As 2017 comes to an end, my original plans were to have dinner with Keyauni Friday night, as we laid out our plans for taking Gypsy with a Day Job forward into 2018. I expected to be writing a summary of what we had done and accomplished in 2017, and let you, our readers know, where we plan to take the page, and hopefully you, in 2018. Then, just 1 mile from work, I was rear ended at a stop light. I was completely stopped, and the only vehicle at the intersection at the time. The woman who hit me had looked down to check her telephone, and didn’t see the light turn. My car is in shambles. I am not seriously injured, but I am sore, and tired, waiting for the whiplash to hit. I am lucky.
A brush with what could have been death always changes how we see things. This is not my first, but it is the first time that I was completely unaware that something was about to occur. I was at a complete stop, gazing aimlessly off to the left, enough to know there was a truck about to enter the intersection on that side. Then the sudden crashing sound, jerking forward, a vague recognition of stuff flying around in the vehicle, and my head snapping back into the headrest. I never saw it coming.
This brings me face to face with what is one admittedly one of my greatest fears, which is sudden death. As I wrote in Travel Amidst Tragedy, tragedy strikes every day, and in some ways, that terrifies me. It also opens my eyes to all of the circumstances that could have wrought a much worse result. Had there been a vehicle in front of me, or had the ice already been on the ground, or had I have not buckled my seat belt, I might not be writing this today.
I do not believe in circumstance, or random events. I believe everything is connected, has reasons, vibrational causes and effects. While I certainly do not want to make this into a religious or theological discussion, I do believe in a benevolent creator, God, universe, or whatever term suits you. When walking away from such an event, I cannot help but be reminded there is still a purpose for my being here, for being alive, and that I have so much to be thankful for.
The truth is that waking up each day means there is still a purpose to our lives that is yet unfulfilled. It is unfortunate that it often takes something so serious as seeing our lives pass before us, losing someone we love, or hitting bottom, for us to clearly see that we have meaning and purpose, reasons for being here. Those reasons are not to see who can swallow the most shots at a party, or to while away the weekend in a stupor, nor are they to pass our lives away running a piece of machinery to support capitalism. Our true purposes and reasons for being are found in experiences that make our hearts beat faster, bring tears to our eyes, and magnify our energy so much that it is hard to contain ourselves.
I believe that Gypsy With a Day Job has become an intrinsic part of my purpose and reason for being here. As we become increasingly tied to screens, we lose touch with the world around us, becoming more socially isolated and media influenced. Experience and travel are more important than ever. As individuals, interaction with the natural world is critical to our mental health. As a society, understanding history and different cultures, is integral to sustaining a global economy and world peace. As a species, seeing our impacts upon the world and our resources first hand is necessary for us to develop real sustainable practices. There are so many reasons.
Astute readers may wonder how this accident on the day when I was going to meet Keyauni leads me to the conclusion that Gypsy is my reason, rather than it is not. It comes down to the thoughts I was having just prior to the accident, and the reason of our meeting. Things have changed at work. It has become even more stressful than before. It will be harder for me to get my time off, and my own getaways. I had become consumed with the ideas of finding ways to make money and brand partnerships, whatever it took, to find a way out. That was what I intended to discuss. But the truth is, it was never about that, and we cannot allow it to become that. Our mission is to help real people in our shoes enrich their lives.
I started Gypsy on a whim, in May, 2017. I had just returned home from my first continental Europe trip, spending time in Germany and the Netherlands, visiting France, and making a quick stop in Sweden. I had the thought at that time that I had done some really cool traveling, and all kinds of people would want to hear about it. Our first stories were narratives of our experiences, with a few tips thrown in. They were entertaining, but probably not that helpful. We have learned so much, since then. There are millions of sources of entertainment, but not that many that actually offer a means.
I understand now that our true reason is to aid our readers have similar experiences, or fantastic experiences of their own. We know that many of our readers are where we came from, living from paycheck to paycheck, struggling to pay the bills, trying to give the children a decent life. We also know many readers are where we are now, working long hours tied to a corporate job, fighting to get a bit of time off. Sometimes when you are in those shoes it is next to impossible to find ways to put adventure and travel into your lives. But it can be done.
Our focus will be on giving our readers information that make adding travel and adventure a possibility in their own lives, as we go forward into 2018. We will talk about choosing your time off, and deciding where you can go, including factoring in transportation time. We will look at budgeting, and what has worked for other people, and how to make a trip more affordable. That way you can make the best choices in relationship to the amount of time you have off, whether it be a two week vacation or a 3 day weekend, and the funds available. We will talk about actually planning a trip on your own, sharing tools we have used, and tracking potential expenses.
We will also have a new category called a weekend away, which will include some fabulous locations for weekend getaways at reasonable prices. We are working on a distance map application that will show at a glance the zones from which a weekend to this destination could reasonably be planned, depending upon the means of getting there. Initially, these weekend getaways will focus on the US, but as our readers expand, we will expand to other areas. Writers from other travel sites and sources will be participating in these stories, so I cannot even tell you where all they will take us.
We will continue to share stories of our own adventures, because frankly sharing them enables us to relive them a bit, and it is fun. But we will also add more critical information, things you would need to know to plan a similar experience, such as cost, transportation time, and how to information. We still have more beautiful places in Ireland to share, more in Germany, and a short jaunt into France as well. We will return to Europe this year, and we will also share how we put those plans together, and estimate time frames and costs.
As good as our intentions are, Keyauni and I both still work, more than full time. So, we may not accomplish all that we set out to do. But we will give our best effort. We believe the world belongs to us all, and that experiencing as much of it as possible is our birthright, as well as that of our children and grandchildren. We are honored that we have an opportunity to help others find a way to make more possibilities to do so in their own lives.
While we do not know everywhere we will take you in 2018, we do know a few. Some of our weekend away options will include:
Mammoth Caves National Park, Hannibal, Missouri, Nauvoo, Illinois, Oklahoma City, Hot Spring National Park, Little Rock, Arkansas, Death Valley National Park, and Yosemite.
We are looking forward into 2018. We greet it whole heartedly, welcoming it into our lives. We are ready to embrace whatever it brings.
I know that I still have some recovery time ahead of me, but I am also reminded that I am here with purposes. One of those is to help our readers balance their work lives, and to find adventures they will remember for a lifetime. We welcome your feedback on what information will be helpful to you, because without it, we are just guessing.