Road Trip

17 June, 2018

By any reasonable standards, purchasing a ticket to Malaga last night was foolish. I’m not only broke, I’m disastrously in debt. But then I thought of this quote from one of the greatest movies of all time:

Boon: Jesus. What's going on?
Hoover: They confiscated everything, even the stuff we didn't steal.
Bluto: They took the bar! The whole ****ing bar!
[Otter grabs a bottle of whiskey and throws it to Bluto, who chugs it all]
Bluto: Thanks. I needed that.
Hoover: Christ. This is ridiculous. What are we going to do?
Otter & Boon: Road trip. 

Yep, I desperately need a road trip.

Better said, I need to take another walk—a l-o-n-g walk. I’m thinking Almería to Muxia,Spain would be just about what the doctor ordered, and in my experience there’s no surer way of hitting a goal than to financially commit to it. That doesn’t mean that a financial commitment guarantees success, but it is a necessary component. When you make a commitment you can’t back out of, the creative wheels begin to turn. Your imagination goes to work and creates possibilities where there were only roadblocks. Your guardian angels start to take you seriously and help show you the way. When you know that you know that you have to make something happen, you uncover abilities you never imagined existed. 

And if none of that bears fruit, you borrow the money and do it anyway.

How did I get to this point? I trace the origins to June, 2016, when my boss at T-Mobile, where I was a contract (euphemism for temporary) project manager told me that my contract (there's that word again), due to expire in July, was being extended a full year, to June of 2017. Before that I’d started the search for my next contract, knowing that the group I worked in at T-Mo didn’t allow contractors to work more than 12 months without taking at least 4 months off. But my boss told me that I was working on a project vital to the company and they were going to extend my contract another full year.

Now, that was great news! I had already planned and paid for a trip to Europe for the entire month of July, 2017. The timing couldn’t be more perfect. 

However, and this is a big however, a contract doesn't mean what you might think it means. I should have known from prior experience with T-Mobile that the word actually has no meaning short of, if we let you work, we'll pay you. The lesson? Never trust an employer. In November I was informed that some accounting weenie was insisting the “12-month rule” be enforced, and I was given notice that my contract would be canceled in mid-December, the absolute worst time to look for employment.

I began looking for another contract, but at the end of the year you can probably guess there were two chances of finding one—slim and none. My (bad) luck continued throughout the early part of 2017, resulting in an extended period of unemployment until I left for Europe at the end of June. (Don't even think I'd cancel my vacation for lack of money.)

Post-vacation, I returned to Seattle and drove to my mother’s house in Iowa, and spent the rest of the year there helping her through major surgery, convalescence, selling her house, and moving to a more suitable living arrangement, given her now-limited physical abilities. 

I returned to the Seattle area in early 2018 and began the job search. 

There’s something about a resume that shows more than a year’s absence from gainful employment that tends to act like a magnet with the trash can. Even though I’m highly qualified for well over 100 contracts I’ve applied for, I’ve managed to get a grand total of 2 face to face interviews in six months of job search. All the while I’ve been living off savings, then credit after my cash was depleted. 

Such is life. 

The only thing that keeps me going is the thought that I’m going to take another walk across my adopted homeland of Spain. If I don’t manage to find another contract within the next few days, I’ll take a job at Costco (if they'll hire me) and just try to pay down debt while I play nanny to my granddaughter. (My daughter and son-in-law are rooting for that option.) But come hell or high water (y Dios quiere), I’ll be on a flight to Malaga March 23, 2019. From there I’ll make my way to Almería and begin another pilgrimage April 1st to Santiago de Compostela and then on to Muxia. 

If you'd like more information on previous road trips, check out Sauntering to Santiago and Where the Roads Lead, links below, both available on Amazon.com.

Stay tuned, if you're interested, for further news…

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