Among lawyers, Sara Thompson is hardly unique in pursuing after-work-hours endeavors to retain her zest for life.
What separates Thompson from the herd is a tendency to tackle challenges that are not her normal cup of tea. More like a cup of castor oil.
Normally disinclined to become one with nature, she roughed it during a four-day hike at the famed Milford Track in New Zealand -- and cannot wait for the sequel.
Preferring to log miles on planes to vacation spots, the travel buff recently decided to try covering long distances by running. Shin-splint trouble from training has not dissuaded her from taking on a half-marathon, with a full one on her possible to-do list.
Once intimidated by the notion of sitting at a poker table with serious players, Thompson has become a semi-regular at various casinos and aspires to stack chips at the World Series of Poker someday.
Not every venture is initially beyond her comfort zone. Thompson, reared in a cooking-minded family, prepares a mean meal while dabbling in oddities such as cupcakes and infused liquor. It should come as no surprise that the competition-minded Thompson, whose practice at Greenberg Traurig focuses on medical devices and pharmaceuticals, plans to eventually audition for television's Master Chef.
Do you have a general philosophy about staying busy outside of your work by seeking out new activities?
I'm always looking to try new things. One advantage of being single is having more time to look for opportunities to do this. The first eight or nine years of my practice, I didn't travel a lot because I was focused on my work. In 2008, I made a point of starting to take big trips. With work, we have a hard-charging group here, but they have been very supportive of the crazy activities that I do.
When I went to New Zealand, I thought it would be controversial since it was six weeks before a big trial. I told them I was going to be gone 17 days. They won't be able to reach me by cellphone. They knew I would come back and bust my hump for four months.
Where does your interest in travel come from?
When I was a kid, we didn't take a lot of vacations. My parents built their own business and worked hard on that. If we took a vacation, it would be to visit family. So there are a million places I want to go to. I have a long list of places that I'm keeping.
Do you look for trips that are more adventurous than sightseeing?
A little bit of both. I'm more outdoorsy now than I was. When I went to New Zealand, I had to buy my first hiking boots. I think I only broke them in for a day. It was something very outside my comfort zone.