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Why (Take This Trip)?

Posted by admin on January 11, 2007 at 8:30 pm  

At Home In Scottsdale, Arizona

My wonderful wife Lynn will be noticeably absent from our planned voyage. She will not be aboard The Global Adventure when we depart. Neither will any of my children or grandchildren.

Leaving without them will be, without a doubt, the most difficult part of this voyage. Truth be told, it will be terribly difficult.
I must therefore ask the question: Why leave at all?

It’s a complex question; and although at first blush my decision to depart without them may seem selfish, I think – I sincerely hope – that the journey will in fact draw us together in ways we might never have dreamed possible.

But why hasn’t Lynn signed on for the trip? God knows, I would so love for her to come. Instead, I’ll be traveling with a crew I hardly know (albeit a very likeable and capable group), to places I’ve never been; and I know already my heart will often ache at not being able to share with the love of my life our experiences first hand.

Simply put, there are many things Lynn is more than willing to try. But being out in the open ocean on any kind of vessel is just not one of them. We took a cruise once early in our marriage – one of those huge Love Boat monsters, and it was a disaster. She really tried, but just could not stand the constant motion, and the idea that the closest land was a half mile away – beneath us!
Since then she has tried repeatedly to enjoy herself aboard the various boats I’ve owned, without success. To make matters worse, a few years ago she tried sea-sickness patches before one such attempt and they literally blinded her for a day. We learned later that some people do have that reaction to the chemical in the patches.

The result: The most Lynn is willing to do aboard The Global Adventure, or aboard any boat for that matter, is to cruise San Diego Harbor on a calm day – if we bring friends and stop for lunch along the way.

But fortunately Lynn was entirely willing to decorate the ship. I must tell you, she truly has the gift. At any given time she is actively helping three or four neighbors decorate their homes, and in the three years we’ve lived in our current home I’ll bet at least fifty women have come by just to see what Lynn has done with the place. She’s that good – and it truly shows aboard The Global Adventure. At least she’s made sure the crew and I will be more than comfortable throughout the journey.

So why is Lynn willing to “let” me go on this crazy journey? Well, she knows I’ll be pursuing a lifelong dream, and she loves me too much to stand in the way.

And although I know it sounds like a rationalization, I love Lynn too much to stay. I’m 57 years old, financially independent, and in good health. I do not want to be a bitter old man 20 or 30 years from now wishing I had pulled the trigger when I could.

I traveled extensively across the U.S. back in the late 70s, and through most of the 80s, as a professional speaker. But after I ran for the U.S. Senate in 1988 – and went broke in the process – I resolved to succeed without jumping on airplanes. Since then I’ve been very much a stay-home guy, building our business and family, and remaining deeply invested in my community. But it’s a big world out there, and I miss it.

When I was a boy growing up in Ohio my father dreamt of owning a boat. He bought all the magazines, and every couple of years he would take us down to Key West to fish in the Gulf Stream. He and I were never very close, and I never understood why he did not eventually pursue his dream, but he never did.

Yet there was something about boats that I truly loved. I’ve always believed in the old adage that “It’s the journey not the destination” that matters most. Spending ten, twenty, or more hours in a metal tube with several hundred strangers, while also being frisked and made to stand in one line after another, at airport security and/or customs, or just to get a bite to eat, is just not my kind of journey.

At this point in my life, I don’t need to get places in a hurry. I just need to arrive reliably, and safely. Arriving by private ship gives me time to study where I’m going, to reflect on where I’ve been – and to appreciate where I am along the way.

Besides, travel by ship is the oldest form of long-distance travel; and I still think the most exciting. There is simply no way to explain the beauty of dawn on the open ocean, or a sunset across a limitless horizon, or the splashing of speedy and playful dolphins alongside your ship, or the brilliance of stars on a clear moonless night while far offshore and away from the works of man. And there are few words to express the sense of accomplishment of reaching one’s destination through the application of careful navigation.

Meanwhile, because a large part of our mission will be to communicate back to our web visitors and radio listeners anyway, the ship is heavily equipped with the latest communications equipment. Therefore, my family and I will stay in touch throughout each day, despite the cost of satellite time, and despite the distance between us.

For example, we’ve installed video conferencing capability aboard the ship and in our home. Meanwhile, we not only have Iridium phones aboard, but a Fleet 77 SAT-COM system able to send audio or video at broadcast quality rate. I will visit with – and see – my family every day.

Meanwhile, I intend to fly home for a few days nearly every month; and Lynn and our two youngest sons plan to meet me at various destinations along the way.

Lynn and I are blessed to have two sons: Sam is 13 and a 7th grader, and Mac is 10 and a 5th grader, at Scottsdale Christian Academy. It’s a great school: Great academically, and small enough for each boy to grow up in a nurturing small-town atmosphere even though we live in the nation’s fifth largest city.

At first I proposed that I home school the boys for at least a year aboard the ship, but neither Lynn nor they would hear of it. The boys are at that age where friends and sports are everything.

Upon reflection, I think they are right to want to stay home. They have too many wonderful things happening in their lives right now to pull them away; and besides, we plan to have them aboard during large chunks of the summer and during school breaks – provided that their breaks coincide with particularly safe segments of our journey.

Meanwhile, if my boys have something to report after school, I will be there. If they win or lose a basketball or football game, I will be there – even watching videos of those games when possible — not in person perhaps, but fully in spirit and one hundred percent as much as any physically absent parent can be a part of anything. I will remain a big part of their lives. And I pray that in the process of undertaking this journey I’ll uplift and inspire them. I fully intend that this trip be a consistently positive experience for us all.

I’m also the proud father of three adult children: Keith Paul, age 37, and his wife, Kiley, have blessed us with three wonderful grandchildren – two girls and a boy, Marie, Nora and Anthony. My other two children, Chris, age 25, and Laura, age 22, both live in Phoenix and are actively building their careers as well.

I hope that as their schedules permit, they will join me on many segments of the journey. But they all have their own responsibilities now – family, careers, etc. So time will tell whether and to what extent I’ll have the pleasure of their company along the way.

My goal is to share my adventure not only with them, but with you, for perhaps three to five years. Perhaps then, if we have properly built The Global Adventure franchise, we’ll be able to recruit another host – someone I’ll be able to join occasionally, but who, for the most part, I can cheer on from the comfort of home, while in the company of the people I love.

But first I need to make this trip. I need to make it for me, for my family, even for my father.

But it all begins first by casting off the lines and heading out to sea. That will happen on April 1 after upbeat but tearful goodbyes, and heartfelt “Godspeeds”. I know my family will be with me in spirit. I hope you will be too.


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