And on this list is a tantalizing array of things he has undertaken or would like to accomplish throughout his adult life. If you’re thinking it might be things like “visit the Grand Canyon” or “learn to make the perfect omelet,” consider the fact that the most recent item marked off the list was “climb Mount Kilimanjaro at 19,341 feet in Tanzania.”
In August 2011, Tom Wohlford, E&H Class of 1976, along with a guide and support team from Tusker Trails successfully summited Mount Kilimanjaro. While the trek took him 8 days up and 2 days down, he was in Africa for five weeks because he spent some time on a safari and visiting the gorillas that live high on the volcanoes in Rwanda.
Because this is how Tom does it; vacations or escapes can tend to be more of an adventure. While he and Debbie do like golf trips and visit beaches, Tom’s preference would be to help crew a 3,000 mile sail around Cape Horn which he did eleven years ago. He and Debbie both love sailing and have explored the entire Caribbean island chain over the past 30 years, not to mention a two week sail with friends around Bora Bora and the surrounding islands for their 20th anniversary.
Tom and Deborah met in graduate school at Georgia State, and they have been married for 32 years. And apparently she is both a willing partner, and sometimes sideline cheerleader, in all these adventurous outings, but there are some limits. “She struggles a bit with high altitudes, and she simply won’t do open ocean crossings. She likes to be nicely anchored in a bay with a drink in hand by sunset.” Considering he almost has her talked into an 18 day trek from Katmandu to Everest Base Camp when they both retire in the coming years, these seem like small concessions.
It should come as no surprise that Tom tried retirement and didn’t like it. After many years leading various healthcare technology companies and traveling to Chicago, Tampa and New York during the week, he retired, took several years off, and is now working again for Ingersoll Rand’s Global Healthcare Practice, working with hospitals to address their physical environment needs as they relate to quality, performance and efficiency objectives. He says the new job can get in the way of his adventures but it’s far more enjoyable as he has fewer emails, no one reporting to him and no profit/loss responsibilities. “Actually, it is a cool job!”
And this is great, because he’ll need some time to get back to his list. Next up? Tom and Debbie are shooting for the Camino de Santiago de Compostela: a simple 800 kilometer walk from the south of France across northern Spain to the sea. For Tom and Deborah…it’ll be a walk in the park.