The Road to Patagonia
The ocean has always been my biggest fear. It’s cold, it’s big, it’s unknown. That’s exactly why I signed up for a sea kayaking class through the waters of Patagonia. When traveling, I like to place myself at the intersection of intent and adventure. Seeking personal challenge brings another dimension into play, and it helps me walk back to my desk with a stronger sense of resolve and perspective. Learning how to paddle through the waters and survive in the wilderness quickly shifted my mind from sending emails to looking for the basic necessities of the day. It was exhausting, sometimes miserable, and the best possible reset button.
On one of the more challenging days, our instructor called the group together to remind us of one thing. He said, "Next week, you’re going to be stuck in traffic, and your coffee is going to be getting cold. You’re going to be stressed. Take solace in the fact that this forest exists, constantly. Today it’s raining, tomorrow it might not be, but there will always be the sound of water and the rising tides. You can be in this place when you need to be." And that — that was all I needed.
The Road to Germany
A lifelong lover of Beethoven, my great uncle placed attending a symphony in Vienna at the top of his 79th birthday-bucket-list. So our family set out on a river cruise down the Danube to do just that. We stopped in a handful of small towns along the way, filled with winding cobblestone roads, rivers running throughout, and an air of ease at every turn. At the end of the trip, I was craving solo time, so I ventured out into a park in one of the cities. It was there that I couldn’t help but notice that we’re all looking for the same thing: connection, community, to sit in the grass and laugh with our friends. To have soul-stirring conversations. To know that someone is thinking of us when we’re not around.
What if in the end our life, fully lived, was our best work?
How many times do we look at our calendars only to wonder where the time has gone? We put our heads down and, in the hustle, forget to look up and ask the life-giving questions. We forget to go out and see the similarities that connect us all. What if in the end our life, fully lived, was our best work?
The Road to Cuba
Havana immediately draws you in, as it is incomparably — alive. Yes, alive in its colored corners and alleys of music — but most alive in its sense of connection. Every few feet, you are greeted with eye contact paired with kindness. An openess that comes alongside a culture of observance. The stoops are in place of screens, letting life be the biggest form of both lesson and entertainment.
If Havana taught me anything, it’s this: mark your maps, and hold your plans loosely. Allow your mind to slow — letting the days take you to where you need to be. With each day, new lessons were provided in letting go. Realizing that so often we opt to push against what is coming way, instead of being open to the experience.
The Road to Idaho
I take a deep breath in and I’m immediately brought back to my time in Stanley, Idaho. A few months ago, we ventured out there to a family cabin to enjoy some much-needed downtime in untapped territory. I knew a trip to a place like this was calling my name — I knew I needed the type of disconnection that only the vast remoteness could bring. And that’s exactly what I found.
I knew I needed the type of disconnection that only the vast remoteness could bring.
It was a Wednesday morning when my wife and I arrived at the top of one of the nearby peaks. With shaky legs and dust-filled boots, I was able to stop and really look around me. My attention was immediately caught by the land: deep blues and rich emerald greens surrounded us completely. I felt entirely alone and entirely full, all at one time, and I realized putting everything at pause was the only true way to let myself learn.
The Road to Thailand
We knew Thailand would be full of everything we’ve dreamt about for years: beautiful beaches, friendly hosts... but nothing could have prepared us for the vastness of color. Everything was brought to life — clothing, architecture, food, and most of all, the landscape.
I did my homework before leaving, creating a list of everything to see and do. When we arrived, I quickly realized that planning anything was humorous at best. At first, it was hard to let go — to push aside engineering an outcome. To no surprise though, once I did, the trip unfolded just as it needed to. You can’t plan for how or when a place might change you, or when it might teach you something about yourself.
The best part of stepping away? You get to return. And sometimes that is almost as valuable as the trip itself: returning to what’s yours, what you’ve created, and all the beauty that you have right in front of you.