I am cross posting about our trip to Norway at rvcastaways and you can follow along there as well if you like.
This post will focus on some of the architecture that we discovered in Bergen, Norway.
Bergen is a small city by Canadian standards although it is the second-largest city in Norway. The population is about 300,000 people.
Coming into port highlights the unique architecture of the city. Over 300 cruise ships come calling into Bergen with well over half a million passengers going ashore each year.
The reconstructed Hanseatic buildings of Bryggen, a World Heritage site, is a major attraction and a wonderful place to spend a few hours.
Throughout the city of Bergen you will find historic streetscapes.
Although the old does meet the new. If you look carefully, you can spot the Starbucks Coffee sign just on the corner of this building complex.
There are no billboards in the city. And very few high rise buildings. There are numerous apartments, like this one.
St John’s Church is the largest church in Bergen and it has a commanding presence overlooking Bergen.
The houses in Bergen are often interconnected and entrances are difficult to find.
Everywhere we walked in Bergen, we came across homes with flowers hung from the second floor windows.
A final shot of Bergen as we left port.
Lorraine passed this along to me over lunch I think. Not really sure as I was busy on my iPhone 😉
I retired on July 20th, 2018.
And after the retirement festivities, Lorraine and I had a wonderful celebratory cruise in Norway.
We’ve been gone for about two weeks and this site has been a bit quiet of late. I’ve been actively posting on my other site, rvcastaways.com. That site will cover our travels and adventures in retirement.
I’m not too sure. I’ve been posting here since April of 2004. Over 14 years.
Time for me to reimagine this site and to start something new with it.
I’ll leave you with the speech I gave at my retirement. It was a challenge to write a retirement speech and I am very glad that I only had to do this type of speech once.
Having returned from what was really a lengthy vacation, it still hasn’t hit home that I have retired. Except that I did not have to go into the office today.
I can get used to that I think.
For Delivery, July 18th at 2:00pm
Thank you for all the kind wishes and wonderful comments.
I am indeed a very, very fortunate man. I am blessed with a wonderful wife, an amazing family, good friends, and, clearly, the best looking team of colleagues in the world!
My life, your life, is not defined by a state of working or a state of retirement.
Our journey in life is defined by our relationships with each other, by themes of love, family, faith and self-acceptance.
I was taught at an early age that there several stages in life:
A time to learn.
A time to work.
A time to retire.
And so I went to school. I got a job. And now I retire.
Although I do worry a little bit about the stage after retirement.
I’d like to share a few thoughts with you about what makes for a fulfilling career. Lessons that I have learned over the past 40 years or so.
Three words to remember: mission, mastery, freedom
Let’s start with mission.
Everyone here in this room has the talent and capability to create a great life for yourself, for your family and for your community. And everyone here in this room can make our company an even better company in the future than it is today.
It starts with answering one very basic question:
Why are you here?
Having a higher purpose, a mission, a cause that you believe in will make all the difference to you and to your career. You will know, that in some way — large or small — you have made our company a better place because of your work.
Have you ever experienced a moment where your life was changed forever?
It happened to me when I was 16 years old.
I lived in a small house in Lachine, Quebec that was built just after the second world war. My father had been battling cancer for several years and all I knew was that he was very, very sick. But I thought that he would make it. That he would come home from the hospital.
I can remember the telephone call as if it happened yesterday. It was early. 6AM. My mother answered the phone and all I heard was her screaming and crying.
Dad was gone.
He left no will. He had no insurance.
We were left with nothing. We had to sell the house and my mom and I had to find jobs to make ends meet. Life was very hard during those years after his death.
I made a commitment to myself that when I grew up, got married and had a family, that I would provide well for them. To make sure they were protected and to be financially secure if anything happened to me. That was the core part of my mission in life.
And that is why I believe so strongly in our company.
We help Canadian families with their financial security. We help Canadian families build wealth. Our promise to them is simple, fast and easy. We have a great company whose underlying mission you can believe in. A company that makes a difference in the lives of the people we serve.
Why are you here?
What is your mission?
When you know why you come in to work everyday, you have a mission. And that mission you will carry you throughout your life. That mission will be your anchor when you face challenges and it will be your reason to celebrate your accomplishments.
After mission there is mastery.
Getting better and better at the skills and talents that you use in your work leads to mastery. People will see you doing great work and great work always gets rewarded. Always.
But it is not just about getting better at what you do. It is about helping others to get better at what they do.
Keep learning. Keep developing. Keep pushing yourself to get better at the things you really love doing. And then one day it will happen. You will become a Jedi Master. Every Jedi Master must take on an apprentice.
And then you get to help someone else get really, really good at what they do. That is the true reward of mastery.
Mission, mastery, freedom.
And I don’t mean Freedom 55.
When you have a mission and you get really good at what you do, you will have freedom. The freedom that comes from being passionate about your work and why you do what you do. The freedom that comes from being really, really good at your work and helping others to be really, really good at their work.
Suddenly, your career becomes part of who you are. It does not define you. You define your career.
There is one final thought that I would like to leave with you.
I am more and more convinced, having gone through many different passages in life, that the things I value most are the warm, caring relationships I have with the people who have passed and are passing through my life. These things are eternal and the rest is like dust before the wind. These relationships are the things to value and so I strongly encourage you to measure your success in this life by the quality of care you give to those around you. We need to be friends. We need to take an active role in the people who pass through our lives. We need to care, to trust, to support and to cherish our family and our friends.
I am grateful and thankful for the support of my family. I am grateful and thankful for the support of the leadership of our company.
I cannot adequately express the gratitude that I have for my amazing team and my wonderful colleagues.
All I can say is thank you for this incredible journey. I will carry many wonderful memories of our time together.
Lurking just beyond the harbourfront? Top Five.
Kingston doesn’t usually see that many super-yachts. Top Five is the second one in harbour in as many days. Blue Moon came by a few days earlier.
These super-yachts range in price from a low of say roughly fifty million to several hundred million dollars to build. Top Five had at least 12 crew that I could see and operating costs must be significant for a vessel of this size.
If more of these yachts plan to drop by, Kingston will need to redesign its harbour. Top Five had to dock alongside the Holiday Inn. Guests of the hotel could look out directly into the ship. I suspect that some of the guests might have been able to touch the side of the ship from their balcony.
Not ideal for either group.
No country wins in a trade war. Few companies win either.
Here is the form letter:
Dear (Congressman or Representative):
I am writing you on behalf of Moog Music, a company of 100 employee-owners, based in Asheville, North Carolina. I am urgently contacting you about the recently announced 25% tariff on Chinese goods.
In case you are not familiar with Moog, they manufacture the world’s leading analog synthesizers used by artists including but not limited to Michael Jackson,The Beatles, Radiohead, Stevie Wonder and many others.
Roughly half of the circuit boards and associated components for Moog’s instruments come from China. This tariff would significantly limit their ability to manufacture synthesizers, and could put many of their employee-owners out of a job.
As an employee-owned company with a 60-year legacy in American manufacturing, Moog constantly strives to keep a balance between domestically- and internationally-sourced parts, so that they can continue employing people from their local community in Asheville, North Carolina.
Moog sources circuit boards from US suppliers whenever possible, paying up to 30% over the price of the same circuit boards made overseas. However, whether they buy circuit boards in the US or overseas, the majority of the raw components still come from China. Therefore, Moog will be unable to avoid this substantial cost increase because of the tariffs.
These tariffs will immediately and drastically increase the cost of building Moog instruments, forcing them to lay off American workers and will require Moog to move some, if not all, of their manufacturing overseas.
I do not want to see the end of Moog’s 60-year legacy in American manufacturing. I do not want their employee-owners left without jobs. I want American workers to continue have the opportunity to support their families and their community.
I implore you to convince the President that these Chinese tariffs cause serious damage to American workers like those at Moog and to rescind them immediately.
14 days to go before retirement.
Last night my management team held a retirement dinner for me. Such a wonderful evening and such a great team. Incredible food at a beautiful location in the country with dear colleagues and friends. So honoured to have been able to serve with this team.
The gift was a Mont Blanc LeGrand rollerball pen.
For almost 15 years, I carried a Mont Blanc LeGrand with me every single day that I was working. Regardless of location, regardless of business travel, that pen was always with me. I loved the feel, the weight and the quality of such a nice writing instrument.
Then one day I left my pen at the office. I had set it down for some reason, forgot to pick it up and when I returned to the office the next day, it was gone.
I was reluctant to spend the money to buy a new one as it was a very expensive pen and I did life without a Mont Blanc. I know, I know. Such a tough life challenge.
I did miss the LeGrand though and I felt badly about having lost the pen.
My executive assistant knew the story about the lost pen and she helped to decide on this retirement gift with the team.
Such a perfect gift!
I will cherish this pen not because of its feel, weight and quality. I will cherish the pen for the engraving — Best Boss Ever! — and the memories of working with such a fantastic team.
A few more retirement events before I finish in two weeks. And then a new chapter of life begins.
Retirement is just 17 days away now.
We have been planning for this moment for a long time. There are other perspectives about the retirement years and it does not look like it’s all Walt Disney World.
Chuck Underwood, founder of consulting firm The Generational Imperative in Ohio, said what’s not to like: “Most retirees badly underestimate the severity of the impact of awakening each day without a major purpose. Retirees who feel grandparenthood, volunteerism, travel, and just ‘relaxing’ will fill the purpose void consistently learn this hard lesson: for decades, their jobs have guided their entire lives, claimed the most vital eight hours of their weekdays, and been the source of most of their thinking. For decades.”
So what happens when the purpose provided by work is gone. Said Underwood, “The thought that fills the void is, ‘My life has lost its greatest purpose, I am aging, and I’m on final descent toward death.'”
Some retirees plummet into depression. Many develop opioid habits. Others drink too much booze. That’s not what any of them had in mind as they contemplated an end of work. But those grim realities are indeed all too real for many.
It’s one thing to be financially prepared for retirement, but don’t discount the mental upheaval that might ensue once you leave your career behind you. Though many seniors look forward to the downtime they’ve been missing during their working years, you may come to find that your newly unstructured existence throws you for an emotional loop. In fact, according to the Institute of Economic Affairs, retirees are 40% more likely to suffer from clinical depression than younger Americans are, and a big reason has to do with that loss of purpose, so to speak, in life.
Retirement is a huge lifestyle change. For many of us, work is a big part of our lives and identity. It is important to think through how you will spend your free time and what your aspirations are. I suspect many people postpone retirement because they have not taken the time to think through this important transition in their lives. As such, they continue to work as it is what they are comfortable with and all that they have ever known.
It goes on of course. If you follow this line of reasoning, you would never retire. Too scary.
I have a sense that governments, anxious to keep people paying higher levels of taxes as long as possible, attempt to create a narrative that, in effect, says that it is better for people to work longer, much longer, than the traditional retirement age of 65.
This despite the Statscan data showing very little movement in public sector retirements. The average age has remained at just over 61 for the past five years for public sector employees whereas private sector employees tend to retire on average closer to 64.
For the record, I will be 61.8 years old at retirement. I’m able to retire a bit earlier than the average private sector employee thanks to defined benefit pensions and a decent investment portfolio.
I have thought about the social, emotional, physical and financial aspects of retirement. Being a goal-oriented person, I have certainly put a lot of thought and effort into each one of these areas throughout my life.
I’m looking forward to a wonderful stage of life in retirement with Lorraine.
The starting gate is just around the corner.
Canada Day weekend is here. And it is a very warm weekend indeed. Temperatures are in the 30 Celsius range with the humid reaching 40 Celsius or so. In December, we were experiencing colder temperatures than the North Pole. Six months later our weather is warmer than Miami, Florida.
I’ve been working on a new camera body for our upcoming travel to Norway later this month. As much as I love my Nikon gear, it is too big and too heavy for the type of traveling that we will be doing in Europe. The Leica is my favourite camera but I only have one lens and it is challenging, at least for me, to shoot a location without the benefit of being able to cover a wider focal range.
I had an Olympus OM-D E-M1 system that I really enjoyed. A micro four thirds system that was really light and offered good image quality.
I upgraded that camera body to the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II. The Mark II is an incredibly feature-packed camera. I already had all of the lenses that I needed for the trip: 17mm F1.8, 25mm F1.8 and 12-40 F2.8. For the micro four thirds system, doubling the focal length yields the effective equivalence of 34mm, 50mm and 24-80mm coverage. Perfect range for my style of photography.
I took the camera out for some test shooting. The downtown landscapes are now showing beautiful flowers.