I wish it were as simple as "the weather." After 27 days in a row of rain (ok – we had sun for part of two days), the sun finally came out today.
I’ve been coming up to Alaska in the summer for about 15 years. Amy grew up here and after we started going out together it seemed like a trip to her home state was in order. I grew up in Texas, so after putting up with the "if you cut Alaska in half Texas would become the third largest state" jokes, I took a trip and immediately fell in love with the place.
There are many magical things about Alaska. Everyone here has a story. The scale of things is unbelievable. When the sun shines, nothing is wrong with the planet. But my favorite is that everything here needs a power wash and I get to wear jeans anywhere I go. We bought a house in Homer six years ago and have been coming here for about a month a year ever since.
I’ve written about my need for a periodic downshift as one way I manage the intensity level of my life. I’m fundamentally an introvert, yet I spent much of my life in extrovert situations. Over time I reach a point where I need a break from human contact. My month in Homer is my ultimate annual downshift. While I’m up here I work about half time, which means a 40 hour a week schedule. Since we don’t know many people here I end up with a remarkable amount of reading, thinking, running, and chilling out time. We don’t have a TV – and we don’t miss it.
Over the course of the year I get tired. I get up every day at 5 am. I run 5 to 10 hours / week. I work 12 – 15 hours a day, Monday to Friday. I work on the weekends. I travel. As I get older, I’ve found I simply need some time each year to sleep until I wake up.
I want more focused time with Amy. When I die, I won’t have had enough time with her. We take a week off together every quarter, but that’s not enough for either of us. I want to spend more time with her and this is a way to get a lot of time together.
I periodically need to refresh / reboot my brain. I need time to think, experiment, and play with new ideas. Getting away and having a month in a totally different context does that for me.
Entertainingly, I always have plenty of deal activity that happens in July. This year I was involved in a major financing and another transaction that should close soon. Anyone who works with me knows I am available, but very mellow. Ah – the magic of DSL and a cell phone.
While a month in a different context doesn’t (and can’t) work for everyone, hopefully this provides a glimpse into how it works for me and answers the question I’ve gotten over and over again this month of "what are you doing up in Homer, Alaska?"