Background - June 12, 2010 (continued)

In early 2009 it was announced that IAS was being sold (ironically, to the Company I worked for when I first came to Bermuda).  I felt a clear conviction that this was my chance to do the trip I planned 11 years earlier. I am a Christian and believe that God has a plan for all of us and a good part of life is spent trying to figure out what that plan is and how we know when to act. I believe we have "gut feelings" and "a sense of peace" that are God's way of communicating his plans for us. He also gave us free will, the ability to make our own decisions and go against our inner convictions if we so choose. I have spent the past 11 years on that tightrope, balancing my desire to work with children and experience the world and all it has to offer with the practical need to support myself and hopefully a future wife.

It is not easy to give up your career as you are in the peak earning years. There's a lot of pressure to save money, buy a house, collect stuff, save for retirement etc. Banks and insurance companies spend a lot of advertising dollars to convince us that millions are needed to retire in the lifestyle in which we are accustomed. There is an invisible set of golden handcuffs that society has put on us to keep us in the comforts of routine, not to take unnecessary risks and to ensure you are safe. Life does not work that way though as we all face the silent but increasing risks of failing health, accidents and other unplanned events that could derail our good intentions and plans.

The most meaningful role anyone can have is to raise children. I am single, do not have kids and am not in a relationship. The idea that I would work for 20+ years and then retire a wealthy man has absolutely no appeal and is an illusion that can trap people into a life lacking substance. I would rather give all my money away and serve others in a productive way than be a multi-millionaire focusing on myself and ensuring an easy retirement. Tomorrow does not come with a notarized guarantee.

In early 2009, just when it was announced that IAS would be sold, I read a comment in one of my many cycling books that read, "If you were to die right now how would you feel about your life?" I am leaving on August 2nd to work with the orphans of the Philippines so now you know my answer to that question.