Sunday, June 17

Deja vu: the adventure begins (again)

I'm sure regular readers have noticed it’s been some time between posts. Why?  Put simply, 14 years of predictable, stable lifestyle are about to radically change.  In July I leave my current employer with no fixed plans for the future.  As you can imagine this change of fortune has consumed my focus since the decision was made in late-January.  It’s been more than 21 years since I was last out of work.  Understandably the prospect of finding my next pay cheque is proving both daunting and exhilarating.  Since January I’ve experienced the full spectrum of emotions; from relief and anticipation to utter terror and despair.

What should I do with my career?  As you can imagine I’ve received advice by the truckload.  It’s all been rich, varied and at times terribly contradictory.  As time passes my options have coalesced into three distinct categories:
  1. Take a year off, either to study for an MBA or to consult on a freelance basis until my next step is clearer.
  2. Go into business for myself, ideally buying a going concern I believe I can successfully grow and develop for the long-term.
  3. Strike out in a new career direction with another employer, leveraging the international business skills I’ve accumulated over the years.
Naturally each option has merits as well as pitfalls.  With so many choices to explore I’ve decided I need to take a couple of months off and clear my head.  Some might say I’m simply procrastinating.  However, taking a moment to still, or perhaps distract, my mind seems to be the right way forward.  I’ve enjoyed a surprising sense of peace since taking this decision and I'm already seeing new opportunities and connections appear without me forcing the issue.

As a result, I’ve finalized plans for two travel adventures in August and September. First, in August Garry and I take a three-week road trip up the West Coast of the USA from Los Angeles to Seattle.  We then return to Sydney for two weeks before I’ll depart again to take my parents on a vacation through Canada and New York they’ve always dreamt about.  The second trip is a recent development, reflecting in part the success of a ten-day vacation I took with my parents in China last month.  My father coped well with the travel, the food and the long days of sight-seeing.

Dad turned 75 in May. In the midst of his ongoing cancer therapy there was a time when none of thought he’d see this day.  Each year gift is a precious gift.  Therefore, while reflecting on my own career future I realized that I’d created a unique opportunity to more spend time him before life settles into a new routine.  It seemed foolish to pass up the chance to take him on a journey listed on his bucket list. 

My parents and I will kick of in Vancouver in mid-September.  Here we’ll catch a train through the Rocky Mountains to Banff; then on to Toronto and Niagara Falls, before taking time to explore New York.  Our journey will finish with a week driving from Montreal to Toronto via Ottawa enjoying the spectacular autumn foliage.  I then return to Sydney and start making more concrete plans for the future.

Garry’s life is also taking a radical turn.  While researching options for acquiring a company I stumbled across a stationery wholesaler.  Some initial due diligence quickly revealed a host of simple changes, which if undertaken, would dramatically improve the company’s growth potential.  After some agnosing internal debate I ultimately decided it wasn't the business for me.  However, Garry became somewhat passionate about the opportunity and ultimately made an offer.  In July he’ll start life as a small business owner.  Watch as Gazena takes on the world.  It’s somewhat ironic that my current journey of discovery has ended up setting Garry on a new career path.

My next path of exploration proved somewhat more compelling.  By chance I spotted an executive role advertised on LinkedIn, the business networking social media site.  The brief was written in a style that captured my imagination.  On whim I drafted a cover letter and submitted my resume.  Weeks later I received call and was asked to come in for an interview.  To cut a long story short, I was subsequently short-listed on the spot and invited to meet more of the executive team. 

It was both motivating and inspiring to find myself in this position the first time I’d seriously applied for a job.  However, I found myself somewhat conflicted by the prospect of leaping straight from my current employer into another role without a pause.  In the days that followed job applicants were narrowed down to me and one other person. I was not successful. A part of me breathed a sigh of relief. This experience made me realize I needed to take a break and clear my head before truly committing myself to another career path. 

As you can see, it is been quite a journey so far, hence the blogging hiatus.  However, as I finally start to wind down my current employment commitments, I’ve decided to revive the blog.  In the weeks ahead you’ll see me update you on a host of travel adventures, including:
  • An Easter weekend in Adelaide.  Garry and I took time out to explore the garden city, as well as exploring the southern coast of South Australia and the picturesque Adelaide Hills wine country.
  • A series of ANZAC weekend excursions with my brother and sister-in-law during their five-day vacation in Australia.  Garry and I took them on a day trip down the south coast to Wollongong the day they arrived, before heading to Canberra for a picture perfect weekend of blue skies and sunshine.
  • My final business trip to the USA.  I found myself in San Francisco with a weekend to fill.  On the spur of the moment I booked flights to Southern Utah to take in the dramatic eroded landscape of Canyonlands and Arches National Parks.  The experience proved more memorable than expected and the photos simply speak for themselves. 
  • Ten-days in China with my parents.  I took on the role of tour guide, escorting my parents through the urban wonderland of Shanghai, the historical realms of Xian and the cultural highlights of Beijing.
  • A brief excursion en-route to Hong Kong airport where I rode the Ngong Ping cable car to Po Lin Monastery. This Lantau Island institution is home to the Tin Tan Buddha, a 34-metre high bronze statue that sits serenely on a nearby hill. The more hardy visitors climb more than 240 steps to its base to marvel at its colossal size.
  • Stories from far North Queensland where Garry and I are travelling this week to witness the marriage of his younger brother to a wonderful, lively lass from Cornwall, England.  They currently live in Port Douglas and so family and friends have been invited to join an informal ceremony on boat anchored along the Great Barrier Reef.
  • Highlights of our forthcoming road trip up the West Coast of the USA, followed by a summary of the follow on trip to Canada I’ll be taking with my parents.
A year initially devoid of travel seemed to have morphed into a final hurrah before life truly does change for good.  However, future posts won’t just be about travel.  I’m keen to also share the journey of my new career as its direction begins to unfold.  Let the adventure begin (again)!

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