Don’t be afraid to go out where the adventure begins!
Lois Joy Hofmann
“Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing at all.” Helen Keller
During the 1980s while living in Minnesota, I decided that I wanted to plan my life rather than being thrown about by external events. I had always wanted to retire in San Diego. Why not move there now, avoid the harsh Minnesota winters, and find my soul mate? My business partner lived in Arizona, so he agreed with the move. I began to set up clients in San Diego.
When you set out your goals, be prepared for them to be fulfilled in ways that will surprise you! There are no accidents! You set the mission and objectives, with God’s help, and the strategy will take care of itself as events unfold to propel you toward those goals.
One Sunday, during one of my trips to San Diego, I hired a sailboat captain to take a client out for a day. During a horrible accident, I was thrown against the lifelines; my liver almost split in two. I was rushed into surgery. An internal medicine specialist, on call that night, saved my life. He warned me, however, that my recovery would take two years. He advised me to resign my clients and quit flying all over the country. “You’ll never be in that venture capital business again. Maybe an outdoor job, like being a mail carrier, will give you the fresh air and exercise you’ll need!”
I sold my Minnesota home, resigned my clients there, and moved to San Diego to recover. I hiked the trails and worked out in the gym, chocking up four hours per day of aerobic exercise. That cut my estimated recovery time in half. Meanwhile, I researched the burgeoning biotechnology market. During that process, I met Dr. Günter Hofmann, a physicist and inventor. The rest is history.
I joined Günter’s company, which had been operating out of three townhouses and two garages. I changed the direction of the company from making and selling laboratory research instruments to developing drug and gene delivery systems. Then we raised many rounds of venture capital, finally taking the company public. All went well; the company grew to over one hundred employees and another hundred associates around the world. I had fulfilled one of my life goals, that of becoming the CEO of a publicly held company. We had J & J as a pharmaceutical partner. Clinical trials were looking good. Patients were being helped.
Then another setback occurred. Günter and I were ousted from the very company he had founded in a traumatic coup. We were devastated. Of course, we contacted our attorneys. Our choice, in the end, was to fight or flee. Many advised us to duke it out.
Our decision was radical and unexpected. We decided to sail around the world! Thus began an eight-year odyssey to assuage our anger and hurt, and to fulfill a far different dream. It would be a better life—one in which we would be truly independent and self-sufficient, answering to no one. We would be back in control of our own destiny. We were open to change. We were ready for new beginnings.
We learned many lessons during those eight years of sailing. Our Maiden Voyage, the topic of my first book, was all about control. We were forced by the wind and weather to change schedules and to delay crew. Even though Pacific Bliss was a new boat, equipment broke down. And we faced a Force 10 storm off the pirate coast of Colombia. Force 12 is a hurricane. A 43-foot catamaran cannot survive that! After that voyage, we realized that there is a certain peace in being out of control. It reminds one of how much there is to lose, and how fast one can lose it.
I am a different person now. I have a certain calmness underneath my skin that I didn’t have before. My life has all been worth it. I have no regrets.
Maybe you think it’s too late to pursue your passion, to stretch yourself to that place where adventure begins. Life went on. Age just crept up on you. And somewhere along the way, you lost the plot. Well, I have news for you. Günter retired at 65, the year we ordered our Catana catamaran to be built. I was 58. Günter turned 70 on the Passage from Bali to Singapore, with two years of our circumnavigation yet to come! You’re never too old to live your dream! I encourage you to cast off those dock lines, to pursue your passion, and to live your dream, whatever that may be. To do that, you will need to overcome your fear of the unknown.
Lois Joy Hofmann
Lois Joy Hofmann retired after a 35-year entrepreneurial and management career. Then she completed her circumnavigation with her husband, Gunter. Intrepid adventurers, the couple now embarks on more conventional travel with the goal of understanding countries and cultures that they omitted the first time around. When not traveling, Lois resides in San Diego, California, where she enjoys writing, speaking and photography. She launched her first book in the nautical trilogy “In Search of Adventure and Moments of Bliss: Maiden Voyage” in March, 2011. The book won first place in the San Diego Book Awards, travel category. Lois is currently writing the second book in the series, to be called “Sailing the South Pacific.” Lois also serves on the Board of Directors of UPLIFT a faith-based organization working to improve the well being and quality of life of San Diego’s inner city population. Learn more about Lois on her website and subscribe to her blogs.
Thank you Lois for sharing your amazing story of courage and being Gutsy in life, regardless of age, as you pointed out. Please leave your questions and comments for Lois in the comments section below, and she will be over to respond. Also visit her website for more photos and to learn more about her book.
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