The search for happiness in life can be an ever-winding road, with many peaks and valleys along the way. Most people know this; it’s no great secret.
Everyone is different. What brings them happiness is totally unique to them. The quest for happiness should be our paramount goal in life, as long as it doesn’t come at the expense of others.
Thanks to Jayme, I get to share the risk I took on a quest for happiness. I gave up a good career in a university to launch my very own adventure travel business, Treks West Tours.
Looking back, the risk was well worth it! Let me tell you my story…
My life followed a fairly standard path, and I’m sure you can relate — lack of focus as a youth; a quest for girlfriends as a young man; the search for better pay; lack of focus again as a young adult; you get the picture.
The first major step towards happiness was marrying Sheila, an amazing woman who understands the importance of finding happiness. With that achievement I was able to focus on other aspects of finding happiness. My eyes soon opened to travel in the great outdoors.
As my eyes widened toward adventure, they closed on the job where my passion was diminishing with time. Happiness shouldn’t be about money but it often masks other feelings or overrides them awhile.
Ample vacation time allowed me to fall in love with the Southwest on a trip to Arizona. I saw the Grand Canyon for the first time, and it spoke to me. Coming from the green state of Maryland, the vast West lured me. I was hooked!
Every free moment we’d return to Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, Utah and add another layer to the passion I felt for the region.
National parks and wilderness areas became the focal point of our trips. I learned all I could by hiking the trails and rafting the rivers. I left my heart there each time I returned East to my passion-less career.
I found an affinity for the minutia of trip planning, researching a park and finding the best places to explore. Soon I was planning all the trips for Easterners who wanted to experience the great West.
The joy I felt out there equaled misery on the job. I lost purpose, began to tread water and brought those woes into my home life. Before I could ruin my solid foundation at home, my wife and I discussed the pros and cons of leaving my job.
I wanted to start an adventure travel business, and everyone agreed I’d be foolish not to try.
Taking The Leap
I gave a two-month notice to my employers after 12 years at the university. Money, while important, could not buy my happiness. Life is too short to spend bogged down; my wife and I agreed this was the leap to take.
I jumped into the business of building a website, creating tours, getting insurance and commercial permits along with all the marketing and planning that goes into the tedious parts of starting a business.
I began to network with other outfitters, hotel owners, national park rangers, and others. That was one of the really fun parts of the job; there are a lot of great folks out here!
It isn’t easy. Things aren’t great for the travel industry at the moment. High fuel prices and a weak economy are a problem, but I’m so much happier!
When I take a group to Moab or Big Bend or any other fabulous destination and see the looks of amazement in their eyes, it’s so fulfilling! I made the right choice. Following one’s passion is never a mistake! What could be better than getting paid to go on vacation all the time?
About The Author
Brian Wrabley is owner of Treks West Tours offering guided adventure tours of western national parks. Hiking, horseback riding, and white water rafting are his favorite featured activities.