When Life Throws You Lemons

The astute reader might have noticed that I tend to update on Mondays and Thursdays. I don’t advertise this fact because traveling changes it, and even when stationary as I am now, I bet something would come up that prevented me from doing so if I ever were to advertise those as my update days.

The reason why I bring this up right now is because it means I’m always updating on Thanksgiving, since it falls on a Thursday. So I decided to peek back at what I had written about last year.

Sometimes“, ah yes. I can look back on this post and smile now. At the time I was having a rough couple of days.

I never talk much about the Old Job, for a few different reasons. Those who have been following along since the beginning know that I’m a certified veterinary technician, like a nurse for animals (and yes, while not still working as a vet tech I will be paying the rather hefty fee to renew the license come this December – it’s called a backup plan and it’s always good to have one).

I’ve briefly explained before why I’m not still working as one – I love animals, but I didn’t love being a vet tech. It’s what I went to college for and what I did for a living up until this past January though. To be honest I was never too keen on going to college to be a vet tech, but everyone expected me to go to college for something, so loving animals it seemed like the best degree option at the time.

Here’s a life lesson for you: if if don’t know what you want to go to college for, it’s probably best to not go. Why accumulate all of that debt if you don’t need too? There’s no rule saying you have to, and having a college degree no longer guarantees a good paying job like it did in the past. Do some serious thinking first. If you come to the conclusion that what you want to do requires a degree, then by all means go for it. Just don’t go because you feel like you should. I’m extremely fortunate, my parents paid for my tuition so I don’t need to factor student loans into my financial planning now that I’m on the road, but I still feel guilty that my parents spent that money for something I’m not making active use of.

But now I’m getting sidetracked, back where I was at last Thanksgiving.

I don’t talk much about the Old Job because I didn’t work at a pet clinic, or with farm animals. I worked in research.

Research plus vet tech. You get the idea. Animal research is kind of a touchy subject with some folks. It gets even more touchy when I say that I didn’t work with rats, mice, or guinea pigs, I worked with primates. Add the non-disclosure agreement on top of that, and well, there really isn’t much more I can talk about. I would appreciate it if we could keep arguments about the subject out of the comments. If you really feel the need to discuss the ethics of animal research with me, you know where to find my e-mail, although I’ll tell you now that all flaming rants will be promptly deleted.

Anyway, it was a demanding job, and rather stressful at times. Especially during the winters, and near the end of November the weather down in South Carolina finally starts to cool down. I’d come home from work exhausted physically and mentally, and then I’d have to try to dredge up the motivation to work on the RVing equation. Some days the hope of something better for the future was enough to keep me plugging away at it. Sometimes it seemed impossibly far away.

Luckily even on the days like last Thanksgiving which more resembled the later, I had friends to give me pep talks, and an online arsenal of RVing blogs and forums to give me hope about what was waiting on the other side. Progress might have been slow, but it was still progress.

And now I have even more to be thankful for this Thanksgiving, because at the time I thought it was going to be a year or two. In December when things got really bad at work and I knew I needed to switch jobs I feared it might be even longer than that. And yet I still managed it in less.

I guess the lesson is this: Sometimes, life throws you lemons. You can make lemonade, chuck them right back at life, or sell them on Ebay for a few bucks. The method you choose for making the most of the situation doesn’t matter, just pick one and keep going. As long as you don’t stop trying, you’ll get there.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving everyone. (And enjoy this picture of the pumpkin pie that Amazon gave me, it was delicious.)

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At IO I teach people how to ditch the status quo and travel full-time before retirement, and share stories of my adventures (and misadventures) to inspire future nomads and armchair travelers alike. Included at no additional charge: seizing your dreams, living boldly, and making a difference.


  1. Kristine on November 28, 2012 at 4:19 pm

    How funny….I was also a veterinary technician but not working in the field anymore.I went to college also for it in Massachusetts…. Should have gone on to be a vet, they make good $$$ to but I dont like school that much and would have saved everyones beloved pets for free so I am in sales. I did sell veterinary products but not anymore.

    I love where you were last Thanksgiving and now this year on the road. Thats me now and in one year should be at least buying or moving into the RV. It keeps me going, I do suck up the bad days and the a-hole boss and say “i need this job to support the RV plan” and on I go with a smile!!! Sales are up right now so looking good!!

    Must have been hard in research, I dont think I could have done it. You really should consider a cat, I think you said you aight or had thought about it. I can;t wait to get the dogs on the road, not sure how well they will like it but I know we will manage even my crazy Boston terrrier…I will have doggie valium handy-LOL

    Happy holidays to you as well.

    Talk soon, Kristine

    • Becky on November 28, 2012 at 4:52 pm

      Hello Kristine,

      I have a friend who’s a vet and wish they hadn’t done it. Yes they make more money, but they have a ton more debt in student loans. This lady is 45 years old and has been working as a vet for years and still hasn’t paid off her school loans. She wishes she would have gone for wildlife management instead – less money per hour but she figured with less loans it probably would have worked out about the same. Never pick a career because of the pay, pick it because it’s something you love to do.

      Yeah I’m thinking about getting a cat, but I need to make sure I have the funds to take good care of it first. Good luck with your Boston Terrier!

  2. Patrick McCarrell on November 27, 2012 at 7:27 pm


    Is there anyway you can hang a shingle on Cas as a vet tech? Most RVers seem to have animals and, for us boondockers, having a tech nearby could be useful.


    • Becky on November 28, 2012 at 4:48 pm

      I could get in serious trouble for doing such a thing. Because it’s a medical field, it’s pretty strictly regulated. Vet techs need to be working under a vet to do most things, if I happen to mess up caring for an animal for instance the owner could report me to the AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association) and I could lose my license.

      Even things like giving routine vaccinations requires a vet’s approval. Physically yes I know how to give the shots, but legally it doesn’t count. So if I were to give a dog a rabies vaccination and that dog were to bite someone, it’s proof of vaccination would be required and it’d be treated like it didn’t get the rabies vac because I wasn’t working under a vet at the time. Sort of make sense?

      Caring for animals and dog walking at that sort of thing, sure. And there I have the advantage of if the pet has special needs I’ll probably know how to administer any medications it might be on, etc.

  3. Gary on November 27, 2012 at 1:21 am

    Becky, Brilliant insight !! I got my associate degree in Civil Engineering right out of high school. I too felt pressured to go to college. I really didn’t want to be an engineering tech and always hated math. Why I chose that field, I’ll never know. Worked as a surveyor for awhile…but never ever used that degree again. Society does put pressure on us to follow a certain pattern, but you’re spot-on, it’s not always in our best interest to follow.

    • Becky on November 27, 2012 at 4:07 pm

      And the saddest thing is young people usually don’t have anyone to tell them that, that they don’t necessarily have to go.

      At least I liked animals so my decision made a little more sense. 😛

  4. Marcia on November 24, 2012 at 6:32 pm

    Becky, I like your attitude toward life! Hope you get offered a great location and assignment wit the Forest Service.

    • Becky on November 24, 2012 at 7:21 pm

      Thanks Marcia!

  5. Roxanne on November 24, 2012 at 11:49 am

    I worked in research with beagles, in the most frivolous project I can possible conjure (if I had to invent a ridiculous program, I couldn’t do better). Some days I thought I couldn’t go back to work, but I was too stuck and afraid to leave. The universe took pity and laid me off. After that (maybe to atone) I went vegan and turned down interviews for all sorts of animal research. Got the best job ever in wheat, with the best possible people.

    But, enough about me. How do YOU like me?

    Yeah, so I tend to think life carefully packages nutritious citrus gifts that we can eat in any way we choose.

    • Becky on November 24, 2012 at 7:20 pm

      It would have been nicer for my emotional well-being if the universe had decided to lay me off, but then I wouldn’t have had the money for Bertha and Cas, so in the end I guess it worked out for the best…huh, maybe the universe knew what it was doing after all. 😉

      I don’t think I could do the vegetarian or vegan thing though, not that I have any issue with those who do. I just have a phobia of most vegetables and like chicken too much.

      Fruit though, fruit I can do. Julie use to make the best smoothies: 2 bananas, then whatever frozen fruit we’d bought for the week. If it was more sour fruit, honey was added. No yogurt or ice cream or milk or anything like that. Actually she still makes these awesome smoothies, I’m just no longer there to enjoy them. Somehow I think having her ship one to me in the mail wouldn’t go so well.

  6. Lynn on November 22, 2012 at 7:26 pm

    But you never know when and where your education will pay off. It always amazes me how life can change your perspective. As I look back at the twists and turns in my life, the events that were most challenging always helped move me forward towards a more positive and rewarding environment.

    Enjoy your pie, looks yummy!
    Lynn recently posted..A Slow Boat To BaliMy Profile

    • Becky on November 23, 2012 at 3:06 pm

      I’ll be enjoying that pie for days Lynn, there’s too much of it for just one person, haha.

      And you are correct and I thought of this ahead of time, which is why I’m still paying to renew the license even though I’m not using it.

      I’ve often said that the things in life most worth having require the most effort. Part of the reward for completing the difficult is the self confidence to strive for greater things.

  7. Marcia on November 22, 2012 at 6:39 pm

    Agreed, Becky. Too many people go to college just because they think they’re supposed to, or are pressured to go. I have a *useless* master’s degree in counseling that over the years I’ve been able to apply in nontraditional ways, so it’s worked out fine for me. Thinking outside the box does help! It’s sad to talk to young folks today who’ve gone to college and can’t get a job; some of them have told me they wish they’d taken a trade course or gotten certified as an x-ray tech instead. At least they’d have some pay, self-respect and a lot less debt.

    • Becky on November 23, 2012 at 3:02 pm

      Marcia, yes it is unfortunate. I have several friends with degrees who are out of work right now. I’m lucky in a way to have chosen something like vet tech, because there are jobs out there if it ever gets to the point that I need to take one for money reasons.

      And it does help to think outside the box. I’m scouting around for my next gig now and I was surprised to find that the U.S. Forest Service hires folks for seasonal positions that tend to run from April to September. Well I guess that’s not too surprising considering that’s the best time of year to get outside work done, but some of these jobs are working with range cattle or in a laboratory setting. I’m qualified for that kind of stuff and I never would have thought to look at the Forest Service for animal related jobs. 😛 They aren’t actual research jobs but would give me the opportunity to use my degree and still travel in the RV. The positions are in different locations too, if it went well I could choose a different location next summer for a change of scenery.

      I’m only just applying now and maybe nothing will come of it, but it goes to show that when you’re looking for work on the road, cast your net far and wide. You might be surprised at what you dredge up.

  8. Becky on November 22, 2012 at 4:52 pm

    Kim – I saw that you posted a comment here but it got stuck in the Spam folder. By the time I noticed it it was too late and I had already hit empty. But I still saw it, Happy Thanksgiving to you too!

  9. Tina on November 22, 2012 at 2:46 pm

    Happy Thanksgiving Becky! You have come a long way in the past year.


    • Becky on November 22, 2012 at 4:51 pm

      You have a good one as well Tina. 🙂

  10. Fireman Steve on November 22, 2012 at 2:09 pm

    Happy Thanksgiving to you Becky. Have a great day and be safe. We all have a lot to be thankful for……..
    Take care.

    • Becky on November 22, 2012 at 4:50 pm

      We certainly do! Have a good weekend Steve.

  11. george on November 22, 2012 at 8:43 am

    Well said and certainly a good philosophy. Have a great weekend.

    • Becky on November 22, 2012 at 4:50 pm

      You too George. It’s nice to take a little time now and then to look back on where you’ve been and reflect.

  12. Todd on November 22, 2012 at 8:41 am

    Thank you for your insights. Wifes nephew lasted through one day of college this fall. My initial thoughts were, “what a loser”. I look at it differently now, thanks to you. Happy Thanksgiving, stay warm.

    • Becky on November 22, 2012 at 4:47 pm


      Society places so much pressure on young folks to go to college, but it’s really not in everyone’s best interest to go. I’m glad that you’re able to look at it differently now.

      Happy Thanksgiving to you too, and I’ll have no trouble staying warm today at least! High of 72 here.

  13. MARVIN on November 22, 2012 at 7:52 am


    BECKY ,

    No critical remarks or comments from me , just wishes for a great upcoming year ! Your energy and efforts have given you an opportunity
    that most can only dream about .

    I would add a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream to the slice of pie !

    Be Safe


    • Becky on November 22, 2012 at 4:43 pm

      Heya Marvin,

      Happy Thanksgiving to you too, and yeah some vanilla ice cream sounds pretty good about now. 🙂

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