So on February 9, 2012, Alice, Keira, and I will be embarking on our around-the-world adventures. We’ve been selling as much as we can and will donate or store the rest. But there’s so many other considerations like health insurance when traveling, what to do with cell phone plans, where to live, how to get to where we will eventually live, Keira’s checkups, etc. that it was definitely overwhelming and daunting when we first made up our minds. I’ll save all those detail for future posts.
In fact, when we share with people that we’re packing up and leaving Seattle with a 11 month-old to travel, I usually get one of two responses:
(1) You’re CRAZY! How do you do that with a baby?
(2) WOW – sounds amazing, I wish I could do that.
In my mind, I think about it as a careercation. I know it can be trite when people exclaim that, “Life’s too short!” What I get out of that statement is that life is too short to drift along with society’s expectations, and that I need to strive to live more intentionally and purposeful. In addition, as friends and relatives are getting older, I am fortunate to have a bit of health (exercising and eating) and wealth (saving and not living extravagently), and I want to live and play by my own rules to travel and create amazing shared experiences with my family while I’m healthy enough to fully indulge in other cultures and activities. As they say, a person on their death bed doesn’t usually think about working more or hoarding more money.
As for work, as an entrepreneur, I’ve been sharing my feelings with my business partner for over a year. My desire to take a careercation only intensified after I got married and had Keira. But it never felt right earlier as the company was going through a strategic transformation. Now with the right people and strategy in place, I truly feel that the company is stronger and better poised than ever before for continued success. So by keeping a honest and open dialogue with my partner and also waiting for the right timing, I feel very positively about the transition and state of the company.
There are a variety of other factors that weave together to pull me towards the careercation path. I’ll try to briefly sum them up:
(a) I’ve always been interested in international travel from my days of studying abroad at Peking University as an undergrad to my days studying in Singapore and Fontainebleau as a MBA student. They were some of my best and most formative experiences. I want to taste that again. But not just travel, but hopefully reside and soak in the city / country. So for this trip, we’re going to try to live in a place for around 1 month at a time as we circle the globe.
(b) I’ve always been interested in people development. I don’t know what the genesis for this interest is, but I do believe that for many companies, people are their most important assets. I’m interested in how companies hire, track, and coach their people. I’m calling this project TINYhr. During my travels around-the-world, I’ll be reaching out to entrepreneurs through the EO network and interviewing them. I hope to learn a ton and document best practices related to culture and performance reviews. I plan to share these best practices by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs in my blog at TINYhr or through a book.
(c) Even though my family is very young, I still want to create amazing shared experiences like driving a campervan throughout the South Island in New Zealand. I know Keira won’t remember these experiences, but I know Alice and I will…and hopefully this will eventually rub off on Keira and light her own fire to travel and experience different cultures.
Finally, our itinerary is not fully set, but I’m going to be starting with New Zealand for EO Queenstown, then Australia, then Hong Kong and Shezhen. So if you have suggestions or know people I should connect / interview, please feel free to let me know.
Bon Voyage in about 3 weeks!