This is a blog about life’s journey. The particular journey of a corporate ladder kind-of-guy looking for more out of life than, well, just climbing a corporate ladder.
This blog will chronicle the expeditions of an extended sabbatical: cycling solo across Europe, climbing Kilimanjaro, and venturing to Antarctica with family in tow. But this blog promises to be much more than a travelogue. It will also chronicle a personal journey as I jump from the corporate ladder into the deep end, and then work hard — probably very hard — to re-enter the corporate world a little later and perhaps a little wiser. Along the way this blog will also highlight my passions of supporting Asian children charities and promoting environmental awareness. All of these adventures will be wrapped in a prevailing effort to enrich and enliven my family experience.
This journey may be bumpy at times, but I promise to keep it real. Fasten your seatbelts.
Hong Kong is home. I have lived and traveled extensively in Asia for 20 years. Fatherhood is my greatest joy. Beyond fatherhood I am a hard-core adventure traveller and avid cyclist. My travels have taken me to nearly 100 countries, many off beat and out-of-bounds (North Korea, Bhutan, Cuba, Kowloon). My cycling has transported me to several continents and across thousands of miles.
For 17 years I worked in the television industry in Asia for a major Hollywood studio, serving in a number of roles and helping to entertain a continent. I could not have asked for a better employer, a more exciting and rewarding career, and terrifically smart and capable executives to work with on a daily basis. When I joined the studio as a freshly minted Columbia MBA I never imagined that job would take me so far, literally and figuratively. It has been a thrilling career, but over time I began to develop a yearning for more than just a thrilling career. Call it the effects of fatherhood or a classical mid-life crisis.
Last summer I cycled coast-to-coast across the United States on behalf of the children’s charity, A New Day Cambodia. Cycling 3,700 miles and raising over US$37,000 in the process was an epic, life-shifting experience. The hardest part about cycling across America was stopping. But after pedalling from the Pacific to the Atlantic in 50 days, geography, family, and a job in Hong Kong required wheels up. (See: TransAmerica 2010 link).
Fast forward to March 2011. I announced my departure from my long-time employer, and so begins this new journey. The rest of my life began on April 16.
In thinking about all the possibilities for this extended sabbatical, several things resonated. After cycling across the USA, I developed a strong desire to ultimately circumnavigate the planet on two wheels. So this cycling trip across Europe is part of a bigger mission. I also feel compelled to pedal with a purpose, and will support Yaowawit, a very deserving Thai children’s charity located in Phang Nga, Thailand, during this ride. I have a deep connection to Phang Nga, and also share a connection with Yaowawit through my son’s school in Hong Kong. Sometimes the planets align neatly, as they did when I discovered Yaowawit.
I will also leverage my cycling expedition to create noise around climate change and the need for individual action [see: Go Green]. While cycling is very important to me, I also want to do more during this sabbatical than just ride a bike. The journey to Antarctica in particular addresses an aspiration I have maintained for many years, and also highlights the global warming message. Plus it coincides with the centennial of the Scott/Wilson expedition to the South Pole. All of these experiences will provide rich material, I hope, for a work-in-progress book about life’s adventures and work-life balance.
Living in Asia has created a strong sense of gratitude…..gratitude that I have the energy and the means for an epic journey. Gratitude to my family and the many friends and industry colleagues that are helping me in big and small ways on this journey. Gratitude at the chance to pedal with a purpose on a cause for which I truly want to go the distance. Thank you all.
And thank you, reader, for your interest in this endeavour. I hope you enjoy this journey. As Indiana Jones put it best: “It ain’t the age, babe. It’s the mileage.”