…Aaaaaaaaand trip planned.

Today I made the decision that I’ll be going to see one of my favorite bands of all time the first week of November.  The show is the inaugural instance of what has been dubbed Dia de los Deftones.  I have listened to the Deftones since 1997 and somehow over the past 21 years, I haven’t managed to see them in concert.  So I combined two of my favorite things, traveling and concerts into one long weekend.

The show will be taking place at Petco Park in San Diego (which happens to be one of my favorite places in the entire States), and will feature several acts that will help me broaden my horizons a little, and the Deftones, which will fulfill a 20+ year drought.

Plane tickets are purchased (and I will fly out of IND this time, yes!), and the ticket to the show.  Next week I’ll pick up an AirBnB and a rental car.  The airline is the no frills carrier Frontier who I have never flown with.  The checkout process bordered on annoying because they really barrage you with all the things you can add to your flight.  Since they are the “bear fare” carrier,  everything that isn’t a place to put your ass and a personal item sized (14″x18″x8″) bag is an upgrade.  I’ve flown Spirit, this isn’t my first rodeo.  The entire round trip from an airport that isn’t an absolute nightmare (Sorry O’hare…) was $147.40.  Yeah.  I’ll deal with having no idea what seat I get for that.

Now I’ll just grab myself a little efficiency room, a car with some pickup, and a few days of west coast Vitamin D.

Life is good and I am immensely grateful.

 

Didn’t take long.

I’ve been home for a total of 3 days and I am ready to get out there again.  This has become a problematic trend.

Go out, see something staggering, return home, be underwhelmed, begin plans for the next staggering thing.  I am not saying this will be something incredible in the next few days, but it does have me eyeing 2019 pretty hard as a banner year for international travel.  It is time to collect more flags…

Between now and then, though, I plan to hit the left coast again.  Perhaps within a month on a weekend bender.

Time will soon tell, but this particular bite from the travel bug sunk deep.

The Pacific & Portland.

The week has almost come to a close and I finally feel like I am 100% out of steam.  Yesterday I dropped my buddy off at the rental car place so he could go visit his family in southern-ish Washington and I headed south and west out the coast.  It was around a 3 hour drive to get from our BnB to the beach but it was worth every minute of driving.

I got to the beach around an hour before dusk and walked about a half mile from where I parked and set up to witness the glory that is yet another west coast sunset.  It was an absolutely perfect evening, with a breeze and the temperature steady in the 60s.  Since I had brought my light jacket I was all set.  The surroundings were something out of a book.  Miles of off-white sand beaches flanked by hundreds of yards of shore grasses before the homes of those fortunate enough to live near by.  The town was called Ocean Shores and it was charming though relatively small.  As the sun began it’s descent I felt the way I always do when I am so lucky to witness it:  completely at peace.  I take these opportunities to remember how truly fortunate I am to be able to live the life that I do.  Gratitude doesn’t even begin to describe it!

After the sun dipped in the water the temperature dropped off quickly so I hopped back in the car and headed back toward “home” for the evening.  As I rounded Olympia to head north toward Seattle, the 95% full moon began to rise over the mountains to the north and east.  Add that to another essentially perfect day.  Life is good.

Today I woke up and headed to Portland with absolutely zero plans other than to see St. John’s bridge and visit Voodoo Doughnuts.  Since I accomplished both of those things and checked a state off the list I will put it in the win category, but I do feel as though I need to see more of Portland before I make a decision how I feel about it.  If it were based solely on today I’d probably say I do not care for it but I didn’t see much except a heap of construction downtown and nightmarish traffic congestion.

Now I am back in our home away from home, planning to begin packing for the flight tomorrow so I have it out of the way.  We don’t have much on the agenda for tomorrow and will need to check out by 11:00 AM so I am not 100% sure what we will get up to until our flight in the afternoon but I do plan to pick us up a couple day passes to the Alaska Airlines lounge so we can chill for a couple hours prior to the flight.

It has been a great week and my feet hurt as much as they ever have but I have added so much experience to my memory that I will gladly endure the healing.

Insomnia in Seattle.

The past few days have been an absolute blur of activity.

During the first day of this visit to Seattle/etc., I saw Pike Place and began to piece together the madness that is downtown Seattle.  Through a maze of homeless people and more Starbucks locations than I can count, I started to acclimate.  This was after almost 36 hours on zero sleep.  Oh, did I forget to mention that we attended a Flogging Molly / Dropkick Murphy show on the first day?  Yeah.  I was barely even conscious during this.  Great show but I was in no way ready to enjoy it.

On day two we ended up visiting a Nordic heritage museum and ate at a place which shared the name of a town my mother used to haunt:  Portage.  You can figure it out with that much information.

On day three it was time to hop the border and see Vancouver for the first time.  I must say that I am absolutely impressed by the city of Vancouver.  It is such a clean, beautiful place, and the Canadian people are an uncannily friendly bunch.  Our agenda was non-existent but we walked along a bay, visited Stanley Park and the Vancouver Aquarium, and topped it off with a visit to Granville Island Market.  We watched the sun drop over the bay and I sat in astonishment at what I was fortunate to witness.

Today is day four and it was an absolute legend of a day.  We decided early on that the first order of business was to visit the Woodland Park Zoo and we were not disappointed.  They had some of the finest and immersive wildlife experiences I have seen to date.  I have always been a sucker for wildlife parks of all kinds and this was no exception.  Top notch stuff.  Zoo knocked off the list, we decided to visit Puget Sound and walked the beaches.  We stuck around for a sunset that rivals anything I have ever witnessed before.  The sun disappeared behind the Olympic range and cast colors that are too many to name.  It was amazing and the day was only just ending.  Up next was the Space Needle.  We arrived approx. an hour and a half prior to closing time and as we approached I could feel a sense of the staggering size of the structure.  Once we hopped on the express elevator and walked out onto the catwalk, it was strikingly apparent how far away the ground was.  The vertigo faded quickly and I was standing in stupid amazement looking at the city from 500+ feet.  If this weren’t enough, the full moon (99%+) rose as the sun dropped, casting a pale blue hue over the entire cityscape.  As I was making a lap around the rotating glass deck, I happened to glance the direction of SEA-TAC and saw 4 planes all in their final approach for landing.  This continued the entire time we were at the Space Needle, almost an hour and a half.

This is single-handedly one of the most enjoyable trips I have ever had the privilege of experiencing.  I am truly fortunate.

More to follow as the week moves on.

Sleepless for Seattle.

About 4 hours from now I will hit the road to go to a 6:00 AM flight from ORD > SEA.  Naturally I can’t even consider sleeping because the squirrels are running a rampage now.

It has been entirely too long since I was kept awake with anticipation.  Travel does that to me though.  This may end up being one of the longest days of my life but it is in the spirit of adventure so I will make due.  As long as I stay awake long enough to get to the terminal and shuffle my way on board, I can at rest easy, even if metaphorically.

Thankfully I have a co-pilot on the drive up and a travel companion in a long time friend who was able to take the whole week off and go with me.  What’s more, he is going to be able to visit family in the area that he hasn’t been able to see for a few years.  It’s always nice to have the opportunity to catch up with family while on an adventure.

I’ve all but given up on the idea that I will sleep tonight.  I will just bide my time.

Bag is packed, thumbs are sufficiently twiddled, time to go!

Vicarious travels.

A friend has spent the last week in Los Angeles and got me stoked to get out on the road again.

It is now less than a month from my next excursion and my first time visiting the Northwest.  One better, a different friend is taking the entire time off and heading out with me.  It will be an entire week to witness what another part of the country has to offer.  I’ve heard plenty of great things about the area but now I’ll be able to see first hand.

Fall will be starting the week we go so the weather should be fantastic.

This won’t be some crazy trip to around the world but it is one of only a few I was able to take this year.  Since I tackled all my debt, next year will involve more travel.  I won’t have any literal or figurative baggage this time, so it will be done the right way.

More to follow soon enough!

On the road. (For the business.)

It isn’t quite what I was looking for in the way of a road trip but I did spend most of my day on the road today.  It was for the business so it is all worth the effort.  After evaluating where I am and where I want to be within 5 years, I decided a few months ago to really take ownership with the business.  It has been a great opportunity to grow and to help provide a living for our crew and us as well.

Fortunately for me, I am surrounded by skilled people, and am related to a couple of them.  Being in business with family is challenging at times, but is, I think, ultimately rewarding.

I often find myself at odds with the thinking of my immediate family and have found the only remedy is to distance myself from it.  This doesn’t affect my ability to do what I need to do as a leader, but it is certainly discouraging.  There is no other word to describe this mentality besides pervasive.  It is always there on the surface, and goes deep.  I don’t feel the same way at all.  I see possibility, I see the growth potential, I see monumental successes.  All I can do is reiterate those sort of things to myself and live the way I need to.

This deviates a good deal from the original focus of my blog, but this is where I am at these days.  Life is a journey, sometimes it is literal, but right now mostly the figurative portions.

A return to writing.

After taking the first half of 2018 to grind away all my debt, I finally have the peace of mind and freedom I need to get back to writing.  It has been a while since I was able to maintain some consistency with my posts because I was infatuated with freeing myself from my self-administered shackles.

One evening last week I noticed it was particularly beautiful out so I decided to go for a drive.  As I pulled out of the driveway it really hit me:  I am driving a car that I have paid for twice and is now officially mine alone.  I started laughing and smiled.  It is absolutely surreal.  Life has always been pretty good, but now it is getting great.

I drove around the town I live in and have for my whole life and saw things in a completely different light, with a sort of confidence that was completely foreign to me because I had never felt it before.  Everything I saw made me light up with possibility.  I looked at the nicer homes and thought to myself that I don’t have to compromise, that I can have the exact home I want.  My little bit of zen in an uncertain world.

It has also occurred to me that now I can be completely unhindered in my quest to visit more of the world.  All I need to do is make a plan for a destination, set the budget for the trip, save aggressively toward the goal, and take the leap.  The best part is, I won’t have to feel like I ruined 6 months of my life because I bankrolled the whole thing with debt.  It will just be a straight forward victory in every regard.

Happiness has been admittedly elusive in my first 35 years, but 36+ feels substantially different.  I am at ease with my place in the world, and I only see things improving from here on out.  This is my life, and I will no longer be a spectator.

I am debt free.

Another year passed today, and it ended on a high note:

As of today I am officially debt free, and I will never go back to that life.

Now I can focus on the future without worrying about the weight of debt on my back.  It is nice to be able to breathe that sigh of relief.

Onward!

 

 

One week to freedom.

Tomorrow marks one week until I am free from my final debt.  It has been a few months of putting off my goals to burn through this but it already feels worth it.  I can see the end and almost reach out and touch it now.

My money will finally be mine alone.  I won’t have to think about who owns me because no one will.  Freedom is a good feeling, even in anticipation.

This was an expensive lesson to learn in the short term but I learned it well.

The countdown to freedom has begun…