I moved to the Monterey Bay when I was 18 years old. One night I packed up my car and drove the 12+ hours it takes to reach Monterey from Salem, Oregon. I consider this place home now. I developed friendships built a family in this magnificent beachside location. One fateful day that all changed, I was teaching special education in the local school district at the time when I received a call from my wife. Our daughter had been admitted to the hospital. They had no clue what the diagnosis was but it didn’t matter at that moment I was pulled into the seventh circle of hell. She was transferred to Lucille Packard Children’s Hospital where they informed us that she was being afflicted by Neuroblastoma a rare childhood form of cancer.
We fought for three years to rid her of this parasitic entity that took over her body, in the end we lost. We lost everything.
This is my journey after the fact…
I was able to find a job and an apartment after my ex and I divorced. I went from teaching primary special education to fixing espresso machines and I loved it. there was still something pulling at me though. What should I do with this gift that was cloaked in feces? I say it was a gift because many people stumble through life telling themselves and others that “life is short” and “life is a gift”. There are very few things in the world that force you to realize the true meaning of those words like listening to the last beats of your 6 year old daughters heart before she is gone from this world. I know life is short and precious, I live with the reminder that it is every day. So again I ponder, what am I to do with this knowledge.
For me it came from the first time I left the area for a vacation. It was a quick trip to Los Angeles to visit some friends for Halloween. Then it was a week in New York City. The tipping point was a 30 day trip to Thailand that showed me what I wanted out of this new life that I was unprepared for. My answer was travel, this is the documentation of my travels.
“Don’t tell me what a man says, don’t tell me what a man knows, tell me where he’s traveled”