This news has been a few years in the making, plus for any of you who are connected to me on Facebook, you already heard this news a few days ago. But for the rest of you? I wanted to share that as of April 8? I will officially be living and working in the State of Oregon.
I have been a resident of Minnesota my entire life. My family lives in Minnesota. My extended family and inlaws live in Minnesota! It’s been good to me (us) over the years. But the Pacific Ocean has been calling me home since 1986 (yes, 1986!), and for more than three decades, I’ve been trying to scheme a way that I could spend my evenings watching the sunset over its waves.
We got a little closer to achieving that dream during/since COVID-19, when my wife’s employer allowed her to go to work remotely full-time. She also was blessed to have the opportunity to be promoted within her company, which involved a significant increase in responsibility and income! Meanwhile, mapformation, the mapping business I have been operating for more than two decades, has ALWAYS been remote! But being self-employed while trying to afford the much, MUCH higher cost of living on the West Coast? It just didn’t produce the type of income our family would require.
Enter the Small Business Development Center and business counseling. Over the past two years, I have been moonlighting at my “side hustle” of working as a business counselor for the Small Business Development Center in Marshall, Minnesota. A labor of love, helping entrepreneurs and small business owners be able to turn their ideas and businesses into sustainable incomes (and job creators for their communities). Such a rewarding job! Helping make a direct and significant positive impact in people’s lives! The more I have done the work, the more I have loved the work. To the point where when I saw the Director of the Small Business Development Center position advertised for the region of Southwestern Oregon? I had to apply.
Six weeks and five interviews later, I was offered the job. Which I have happily accepted! And as of March 14 (remotely) and April 8, 2022 (on-site), I begin my new life and work in Oregon. While still owning and operating my mapping business. Being a small business owner in Oregon, helping other entrepreneurs and small business owners in Southwestern Oregon try and have a better chance at success.
I will be working with the Oregon SBDC out of an office at Southwestern Oregon Community College. A campus with roughly 1,500 students, located in Coos Bay, Oregon. Coos Bay is part of a group of three towns that collectively are known as Oregon’s Adventure Coast, with three nine-hole disc golf courses (Ferry Road Park, Winsor Park, and Mingus Park) located in the communities, as well as one eighteen-hole object course known as Oregon Dunes DGC located just across the bay. One of the State’s top courses, Whistler’s Bend, is also located less than an hour to the East.
Of course, a few course collectors I know heard that I was moving and immediately said that I was moving in order to get my Courses Played number a little higher. 😛 Moving to Southwestern Oregon will actually HURT my ability to play more new disc golf courses! In part, because I have played most of the courses within an hour or two of where we will be living. And because living along the coast means that you can only head off in 180 degrees for new courses to play, versus a full 360 degrees. 😉
But I am not making this move for disc golf. I am making it for my physical and mental health (no more snow and ice five months/year, LOL). For my career. For my immediate family (my wife and two daughters). It’ll be more difficult to get more new courses played! Though my benefits package with my new job includes an amazing 41 paid days off per year (including every Friday off during the Summer). So I expect a lot of road trips into Central Oregon, Northern California and up the I-5 into Washington State in my future.
Southwestern Oregon will be our chance to enjoy a “staycation” into our late 50s and hopefully our 60s and 70s, versus waiting 15+ more years to live in a climate I/we prefer, only vacationing to said places a few times each year. My youngest daughter told us in the Pacific Northwest six years ago: “If you could live in a place as beautiful as this and didn’t, why wouldn’t you?!” Darned right, Ellie. Darned right. 🙂 So since we have the ability to live in one of the most beautiful places in the United States, while still taking care of our educational, professional and financial needs?! We’re going to do it. And if I need to put a few EXTRA miles in behind the wheel to get to more new courses played in the future?! That’s okay. Here’s to hoping we can eventually afford an electric car though, as gas prices here? Whew… 🙂
Magic Number = 60 (1,940 Courses Played)
How it All Got Started: Tonn’s Travels >>
A main purpose of this blog will be to share information, helpful tips and tricks (everything from health and fitness to methods for saving money while you’re out “bagging courses” of your own), and ideas for better, safer course design. But I am also hoping to inspire others with my passion for the sport, via the stories I can share about all of the interesting experiences I have. All of the interesting people I meet. All of the amazing courses I am blessed to have the opportunity to play. If I can inspire even a handful of individuals to get off the couch, get “out of their bubble” or “security blanket” and explore more of this big, beautiful planet we all call home? Then I will consider this effort a success.
Derek Tonn is a member of the DGA’s Ambassador Team. His company, Mapformation, LLC, has been DGA’s partner in the development of disc golf tee signage since 2012. The longer our two companies have worked together, and the more Derek has gotten to know all the great folks at DGA, the more he has wanted to formally sing the company’s praises. The more he has realized that “Steady” Ed’s (the father of disc golf and the modern-day Frisbee) vision for the sport and his company perfectly describes his own interests and priorities related to disc golf, and the more Derek has recently been encouraged to share his story.