In late April of this year I took a leap of faith.
I listened to the little voice inside of me, and I stopped working for a living.
At least for now.
And yes, before you say ‘ya, well I can’t afford to do that’ I am aware that I am a very fortunate individual.
At the same time, please understand that I made some choices along the way.
I’ve kept it simple
I have no children, and no one but me (and my cat
?) depends upon me.
I do not own a house, I live in an affordable apartment.
So anytime that I want to I can pick up and go. My sister loves babysitting Aya (the aforementioned feline) so there is literally nothing stopping me from being whimsical, except me.
Which is a big part of what led to that life-changing LEAP OF FAITH decision that this post is about.
The other big part was finances
If you have read previous posts in my blog then you are probably aware that I was In a pretty bad motorcycle accident in early 2014.
The wreck was not my fault and it left me with 2 broken ankles.
2 ½ years later the insurance companies settle and I received a mutually agreed-upon pay-out. Not enough to live the life of Riley for the rest of my years, but along with my RRSP’s and some savings, I had in the neighborhood of just enough to live on for a while. Finding the best motorcycle insurance is key when you start to ride a motorcycle, you never ever know what may happen on that road and being as prepared as you can be is one of the first things you should do, not only for your peace of mind but for any financial issues that pop up.
So eventually, that is what I decided to do. In hindsight, I probably should’ve decided to contact a lawyer who specializes in this area, as I probably would have gotten my pay-out at a quicker rate. I may have even got more money than what I ended up getting. That’s why people should always contact a law firm in their area either by phone or by their website so you get the compensation that you deserved. Trust me, it would’ve made this situation a lot easier to handle. If I could turn back time, this is definitely what I would have done.
But there is some back-story to that life changing decision
For the last 8 years I had been working at the Shepherd’s of Good Hope, Ottawa’s largest homeless shelter. It was a job that I both loved and felt called to do.
Like any job, it was also one that I, at times, disliked quite a lot.
Working the midnight shift was never a good fit for me. I know, 90% of the population can probably say the same, but many, many people do adapt and physiologically adjust to the routine of working when its night time and sleeping when it is daytime.
I am not one of them. Blackout curtains; melatonin; adjusting my routine; nothing worked.
Thankfully, my overnights routine lasted only about 7 months, and after several different programs and rotations I eventually ended up on a dream-schedule: Monday through Friday, 6:30am to 2:30pm.
In spring, summer and fall that meant that virtually every day I could be done work and on my motorcycle by 3:00pm.
You may have gathered that I have a bit of a passion for motorcycle riding. That schedule suited me to a ‘T’
I am a morning person – bright eyed and raring to go first thing in the morning, and then having all afternoon and evening to ride! Who could ask for anything more, right?
The same held true in the winter months – up early and into work by 6:30am, and on my snowmobile by 3:30pm if the fancy struck me!
. . .
The catalyst, or WTF?!
That lasted for the better part of 5 years. Then, one morning in early March of this year, my new Senior Manager came into my office to say “Joe, I’ve got some bad news. Starting April first I’m going to need you to switch your schedule a little – we need you to be in here on Sundays, so you will be working Sunday through Thursday, off on Friday and Saturday, ok?”
I looked him straight in the eye and said:
You know that I spend all weekend, every weekend, in the saddle of my motorcycle, right?
That my friends and I ride virtually every Saturday and Sunday from May until November?
And that if it’s a long weekend we make it Saturday, Sunday and Monday?
I mean, I even try to plan 4 day weekends with a Tuesday thrown in if I can?
“I’m sorry,” he said, “but it’s out of my hands. The decision has been made, so I need you to decide what you are going to do.”
It took me all of 48 hours of pondering to realize that I could not possibly continue to work there. If I did, I would be going into work every Sunday feeling resentment.
That would be neither fair to me, nor to the organization. My work life would suffer, and my non-work life would suffer as well.
For the past two years I had been telling my co-workers about my crazy idea of hitting the pause button and embarking on a crazy motorcycle adventure, traveling to far-off lands and living off of the back of my bike for an extended period.
It was time to take that leap of faith
I think maybe the universe heard me. And offered me a door.
I chose to walk through it.
So I did the right thing. I gave 6 weeks of notice, trained my replacement, and on April 28, 2017 I went into work for the last time at the Shepherds of Good Hope.
Less than 30 days later I hit the road astride my Suzuki V-Strom and embarked upon a 5 week adventure into northern Canada, through the Rockies and up to Dawson City.
That journey accounted for 19,000 of the more than 35,000 kilometres that I rode this past season.
And when I wasn’t riding, I could usually be found behind the wheel of my newest passion, my 1969 Pontiac GTO
Photo Credit: Clive Branson
I am now in the early planning stages of my return trip to Dawson City and Keno City, Yukon, as well as planning out a couple of wicked sledding adventures – Abitibi Canyon and Gaspe – for this winter.
I am also volunteering to help out at the Horizons Unlimited Motorcycle Travellers Meeting in Ontario in late May of 2018.
And if I am really, really fortunate, my US Entry and Travel Waiver application will be approved and I will be spending a period of next year riding through the US of A.
Sure, by the time that I am 60 I will need to go back to the workforce and start earning a paycheck again. Maybe you’ll see me as a greeter at Walmart, who knows?
But until then, I am going to enjoy the heck out of my moments, doing the things that make the little kid inside of me smile, and laugh.
CCR were not singing about me.
Because I am a fortunate son,
PS: I would be interested in hearing about where you are in your decision making process as far as the ‘bucket list’ thing goes.
Have you ever taken a leap of faith?
Are you also about to pull the plug on working for a living, even for a little while?
Please feel free to comment below – maybe we can get a whole conversation going!
Hey bro – great post! Love your life and how you live it – maybe one day I’ll be brave enough to try some adventures too but until then I’ll live vicariously through you. Keep on keepin’on.
Thank you Kim – and Aya thanks you too!
What a fantastic read. So proud that you have taken your leap of faith.
Some day I hope to take a leap myself.
Thank you Helen. It can be scary, making the decision, but it is really quite something to experience! I hope that you get around to it as soon as you can.
ahhh . . . . to be that free.
It is fleeting, to be sure. But enjoyable does not quite describe it sir. Thanks for being along for the ride James.
Awesome read… Congrats on picking a direction in life. Most of us feel like our direction is picked for us. (kids, family, responsibilities, mortgage, etc.) I wouldn’t trade my life with anyone, but I recognize that same enthusiasm in your writing. I not only respect that, I admire it. I currently work in Ottawa, and live in Maniwaki Quebec. I have a country home directly on one of the major snowmobile highways in Quebec. Also a very rustic cabin about an snowmobile hour ride away from the country home. I also ride motorcycles when I don’t have my kiddos (Shared… Read more »
Hey Cliff, thank you for both reading along and for the incredible offer! I purchased a Quebec trail pass this year so I will definitely take you up on it!