xenophile

Chasing Summer & Finally Living Out My Xenophile Dreams

I was supposed to fly back to the US…tomorrow.  But the closer it got, the more work emails that came in, the less un-enthused I was to go back.  So today I quit my job.

This would honestly be the second most terrifying and difficult life decision I’ve ever had to make.  Some people think that after all I’ve been through I would probably be dancing in the streets bursting with happiness, but that actually isn’t so much the case.

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You see, I’ve been there  for 8+ years, it was a pretty badass job, I didn’t have to work year-round and it still paid well-enough to live out my travel-obsessed life.  I’ve also spent practically all of my 20s there, I LOVED some of the people I’ve had the pleasure of working with, the mission and the intensity that went with what I did.  BUT there were many, many days on end spent feeling under-stimulated and dreaming about not being at work and traveling instead.

If it’s not clear, I have a slight obsession with travel.  I’m in fact a self-proclaimed xenophile…. A person interested in all that is foreign, especially to foreign peoples, manners, or cultures.  Although with my now-ex job I was still traveling for leisure 4-6 months a year, I would still be envious of the “gap-year” kids, the ones who took an entire year off between college and the real-world to experience life before corporations took over theirs.  I could never get enough experiences in and it has been nagging on me even more since our rad BVI sailing trip in December, when a friend and I went to a fun and crazy unbloggable party on another catamaran and we were drinking with the captain of that boat who in his 20s decided to leave the “real world” and move to the BVI to sail where he’s been living the dream for 4 years since.

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This made me reflect on my choices…. always regimented and chronically motivated to continue to make x-amount each year like most other good hardworking middle-class Americans and then as fast as I could running away as far as I could pretending work didn’t exist when my work periods were over.

But the biggest problem with my ex-job and what made me finally decide to pull the plug was I just wasn’t passionate about what I did anymore and someone in charge of a team absolutely needs to be.  When I was little, I didn’t grow up saying I was going to do my ex-job when I got older much less anything like it.  But I did constantly play with globes – yes, you can play with a globe, wherever it stops, I will go :) –  and Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego and another computer game where you could bicycle to all the ruins across South America… and I could do this for hours.

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As I said above… I loved many things about my ex-job, but it wasn’t something that kept me up late at night dreaming about.  Some people could really nerd-out in my career field, I didn’t and never would.

I have an Alan Watt’s video on my blog about what would you do if money were no object.  For me…it’s travel.  I can and do stay up until 5am making round-the-world itineraries, adventure bucket-lists, reading other travel blogs, and reading country oriented fiction on my kindle.  It’s madness, and I love it.

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So, what am I going to do with myself now that I am jobless for the first time in 15 years?  It’s been a bit of a scramble the past few days suffering through a few of those 5am nights making last-minute plans (it’s a good thing I LOVE to do it).  The end-result is, I’ve decided I’m going to spend the next 4.5 months “chasing summer.”

“Chasing summer” means that after departing Uruguay tomorrow via ferry back to Buenos Aires, I’ll be headed back up to NE Brazil to enjoy some chilled-out beach time, then west to Bolivia (the “Tibet” of South America) before hitting parts of Colombia that I wasn’t able to appreciate in the past, on to Panama, Costa, Nicaragua all the way up Central America to Mexico City… and as I hit each country it should just be turning their summer season.

So I”ll be spending my days smiling in the sun, diving, maybe learning to kite-board and continuing to butcher my spanish along the way.  Basically, being free.

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Then the plan is to visit my Hood River and Minnesota families, spend 4th of July (aka the best holiday EVER) somewhere in the states before heading off to Europe to run with the bulls on July 6th, Iceland, Morocco, the Maasai Mara (great migration), back to Capetown to re-attempt to dive with Great Whites, Malta, Ethiopia, Jordan, Turkey (not necessarily in that order) and then back to my beloved Asia… where the list goes on… Himalayas, Baunum Valley in Papua, volunteering in Laos, etc.

So that’s the current “plan” tentative to change of course if I really miss working?????? or who knows maybe I’ll even find somewhere I will want to stay for a while along the way.  The amazing, crazy and terrifying is, the possibilities are endless.

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Have I made the right decision in leaving corporate stability, a badass job and the mothership where I have spent practically all of my 20s?  Only time will tell, but after my giant sob-fest as I was attempting to celebrate my big life decision over wine and an excellent dinner last night, karma seemed to be with me as I was reading an article and came upon this quote…

Living for something in the future is great for one thing, preventing us from living right now.  One thing is certain, in this life we are never going to be any younger than we are right now, so what time is better than right now?

So here it is my new life manifesto, what time is better than now?   If I don’t do it now, I probably never will.  So I’ve thrown off my bowline, I’ve gone rogue and rest assured it’s going to be one crazy adventure.

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//The I.A.

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