then, like, you DO. You go get it!

Sometimes life is all about making choices. Nobody said what comes after those choices is EASY.

The choice is the easiest part.

But you just gotta choose to pay that price. Then, poof. Sometimes magic happens.”

Every time I’ve gotten more specific about what I need to make happen in order to Leave On A Jet Plane, I’ve gotten exactly what I outlined. Is it just a matter of knowing what’s needed then pursuing it? It is some mystical law-of-attraction aka “The Secret” thing?

Meh, I don’t care, I don’t need to know. It’s kind of like writing. I don’t need to understand what different clauses and phrases are called — all I need to know is how to get it done.

And hey, I’m getting it done.

choice signs

All The Drops Count

With 13 weeks left in Canada, it’s amazing how everything is coming together in the final weeks. Financially, organizationally — it’s all coming together better than I could’ve hoped. So much so that the prospect of leaving the country 100% debt-free is a growing likelihood rather than the faint hope I pegged it as just three months ago.

Leaving debt-free was never part of the dream. It wasn’t. I’d have scoffed if anyone suggested it could be done.

That was then. Now, I’m a believer.

And here’s the thing: If I hadn’t been antisocial and a workaholic, I wouldn’t be in the position I’m in. I wouldn’t be leaving in October. I’d have more debt. I’d be less tired, but also unhappier, more worried.

Somehow, all the times I’ve worked longer and gotten takeout instead, every time I’ve turned down plans and rested after a six-day week, each time I spurned the great outdoors in favour of recharging mentally so I can write more — it all conspired to get me right here, right now.

I cannot tell you how important every single drop of water in that bucket is. I kid you not when I say it looks like it will literally come down to the week I leave that I pay my debts off in full.

It will be one of those written-by-the-cosmos storybook endings to about 12 years of struggle — but the last five years had me clawing my way out.  It will all culminate with me handing in my housekeys on my 42nd birthday, and within a week, likely becoming debt-free as I leave to travel the world for five years. I couldn’t have written it better.


For many, this is true. But I have had depression and I know that is not a “choice.”

Mastering Fate

It’s like the poem “Invictus” says: I am the captain of my fate, I am the master of my soul.

There are days when I think I will regret not being Little Miss Outdoorsy more while I’ve been in Victoria, but then I realize that this place has been exactly what I needed it to be: The place where I fell in love with writing again, rediscovered photography, learned how to deal with my back, and where I finally fixed my finances.

Those were the goals I set for moving to Victoria, and I gave myself five years to accomplish them.

I will be leaving 3 years, 6 months, and 29 days after that clock started ticking, and with a “100% done” stamp on those four goals.


All I Did Was Choose, Then Keep Choosing

It’s nothing amazing, what I’ve accomplished or set out to do. All I did was make a choice and never stopped being aware that everything I was doing — all the extra work, all the long hours, all the tired days, all the weekends I opted out of — was a choice. It wasn’t punishment or suffering, it was opportunity to take what I wanted. I wasn’t allowed to whine about overwork, because A.) I made a choice and B.) the universe gave me the opportunities I needed in order to make that choice real.

Making a choice is the easiest thing you’ll ever do. The trick is never letting yourself forget that you CHOSE it, and always being willing to pay for it.

Don’t like your life? No one says it’ll be easy to change it. Other people might have it easier than you — God knows folks had it easier than me (and still more have it harder) — but either that holds you back or gets you angry so you move past it.

It’s all still just a choice.

Like me, staying inside today, sleeping until 10, cleaning my apartment, and just being still. You pick your battles and you go where the struggle takes you. That’s what choices are all about.

I’m travelling the world for five years, starting on October 5th. Follow along with my travel blog, The Full Nomad, as those plans come to life.

I Hate The Way You Buzzword

Normcore. YUCCIE. Bae.

If there’s anything the internet deserves bloody death for, it’s the proliferation of words that make me vomit in my mouth.

It’s one of those strangely ironic situations for a writer. We love specificity. If there’s a word best suited for that which you’re discussing, then go to town. It’s wordnerd time, motherfucker.

It’s like that scene in English Patient:

Katharine: l wanted to meet the man who could write a long paper with so few adjectives.
Almasy: Well, a thing is still a thing, no matter what you place in front of it. Big car, slow car, chauffeur-driven car.
Madox: Broken car.
Almasy: lt’s still a car.
Geoffrey Clifton: Not much use, though.

But for a good writer, it’s a sedan or a coupe or a sportster or a hatchback or a jallopy or a wreck or a rust-bucket. It’s not “a car”.

So, specificity — it gets us hot. It’s what we do. Got exact words? A shudder-worthy moment.

Language is a beautiful sonorous thing. It’s not to be sullied by your cheap 5-cent words cobbled together from laziness and the most fleeting of trends. Normcore? We have to have a word now for the way the majority of people dress? He’s in chinos and a sweater, okay? Not “normcore.” When one word covers it all, we turn everything into a homogenized whole instead of celebrating uniqueness.

I don’t know about you, but writing about unvarying collectives able to be encapsulated by a single umbrella word isn’t enthralling for me. That’s the writing equivalent of paint-by-numbers.

People talk now as if language has a seasonal life. Our words we choose are so temporary in nature that we risk being indecipherable to those who find our daily social media transcripts centuries from now. Provided we haven’t climate-changed ourselves into extinction, that is.


Because creatives have never gathered in the city (or worn turtlenecks or toques or hoodies) before: Beat writers and artists at breakfast in New York, late 1950s. L-R: Larry Rivers, Jack Kerouac, Gregory Corso (back of head), David Amram, Allen Ginsburg


Crimes Against Language: “YUCCIE

The latest word to explode onto the internet is that of “YUCCIE.” It stands for “Young Urban Creative.”

A news guy I know said, “Yeah, but I sort of felt it needed a word,” about my latest rant on Twitter. Now this is a guy who shares some of the most compelling news I see, too, so I respect his opinion, but this makes my head explode.

Here’s the deal about the Young Urban Creative: It ain’t nothing new. Zero new. Nada di new.

You go back over centuries and the city was always where creatives amassed. They drew together because they needed to have community of others who understood exactly what their passion and raison d’etre is. This remains more true — and more readily found, thanks to the Internet – today.

Creatives, we have a different perspective on the world. It’s easy to feel really alone and forsaken unless we find others who are just as bent as we are.

Look at the culture around Moulin Rouge in the 1890s in Paris, and how it drew the absinthe-loving arts crowd into its fold before spilling out into the world. Look at the Beat writers in San Francisco. Or New York in any age.

Cities are the only place young creatives ever really feel at home. If young creatives are not urban, they’re the exception to the rule. Cities are where artists find themselves, usually, regardless of where they wind up later in life.

But hey, man. It’s the internet age. We need a word for something that’s always existed because it’s 2015 and no one’s got the time to write an actual sentence anymore. Or maybe because it’s not cool enough to just say “creative.” We love to define and codify things.

In Which I Play The Writer/Snob Card

Very seldom will you find me using a term that’s a trendy word. Yes, I’ll go so far as to say it’s beneath me.

This is for the same reason as a film should never be shot with a wardrobe that’s on trend. Have you seen Mystic Pizza, Pretty Woman, or anything else shot in the ‘80s lately? None of it holds up visually because they were all so beholden to the present fashion, trying to look hip, and now it’s dated and sad.

True of language as well. Use anything trendy and it sounds pathetic even before the year is out.

Get over yourself. Being timeless is where it’s at. Don’t fall for the “everything has a buzzword” fad. It’s really okay to use the existing one-million-plus words in the English language. Pretty sure that if you look hard enough, you’ll find what you’re looking for.

If we have a word for throwing someone/something out the window (defenestration), then rest assured, English has you covered.

Defenestration by TrappedInVacancy.

Defenestration by TrappedInVacancy.

How Not to be a Douchebag When You Travel

Today, there’s a big story about idiot travellers in Malaysia who summited a peak in Borneo and then stripped naked for photos at the top. Coincidentally, an earthquake later occurred on the peak and 13 folks are dead.

Reports are these idiots could face charges tomorrow. Two of them are Canadians.

Still, I have zero sympathy for whatever punishment is meted out.

Here’s your wake-up call, travellers. It doesn’t matter what your culture or your beliefs are. You’re a guest in a foreign country and you are privileged to visit.

Ours is a gloriously large world with untold cultural differences spanning the globe. From weird superstitions to religions, it’s a delightfully odd mix of contrasts, but dangers also lurk in those differences.

When you pack bags and travel, it is entirely upon you to know what you’re getting yourself into. What does its culture frown upon? What offends them? How strict are their laws? What freedoms fail to exist there? What are ethical grey areas to avoid?

KEEP READING: Visit my travel blog, The Full Nomad, and read it here!

My Other Writing: A Way for You To Support My Travels Without One Penny!

It’s that time again! Coming up on the end of my quarter as a writer for BuildDirect. You can financially support me in my upcoming travels by reading my BuildDirect content and sharing it socially off the blog page.

Look for the social share buttons at the bottom and click the blue “F” to share it on your Facebook, or share it on Twitter or Google Plus. Even commenting on the blogpost itself will pay me money. (But not commenting on this post!)

YouRock1_answer_1_xlargeWhatever you can do, I appreciate! Thank you for all your support and help. It means a lot.

Here’s some of the most popular posts so far this quarter, but you can see all my work going back to April 1 (the start of my bonus period) by clicking HERE.

A Simple Wedding Might Save Your Marriage

Far and away my most popular post this quarter. It shares stats and anecdotes that show how folks getting married with simple weddings are more likely to not divorce! Read it here.

My Childhood Home: The House that Built Me

A simple, personal post about my childhood home and how it’s changed in the years since it was bought by its new family, and how it shaped me in my youth. That’s right here.

How Pork & Cork Are Saving An Entire Ecosystem

A story about how pig farmers and cork plantations are working together to keep an arid ecosystem functioning. Cork oaks can live 600 years and stewardship of these mighty trees is considered a privilege and calling in Portugal and Spain. Read more about this interesting symbiotic relationship. (Seeing this first-hand is a bucket list travel item that will come true in 2016.)

9 Ways to Protect Your Home While On Vacation

This has been popular this week since I guess some of these tips aren’t ones folks have read that much. If you’re going away for a weekend or longer this summer, here’s how to sleep easy knowing you’ve protected your home the best you can. Go here.

How to Stay Sane While Packing for a Move

From fighting dust allergies to protecting your hands and avoiding bugs, I’ve got little-shared moving tips I learned from what was the Move From Hell in 2012. Since then, I’m way smarter, and I pass my Jedi ways to you right here.

The Not-So-Tiny House: Simplifying for Families

My successful realtor friend Matt lives in a 3-bedroom apartment with three kids, and wouldn’t change it for the world. What tiny-living families give up in the home, they get back in an exciting urban lifestyle at their doorstep. Read more here.

Hoarding: Not Just a Bad Habit

Severe clutter can debilitate people and damage their lives and relationships. Why is it so insidious, and what can people look for in identifying whether their friends or family are living in these conditions? How can they help? Read on. 

The Book-Lover’s Guide to Purging Books

I was so sad to get rid of all my books but now that they’re gone, my clutter is reduced, my home is bigger, and my allergies are doing better. Here are ways to help cull the chaos and off-load your books. Click here.

How to Change Your Life by Working from Home

It’s not for everyone, but working from home changed my life. Commuting less, I work for myself more, and I’ve paid off tons of debt and I’m just under 4 months from taking the show on the road and travelling the world for 5 years. Here are ways to make the adjustment to being a work-from-home type, and why it’s such life-changing thing to do. Read on!

How to Be a Good Neighbour in Tough Times

I’m proud this was popular because I think it’s so important that we help each other through difficult times. Whether your neighbour’s lost their job, lost a loved one, or is just really facing a tough illness, I’ve compiled a bunch of ways you can be of help, and even how to offer said help. Learn more here.

How to Hire a Contractor without Getting Conned

People are far too lenient when trusting contractors with their homes. It’s no wonder so many folks face terrible con-jobs and shoddy work as a result. I scoured the web and found all the ways you can do background checks, and why it’s critical, and stuck ‘em all in this handy article.

Should You Rent or Should You Buy?

Buying a home is quickly becoming a less solid idea in some areas, like where I just moved from. What are considerations for you? Have no fear! I’ve done my research and here’s what to know before you make that decision.

A Brief Introduction to Native, Exotic, and Invasive Plants

This is an important read for anyone planting a garden or doing some landscape. Planting the wrong stuff can have terrible consequences to the local ecosystem, and you don’t want that! Learn more right here.

Brewing a Solution: Alternatives to the K-Cup Coffee Conundrum

Coffee courses through my veins. From my cold dead hands will you pry my cup! But here are enviro-friendly alternatives to the biggest commercial issue facing landfills today: Single-serving coffee pods. Get your java knowledge here.


And so much more! There are more than 30 other articles I’ve written since April 1st. Have a look right here if you’re wanting to read my stuff (and like it and share it and make me money).

Thank you so much! :)



We Have the Nanny/Police State We Deserve

I read this morning about some proud black families getting arrested for the heinous crime of cheering for their children when they accepted their diplomas on stage.

Arrested. For cheering. For kids who worked hard in the country’s poorest state, and graduated, when 25% of their fellow Mississippi students do not.

It disgusts me. Just like it disgusted me when child welfare gets called about children having the audacity to walk home from school unaccompanied.

What the fuck is wrong with people today? You see something you disagree with, you call the cops?

Here in Canada, we’re fighting off Bill C-51, which looks altogether likely to be passed and implemented at this stage, and which seeks to criminalize dissent (and that’s just the beginning of its terrifying contents).

In the States, they’re battling oppressive police forces that are kitted out like the best of black ops teams are.

These uber-controlling authorities are the result of what we have created, demanded, and funded, and all of it really began at the municipal level.

It Wasn’t Always Like This

Once, we had fun as humans. We went to school and frolicked on playgrounds, fell down and got back up again, bleeding knees and all. We walked to school alone. We hooted when our friends collected diplomas. We partied and invited the whole block.

If this sounds like a “back in the good ol’ days things was good!” kinda old folk recollection, that’s because it is. I love the digital age and I don’t blame who we have become on the fact that we have computers. I blame them on a 24-hour news cycle owned by industries who benefit from us being uninformed, angry, and scared. I blame the “if it it bleeds, it leads” news landscape, and the commodification of fear.

What The Hell Did We Do?

Prison, it’s big business now. The industrial penal complex is part of a whole lot of jobs today. Has to be, when America has the world’s highest prison population per capita, nearly 5 times the world’s average.

Or maybe it’s just all the guns. Maybe once you’d go and shout down someone for being a dick, but nowadays you need to worry there’s a gun behind that dickheaded attitude. Open-carry is open-season on not trusting anyone and leading with fear.

The Chasm Between Left & Right

Whatever the case, somewhere along the lines, everything in our lives became the enemy. Used to be, when I was growing up, Liberals were the ones you wanted to hang out with because they were fun. They listened to great music, smoked pot, had mellow attitudes, and fought for social justice in a “everybody deserves it, man” kinda way.

Today’s leftie is so goddamned uptight that we have rubberized playgrounds, kids not allowed to walk to school alone for fear that evils will befall them all, and all those neurotic laws about food safety. They’re a large part why we basically live in a nanny state. It’s not all the Right’s doing.

Between the extremist religious right on the rise and the sphincter-clinching left, it’s no wonder we insist on bringing the authorities into every little disagreement. The chasm between is growing so wide that no rational conversation can bridge the gap anymore. What a jerk! Call the cops!


Even Consequences Are Extreme

When everything is a crime, it means our responses escalate accordingly across the board. It means unarmed kids get tazed for shoplifting, or shot. It means people get shamed and berated for the stupidest of offenses. Back in the day, you had to do something really offensive to get shunned in the media, on the level of Howard Cosell calling a football play and blurting “Look at that monkey run!”

Ironically, this is why I prefer public shaming for things like dudebros shouting “fuck her right in the pussy” and other subhuman behaviour. It’s time we clean up our own messes without always turning to cops. When we have clear unedited video, multiple witnesses, live feeds, then why do we worry about involving the law?

Sure, floggings in the town square weren’t exactly the most humane of recriminations, but getting outed on social media for being an ass, then losing a job, well, it’s not like anyone needs to call in the United Nations to investigate human rights violations here. It’s just good old-fashioned consequences being meted out by a society not willing to abide nasty behaviour.

The Justice Malfunction

There are those who cry out that the everyman ain’t worldly enough to know how to judge what’s right or wrong, and this is why we need the courts. Oh, and that approach has worked so well for us?

We’re ruder, less patient, more selfish, and more judgmental than we’ve ever been, because we expect the law to come and clean up every mess.

We get the world we’ve created for ourselves, folks.

I, for one, want to return to the good old days when we would call a spade a spade, see the arrest blotters in the newspapers, and pass judgment on our fellow man ourselves.

It Doesn’t Have to Be This Way, People

All the Superintendent of that school had to do was say “Look, another outburst like that and we’ll stop the roll call.” Instead, the cops were called. For cheering.

I remember, in my youth, being naive enough to dream that we’d have a really free, amazing society when I grew up. I thought we had freedom of speech and new technology, ergo we’d have more freedom. I thought science was making us progressive, not getting us to cower in fear from an ever-darkening technocracy. I witnessed the rise of “community policing,” and I dared to dream it meant we’d care more for each other and feel more camaraderie, like a “Block Parent” system writ large.

Man, was I ever off-base. What a sorry place we’re in today.

When you have a problem with someone, tell them. Don’t inform authorities. When you dislike how someone lives/acts/expresses themselves, get over yourself, because they probably don’t like your ideas either. That’s what happens in civilization.

Next time you want to call the cops, ask yourself if a crime has been committed, if someone is hurt, or if maybe you’re just being a judgmental asshole. If it’s the latter, then put the phone down, extract your head from your ass, and let us all have a simpler day.

Freedom to Write: On Truth, Courage, & the Right to Write

The writer’s relationship with the truth is a curious thing. Today, I’m thinking of writing’s power after hearing about pianist James Rhodes’ legal victory for free speech. He is finally legally allowed to publish his memoir detailing extreme abuse and frequent rapes inflicted on him as a boy.

It offends me that he had the courage to write this searing book on his abuse only to have some asshole of a judge ban it because it’s “offensive” material. What a cruel irony.

Truth won this week. Writers should rejoice.

James Rhodes: Pianist, Author, Free Speech Hero. Photo from Herald Sun.

James Rhodes: Pianist, Author, Free Speech Hero. Photo from Herald Sun.

As writers, those of us with the courage to rip off the Band-aid and expose our wounds to others, we change lives. We inspire people with our struggles. Not just me, anyone who does it. The writers I admire most, even bloggers, are people who dive head-first into the human condition without apology. Fear, pathos, doubt, rage, lust, angst, pettiness — it’s all who we are. How dare you sanitize that?!

So many people are comfortable with glossing over their ideas so to be palatable to the broadest spectrum of people. They are who I find offensive.

Those who would tone it down, dress it up, soften it, take the edge off — they feel to me like betrayals in wartime.

Life may not be war, but it’s certainly a struggle for all of us. Everything we do is measured and weighed in ounces of joy, heartbreak, satisfaction, or any other emotional currency you devise.

Sanitizing that so it can be swallowed by the least open-minded of us offends me to my core.

Writing close to the bone can’t be done by everyone — it’s too hard. The more harrowing and authentic it gets, the harder it is to push through it. Being truly honest with yourself is challenging enough, but pressing “publish” and sending it to the hungry hoards — that’s truly daunting stuff.

I don’t know how my writing has evolved over the years — I’m too busy doing it to analyze it. I can tell you that what has definitely changed over the years is the reason why I write so openly. I’ve learned no matter how open and honest I am with my words on a page, my readers are never in my head. They’ll never experience the world as I do, be in a moment with me. And I’m grateful for that. In that way, being open doesn’t feel like being laid completely bare, no matter what my end-reader might think.

My fingers always filter my experience. I keep a little for me, share a little with you, and we both get what we want.

What’s also changed is that I’ve learned the value of sacrificing that part of my experience for public consumption. Much of the time my words just fly by folks, like dust on the wind. Hopefully, it finds those who need it at the time.

Nine years ago, I wrote about my mother’s death in a way that ripped both the Band-aid and some skin off. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever written. After struggling with the words for three weeks, I published it, it went out in the world, and fell silent thereafter, like an echo in a dark cave. Or so I thought.


Now and then I’d meet someone who’d mention that post, how it moved them or changed them. One day, I got a PayPal email. A woman in Germany sent me $500, to this day still the biggest donation I’ve ever received. She wrote that she cried for half an hour, then went and sent it to everyone she knew. She finally found something that explained her grief over her mother’s death in a way that others could understand.

For me, that was a life-changing moment. It was as self-affirming as having a blog post go viral with 250,000+ reads in a couple days. I know, because I’ve been there too.

Having one person, though, say I finally put words to a pain they couldn’t voice — I mean, that still gives me shivers now. When someone pulls me aside at an event and tells me what my words meant to them, I play it cool, but inside I’m doing cartwheels.

Because that’s what we fucking do this for. That’s why we probe the dark places. That’s why we risk sharing them. It’s not enough to understand what’s going on with us, or seek understanding. Helping others do the same, that’s the pay-off.

I’m no guru. I don’t have life figured out. Lord knows I’m trying. But that’s the thing. Life isn’t one-size-fits-all. What’s right for you won’t be right for me.

For example, I got friends with the perfect family life. Several friends are doing parenthood and marriage in such a fabulous way that I know, if marriage was my thing, I’d do it just like them.

That makes me vomit a little, though. It’s great for them, but the mere thought of that life fills me with nauseousness and unease.

You know those moms you hear about who start out good, but come apart in a haze of addiction and depression because they feel like the kid wrecked their life, and they hate themselves for it because they also love the kid and know just how much they’re fucking that child up?

That’d have been me. If I were a mother, I’d love the kid, but I’d spiral into a depression I’d then chase with alcohol and drugs in hopes of taking the edge off my self-loathing. As a result, I’d neglect my child, my child would grow up knowing that they were the reason for my self-loathing.

I laugh at people who say “Oh, but you don’t KNOW that.” And you do? Come on. This is my head.

Does it make me evil, knowing this about myself? Or does it make me courageous to admit I could never be Suzie Homemaker? Either way, I don’t give a shit, because it’s simply what’s true. I’ve decided against doing that to another human being. Good for me.

So what’s wonderful for my friends would probably destroy me. My story, though, isn’t the prevailing mantra we hear in the media. Instead, we’re told family is the ultimate reward in life, that an existence without children means no legacy will follow us. What idiocy.

This is why we need different voices in the mix. We all have different truths. From the things that define us through to the roads we should take in life, there is no one universal account.

I never would have imagined I’d be packing up my life to be a nomad, but somewhere deep inside me, I wonder how it took so long to see that this was what I needed to do. Writing about this “pre-journey” phase has been teaching myself a lot about who I am and what I need. Sharing that with others, I think, is a great dialogue to begin.

Maybe, thanks to following my journey so far, someone somewhere has already realized they’re trapped in a life not right for them. Maybe my reasoning has helped another person create a bold new dream for their life.

I don’t know. I don’t care. I’d still write about it anyhow. Catharsis is its own drug.

In the end, putting my story on page is probably powerful for someone, somewhere. Maybe I’ll never meet them. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that I have the right to say “This is my life. This is how I see the world.”

Speaking to our experience, sharing with others, that’s what humans have used their words for since time began. How can a court steal that right from anyone in our supposedly western, free society?

James Rhodes fought for our right to own what has happened to us. To share what has been done to us. He fought for our ability to have community, empathy, and understanding with others.

And he won. Today, all writers, and all readers, are the richer for it. Thanks, James.

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