Ronald Jacobs — a Man With a Plan
Karly Osten is a recent graduate of Linfield College and oversaw operations at The Blogmobile this year. Below is a story she wrote during Cycle Oregon about one of the many journalists who covered the event from this rolling newsroom.
One of the tasks I was asked to accomplish at Cycle Oregon was to go out and find someone with an interesting story and write about them. The plan was to case out Tent City or the beer garden and observe. The story, I kept telling myself, would find me – and find me it did. As it turned out, I didn’t even need to leave my post at the Blogmobile for it to happen.
It was there I had the good fortune to meet a journalist from The Netherlands by the name of Ronald Jacobs. Ronald is one of those rare people who knows exactly what he wants out of life AND has figured out what he needs to do to make it happen… while he’s young enough to enjoy it. In essence, he’s living his dream, which makes him an inspiration and an absolute joy to be around.
Ronald was covering Cycle Oregon for Fiets, the most popular cycling magazine in Holland (as it turns out, cycling’s rather popular in that part of the world). Although he was working on a major feature article, he wasn’t there with a crew. Riding, writing and photography duties all fell on his shoulders, though none appeared to be particularly problematic for him. As it turns out, there are few jobs he can’t do or hasn’t done.
One of his very first “real” jobs was as a professional soccer player, though he quickly concluded it wouldn’t be a long-lasting career and then enlisted in the police academy. He took up running and swimming as a way to keep fit. This led him to triathlons, which he enjoyed so much he was soon doing one or two a week. Cycling was his least favorite part of the three-leg competition, but once mountain biking came onto the scene that he soon realized the joys of the bike.
Later he began working part-time for a travel agency to promote scuba diving vacations. Part of his job involved visiting dive locations around the world so he could photograph and write about them. His work drew the interest of a travel magazine, and before long he was writing for several travel and cycling publications.
After 15 years of working as a law enforcement officer and a journalist, Ronald came to an important realization: He was spending too much time working and not enough playing. That’s when he decided it was time for a change. He immediately scaled back to working part-time and quickly discovered that by saying “no” to a bigger house, a new car and many of the material trappings that drive people deep into debt, he could do more of what he loved and still live comfortably.
Today he and his wife, who is also a journalist, are able to travel the world and write about their experiences and the people they meet. They set their own schedule, travel wherever they please and write the stories they want to write. And they wouldn’t have it any other way.
Ronald believes this level of contentment is something anyone with the courage and commitment to pursue can attain. His formula is seemingly simple:
- Figure out what matters most and what you truly want to accomplish
- Make a list of goals
- Think spiritually instead of materialistically
- Focus on your strengths
- Start working on achieving your goals and dreams right now
Obviously it’s a lot easier to write about this philosophy than to live it, but I’m glad to have had the chance to see living proof that it’s possible. As I embark on my own career, I hope to be able to follow a similar path. In the meantime, Ronald and his wife will be living their dream. Their next adventure involves spending four months living in an RV, exploring, riding and writing about lesser-known cycling destinations throughout the western U.S. and Canada.