Long Hot Days Ahead and Behind

My Man’s Point of View column published in the July issue of South Carolina Woman…

Last month I told you about an upcoming trip to Washington D.C. I made the trip to receive an award from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. For the fourth year in a row my family business Ocean Breeze Awnings & More won the Blue Ribbon for Small Business Award. It’s a great honor for our small company. I especially enjoy winning it because we’re up against companies in all industries across the entire country. That’s a large field of competition.

My wife and oldest son Abishai accompanied me on the trip. It was their first time in the Capitol. I’d been there half a dozen times before. We homeschool our two boys and this trip was an awesome experience for them as a school field trip. My wife really got into it and created a workbook for him to complete. It included questions, drawings, and more. He also snapped his own pictures and made a scrapbook of sorts out of the workbook. This was also his first time in an airplane and he enjoyed the experience immensely.

We were in Washington for a full week, and I’ll be the first to tell you, it’s one of those places where you come home tired. We managed to hit most of the monuments and public buildings. We also visited the Spy Museum and National Crime and Punishment Museum. Those are two of my favorites. It’s weird though. It always seems like the private museums are much nicer than the government ones. Better displays. Better décor. I’m sure there’s a political statement in there somewhere, but I’ll leave it to inference.

We stayed at the Courtyard Marriott near Chinatown, which is an awesome spot. It’s close to the Metro, several museums, and tons of eateries.

The only really bad thing I have to tell you about our national capitol is that you need to be careful about security checkpoints at various venues. You might leave the hotel all decked out for a day as a typical tourist- sunscreen, cameras, water bottles, etc. Then, depending on where you go, you might have to throw half of it away to get in somewhere. The simple fact is that many places simply aren’t worth the security hassle. I’m sad to say that the White House was one of those for me. You don’t get to see much of the building, but the security and the wait are horrible. I feel the same way about the Capitol building visitor’s center. Unless you’re going on a full tour of the Capitol itself, don’t bother.

Just after arriving home from the trip I got back to work in a quick way. My good friend Lisa sent me a lead on a National Geographic sponsored expedition in South Africa. I promptly entered. If I’m chosen, I’ll be part of a multinational team of adventurers taking part in extreme adventures, one of which includes cage diving with great white sharks. Sounds like a blast!

As part of my effort to return to Africa for just about any reason I can come up with, I’m also writing a proposal to spend a year as a visiting scholar at a university in Ghana. I would be teaching entrepreneurship and small business principles to the students there. This would be a trip that my whole family would be allowed to go on with me. Imagine how great that would be for our homeschooling efforts.

“What did you do today son?”

“Well, dad, I played with a big snake and our vehicle almost got pushed off the road by a rhino. It was actually kinda boring today.”

I’m also applying for a two-week fellowship at an arts center in Minnesota for next spring. I’ve never spent much time in Minnesota, so that would be fun. I’ll be working on a project dealing with journaling and memoirs. Like many of the great leaders of history (yes, I just put myself in the same boat with them and it feels good), I believe daily reflection through a journal, a blog, art, photography, whatever is a necessary means of success. I record my life in various forms including this column, a journal, a dive log, a blog, and others. The majority of the great leaders in any sector or industry keep a regular reflection of their lives, thoughts, and dreams in some form or another. In addition to the time and means for completing my own project I’ll also be teaching several workshops to students. With the success of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid book series and movie, it’s a good time to get kids interested.

I also had the opportunity to perform a wedding at Brookgreen Gardens this summer for the newly wedded Scott and Alexandra Blount. They are a great couple. His parents live in Pawleys Island and got to know me through this column. It was a very beautiful wedding. I’ve been to the Gardens many times and walked the oak alee on numerous occasions, but never like this. You should see the place all decked out in wedding finery. A reception was held in the Fountain of the Muses, which is one of my favorite spots in the whole park. If you ever have the chance to attend a wedding at Brookgreen, do not pass it up.

There’s so much going on this month that I don’t even know what I’ll get into for next month’s column. Maybe I’ll have some good news to report about an Africa trip.


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