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The Unconventional Road to Success

By: François Pointeau

"I quit my bartending job, gave up the lease on my room, and gave away whatever else I had left to give...If it didn’t fit in my RV, then it wasn’t mine anymore."
The biggest thing that happened to me in 2015 was a simple business transaction with a man named Hector.  It was late at night, we were in a dark bar on the south side of Austin, and I handed him a stack of 100 dollar bills that amounted to $7200 in cash. It was April 11th.  At that point, I became the proud owner of a 1989 Toyota Spirit Itasca RV.  It’s got a 3 liter, 6 cylinder engine. It ain’t much bigger than an extended van, except it is equipped with a kitchenette, a queen size bed, a table, a shower, a fridge and plenty of cupboard space to fit tons of books, several dictionaries, and a couple pairs of underwear. The fridge doesn’t work, and I don’t use either the toilet nor the shower. In the shower, I store several cases containing copies of my books, and some swag. I have named my rig The Rollin’ Chateau.
I left Austin, Texas on October 15th, and started driving west. I needed to get out of town for a while. I didn’t decide this over night. I’d been brewing it over for a couple of years plus or minus several months. And that day, when I handed that stack of bills over to Hector, I knew there was no turning back. This was it. I had made my decision for good. I didn’t know on what day exactly my departure would come, nor how, nor where I would go. All I knew for sure, is that I was leaving on an adventure.
Here’s the deal, I’ve been a failure most of my life. A few years ago I got my real estate license after lots of hard work and money spent on classes and such, then I struggled for two years trying to make it, pushing myself in a mess of debt that I doubt I’ll ever get myself out of. I stuck it out until I sold a house all on my own. It was awesome. I had finally made a little bit of cash, and my ego was okay because I had proven to myself that I could do it, that it took determination and hard work, but that I could.  After that, I made several discoveries in a row at the time and several months after.
I hated real estate. I hated the person that the real estate business needed me to be so that I could be successful at it. I decided that I didn’t want to be a real estate agent. However the most important realization that I made was that whatever it is that I decided to do, to be good at it, to eventually make a living at it, that it would take enormous amount of work, tons of self-sacrifice, and that it would be hard and difficult and a pain in the ass; so that I might as well do something that I really enjoy doing.  I decided then and there that I would become a full time writer. If and when I needed to get other work to get money, well that’s okay, however writing would always take the priority.
In September 2015, I quit my bartending job, gave up the lease on my room, and gave away whatever else I had left to give—most of my furniture and such kinds of possessions had been given away a few months prior when I had given up my apartment and moved into a bedroom... If it didn’t fit in my RV, then it wasn’t mine anymore. I took to the road on October 15th, and started a blog to share with my friends. I am now on the West Coast, living in my RV full time almost completely out of money, but so much the richer in experience and life. I am one lucky guy.  I have not yet succeeded, however I am well on my way, and I keep reminding myself this: To not be afraid of failure, because it’s the road to success.
a small revelation
That morning before breakfast
sitting with his first cup of coffee,
the man had a revelation.
At that instant, he knew exactly
what he wanted,
and more importantly
he knew for certain that his goal was not impossible,
even though he did not know
quite how to achieve what he knew he wanted.
The reassurance came from knowing
the certainty of the possibility of his wish
and that, for the time,
was enough.
(from “Beer Songs for the Lonely” by myself, New Belleville Press 2014)
François Pointeau was born in Rennes, France, and moved to the States with his family as a child. He first self-published his poetry collection, Beer Songs for the Lonely, in 2006, and then completely rewrote it in 2013-14. As well as writing poetry, he discussed it on the radio from 2009 to 2015 as the host & producer of KOOP Radio's Writing on the Air, during which he interviewed poets, writers, and storytellers of all types. His latest book, Good Feeling: Seven Short Stories, came out in September 2015.
Pointeau now lives in his RV and travels around the country. He writes a blog about his travel, reviews books, and records his own podcast show, The Rollin’ Chateau. You can subscribe to his monthly newsletter, follow him on Facebook, and watch some of the videos he posts to his YouTube channel.
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