No shoes. No shirt. No service.

And by service, I mean cell service.

March 2, 2017

For the first time since, I estimate, 2001 I took a vacation free of technology – meaning the morning that I left, I LEFT! This was a conscious decision that I made, realizing that for many years, especially since the arrival of the first smartphone, that I had been connected 24/7.

So there I was, driving to YVR airport on a snowy Saturday morning on my way to Nicaragua and then to Rise Up, a surf and yoga camp roughly three hours north of Managua, meaning relative seclusion. What did I find? Peace, silence, and relaxation.

The last few years have brought a lot of change in my life. Most of you that have known me for a decade or more know the physical changes and the triathlons that I have competed in, but most do not know the personal changes in my life. I came to a point where I knew I needed to get away from everything. I had felt this world would not survive without my input if I was absent from work and heaven forbid, not accessible via phone, email or text! This is what my vacations had looked like over this period: I may not have been at work, but I was always available. I felt the need to be connected. What if my staff had questions they could not answer? What if a client needed to talk to me? What if the market did something unanticipated and I wasn’t there to advise? Our industry puts a lot of pressure on our ability to navigate waters in a financial world that changes constantly.

But there I was, riding in the back seat of a truck, driving to the North West coast of Nicaragua.

And how was it?

One of the best experiences I have had in recent memory.

I wasn’t surprised that I was able to relax. I didn’t reach for my phone once. I believe I was ready for this experience. No Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, emails, etc . But how were the Canucks doing? Have my Saskatchewan Roughriders made any changes? What about the Toronto Blue Jays? So many things I was going to miss – or at least thought I would miss.

What did I miss? Well, not much I guess. Or at least no one has told me how much I missed other than the amount of snow, the number of days schools were closed, and how fast the snow melted, all during the same time that I was experiencing 38 degrees Celsius weather and learning to surf.

I was reminded, while on this vacation, how little I need to be in touch with work. I also came to the realization that I have an amazing team who step in, and that, surprisingly, the world can survive without me for a week – probably even longer!

More importantly, I came back relaxed, rejuvenated, and for the first time in a very long time, I looked forward to coming back to work. It was refreshing.

The vacation was awesome! I can now surf on my own… not that I’m going to Hawaii to catch 10 foot waves, but I can catch green waves (you can google green waves) on my own and I am ecstatic with my progression this week. Rise Up was an amazing place – the food was delicious and the surroundings were absolutely beautiful.

My 10 & 12 year old kids wondered how I could make it through a week without technology. You can guess what’s going to happen during their spring vacation this year! I believe this is something everyone should do at least once a year. It is important to disconnect, focus on what is in front of you and enjoy it. I sure did.