Adaptability Means Planning Ahead

I considered writing this with my eyes closed but the pain has eased off enough that I can keep them open most of the time. The harsh firecracker of my fingertips on the soft keys of my Mac is unpleasant.

It is, once again, Headache Day.

Headache Day arrives whenever it pleases. It is a celebration, I believe, of having some large patches of skin cancer removed from my face and the subsequent reconstructive surgery. It is celebrated by laying in bed, struggling to find a position which doesn’t break my head; hot showers to temporarily ease the pain; and eventually, the doltish numb brain which results from having all synapses firing simultaneously for hours and hours.

Since HD arrives unscheduled, then steals an entire day, planning for travel and work has to accept this unwanted guest. While we could adapt on the fly, canceling client calls, pushing back deadlines, arriving late at our next destination.

Instead, we’ve planned in advance to allow room in all those things for the unexpected. Our work deadlines are loose, and we always try to finish early, meaning no last minute rush. Sue is perfectly capable of handling nearly all our client calls, and of doing the driving were I to be unconscious (though I’m truly hoping we never have a long day of travel when I feel like this, which is why we try to leave space for pushing back travel days without impacting unmovable plans.

We cannot plan for every contingency; it’s not possible. But we can certainly get over the misconception that we can plan everything and have it all work out.

Nomads are adaptable. Adaptability means planning ahead to be adaptable.

Montreal Itinerary

Looks like it’s going to take 2 full weeks, 14 days, to make Montreal. Guess I’m not the road warrior I thought I was, but I just can’t imagine pushing that hard for that long. Also, I guess I can’t just drop in on my Mom, who I haven’t seen in nearly 10 years, for a single night. (We’ll be back later to spend a couple weeks with her.)

I’ll be reconnecting with an uncle and aunt I haven’t seen in nearly 30 years, staying with a musical buddy who’s slept on my couch, staying with a friend who just moved from here a few weeks ago, and meeting a couple folks who’ve become incredibly close online but whom I’ve not yet hugged in real life.

Update 1:Thanks to Jerry Kennedy‘s reminder nudge, we checked out and found a place in Albuquerque.

Update 2:I didn’t check with enough people in Toronto, so one of them checked with me. H’ray for Debs, my musical friend in Toronto!

Thursday 30 Sep Home Phoenix Terry
Friday 1 Oct Phoenix Phoenix
Saturday 2 Oct Phoenix Albuquerque Sonja
Sunday 3 Oct Albuquerque Denver Jason
Monday 4 Oct Denver Rapid City Denny
Tuesday 5 Oct Rapid City Arlington Mimi
Wednesday 6 Oct Arlington Rice Lake Mom
Thursday 7 Oct Rice Lake Rice Lake
Friday 8 Oct Rice Lake Rice Lake
Saturday 9 Oct Rice Lake Fremont Charlie
Sunday 10 Oct Fremont Fremont
Monday 11 Oct Fremont Toronto Debs
Tuesday 12 Oct Toronto Ottawa Shawn
Wednesday 13 Oct Ottawa Granby Cristina

Vancouver Review: Dates & Duration

We crossed the 49th parallel heading north at 9:15 am Monday the 2nd of August.

We crossed the 49th parallel heading south at 3:30 pm Wednesday the 25th of August after spending 3 weeks, 2 days, 6 hours & 15 minutes in Canada

Still to come: statistics (miles, dollars, etc.), impressions, achievements, and more.

Where There’s Internet . . .

. . . work gets done. For us, at least.

The place we’re staying, we haven’t been able to connect to their wireless network. I have an idea what might be up, but it’d probably be more work to test than it’s worth for the 16 hours we’ll still be there.

So we’re in the WIred Monk coffee shop, using Mary-Lee and Cheri’s wireless and electricity and restroom.

We bought a cuppa tea and an Italian soda this morning. Since we’ve been back this afternoon (we walked home for lunch) we haven’t bought anything yet, but we will. They even came over and asked if we’d like cups and ice for the water we brought for ourselves. It definitely did not sound like “You’re using our free internet. You should buy something.”

I’m one of those people who stops at the fast food restaurant in the middle of nowhere to use the bathroom ’cause it’s the only one for miles, and I have to buy something from the dollar menu because it feels unfair to use their plumbing without giving them something in return.

Finding internet access isn’t too tough here in North America. I don’t expect to have to crawl under someone’s house and tap into their wiring or anything. Still, there are challenges, and they’re not only logistical.

As every adventurer discovers, the real challenges are inside us; the journey simply exposes them.

Guest Post: Ken Grossman on Brilliance and Absurdity

Ken has been a good friend to our family for many years. He’s a deep thinker with a sense of humour skewed in directions we like. He sent this as an email, and at Sue’s request is allowing us to post it here.

The nomadic lifestyle took awhile to sink in with me but I’m on-board now. I cannot say whether it is an absurd idea or brilliant but I suspect it is a bit of both. Here is what I like about it:

  • It serves that inner voice in many of us to live life with gusto
  • It also serves the inner voice that speaks to our wanderlust (But we may need to be aware of too many inner voices as we may end up on medication:)
  • A chance to meet people and REALLY get to know them
  • I think you and Sue have the brainpower and personality to pull this off
  • The world has become very virtualized and there are not many things you cannot do over the Internet
  • Freedom, not total freedom, but freedom to a degree that most industrialized people will not voluntarily seek
  • Exposing Fiona to an unconventional and rich array of experiences, I suspect she will grow up to be a different sort of person and I can’t wait to see
  • I would hope there is a potential through your website to catch an audience that may fuel you both spiritually and financially
  • If you can be successful, I would think you would achieve a comfort with living your life in a predatory world and not fear the future. (See Zen and the art of Motorcycle Maintenance)

There are probably more things I can think of I like but on to the things I am fearful of:

  • You WILL be very dependent on the Internet; stay tuned into potential changes there
  • I don’t know what kind of safety nets you have in place but I suspect that it is not many. Your level of vulnerability concerns me
  • A big safety Net issue is Health care…
  • Traveling the roads makes you very dependent on your vehicle
  • There are bad people out there. Some of them really really seem like good people. Be careful
  • Fiona is blessed to have you both but I would be concerned about her none the less. I don’t wish to verbalize all the reasons…
  • It is a truly crappy economy out there and this might be the perfect way to face it, but, we relentlessly move towards the future and preparing for that should be somewhere on your radar.

OK, a couple of thoughts.

  • The My-Fi from Verizon is very good for browsing the Internet but it sucks for file upload/download especially outside the 3G range. I’ve read about new technology for cars but I don’t know anything about it. You will need to find hot spots.
  • You may want to put a Android phone near the top of your list. If you can try one for 15 days before returning it (Verizon included a $35 restocking fee for my Droid X) then that might be worth it. If you cut loose on this project, I think a Droid phone would be like a Swiss Army Knife for you.

What do you think about Ken’s lists? Are the pluses enough? What about the concerns? We’d love to hear your comments below.

Anyone Want to Put the Canfield Family Up for a Night or Two in Portland Next Week?

The best of plans sometimes have to change. We just found out this morning that our lodging accommodations in Portland, Oregon next week fell through. Due to an unforeseen family need, the wonderful family that were going to let us stay with them in return for our coaching services are unable to do so.

That leaves us without a place to lodge for a night or two. We have lodging in Washington on Saturday, July 31. We’d hoped to arrive late in the day in Portland July 29th and stay that night and July 30th with the family in Portland, leaving their place mid-day Saturday. If necessary, we can drive all day Friday, July 30th, stay a night in Portland and leave Saturday for Washington.

Ideally though we hope to leave Thursday July 29, arrive late in Portland, spend all day Friday July 30th in Portland and leave Saturday.

So if you are a Virtual Assistant and would like to receive our action guide, Building Blocks: Succeed as a Chief Virtual Officer, and one-on-one in-person coaching for your business from two great business coaches in exchange for a night or two lodging, please contact us asap!

Or if there is anyone else in the Portland area that’s just thrilled to have us and our six-year old visit, give us a shout!

Getting Ready for the Canfields (Another Guest Post)

Caitlyn  James
Caitlyn James
Caitlyn is back. I am not sure what that means; does she keep coming here because we’re coming there? This is something to be looked into, eh? In the meantime, here’s Caitlyn . . .

I should have taken a picture of myself last night. It was getting dark and I was covered in muddy streaks. Cute. Or, maybe not … having no photographic evidence to the contrary – oh, did I mention I was soaking wet in patches and my left hairs were drenched and stuck to my face? – we’ll go with cute.

In my enthusiasm to make your lives, and mine, better ( I have invested in a hose timer. I got it last year at end of season for half the regular $50 price. Problem is, I need a hose going to the front and one going to the backyard. Okay, hose splitter.

We have those cute little click-on/click-off gadgets for the hoses and all the attachments that are used with a hose. At one time I thought this meant I only needed one gun-like nozzle and it could go wherever I went. Turns out, really I need one for each hose and rarely have to click them off or on. Before I had two, I did click more, but I was always going out the “wrong” door so I would end up waiting until a later that never came (hello dying plants), or moving the potted plants to the hose, or using the watering can. All annoying and more time consuming than hunting down the nozzle. Obviously, having one at each side of the house is more convenient – and I do click-on and off for sprinklers.

As you can see, I am invested in the clicking technology. So, I buy a special $10 splitter thing with the pokey-out click part on it. I could have bought a 2-hose attachment for $4 with the regular screw-them-together system. Should ‘a done it.

The hose does not have a receptacle for the pokey-out part. This means buying a special adapter click piece or attaching the sprinkler right to the tap. It is possible that I could … shocking … take it back. Start over.

Canadian Tire is a pretty dependable taker-backer of things so I guess I’ll dig the packaging out of the recycling and give it a try, in spite of it being used twice. Once to see if it worked (I had one special adapter already) and once this a.m., when the sprinkler came on automatically while we slept. Cool.

Sounds like I’ve solved all the problems of efficient crop watering.

Not so fast.

The reason I was striped with mud last night is that there are only a couple of sweet spots for the sprinklers. Unless the Canfields are inclined to “enjoy” their own muddy striped messing about, I want to position hoses and sprinklers in such a way that everything gets watered at once. It is possible. Easily, when there are two hoses linked together.

Almost possible with one hose. If I thread it through this garden, move the wheelbarrow, under the soaking wet 6 foot high rhododendron, while dragging the whole schmozzle through the mud that is the filled-in-new-sewer-connection-trench-soon-to-be-garden-shed-pad-and-walkway.

And, anyone who has ever tried to position a sprinkler perfectly knows that even if you start out by turning the water on and off, you eventually do the ‘watch and leap’ while the sprinkler sprinkles … full force in your face, on your head, through the left side of your t-shirt, and now all over the porch and its furniture as you swing things around wildly trying to save yourself from drowning.

Now, you have your picture. I sure hope you Canfields appreciate it when you wake to an already watered homestead! ;-)

Guest Post by Caitlyn James: Who Are These Canfields?

Caitlyn 'Smokie' James
Caitlyn 'Smokie' James
I’ve busted in here to ask you something. It’s Caitlyn … the Canfields will be staying at our place in August.

Joel & Sue agreed to give me some space to do a fun little post pre-launch of their nomad’s adventure. I’ll hit send before they can do a full proof-read. You’ll see why.

Seriously, folks, who are these Canfields? Have any of you met them in person? Would you let them stay in your house?

I don’t have time to be cautious and subtle so I apologize in advance for being a bit crass….

First, I get they’ll be living in the house so opening up the medicine cabinet is reasonable. We’ll take most of the anti-psychotic drugs with us; the Warfarin can be moved into the shed – we rarely use it for people, but we have friends with a tendency to forget to go home and at the right dose, the Warfarin just makes them feel a little woozy and they decide it’s time to go. Nothing serious. Of course, we use it on the pests, too, but it smells so nasty when they die in the walls. Anyway, my question is, are Joel and Sue the kind of people who will use up your Tylenol if you leave half a bottle sitting there?

Second, Fiona seems like a cute kid, but is she really 6? Apparently, she reads chapter books, flies at the sight of dogs, and has her own website. Makes me wonder if this is one of those sting operations the cops do when they pose as teenagers online to lure pedophiles. In this case, someone may have mentioned all the 6 foot deep holes we’ve been digging in the yard. The cops may have set up this kind-of-quirky family to infiltrate our home and networks. Fiona may very well be a donut eating 35-year-old with his own kid in kindergarten.

You see where I’m going with this. The Canfields might not be normal.

There’s this other thing. We LOVE our dog. Not in that nutty way that people can be with dog nail polish and bows in the hair; it’s just that we don’t see why people make their dogs eat on the floor. RK (Racoon Killer) has his dog dish on the table when we eat our dinner. I’m afraid Joel might try to change this. I dunno, I’m thinking he might be worried when RK takes an innocent little lick off Fiona’s plate. Problem is, RK has never taken direction all that well. Without a whole long story, let’s just point out that I only have 3 fingers on one hand. That’s 3 fingers total, out of 2 hands total. My question to you? Do you think I should tell them in advance about this?

As long as they don’t deviate from the regular routines nothing will go wrong.

In fact, I’m writing up some stuff for them (you can read about that at on July 7th) so they will know what the routines are and a few helpful hints. Don’t look Bruce, the neighbour, in the eye, that kind of thing. It’s a nice neighbourhood, but Bruce is a little touchy. Most of the rest of them just leave us alone. Walk on the other side of the street, skip us when collecting for charities – really respectful. Not too many nosey parkers.

Other than feeding the dog, we aren’t expecting much. Lock the doors when you leave, water the crop on schedule. Harvest time should coincide nicely with the Visa bill arrival, if the watering is done right. That’s it.

If there’s anything you believe is important for us to know before we turn our house and our dog and the crop over to Joel, Sue, and Fiona (if that’s even who they really are) can you leave some comments here… or send me an email,, you know, so they don’t intercept the communication?

Yikes, gotta go. Send.