In Case You Run Out Of Road

I took this picture of the welcome sign after coming back from an interview in Elmira, mainly for the purpose to see if my smartphone camera was working after a car knocked me over. Picture taken by David Alan Gay, with permission to use provided credit is given to the owner.
I took this picture of the welcome sign after coming back from an interview in Elmira, mainly for the purpose to see if my smartphone camera was working after a car knocked me over. Picture taken by David Alan Gay, with permission to use provided credit is given to the owner.

It’s been a while since I posted, but not because I had nothing to write about regarding my job search, or my travelling around in search of work. In fact, there is one topic I wanted to tackle, but the subject matter made it very difficult to write about. After a few weeks spent stewing and fretting over the format, I finally said to myself, “screw it, let’s go” and here it is.

Before making the decision to travel in search for employment, I had to plan for everything and anything I could think of — how far was I going to travel? Where was I going to stay? How was I going to cover the travel costs? Where would I eat? How much — clothing, supplies, a laptop? — would I carry with me? Where are the dentists and hospitals in each city or town I went to? What is to be done with my remains if something were to happen to me during my job search?

Yes, you read that right. I brought up the D word: Death.

Let’s get whatever you are thinking right now cleared up. This is not a suicide note, nor a cry for help. I’m not obsessed with death or dying. It’s just that that particular question on the list above is just as important as (if not more than) the others.

Death was originally something I didn’t want to talk about during my teens and twenties. After all, young people are supposed to live forever, right? I didn’t want to hear about the will my parents made. I hated funerals. Hospitals, too. I lost family members and friends to cancer and diabetes over the years. Any time the topic of death was raised, I’d either excuse myself and go somewhere else, or just plain tune out.

As I grew older, I began to realize that death was a natural part of life. We are all going to die someday. It can be successfully argued we are dying the moment we are born, just really, really, really, really slowly. My decision to begin moving around in search of work and the compilation of the check-list of questions began the chain of reasoning below that rolled and churned like a sprint river.

I’m currently a person of no fixed address, travelling to places I’ve never been before. I’m using a lot more public wash-rooms, some that are a germ-a-phobe’s worst nightmare (THE FINCH SUBWAY STATION WASH-ROOMS IN TORONTO ARE SO DISGUSTINGLY GROSS I HAD TO SHARE THAT IN UPPER-CASE). I will come across people I’ve never met before, and there is always the possibility I’ll come across one particular person who — how shall we put this? — isn’t driving on all four tires in the mental stability department.

Speaking of things four-wheeled, while coming back from an interview in the Region of Waterloo area, I was knocked over by a turning car on Homer Watson Drive. While the impact was not enough to injure me, it did put a fierce gouge in my smartphone’s protective cover and separated a seal on the back of my laptop which I managed to snap back into place.

The elements were going to be a challenge during travel. If I didn’t get heatstroke and sunburn during the summertime, I’d likely break a leg if not my neck on the unshovelled and icy sidewalks. Friendly reminder to some of the jackass home-owners out there: please shovel and salt your side-walks 24 hours after a snowstorm. Thanks.

I know this was not a life I’d want to lead forever. The idea of being some sort of techno-gypsy working odd job to odd job might have some adventurous appeal at first, but it’s clearly not a healthy one to continue. I’m constantly hauling laptops and duffle-bags from place to place. The social contacts will be fleeting, lasting only as long as I stay in one particular spot. The importance of having a semblance of home cannot be dismissed. If this long-term travelling continues, it’s eventually going to take its toll on me, both physiologically and psychologically. From the way things are looking right now in terms of landing work, my chances of returning to full-time employment are very slim.

The decision to travel in search for work introduced a safety risk that needs to be addressed, and a question that has to be answered for the sake of my friends and family who worry about me. I ensured two things were taken care of in case something were to happen to me.

The first thing was to write up a will. I’ve never had need of a will since I am not married and have no children. I’m not exactly a wealthy person, either. However, a will also serves as the last command of what to do with one’s personal effects and affairs if something were to happen, and I didn’t want to leave something others had to clean up without knowing the backstory behind it. I actually wrote it at a homeless shelter (that’s a story I’ll leave for another day), had it witnessed by two friends, then signed. I carry an electronic copy on my laptop just in case, with the hard copy stored safely with my executers of my estate.

The second is this blog. While this blog is a job search tool like my ads on Kijiji and Craigslist, my LinkedIn profile and all those other profiles on the job banks, in the event of a mishap it’s also insurance I will not be one of those forgotten jobseekers who fell through the cracks. It contains how my situation began leading up to the final steps before I — well, let’s not tempt fate by saying, okay?

Thanks for reading!



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