For a little more than a year, Louis Goor’s office has been whatever space he can find to open up his computer and log in to his emails on board his sailing yacht, Irene IV.
He’s checked in with his team at JL Goor, his polymer business in Ireland, from Panama, the Galapagos, Vanuatu, Hamilton Island, Cocos Keeling, Saint Helena and Salvador, among other far-flung destinations.
With family, including his sister, Sabine, and 15-year-old son, George, Goor is taking part in the 2022–2023 edition of the Oyster World Rally (OWR), a fully-supported circumnavigation of the world for owners of the British boatbuilder Oyster Yachts.
Irene IV, Goor’s Oyster 655, is one of 30 yachts that set sail from Antigua on 9 January 2022. When the yacht arrives back in Antigua with the rest of the fleet in April 2023, Goor will have been out of the office for almost 16 months – save for a fortnight back home in January.
Even before he took delivery of the yacht in September 2020, Goor had been dreaming about participating in the rally.
“I was somewhat tied to my business life, and at 53, married and with a young family and a small number of health challenges, it was time to make a change and specifically try to reduce stress,” he tells The CEO Magazine from Fernando de Noronha, a volcanic archipelago off the coast of Brazil.
As Managing Director, with a whole organization depending on him, the question was – how?
There has been an incredible rise in the number of digital nomads since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Recent data put the number of people traveling while working remotely at 35 million.
Almost 50 countries are reported to now offer some sort of digital nomad visa to facilitate the trend.
Yet, while the typical profile of a remote worker is a young creative who needs little more than a computer and a strong wi-fi signal to do their job, they are not the only category to head out of the office without setting up out-of-office notifications.
C-Suite executives like Goor are taking advantage of technology advances to embark on much-longed-for adventures while still keeping up with the day-to-day of their businesses. For Goor, it was the ability to frame the OWR as research that allowed the idea of his participation to become a reality.
“Our business is in an industry that has to become more environmentally aware and responsible,” he says.
“So, ultimately, entering the OWR became something in the way of research to see what conditions the oceans were in and how, ultimately, we might use our learnings to improve our company offering, make us more environmentally friendly and, hopefully, do some good along the way.”
Creating memories that will stay with them for a lifetime, he talks of the privilege of taking part in such an event. “The OWR is not all about the circumnavigation, but firmly about building a community of new friends with similar minds and from all walks of life,” he says.
Then there are the experiences. “Diving with bull sharks in Fiji, meeting village chiefs in Indonesia, sharing Irish music with tribes in the San Blas Islands in Panama and climbing remote active volcanoes in Vanuatu, looking at boiling red lava sparking in the air right in front of us at night. And so much more,” he recalls.
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