Women who behave rarely make history – Eleanor Roosevelt
Charlene Howard –
First for the basics, I was born and raised in Davison, Michigan, graduating from Davison High School in 1987.Education and university degrees remained the focus of my attention for the next six years.I obtained a Bachelor of Science from Michigan State University in 1991, graduating from the College of Human Ecology, and obtained a Masters in Business Administration from Texas A&M University in 1993.I began my career at a Big 6 (now Big 4) public accounting firm in Houston, Texas, and passed the CPA (Certified Public Accountant) exam in 1994.
Stricken with the disease of wanderlust, I blame my Mom and Dad who always took me on extended summer vacations to wonderful locations in the US when I was growing up.Further, when an opportunity to travel abroad presented itself while I was in university, my Mom encouraged and supported this venture to France despite financial constraints. Given the opportunity, I decided to nurture this wonderful wanderlust in my career choices.
I jumped at an opportunity in 1996 to move to Almaty, Kazakhstan and began life as an expatriate, working in audit and business consulting for oil and gas enterprises.In the autumn of 1997, I moved to Moscow, Russia, and remained there until the end of 1998, working with a pipeline consortium and World Bank agricultural projects.January of 1999, I was transferred to Mexico City, Mexico, and began focusing on international SEC filers (foreign companies with debt or stock on the US stock exchange.)I remained in Mexico City until February of 2002, when I moved to Lima, Peru.I enjoyed the lifestyle of a relatively small office, and a large house and garden in Peru, until January of 2004 when I transferred to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.Living on Leblon Beach in Rio, I was able to balance a stressful work environment with long walks on the beach with my beloved Bernese Mountain dog, Jackson.
While living and working abroad, I took every possible opportunity to travel as much as possible, seeking to explore the remote reaches of the earth.From 1996 to 2006, I managed to travel to more than 50 countries.For additional details on these travels, see Countries Explored List located on the Coming Soon page.
By 2005, and even as early as 2003, I had exactly the career and lifestyle I had always wanted… and it was exhausting.On the exterior, I had a life everyone envied; lots of travel, an important and prestigious job, and a very lucrative paycheck.My independent travel became obsessive as I tried to glean the most out of every free moment.In 2006, the feeling grew to a deep discontentment.I understood how lucky and blessed I was and how ungrateful it must seem to throw it all away; many people would have given anything to have the career and financial freedom I possessed.
I cannot say it was from one day to the next, but it was nearly that quick.My contract in Brazil ended and the next professional opportunity that presented itself was to be in Russia.An excellent career move, but it was now the moment of truth, I was 36 years old.Do I continue living life safe, taming my wanderlust with various annual vacations and life as an expatriate, or do I sever all ties and take a big risk on fulfilling my dream of extended travel? As you can guess from the subject of this log, I left corporate life on July 15, 2006.
Jackson (aka Captain Jack) -
Jackson is a 10 and a half year old Bernese Mountain Dog. Adopted at three months old by Charlene, his journey to a new home began with a flight from Sacred Heart, Minnesota to Mexico City. He enjoyed the life of an expat dog, complete with doting nannies, while in Mexico, Peru and Brazil. Thinking nothing of another international flight, he was a bit dismayed to arrive in Lisbon, Portugal and see that his new home was a 45 foot sailboat! Always faithful, he set his ambition to being the best ever good ole' salty dog. Now with 25,000 nautical miles under his paws and a passport loaded with more than 38 country stamps, Jackson is pretty confident he holds the title of World's Best Traveled Dog!!! Capt. Jack loves to tell his "tails" and relate silly human tricks. But most of all, he loves a long walk, a big steak, and a large meat lovers pizza.
Captain Denny Thompson –
We love Denny, but the photo alongside reflects that fact that at launch date, he is captaining a sailboat on a race in sunny Mexico and in Seattle there is a cold wind blowing and much rain in the forecast.Denny Thompson of Discovery Sailing, who made the voyage possible through his instruction and sail training, is an experienced sailor and US Coast Guard 100 ton Master.He has logged nearly 100,000 nautical miles while teaching, racing, delivering boats, and pleasure cruising.Along with teaching Charlene how to sail, navigate and perform maintenance tasks on the voyage, Denny also acted as Rear Admiral on the boat… assisting Jackson in navigating the companionway stairs and boarding the boat when at dock by constantly boosting up his rear!
Denny is a native of Minnesota, who began sailing on the lakes there when 10 years old.When not sailing, Denny works as a commercial electrician.