From Rat Race to Dream Lifestyles
Part One - Individual Lifestyles
Chapter 1. Breaking Free. For most of his life Jeff Werner was the quintessential, upwardly mobile achiever. While he was being groomed for a vice presidency of a American Express subsidiary, he quit the rat race, sold his Clydesdale horse farm outside Minneapolis and took up his first love: teaching sailing in the Caribbean at less than a third of his previous salary. "And couldn’t be happier,” he told me.
Chapter 2. Love & Adventure. Sally Erdle was bored with her typical suburban existence. A summer romance provided her with an excuse to put her conventional life on hold and do chartering in the Caribbean, which eventually blossomed into an extraordinary career and a sail around the world.
3. Family Adventure Extraordinaire. Paul and Linda Jauncey wanted to escape the drudgery of the “commuter-treadmill” lifestyle, remove their kids from the culture of violence and drugs and maintain their close-knit family ties—by taking to sea in a 43-foot boat. They got a big bonus: a life that adventure novels are made of.
4. Wheeling & Dealing in War & Peace. Danger and risk pervade John Golds’ life: from dodging Luftwaffe bombs as a teenager in London, to the hazards associated with suppressing the Mau Mau insurgency around Nairobi, from having the Somalis put a price on his head in Wajir, to the financial perils inherent in being a Lloyds of London "name" in St. Lucia.
5. Family at Sea. The desire to abandon the rat race for romance and adventure led Scott and Donna Hansen, with their two-year-old son, to set off to circumnavigate the world in their 36-foot yacht. While visiting forty countries, they covered 50,000 nautical miles—an odyssey that changed them profoundly. Their daughter, Celeste, was born during the voyage.
6. A Man vs. the Atlantic. At twenty-nine, Pascal Dumas had had it with his life as an industrial engineer. He bought an inexpensive, 22-foot sloop, got a leave of absence from his job and went off to test out a new lifestyle for himself on the high seas by first conquering the Atlantic.
7. Risking to Live. After getting his engineering degree Doug Wolford was selected for DuPont's exclusive, fast track ESD program, from which top management is chosen. But plant engineering and later writing speeches for DuPont's top executives was exciting but unsatisfying. So he quit, sold everything and took off for a trip around the world with his wife Karen.
8. Living the Dream Now. A traffic jam prompted Nicky and Roger Horner to make an agonizing reappraisal of their DINK lifestyle. They proceeded to sell their business, refurbish a boat and sail the Mediterranean and Caribbean. Their first child was born along the way.
9. A Prosecutor Turned Novelist. Bill Pease entered law with romantic notions; he exited it fifteen years later as an Assistant U.S. Attorney convinced that lawyers are a "pack of whores." In an act of supreme courage he abandoned a secure, legal career to devote full-time to writing a crime novel—even though he hadn't had anything published before. He beat the odds.
10. The Peripatetic Adventurer. Tossing the keys of his mortgaged house to a bank official, Mark Lockley snapped: “If this house is not really mine, then it must be yours.” He also walked away from his thriving roof contracting business for a scuba diving job paying $70 a week on the Greek island of Corfu. For the last decade he has traveled from one extraordinary adventure after another with one suitcase and no home base.
11. A tropical Quest. Cheryl Cook’s original game plan was to make it to the top of a Fortune 500 company. Halfway there she got turned off by the hassles of corporate life and decided on a life in the tropics.
12. An Escape to the Peace Corps. Robert “Sandy” McAusland was an engineering consultant who worked on the hydrogen bomb and whose passion was restoring and flying old planes—until he escaped to Grenada and the Peace Corps, after his 43-year marriage broke up.
13. An Amercan Expatriate in Singapore. To begin with, Steve Dewey, a Pittsburgh native, was never particularly enamored with living in the U.S. "People are obsessively career oriented and aren't terribly friendly." Then, after being downsized twice, he landed a job in Singapore. "My life is now ten times better than it was in the States."
14. Going Native in the Caribbean. Nils Voss, a successful owner and CEO of three companies, left his corporate and domestic life to cruise the Caribbean in his 50-foot sloop, while maintaining firm control over his enterprises.
15. From Bureaucrat to Whistleblower. Al Louis Ripskis went from being a disillusioned Washington bureaucrat to a crusading whistleblower, from an investigative reporter to a globetrotting writer profiling unique lifestyles.
16. Scuba Diving in Tobago. At fifty-two Finn Rinds abandoned his successful, urban graphic design business and headed out to the Caribbean island of Tobago to open up a scuba diving shop.
17. The Pulpit Provocateur. The prevailing Springfield, Mo. Central High legend has it that Jack Young divorced his wife of twenty-eight years, chucked an eminently successful twenty-six year legal career in Little Rock, jumped on his Yamaha motorcycle to become a beach bum in LA. The legend has it right except for the last point. Jack remarried and became a Unitarian minister “comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable.”
18. The lives of Jacques Daudin. Daudin experienced many lifestyles all over the world—from a guerrilla fighter in Vietnam to an agronomist in Africa and an entrepreneur all over the Caribbean—until he found his niche: preserving the ecology and environment of Union Island, W.I.
19. The Man Who Had It All. Although Bjarne Olesen led a life that most urbanites would envy, he wasn’t happy. So he and his girlfriend moved to the West Indies, to assist their friend in running a scuba diving operation and live the simplified life.
20. A Rebel With a Cause. When family and legal hassles got too intense, Jim Thompson did a sea version of The Fugitive by refurbishing a dilapidated sailboat and taking off to cruise the seven seas, one step ahead of the authorities.
21. The Kaleidoscopic Life of John Caldwell. John had a lifelong love affair with the sea, topped by a dream of finding an island retreat, which he is developing into a tropical paradise.
Part Two - Collective Lifestyles
22. The Trappist Way. Is happiness achieved through the total surrender and shedding of all possessions, as practiced by the Trappist monks, who don't even own the shirts on their backs?
23. Life in a Zen Monastery. Living in the Zen Mountain Monastery can be very arduous at times. But then again, who ever told you that getting enlightenment was going to be easy?
24. Is It Paradise Yet? Fed up with the high crime rate and the impersonal urban existence? Crave the warmth of a close-knit, environmentally sensitive, rural community? The Twin Oaks commune merits a close look.
25. Achieving Your Personal Dream. A good look at what it takes. And that you don't need to be either rich or famous!
Copyright © 2010 Al Louis Ripskis
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