Monterey Telecommuter Discusses Opportunity and Writing – Part 2


In part 1 of this story, we spoke with Erik Sax, who has found opportunity in Highland County by telecommuting. Since settling in Monterey, though, he has moved on from the startup company he was with. The slower pace and cheaper living cost here has allowed Erik to focus on other areas of interest, specifically writing.

Erik says, “One of the opportunities I had in the whole ‘Highland cheaper thing,’ is the opportunity to say, ‘Alright, I’m going to spend more time with the kids, help take care of Grandma, work on different projects that I haven’t had a chance to work on before ‘cause I don’t think I would have had the ability to do it otherwise, especially like this writing project, and that’s really an opportunity I didn’t have in Northern Virginia. I mean, if you’re living in Fairfax County, and you’ve got a $450,000 mortgage on a townhouse and whatever other crazy amounts of bills, you’re not going to have the opportunity to say, ‘Yeah, you know what? Maybe I’ll think about a career change,’ so these days I’ve been working on some writing and what’s been really cool about that is I think there’s something to Highland and its beautiful weather and nice people and everything. There’s a writers group here. They’re really phenomenally helpful, and I just met with them, and it was just so nice to talk to other people who were thinking about writing, and so I have a number of little tiny projects. I’ll churn out a blog every day or something or maybe write a silly poem, but I have some larger projects, too, and one of the biggest ones that I’ve been struggling with, and I probably have asked about everybody in the county this so far is its sort of this bizarre piece of urban mythology, or I guess rural mythology, that you would have gotten a rabies vaccine in your stomach. Remember, this is something everybody heard as a kid, and I have this story that I’m working on and, sure enough, the main character has been attacked by a rabid dog, needs the vaccination, and, ‘What’s it like?’ And you look this up, nobody has any collective memory on the internet or any other sources I’ve found that says, ‘Oh, it was like this. It felt like this, and it was in this part of my stomach, and, you know, maybe even they told me this about it, and it burned, and maybe it made it hard to walk afterwards even.’ I don’t know, but these are details that for some reason are very difficult to find. When I talk to doctors about it, they’re just as baffled as I am, because a shot in your stomach seems – it, it doesn’t make a lot of sense. There’s a lot going on there. It’s a very strange issue, so if there was anybody that knew about or experienced firsthand or anything like that, it would be gold to me to be able to talk to them or hear about it.”

If you or someone you know does remember the experience of an actual rabies shot applied to the stomach and could help Erik’s research in this area, his phone number is 540-468-3599.


Story By

Chris Swecker

is the Assistant Station Coordinator and a News Reporter for WVLS. He has roots in Highland County going back several generations, and he grew up in Monterey. Since graduating from James Madison University with a bachelor’s degree in Media Arts and Design, he has pursued his career at a news station and advertising agency in Virginia, on Microsoft’s campus in the state of Washington, and in both states as sole owner and employee of a video production company. He enjoys exploring life with his wife, Jessa Fowler, traveling, hiking, hunting, gardening, and trying new foods, all while discovering more about what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ. He feels blessed to be a small part of this talented AMR team to help give back to the community that has provided him with so much.

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