An audio and video podcast of my trip hitchhiking around the world by sea.
Random header image... Refresh for more!

A New Sailsman

Well, your votes are in. I asked you on my blog. I made some phone calls. Heck, I even asked the check out lady at the grocery store. When given the choice between taking a great job or the adventure of a lifetime, almost unanimously you went with the adventure. You all gave some good advice, but it was when my mom called me one day and after a long, uncomfortable pause said, “I can’t believe I’m about to say this… I think you should do it. I didn’t raise my kids to live in fear…”, that’s when I knew what I had to do.

It’s funny-two weeks ago I still didn’t know what I was going to do. I sat on a plane, gazing out the window as islands of clouds floated by. What do I do? I have a good job with the Grand Canyon Railway. I have even better job opportunities, and then there was that other little thing. You know, that whole “sail around the world thing”. Just hours before, I glanced over the faces of travel agents encouraging them to “sell what you believe in, do what you love… life is too short and this country too great to not be happy doing what your doing.”

As most of you know, I worked on and off with Grand Canyon Railway since I was in High School. Started as a Coach Attendant, finished college and joined the sales team. Then after more than 5 years in sales, I decided it was time to follow a dream of mine. So April 1, 2006, I left the train, bought an “around the world ticket” and spent the next 5 1/2 months traveling.

When I  decided to travel, I wasn’t in search for some spiritual enlightenment. It wasn’t to find myself. I didn’t do it to change the world… I just wanted to see it.  And that I did: China, Southeast Asia, India, Europe. Country by country I worked my way across the world. Then I returned Flagstaff, and within weeks the GCR invited me to rejoin the “team”. Well after 9 months of retirement a job sounds like a pretty good idea. So I climbed back on board the train. But it wasn’t the same. Different management. Different owners. The job was mostly the same, but it didn’t take long to realize something else was different… me.

It’s kind of hard to explain. It’s like going through life thinking your vision is pretty good. Not perfect, of course, but not bad. Then one day you get submersed in different cultures and it’s like finding a pair of glasses. Gradually you realize things were not as clear as you once thought. It’s not that your vision was bad, but things got a little more clear. Unfortunately, I realized about 6 months after rejoining the railway, that things started to fade.  I wasn’t inspired any more. Not by art, not by people, not by life. It was time for change.

And that’s a big reason why a guy who has never been sailing a day in his life, walked into work less than 2-weeks ago, to join a friend he kind of knows to sail round the world.  Change. Opportunities like this don’t knock too often. When they do… I think you answer.  Live without regret and you’ll never have to ask yourself “what if”. That is of course unless you’re asking, “What if I get sea sick?”. But I guess I’ll find that out soon enough!


1 Binks { 11.21.07 at 4:50 pm }

I’m the first commenter, I’m the first commenter!

Wait, no I’m not. DANGIT, as you Flagstaffricans would say.

Site is looking good. 🙂

2 Barb McGuinness { 11.27.07 at 10:15 am }

Go for it Derek! You’re young, single, smart, intuitive … use what God has given you. See the world and figure out what you can do to improve it!

I was with your Sept AAA group on the GCR and would have predicted from the moment I met you, that you were destined for greater things. GCR was lucky to have had you for so long.

Use your upbringing and the wisdom bestowed on you by your parents to guide you thru this. Just promise me you won’t forget us little guys … and if you ever need a place to hang out in NE Ohio, remember I have a full in-laws suite availalbe for you. You’re welcome to it if you ever need to get your bearings.

God bless,

3 Kathy "O" { 11.27.07 at 1:58 pm }

Well as long as you won’t marry me guess I will have to adopt you instead!

4 Dawn Carey { 11.28.07 at 4:28 pm }

Hey Derek,
I heard the news and just wanted to wish you luck with your travels. I look forward to reading your blogs.
Good Luck,

Leave a Comment