Still a Freejourner

gabe don

Thanks for visiting my blog. I’m going to be writing more about marketing and business over at Breckenridge Marketing, and start using this more as a place for personal reflection. I love capturing the special moments in life with words and pictures, lest I forget. It’s the best way for me to process and grow. “Write for yourself,” people say…

We have always blended our family, work, faith, fun, and adventure, and I miss sharing about those intersections. We used to keep up a blog at freejourners.com. But this seems like the best place to do that going forward. So, please join along.

We have three young adults now as children. 20, 18, 16 years old. Two sons and a daughter. The time really did ZOOM by as everyone warned.

It exponentially sped up during the teenage years. Throw in COVID-19 and government shut downs, school closings, hybrid schooling, canceled sports, activities, and gatherings, and you’ve got a petri dish for internal chaos for tender, growing souls. Our kids missed out on national snowboarding competitions, senior track meets, lacrosse seasons, graduation…they lost a friend to suicide and struggled with their mental health…It was not fun.

Our oldest son, Gabe was actually a 2020 graduate. He was planning on attending Colorado School of Mines for Mechanical Engineering that fall, but decided to take a gap year instead. He worked, snowboarded, and just navigated through that crazy year as well as the best of us. He decompressed from a challenging high school IB curriculum, and had some time to reflect on whether “traditional school” was even the best route for him. He came to the conclusion of “no.” And we fully supported him. He decided not to go to college for now and instead just jump right in to the business world.

Don and I have had our own businesses and worked virtually WAY before it became the norm in 2020. It was the life Gabe had grown up in, and so he got a front row seat to all its benefits. We even started traveling around the country when he was 11. He was old enough to take it all in. This way of life naturally suited him. Settling in to new places, meeting people locally, doing business from a laptop at home, in coffeeshops, WeWork, or clients’ offices was our normal.

In October 2021, Gabe went off to the wild west of Oklahoma City 😉 to help manage an online business, Sale In a Box, which serviced Auto Dealers. They provided all the marketing materials dealers usually ordered for Sale Events…which were actually becoming less and less in demand with the lack of automotive inventory that year…

Sooooo, he was able to pivot attention into another company, owned by one of Don’s partners, Chad: SnapAutos, which helps people connect with auto dealers who will give them a great offer for their used vehicle. Gabe’s managing their ad accounts and YouTube Channel, creating video ads, and stepping in wherever needed. He’s so quick and creative with technology that he’s been an asset to everyone. He’s built up his own clientele, and is serving companies with his digital marketing skills, some of which he’s had since he was 10, and others that he’s learned quickly based on the need.

Gabe’s still living like a Freejourner. I’m sure he’s had people questioning his gypsy-like lifestyle, but he’s been able to bounce around between Dallas, Oklahoma City, and Breckenridge, Colorado. He’s had priceless, I mean priceless time with my parents and all his relatives. His car accident kept him in Dallas longer that he originally anticipated, but it was a gift I know he wouldn’t trade – sweet time and special conversations with my mom and dad. He hung out with Don’s brother and his family the months before they had their first child. And he even got to take a homemade dinner to the neighbors we had when he was born, after they returned home from the hospital from open-heart surgery. They could barely believe it!

Gabe’s found an easy way to fill his schedule, stay active, and meet people, no matter which city he is in: tennis! Tennis clinics and tennis tournaments! All around Dallas, McKinney, OKC, Norman, Breckenridge, Denver, and Keystone! He actually won his first tournament in Oklahoma a couple weekends ago and another one this past weekend – in singles and doubles!

He has flown back up to Breckenridge a couple times and will be here again next weekend. His younger siblings wonder if he will ever really leave, but I know it’s a gift to everyone to have him around, and he gets his cup full with one of his favorite things in the world: snowboarding and boarderx racing. He even got to race in Aspen last month and took second place. 🙂

I know everyone has their own path to follow as they launch into adulthood, and many choose college. Honestly, we always assumed he’d go down that route, but who would have anticipated 2020? I think many young adults are trying to find their way. And I love that there are so many incredible options out there, especially now. Digital Marketing is an amazingly broad, rewarding landscape, and there’s a niche place for most everyone – creative, technical, artistic, relational, analytical, or visual…it’s so vast. It’s become our family business, in a sense, and pretty amazing that we all will be able to live out this nomadic lifestyle and embrace all that life offers..with great freedom, GREAT friends, great impact, financial reward, and endless adventure and opportunity.

We are proud of our son (and his brother and sister coming up behind him). He’s setting a great example of a teenager turned adult and making his own way in the world, managing his lodging, travel, schedule, health, social life, bank account, insurance….it really is hard to believe.

If your company needs someone to manage their YouTube Channel, YouTube Ads, Google Ads, or help with media, video editing, marketing analysis, etc. it’s a great time to reach out to Gabe to see if he can help. He has a broad base of clients and can likely be a good fit. Or if you’d like to try his specialty rigatoni….I’m sure he’d be up for inviting you to dinner. 😉

Parenting teenagers has been one of the most challenging seasons of life for us, but it has been sweet to start to see the rewards of all the love we’ve tried to pour in their hearts and skills we’ve tried to pass on. We love you much, Gabe! (assuming you will read this sometime 😉

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