Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Catalyst

Spent this morning reading through the old blog I kept during my road-trip back in 2008.  I can’t even fathom how much I’ve changed since then, as a result of that trip.

About to leave on the road-trip.

For years I’d felt the need to do something drastic, I felt trapped in my own life.  At first it was a North American month pass for VIA Rails, and eventually it evolved in to a road trip.  I invited my friends to come, and they agreed, but backed out at the last second.  Although at the time it hurt, I decided to go anyway and it ended up being better that way.  I needed to redefine myself, and you can’t do that with anyone watching.

During the weeks leading up to it, everyone including my closest friends and family tried to talk me out of it.  The Dale they knew could not handle something like this, especially alone!  They were just concerned, because it was so unlike me.  It was a big thing to do alone, it was intimidating and risky.  Not what I was known for.  And even though I had my own doubts as well, I stayed determined, and when the time came I got in my car and drove headlong into those doubts.

It’s no exaggeration to say that none of my major accomplishments could have happened without those 2 weeks alone on the road.  During those 2 weeks a seed was planted.  I started to suspect I was capable of much more than I’d originally thought.  During those 2 weeks I saw things I never thought I’d see, did so many things I never could have imagined myself doing, it made me realize all those limitations I’d placed on myself were illusions.

Suddenly I felt restless in my old life.  I knew I wanted more.  I decided to move to Edmonton for a change of pace and to get out of debt.  I never would have seen that as a possibility before the road-trip, but now it was something I had no doubt I was capable of.  Then working in the videogame industry watered that seed, and that suspicion grew into a conviction.  I was capable of so much more than I’d given myself credit for, and life had so much more to offer than I’d let myself see when I lived in doubt.

This tattoo represents the lessons I learned on that trip.Reading that blog was a revelation.  In one of the entries before I hit the road, I wrote that I’d wanted this road-trip to be one of the most important things I ever did, a “spiritual odyssey, an existential exodus.”  And that’s exactly what it was.  Now I live in Halifax, I’m in a career I love and I’m climbing it fast, I welcome every new adventure presented to me with excitement.

I had no idea the places that road-trip would lead me, years after I thought it was over.  I end this entry with a quotation from that old blog:

Well, even though I have enough money to make it to the East Coast, it wouldn’t leave enough time to properly enjoy the cities remaining on my trip, especially Montreal and Toronto.  So it looks like this is as far East as I make it for now.  But I’m sure I’ll make it out there some day!

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