Ev·er·ti·ro (ĕv′ər′tī′rō)


One who is always learning; a compound derived from ever and tiro

Admittedly, the above word can not be found in any actual dictionary. In fact, to my knowledge I am the first person to ever combine those two words. Certainly, an Internet search revealed no other known uses of the combination. But the idea is paramount to a major change in my life that began a few weeks ago.

Long story short, I had a long talk with someone whom I consider a close friend and mentor and came to several realizations. The fact that I was on prescription pain killers at the time may or may not have had an impact on the discussion and what I took from it. The actual topic of discussion is something that I choose not to detail, but needless to say the friend in question knows who he is and (I hope) how much of an impact he has had, and continues to have, on my life. Now… on to what I realized!

My work was holding me back

Don’t get me wrong, I’m extremely thankful for the people I’ve worked with over the last few years. For those who don’t know me well, the vast majority of my income comes from work I do as an independent development contractor. More simply put, people pay me to write software. Over the last few years, a significant majority of the work I’ve done has been for a few specific people. It is these people whom I am thankful for. They have provided me with a steady income, taught me, learned from me and, perhaps most importantly, have been my friends.

Unfortunately, that consistency came with a downside. Doing the same things day in and day out resulted in me being effectively stuck in my comfort zone. No matter how many great ideas I came up with, I never seemed to get them beyond the early conceptual stage because what I was already doing was comfortable. I didn’t want to take a chance on the unknown, so I kept doing the same thing day in and day out.

I was burning out

Burnout is a serious thing. I’ve mentioned it before, and I’m sure it’ll come up again. Sadly, it’s a fact of life (or at least a fact of being an adult). For those of you who are fortunate enough to have not experienced burnout yet, it is commonly thought to result from long-term job stress. Burnout is clinically similar to depression, and presents with exhaustion, chronic headaches, quickness to anger and loss of creativity.

Burnout is remarkably common in the development world and can cause an otherwise productive individual to grind to an abrupt halt. My work environment and the hours I was keeping had resulted in a slow spiral towards burning out, and I knew it. But I tend to be exceedingly stubborn, and I had been ignoring the warning signs.

I was working too much

Ok, that one is a pretty massive understatement. Granted, “work” doesn’t mean the same thing to everyone. In my case, I was spending over 90% of my time awake doing work of one sort or another. If I wasn’t working on my 9-5 job, I was working on one of a million clients or pet projects. Outside of meals, about the only time awake not spent working was the ten to fifteen minutes a day I spent working on a crossword puzzle before going to bed. Weekends? What weekends? And don’t even mention vacations; I don’t think I’ve taken an actual vacation in ten years.

To make matters worse, I didn’t even have a real hobby anymore. For the last few years, my job has been in software development of one sort or another. Also for the last few years, my one and only real hobby has been… software development. At some point in time, the line between “work” and “hobby” blurred to the point of virtual erasure and I lost my hobby.

Fixing the problem

So… with everything that is definitively wrong with my life, what am I doing now to fix it?

Business overhaul

I’m not quitting my job per se, but I am changing how I work and who I work for. After my initial discussion with my friend, I realized that I’d originally left corporate America because I hated the daily grind of a 9-5 job. Somehow, I’d worked my way right back into a 9-5 job by taking on several long-term clients. Over the last few weeks I’ve been shifting my focus back to client work, and I’ve put enough time into one specific pet project that it’s finally starting to look like a viable endgame. For now, I’m not going to detail that project, but rest assured that more info is coming soon.

Picking up a hobby

I’ve finally picked up a real hobby! Technically, I’ve picked up two, but I’ll elaborate on the second hobby shortly. Thanks to some guidance from a good friend, I’ve finally started learning guitar. I’ve been saying I wanted to learn for years, but never put serious effort into it before. It’s ironic that as musically inclined as I am, I never bothered to learn what is most likely the most popular instrument in the world. I’ve been playing piano my whole life, and I play several other instruments, so it’s not like I’m starting from ground zero.</p >

Taking a vacation

It’s no secret that I’m not much of a city boy. Despite living just outside of Omaha, I’ve always felt more at home in the middle of nowhere. For a while now, I’ve been going to Marquette to teach a class every other week. It’s always been a day trip where I drive down in the early afternoon, and come home after the class in the evening. The last few times, I’ve changed things up and started staying with a friend in Aurora for a few days after the classes. It might not be a trip to Yellowstone, but spending a few days in a true small town every other week has been incredibly relaxing.

A change of pace

I’ll be living in Ralston for the foreseeable future, but that doesn’t mean I can’t split my time. During the last few weeks I’ve been researching buying a bus. Yep, one of those big yellow torture chambers on wheels we all remember from our childhood. Sounds crazy, right? Well maybe it is, but there’s a method to the madness.

As I previously stated, I’m spending a lot of time traveling lately. I sincerely appreciate that my friends have allowed me to couch surf, but I want to spend more time there than is fair to them. I’m not, however, super keen on buying a house (though buying land is still on the table). Buying an RV gives me the opportunity to have a more stable home in the Aurora area, while being able to take that home with me if I want to travel outside of the immediate area. No more grubby hotels when traveling!

In this economy, the average initial cost of an RV is $122,000. Ironically, despite the price tag, the average RV is little more than a death trap on wheels. They’re made as cheaply as possible with very little safety in mind. Do five minutes of research and you’ll see that very few RV accidents end well. On the other hand, a bus is designed to transport a large number of children on a daily basis. As such, buses are designed with safety in mind. Even better, most states have restrictions on how long a bus can remain in operation.

School buses are built around a diesel engine which will generally run well past 500,000 miles if properly maintained. In fact, there are buses that have run well into the millions of miles! However, the restrictions on operational length frequently results in buses being decommissioned with less than 200,000 miles and sold for virtually nothing. Today, you can buy a decommissioned bus for a few thousand dollars and rebuild it to your own tastes. After gutting and redesigning the interior, you can end up with a completely built out mobile home designed specifically for you for a fraction of the cost of a traditional RV.

Truthfully there’s a major learning curve to rebuilding a bus, but that’s where the idea behind Evertiro comes from. I came up with the word Evertiro while researching bus conversions after realizing that I had a lot to learn. Fortunately, I have no shortage of friends who have the necessary skills and have volunteered to help with the conversion!

So what does the future hold? Who knows! I’m actively looking for a bus that meets my needs, and will hopefully be buying one soon. The whole process will be documented here. Regardless of when I buy it, I’m now living slower, spending more time with my friends, and generally feeling better about my life! Thanks to that, I’ll have more time and motivation to actually post things, so keep an eye on the site for more updates!