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Archive for the ‘Philosophy’ Category

Paying the Piper — On Finding Meaningful Work

Posted by Greg on July 4, 2009

Newfoundland in June 09
Back in Newfoundland for a visit, June 2009, retracing some of the steps from my circumnavigation.
Long trips are great but you eventually have to go home…

I love long kayaking expeditions. On such a trip you fully live each day and live for the moment. However, you can’t spend your entire life on what amounts to a glorified vacation. Eventually you have to return home and pay the piper.

One of my biggest challenges has been finding meaningful work. By that I mean work that pays well, work that stokes passion and leaves you energized instead of drained, and allows ample time for adventures, be that hiking the AT or paddling around some large land mass. Some people search for such a “calling” their entire life. Some lucky people find it or, more likely, stumble upon it — probably since few of us understand what we *really* need.  If you do know, then you are miles ahead of the pack.

If you follow my blog you know that I walked away from a comfortable salary working as a software engineer/project manager, to find the right blend of kayaking, teaching, sales, helping people, and application of my software/managerial skills, that would ignite all of my passions. I also knew that I would always have regrets if I did not pursue long kayaking expeditions.

Lost in Iceland

Posted by Greg on October 13, 2008

My life has been a flurry of actively since the completion of my solo Newfoundland expedition, including teaching at the Qajaq TC Michigan Training Camp, Maine Island Kayak Company’s  New England Intermediate Rough Water Symposium and even returning to Newfoundland to visit again. This week I teach at the Delmarva Retreat (America’s largest Greenland-style event) and following I will be teaching in Sweden at the Escape Kajakcenter from October 23 – November 2.

I still haven’t even settled into home since my Newfoundland trip ended and am still dealing with all the re-acclimation issues that follow a long trip. It seemed to hit me harder this time — but that’s a story for another day…

The October 2008 Issue of Sea Kayaker Magazine contains my article, “Lost in Iceland” — about my record-setting circumnavigation of Iceland in 2007 with German kayaker Freya Hoffmeister.

I find most trip articles (travelogues) difficult to read, so this article was meant to be something very different. It is a very personal account of my struggle to bust out of my safe but confining “cubicle” in the corporate world, to seek a life that I am more passionate about. I found it a very difficult article to write.

The Exploration Within?

Posted by Greg on March 23, 2008

Fog on Lake Destiny
Early Morning Fog on Lake Destiny. Photograph by Greg Stamer (click on image to view enlargement)

“We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time”. — T.S. Eliot.

I must admit that I generally don’t enjoy reading kayaking travelogues. You know, those blow-by-blow accounts where someone describes their trip — what they ate for breakfast, how many miles they paddled, what they ate for dinner, how they smelled on day fourteen, and so on. I have a hard time reading them. The reason being, for me, the trip is only the canvas on which a broader and more interesting story is told. For example, in the case of my Iceland circumnavigation with (ex) partner Freya Hoffmeister, I’m currently writing an article for Sea Kayaker Magazine. In it Iceland is just a fascinating backdrop to frame my struggle to create a new lifestyle for myself amid the pain of how the stresses of the trip accelerated the demise of the relationship that Freya and I shared. It’s a very difficult article to write well, and balance, but hopefully the result will be worth the effort — if I have the courage to be honest enough.