Thursday, June 30, 2022

Retirement Is Not For The Lazy


Through 35 years of trucking, and especially through the last 20 years of it, I stayed so busy working that I never had time to think about what I would do in retirement. I felt lucky just to be able to take a few days off from work, and that did not happen very often. I can remember years that, even after cheating on logs, I still logged less than a dozen days of recreational downtime in a year. It never entered my mind that I would one day be forced off of the road due to health reasons and that I would one day tell myself that I have no desire to climb back into a truck. But, it happened.

Well, actually, it was a little more than 14 or 15 years ago that I started thinking that I may someday want to quit trucking, but I never had the idea to retire. But, health issues got in my way, and I found myself applying for a Social Security Disability pension. And now, well, I have been unemployed for the past 12 years. I relocated to Las Vegas, Nevada. This put me in a place where there is always something going on, something that interests me. In my opinion, in Las Vegas the exposure in arts is great, but it is not the best place to make money while getting the exposure.

Retirement, for me, has not been days filled with watching television. I have worked hard to improve my health. I eat better than I have ever eaten in my life. I sleep better than I have ever slept in my life. My only health issues are those that linger from my original problems. I will have those problems for the rest of my life. Instead of accepting retirement I purchased some photography equipment and began working on a lifelong fantasy, a freelance photography business. I have made a few sales with my photography, but for now I am concentrating on building and organizing my new catalog. I say “new catalog” because of a computer glitch that cost me 140,000+ images just over 4 years ago. Bad stuff happens, but I refuse to give up. And, I really believe I am making good headway. I just need to finish some projects and get organized enough to advertise my business, Better World Media.

I have also re-started a long-forgotten interest in music. I have now written around 100 songs, and sing and play the guitar. I hope to travel with the money I make with my photography and music. My income from Social Security and a disability pension is enough to meet my needs. Any income I can make from music and photography will be spent to meet my travel expenses, replace equipment as needed, and help others that are less fortunate than myself

I hope to soon begin advertising and marketing my work, but for now, it is important that I rebuild the catalog I lost over 4 years ago.

I have narrowed my list of photographic subjects down to 2 specialties plus stock photography work. I shoot “Event, Travel, and Stock Photography”.

This blog, Better World Media is my photography blog. Currently, I am filling this blog with articles from authors and photographers, tips, and other items on anything to do with the photo industry. I also have an online retail studio, Better World Media, to showcase and sell my photography. In the future, it will become more focused on “Event and Travel” photography.


Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Bouncing Back and Starting Over



I don’t know. My name is Keith Birmingham. I am 73 years old. I was an over-the-road trucker for 35 years. Trucking is a profession that constantly puts you in positions where you must be self-sufficient because there is no one around to help when you need it. Now, 12 years after retirement for medical reasons and exhaustion, I need help.

What will the money be used for?
I hope to raise $2000 to $2,500 thru this fundraiser. It will cost $280 to rent a U-haul trailer to tow what I have in Oklahoma out to Boulder City, NV. I will then need to drop back down to Bullhead City, AZ. to get my household goods out of storage there. That is if I get a call from the Boulder City, Nevada senior apartment complex. I have been on their waiting list for an apartment for a total of over 4 years now. If I can raise enough money by the time they call I will pack what I have in my van and head west. I may have two other options if I do not get the call from Boulder City, NV. (1.) My son may soon be moving to Phoenix, AZ. Since I am currently staying at his residence, that will leave me homeless in Oklahoma. There is a possibility that I will go there with him to wait for a call from Boulder City, NV. But, (2.) if push comes to shove, I will find a place in Oklahoma to live. I will need a place soon.

There will be other moving expenses that can only be estimated, such as gas ($500), food ($100), and lodging ($300) while traveling. I will need to pay a deposit ($535) on my new apartment. And, I will probably need to pay utility hookup fees. That will leave about $500 to $700 for surprise fees that no one counts on while moving.

So, what has happened to put me in this situation?
In Nov. of 2019, I was on a waiting list in Boulder City, NV. for an apartment in a low-income, senior citizen apartment complex. Of course, a week after I returned to Oklahoma I got the call from Boulder City. I turned down the apartment. I moved back from Las Vegas to care for an ailing sister who passed away on October 17, 2020. At that time I called the Boulder City complex and got back on their waiting list. I tried to move back to Nevada to find a place to live while waiting for Boulder City to call me again. Basically, due to the pandemic Las Vegas housing is in chaos, and after 3 failed attempts to move back to Nevada, I am homeless, either living in my van or bouncing around between relatives to have a place to stay. This needs to end ASAP.

And, on my 73rd birthday, January 22, 2022, the motor blew up in my only transportation, a 2002 Ford E-150 van, It wound up costing over $7,000 to put a new motor in it. Because I really had no other options I now owe $10,272 dollars on a 20-year-old van. But, And, it took around 3 months to get it done. I do have transportation. And, while working on that, on February 19th I had an operation on my (retina) left eye. I am still in the final stages of recovery from the operation. And, I hope finally, my van was severely damaged on June 16th when I was rear

This GoFundMe is actually a continuation of a mostly failed GoFundMe from back in February of this year. I believe the reason it failed was mostly my fault in that I did not take the time to learn what to do or how to work with it, and everything about my situation was in turmoil. And, because of the things that have happened in my life since January 22, 2022, I am still in a predicament. However, thanks to a total of $540 donated to me by friends and relatives thru my first GoFundMe, I was at least able to keep going and try to figure things out. Now, I want to try again.

Back to Work
My eye doctor has partially released me to go back to work. I believe my final appointment at the eye clinic is in early August. However, I am now going through the Veterans Administration to get a vision test and new glasses. That is supposed to happen in the next two weeks. Once that is done I plan to try to get my CDL-A back and try to return to driving a truck. That will put a roof over my head and pay the bills that I have accumulated since January. My Soc. Sec. check has been sufficient to pay my way for the past 12 years and should still be good enough if I cannot return to the trucking industry. However, I hope to find other employment if I am unable to get my CDL back for medical reasons.
Illustration of helping hands

Give $20 and be a founding donor

Your donation is the start of Keith Birmingham's journey to success. Your early support inspires others to donate.

Make a donation

Wednesday, June 1, 2022


This is the lady I slept with when I retired 12 years ago 


My problem, after spending $7000 on a new motor for my van last month and about $450 on van repairs not covered by the warranty on my new motor, - I am flat broke. I will start my van-life with no money for fuel to get anywhere and just a few days of food available for the entire month of June.   

What I hope to do is leave my 12-year retirement and return to work as an OTR trucker. Yes, the odds are against me, but I am tired of living in the poverty that my Social Security provides. Passing a DOT physical is just the first test. Because of former health issues, I will probably be forced to take a stress test and a sleep apnea test.

If I can survive the month of July I can start slowly moving westward toward Nevada while working with my original van-life plans which are written about elsewhere in this blog. And, I can try to find a western regional truck line to work for. Or, I can search for a driving job out of OKC and do my photography work around Oklahoma and Texas.

To cut this blog post short I will now ask readers if you can use your CASH APP to send a helping hand. Please, click on my CashTag and help me out. Thanks. 

CashTag: $VanManHKB