hello, the day Julia Hubbel

Why I am glad I'm in Tanzania right now. Not for the reasons you might think

Dear Reader,  A few things. I just got back from about eight days' game driving and staying in some delicious places. As soon as I can sort out the rat's nest of dongles and connections that are refusing to download my photos I will entertain with gusto.

I did wish to share with you a few things, however, which will drive part of what you are going to see over the coming months.

In just the last week, the bottom fell out of my business, which means I have to close down my S-Corp. Not Walkabout, that stays active and will continue. However I have to shut down the corporation for the simple fact that all the efforts that I have put into trying to make that business work have not borne fruit.

Suffice it to say the last three years have been entertaining. I've tried very hard to create consulting gigs, alternate income streams, other writing options. Medium ultimately paid the business bills, but only if I produced at least one to three articles a day. Since I refuse to stoop to doom and productivity porn, my stuff has not been as popular. That, and as with many other writers, we have seen our income bottom out for reasons which remain a mystery to us all.

That is of course why I started Walkabout Saga, which will continue for it is indeed work of love.I dearly value being able to write for this group, and to respond to your requests for content that you enjoy and which adds value. This article is a courtesy so that you will understand what I expect to be happening in the coming months.

I am very close to zero income on Medium, the last several months seeing a truly precipitous drop. That income paid for overhead. Without being able to pay overhead, I can't have a business.  The IRS refers to such enterprises as "expensive hobbies."

I can attest.

So there's that.

Said business income was supposed to help me finance those upper-level Patreon tiers for all kinds of goodies, such as podcasts and the like. The combination of Medium's rather swift demise as an income source combined with no more Patreon supporter growth for now means that for the nonce, I cannot live up to the commitments I made about book chapters and all the rest.

That causes me no small amount of discomfort but it is what it is. Life is what it is. I offer my apologies but right now I can't do podcasts or write book chapters for I have some looming challenges indeed. If that means I lose some of you please know I completely respect that choice. I did, after all, commit to certain deliveries at higher levels, and I am not in a position to do that right now. Maybe for some time.

Everyone is dealing with inflation, and all of us are asking for pennies to help keep the doors open. From The Atlantic to The New York Times to itty bitty operations like mine, we are all asking for support. There is only so much to go around. For my part I've been supporting my share of people including Brainpickings, NPR and a friend in Denver for whom my occasional gift cards are the difference between what effectively is Ramen and a decent dinner. I've had to shut that down, too.

So there's that.

Without a business income, which under normal circumstances picks up costs like the car and the phone and much more, I cannot stretch my disability income from the VA and Social Security to cover both a business and my house and the car and, well, all of it. Like food, which is just skyrocketing, like fuel.

I will still post on Medium for those folks who allow me to stay at their properties (as above), but it's very clear that the rest of my article fodder is not valued. So that will allow me to focus more on Walkabout, which is great for all of us.

To take that a step further, if I combine that business loss, income that I was counting on when I bought my current home, with the rapidly rising costs of maintenance, real estate taxes and everyday living, I can't keep my house.

That's a rather big nut.

So there's that.

To be fair, and believe me when I say I am laughing as I write this, here I am driving around in the Serengeti staying at luxury tent camps like a rich person while my personal life is being tossed to the wind. However, and please hear me out. I am totally fine with all this.

Not making this up.

I've already taken all this under my belt, contacted my real estate agent, my accountant and a few friends and told them that I've already decided to sell, the business will close. I have already reached out to friends who might like various pieces of my art and furniture.

So there's that.

This morning, I was scheduled to go out for my last two safari days, but woke up sick. I suspect it's a cold but these days the slightest sniffle and everyone yells COVID. The rest of my bush time is cancelled, and so I am now in Arusha until June 14th. That is not at all bad news. I am quarantining in a gorgeous house, beautiful views, I have wifi and good food and good friends and dogs downstairs.

So there's that.

My skin suit is demanding rest. This is all kinda stressful, and my body hollered TIME OUT.

So I  am going to rest, sleep, eat well, and get to work.  I just returned from some of the most fantastic wildlife viewing and bush accommodations on the face of the earth.  In every single way I am blessed.

Beyond blessed.

If I am going to have the life I wish, I have to give up some things. Big things. There's a very kind hand square in the middle of the small of my back pushing me in a very different direction.

So there's that.

With the utmost of regard for fellow writer Maria Popova, there's this:

How to Live with Fear and What It Means to Love: A Tender Meditation in Ink, Watercolor, and Wonder
“Nothing beats kindness… It sits quietly beyond all things.”

You really really must read it.

The timing on this, as are all things, is transcendent. I could live in terror, the omigod what's going to happen to me state of mind, but that's not how I'm wired.

I learned a long, long time ago how to pivot.

I will begin researching ex-pat options in earnest. My guess is that this is going to make for some fun article fodder, if for no other reason than some of you might be considering this very thing. If nothing else, I suspect it might be hugely entertaining to watch me run around with my hair on fire until I get a few things lined out. There is a lot of comedy in this, especially since my left hand will be in a cast while I have to move and sell large pieces of furniture.

So there's that.

I've already been through this once, moving to Oregon, with a hand and a foot down. This is life as a comedy routine.

For those of you old enough, I feel like Lucille Ball at the chocolate factory assembly line. It doesn't taste as good as a cheekful of truffles, but it's a lot less fattening.

So there's that.

I am  going to have a great deal to write about. Okay, okay, peck at my keyboard with my right index finger.

My safari operator will be arriving here in about a week. We are going to brainstorm. He's a very good friend, and we're going to see what can be done.

In every way, shape and form this is perfectly okay. There have been several occasions recently when I began to see where things were heading, and knew in my gut this was likely. All the news and the realizations they brought landed in the space of just a few days.

So as my friend JC said to me, I am having an existential crisis. Jim Stutsman and I exchanged a few emails. I decided to share this with all of you because first, what I write is likely to reflect some of these rather significant shifts. And second, the way I see it, it's just life. I put my heart and soul into going to Oregon, finding the house, I did it.

I have enjoyed it very much. I had a dream. Realized it. I am so blessed.

I had a house in Oregon. A dream come true.

So there's that.

Let me close with a story.

My dear friend Maggie, down in Florida, got her IFR (Instrument Flight Rules) license recently. Been a HUGE goal of hers. Not long afterwards, she got some kind of medical condition which required a certain medication. That medication means she can't fly.

There went the dream of being a charter pilot.

You can imagine my reaction. She laughed and said, in that gorgeous way of my beloved friends, that she was just fine. She would pivot, already had. She had achieved her dream. Now she was painting. She's good at it.

She and her new husband are in the middle of selling their huge home. She added that she was DONE with the endless constant maintenance of said huge home. Oh my, can I relate. What was fun last year for me has turned into a future of endless Big Expensive Projects, the reality of dead tree removal for thousands of thousands of dollars. Each tree is an entire trip gone. So I am losing my trees, and as a result, I also can't travel due to the cost of losing those trees.

We had this conversation right about the time I was realizing that what I had built in Oregon was not likely to be sustainable. Costs were skyrocketing, I was beginning to see how my house was one pricey project after another, unending, and that it wouldn't be long before it was a pretty prison.

Already was a pretty prison. Have that house or have a life.

So there's that.

I had a farm in Africa, famously penned by Karen Blixen, is for me, I had a house in Oregon. I had my dream. Made it come true. Unless something huge happens I will need to let it go so that something else can appear.

Truth, anything can happen in the meantime. However, given what I am facing right now, it looks like a very busy time ahead, one-handed to boot.

Maybe if I sell enough furniture I can still go to Bhutan in September. By that time, when I come home, I might well be sleeping in a sleeping bag in the corner of my bedroom, just as I did when I moved in, August 2020.

So there's that.

If you can't see the humor in this, and there is plenty, remember this line, also from Out of Africa.  It is spoken by Farah, as he was removing the acacia thorns from Karen Blixen's bleeding shoulder after she tried to save an ox from a lion pride's attack:

"God is playing with us, Sabu."

Indeed, She is.

I choose to play with Her.

I am blessed.

Sunrise against a bull elephant who inspected my tent Julia Hubbel