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The bird leaves the nest …

In February 2014, I skied the Highlands Bowl at Aspen. So what? It was reflections on this achievement in the days that followed, that were significant for me.

Highlands Bowl view from below

The Highlands Bowl is reached by hiking from the top lift at Aspen Highlands. The hike is no mean feat. With skis stowed on your back, the climb covers something like 1000 vertical feet (3,040 m) to an elevation of 12,392 feet (3,777 m) along a ridge line of variable width. The descent features pitches of up to 48 degrees and can offer 1,500 vertical feet of skiing from the summit to the traverse out …

Doing this meant I was taking a leap of faith, leaning out with my pole, facing down that steep slope and … well … going for it!

I made it … I even enjoyed it, once I had quelled those initial fears and moved from single “jump and turn” actions, to making connecting turns in the deep soft snow. Now please don’t misunderstand me. An elegant expert skier I am not (although I am working on it!). Aesthetics aside, I can get down most slopes I try, and I did check in with my ski guides from skiaspen.com.au to ensure that it was not too foolhardy to try. However, it was the reflections over the next few days that precipitated my nest-leaving …

At the summit - Highlands Bowl Feb 2014

In contemplating the challenge of the hike, I wondered at my willingness to embark on this excursion after somewhat brief consultations with guides (and of course with Monsieur Controleur, my partner). To put this into perspective, I compared it with my intention to leave the security of my nest – a well-paid job in a large professional services firm – and embark on a mission of my own, a more fluid and flexible lifestyle, following my passions and trying something new.

The associated considerations, ruminations and … let’s be frank … procrastinations … about leaving the job … spanned a number of years. The nub of the problem was essentially the same – concern about the risks, what if I failed, did I have what it takes, etc.

So in the rosy glow of post-hike euphoria, my thoughts were distracted down the avenue of comparing these two potentially “life-influencing” decisions – and ultimately they went “snap”. What was I waiting for? If I could handle “the bowl”, surely I could handle the challenges of free-lancing, contracting … working more flexibly?

The journey has started … exploring, learning and lots more … Words from this bird will be exploring these things – starting with how to put some flex into lifestyles, learning in life and work, and guest posts from a range of fields. Enjoy.

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