Purpose Becomes Passion When It Gets Personal
I decided to put my career in finance on hold and, for the past few years, have dedicated all of my time and energy to honoring my son’s memory and helping others who are dealing with mental health, addiction and substance abuse. In 2020, I founded Choices Network, Ltd., a non-profit whose mission is to educate kids, parents, teachers, and coaches on the importance of making positive choices. I also wrote my first book, This One’s For You: An Inspirational Journey Through Addiction, Death and Meaning and I started The Living Undeterred Project.
Sadly, during this same time, my wife passed away from alcoholism. I’ve always believed that purpose becomes passion when it gets personal. And after losing both my son and my wife, my purpose to help others had become my passion. I felt compelled to do more, but wasn’t exactly sure what “more” meant. It wasn’t until I was running on the elliptical and heard a story about a dad from Iowa that was riding his bike across the state to raise money for breast cancer awareness that it hit me. Yes, I had written a book, started a podcast, and was active online and on social media, but Living Undeterred needed a physical presence. And if this dad could do it on a bike, then why couldn’t I do something like that too?
I stayed up all night working on a business plan and laying out what a Living Undeterred national tour could look like. My goal was to travel across the country, meet with local advocates and connect different nonprofits. And getting an RV felt like the best way to accomplish all of this…
The Push I Needed
After laying out my plan, I immediately drove to the closest Camping World. Three hours later, I walked out with a brand new Thor Motor Coach Hurricane Class A. I had never driven something that big before, let alone spent any time in an RV. I didn’t know what a slide-out was or what the difference between black and gray tanks were. But I had a bigger passion—I knew I needed to talk to people about mental health, substance abuse and addiction and I wouldn’t let my lack of RV knowledge stop me.
From that point on, it was all a matter of planning and logistics. I practiced driving the RV a few times, and leaned on friends and other RVers to help show me the ropes. I got the hang of everything pretty quickly. And in June 2022, I left my home in Iowa and set out on a 95-day national tour. To be honest, if I had walked out of Camping World that day without an RV, I don’t think the national tour would’ve happened. It was the push and the vessel I needed (quite literally) to help me start this next chapter.