There has been a lot of things going on since I went to Sailing School. After taking the class, the dream that seemed to be 'just dreamin', now had some reality to it! The life of cruising in my mind was very close to what I experience during my week at school. I already own a couple of boats, so I understand the boat maintenance part! The largest challenge is to find a way to make all of the stars align, so that you can take the time to cruise. I don't believe that the stars ever align...let me repeat....the stars NEVER align! Each person has to decide when to follow their dreams, and there is never a paved road with the dream at the end. In my situation I have family and work obligations, along with some final alimony payments, and I just turned 55 in December. I am also not ready to retire, but I really need some time off, as this year will be my 29th year at Walmart Information Systems! I feel that if I wait until I am 60 or 65, that it will be harder to handle the learning curve, and I will not be physically as strong as I am now. I also want to have a very active cruising style, with snorkeling, spearfishing, fishing, hiking, etc. So for the last few months I have been struggling on whether to pursue the dream, or give in to the growing list of why this is a bad idea. I believe there are thousands of people, just like me, working in an office space, reading the blogs of others, and hoping that something would motivate them to go for it! I think that most of those people will still be reading blogs and dreaming many years from now. In some cases that is OK, as there are many ways to enjoy dreams, but for me, I have a strong desire to do it, or I will regret it for the rest of my life.
I had to throw in a picture of the cruising life...just to remind everyone of what the end of the day looks like when cruising.
So to be honest, the only way that I could figure out how to go cruise was to turn in my notice at work, after bonus time, and head out cruising. Well, after some discussion with people at work who were nearing retirement age, I learned that Walmart has a great program that would allow long term associates, and I qualify for that, a leave of absence (LOA) up to 12 months! I have been most of my career with Walmart and they have been an incredible company to work for! Like any company, there has been ups and downs, but I have enjoyed almost 29 years working for them. Out of that 29 years, I have had about 4 different careers, from programming, technical leads, to managing different areas. I also spent two years as an expat in Costa Rica, which really allowed me to see things in a different way! I have also travelled to more than 13 countries, working for Walmart. So, last week I spent some time visiting with my manager and VP to discuss whether they would support me in a 12 month LOA, which they seemed very supported. Today I met with our HR (Human Resource) representative. Well the meeting went pretty well, but of course there are many approvals that are needed for a request like this...so I will just have to wait for a week or so to see if it is approved or not!