In early spring of 2007 I decided to quit my job, sell my house along with nearly everything else that I owned, and to live out of my car while traveling the country. These are my stories (and pictures) of life on the road.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The New Plan

One of the big reasons I decided to leave on this trip was because I wasn't enjoying fixing cars anymore. For those of you outside the automotive community who don't know me this used to be my passion. Electrical and computer problems were my specialty and for about 5 years that's what I lived and breathed. I spent all my free time either on-line studying, watching training videos, attending training classes around the country, or in the shop playing around and experimenting. I loved it and couldn't wait to get to work in the morning. Unfortunately I think I was a little too passionate about it and didn't leave enough time in my life for other things. The result was that my passion began to fade and I started to feel burned out.

I took a break from training classes and the on-line forums I was active in. I'd hoped that it would be a temporary setback and that after taking a little break that I'd eventually get back into it. I waited and waited but it never happened. I didn't hate my job but it was turning into just a job. I didn't look forward to getting up and going to work in the morning anymore and it wasn't getting any better. Months and years started to pass and it started to become apparent that this passion wasn't going to come back.

I started to wonder if maybe I was just burned out on where I worked instead of what I worked on and that perhaps a change of shop/scenery would re-spark my interest. I'd thought of traveling the country and working at different shops about 6 months earlier but never thought of seriously doing it. After getting back from a 2 week driving trip to Arizona in March of this year though I realized just how much I liked doing that sort of thing. I decided to give it a shot and hit the road for the west coast a month later.

Thankfully all that time spent talking and meeting other shop owners/techs a few years earlier paid off since I was able to line up more work then I could take before I even left. This made it way easier then just showing up in a strange town at a strange shop and asking for a place to work.

“Yeah, my name is Alan and I'm sleeping in my car down by the park. Can I work here for a couple weeks? I'm real smart about cars...honest!”

I'm sure that would have gotten me real far.

Anyway, I worked at a handful of shops this summer and met some great people. I was lucky and I couldn't have asked for any more from the shops that I worked at. Traveling to new shops and meeting new techs/shop owners should have really gotten me enthused and excited. I should have been full of questions and tried to learn as much as I could from all of them. That's not how I felt though.

No matter how much I tried it still just felt like a job; something I was doing to make some money while I was out of the road. By the end of July I realized this wasn't the profession for me anymore; it was time to try something else. Unfortunately I have no idea what that may be though!

As some of you already know I was planning on traveling to Antarctica to work for Raytheon over the winter (their summer) but I've decided not to pursue that any farther, at least not for now. As much as I'd love to travel there it involved fixing cars (well, trucks ) and I figure if I'm going to quit I'm going to do it cold turkey.

I plan to continue traveling but part of my plan will have to change; the part that involved working for different shops long the way to raise some money. There are many of you keeping up with this blog that I'd hoped to work with this fall and unfortunately I'm not going to be able to do that now. I still hope to be able to stop by and meet as many of you as I can though.

So, that leads to the question of just what in the world am I going to do this fall/winter.

Heck if I know!

I'll still be traveling but I won't really have any source of income so I'll be trying to do it cheaper then ever (if it's possible to travel cheaper then I have been). I also want to devote more time to photography; something I've been meaning to do the last few years but never get around to. I'll be taking more lighting gear with me on my trek out east and hope to improve my photography quite a bit. I've also really enjoyed keeping this blog and writing in my personal journal. Writing is something I've also been wanting to do more of the last couple years but never take the time for. I'm going to try and take the time this fall/winter though.

With no other commitments to take up my time I'm hoping I can concentrate and focus on these two things in particular. I don't expect to make any money off either of them but they're something I want to work on for me personally and I think later in my life I'll look back and be glad I took the time to improve my writing and photography skills.

And I guess if money gets too tight I can always take the advice of someone I met while traveling this summer and just start a mobile meth lab.


John Elder Robison said...

Alan, I wrote you a response but it's too long for a comment so I left it on IATN and my own blog today.

best wishes

Michael said...

Hey, Alan, it's your life and you only get one chance. Do what moves you.

jaydanie said...

I know exactly how you feel Alan. I am also tired of my "job" as an automotive technician. I love to travel also and did enjoy driving a big rig at one point in my life, but with a wife and kids it didn't make any sense. However, as for your plans, you might want to consider taking a job as a roving reporter, freelance photographer, or correspondent for a magazine or news company. I have no idea how to enter this field so you will have do the research. Good luck... jay from georgia

You've reached the end of the page but that's not the end of the stories. If you want to read more (and who wouldn't!?) then click on the archive links to the right hand side of the page. They're listed by month; the adventure starts in May.

The February archives aren't actually from this trip but are previous adventures I've had, which are worth reading as well.