Jul 152017

The sun setting on the western edge of America

What is the purpose of a vacation? Adventure, restoration, discovery, learning, escape, and sharing are some of the things that come to my mind. Vacations nearly always seem to happen at key moments, when the elixir of their magic can prove the most effective, unless they are obligatory chores used for collecting marks on the trophy wall, of which I’ve met many people who could be wearing that mantle. To the idea that these ventures into new experiences outside of normal living situations are able to maintain their novelty is in large part measured by the amount of discovery that is found along the way. Even those places I have visited before often hold an untold number of secrets that either escaped my purview on the first visit or maybe I wasn’t ready to see and understand them. Then there is the discovery of things within ourselves that can also be had.

The very trip that almost didn’t happen for which this writing exercise is being undertaken was our upcoming expedition into the remotes of the Yukon and Alaska. The reason behind the near cancellation was the grim situation where the company I founded ran out of money which dictated that I lay off the entire staff en masse on July 5th. Our departure was scheduled for just 10 days from that bleak day. Canceling with less than 90 days notice would have meant a forfeiture of the entire cost of the journey, a substantial amount of money that trip insurance would not have covered seeing that my personal mental trauma did not constitute a physical emergency or death of myself or close family member.

Finally with mere moments to go our payroll situation was resolved and our staff was paid what was owed them. With the assurance from my business partner that we were on the path of repairing things and that we’d be able to hold on to a skeleton crew to maintain minimal operations, Caroline and I after weeks of discussing our options to the point of ad nauseam it was decided that the cost of not going would be too great. Not the cost of the money lost, but the impact on our happiness due to the burden of crushing weight watching a 27 year dream that had accrued over three years of work and constant toil approaching the juncture of failure.

A glimmer on the horizon for me was that the nature of our vacation meant we would be fully off-grid, dampening my ability to dwell on or respond to the myriad issues that occur due to the messy nature of layoffs, bruised egos, pissed investors, and creditors who want to know your next step. For that respite from the fury that was upon us I am forever indebted to my business partner for shouldering that burden.

The forensic examination of what went “wrong” is not ready for a telling, especially in light of the fact that the tombstone for our company has not yet been erected. Sadly we lost some very talented staff who rightfully were hurt by the perceived sudden situation that apparently caught them off-guard though the rumor mill was rife with back-chatter from those who’d read our public financial filings half-a-year prior.

With all of this in mind and my confidence approaching an all time low, creeping depression, and near overwhelming anxiety I am trying my best to put a stoic face forward and take the next step needed to begin the process of allowing a vacation to do the work it can be so effective at: healing.

Nov 202015

Caroline and John Wise departing for vacation on 11 November 2015

Per my wife Caroline Wise’s request, besides taking her on vacation, she has asked me to blog. So here I am fulfilling that special wish of hers. During the previous 20 years we often went on road trips between a minimum of 5 times up to 24 times a year (that was back in 2004 – our record year!). In the dark ages before that we were novices and only took road trips between 1 and 5 times per year, though that included journeys around Germany, Holland, France, Belgium and places like that; remember that we lived in Frankfurt.

This afternoon we left Phoenix for Kanab, Utah where we won’t be going to Moqui Cave, 1. it won’t be open when we get there or leave, 2. we’ve been there and highly recommend you go too.

Not much preparation was done for this excursion until the last minute as we weren’t certain I’d find the time, but obviously I did make the time. Originally we were going to head to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho but the weather looked foreboding. Instead we will turn left in Crane, Oregon and head out to the coast. We tried to avoid the Oregon coast, seriously we did because we know we’ve been there way too many times, but we love it and so that’s that.