I felt my heart beating when the new owner was loading my camper on his truck. I spent the last two years full-time living in it. I haven’t signed a lease for two years. I haven’t had a washing machine, nor a drier.
I spent the entire winter of 2021 in my camper. Thought the storms, every night I slept fully dressed, with -25 Celsius outside. I remember the sound of the wind whistling and shaking the camper. I remember sitting on the edge of my bed and crying: “What am I doing here? What am I doing with my life?”. I was cold. I was lonely. I had no job and no idea what to do with myself. I was sitting in my camper in the middle of nowhere, at night, during the snowstorm.
Some of the most profound changes happened to me ever since I left my corporate job two years ago. August 2020, is when I made a decision to radically change my life. I was not sure if #vanlife was going to work for me. It was a big decision, both — financially and mentally. I was afraid to make a permanent mistake. However, I was certain that I did not want to continue living my previous comfy life. I needed a change. I wanted to grow.
I got the truck — a six-wheel gorilla. And I got the camper — the spaceship. I sold all my belongings and kept only essentials. I went West.
If I knew what was ahead of me, would I do it again? Probably not. It was bloody hard. Really hard. For me, the camper became a particle accelerator — a Hadron Collider. It accelerated all the good and bad processes inside of me. It forced me to grow up at a faster speed. Many deep-seated conflicts and unresolved traumas found their exit inside that camper. I found my God.
The journey I went on, was truly profound. It was awesome!
Awesome hard and awesome rewarding. I experienced a very wide range of emotions. The highest highs and the lowest lows.
Blake will miss our trips in the camper. And I will too. We crossed Canada four times. The camper was in San-Francisco, Canta Cruz, Lake Tahoe, Oregon, Coeur d’Alene. I haven’t paid rent for two years!!! This is certainly one of the best parts of it all. Over $25K saved.
Perhaps the camperlife was just a preparation for something much greater. Perhaps I am now much more confident in my capabilities. I know that no matter what, with God’s help, I can be anything and accomplish anything. I got a taste of such a different lifestyle. I got a taste of such great freedom that not too many people have and ever will. An overwhelming sense of urgency and responsibility comes from being this free.
Selling the camper, and seeing an empty parking space next to my home made me feel sad. Blake also seemed to be quiet that evening. I was sad but some moments later — Hey! What can I do now? What would be the next adventure? Options are only limited by my imagination.
Lance took great care of me and my dog. I am very grateful. The camper is sold, however, the memories will always stay with me.
Me and Blake went on a walk tonight. On our way I stopped at Walmart to pick up something to eat. I tied down Blake right next to the entrance and went inside. About 15 minutes later I came out and my heart dropped… Blake was gone. I yelled BLAKE! BLAKE! BLAKE! Several times, thinking maybe he got untied and was wondering around. People looked at me like I was a crazy man.
Someone must’ve took him. What should I do? Surveillance cameras…. Cops… I hope they find him. My mind was racing at 100 mph.
I was pacing in circles until I saw a black truck with a man sitting inside. I came up and asked if he saw the dog tied up here. He said: Yep! Two Indian kids just came up in a car and took him. I got scared… Why would anyone take someone else’s dog? What are they going to do with him?
Then the man added: I thought it was very sketchy, so I took photos of the car. I can be your witness if you need me to. You can barely see the plates number. I called 911 and described the situation. They said stand by.
About 15 minutes later I got a call from the unknown number. “Hey, my roommate just brought your dog here. He is going to take him back to Walmart.” I swallowed my anger, and I didn’t tell him that cops were about to show up at his doorstep. I didn’t want to scare him, so I said calmly: Ok, I’m waiting here.
Few minutes later, a lady cop pulled up in her Ford SUV. She was very fast. I told her that I just got a phone call and was expecting for someone to bring Blake back. I also asked if she could park her vehicle somewhere, so we don’t scare them. She agreed.
I kept waiting until black Chevrolet Cruse showed up about 20 minutes later. Two middle eastern young guys pulled up and opened the back door. Blake jumped out and went straight to me. THANK F@CKING GOD! I felt relieved.
They said that they say the dog and thought that he was homeless. That’s why they pulled up, untied him and drove away. I was angry. I said that they made me really worried. I then pointed across the parking lot and told them that the cops were here. A lady cop started walking towards us. The guys began apologizing.
What do you want to do Oleksandr, the cop asked me? If you want, you can press charges – this is theft. I said that I won’t and I hope they learned the lesson. I certainly did learn mine. At the end I didn’t care what those kids told me, I was just happy to have Blake back. I got emotional, because I realized that if he was gone, I would’ve had no one left by my side. He is my only family. I am glad he is back. Me and my dog – we have to care one for another.
I walk down the streets of Montreal. No destination, just walk. I hear piano music blasting from far. It is loud and beautiful, so I walk toward the sound. Must be a “street artist” performing for the public for some cash tips. I see the crowd, but couldn’t understand where the music is coming from. I come closer and read the sign on the building: MMFA – Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. That still does not explain the origin of this beautiful piano sound.
Two young people: men and women dressed in the same black dresses perform on the stair of the building. They walk slow and fast, they dance and do different interesting moves. Piano music is being played from the speakers, but so clear that it almost sounds like it’s live. People watch this play, I watch people. An interesting audience – a mix of very young and modestly old people. Everybody dressed well and look neat. They all pay very good attention to those two in black. Slowly I move my attention to the “stage”.
I have no idea what was the name of the play or what was the story about, so I created my own. Men and women were trying to find one another… It was very interesting to watch and I really enjoyed the piano. I looked within and I found myself so occupied with the play. I totally lost a sense of time. I didn’t want to go anywhere anymore. I felt good, so I stayed.
I’ve found a way to decompress. For the past several months I’ve been searching for a tool, a hobby – something non-physical to decompress and rest my mind. I always run on the high gear. There is no gray area for me, and I am either “On” or “Off” – full gas or parked. I tried origami, meditation, breathing and other things, and they worked. However, they were nothing compared to this play. I completely tuned out. This is it. A play that keeps your mind wonder. Moreover, I then realized – I really enjoy arts and classical music. This realization didn’t just come from this performance, but all my previous experiences. I always loved museums, especially the modern arts. I love the weird, extravagant pictures or art. This makes my mind wonder what that could represent and what did the author tried to tell by it. Performances, Classical music. I always listen to it and I truly enjoy it. It keeps my mind still… I am drawn to this type of stuff, but I almost never make a conscious effort to dive more into it. I float on the surface, while there is an entire world to explore. Art inspires me and stimulates thinking. It occupies my mind, so I can rest…
Slowly, step by step, the guy walks towards me. Other people move, I stay. I didn’t notice how the music became really intense. All the cameras that were pointed towards the actors now capture me. I felt how the blood rushed towards my face. I felt as I did in high school when the teacher would call me up to the blackboard. Why? Nobody cares about you here. They are all strangers, but for some reason I was self-conscious. Great! I haven’t felt like that for years and years. The guy comes closer and closer. My mind yells to move, but I resist. I look with my eyes and I look at what happens within. I will not move and stay, just to see what happens. It was a very intense moment. The actor, in a crunched pose, came to about a meter away from me. My monkey mind was literally at the edge of committing suicide. The music that I found to be so beautiful now was so loud and intense. Because it was repetitive, I found it to be very meditative as well. So now, I am in the center of Montreal, sitting on the side of the street. Some men, crunched in the weirdest pose, wearing a black dress, coming almost face-to-face to me. Classical piano music is blasting. Tens of people are pointing their cameras at you. Drivers on the road beside, literally stop in the middle…
It was an incredible, very-very intense experience. The entire world had stopped. I was able to sit still while my mind was yelling: RUN! I resisted and observed my thoughts. The guy stood up, looked at me and changed his direction. He and his lady-partner engaged in a weird dance. It was beautiful. I then realized… My eyes got watery. Wtf!?
During this intense several munited something had cracked inside. I realized why I was struggling with binge eating. I feel! I feel, but I numb my feeling with food. It was not a discovery, but the fact that I am a sensitive person that feels. I am a man of a refined nature, but I forced myself into the framework of an Ironman. I live against my true nature and this causes internal conflict.
I was never a hugger. Whenever my ex-girlfriends would do something that I defined as “too much”, I stepped back. There was an invisible line, which even the closest won’t cross. Why? Because I felt at risk of benign caught on a lie. I was pretending to be a tough guy, as most of us do. By allowing people too close to me, they could’ve realized my true nature – a man of an extremely sensitive nature. A very vulnerable person. I would not allow anyone too close, so they can see that. In fact, I made myself believe that I was that tough dude – it was necessary for survival. Something that served me then, now a limiter and causes a lot of suffering. I continue pretending of whom I am NOT. I am sensual and vulnerable, but I created a hard and rough avatar. I like cleanliness, elegance. I admire beautiful people with a sense of taste. Classical music pleases my ear.
It was an emotional explosion. I felt exhausted as if I just ran twenty kilometres. A lump in the throat, headache in the temples. It seemed as I lived a little life on that street. I met myself in Montreal.
I was asking myself: Why this lifestyle? What are the true reasons? Now I know.
I live this life to feel, to experience emotions – TO LIVE. A life without pain – is life without pleasure. “The System” makes us rough. The System kills our “feelings receptors” – the ability to receive and process the feelings. I need to feel in order to live. Feelings and emotions are like air for me.
Я гуляю по улицам Монреаля. Без пункта назначения, просто гуляю. Прекрасная фортепианная музыка звучит издалека, громко и красиво. Я иду навстречу звуку. Должно быть уличный артист, выступающий для публики за чаевые. Я вижу толпу, но не могу понять, откуда идет музыка. Подхожу ближе и читаю вывеску на здании: MMFA – Монреальский Музей Изящных Искусств. Это все еще не объясняет происхождение прекрасного звука фортепиано.
На лестнице здания выступают двое молодых людей: мужчина и женщина, оба одетые в одинаковые черные платья. Они ходят медленно и быстро, танцуют и делают разные интересные движения. Фортепианная музыка здается из динамиков, но настолько отчетливо, что звучит почти как живая. Люди смотрят этот спектакль, а я смотрю на людей. Интересная публика – смесь очень молодых и глубоко пожилых людей. Все хорошо одеты и опрятно выглядят. Они очень пристально следят за этими двумя в черном. Медленно перевожу внимание на «сцену».
Я понятия не имел, как называлась пьеса или о чем была игра, поэтому создал свое обьяснение происходящему. Мужчина и женщина будто пытались найти друг друга … Разными способами они то находили, то теряли себя. Было очень интересно смотреть, и мне очень нравилась сопровождающая игра на пианино. Я обратил внимание на ход своих мыслей и обнаружил, что очень занят этим зрелищем. Не похоже на меня. Я полностью потерял чувство времени и я больше не хотел никуда идти. Я чувствовал себя хорошо, поэтому остался.
“Замечательный способ для ментальной разрядки” – подумал я про себя. Последние несколько месяцев я искал инструмент, хобби – какое-то не физическое занятие для разума, чтобы расслабить и дать ему отдых. Я всегда куда-то бегу. Я вечно на повышенной передаче. Для меня нет серой зоны, я либо «On», либо «Off». Я пробовала оригами, медитацию, дыхание и другие вещи. Все они работали, однако они были ничем по сравнению с этой постановой. Я полностью отключился – это оно. Пьеса, которая заставляет задуматься. Более того, потом я понял – мне очень нравится искусство и классическая музыка. Это осознание пришло не только из этого выступления, но и из всего моего предыдущего опыта. Я всегда любил музеи, особенно современное искусство. Я люблю странные, экстравагантные картины и скульптуры. Это заставляет меня задуматься: что это могло означать и что автор этим пытался сказать? Спектакли, классическая музыка. Мне это по душе и очень нравится. Это держит мой разум занятым и дает возможность “отключиться”… Меня тянет к подобным вещам, но я почти никогда не делаю сознательных усилий, чтобы больше в них погрузиться. Я плаваю на поверхности, когда подо мною целый мир. Искусство меня вдохновляет и стимулирует мышление. Это занимает мой разум, так что я могу отдохнуть …
Медленно, шаг за шагом, актер идет в мою сторону. Другие люди уходят, я остаюсь. Я не заметил, как музыка стала действительно насыщенной. Все камеры, которые были направлены на актеров, теперь так же захватывают меня. Я почувствовал, как кровь прилила к моему лицу. Я вспомнил что чувствовал себя так же, как в старшей школе, когда учитель звал меня к доске. Почему? Здесь никому нету дела до тебя. Никто тебя не знает, но я почему-то чувствую себя неуверенно. Я не чувствовал себя так много лет. Парень подходит все ближе и ближе. Мой разум кричит: Опасность! Уходи! Он заставляет меня пошевелиться, но я сопротивляюсь. Я смотрю глазами и наблюдаю за тем что происходит внутри меня. Я не пересяду и останусь, просто чтобы посмотреть, что произойдет. Это был очень напряженный момент. Актер в скорченной позе подошел и замер примерно в метре от меня. Мой обезьяний разум был буквально на грани самоубийства. Музыка, которая мне казалась такой красивой, теперб была громкой и интенсивной. Звук пианино был повторяющимся, и оказался очень медитативным. Итак, я нахожусь в центре Монреаля, сижу на обочине улицы. Некоторый мужчина в самой странной позе в черном платье подходит ко мне почти лицом к лицу. Десфтки глаз и камер на нас. Классическая фортепианная музыка орет из колонок. Водители на дороге, буквально останавливаются посередине… Взрыв.
Это был невероятный, очень-очень напряженный опыт. Весь мир остановился. Я мог сидеть спокойно, пока мой разум кричал: БЕГИ! Я сопротивлялся и наблюдал за своими мыслями. Актер выпрмился, посмотрел на меня и изменил направление. Он и его партнерша затеяли странный танец. Это было красиво. И вдруг я понял… У меня заслезились глаза. Что за….!?
За время этих месколдьких минут максимального напряжения внутри что-то дало трещину. Я понял, что создает огромную часть страданий в моей жизни. Я чувствую! Я чувствую, но притупляю свои чувства всеми возможными способами. Но ни это было моим открытием, а то, что я очень чувствительный человек. Я человек утонченной натуры, но я вогнал себя в рамки Ironman. Я живу против своей истинной природы, и это вызывает внутренний конфликт – сопротивление и бунт.
Я никогда не любил обниматься. Всякий раз, когда мои бывшие подруги делали что-то, что я определяла как «слишком много», я отступал. Была невидимая линия, которую я не позволял пересечь даже самым близким. Почему? Потому что я боялся что меня упрекут во лжи. Как и большинство из нас, я притворялся крутым парнем. Допустив людей слишком близко ко мне, они могли бы понять мою истинную природу – человека чрезвычайно чувствительной натуры, очень ранимого. Я не подпускал никого слишком близко, и продолжал свою игру. Фактически, я заставил себя поверить в то, что я был тем крутым парнем – это было необходимо для выживания. Не уверен когда именно, но я создал того Александра, который вписывался в рамки окружения в котором я был. Родительский развод, перемена школ, друзей, стран… То, что служило мне тогда, теперь ограничивает и причиняет много страданий. Я продолжаю притворяться, кем я НЕ являюсь. Я чувственный и ранимый, но я создал себе жесткий и грубый аватар. Я люблю чистоту, элегантность. Я восхищаюсь красивыми людьми с утонченным чувством вкуса. Я не конфликтный человек, и предпочитаю чешать вопросы рационально и логически.
Это был эмоциональный взрыв. Я чувствовал себя измотанным, как будто только что пробежал двадцать километров. Комок в горле, головная боль в висках. Казалось, что я прожил небольшую жизнь на этой улице. Я встретил себя в Монреале.
Ранее я спрашивал себя: Почему я выьрал такой образ жизни? Каковы истинные причины? Теперь я знаю.
Я живу этой жизнью, чтобы чувствовать и испытывать эмоции. Я так живу для того чтобы плакать, а потом смеяться. Жизнь без боли – жизнь без удовольствия. «Система» делает нас грубыми. Система убивает наши «рецепторы чувств» – способность воспринимать и переживать чувства. Мне нужно чувствовать, чтобы жить полноценно. Чувства и эмоции для меня как воздух.
Athletes from all over the world had races scheduled in the United States. Now, that restriction caused by pandemic lighten up, the races start happening again. Ironman recently made the following announcement:
We appreciate your continued patience and understanding while we have been developing options for you during this very dynamic time. After assessing all event scenarios, we are pleased to share with you the new race date and location for the 2020 IRONMAN Texas triathlon which is now scheduled to take place on October 17, 2020 in Waco, Texas as part of a festival weekend with the 2020 Bicycle World Texas IRONMAN 70.3 Waco triathlon on October 18, 2020.
That’s great news! Pack your bags, we are going to RACE! … wait a sec. You are not from US? Canada? Mexico? Europe? If so, then there might be some problems… If you’re outside of United States of America and want to come to attend a sporting event, consult with US Border officials. COVID-19 changed the way we travel.
I did the work for you and sent a letter to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Information Center. I explained that I’ve got the Ironman Texas coming and I really want to be there. Can I go? Would you let me into the country?
Information for guidance on travelling to the United States from Canada
COVID-19 Related Travel Restrictions across the U.S. Borders with Canada and Mexico
The United States will temporarily limit inbound land border crossings from Canada and Mexico to “essential travel”.
U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents and certain other travellers are exempt from this action.
The following categories DO NOT fall within the definition of “essential travel:”
Individuals travelling for tourism purposes, such as sightseeing, recreation, gambling, or attending cultural events in the United States. (Ironman or any other sporting event included)
Who is considered an “essential” traveler?
Citizens and lawful permanent residents returning to the United States.
Individuals traveling for medical purposes (e.g., to receive medical treatment in the United States).
Individuals traveling to attend educational institutions.
Individuals traveling to work in the United States (e.g., individuals working in the agriculture industry who must travel between the United States and Canada or Mexico in furtherance of such work).
Individuals traveling for emergency response and public health purposes (e.g., government officials or emergency responders entering the United States to support federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial government efforts to respond to COVID-19 or other emergencies).
Individuals engaged in lawful cross-border trade (e.g., truck drivers supporting the movement of cargo between the United States and Canada and Mexico).
Individuals engaged in official government travel or diplomatic travel.
Individuals engaged in military-related travel or operations.
This action does not apply to air, rail, or sea travel at this time, but does apply to commuter rail and ferry travel.
I am gonna have to miss the Ironman Texas… you probably too. Sorry bud.
You want to save money. One of the ways to do so is to cut the expenses. If you live in a city and you are in your twenties I am 90% certain that you rent. This is your major expense. In Toronto, where I am from, the cost to rent is RIDICULOUSLY high. One bedroom apartment prices start at $2,200 /month. One bedroom… Start…
Whatever your goals are, you are determined to save some cash. You are willing to tighten belt for some time, so later you can live better. Do you save for the downpayment for your mortgage? If so – great! I encourage you to do so, so when you buy your own house – you pay your own mortgage, not someone else’s.
I used to rent the house not too far from the city. Great place: three stories, including basement; big fenced backyard; garage in a quiet safe family neighbourhood. Everything was great, besides one thing – the price. Lived there for a year and quickly got sick from paying off someone else’s mortgage. I decided enough and did not extend the lease for another year. I was going to scale down by finding something smaller and cheaper so I can safe more money faster. I moved into my buddy’s basement apartment. The price I agreed to pay was half the price I payed for the entire house. Never lived in basement before, I had no second thoughts about possible issues that could arise. “Anyways, I am here only temporary” – I told myself and moved in. The plan was to spend the winter there and move out as soon as the snow melt down. Not a long time, what can go wrong? I ended up occupying the shithole from November till May, 2020. Basement life for 6 months though me a few things that I MUST reflect on if I don’t want to fall back into the same trap again.
Lesson #1: There is nothing more permanent than temporary.
Life happens and things that we plan almost never go according to the plan. COVID-19 happened and crushed almost all of my plans…
Lesson #2: Don’t sign the long-term lease unless you absolutely have to.
If you decide to scale down and sacrifice your comfort for some period of time in exchange of money, do not tie yourself down to the shithole. You need to be able to pick up and leave at any time. Things will get ugly, you will get sick of it. When you reach the breaking point, there is nothing worse than feeling locked without a chance to change anything. No long-term leases, save your freedom.
Lesson #3: You sacrifice your health.
You NEED the sunlight. You NEED the fresh air. You NEED warm place to live.
Those two are no-negotiable for your physical and mental well being. Few months into the cave, I’ve experienced what’s the basement life like and how it impacts my body.
Resting Heart Rate. My normal RHR is 39-42 bpm during sleep. Living in the basement it became a norm to see RHR of 45 and up. Your body does not rest. Your body does not recover. Interesting fact: every time I slept elsewhere, I instantly saw the drop in resting heart rate.
No Sunlight. There is no sunlight coming into the cave. It’s hard to tell in the morning if its day or night. I bought a few daylight lamps, which will turn on automatically each morning to awaken me. The last nail into the coffin was when the house owner put his backyard grill right against my tiny window, completely cutting any sunlight access. I didn’t tell him anything about that though, but probably should’ve as it bothered me. Living in a cave might work for a few weeks, not more. You NEED the sunlight, otherwise, vitamin D deficiency will start playing tricks on your mind and body. It did on me.
Fresh air. Where do you think the water heater is located in the house? Central heating unit? Breaker box? I can tell you from my own experience – right beside your head. What do those gas heating appliances feed on, except electricity and gas? The air. Where is the air intake located? Exactly! In the basement. Living in the basement you get oxygen-deprived. What are the health implications of such living in such conditions? Also, not to mention that those appliances are noisy. The heater doesn’t have a schedule that it runs on. Day and night you will hear the machinery working. It is loud! Keep that in mind when you sing the basement lease.
FREEZING cold. I spent the winter in the basement and I know exactly what it’s like. It was so cold that even my dog would sleep with his feel bent under him to stay warm. Sleeping in warm socks, pants and T-shirt became the norm. I would also put two blankets over to stay warm. Every morning was a struggle because you had to get out into the cold. My change of clothes had to be as fast as possible, otherwise, I would get the goosebumps from saying naked for more than 15 seconds. I don’t do well in cold, no-one does. Owner of the house was nice enough to get me the oil heater. It did absolutely no difference.
Basement Life is one of the major causes of Suicides and Depression.
*on my personal opinion =)
Lesson #4: Child’s cry will make you INSANE.
I love kids, don’t get me wrong however, I underestimated the power of a child’s cry. Little babies can’t talk, so anytime there is something wrong – they cry. I don’t know what’s a normal rate of them cry, but it seemed like the baby upstairs was crying no-stop. In the middle of the night, at 5 am, during the day. There is no schedule. Maybe they all cry so much or could be that parents are doing something wrong – not my business. Obviously, I have nothing against the child or parents, but if you try to put in few hours of concentrated work – it’s not going to happen. Earplugs don’t help. Noise-canceling headphones don’t help. Keep that in mind if you are looking to move into the place with small kids or babies.
Leeson #5: It’s not worth the savings.
I’ve been thinking about getting out of the shithole for a while. I was not happy there and even my friends noticed the change in me. Quietly, all this negativity and coldness creep up on you and suck you in. ENOUGH! 6 months were enough for me to say enough and run away as fast as I could. I am not a picky man and live a pretty minimalistic lifestyle, however I cracked only after 6 months… A lot of people live like that for years! I genuinely feel for them. How long will you last?
Only after it moved out I realized how deep that hole had sucked me in. Leaving the shithole in my U-Haul I could not stop smiling. I felt such a relief! I am freeee! Now I live in a house, with big bright windows, backyard and lots of fresh air. Only three days as I’m here and I can’t stop enjoying it. I love it! I feel the energy comes back. The first night I slept above the ground, instantly my resting heart rate dropped to normal 39 bpm. I want to create, I am inspired to live. I smile to others and receive the smiles back. Huh, it feels like an escape from the prison of some kind… I am also grateful for a chance to chose the place to live. I realize that for many reasons, a lot of people don’t have the opportunity to get up and go so easily. That really sucks! I am sorry for those folks. However if you do have the opportunity to live in place that you like – don’t chose to save by compromising your living conditions.
It will cost you much more in terms of mental and physical health.
Nevertheless it was an experience and I learned from it. I think I did… I am grateful for that period of my life because now I appreciate my new place a 100 times more. Now I know exactly where I don’t want to spend my life and what I need to remain happy and healthy.
I woke up this morning feeling absolutely horrible. Fewer, ear infection, sore throat and beautiful racoon circles under the eyes. To make me feel better – tree hours bike ride on the schedule for today. I never skip workouts.
Mental masturbation lasted the entire morning. On the bike ride and even after I got back home, I couldn’t decide. Few days ago I found this cool place called Tulum and made a plan to go explore it. The place is located about 75 km from the ferry dock, so you needed some tipe of transportation to get there. I booked a rental car on the mainland and set my plans to get there after my training this morning. I would arrive to the mainland by ferry ($20), pick up the rental ($30 /day) and head towards Tulum. I would spend a day and night there and come back the next day. Drop off the car and return to the island for the Christmas Day/Evening celebration. I was not feeling well, but that wasn’t the problem. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go or not. Why? Where are you running? Why won’t you just slow down and take a breath? You can’t see everything in one day or week. Two different voices talked to me. One said – go, another said – don’t, you need a rest. It was interesting to observe two completely different perspectives within one mind. “Go explore. See new places. Meet new people. You are here only for so long. Don’t sit on your butt, pick up and go!”. The other side of Sasha said: “You’ve got a fever, sore throat, ear infection. You are weak and exhausted. Even if you go, you will not enjoy the trip. You need to rest. You need to train. Where are you always running? What are you running from? You will just waste the money. You already spent much more on this trip than originally planned”. Each side had legitimate points, which drove me crazy. I realized I was wasting so much of my energy on this mental masturbation, trying to decide. Travel is so selfish. You are hunting for new experiences to feed your forever hungry brain. More pictures! More action! The more places you visit, the more new ones open up. More, more, more… Me, me, me… Something’s not right. You can only take so much, until it stops satisfying you. Maybe instead of getting, you need to start giving…
All of a sudden I got an idea.
I’ve spent two hours going from one store to another in search for Santa Claus costume, however I couldn’t find it anywhere. I was asking anyone I could, where can I possibly find it, but people had no idea. I got a few suggestions of where to look at, so I went all around the island. Still can’t find the freaking costume. Not even a heat or beard of some sort. Only until I completely lost hope and gave up, the costume found me. On my way home, while riding along the street I spotted something red with peripheral vision. Looked over and I saw – A FREAKING CLAUS costume through the storefront!!! A maneken was wearing the costume. Jumped right in and said I NEED THAT! Got it.
I was so excited that I had the costume. I also felt so much pride in me – found a Santa costume on a Mexican Island, in the middle of nowhere.
Now I needed the presents. Went to the grocery store and bought almost all the candies they had. Did not look at the price and picked some good ones. I envisioned how great would it be to see the kids smile, run up to me and get a nice candy. I am on a mission here: BRING THE CHRISTMAS IN TOWN. Make as many people smile as possible! YAS, I felt the fire start inside of me.
As the sun went down, Santa Claus jumped on his Honda-deer and headed to the main square, where the christmas tree is. Pedestrians on the streets, drivers on the road – everyone were shouting and waving at Santa. He waved in return and replied “Feliz Navidad!” (Merry Christmas in Spanish). Main square seemed empty at first, however the “Christmas Agent” took this time to practice his combat skills.
Few kids popped up on horizon. Let’s get to work! We’ve got a lot of candies to give.
I was amazed how kids would come up to me – a complete stranger and HUG! Without a second thought they would run up to me with their hands stretched out and give me a genuine hug. I am not a hugger myself, and at first I was a little bit shocked. This little human beings totally flipped me out of balance. I forgot all the Spanish phrases I planned to say. I even forgot how to say Merry Christmas on Spanish.
I’ve met so many kids. Mexican, Canadian, American… some older, some younger. Some kids were more shy than others, however they all had one thing in common – the look in their eyes. I felt a tremendous amount of responsibility landed on my Santa shoulders. I could not break their faith in me – in Santa! My plan was working out – I WAS MAKING OTHERS HAPPY. Holly shit how great it felt. I became a hugger.
Some people would ask: “Why do you do it?” “Just to make people smile – to have fun. Isn’t it what life is about?”, I replied. “Did you buy all this: costume and candies just to give it away?”, some looked concerned. “Yes! Here, take a candy.”, I would say. “You are crazy…”
My new Mexican friend Breto – who accompanied me, kept on saying I was crazy. “Why crazy?” I asked. “In a foreign country, without even speaking the language, in front of so many people. I could not do that. You are a crazy Gringo”. He is right, I don’t even speak the language… but does it matter? Kids don’t need me speak the language. I just say Feliz Navidad!, give a candy and hug – everyone’s happy. You don’t need to do much and try to impress the little ones. They already think you are the coolest human being in the entire Universe.
Christmas in Mexico is a big deal and people party all night long. They go to church around 8 pm, then come home for a family dinner and go party from midnight till sunrise. Similar to out New Year’s celebrations. All night partying was not in my plans and I went to bed pretty early. Loud music was blasting through the night. It was a bit hard to fall asleep at first, but once I did, you can not wake me up even if you shoot from the gun next to my ear.
Today Santa operates at the beach. We went to the beach called Punta Morena. As expected, Santa on the beach attracted a lot of attention, not only from kids, but from adults. Even the owner of the beach club came up to say hi and thank me for engaging the public. She thought it was a great idea and asked to take a photo with her. Not only the business owner, but a lot of other people wanted to take a selfie with Santo Clós. It was a lot of fun, however hot! Santa stripped down into his red speedos and dove into the ocean.
Друзья, после падения с велосипеда на IRONMAN 70.3 Lake Placid, New York я получал вопросы по поводу процесса госпитализации, стоимости и реабилитации. Ниже я ответил на интересующие вопросы. Почитайте, сравните, задайте вопрос.
После падения приехала скорая, тебя сразу в больницу забрали и там выполнили рентген и поставили диагноз? С момента падения, прихода в себя и прибытия кареты скорой помощи пошло порядка 30-40 минут. Машина подбехала тихо, без лишнего шума и серен. Во время ожидания со мной пребывал сотрудник полиции, который позже помог поднять меня на носилки. Дорога до больницы заняла порядка 40-45 минут. Проокатили с ветерком, сиренами и всем сопутствующим. Компанию мне создавала молодая сотрудница скорой помощи.
Через сколько дней после травмы была госпитализация и операция? Через 9 дней после получения травмы у меня был назначен appointment с хирургом. В тот же вечер мне перезвонили с госпиталя и сообщили что операция назначена на следующее утро в 6 часов. И того 10 дней после получения травмы.
Операция была же под общей анестезией? (Ты спал с трубкой во рту) через сколько времени после операции разрешили пить, есть, вставать? Операция проводилась под общей анестезией, перед которой мне также сделали “anesthetic nerve block“. Анестезиолог сообщил что nerve block не обязателен, но они сильно его рекомендуют. Объяснил как будет проходить процедура и сообщил все возможные побочные эффекты и осложнения. Подкатили ультразвук, подключили меня к приборам и больно укололи в шею.
Сколько времени/дней ты находился в больнице после операции? Выписали в тот-же день. Более того, спустя 4-5 часов после начала операции.
Какие препараты тебе давали/прописали? Прописали только один болеутоляющий препарат – Oxycontin. Считается одним из самых опасных и вызывающим быстрое привыкание.
Косынку после операции сразу разрешили не носить или когда снять? Косынку сказали носить до следующей встречи с врачом (2 недели).
Через сколько дней после операции рентген? Рентген и осмотр доктора – 2 недели после операции.
Какие движения в плечевом суставе разрешены или запрещены? Единственными запретами были не нагружать руку/плечо и не поднимать руку вверх. Таких прям конкретных запретов не давалось и общение строилось в плане рекомендаций.
Какую программу реабилитации дали? И когда можно вернуться к нагрузкам? Пока еще не прописали программу реабилитации. Сказали походить 4 недели, ии назначили рентген по истечении. Если рентген покажет что все в норме, только тогда можно будет начать реабилитацию. Когда можно будет вернутся к нагрузкам не сказали, так как это будет зависеть от физиотерапевта.
За чей счет все происходило? Бесплатно, как экстренная помощь при травме; полностью по страховке (если по страховке, то сколько стоит страховка, если не секрет). Медицина В Канаде бесплатная, хотя есть свои нюансы, такие как например она не покрывает услуги стоматолога. Операция и всё с ней связанное, на територии Каданы, было за счет государства, то есть бесплатно для меня. С другой стороны, госпитализация в США стоит денег. Ниже копия счёта пришедшего по почте. В сумму включены только услуги скорой помощи:
Обрати внимание, отдельно идет расчет по километражу, прям как в такси. Инвойс из больницы я еще не получил, и с нетерпением жду приговор. Страховка: Мой работодатель предоставляет медицинскую страховку, которой предусмотрена госпитализация за пределами Канады. Ещё не подтверждено, но есть надежда что она покроет 100% расходов связанных с моими приключениями в США.
По поводу стоимости моей страховки не могу сказать, но знаю что в среднем, семья в Канаде тратит порядка $2000 на страховку для всех членов (он, она и ребёнок), плюс $4000 на всевозможные “premiums” то бишь выплаты из собственного кармана. В основном в Канаде, так же и в Америке, страховка предоставляется работодателем.
Так выглядит установленная пластина под кожей.
В Канаде не практикуется удаление пластины по истечению определенного времени, так что пластина остается в человеке навсегда. Металл вынимают только в случае возникновения осложнений.
Шрам после операции. “Небольшое” напоминание.
Как вы уже заметили, медицинские услуги за границей не дешевое удовольствие, особенно в США и Канаде. Я очень рекомендую потратить пару $ на приобретение страховки особенно если вы планируете участвовать в каких-нибудь спортивных мероприятиях.
В целом я удовлетворен качеством полученных услуг и отношением к себе, как к пациенту. Медсестры в Нью Йорке накормили фруктами и и напоили кофе. В Канаде ко мне так же отнеслись с уважением и терпеливо ответили на все мои вопросы. Если бы я был в силе изменить что-то, то это время ожидания операции с момента получения травмы. Но с учётом того что я сломался не на родной земле и мне пришлось ехать 500 км обратно в Торонто, даже 10 дней я считаю не так уже и плохо.
Ironman 70.3 Lake Placid, New York
is the only race that separates me from my “A” Race – Ironman Panama City,
My goal for Lake Placid was to beat
my 70.3 PR of 5:19:24 I set two months ago in Muskoka. In fact, I was more than
confident that I can break the 5 hour mark with my brand new bike I bought just
two weeks ago. Argon 18 E117 TRI+ with crazy expensive carbon wheels from
“Blade”, rear – disk, front – three spokes.
I am ready!
7:00 am – Start-gun shot broke the silence.
It was raining the entire night. Morning was cold and dark. Clouds on the sky gave no chance for the sun to break through.
Despite the fact that I zig-zagged a bit, I swam 2,125 meters in 35 minutes, averaging a 1:41 min/100. Exiting the water and seeing the numbers on my watch I was excited, felt strong and determined to give it all on the bike.
It was cold, rainy and REALLY windy, definitely not the weather for shorts and sleeveless top I was wearing. And it was not the race to have the disc race wheels on… The farther I went, the more hypothermic I got. My vision started getting blurry and no matter how hard I pushed on the pedals, my HR would not go above 120 bpm. I am cold, really cold.
You’ve got to warm up buddy, it’s not safe anymore. Spin your legs faster. Increase and keep the cadence high. Put more sugar in your body. Have a gel or better two, have more water. – Sasha thought to himself.
Bike course was really hilly with a
lot of fast descends on the wet pavement. First aid station. Gatorade G2 – love
it! Put a lot of fluids and fuel in my body, feeling better, however still
cold. EXACTLY at the midpoint – 45 km into the race , I was going down a big
hill and I was going FAST. Shifted to the highest gear I had and kept pedaling as
hard as I could. The sound carbon wheels make, rubbing on off the road is
hypnotizing. Laser focus, looking straight ahead, lean into the bike.
Cross wind hit from the right.
Holly shit that’s strong. Stay focused!
Cross wind hit the second time. Two-three wiggles… Feeling a hard hit on my head… Sky, ground, sky, ground… Dark and silent.
I reached the top speed of 47.3 mph (76 km/h). Side wind blew and my bike started wiggling. All I remember after that is waking up on the road and seeing a blue sky. I remember excruciating pain and not being able to stand up…
He’s awake! Somebody call 911! Don’t move! Don’t move! Call 911! I heard people yell
What do you mean don’t move? I attempted to get up Hell no…
pain won’t let me even lift my head
up. It’s cold. My body starts shaking… Laying down on my back. Blue sky – what
a blue sky. Finally the rain stopped…
30-40 minutes the ambulance arrived. Paramedics and police officer(s) loaded my
on the stretcher and slide into the truck. 45 minutes after I found myself
surrounded by 4-5 people in Emergency Room of the hospital in Plattsburgh, NY.
Right clavicle comminuted fracture that is broken into three fragments Broken 5th and 7th ribs 3.8 mm & 2.8 mm nodular areas in the right lung
Feeling sorry for myself
Feeling unworthy, not good enough
I failed. I failed miserably. Not only I wrecked a brand new bike, didn’t finish the race, wasted all the money and time, but also broke myself to the possible no-return point. I am a looser… All my plans, all my dreams of becoming a world-class triathlete will never come through. I won’t be able to swim as I used to with this shoulder. I am going right back to where I came from… I cried, yes I cried so hard. Not from the physical pain, I could endure that, but from the mental pain that was burning me alive from the inside.
You are DONE! It’s OVER!
….hey. Are you done crying yet? Let
it all out, don’t leave anything inside. Whenever you finished this mental
masturbation and ready to move on, let me know, I’ll be around.
I am ready
Okay, the first think I need you to
do is STOP and take a deep breath. STOP, there are no things to do, there are
no places to be, STOP.
Now listen, as long as we have each-other we will be okay. We ALWAYS find a
way, always. Remember what you went thought, the challenges we been through,
the hardships we overcame. We not only found a way out of each situation, but
we came out stronger, smarter, wiser. The history shows – you flourish in times
of crisis. Like a cockroach, you survive even after atomic war. Did you touch
the ground? Do you feel foundation under your feet? Great, this is the bottom
we will be pushing against to the way back up.
What is this? You can legitimately perceive it as a punishment, a fee to pay.
You can also start blaming others, the weather, the bike, the disc wheels etc.
Let’s not waste time on that. We both know that’s stupid, just a waste of time.
I suggest looking at this an OPPORTUNITY. The opportunity to start over, to try
the things you could not have done before, to learn, to practice the skills
that you already have. This is a challenge, a hell of a challenge. But, you are
always looking for a challenge, don’t you? Here is one for you. Isn’t it, not
hard enough? Embrace it.
But, it’s such a loss of time. I could’ve done so much, move so much further. Time lost in recovery is the worst. How can I take the most of this time?
Great question! Let’s brainstorm. First of all it is not a loss of time if you don’t let it be so. You’ve got your brain and that is the most important part. Also you get about 20 hours a week more, otherwise spent in training. Not including the commute times to & from trainings.
What are the things you could not have done living
the lifestyle you had before?
Try different diets. You wanted to try, and now you can go vegan. Try a plant based
diet without worrying about performance decrease and protein consumption.
See how you feel.
You have more time to research &
write. You can move further with your book.
Also add few chapters on eating for recovery and adjusting energy intakes for
people who are limited in their physical activities.
lifestyle change? You are passionate about travel and was thinking about an RV, a camper-van? Why not now? There is
no training to do, no stationary bike to ride…
Be a student. What a great opportunity to learn! Learn about your body, about healing process and physical rehabilitation. Experiment with new foods and find the ones that work for you better. Look around, and learn more about the people in your life. Who helped, who did not, who turned their backs on you or simply ignored? Without judgments or grudges, take notes.
Brain is a powerful thing and mental attitude is one
of the main factors that contribute to recovery. You know it, so don’t let
yourself self-limiting beliefs and negative thoughts.
Aquila is Canadian brand, based in Oakville and Toronto at the bike shop called Racer Sportif. They offer carbon road, triathlon and track bikes. This carbon triathlon bike came with combination of Ultegra Di2 and Shimano 105 components. Aerobars, as well the handlebars underneath had electronic gear shifting, which moved the chain exactly where it needed to be through a programmed front and rear derailleur position. Standart road wheels.
The best way to test such bike is definitely on the road. Right after the rain I went on a 111 km ride, following the same route I took previously on my old bike. I started at Angus Glen Community Center and headed up north, to the Lake Simcoe.
Pre meal: Banana x2 Dried dates 5-6 pieces
During: 600 Calories: 82C/28F/11P
I forgot to bring my water bottle cages, but found a spartan solution: I used the piece of rope I’ve found in my truck to tie one bottle of water to the frame. Going into the ride already under fueled I didn’t feel particularly strong at any point. I felt thirsty and hungry throughout the ride and every time I wanted to get a sip of water I would have to come to a complete stop to untie my water bottle. After the half mark (55 km), on a way back I got really hungry, but had nothing left, neither fuel or water. My performance was compromised right from the beginning and I didn’t ride hard.
TT Bike: Avg speed 29.4 km/hr
Old Bike: Avg speed 27.3 km/hr
2 km/hr faster
I pushed harder during the first haft, just to see what my time would be at the 45 km mark. I looked at the timer and was pleased to see the number of 1 hr 13 min. This meant that if I was to race Ironman 70.3 with it’s 90 km bike ride, I could theoretically finish the bike course in about 2 hr 26 minutes. This simple calculation made me excited for two reasons:
It was 37 minutes faster from my bike time at Ironman 70.3 Hawaii: 2 hr 50 min
It was only 12 minutes slower from the age group winner and 4 minutes away from the 3rd place.
However, in comparison with the most recent Olympic TRI I did two weeks ago (BRACEBRIDGE OLYMPIC TRI | Muskoka) less than 2 km/hr improvement didn’t seem worth all the hipe and money. Especially considering that I felt like shit during that race and barely did spin the pedals.
Considering that I wasn’t pushing as hard as I would at the race, underfueling and poor hydration on my test ride today, I got excited to wonder what would my time splits look like if all those things would properly align and I came prepared. Not to mention, I was riding on the regular “training” wheels. Aquila bike shop representative promised that putting on the racing wheels will make me about 5 km/h avg faster.
I also didn’t sit comfortably on the seat and my butt will stay sore for a while. I had to move move forward and sit literally on the tip of the seat. Proper bike fit is another variable that can definitely improve my performance.
From design perspective, I am not a big fan of the way bike looks. But again, do I want to be pretty or I want to be fast? Fast!
… Blake doesn’t seem to approve…
The only trouble I had with the bike today was caused by my carelessness, when I put few scratches on the bike. The photo below costed me two nasty scratches on the frame. The wind blew and the bike felt to the side.
Those are pretty big scratches and I was blaming myself all the way back to where I began the ride. I was feeling really bad for being so …. careless I guess is the right word and worried about the charges I’ll have to pay to the owner when I return it back. I didn’t know what is the best way to handle this situation. I put myself in the owner’s shoes and asked, how would I feel in his place? What would I do? Instead of trying to come up with solutions I’ve decided that I will act the way I would like to be acted on, if I were him. I brought the bike back in and I didn’t wait until the owner discovered the damage on his own. I went ahead and showed all the scratches… I explained how it happened and said that I appreciate the opportunity to test ride the bike and will cover all the repair costs in full. It was a lot of money for me. I lost the money, BUT I saved my face and acted as a gentleman. More importantly I saved relationship with Dennis – the owner.
Repair Costs: $450
Overall I am grateful for the opportunity to test pure TT bike and get a sense of it. I’ve also enjoyed this long ride and got the experience of riding in different (aero) position.