Choices – the choices you make today determine what choices are available to you tomorrow.
That’s a life philosophy that we (Rich & Sue Freeman) live by. As managers at Eastman Kodak Company, we chose to walk away in 1996 and hike the Appalachian Trail, walking for 6 months from Georgia to Maine. As we were leaving Kodak, the most common response we got was “oh, how lucky you are.” Balderdash! Luck plays some part in the life you lead, but a much more prevalent factor is the choices you make throughout life.
-We chose to eat well and stay active (yes, we were lucky to have good health)
-We chose to get college educations (yes, we were lucky to have supportive families and their financial assistance)
-We chose to be adventurous
-We chose to remain childless (yes we were lucky to live in an era when that was possible)
-We chose to live frugally and save
-We chose to focus on adventures rather than things
And so, now we have choices. Choices is the 1992 Grand Banks Europa trawler we bought in December 2012. She’s a means to an end. The end is a voyage of up to 3 years, slow and steady, on America’s Great Loop. We spent most of 2013 getting familiar with and upgrading Choices. In November, 2013 we retired & shoved off, heading south to the Florida Keys. We wintered in Marathon, then began a very slow trip up the east coast of the US, following the intracoastal waterway. We made it to the Erie Canal in NY state & put Choices into heated storage for the winter of 2014/2015.
Choices and the great Loop is our next great adventure – certainly not our first, and hopefully not our last. There’s no such thing as a “trip of a lifetime.” Each is one more adventure – if that’s the choice you make.
Along this vein, after the Appalachian Trail, we knew neither of us wanted to go back to corporate life. We wanted to continue enjoying the outdoors. That brought about our forming Footprint Press, Inc. to research, write, and publish 14 outdoor recreation guidebooks. They all pertained to enjoying the outdoors via hiking, biking, paddling and exploring waterfalls around New York State.
In between researching the various books we went on adventures around the world. These included hiking across England on the Coast to Coast Trail, hiking across Spain on the Camino de Santiago, and hiking coast to coast through the jungles of Panama. Other trips included hiking Alaska’s Chillkoot Trail, circumnavigating the big island of Hawaii, kayaking Glacier Bay Alaska, and two trips to Africa to climb Mt Kilimanjaro, go on safari, hike volcanoes and visit various tribes. We thrive on adventure and look forward to new ones on the Loop.