Despite having a blog, Justin doesn’t feel he’s much of a writer. He’s also entirely too humble to talk about himself, which is why his About Me page was missing for several months. That’s why I (his wife) am going to write this for him. 🙂
Justin is a seriously amazing man. I know a lot of people say that about their partners but I have the privilege of hearing many people state this fact, as well. To know him is simply to love and appreciate him.
He’s a pretty quiet guy, but very easy-going. If he doesn’t talk right away, it’s not because he’s stand-off-ish or has nothing to say, but rather because he likes to soak in his environment before venturing further into it.
He has the biggest heart and feels a lot of satisfaction in knowing he’s a part of something important. He tries hard – sometimes succeeding wildly and sometimes failing miserably – to be exactly what everyone needs him to be. He’s learning who’s worth the effort and who simply isn’t. Truthfully, he’s learning himself.
His was born in Wisconsin, but spent the majority of his life in Las Vegas, NV. He had a traditional upbringing and education and learned early the meaning of hard work. He began as a construction runner at the age of 16 and entered his carpentry apprenticeship just out of high school. His specialty has always been finish carpentry and he has a serious talent for it. Walk into any number of Las Vegas casinos and you’ll get a really great sampling of the caliber of his work.
In December of 2009, however, he joined the countless others on the thousands deep unemployment list. But rather than feeling as if his fate was doomed or stressing to rejoin the rat race, he felt inspired to do something else.
A few months before unemployment, and in anticipation of it, we had purchased a “vintage” 1982 Winnebago Brave and made plans to travel until we found a new home. I have never in my life seen him so passionate for anything like he was on what we came to refer to as “Benny”. His was lit up from the inside and it permeated everything he did. For the first time in a long time, he looked and felt truly alive.
I think the choice to hit the road really became a choice to embrace a radically different way of living. He’d expressed to me that he always felt as if he’d been going through the motions he simply thought he had to make. With a liberated schedule and a blank slate, he suddenly didn’t know what to do or what he really wanted. But he knew he wanted to discover both.
That’s what our life is currently about: Making a life, instead of just making a living.
He’s gone through one hell of a process to let go of his ideals of “providing for his family” and he’s still processing it every day. He’s also learning more and more about unschooling our son, and living together peacefully, something he hadn’t had the time to do while he worked.
But most importantly, I think he’s rebuilding his personal identity, discovering Who He Is (in the biggest sense of the term) and finding a deeper purpose to life than the previous model of “Work, Sleep, Repeat”.
He’s not sure where this road will take us but he wants to travel it as long as we can.