After only a few months at my job in Seattle I began to notice a strange phenomenon in my office: the walls grew a bit more oppressive each day, and the light a bit dimmer. However the meetings, hallway discussions, weekend recaps, long days, working weekends, political power plays, and assignments remained exactly the same.
Day after day, after day.
Presenting in Mumbai, India
About every month I would travel to a conference or event, sit through meetings extraordinarily similar to
the ones back at the office, attend and present sessions about a multitude of mundane topics, and indulge in lavish company dinners.
On the whole, I loved the travel. As soon as it became international I got to frequently travel to places that before would have been a brief vacation if I was lucky and willing to spend the money. It was an outrageous lifestyle: dinner in Singapore, meetings in Tokyo, a conference in Barcelona, presentations in Mumbai. I was traveling almost 100,000 miles a year. It was amazing, and it was surreal.
There was however a severe catch to it: I was alone.
Singapore Airlines Business Lounge, Hong Kong
I realized quickly that as much as I loved travel, and was truly excited about each new international destination – it just was not the same experience I had come to appreciate when I had adventures before, friends by my side. I was sharing these experiences with my friends in story only. I shrugged it off as an insane complaint, I was so lucky to find a career at a successful company that let me travel, there was no one on earth that could feel sorry for me.
A thought keep nagging me though. Why couldn’t I travel with all my friends? Why couldn’t we head to all these exotic locations with the same, or an even more frequent regularity? Why couldn’t every day be spent seeking out awe inspiring experiences with your friends? There was a short list of reasons: money, time, commitments – but with each new day in my ever dimmer never changing office an excuse fell away.
Finally I was left with nothing but the conviction that this was possible and that it would be insane to do anything but work as hard as I could, as soon as I could to make it happen. I would have to give up a lifestyle I had become accustomed to living. It would certainly be the most difficult, ambitious, and risk filled undertaking I had ever dreamed up. And I could already hear of chorus of concerned objection from friends and family.
However the chance to travel the world each and every day, the chance to seek out adventure and awe as a lifestyle
instead of a vacation, and the chance to do it with my friends was worth leaving behind a comfortable existence, was worth risking financial security, and was certainly worth the work to make it possible.
Living the Dream