On Monday, August 21st much of the continental US experienced a spectacular solar eclipse event that started in Oregon and moved rapidly on a southeasterly track to South Carolina. A broad swath of the US witnessed over 50% of totality, the best such celestial event for the US in almost 50 years.

I had the good fortune to travel with my family to Madras, Oregon which had perfect weather conditions. It was, most importantly, sunny, but also cool (temperatures in the 70s). There we experienced a truly awesome event: two minutes of totality – where the sun was blacked out by a black disk (the moon) and an eerie twilight descended upon the landscape. If you have never experienced a total solar eclipse, set your calendars for April 8, 2024 when there will be another one that transects the continental US sweeping in from Mexico through Texas and moving generally northeasterly towards Maine. Major cities such as San Antonio, Austin, Dallas, Toronto and Montreal will be near or within the path of totality.

Some of My Best Ideas Come From ‘Boondoggle' Trips

I love to go on what I humorously call “boondoggle” trips or vacations to exotic destinations – including within the last year – a trip to Australia (where I snorkeled over the Great Barrier Reef), to Machu Picchu and Lake Titicaca, Peru, and this month to Oregon for the solar eclipse adventure.

My friends ask me, “How can you afford to take such trips?” I answer their questions with one of my own, “How can you afford a 60 inch 4k TV or two kids in club soccer?”

While my trips aren't cheap, they cost much less than people expect. With good planning, you'd be amazed at the interesting journeys you can take on a $2,000 – $4,000 budget. The reality is that if you want to know what truly matters to someone, don't ask them, just observe how they spend their discretionary income. I've had “frugal” friends who got Starbucks coffee every morning, dined out for lunch daily, and went out to dinner on weekends. I watch perhaps 3 – 5 hours per week of television during football season – because I like football – and much less TV during other seasons, so I see minimal value in buying a huge TV. But, I greatly value having interesting, enlightening experiences – learning that Aussies don't drink Foster's beer or that Peruvians treat coca leaves almost as a national currency. So, when I can afford to do so, I go on my boondoggle trips and have memories for a lifetime. Not such a bad deal.

There is a less obvious benefit to getting outside of your comfort zone and traveling to unique, exotic, and different places: your mind and body is relaxed and your subconscious mind (where most ideas originate) goes into overdrive. Some of my best business ideas have come during my adventurous trips. Really!

During my Australia trip, one great idea came to me while I was quaffing a brew (Victoria Bitters, not Foster's), looking out over the rhythmic waves of the blue Indian ocean from Fremantle. That trip yielded at least three valuable ideas. Likewise, during my Peru trip, more ideas came my way as I was dining next to the tumultuously thundering Urubamba river in the Sacred Valley. Lastly, I got two good ideas from my short 4 day eclipse adventure to Oregon. You can see one of those ideas by going to a new page on my website – I designed a page just for cell phone visitors where the browsing experience is short, sweet, and easy.

Maybe I should stop calling these trips ‘boondoggles'. I seem to be getting a good ROI (Return on Investment) from these adventures!

Stay tuned!