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If you could pack your bags and go anywhere in the world next year, where would you choose to
go? For my wife and me, that question became a reality as we hit a triple witching event in our
life; our last child is off to college, my wife is celebrating a milestone birthday, and we’ve
diligently saved to afford this once-in-a-lifetime trip.

The question of where to go was so overwhelming that we started just by spitballing a bunch of
exotic locations; Australia, Thailand, Viet Nam, Iceland, Bora Bora, the Maldives, Antarctica,
Easter Island. Not surprisingly, I could only identify three of these locations on a world map!
Maybe we should set some baseline parameters first before choosing the locale.

We realized very quickly that, while we could go anywhere in the world, realistically our options
were somewhat limited. We only could travel for up to 12 days, travel to/from the location
couldn’t exceed 16 hours each way, we didn’t want to be so far away that we couldn’t return for
an emergency, we wanted a safe locale, ideally an English or Spanish speaking area, etc. With
all of the requirements, I was nervous that all roads for our dream vacation would lead to
Rockford, Illinois.

After lots of research and discussion, we narrowed our choices down to two locations;
Patagonia or Croatia. So many positives for each location. Patagonia offers breathtaking
natural beauty, outdoor activities such as hiking and kayaking, a diverse wildlife, unique cultural
experiences, and a very rustic and remote vibe. Croatia, on the other hand, provides
picturesque islands and beaches, medieval towns to explore, bike rides in the Dinaric Alps
overlooking the Adriatic Sea, and cuisine characterized by fresh seafood, Mediterranean flavors
and European wines.

But there were downsides to each as well. Patagonia’s weather could be iffy, traveling within
the region could be challenging, and the remoteness could be an issue with regards to
amenities and health care (if needed). Croatia provided a different set of issues given the
language barrier, crowds during the time we wanted to visit, and the cost of accommodations
and food during their peak season.

As we considered our options, my wife and I were lockstep that we were prepared for any
situation. We were fully equipped to handle the unique circumstances posed by either location,
confident that we would embrace the advantages of our chosen destination with equal

Our issue was now, how do we decide? Honestly, either location would be fantastic and we
were certain that there wasn’t a bad choice. The decision really came down to a few minor
points – we preferred a warmer location as we live in the Midwest and we wanted more flexibility
and options for traveling in and out of the country. So we ultimately decided on Croatia.

Now if you are from Patagonia, please do not get angry at me for this decision. By not choosing
Patagonia, it does not mean that I don’t like the country, the food, the wildlife, the people, the
culture or anything else for that matter. I have high opinions of Patagonia and in some ways am
sad that we didn’t choose it.

Also, by choosing Croatia, it doesn’t mean that the trip will be perfect. In fact, lots may go
wrong with the trip where I may be thinking “I sure wish we were in Patagonia!”

We needed to decide between two great options and recognize that other couples may have
chosen differently based on where they currently live, their need for travel flexibility, or any other
number of factors. Sometimes choices can be based on seemingly insignificant factors.

The next time you are a runner-up for a job position, try to remember all of this. That you are
being considered says a ton about you. That you don’t win the job may say absolutely nothing
about you. Additionally, if you are in the enviable position of choosing one job over another,
don’t look in the rear view mirror after making a decision. People tend to make the best
decisions for themselves in the moment – it doesn’t mean that the choice will work out but it was
the right choice at the time.

Hire Thought For so many of us, if we don’t “win” a job we believe that something is wrong with us. When a
few of the losses stack up, we may feel really broken. Candidates should always reflect on how
they can improve their interviewing, but should stop short of overanalyzing the company’s hiring
decision. Sometimes the deciding factors say more about the interviewer’s preferences than
the actual strength and attributes of the candidates. In this example, never be ashamed to be
“Patagonia”. But you do have some work to do if you are “Rockford, Illinois”.

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