A Lesson from Katy

“What was our primary reason for making the decision to leave Australia for a year,” is a question we’ve received a fair few times over the past eight months now.

And while our answer generally revolves around taking advantage of the slim and golden window of opportunity that comes after the banishment of nappies and before the start of school, the truth is, there’s more to it than that.

A lot more, actually.

http://journeyswithkaia.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/FullSizeRender.jpg.jpegThe sort of more we all know exists but one that still manages to get shoved under the rug of our day to day lives; as if ignoring the massive elephant behind the curtain will render it completely obsolete. At least for one more day, week, month, year or longer. To whatever distant point when we’ll THEN have the proper amount of time and/or money to do whatever it is we’ve always wanted to do.

No, the fact is many moons back I’d get my first wake up call to the fact life is all too short. Since then there have been others with one or two during the last year prior to our big decision to leave serving as jarring reminders that the clock is ticking.

And then, barely one week ago, I’d be reminded again. This time by a 47 year old woman by the name of Katy Erbersole. Someone I regret to say I really hardly even knew but one I’ve heard repeatedly was truly a ‘special soul’. This, by the accounts of her family who befriended me over half a lifetime ago and, as such, are as much responsible for this journey through South America as the plane that got us here.

The sort of unique individual whose passing and subsequent memorial service would see 900 people crammed into Edenton’s Historic Hick’s Field. The same park that is home to the Edenton Steamers collegiate baseball organization that Katy was so instrumental in helping to raise countless funds for over the past ten years. All this, while working in conjunction with her husband as half owner/operator at the Waterman’s Grill for the past 20 years.

She was young when the cancer attacked her brain. Not even forty five when her battle began. It would’ve been understandable that a person at that age, confronted with such a prognosis, would’ve asked the question “Why?” or even roared out load that “Life’s not fair.” But, despite it all, those close to her say Katy managed to keep a smile on her face.

Even near the end, when, due to the effects of a stroke that left half her body paralysed and unable to speak, Katy managed the ability to laugh. Laughter in the face of such unspeakable odds and adversity.

In the end, Katy would pass away on Nov 6. Two days before a vitriolic US political campaign came a startling conclusion leaving many to virtually lose their minds in shock and disbelief. All to the point where many universities across the country have seen fit to cancel classes so as to offer, of all things, grief consoling.

For many in the Barnes, Erbersole and Tucker families, I could only imagine such political news was little more than a microscopic blip on the radar. That, if it registered at all. And it seems Katy, after her battle and the ability to stay positive throughout it as she did, would have something to say about keeping such ‘devastating’ news in proper perspective.

Lessons about not losing sight of what’s really important or not taking a single moment for granted. Above all, she’d probably suggest something about pulling those that mean so much to us a little closer and basking in even the most mundane acts of being together. Be it an hour long trip to the local park or a year long journey around the world.

Such were my thoughts the past couple days here in Paracas, Peru as I watched Kaia frolicking at the water’s edge. There, in the sort of dirty, kelp riddled water that back on Australia’s southern Gold Coast or coastal North Carolina and Virginia we’d be hard pressed to dip our toes in let alone flop around in as Kaia was more than content to do.

Regardless, with black sand in her togs and giant sheets of green kelp plastered to her body and scattered throughout her long blond locks, Kaia was as happy as could be.http://journeyswithkaia.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/Katy100.jpg

Which, when all was said and done, was really the answer to the question. The question of why we really decided to set out in the first place. The answer being best summarized in a Chinese proverb that says “Enjoy yourself, it’s later than you think.”

A proverb I feel fairly certain Katy Erbosol would agree with.

And, most impressively, all with a smile on her face.



  1. Jeanne Cumby November 15, 2016 Reply
  2. Brenda Spencer November 15, 2016 Reply
  3. Beth Pancoe November 14, 2016 Reply
    • Jimmy Bua November 14, 2016

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