Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Weaving Together My Life Story In A Series Of Blogs

The blog has always been a great platform for storytelling. Over time, I have shared many things about my history, my present, and goals for the future - they are:

My Life Story - Have you ever thought about the impact of big decisions that you made in your life? How about the small ones or the ones made for you? How would have your life turned out if things went the other way?

My Love Story - Michelle and met on October 15, 2010 in a serendipitous way. We were both part of a charity in Raleigh, NC and one night at a dinner struck up a conversation about many things - including our love of travel.

My Housing Story - After 13 moves and stops in three Canadian Provinces and three U.S. States, here is my journey in pictures from the Northwest to the Southeast of North America.

My Car Story - I have the dubious honor of getting speeding tickets on all 6 driveable continents - lucky that there are no cars in Antarctica! Did I ever tell you the time I passed the Polizia in Italy with my mom?

My Travel Story - The story started with a "Rollerblades and Red Bull" journey to 100 countries. It is now expanding in every direction after hitting 7 continents and the 7 wonders of the world (most with kids in tow).

My Nautical Story - I am pretty sure the love of water started in 1972 when I was six weeks old and my grandparents Bob and Dona McBain retired to Shuswap, British Columbia, Canada, and built a log cabin.

My Crazy MBA Story - In the summer of 2017, while climbing Machu Picchu, Peru as part of my wife Michelle’s International MBA from Manhattan College, I thought – why not me?

My Hockey Story - As long as I can remember, I have been playing hockey. Over four and a half decades and thousands of games later, I still lace them up a couple times a week, year-round.

My Cycling Story - When the Covid-19 pandemic first took hold in March 2020 we responded quickly as a family - including strict stay at home orders and no outside contact until we could get a handle on the risks. My attention now turned to exercise - and biking across North America (virtually).

My Retirement Story - I have no interest in disconnecting fully from the work that makes me so fulfilled. I could never see myself  in bingo-playing retired life. I want to stay curious, engaged, and adding value past the (very specific) date in 2034 that I am aiming for.

My Christmas Story - Whether traveling to see family, or going to Disney or Hawaii, or simply staying home - the season is packed with memories of family and friends.

My Music Story - My favorite music can be best defined as sad / emotional / multi-level slow music. Oddly, it is opposite of my worldview - which is normally overly-positive and optimistic.

My Movie Story - Oddly enough, I think Pretty Woman made me very interested in business. I named my cat Austin Powers - oh, and yes, "Danger" is his middle name. Our current dog is named August Rush (Auggie Doggy). Movies such as Planes, Trains & Automobiles, Forrest Gump, & National Lampoon's Vacation have become soundtracks to my life.

These are all my personal stories. My business stories wrap around channels, partnerships, alliances, and ecosystems and can be found here

Also business related, on this platform I named the top 100 most visible channel influencers and top 100 global women in technology groups that continue to get thousands of visitors per month.

Thanks for taking a walk with me through memory lane!

Announcing: 4,000 Days Until Retirement

I received a milestone reminder today from my retirement countdown clock (yes, I have one of those!) that 4,000 days remain until I retire from full-time work. 

A common question I get is why that (very specific) date of September 1, 2034? Simple answer: Our youngest of four daughters, Cali, is off to a college dorm making us empty nesters on that date. 

I will be 62 years old and ready to split my time between some large bucket list items and part-time, project-based work on my chosen schedule. It will also be my 40th anniversary of work in the technology channel!

I have no interest in disconnecting fully from the work that makes me so fulfilled. I could never see myself in bingo-playing retired life. I want to stay curious, engaged, and adding value (perhaps as the old industry curmudgeon shaking his fist at the clouds!).

Several large bucket list items are calling - 

1. Finish travel to 100 countries

This one will be accomplished in the next couple of years (well before retirement) as we are already at 90+. A trip to Serbia with my oldest girls (who are half Serbian on their mother's side) in a few weeks and an incredible safari in 2024 through multiple countries in Eastern Africa will pretty much get us there.

Since Covid, we have knocked off our 7th continent (Antarctica) and 7th wonder of the world. More on the travel story here.

What about seeing the remaining 93 countries in the world? I am glad you asked...

2. Sail the blue ocean

After power boating through most of the Eastern Seaboard of the U.S. and Canada, we want to leave land behind us and take the ~22 day journey over to the Rock Of Gibraltar. This bucket list item will take a decade of planning and execution. More on our nautical stories here.

Michelle does not want to sail for weeks in the middle of nowhere on a used vessel (and I don't blame her!). We are actively saving up for a new sailing catamaran stock full of all the latest technology possible. From sustainability to navigation to full broadband internet 24/7 - we are watching innovation closely in ship building. Right now, the strongest contender is the Leopard 50:

This is not a small endeavor - if we enjoy the trip over the ocean (and are still on speaking terms) the plan would be to keep going on a circumnavigation that will take many years to complete. Flying home for holidays and extended stretches of time with no time constraints would be the objective.

Gaining all of our certifications, licenses, and captain training over the next 4,000 days will be fun.

3. Own a Ferrari

This one is the least complicated of the bucket list items. As the girls become older teenagers, the timing will be right to go to a two-seater sports car in Florida. My sister had bought me the "Justification for higher education" poster for me back in the day and the last remaining car in the garage that I haven't owned is a Ferrari:

For more about my car and motorcycle journey check out here.

4. Play hockey into my 90s

I have played ice hockey consistently since the age of 3 or 4 and I have always watched those senior 90+ leagues in Canada and Northern U.S. States with admiration (and amazement!). The great thing about hockey is that it is a fluid exercise that doesn't jar the knees or joints like other sports allowing for better longevity. 

That is Mark Sertich who played the game he loved until 99 years old! Check out my hockey story here.

5. Retire with 8-figures

I remember walking into my local credit union bank when I was 11 years old after just receiving my first paycheck for delivering flyers around the neighborhood. There was a poster on the wall that (in big writing) said "Do you want to be a millionaire?"

I spent the next 30 minutes reading all of the small print - it was explaining the power of compound interest. It was instructing me to put $50 a month into a savings account and promising that when I turned 65, I would have a million dollars. That day I deposited the first $50. When I upgraded to a paper route I bumped it to $100 per month. When I started pumping gas I put it up to $150.

When I got my internship at IBM in university, I kept raising the monthly number even higher. Michelle is great with money and owned a few houses and had her own sizable 401K from her years working at Cisco.

While my entrepreneurial journey at ChannelEyes didn't end with us getting rich - it gave me the experiences and tools to help other entrepreneurs on their journey. Having the wherewithal to keep renting out our homes in Raleigh and investing/saving as aggressively as we can (while traveling the world and living for today) is paying off slowly but surely.


Turning 50 years old last year - or "half time" as I like to call it - inevitably turned my focus forward. What would the third and fourth quarters of life look like? 

Only a few thousand people have travelled to over a hundred countries. (The Travelers Century Club has 1,400 members as an example).

Fewer people have ever self-navigated across an ocean or circumnavigated. (Estimates that a few hundred boats are attempting the feat at any one time).

Perhaps more bucket list items will pop up over time. These are the ones I have been manifesting as long as I can remember. 

Tomorrow is 3,999 days until retirement!