Great Escapes

Drop that smart phone, pack away that iPod and ponder this: When was the last time you were truly, fully free of virtual  reality and plugged only into the present? Did you struggle to disentangle yourself from the noise, distractions and dilemmas  of daily life? And were you able to sustain your escape for more than,  say, an hour?

It increasingly seems we can’t escape our roles and responsibilities, even temporarily, because technology has become so transportable and accessible that we feel guilty going off the grid.

Most of us know, however, that getting away from it all, even occasionally and temporarily, is good for us mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually. The people on these pages describe in their own words the ways they decompress, get inspired, re-energize and get their minds off the grind.


Getting away in the great outdoors

by Mary Ann Sullivan, R.N., B.H.A.’97

“Visiting the national parks is a great adventure, experiencing the new terrain, wildlife and gaining knowledge about the history of the parks and the people who made them happen.”

The “Zen” of feeling 17 again

by Richard Belloff, D.B.A., FACHE-designate

“What you experience is…a freedom that’s not unlike the freedom when you first ride a bicycle down a hill without pedaling. Riding a motorcycle is like riding a bike downhill all the time.”

Shedding our work costumes

by Ann York, Ph.D.

“We all show up at the river in our rowing clothes and caps. Then later you find out you were rowing with a judge or a surgeon. It’s a great equalizer.”

“Let go and let God”

by Kevin Emge, D.O.’86, FACOOG

“As a practicing surgeon, I thought I was God, and everyone affirms it. I found out that I’m a normal human – one day I was a physician, the next day I might not have a job. That was good life training.”

Really getting away from it all

by Rachel Wilson

“I started pretty young competing with a bullwhip… In one competition, we had to hit a bandana out of a cardboard-cutout man’s back pocket and a cigar out of his mouth. I won that competition.”

Disciplined lifestyle offers an energized escape

by Michon Leddy, PA-C’97

“I’m 43. Herein lies the challenge: There is no master’s level in the professional shows, so I’ll have to compete against 20- and 30-year-olds. But I do it to inspire and encourage women of all ages.”

Keeping the wheels turning

by Brian Hart

“My wife, Julie, gave me a bicycle on my 50th birthday. I wasn’t as appreciative as I probably should have been. Now, seven years later, I own three bicycles….I’ve set a goal of riding 25,000 miles total by my 60th birthday.”

Got your own great escape? Share it with DMU Magazine by contacting editor Barbara Boose at 515-271-1599 or

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