Every day we make thousands of decisions that ultimately change the course of our lives. Wake up when the alarm clock goes off or do we hit the "snooze" button? Blue shirt and black pants or pink wrap dress? Answer the phone or let it go to voicemail? Order the greasy fries or the healthy salad? Smile back when a cute guy at the coffee shop smiles at you or look away? Take the regular way home or try a shortcut? Say what's on your mind or stay silent. Accept an invitation to go out or stay home?
With each decision our lives move forward in a different direction, never backwards, and creates a path that is unique and ever changing. Some create small changes to our existence and others turn our lives upside down. My decision to pursue a new career was one of those LIFE CHANGING moments (and one that I don't regret ... but scares me senseless every single day)!
Hence ... I haven't had much time to write the last five months because I've been on a whirlwind adventure traveling across the country for my new job.
Don't get me wrong ... writing is my passion. I love how words can come together to trigger thoughts, emotions, and reactions that stir the soul. Unfortunately, writing doesn't pay the bills, put food on the table, or boost the balance of my bank account.
Planes, Trains, and Automobiles
The most challenging thing for a writer is to find the spark of imagination to write something compelling and unique. Little did I know that this new role would provide inspiration on a daily basis ... enough for a dozen books in just six months!
For example (if you consider the last 90 days):
- I've driven over 3,000 kilometres and flown on over 30 different planes (in the last four weeks alone).
- I've changed in and out of my work attire in mall parking lots, gas station bathrooms, and airport private nursing rooms.
- I've slept on the side of the road (and gone to the bathroom on one occasion ... or two).
- I've seen horses, cows, deer, goats, and a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables on country roads in every province.
- I've seen an SUV drive up a tree in a gas station parking lot (and get stuck at a 45 degree angle).
- I've repaired more than one rental car in a Home Depot parking lot.
- I've been to over 30 different Goodlife Fitness locations (even one in an airport terminal).
- I've sprinted through airports with less than five minutes to get to my gate (and nearly thrown up).
- I've had passengers throw up in the seat directly behind me.
- I've had flight attendants dump hot tea in my lap.
- I've stayed in University residences (and shared bathrooms with students LESS THAN HALF my age).
- I've run into long lost friends and acquaintances in grocery stores and gas stations in the smallest of towns.
- I've been asked if I'm related to SANDRA OH (Dr. Cristina Yang from ABC's "Grey's Anatomy") at least a dozen times.
- I've been stranded without underwear.
- I've enjoyed a glass of Crown Royal and Coke in every Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge (especially after a long week on the road).
- I've been on planes with celebrities from both the big and small screen.
- I've printed documents in the middle of Starbucks, Milestone's, Montana's and Tim Horton's (where you can access free WiFi).
- I've stepped into a half a foot of mud and was tempted to abandon a good pair of heels in the prairies.
- I've had a grown man take his pants off in front of me in the lunch room.
- I've had people in the parking lot catch me half-naked changing in my rental car.
- I've met some of the most amazing human beings.
- I've surprised myself with the things I've learned and accomplished (on a "nearly" daily basis).
Over the last few months alone I've travelled through most provinces and worked with clients in Archerwill, Barrhead, Bracebridge, Burlington, Calgary, Cambridge, Canmore, Chilliwack, Claremont, Concord, Cornwall, East York, Edmonton, Gatineau, Kingston, Lac La Biche, Leduc, Linwood, Lloydminster, London, Milton, Mission, Mississauga, Nepean, Niagara Falls, Nisku, North York, Ottawa, Penticton, Port Coquitlam, Red Deer, Redwater, Regina, Selkirk, Simcoe, Spruce Grove, St. Catharines, Surrey, Thornhill, Thunder Bay, Uxbridge, Winnipeg, Woodbridge, Woodstock, Yorkton, and a handful of cities across the United States.
Along the way I've been fortunate to have also been introduced to some of the most amazing countrysides, local restaurants, acreages, and vineyards where I've enjoyed incredible views, delectable meals, and satisfying drinks to complete my day! I get to experience Canada in a way that most people can't even imagine ... and it helps me to appreciate everything about this country that reinforces my choice to make this my HOME!
The New "Rules of the Road"
The thousands upon thousands of decisions we make each day are generally based on rules that we develop over the years. These rules are meant to guide us to actions that are moral, just, make us happy (in the long run), and protect us from inherent danger. Being on the road from Sunday to Friday every week, I've learned a lot about myself, my strengths, weaknesses and potential, and that the rules I've lived with ... need "readjusting".
What I've learned (and my new rules):
- You CAN pack for five days in a single, standard-sized carry on (including workout gear, runners, and a mobile printer).
- Planes are the perfect place to chip away at the long list of books that haven't been read.
- Rental cars are equally effective in listening to eBooks and TED Talks that teach me something new and empowering.
- Airports are exponentially a more stressful a place than they need to be (most people have a shorter fuse, less patience, and are more critical of others than usual).
- Airport staff, who are "typically" overworked and underpaid, are much nicer at the beginning of their shift than the end (which is when most airport traffic is at its worst).
- As much as I don't like to admit it, I have stereotypes that colour my judgement and pre-conceived notions about the world around me (and need to change them).
- The harder you work against the nature of something to change it, the less likely it will go your way (i.e., let things happen in their own natural time).
- A 100 percent commission job is tough ... but a little bit easier than I had first thought.
- Travel points programs are not created equal, but they are all worth signing up for (because you never know how quickly points add up and when you can use something for FREE).
- It's okay to cry.
- It's okay to ask for help (especially when you feel as though you've painted yourself into a corner).
- I am more resilient than I could have ever imagined (and have overcome many challenges that I thought might devour me).
- I am more capable of change than I had originally thought (and that my limits are far beyond what I believed).
What does the future hold for me? To be honest ... I really don't know. What I do know is there are many more lessons to learn, cities and towns to visit, and people to share time with along the way. Regardless, I look forward to the challenge ahead!
Although I may not have as much time as I would like to gather my thoughts and write, I still make time to share the sights and sounds from my travels on my social media feeds. In the upcoming months I promise to make time for writing so I can stay "grounded".