IT WASN’T EXACTLY an intervention, but it was close to it. About six or so years ago, my family decided enough was enough. I had just returned from another long trip to cover an event, and they made their feelings clear.
“From now on, whenever you make a trip, you have to do something other than just work,” was the message.
For years they’d seen me head off to some of the most beautiful spots in the world and come back with nothing to say about what I’d seen. I’ve been to Ironman New Zealand over a dozen times and can do the drive from Auckland to Taupo in my sleep. Other than those two spots, I am sad to say that I haven’t seen anything else of what many people say is the one of the most beautiful countries on the planet.
After the lecture from my family, I did manage to take in some hikes on my next trip to New Zealand, but I wasn’t smart enough to take some extra time to see the South Island or other parts of the country.
I’ve tried to be better about taking advantage of the amazing opportunity that this nutty job I have has offered. Last year, while covering the world cycling championships, I took an afternoon away from the track and toured around London’s beautiful waterfront. This year, I took a few days after Ironman Austria to travel to a friend’s house in the mountains about an hour away from Klagenfurt, where the race is held. She couldn’t believe I was finally there – she’s been inviting me every year since I first met her in 2004 and every year I’ve left Austria the morning after the race, either rushing home or off to another event.
So, after at least four trips through Hong Kong, I finally organized my flights with a long enough layover after my trip to Thailand to spend some time in the city. I woke up early, took the train from the airport to Hong Kong’s Central Station, jumped in a taxi and got myself up to Victoria Peak as the sun was rising over the city. I finished the walk around the peak and met an American living in Hong Kong, who gave me a great tour as we walked down from the scenic spot back to the downtown.
The day will go down as one of the most memorable of 2017, all because I allowed myself to take an extra day to check out a part of the world I’d never seen.
I hope that all of you are much smarter than I and do take the opportunity to enjoy some of the amazing places this sport can take us. It doesn’t have to be an international trip either. My “trip” while I was in Edmonton this year involved a morning-long bike through some of the city’s paved bike trails. It showed me a part of the city I had no idea existed. Once again, I managed to meet up with some people who both guided me along and gave me some insight into the city, too.
It’s too bad it took me so long to finally figure out how important taking that time really is, but I’m glad I finally figured it out.