We had the good fortune of connecting with Gary Hawkins and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Gary, how do you think about risk?
My willingness to take risks depends on the circumstances. When there is nothing to lose, then taking a risk is a simple choice of ‘yes’ or ‘no’ based on whether I want to do this? If, however, failure carries a high penalty, risk must be carefully assessed. When you and your family decide to embark on, ‘A Life Redesigned,’ a failure to execute your plan has substantial risk, and thus, embarking on this course must be thought through carefully. That is, thoughtful consideration has been given to the probability of failure and the extent of the reward. Reducing the chance of failure to a minimum requires careful planning, and that is why my book, “A Life Redesigned’ examines all aspects of preparing for this type of lifestyle change. The most important items to organize if stepping away from the traditional American Dream are finances, medical coverage, and schooling. Of course, there are many more significant, but less critical areas to consider as well.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Stepping away from my trained career (I was a telecommunications engineer for twenty-plus years), has allowed me to explore a host of opportunities that would otherwise not be open. I set up a fitness company in 2011 based on my passion for cycling. For nine years, Ride Fit provided indoor cycle training videos to a customer-base spanning sixty countries. In 2019, I finished my second book, ‘A Life Redesigned’ based on our family’s preparation for a period of extended travel. We have become house sitters, not just of regular properties with cats and dogs, but of farms, smallholdings, and ‘lifestyle’ properties. We have looked after cows and sheep, been chased by geese, rounded up ducks, and enjoyed fresh eggs for breakfast. I have fixed fencing, helped cows’ birth, and treated sick animals – experiences that our six-year-old daughter, Joy, talks about all the time. Most recently, I have got heavily involved with scientific astronomy, and have been helping a JPL program team to ready a citizen science project called Exoplanet Watch for launch in the summer of this year. As a family, we have grown so much through our new lifestyle. We get to spend considerable time together, we love to travel and meet new people (and animals), and Joy is so precocious.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
If friends come to San Diego, with my roots being in the countryside, my ideal travel itinerary would involve time in our many nearby forest areas, State and National Parks. Hiking, fishing, stargazing, off-roading, and camp cooking would feature heavily. We love to show friends Joshua Tree, Death Valley, Anza Borrego State Park, and the Angeles and Los Padres National Forests. Of course, for a less outdoorsy friend, then there is so much to see in San Diego and the surrounding area. Local favorites include Point Loma, the Midway, and a morning walk down the beach. There are so many choices for fine food. And, a good bottle of California wine always goes down a treat!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Without a doubt, the reason that I find myself where I am today is due to my parents, and, in particular, my Dad. My parents were extremely supportive during my formative years. They taught me my work ethic, my belief in striving to be the best at whatever you try, and the confidence of never being afraid of a challenge. My Father, who was a maintenance fitter, taught me to weld and to use a lathe by the time I was eleven. It was my Father that held down multiple jobs and bought and sold all manner of items that led to my parents having sufficient funds to retire in their early fifties. Most people would have said they had far too little in the bank, but their financial planning was sound, and that carried them successfully through the next thirty years. That realization, that retirement (or perhaps more accurately stepping away from a life dominated by the need for ‘traditional’ work), is what drove our family to set similar life goals. Sadly, Dad passed this year at the age of eighty-six! The world lost a talented engineer and a unique character.