2018 Dutch Star For Sale

Life is difficult. That is how M. Scott Peck’s book, The Road Less Travelled, begins. I read that book shortly after it was published way back in 1978.

Peck wrote that life was never meant to be easy. Our journey in life is fundamentally a series of problems to solve or to ignore. And to solve life’s problems requires discipline: delaying gratification, assuming responsibility, being honest and being balanced.

I first learned the truth about life being difficult at 16 years of age. That is when my father died. That was a hard lesson and it has had a lasting impact on my life.

Which makes this post a difficult one to write.

We made friends with a wonderful couple during our time at Myakka River Motorcoach Resort. The last time we saw this couple was January 1st, 2019. They were continuing their travels in their beautiful Newmar Dutch Star. They had pulled their coach up to the clubhouse area to hook up their toad. I grabbed a few shots before they left.

Lorraine and I went over to say good-bye. Not for long, mind you. We were planning to connect with them in February during our travels. We were both going to be in Alabama at the same time.

A final shot of their coach just before they left the resort.

They were just like us. Keen to live life on the road and to experience a different set of adventures during retirement.

Things didn’t work out for us to connect in Alabama. But that was okay. They were returning to Myakka later this year and we would see them then. We would stay connected through this website and through calls and emails and texts.

Death showed up.

Unexpectedly.

Only a few short months after they left Myakka.

He was gone.

She was left behind.

I still can’t believe it.

She is not able to continue the lifestyle with this coach on her own. And it is for sale. All of the details on this stunning 2018 Dutch Star 4369 can be found on Steinbring’s website. This couple took such great care of their motorhome. If you are in the market for a Dutch Star don’t hesitate. Give Lee at Steinbring a call and you will get an exceptional coach at a great price. Steinbring’s phone number is (320)-834-6333.

When she wrote me to let me know about what had happened, she said the following:

It goes without saying, but it is good to follow your dreams. There are serious curves in the road, but as you know, you still have to get out there.

I Am Content

I am content. Three words that have eluded me for most of my adult life. Always driven. Focused. Disciplined. Ambitious.

I might have used different words. Insecure. Scared. And, perhaps most unfortunate, never satisfied.

Ambition is not necessarily a bad thing if the motivation is pure.

I remember having this conversation with my old boss many years back. She was the CIO for a large insurance company and she told me that one day I would have her chair. She did say a few things that have stayed with me over the past thirty years.

“Why anyone would want my job is beyond me. Why do you want the job?”

No one had ever asked me that question before. I always thought that if I climbed high enough on the corporate ladder that I would achieve something of significance. I had rarely thought about the why.

Guess what? There really isn’t anything all that significant to be found in climbing the corporate ladder. Whatever is significant will not come from your spot on an organization chart. Yes, there is a financial reward, and rightly so given the stress and pressure and other demands on your life. It is a trap to confuse a level of career success with significance.

Perhaps my biggest challenge coming into retirement is learning to live those three words: I am content.

I plan to give it my best shot.

Happy, Wild and Free Again

We had a great seminar on Saturday at the Hitch House. We were warmly welcomed by the Hitch House team, almost like we were family. I think they really missed us. We were stranded here last year for about 6 weeks and that gave us an opportunity to really get to know the team. Wonderful people.

The seminar was packed. The organizers had to bring in more chairs. And yours truly started at 10:30am and did not clear the room until after 1pm. Clearly a lot of interest in the RV lifestyle.

Lorraine and I are by no means experts. We had a dream for our retirement years and we are pursuing that dream.

I promised that I would highlight ten lessons that we have learned during our time on the road so far. There are many more but ten seemed like a good number for the presentation. By the way, if you have an interest, you can download a pdf version of the presentation right here (large file at roughly 100MB). You won’t find much in the way of words as I am violently opposed to “death by Powerpoint” presentations.

Our ten lessons.

  1. Life is short. We see more and more of our friends pass away, often unexpectedly. It comes as a shock and a sharp reminder to live in the moment and to enjoy this blessing and gift of life. Follow your dreams!
  2. (re)Discover your passion. With an abundance of time, you can finally set your own calendar and pursue your passions and interests. People with passion can change the world. The alternative? Hang out in God’s waiting room. Waiting for death. Yuck.
  3. Be bold. Achieving our dream wasn’t easy. It wasn’t a gift. And it took some bold actions, like selling our house and getting rid of a mountain of stuff.
  4. Eat your vegetables. You know what they say, if you don’t have your health, well, life won’t be much fun on the road. You have a choice in how the rest of your life goes, and it can be great. The rules are straightforward: exercise hard and you will grow younger. Care about other people and you will grow happier. Build a life that you think means something and you will grow richer. This from an incredibly inspiring book: Younger Next Year. Highly recommended if you want to learn more about aging well.
  5. Someone will always have a bigger coach. Collect moments, not things. And stop trying to keep up with the Joneses. They’re broke anyway.
  6. There will be bumps along the way. If we accept the fact that things will go wrong, it is a lot more fun when they do go wrong. And believe me, if you own a motorcoach, something is always going wrong.
  7. Never trust the GPS. You determine the destination. Follow your dream and don’t let something (or someone) tell you what to do in life.
  8. Make a new plan, Stan. If you don’t like where you are, if you want a different experience, move on.
  9. Pack one bag. Because that coach is mighty small compared to a house.
  10. Take it easy. You worked hard to get this far. Live every moment, happy, wild and free!

There you go. The Cliff notes from the seminar.

It was wonderful to meet with many of the participants and to chat with them about their dreams.

Happy Wild and Free in our RV

Settling in. That was the plan. Oh, and a wee bit of work to prepare for this event.

I was asked to give a seminar at our dealer’s 50th anniversary sales event and that will be happening on Saturday morning. You can learn more about the event at the Hitch House here.

The short form of the talk?

We invite you to join Richard Cleaver on Saturday May 4th at 10:30am for an inspiring and motivating session on how to be “Wild, Happy and Free” as you enjoy the RV lifestyle. Richard is not really wild but he is a very passionate and engaging speaker. Richard will share his experiences in making the transition from corporate life to retirement on the road. Learn about what you can do to rekindle your dreams and passions, to find meaning and purpose in your retirement years — even if you are not yet retired. The RV lifestyle offers so many amazing opportunities to explore, to develop relationships and interests and to make a difference not only for your own life but for the lives of those around you.

During my corporate career, public speaking was a major part of the job. I found that it would take anywhere between 10 and 20 hours to prepare for a 1-hour keynote.

This seminar took a bit longer.

Looking forward to being part of the event on Saturday. I will be sharing ten rules of RVing that I have learned over the past few years. I know there are many more and I’ll post them after the talk and you can let me know if any of them make sense to you.

Do Not Call

Hiking. It can be such a calm and liberating experience. Far from the crowds and the hustle and bustle of city life. It is one of the reasons we love the RV lifestyle. We can get ourselves close to these amazing places and we can explore them at our leisure.

So quiet and peaceful. Can you picture being there? Out in the the vast expanse of nature?

Huh? Wait a minute. What’s that sound?

Oh, my iPhone.

Someone is calling.

I’d better answer! It could be something really important.

“Hello?”

“Hello, is this Richard?”

“It is.”

“This is John calling you from some latest, greatest tech company in San Francisco. How are you today?”

What? Another technology vendor call? Here, in the middle of a national park?

When I served as a Chief Information Officer and senior executive for IT, I received a lot of calls and emails from technology vendors. Not unusual to receive hundreds of contacts a week.

Since I retired, the calls and emails have continued. Somehow my personal number and my personal email had been harvested.

After another dozen or so emails that day, I had this exchange with a vendor the following morning:

Hey Richard,

Congrats on your retirement from your role. DiscoverOrg is the service we use and is how I got your contact details, but I’ll be sure to not send any further emails.

Enjoy your weekend.

From: Richard Cleaver
Sent: Friday, March 29, 2019 10:43 AM
To:
Subject: Re: Come see us at Google Cloud Next ’19

Thank you for your note. Two comments.

1. I am requesting that you remove and unsubscribe my personal email address. Not sure how you got that one. Thank you.
2. I happily retired from my CIO role last year and I am no longer attending tech conferences or taking calls/meetings from vendors. Perhaps another reason for you to remove me from your mailing list 😉

Kind regards,
Richard

DiscoverOrg.

This is an online business that scrapes contact data about executives and other decision makers within companies and monetizes that contact data by selling it to sales, marketing and recruiting professionals.

The data is scraped from LinkedIn, corporate websites, public filings by corporations, social media and business cards. In the case of business cards, salespeople are incentivized to trade the information on their stack of business cards for additional contacts.

Somehow, my personal email and my personal telephone data got into the DiscoverOrg database.

I sent DiscoverOrg a note:

This note is to let you know that you are providing to the marketplace at large my personal information including my personal email address.

I receive multiple contacts each week from technology vendors and several have pointed to your company as the source of their data.

What makes this frustrating for me?

1. I retired from my corporate role last year. Calls and emails from technology vendors waste their time and mine.
2. I have no idea how my personal information was put into your database and it is not evident how I can have it removed.

I am requesting that my personal data be removed.

Appreciate your attention to this matter,
Richard

And, surprisingly, I received a response the next day.

Dear Richard:

We have removed your information from the DiscoverOrg database. Additionally, we were able to find your information in the ZoomInfo database and have added that profile to the queue for removal which should be completed within thirty days. We appreciate your patience in this regard.

Regards,
DiscoverOrg Privacy Team

I never gave them permission to take my personal email address and my personal phone number and sell it to thousands of technology vendors to empower them to call me in the middle of a hike in a national park.

The loss of control over our personal data is unfortunate and it will only get worse over time as big data businesses continue to grow and exploit their assets, namely data about our lives.

Hopefully the removal request will result in fewer calls and emails.

And, of course, I could always leave my iPhone in the coach when we go out hiking.