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Not the ending we’d anticipated

Joint problems and treatment abstract scientific background

Not the ending we’d anticipated

Jackie challenged me to run in every city we visited on our digital nomad journey. While I was apprehensive about running in so many unfamiliar areas, I was also up for the challenge. 

I put in 163 miles in 11 cities and on two continents. I was ready for number 12, but my right knee was not.

In a beautiful Lisbon city park on one of the best paths I’d run on in Europe, something popped, and I couldn’t keep going.

I tried restarting three times, and the pain increased with each effort. I limped the final half mile to the cafe where Jackie was waiting to start our half-day walking food tour. Not wanting to miss Portuguese snacks and food during the tour, I downplayed the severity of my injury. But Jackie knew it worse than I was letting on as I hobbled along with the group. 

I was ecstatic when the tour wrapped up and the Uber driver rolled up to drive us home. Once in the car, we went into planning mode. 

  • Where should I seek treatment?
  • What were our alternatives if I couldn’t continue the trip?
  • Who do we tell first? 
  • You get the idea

We knew we had to make some decisions after meeting with an orthopedist in Cascais, who told me it was probably a torn meniscus. Our time in Europe without a visa was approaching the 90-day limit, otherwise, I would have continued treatment in Portugal. Instead, we decided to cut our trip short and return to the States. 

It got me thinking about how we handle things when they go wrong. We could have catastrophized the situation and gone straight  into “woe is me.” Or, we could make the best of an unfortunate situation and be grateful for the journey we’d experienced to that point. We went with option two and started implementing our plan to go home. 

While we’re disappointed we didn’t get to experience the UK leg of our trip, we’re excited to be back with family, friends and work colleagues.

I could write several posts on things that didn’t go as planned during our travels (missed trains, poor directions, a stolen phone, wrong suitcases, unnecessary hotspot (the list goes on). I could also write several posts about what went well. The experiences we had, the people we met, the food, cooking at Cordon Bleu, making pasta, making pastel de nata, and just experiencing living in cities throughout Europe. 

Actually, we will write about all these things at some point in time, so stay tuned!

And drop a comment about a time when things didn’t go as planned and how you overcame it. 

Clay has worked with advertisers and marketers to find unique solutions to their business challenges. His insight informs clients’ choices across several mediums, including direct mail, print, branded merchandise and digital advertising.


  • Margi Grein
    May 29, 2023

    I’ve been following your journey and enjoyed every minute of it. I’m headed to Portugal Thursday and your posts have inspired me.
    Get well soon.

    • May 29, 2023

      Thank you so much for sharing that Margi. You’re going to have a blast!

  • Kathy Slocum
    May 29, 2023

    You two are amazing and it’s been fun reading about your adventures! You both have a great attitude and as we all learn life happens. Hey, I’m thinking you can make the UK the beginning of your next adventure. See you when you get back across the pond!

    • May 29, 2023

      Thank you Kathy. Life is sure a lot easier when you realize it’s all about the lessons. 🙂 We’re back in Reno – let’s get together soon!

  • Tracie Douglas
    May 30, 2023

    Hi Clay! Just wanted to give you a little hope on the meniscus issue! I’ve had 7 surgeries on my right knee (because three different surgeons didn’t want to replace it, because I was young), including finally replacing it, and three on my left knee. The surgery on just the meniscus on the left knee was by far the easiest and least painful surgery I’ve had.
    Would love to join you and Jackie for dinner soon! Xxxxxx

    • May 31, 2023

      Thanks for the advice Tracie! We’ll know more once Clay gets his MRI.
      And yes, dinner soon. We’re here for a few months at least.


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