I was not listening. Just one more detail to be finalised and our plans would be complete. Those niggling thoughts and gut feelings I had noticed were brushed aside while we prepared to embark on another journey which would see us employed in seasonal work performing duties not previously undertaken. This story unfolded several years ago. The date had been set for departure from our premises; our resignations had been submitted and the suitcases partly packed and taking up too much room in our living area.
We were to join other Aussies, many who had been participants in this program for a decade or so and work for six months in Vail, Colorado, USA during the ski season. Greg was to drive the shuttle bus between accommodation venues and the facilities at the top of the mountain. I was to be the car park attendant and would, from time to time, be required to shovel snow. What could be better? No phones, no KPI’s, no meetings, no deadlines – just try not to freeze in the unfamiliar conditions.
The recruitment company had been in constant communication assuring us that the visas would be issued as they had been recruiting for these positions for many years. Time was quickly passing and about two weeks before our departure, our doubts were confirmed when we were advised our visas would not be issued. President George W Bush made a last-minute decision to only issue visas for construction workers who would be involved with the completion of re-building Mississippi after it was devastated by Cyclone Katrina a few years earlier.
Almost over-night we made the decision to travel to the USA independently and just see what would eventuate, after all, we were jobless and homeless. We arrived in San Francisco with a dream of driving across the country to New York with a detour north to Vail along the way. A few days later, we were heading south to Los Angeles in our rented motor home with a plan to then take Route 66 towards Las Vegas. Our first surprise was the cost of a powered site for our motor home in the camping grounds in California but as one property owner informed us “this is California and if you want to visit here, you have to pay the price”. Not the welcome we would have liked.
Our first visit to Vegas was better than expected and at that time, the city was less crowded than it was on our second visit several years later. Leaving Vegas, it was time to venture towards Denver, Colorado and onto Vail. We were aware that temperatures were becoming colder and the nights in particular were a concern as our journey would take us further and further north. Arriving in Denver, the only camping ground was cluttered, unattractive, but adequate and after bunking down for the night, woke the next morning only to find it had been transformed into the most spectacular sight by the heavy snow that had fallen. We were now inches deep in snow and the trek through the grounds to the amenities was a challenge I will not forget.
At this stage, we realised that Vail was no longer a possibility and we agreed to head slightly south and due east. Finding suitable camping areas each day was becoming more difficult than anticipated as by now, many had closed for the winter season. Arriving in Kansas, I was driving when I had a slight difference of opinion with the Highway Patrol Police, but that is a funny and interesting story for another day, thanks to Constable Troy. I was constantly bothered by that feeling in my gut that something was out-of-order, but we continued to pursue our dream drive. It was only a short distance from where I met Troy in a town call Salina that our journey took a significant change of direction when I slipped on ice when stepping out of the motor home. Initially, I thought I had severely sprained by wrist which was bruised and swollen, but x-rays taken at the local hospital revealed I had in fact broken the pivot point of my right elbow and would need to keep my arm in a sling for at least six weeks.
Now Greg was the solo driver of the big, bulky motor home while my challenge was showering, dressing, eating as well as perfecting the backwards shuffle on my bottom onto the corner bed at the back of the vehicle. Daily life became increasingly difficult as the weather deteriorated quickly and sites to stop each night were limited and unsavoury. We became very adept at parking the vehicle, finding a Starbucks Coffee and both of us surreptitiously entering and exiting the ladies’ toilet because I needed Greg to help me unzip my jeans, remove my overcoat, my gloves, scarf and several layers of jumpers and thermals so I could use the facility.
It was time to stop and re-think and in his wisdom, Greg decided the first priority was to return the motor home. Each day, he pushed the driving further and further and nearly 5000 kilometres from San Francisco, we arrived at the rental company in New York. After that we spent about 10 days over Christmas and New Year exploring New York while attempting to change our return flights to Australia.
Arriving back in Australia, it was soon time to remove the sling from my arm and to my surprise, it was not straight, but somewhat bowed. At no time did I feel any pain in my elbow or wrist and though the doctor had given me packets and packets of pain killers, I did not need to take one table. Mind you, a glass of red wine from time to time was comforting and soothing. I decided I needed to have my arm straightened to ensure the strength would return to it as I am right-handed. After several adjustments from an Osteopath my arm was again straight and strong.
The Osteopath treating me told me that bones break for a reason and often it is the last resort to stop us from what we were doing. She spoke about the Universe needing to protect us when we are not listening or following our instincts and the only way our attention can be grabbed is for such an incident as a broken bone to occur. This will ensure we remove ourselves from circumstances which could be dangerous and more harmful than a broken bone. I completely understood what she was staying and since then have been more aware and remember to always listen.