I’ve been staring at this blank space underneath a blank title for quite a while.
This is because my life changed in a (literal and figurative) crash-bam moment just over a month a go. And I don’t know exactly what to say about it.
This post was originally published in 2013. It has since been updated for accuracy of links and content.
At some point in the (hopefully) near future I expect to write more philosophically (and in more detail) about what happened, but until I reach that point, I’ll just fill you in on the bare details:
Ironically just after publishing my Ode to the Scooter article and video, my partner and I were riding out to get a pizza when we were hit head-on by a car. (For what it’s worth, the car was entirely in the wrong and we didn’t even have a chance to react before it hit us at full speed).
I sustained significant concussions and head lacerations (stitches and all) – necessitating a nifty reverse mohawk that I’ve sported since they shaved a large strip off the top of my head. (I’m determined to make it a fashion statement of sorts. I’m just not sure how).
I also sustained a number of injuries from the knees down, from broken toes to bony fragments to garish “road-rash” wounds, and later, infections from those wounds.
But I got off lucky.
My partner sustained some very serious injuries that mean he may never walk properly or without aid again. The repercussions of this – financially, emotionally, and otherwise – are almost incomprehensible.
The accident was just over a month ago, and in some ways it feels like years, save for our ever-present and lingering wounds which remind us of how fresh everything still is.
I won’t presently delve into the journey that this life-changing crash-bam-second brought on, largely because I’m still very much in the thick of it.
Readers have been asking for me to divulge the nitty-gritty bits about life on the road, so here goes: In many ways, this has been the stuff of nightmares. As a lone example, I was explaining to a friend the course of treatment the local (very NOT-western) hospital put my partner through, but it wasn’t until she saw pictures that she realized just how grim it is. (“It” being anything from the hospital, to the prognosis, to the torturous traction treatment).
For myself, when I’m not in pain, having difficulty walking, and/or caring for my partner, I’m unable to concentrate, words (and trains of thought) regularly fail me, my memory is unreliable (I even forget things I’ve known for years), and I get easily confused when using my computer.
None of these are good traits for an adventure traveler and freelance writer.
This experience, like many challenges, is an opportunity for growth. Two mantras have accompanied me throughout this limit-testing journey:
Everything happens for a reason.
This too, shall pass.
A friend of mine who has overcome similar traumas gave me some lovely words of wisdom:
The three biggest contributing factors to a recovery are:
And I can’t agree more. Although I can (and still occasionally do) look on recent events (and the consequences) with grim self-pity, the moments that count – and the moments of true healing – are the ones in which I look onwards and upwards, and reflect with gratitude. My life changed, but not necessarily for the worse.
So please forgive me if I’m slow to answer emails, and my posting schedule goes awry for a bit. Life happened while I was busy making plans, and now it’s time to rest, recoup, and recover – and redesign.
Who knew in how many ways my life changed in the fullness of time.
First of all: things didn’t work out with my partner. (Click here for a summary of relationships I’ve had on the road, including how this particular partner dumped me via instant message).
Second: While we were not at fault, the insurance claim I tried to make against the other driver’s insurance (to recoup medical expenses and lost income) was so bad I had to walk away from it in order to stay sane.
Last: While I didn’t think I’d ever walk properly or do any mountaineering again, I did manage to recover, in part by delving deep into myself through plant medicine work in Peru, along with a ton of mountain hikes in the Andes.
Do you have a strong stomach? Then check out some of the other crazy sh!t that has happened to me on the road.