After 8 years guiding in the wilderness and careful consideration I have decided to close this chapter in my life and start a new one. I had been thinking about this since the spring of 2014. Then after my brother had a serious accident in June, I had to cancel a trip drive back to Detroit and make sure he was going to be out of the woods then return to Ely, where I took out trips the entire season wondering if he was going to be alright while in the wilderness, without a phone or anyway to know if he was alright or not. This was just one of many reasons for my decision. At the age of 53 I started to lose many friends from October 2014 to just last month I have been to 7 funerals, I know death is a part of life but it was the not being with my family and friends for 5 months a year and not knowing who was next that wore on me. Life is incredibly short and there are many other things that I wanted to accomplish. When being in the guiding business it is basically a 24/7 job 5 months a year and in the off season working in the flooring business 5 days a weeks and performing presentations and shows just about every weekend, I haven’t had a vacation in 8 years. And when reading Facebook and seeing my friends and family traveling all over the world I thought to myself…I deserve to do that…I have my own bucket list then I realized that I would never be able to check off the many trips on my bucket list if I kept up the work schedule I had been doing over the last 8 years. However, the decision wasn’t written into stone till April of this year when the flooring business I worked for closed its doors and of course I was a little worried, We were forewarned a few months in advance and I struggled through the shows and presentations not knowing where my future laid. Then when the very last show was over I put the word out that I was looking for a job. Well within the first 4 days I had 4 offers and with the help of my brother John and his friend Mike Lafferty they hooked me up with a great company that was willing to let me guide and my job would still be there waiting for me. But after working for them for 3 weeks I knew I found my place. They have treated me with great respect and were thrilled to have me working for them, When April came I had made my decision and called the one person that had helped me from the beginning my niece Sarah D’Agostino and as I told her she wept over the phone because she knew it was one of the hardest decisions I had ever made but I consoled her and told her that once the decision was made it was like a great weight lifted off my shoulders and I was so sure it was the right decision that I didn’t even have any regret’s about it. When I told my boss I was thinking about quitting the guide business and wanted to work for them full time they were excited, I had to immediately let them know that I still wanted some major time off because of my bucket list they were more than glad to accommodate me. Because of my work ethic and always striving to be the best at whatever I do within 4 months I have risen through the ranks at my new job to the top of the food chain. Without making enemies try doing that! but after each employee worked with me they knew I would rise through the ranks fast and they would all agree it is well deserved.
Four months into this new chapter has reawakened the adventurer in me and now its time to work on my bucket list. Last week was my first vacation in 8 years I went kayaking with 11 friends on lake Superior, in November I will be going to Belize on a 20 day trip that will include deep sea fishing, Tarpon fishing (which is on my top 10 list) a 5 day kayaking trip off the coast of Belize on a string of islands, a camping trip in the jungle and I can’t believe I’m saying this but I’m actually going to lay around on the beach for a few days without a cell phone, laptop or iPad. And the most important trip on my list for 2015 is my sister, brother and I are taking a trip to Kentucky to visit my Mom and dads grave which we haven’t done since they both passed away 22 years ago.
The Bucket list
The new plan is every year I will be taking several trips trough the year to check off trips from my extensive bucket list. Before I go any farther I looked up what exactly Bucket list means and when I read it I chuckled because they have it all wrong, It said that a bucket list is a list of accomplishments that one tackles when one retires…WRONG! we are all getting older and the time to enjoy the great outdoors and all the things on your bucket lists is NOW! not when your body is worn out and its to late. I will keep up the website and a quarterly newsletter. Because I will invite anyone on the email list to come along on these trips, especially past clients. I will not be the guide, I will plan the areas and general itinerary but it will be up to each individual to obtain their own plane fare and accommodation’s. Just to give you an idea of what is on my bucket list and like I said everyone is welcome to join.
Here are a few examples
November 13th through December 2nd – Belize 20 days, of course I don’t expect anyone to go on a 20 day trip but the itinerary is broken up into three different trips.
August – Galapagos Islands
Early January – Amazon river (Peacock Bass fishing)
Along with these trips will be trips throughout the U.S and Canada
Grand Canyon, Washington D.C, Florida bass fishing, White water rafting in West Virginia and a 7 day rafting trip in the Grand Canyon, Brook trout fishing on the Sutton river in Canada and of course the Boundary Waters.
To all those that supported me and all my past clients
I have been very lucky my family and friends have supported me in my guiding business from the get go, not one person try to talk me out of it. But the one person I really want to thank is my niece Sarah she was there from the beginning to the very end and I could of never accomplished this business without her. She was there for me when I was struggling and she was there when I was overwhelmed with bookings. She has taught me so much about business I just can’t say enough about her.
When I made this decision I had one friend ask if I regret the last 8 years. I laughed and said are you kidding me I have caught more fish than dozens of hardcore fishermen have caught in their entire lifetimes. I have taught hundreds of people how to fish, camp, travel in the wilderness. I have had so many wildlife experiences that I can write several books about my encounters and experiences. How many people have been charged by bull moose several times, I have seen more wolves than I can count, I’ve seen them chase deer into the lake a couple of times, I have had them trot through camp, I have seen Eagles fight and swim the list can go on forever. But one of the most surprising experiences I have had over the last 8 years are the clients that I have had the pleasure of taking out into the wilderness and give them experiences they never knew existed. Many have become friends of mine. I could mention all their names but I don’t think I have too…They know who they are. That is probably the one thing I will miss, to teach people about the wilderness, wildlife, how to catch fish and travel under the most extreme conditions. I don’t think I have had one person who has come away from a trip with a regret as a matter of fact I think every person came away with a feeling of accomplishment…a feeling of if I could make it through that I can make it through anything.
I’ve had five articles written about wilderness Journey, one TV show and a Radio show what else do I need to prove to myself. I know some people will unsubscribe to the newsletter, but this is a big planet with many more adventures to experience. For those of you that want to experience the many other places on this planet please keep reading the newsletter or even better come along on one or more of these bucket list adventures. I promise you will not regret it!
Nature is my religion and the wilderness is my temple
Ramsey Dowgiallo – Adventurer