The Day It All Fell Apart – How We Ended Up Homeless, Unemployed and Backpacking Through Europe

This post was written in November of 2015. The situation has long since resolved itself. I ended up working for 2 years as a Middle Market Underwriter at Liberty Mutual and now I’m a National Territory Manager and Client Adviser at The Jacobson Group.

If you’ve been following my travel blog, or Renee’s blog, a bit of this post will be a repeat, but it needs repeating because the story has significantly changed.

On October 8th I was informed by my employer that due to a “realignment” and “change in business needs” through no fault of my own they were eliminating my position. We found ourselves with only one income (though a good one) living in the most expensive city in the US and with the Thanksgiving to Christmas hiring dead season approaching only six weeks away.

I jumped head first into an intense job search with daily job interviews which culminated on November 5th when I verbally accepted an awesome new role as AVP of Business Development for a small insurance carrier and agreed to relocate to Atlanta, a much more affordable city. We also negotiated a late start date of January 4th and decided to backpack through Ireland, Morocco and Eastern Europe for the rest of the year taking advantage of a couple of rent-free months before the start of the new job. Renee quit her job, we gave up our apartment, shipped Renee’s car and all of our belongings to Atlanta. I jumped on a plane and went to Costa Rica to visit family for a week while Renee planned the big trip and packed up the apartment (she’s incredible!).

While in Costa Rica emails went back and forth with the recruiters who had found me the job that the company wanted me to meet via Skype with a couple of more people, which then became a late night phone call with the owner of the company, which then became returning to the US two days before planned for a last second meeting in LA with two of the company’s executives and a video conference with the company’s owner. After this whole mess we left for Europe comfortable that things were in order and the “written offer” was on the way.

The days passed and the company kept asking for more and more stuff, more references, etc. Finally last night I received an email from the recruiters to give them a call ASAP. I called them and they informed me that the offer fell through, nothing we can do. The company’s owner decided not to move forward regardless of the fact that the company President, Chief Marketing Officer and multiple Vice Presidents loved me and regardless of the fact that a verbal offer had been made and accepted 2 weeks ago.

Rough illustration of my emotional journey yesterday.

We chatted for a good two hours and they assured us that they will pull out all the stops and make finding me the right role their top priority.

We decided that cutting the trip short doesn’t make sense because we already paid 90% of the expenses, hiring season will slow down between Thanksgiving and Christmas and we can do phone interviews via Skype and schedule in person interviews for early next year.

That’s when it hit us, the realization that we are officially unemployed and homeless. It’s really not as terrifying as it might sound, after all we do have decent savings, our expenses are at an absolute minimum right now, we are spending the next six weeks in a very cheap area of the world, and we are both absolutely employable and shouldn’t have a hard time at all finding good work once we’re back in the US and new budgets open up in January. We figure this is a unique opportunity and our only option is to make the most out of it…

About Antonio Canas

Tony started in insurance in 2009 and immediately became a designation addict and shortly thereafter a proud insurance nerd. He has worked in claims, underwriting, finance and sales management, at 4 carriers, 6 cities and 5 states. Tony is passionate about insurance, technology and especially helping the insurance industry figure out how to retain and engage the younger generation of insurance professionals. Tony is a co-founder of and a passionate speaker.

4 thoughts on “The Day It All Fell Apart – How We Ended Up Homeless, Unemployed and Backpacking Through Europe”

  1. I love your approach to this situation Tony “We figure this is a unique opportunity and our only option is to make the most out of it…” It’s exactly this positive attitude (alongside your knowledge & experience) that I’m sure will see you in a new exciting role as soon as you return. Enjoy your adventures, stay safe & I look forward to hearing the next instalment soon.


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.