"I am unable to end my leave of absence next week as originally planned. My sincere apologies for the late notice. I was offered the opportunity to stay the winter in Antarctica and have taken it with some reluctance. This rare life-changing opportunity was too special for me to pass up.
My original hope was that I would be able to come down here and then return to your group. However, it looks like I won't be able to return until October due to the unavailability of flights during the winter months. Since I do not know the exact date of my return, I am reluctant to extend my leave for the full year because I may or may not be able to meet that date. Therefore, I am proposing that I separate from the company until I return to Denver for good.
It was truly a pleasure to work for you. I enjoyed it and hope to do so again.
With that short letter earlier this week, I entered uncharted territory in my life. I was supposed to be returning to my full time job in Denver this week. Instead, I've left the relative security of full time employment. I could consider Antarctica as a full time job with a specific end at which point I'd find another full time job. However, it doesn't feel that way. It feels wide open.
I consider Colorado my home, but I don't need to go directly there. I had a conversation a friend last week: when they leave here, they are deciding whether to buy a house or to go climb Mt. Everest. What an amazing choice?!? The American Dream or My Dream. That is the choice. What is my dream?
Some people work here for half the year and don't work the rest of the year. Some loaf. Some volunteer. Some explore. Some take contract jobs near their homes so they can see their family and friends. I have all of these options and more. I considered coming back down here next summer after a short break, but that possibility doesn't look as good anymore. I want to hike the Appalachian Trail. I want to bike across the USA. I can't do those things until spring in the United States. I'm considering living at a ski resort for the winter before doing one of those things, probably in Summit county so I can be near my friends in Colorado.
Of course, there is also a world I've been wanting to explore for years. I want to walk among the temples of Angkor Wat, Cambodia and visit Adriana's Bottle Beach, Thailand. I want to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro, Tanzania and visit Cabrini in Botswana. I want to swim along the Great Barrier Reef, Australia. I want to take Craig's suggestion and bike Mt. Haleakala, Hawaii. I want to hike Torres del Paine, Chile or the great walks of New Zealand. I want to sleep in the ice hotel in Sweden. I wan to mountain bike the White Rim and Moab, UT with Lindsay. I'd love to touch the tens of thousands of non-stinging jellyfish of Palau. I want to be amazed by the ruins in Petra, Jordan. I want to explore the natural and cultural beauties of this world we share with so many others.
I also enjoy my life in Colorado and want to go back to it and the great people I spent it with. When there was an abundance of work, I loved my job, the people I worked with, and its location. I even found a way to use public transit. It worked for me and it wasn't just a habit. It was a great way of life and became home in ways that Baltimore never did.
I don't know what I am going to do yet, but I have infinite choices. The only reason for my unhappiness is me.
The rising moon over Mt. Discovery (photo by William T.)