It’s funny…when I was a programmer, “Hello World!” was the first program you would write to test your hardware and make sure everything was working. But then, for so many years I hid from the world, spending countless hours in front of a computer screen. I worked as an electronics engineer and so I spent the day designing, building and testing circuits as well as writing code and schematics. In the evening I would de-stress by playing video games.
I did this for so many years that I kind of missed what was going on in the world around me. Don’t get me wrong. I kept up on the news and the weather and of course, I went to the store as needed. But I didn’t really go outside any more than I had to. Instead, I enjoyed air-conditioning in the comfort of my office and I led a sedentary lifestyle. I didn’t have any real friends, just colleagues and acquaintances. Well that lifestyle caught up with me. I developed Type II Diabetes and gained weight. I developed neuropathy and cellulitis in my legs and feet and the weight gain put stress on my knees, one of which was already injured from a torn ligament. Shifting the weight to my other knee crushed that ligament over time. I became partially disabled and struggled to get the weight back off because I had trouble walking.
My diet was a mess and way too high in carbs for someone with Type II Diabetes. To make matters worse, I wasn’t consistent in the foods I ate or even the times that I ate. I would spend most nights staying up until midnight or later, so my sleep wasn’t consistent either. My marriage bore some of the burden of stress of being so far from home and dealing with all the stuff related to my career. And then the real bad news came. My wife was diagnosed with breast cancer! Much of my life at that point was devoted to her and I let my hobbies, including my website and magazine articles, slip by me. All my priorities changed overnight. All the little problems we’d had seemed trivial compared to this new hurdle.
After the surgery and chemo treatments were over there was a small break in the stress and we tried to resume our normal lives. But fate had other plans. Wendy’s cancer came back and now she was at Stage 4. With my attention on her and my stress levels higher than ever my own health was slowly getting worse, but at the time I didn’t care. I now knew I was going to lose my wife! During the calm in the storm I had started to get back to projects and restore my website, but once again it became unimportant to me. This led to misdirected stress by website members who were not happy the website was in such disarray. Add to that, there were issues at work which required me to run a department of three people by myself, from my home office, while taking care of my dying wife. I managed to do it, but at great cost to my personal health and stress levels.
Then came the fateful day…Wendy passed away. I was heartbroken. All I had was my work to keep me going. But even then things were becoming more stressful. My job wanted me in the office more. The problem is I didn’t want to be around people. I was comfortable working from my home office. I got more done there. I could control the temperature and keep cool as I needed. I could also adjust my comfort conditions better than I could in the office. I tried distracting myself and even started meeting new friends so I could start doing more things instead of sitting at home. Then I met a woman who helped me rediscover myself. But work stress and other things kept making things difficult for us. It was hard living in the house where Wendy passed away, so I sold the house.
Just when it seemed I could get back on top of things, just when I thought I could make a fresh start, my job, which was already stressful, dropped the bomb I had been dreading for 12 years…I was to be laid off! I spent the next year trying to stay afloat. Unemployment accounted for 1/4 of my monthly bills. I liquidated my 401k fund. I started selling off my electronics components, musical instruments and extra test equipment. Finally, the day came when I was unable to pay the mortgage. It was January of 2018. February came and I was in the same boat. I finally decided to start liquidating everything and sell the house, rather than lose it to foreclosure.
By some miracle it worked out. I was able to sell the house just as the bank declared me to be in default. I was able to pay off my credit card debt and the remaining balances of my bills. I had already decided to live in an RV after watching YouTube videos by Bob Wells of Cheap RV Living. There was a lot more to what happened with my job, but this is a summary of how I got to where I am today. How my journey led me here and how my path in life had changed. I came to the conclusion that I had spent so many years living a sedentary lifestyle and missing the outdoors. I realized that what used to be fun and a hobby had now become a source of stress. I decided that my work and hobbies were just contributing to the decline of my health.
One day I literally deleted every schematic, source code file, PCB file, photo, everything related to electronics and microcontrollers was gone in an instant. Music composition and video games were also wiped out. I removed my websites by literally deleting them. This way there was no temptation to go back to it like I had done before. It was time to downsize, simplify my life and be outdoors more and the RV Life seemed to be the answer. I spent the last days at my house watching videos on Boondocking and RV Living. On March 10th, I bought my RV and on April 16th I closed on my house, setting me on my new path in life.
…and so…the Adventure Begins!