Why I Spend A Month A Year in Homer, Alaska

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.

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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?"