“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”
– Winston Churchill
It’s true – as we go through life, opportunities arise every day (although they can often be disguised as adversity, setbacks, or failure.) Our perception of those opportunities will often drive what we do with them. Do we forge ahead, throwing caution to the wind? Do we turn down the opportunity for reasons of comfort, convenience or conviction? Or do we miss seeing the opportunity in the first place because of bitterness, anger, and resentment?
You all know that a fairly large opportunity plopped itself down in front of me 30 days ago. It is a rather daunting one – for the first time in my adult life, I’ve been confronted with a blank canvas. There is literally nothing staring back at me. It’s a rare opportunity, and one I don’t want to squander.
So, with the preamble out of the way – what is next for me?
Well, to start, I’m leaving Regina at the end of June. This has been my third time living in the Queen City (and in the 15 years of my broadcasting career, Regina amounts for nearly 50% of the time I’ve spent in the industry.) I love Regina, but I also feel like we’ve had a good, long relationship which has come to a conclusion. It’s a fantastic city, and I have many close friends here who I’ll make the effort to keep visiting over time.
For the summer, I’m heading back “behind the garlic curtain.” I think many of you know family is incredibly important to me, and making the time to be with them is something I have the opportunity to do right now.
My teenaged nephews are becoming increasingly complex and interesting young men who I want to spend some time with before they set off on adult journeys of their own. My parents celebrate 40 years of marriage this September (a milestone which today seems increasingly rare), and I want to be with them for that event.
Then, in the fall, I pack my bags.
I’ve always regretted not traveling when I was younger. Given my career ambitions, I never made the time to take a gap year. From high school to college to my first job in TV in Swift Current – and 15 years of nose-to-the-grindstone after that, long-term travel was something I wanted to experience, but I was never brave enough to take the leap.
In the middle September, I hop on an airplane to venture off to Japan for three months. This will be my fourth trip to the land of the rising sun, and while I’m there I intend to start a new project which I am extremely excited about.
Gone John is a new site I’m launching to document my travels. While on the road, I will be producing content in a variety of formats – video, audio, blog posts – sharing stories about my journey and the people I meet. I hope you will find it interesting, compelling and worthy of spreading in your social networks.
The experience producing my travel news podcast Boarding Call has been a positive one – and I think a version of that show will continue to publish as I go through my travels – although it may fold in to the bigger Gone John project. This is something I need more time to think about (and get advice on) over the summer. Ultimately, once I hit the road I will be turning out audio content of some sort on a regular basis. The banner it lives under is really what is still up in the air.
I also want to try my hand at freelance travel writing. I’ve been talking with friends who’ve written for magazines and other publications, and have been picking their brains on how to pitch an idea and get a piece through to completion. It’s new territory for me, but an area I’d like to grow in.
After coming home for Christmas, I’ll set back out in to the world with my backpack – with the intent of visiting destinations in southeast Asia, the South Pacific and parts of Europe. Money is a consideration which dictates my itinerary – as is time. As I build my route, I’ll post updates on the Gone John site, and through all my social media channels.
You never finish traveling, but at some point it will be time to come home. Where home will be is uncertain – although I would love to stay in Western Canada, preferably in a major city.
As for what kind of work I’ll take on after the trip – I don’t know. In 12 months, I may be a different person. Media will always be in my DNA, but I’m also open to exploring new and exciting sectors that I haven’t even thought of yet (and I never turn down a conversation about opportunities – we should connect on LinkedIn!)
So – that is what comes next. I’m excited, optimistic, and eager to move onward. I look forward to you joining me along for the journey.