There are many things I imagined in my life ending up homeless was not one of them. I've worked hard all my life. Then the accident the worst part was I saw it coming when I was asked to go into NC riding I keep turning it down I knew something was going to happen but I could not put my finger on it. Multiple surgeries later when they told me I would never walk again or be able to stand for more than 5 minutes I saw my whole world crumble. My thoughts kept running to the old gentleman my mother used to look after. He had given up and stopped doing anything except wait to die. That kind of life scared me more than not walking. The one thing I had always wanted to do was Photography so i started the next chapter in my life.
I spent the last of my money on a Canon 7D and a 70-200 lens. after doing a lot of studying I determined they were the best use of my limited money. Every chance I get that I have internet I watch whatever Creative Live shows I can so I can become a better photographer. About my only other expense was a Black Rapid strap If you don't own one buy one today it is the best camera accessory you can get. Believe me if I did not have it my camera never would have survived trying to shoot the wilderness on crutches. You may be of the same opinion as everyone I know that I could not picked anything stupider to do than run around the wilderness on a broken leg trying to take pictures of things that can kill me I can't out run. To me it made perfect sense refusing to believe that I would never walk again I had to push myself. So I would hobble till I thought I could not take the pain anymore. Standing in the middle of nowhere forced me to walk back out. With time I have been able to compartmentalize the constant pain I live in. Over the next year I was able to build back up the muscle in my bad leg. Yes it still goes dead on me and collapses but most of the time I can catch myself on my cane and I'm down to only about twice a week bouncing my nose off the ground.
I have a life doing what I love sure disability does not pay enough to live on when on the road. The thing is it does not pay enough to live in one spot either without giving up on life. Every day is a struggle trying to budget every penny and make it though the month when at the beginning of the month I all ready know I am a couple hundred short. You think you have family and friends but its amazing how fast they vanish when you cant do all the things you did before.
One of my biggest pet peeves is people saying the will pray for me. I run into this female minister who asks if she can pray for me. Still being naive I consent and she grabs a hold of my foot and starts waving her other arm around praising Jesus and lifting my foot higher. She becomes more and more animated. When she has my foot about even with my waist I go over backwards and split my head open on the stone wall behind me. The sad fact is when someone wants to pray for you they just want to make themselves look good so people will say what a good and caring person they are. The thing is the Bible does not say pray for those in need it says help those in need.
This past week I got some good shot and met a very nice young couple from the UK. They were spending their last couple of days in the forest because they had run out of money and still had a couple of days before their flight out of Orlando. They found out like everyone Florida is not that cheap. We started talking over the girls camera she still was not sure how to properly use it being a gift from her father just before they left. So she started asking me questions and because it was a Canon I could help her. The conversation shifted to England and where to shoot more things here in the states. Found out their names were William and Mary so I promptly told them I loved their college. Of course being from the UK they had no Idea what the hell I was talking about. The rest of the conversation was great though when I found out they were down to last couple of granola bars I dragged them back to my camp site and made them dinner it was nothing fancy but I could not let them go hungry. I also made a point to feed them the next day. it was at the end of the month so it used the last of my stores but if you can't help someone when they need it you are no longer a human being. Missing a meal or two is not going to kill me giving up my humanity will. Sure I'm homeless but I'll help anyone I come across if they need it I share my knowledge and try to give back though my pictures and guide books. That is why I say I am homeless with a purpose.