Interview: Bob Skurka

Taking a break from business-as-usual in Mass. to enjoy a bluebird day at Loveland Ski Area

Those who have seen one of my presentations or who have read trip reports know that I depend heavily on my parents for logistical and emotional support. They might also be my two biggest fans. This interview was an opportunity for my dad to better share his thoughts and feelings.

Also, read the interview with my mom. The differences in their answers definitely reveal how each feels about my trips, viewed through their own personal experiences and desires.

Andrew. Please fill in the blank in the next sentence with an emotion. When I am out on a solo adventure, you are _________________.

Dad: anxious as I await the next update from you.

Andrew. Yet, you support me in these endeavors, both emotionally and logistically. How do you reconcile that with always being uneasy while I’m on a trip?

Dad. You have chosen this life of adventure and you are happy. I respect your choice. I just hope that you will always be happy, safe and successful as you pursue your adventures.

Andrew. The Alaska-Yukon Expedition was especially stressful for me, and I recall several phone calls during which you suggested that I might end up with PTSD (post-traumatic stress syndrome) after the trip was over. What it’s like on your end to hear how taxed I was?

Dad. I was concerned for you because I could sense the mental challenges that accompanied the physical challenges of the expedition. All I could do was try to support you from afar and to keep you in my thoughts. I am very happy you successfully completed your trek.

Andrew. As a family we occasionally recreated in the outdoors, but nothing more than day hikes, car camping and skiing once a winter. Where there any clues from my childhood that I would take this path?

Dad. You always had lots of energy so running, hiking and being outdoors was very good for you. I thought perhaps you would take a more traditional career path after college. In retrospect, I should have known that you would likely create and thrive in your adventuresome entrepreneurial life.

Andrew. Please describe your profession. What internal and external factors caused you to choose it?

Dad. I am a commercial lender for a small regional bank. I have found the intellectual challenge very rewarding. And I get a thrill from helping my lenders become more successful as I provide financing for their business ventures. They make my life interesting and fun as I get to work with so many successful entrepreneurs.

Andrew. We butted heads as I veered further away from the conventional life that you would have preferred. Why were you opposed to this shift? And why do you seem more okay with it now?

Dad. I had hoped that you would choose a more traditional career path to give you a stable income and life. I was concerned about your future if you chose a non-traditional path. You have basically chosen to be an entrepreneur. Thus, you have more variety and adventure as you create your own professional life. I now have come to realize this path has helped you achieve happiness and success.

Andrew. Do you have any advice for parents who are in a similar situation now?

Dad. It is best to watch and listen while also trying to give some good advice along the way. Each child needs to sprout their wings and fly in the direction they choose. That usually will help them achieve a happy, successful and satisfying life. Parents can and should be supportive but they need to respect the child to make good decisions / choices in life.

Andrew. Where do you see me in five years?

Dad. I expect you will write more books and give more presentations. Corporate groups may become a larger component of your speaking engagements. Company employees and managers battle big challenges every day. They will admire the physical and mental strength that helps you achieve your goals.

Posted in on January 14, 2012

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