With my consulting practice, I put a lot of energy into creating memorable, transformative experiences for the leadership of organizations I serve. Over the course of this last year, much of that took the form of retreats. With that in mind, I wanted to apply some of what I have learned in my consulting practice towards creating memorable and life-changing experiences in my own life. This took the form of a three-day bachelor tour, four-day wedding and month-long honeymoon…all incredible! Here are some highlights…
An epic, three-day bicycle and surf tour down the California coast. In preparation for my big wedding day, I wanted to combine three things I love: bicycling, surfing and Southern California. What made this trip special was the quality time I got to spend with my close friends and how they all built stronger relationships with each other during our trek. We enjoyed good conversation and some memorable adventures. Each day we surfed an iconic surf spot, biked a stretch of beautiful coast, ate good food along the way and camped. I highly recommend this type of gathering!
A beautiful, four-day excursion to Catalina celebrating or marriage with family and friends at the end of October. We loved every second of or wedding weekend! To start the adventure, about 50 of us sailed the mighty seas to the island. Talk about a team building experience! The next day, we relaxed by the beach – swimming, laughing, storytelling. Perfect weather. That evening, we shared a wonderful meal under the stars and my father emceed a moving series of toasts from our friends and family. Such affirmation! Day three: ceremony. What I can I say, this was an emotional and unforgettable experience. We started with a procession where each of us walked from different ends of Two Harbors into the Center where we united into one. Ah, metaphor. From there, we walked up the hill and our friends and family reflecting on themes of love, commitment, adventure and community. We exchanged vows and the rest is history! Dinner, dancing, party, campfire, smiles, laughter, community, celebration! One fun moment – one of our guests requested the DJ play the “Wobble”, a song I learned earlier in the year from a retreat I led for Black Women for Wellness. Full circle!
A one-month trek around Colombia full of relaxation, reflection, adventure and excitement. We chose Colombia because we wanted a place where we could both relax by the beach, explore some dynamic cities, speak Spanish, spend some time in the mountains and visit South America. We really enjoyed our time together as we visited 10 different places around the country: Cartegena, Isla Grande, Santa Marta, Parque Tayrona, Barriachara, Villa de Leyva, Bogota, Cali, Salento and Medellin. We traveled by bus, minibus, bicycle, foot, boat, motorcycle, taxi, carriage, fernicular, light rail, plane and even a gondola (so many ways of seeing). We met up with Jaime Ortiz in Bogota, the founder of Ciclovia (which inspired CicLAvia in Los Angeles) and heard the compelling stories of how he helped changed the culture of a city. For an inspiring story of how a city can change under creative leadership, check out the Bogota Change documentary. We rode Ciclovia and especially enjoyed the dancing in the street. I learned that Ciclovia in Bogota started with one event per year and over the decades grew into what it is now, a weekly event with 80 miles of streets opened up for the people (looking forward to the same happening here in Los Angeles).
Having time away from our day to day in LA was restorative, relaxing and wonderful. Experiencing another culture for a month with each other was fantastic. Taking time away from work gives you the time to really appreciate what you have and where you are. Now that I’m back home in Los Angeles, I carry all these memories with me and am a changed man.