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December 30, 2005

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Moving On

December 28, 2005

The second round of worries was the list of things that had to be done before I left. A short list was: Sell furniture, clean out college stuff, find out about 401K and Stock Options at work, figure out Health Insurance, Budget out the next year, buy tickets for Brazil, contact friends in Brazil, get shots for Brazil, go to all doctor, eye, and dentist appointments before insurance runs out… and of course, hand in my resignation, which was nerve wracking, as it was the point of no return. The list went on and on. There was so much to do, it was maddening. I didn’t know what to do first, and the length of the list was stressing me out and making me nervous and ineffective.
In the end, due to increased dissatisfaction at work, I ended up quitting a few weeks before I had initially planned out, and spent the time at home, taking care of all these tasks. To further complicate things, I was splendidly distracted with a new girl I started dating. After over two years without any serious dating, I ended up falling for a girl two months before I was set to leave.
The last three weeks were a complete whirlwind and entirely exhausting, physically and emotionally. I was only leaving for a matter of months, but it felt much longer. I think it was because I was saying goodbye to one life in Seattle, and I knew it wouldn’t be quite the same when I returned. For better or for worse. Moving is always much more work than you expect, and that was certainly the case. Plus, I had to move into Brandon’s place, and pack for the road trip and Brazil.
All this put together was pretty taxing. My new relationship definitely complicated things, although I really wouldn’t have it any other way. The last three days I was up well into the night, packing and unpacking, then packing again. It felt really good to finally get on the road, and have my stuff all sold or moved. I’m swearing to stop collecting junk, and stay lightweight for a while. We’ll see how far that goes.

Leaning On the Support of Friends

December 27, 2005

Through this whole ordeal of leaving my job to travel, talking to my friends helped a lot. Most of them still saw the romantic side of it, and it was helpful to hear their support. My family was, and has been supportive of well, but in a different way. They have been understanding of my dissatisfaction, and supportive of my ideas to leave. My friends were the ones who offered encouragement.
I started a business idea brainstorming group “Hyper-Zen” about two years ago. All the guys (10 in all) worked at the same company as I did, and we met once a week at my house to discuss ideas, have pizza, and just hang out. Over the course of the two years, nearly everyone has come to the same conclusion as I did… Some things were good about the job, but none were completely satisfied. I think I was the most acute case of dissatisfaction, and therefore I am the first to defect. The group was very supportive, and one of my best friends offered me a place at his house when I come back from my travels. So I took him up on it, and so the rent portion of my worries died down.
My plan slowly teased its way out. It started with a year of travel, to Brazil, Europe and Africa, and then no plans after that. Then I took out Africa. Despite family pressure to move back to the Midwest, eventually I decided to come back to Seattle for sure. All my friends are here, including future business partners, as well as all of my contacts. Then I went to a few travel presentations, and decided that Europe seemed pretty expensive, and I had less contacts there, so I cut that out too. I realized that since I was not looking for a 9 to 5 job when I return, there was no need to bunch up my trips into one long time period. I could return to Seattle, and take off again later in the year, hopefully this time with a friend. So finally I had a rough plan. Leave Seattle before the holidays, spend the holidays with family, take off for Brazil in January, take a break \ volunteer until April, at which point I return to spend another week at home with family, and then move back out to Seattle to explore entrepreneurial ventures. Then the second round of worries set in.

The End of One Life, The Start of Another

December 27, 2005

This blog will gradually be changing over the next few months. This is as it should be, since it’s a reflection of my life. I wrote my last post about leaving the comfort zone, and mentioned leaving my job. In truth, I’ve been thinking of leaving my job for a while. It’s been almost a year since I decided for sure, however, since this blog is public, I haven’t been free to write about it. Now that I’ve left my job, I’ll give a quick run down of the process, and what my plans are now.

Leaving my job to go travel was at first a very romantic idea. When I talk with people now, and tell them of my plans, I see that same romantic look in their eyes. “Now’s the time to do it” everyone says. But what they don’t see, is the rest of the story. I decided to leave my job nearly a year ago… so for the first 6 months, I only saw the romantic side of it as well. It was so far off, that I didn’t really have to do any planning, and therefore, the reality had not set in. As the time to leave came closer, I started to see the other side of things. I had paid off all my debts in the first year of working, and had saved a decent amount of money, but for the first time I started looking closer at my finances and wondering whether what I had would be enough. I’ve worked at a big corporation in a high-paying job, so until this point, I’ve never really had a budget. I try to be smart in my spending, and save everything left over. It helps to not have really expensive taste. So finances were the first worry. I did a few quick calculations and had a rough idea that I should be able to live in my current status for about a year or so. But more than doing anything about it, I just worried. Then I started thinking of all the expenses that I don’t usually think about. Health insurance was a big one. It just got taken care of through my work, but without a job… it was a big question mark. Then there was dental insurance, car insurance and weird little expenses like gas money and cell phone bills. These were all things I didn’t think much of when I had a vision of my future that always included an income.