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BREAKAWAY RETURNS FROM SUMMER BREAKAWAY

Posted on: Tuesday, September 14th, 2021
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Hello Friends. Are you there? Maybe so, maybe not, because we may have lost subscribers due to a terrible tech snafu—not the Russians, not hackers, just one of those lamentable collapses that happens. Perhaps you’ve been there. Like that time you dropped the camera off the cliff.

Meantime, the love/hate relationship with technology deepens. The risk of error rises. The passion for unplugging intensifies. Mind-boggling, yes, but also more challenges and topics to tackle. Maybe.

This BreakAway back-of-house breakdown provoked a modest breakdown of my own, since the project here dates back to 2008. Rare is the personal website passion piece—that occasionally leads to more and always dreams of more—that can boast such persistence. Bring on the trophy!

  • Shut ‘er down? Or start over?

Yet hard questions arose like angry hornets from a hot August nest . Is it time to unplug for real? Should we move on to that novel? What about that photography show? Is it naptime yet? Hmmm… Rather than jump to any decision, I took BreakAway’s medicine: Take…a…break. Which, in short, is the #1 mantra of this adventure venture.

Plus, it was summer, after all. Summer. Not to mention, our current pandemic-mangled dystopia makes notions of being a thought leader about free time, travel, career, family, and life balance about as relevant as selling margaritas in a West Coast wildfire.

The break WAS lovely. Summer means let go. But I did miss the writing, and the belief of Big Ideas lurking herein: The 5 5-word mantras, the hundreds of posts and thousands of pictures, the personal travelogs. The humor, the cancer missives, the curative essays like the death of Daisy the cat …

  • “Don’t give up. Don’t ever give up.” (Coach Jim Valvano, 1946-1993)

What do The Experts say? When tossed, get back on that Horse. When booted from a job, seek a better one. When a dream doesn’t come true, change the channel. Live out loud. Yes, you must preach the Gospel of Sabbatical. If this wacko world we live in keeps going crazier, then we must explore our ways to escape, emerging obstacles, photography as light, and the harbors of hope that have not yet succumbed to tsunamis.

            What do career breaks look like in the work-from-home era?

            Where (and when) can we escape to dream destinations again?

            As travel becomes ever-more complex and expensive, what are the solutions?

            What about simple pleasure like lazy Sundays, sanity diversions, and quiet time?

            Per our preaching: Is it really possible to BreakAway every seven years or so?

Well then. Away we go. Please join in, spread the word, and …

Keep the faith.

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TECH CRISIS: Subscribers Likely Lost; Please (Re)Subscribe

Posted on: Monday, September 13th, 2021
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An unfortunate and costly snafu has hit the BreakAway site, and we may have lost subscribers.

The problem is frustrating and heartbreaking to the crew. But after brief committee meetings regarding pulling the plug completely, we’ll carry on, come what may.

All to say: Please (re)SUBSCRIBE, send hopeful vibes, and keep the faith.

THANK YOU.

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FOTOFRIDAY: Weird Weather Upsets Travel Plans

Posted on: Friday, July 30th, 2021
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Mini Donuts Smothered in Orange

That’s the sun about to set, although the full moon this month looked much the same. Dusty orange. In MN, especially when the wind is out of the north, we are the unlucky recipients of dangerous smoke from wildfires Up North and in Canada.

While the suns and moons may look magical, the truth is simply alarming. Today (7-29-91), in fact, MN hit the worst AQI reading on record: 422. Anything over 150 is considered unhealthy for all people, not just those with conditions.

These freaky weather events are disrupting travel, too. In my world, one friend just cancelled a CA visit because the fires are too near the destination. People Up North in the Boundary Waters are being evacuated. Heck, the radio just told us to avoid grilling, minimize driving, and stay indoors if at all possible. Not only is travel hitting speed bumps, so is going outside for ‘some fresh air!’

Well, we all knew that when “things opened up” that it might be fake news. The pandemic is making a most unpopular comeback. The fires and heat look downright dystopian. The good news, of course, is that global warming (er, climate change) is a hoax. And Covid-19? Just another conspiracy, right?

Enjoy the getaways, crowds, and orange sundowns. While we still can.

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FOTOFRIDAY: Hark! Live Music is Back!

Posted on: Friday, July 9th, 2021
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Mick Sterling and 12 musicians perform an outstanding Springsteen tribute show at Crooners, an innovative MN super-club. 

I know. The proper photo would show off euphoric music-head crowds of fans, not the band. But when the proprietor offered me a ringside table, and I had brought my Nikon, my focus turned to the stage.

Oddly enough, this shot came from iPhone—since the setting sun only beamed through the tent opening like that for a few seconds. My Nikon’s monster lens makes for fun closeups and such, but the iPhones hold their own, are QUICK, and know that photography is LIGHT.

Venues are booking—and filling. Artists are giddy and ready to strut their stuff, regardless of genre. Live music once again calls as an ultimate, quickie-Breakaway. And while COVID may have silenced the joyful noise, the sudden boom in shows provides proof that the most inspirational pleasures in life (to paraphrase Buddy Holly) are real…

Won’t fade away…

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FOTOFRIDAY: Full Moon, The Cosmic BreakAway

Posted on: Friday, June 25th, 2021
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In this whirling, churlish world, the full moon remains one peaceful event the whole planet adores.  

The full moon showed her lovely face last (Thursday) night—startlingly radiant in gold and hinting of many nicknames. To Native Americans, June’s ‘strawberry’ moon told them it was time to pick those earthly treats. Today’s paper says the same thing.

These days, we also dub the June orb the Supermoon, since she rides a low, close arc along the sky and ergo glows extra golden and bright. Regardless of where you live, how you vote, or what team you root for, the full moon erases worldly worries and inspires a reverent awe.

No wonder full moon gatherings erupt here, there, and everywhere. During COVID quarantine roundabout, one winter full-moon night brought ~55 neighbors outside for an early sundown, a blazing bonfire, and then a slow moonrise that had the otherwise repressed group cheering, toasting, and—best of all—believing in something bigger than us and…more heavenly.

The parties of late have been, well, much more boisterous and buzzy. Summer has arrived. The cruel plague is retreating. And it’s again safe to hug your pals, hunker down, and howl in rapture and hope. If the Gods stick with us, and we stay stubbornly patient, that’s exactly what can happen when we…

Keep the faith.

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BITN: Spend FF Miles! Meet Your Mission! Hit the RV Road!

Posted on: Thursday, June 17th, 2021
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The masks are flying off! The FF miles are in danger! Are we back to the same old new normal!?!

The interns have been lazy of late—stripping off masks, attending graduation events, and just generally making up for the last umpteen months of quarantine quandary. More power to them, and to all of us, as we ditch the Zoom and zoom outside, to restaurants, to Nepal, to…wherever!

  • Got miles? Use ‘em or…lose ‘em? 

Forbes reports that just 5 airlines owe flyers ~$28 billion in miles trips. That’s just scary. So if you’re hoarding miles, you may regret it. Airlines claim to love to fly and all, but they’re in it for the bucks. Big bucks. And now that they’ve been gifted many MORE billions by the government during the pandemic, don’t expect them to stop cashing in.

Meaning: Cash in while YOU can. What a great excuse to BreakAway somewhere!?!

  • Local bike company sponsors sabbaticals with a purpose

This heart-tugging story reminds us of what’s right with this world. Quality Bicycle Products, of Bloomington, MN, generously rewards employees with paid breaks—so long as there’s a purposeful mission attached. This MN couple will return to his native Nepal—to help his native village solve safe water challenges—while bringing along their two children who have yet to see their dad’s homeland.

(In my travels, finding family in Denmark {and also Norway} remains one of my most meaningful experiences. MYBA forever advocates digging up roots and seeking your kinfolk.)

This couple met 20 years ago when she was on Peace Corps—more goodness. We wish them well and hope their now-published story inspires others to help change the world.

  • NerdWallet suggests 5 great US RV trips

NerdWallet does great work; even financial planners I know with endless tools at their fingertips often say, “Just go to NerdWallet.” Today, they share 5 savvy RV journeys—just as people are again ready to hit the road (and you won’t have to mess with airlines and miles obstacles!).

People are retiring suddenly by the millions lately, thanks in part to irrationally booming stock and real-estate markets. (More on that in another post…) Many I know are planning to, or at least pondering, an RV escape to celebrate their new beginning.

These 5 routes offer a good place to start. My RV romping was limited to a handful of weeks in New Zealand, too many years ago. But I can easily say it was one of the best trips ever. And I hope to try it again one fine day…

As the Nerds suggest in the article, Route 66, anyone? Wherever you may wander, hope you get your kicks this summer. And as always…

Keep the faith.

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FOTOFRIDAY: Vaxxed and Unmasked, Turtles Bask

Posted on: Friday, May 21st, 2021
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The turtles have had a rough run, but are slowly becoming optimistic.

Like this “Friday” post may be, the turtles were late. A long, dreary spring did little to inspire them to escape their hibernation. And although nobody really likes wearing masks, the turtles proclaimed the practice to be particularly problematic.

So they were palpably relieved when the mask mandate ended, their vaccinations were complete, and the sun finally came out.

Even turtles need BreakAways. And like to take some time to relax in the sun—in the actual company of others. They look elated, don’t they, in that turtle way? Some are even necking and humping.

At least for now, the future looks warm and sunny. Hope you, too, are taking time to rest & relax and hang out with your besties.

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FOTOFRIDAY: Gorgeous Norway, 1994

Posted on: Friday, May 14th, 2021
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Beauty abounds in faraway Norway. You can also find this shot spinning on the homepage carousel!

When I stumbled on a pile of precious photo prints yesterday, my son kindly ran some scans with his new scanner toy, procured at a garage sale. The truth is I have thousands of photos in boxes, wondering if they’ll ever see the light of screen.

This shot was from just another bucolic landscape in rural Norway. I texted my new scan to a California friend who shares my Norwegian heritage and adoration. He replied back, “Do you ever wonder if all those old Norwegians should have stayed over there?”

Oh yes, I do. But when they came to America, they were leaving a land of poverty, hunger, and overly large families (because they expected child deaths and needed helpers) living in cold, tiny cottages.

It’s no longer like that, not at all. In fact, Norway is one of the richest countries in the world—with governmental assets (from oil) in the low trillion$. They can support a sky-high standard of living for all on a modest draw alone—yet they also work hard and are keenly innovative.

Savviest of all: Unlike most countries, the oil money goes to THE PEOPLE. Not the Koch brothers, not BP, not some crown prince.

The wealth (and taxes and things) does make Norway a jarringly expensive country to visit. As the Danes joke when taking a BreakAway to Norway, “Don’t forget your cucumber.” Indeed, the many outdoorsy Euro-tourists who flock to Norway in the summer pack their camper with ample provisions—much to the dismay of tourism businesses.

The oil will run out someday, sooner than later. Yet their financial plan looks sound enough to keep them comfortable into perpetuity. I loved my visit there—which included time with long, lost relatives. Now that travel is resuming, I can put kjaerlig Norge atop my bucket list again.

Can I make it happen? Can I justify the expense? Will you welcome me again, beautiful homeland? One never knows for sure. So for now, I shall daydream with old photos and…

Keep the faith.

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FOTOFRIDAY: Will Our Slumbering Cities Rise and Shine?

Posted on: Friday, April 30th, 2021
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That’s me, at One World Trade Center, a place that stirs both emotions and humility. 

I’ve been talking with friends in big cities lately. The ‘state’ of the city varies depending on the state it’s in. But many, like NYC (pictured here) are still seemingly deserted. Tourism businesses have closed or are barely hanging on. The few people in the streets still sport masks.

Do we miss city chaos? Do we long for crowded subways and traffic jams? Are Times Square and Disneyland atop our bucket lists when (if?) ‘things’ return to normal? And will those soaring skyscrapers (like that monolith in the pic) fill with thousands of workers again?

These are the questions of our times. From my vantage, I hope so. But when travel becomes an easy option for those of us craving a stimulating BreakAway, I’m more excited about Tuscan towns, playful beaches, and undiscovered master chefs. Meantime, we dream on…

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FOTOFRIDAY: Wish You Were Here, Prince

Posted on: Friday, April 23rd, 2021
Posted in: SoulTrain, FOTOFRIDAY, Wily Mktg | Leave a comment

Our local superstar took ownership of our hearts…and the color purple.

Price died 5 years ago, and fans still ache from his unexpected passing—another day the music died. A local radio station pumped his jams from Song 1 to his final release; my personal tribute was to pick up a purple orchid to prompt memories and provide beauty.

I am not alone. IMHO, Prince was (without question) THE consummate musician creator, and performer—probably the best ever. (And I was fortunate to see him many, many times.) Paisley Park allowed some guests yesterday and, as usual, still-grieving fans from all over the world showed up for a mere few moments of presence.

Sometimes I wish that life was never ending.

~ Prince

Music remains the ultimate BreakAway. Listening takes you somewhere else, relieves whatever’s ailing you, and opens your ears and brain to new impressions and possibilities. People in the KNOW say there are at least 8,000 finished, unreleased songs in The Vault. Yet another reason to…

Keep the faith.

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