I am the luckiest person in the world. Either that, or I’m a witch. I have this uncanny ability to have things happen to me when I state that I need them to the universe.
Having recently gotten divorced, I’m working on doing all of the crazy, stupid, spontaneous things that I would have done as a young adult, if I hadn’t settled down so young. Three weeks ago, I told my friend, Casey Phillips, that I really just wanted to find a few weeks before the end of the year that I could run away — leave my family, business, friends, and all the holiday hustle-bustle — and just backpack around Europe. He encouraged me to do so, but the responsible, analytical, rational side of me thought there was no way I could do such a thing.
Once I say something outloud, somehow the Universe (God, or maybe Adam Smith’s invisible hand) seems to provide for me. On a lark, I applied to be on the Viking Startup Bus. I didn’t even take the time to write a serious application, relying instead on my unique qualities and charm. I wrote:
I own a seven year old interactive public relations firm that has 21 employees. We build websites, design logos, handle crises, media and corporate communications. What else do I have to do to get on the bus, other than be the redhead in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2f70gxTUt5U
Last Friday, Magnus Petersen-Paaske sent a generic email saying for me to click on a link and choose a time for a 20 minute Skype interview that would determine whether I was chosen for the bus.
I showed up a day early for the interview, told Magnus that I should clearly get “points off for attention to detail” and friended him on Facebook. That’s when I found out that my fate was in the hands of a boy born the year I graduated from High School.
The next day, at the properly appointed time, I was all set up to Skype in, when the lawn guys showed up and started blowing leaves on one side of the house and mowing the lawn on the other. The sound was deafening, and I started running around the house to find a quiet corner. The call came in from Magnus and I continued moving around the house every time the blowers came close. When he said he was putting me on the bus, I could hardly believe it.
Now, I had one week to cancel 10 days worth of meetings, negotiate changing days with my ex-husband so he’d have the kids for nearly two weeks in a row, book a flight to Copenhagen, book hotels, make plans and tidy up everything at the company well enough to run away.
Needless to say, I had a lot of conference calls, meetings and sent a ton of emails.
Trying to explain to my clients why I was disappearing to the other side of the world in the midst of their most important project to ride a bus with 20 strangers was more than uncomfortable. Some people just didn’t get it – didn’t see the appeal, and had no idea why I would be so irresponsible. Others were clearly jealous and had the undercurrent of resentment on all the grand adventures I seem to get lucky enough to take.
One simply replied “Stafford Kendall, you have a horseshoe up your ass.”