We were one hour from home, driving out of Imperial valley and about to climb the San Diego mountains. I was exhausted from working in the heat of Arizona for a few weeks building fences, fighting dehydration, and working my body to its limits. I notice an incoming call from my buddy John who lives in Oahu and when John calls, I always answer. Whether it’s just reconnecting with an old friend or being presented with an opportunity, John’s calls are ones I don’t like to miss.
Turns out, his friend Tom purchased a house on the north shore and is looking for me to come build one of my surfboard sheds on the property. He wants me there the next day. My heart sunk a bit. On the one hand, I’m looking at a job that would take us to the North Shore for a few weeks. On the other hand, I need to sleep. I need to be with my family.
I look over to my wife and she’s already looking up flights for me. This woman who labored and delivered our three children, who stays home with them without complaint, who creates a home that’s fun and loving and spontaneous – we are better together. I couldn’t do what I do without her and her support. And I often find myself wanting to turn down jobs because of how much I miss my family.
So, after a 24-hour trip to Oahu to connect with Tom and finalize his vision and my design, I bought one-way flights for my whole family, and we were packing up for the North Shore. When I’m traveling for work, I already have a lot of luggage with all my tools so my family of 5 has become accustomed to traveling lightly with only the necessities. Taking the Metro+ Deluxe along with us has been a game changer. It has made traveling through airports smooth and kept our youngest moving along swiftly with the rest of us.
While I worked on the shed with a view of the ocean, my family enjoyed the waters of the North Shore. The kids would pop in to paint the shed, and Laurie and I would finish the evening with a sunset and a beer. And when it was time to play, we played. Because even though I’m so grateful I get to take my family along these work trips, it can’t be all work all the time.
So, one evening, I put my 6-year-old daughter Lucy on my back, and we paddled out into the ocean in front of the house. After a little while of paddling around under a pink lit sky, seeing fish swim under us, and sea turtles pop up to the surface, we caught a little rolling wave and paddled back in. Lucy said, “Daddy it felt like I was flying. Or at least, I think that’s why flying would be like.” My little girl never ceases to amaze me and bring tears to my eyes. I looked at her and said, “That’s exactly what flying feels like.”
In these moments, I find myself beyond thankful for the experiences that a box of tools and saying yes has led my family to. In a normal circumstance, I couldn’t take my family to Hawaii for 3 weeks, but this form of work travel is making me feel like we are starting to crack the code. And yes, there are hard days. There are days where we wonder if this code isn’t worth cracking. But when the good days hit, you know they are the days we’ll dream about for years to come.