Transitions and transformations seem to be relentless in our day and age. As many of you already know, I faced a perfect storm of three unrelated events back in January 2007 – moving homes, the death of my wife’s father, and my bone tumor, which was a death sentence later commuted to six months of convalescence. You’d think that was enough, right? Wrong!

I now face new set of storms, not only in my personal life, but also in my work, where I help retirees find a new beginning with my DARE Method program. After five years in this pioneering business, I am pivoting from individuals to groups in corporates. At this juncture, I need to take a break, so I can open myself up to new perspectives and seek joyful opportunities in my business. So, I am following the advice I give to my clients, recently featured in The Guardian newspaper, which is to go on a gap year, a sabbatical, and find a new beginning.

Fast reverse to my past

When I was about seven years old, my parents took me and my brothers to Fribourg, Switzerland, and there we visited a park, where on display was a damaged Spitfire that had been shot down during the Second World War. Like a young Charles Lindbergh, here I am in the cockpit, and I have no idea of how I got there, but it left an impression on me.

As an adolescent, I was enthralled by airplanes. I used to travel from our home in Khartoum by BOAC (now British Airways) to school in the UK, and over a period of 10 years, I clocked up well over 65 flights. Travelling by air was magical from the time we arrived at the airport to board our VC10 aircraft all the way through to the thrill of landing at London Heathrow. I’m grateful for my short-sightedness, as otherwise I might have become a pilot.

About two years ago, I became enamored with eagles, not just because they are majestic beasts of the air, but because they are not afraid to fly solo, and they are fearless in the face of storms. In fact, given the storms gathering around me, I take heart from the eagle, which rises above the storm clouds to where the air is calm, and it stays there until the storm is over. With my eagle tattoo, my sense is that the spirit of the eagle and I are one. My way of rising above the storm clouds is to go on an adventure, a different type of retreat, a gap year (which of course does need not be a full year).

George Jerjian Tatoo

You may be wondering how my business will run without me? Well, I will be hosting my last live programs in January and February 2024, but after that they will be unavailable until the summer of 2024. My website will continue to offer my digital programs, and I will still be active on social media.

Fast forward to March 2024

As some of you know, I am a big fan of travel and transformation. British novelist and travel writer Lawrence Durrell said, “Travel can be one of the most rewarding forms of introspection.” One of my favorite books when I was an adolescent was Jules Verne’s Around the World in Eighty Days, so on 21st March 2024, after I celebrate one year less than my 70th birthday, I will embark on my own personalized voyage around the world in 80 days. One immense difference between Verne’s character Phileas Fogg’s voyage and mine is that his was driven by speed; mine will be driven by slowness. For me, this adventure of circumnavigating the globe cannot be delayed. It’s now or never, so I’m throwing all my enthusiasm into this adventure and inventure.

Around the world in 80 days

So, here’s my itinerary. I will not be following in the footsteps of Jules’ Verne’s Phileas Fogg. I have created my own specific itinerary, travelling across five continents, and five countries, spending about a fortnight o so in each country. One caveat is that I cannot travel to places that I have already visited, so in that way I am seeking to create new memories, new magic, and new mysteries. The five countries, in order of travel, are South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and Canada. So, my dear readers, if you would like to share any ideas and suggestions for my journey, I would be most grateful to hear from you, but just to be clear, I will have to be very selective, so please don’t be offended if I don’t take up your suggestion, because I must be gentle on myself and I must pace myself. I’m certain you will understand.

Until my return…

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