In The Trenches

Who are you traveling with?

Published on July 30, 2018 Back to blog
Family Traveling in Africa

For the last several weeks, I’ve been traveling throughout South America with my family. During that time, I’ve made note of many amazing experiences and lessons which could potentially inspire great blog articles. However, as I sit on the flight home and reflect back on the trip, all the highlights seem to have a recurring theme – the memories that rise above all the others are those that have to do with the people that I shared them with: 

  1. My son making me laugh so hard that I could barely breathe – From his witty observations and remarks to his 10-year old boy humor (reactions at the Botera Museum to his improv song called “monkey butt” in the Amazon), Josh had me laughing hysterically almost every day.
  2. My daughter’s incredible ability to overcome her fears – From white water rafting, caving and repelling down a 500 ft. waterfall, to handling spiders and frogs in the Amazon and speaking Spanish to strangers, I was in constant awe of Julia’s repeated success at overcoming her fears. I was a proud (and sometimes a bit scared) father many times over on this trip.
  3. My wife’s constant sacrifices for the family – A bit less adventurous than the rest of us, Jane often put her fears and preferences aside so we could share special experiences together. Perhaps most notable was her trek through the flooded Amazon forest where the swamp water was up to her waist, all so we could climb up the 150+ foot (not so steady) lookout tower above the canopy to see macaws, tucans, monkeys and other wildlife.
  4. The highly competitive family card-game tournaments – From gin rummy and rummy 500 to cribbage and forty (a game our guide, Fernando, taught us), we battled for champion status at every break in the trip. The usual bet: loser gives winner 10 minutes of back rubs. (Josh got a lot of back rubs.)
  5. The uncompromising positive attitude from everyone in the family – The trip had several unexpected turns – from accommodation issues and last minute itinerary changes, to 4:30 AM wake-up calls and altitude sickness, there were plenty of opportunities for negativity and complaining. But we (perhaps the kids more than the adults) always approached each issue with a positive attitude and persevered.

While this trip was full of amazing experiences, and undoubtedly left me with many great memories, my biggest takeaway is that life is a journey and what matters most is who you choose to take it with. 

So, whether it be with your personal life (like my trip) or your business life, be sure to take the journey with people who:

  1. Make you laugh
  2. Make you proud
  3. Are willing to make sacrifices for you
  4. Challenge you
  5. Have a positive attitude

Reflecting upon this trip, I realize how fortunate I am to be surrounded by people like this every day – both at home and at work. I encourage you to do your best to surround yourself with similar people. It will surely make every moment of your life journey that much better.

Jeff Freedman
CEO/Managing Partner
Small Army | Finn Partners