Back in 2010, I was in the corporate world and hating every minute of it. A job I once enjoyed had turned into a stressful grind that took me away from the things I was really passionate about. Like everyone else, I had unfulfilled dreams. I wanted to spend time with my kids. I wanted to do all those self-reliance projects I read about. I wanted to write books.
Most of all, I wanted to be independent.
Instead, I spent my days grinding my teeth and pretending like I actually wanted to be at the office.
Like most stories of dramatic change, it starts out sad. But hang in there. It gets way better.
It took death to rock my world and inspire me to change everything.
First, my beloved father died. One of the last conversations we had turned out to be the lesson that eventually changed my life.
“You know I love you, right?” he asked from his hospital bed.
“Yes, of course. You’ve never ever made me think otherwise,” I reassured him. He’d been asking me this continuously, wanting to be sure I knew this vital fact.
“Girl, tell me, what are you going to do with your life?” he demanded.
I replied, “I’m going to be a writer, Dad.”
And it really hurt when he shook his head, “No you’re not. Writers write. You just talk about writing. If you want to be a writer, you have to write.”
The next day he was gone.
I was devastated, but I made the funeral arrangements and helped my mother get her bearings. Then, I went back home with my kids, dreading my return to a job I was beginning to despise.
My personal economic collapse
This happened as the automotive industry was collapsing. To keep myself employed, I was forced to survive on significantly lower pay for more work as others were let go. My financial situation began to unravel. I’d spent more money than I was making traveling back and forth from Canada to the southern US during my dad’s terminal illness. But sometimes, you lose your handle on things like money during difficult times.
As a result, first, I lost my house.
Then, I had to return my car because I couldn’t make the payments.
And then, just a few months later, everything got even worse.
My children’s dad died. Suddenly. Shockingly. Gone at the age of 40.
My poor girls were reeling at the loss of their daddy. The only thing I wanted to do was to be there for them. I couldn’t fathom the thought of sending them to a babysitter or worse yet leaving them home alone to fend for themselves, while I busted my tail making ends meet.
In less than one year, the whole world was different.
And we had to change with it.
I took a leap of faith because “writers write.”
In what probably sounds like the most ridiculous idea ever, I left my full-time job.
I accepted a severance package from the company (who was downsizing anyway), cashed in a small retirement fund, and set about to live a different life.
I wanted to try everything.
I wanted adventures and experiments.
- I wanted to live in a remote area off the grid.
- I wanted to raise my own food.
- I wanted to learn all of the skills that seemed so simple when I read about them.
I didn’t know how to do any of it. But I knew with every fiber of my being I was going to wholeheartedly embrace the chance to try.
You don’t change your life by being timid.
I had enough money put aside to sustain the family for a very frugal year. I decided to stop putting things off until the perfect time. I was going to move someplace dirt cheap and go for it. If I failed, I was just going to have to come back to the city, tail between my legs.
So ever since, I’ve been doing cool and unusual things that I probably have little business doing.
First, I packed my oldest girl off to college and took off with the youngest to spend a year living in a cabin with sporadic electricity in Central Ontario.
I got more adventure than I’d bargained for.
I learned that I didn’t know diddly.
For example, I had to learn to keep a fire going in the woodstove or, quite literally, die. When you’ve never built a fire in your life, this is harder than you might imagine.
During one exceptionally memorable storm, we got snowed in by a 7-foot drift and had to climb out the window of the house. (Thankfully, by this point, I was a fire-building pro.)
Then, to finance my own writing gigs, I spent three years working from home for an alternative media company, where I got to indulge my news junkie side every single day and get paid for it. I started my fledgling blog, TheOrganicPrepper.com, in 2012.
We headed back to the United States.
After that, I got to move to California to be closer to the headquarters of that company. Meanwhile, my blog was growing, maybe because I wrote about both successes and failures. Apparently, lots of folks were looking for newsy, health-related prepping and survival information. Within a few years, it was regarded as one of the top websites in the survival and preparedness niche.
I got the opportunity as a total farming newbie to spend two years homesteading in Northern California, where my office was my front porch.
There, I killed a bunch of vegetables, managed to nurture some to harvest, and learned to raise animals, including chickens, ducks, goats, and even a baby deer.
While my oldest daughter completed her degree in Canada, I homeschooled my youngest in the US. My intrepid kid and I even went on a 7-week road trip around the perimeter of the USA to learn geography and history.
Why was my blog a success when many others aren’t?
Well, I’d like to say it’s my Pulitzer-prize-deserving mad writing skills and rapier-sharp wit, but it’s probably the following.
- Curiosity. I’ll try things I’m totally unqualified to do and then write about the experience.
- Admitting failure. I’m not a guru, and I totally admit it when my experiments fail. Then I try it again until I get it right.
- DIY health. I like to make healthful living an affordable option.
- Frugality. I’m not going to tell people they need a $7000 generator to survive. Heck, I don’t have one either.
- Humor. Although sometimes my kids tell me otherwise, I try to be funny. Preparedness doesn’t have to be grim and doomy.
What did we do next?
I have a penchant for trying new things. I no longer do freelance work. I write for my blogs and churn out a few books a year for my small digital publishing business.
I have a motley assortment of rescued dogs and cats, and sometimes a revolving number of chickens.
Our next grand adventure was doing some in-town prepping and homesteading in Virginia while my precocious youngest daughter started college at the age of 16.
I enjoy cooking, canning, hiking, shooting guns, traveling all over the world and adding new countries to my list of “Places I’ve Been,” and reading. Sometimes, I watch Netflix into the wee hours of the night, even when I know better. I’m a total
hermit introvert and I rarely charge my phone.
What I’m doing now
Most recently, I’ve run away from home. No, not to join the circus. My girls are all grown up, so
I’m having a midlife crisis I’m currently traveling slowly through Europe. At the same time, I get the pleasure of seeing the world. I grabbed a one-way ticket and I’m taking my time exploring and learning. (If you’re interested in travel, check out my Instagram dedicated to the current nomadic journey.)
I love to see new places and traveling creatively on a tight budget just adds to the adventure. I’ve always been a nomad at heart and now I have the opportunity to be a nomad for real.
Most of all, it’s good to be able to let go of some of the hustle and bustle of my life in the United States and just be a happy vagabond.
The most important thing I want to share with you on this blog is that you need to stop waiting for the “perfect” time to follow your dreams. There is no perfect time. There never will be. You might be worried about money or the ten extra pounds or the fact that you’re single or that your friends and family think you’re crazy.
You’re not crazy and you’re awesome just the way you are. You deserve to enjoy your life now, not when things are “perfect.” You don’t have to sell everything you own and live out of a suitcase – this may not be your dream. But whatever your dream is, the time is now.
Where to find me:
Good luck. I don’t even know where I’m going next…oh, you meant online.
- DaisyLuther.com (where I write about travel, nomadic life, running an online business, and whatever else strikes my fancy)
I’m the author of quite a few books but the one my travel friends will probably like the best is coming soon:
- The Ultimate Guide to Frugal Living (coming in May 2020)
You can find me:
- Saying politically incorrect things and posting pictures of my travels on Facebook
- On Pinterest, not only can you find my vast collection of inspirational quote pins, but you can witness my weird obsession with doors, libraries, and tattoos.
- Here’s my travel Instagram
- I don’t understand Google Plus and will likely never post there. Is there still a Google Plus?
- LinkedIn seems pretty stuffy so I’m not there either.
I hope this was a thorough enough introduction! I look forward to e-meeting you in the comments or on social media. 🙂