Buy Things with Stories

I wrote this before I took active steps to go travel, last February. I left it unchanged though, except for this, and that.

I was recently talking with a very good friend of mine. I’ve been thinking of doing some traveling. I would be leaving a good job and a good apartment and going on a long trip with a friend of mine that has proved moderately unstable multiple times, although I’m not sure I’m one to talk. I was voicing some of my concerns about leaving a job that I’m good at, that pays well, and where I enjoy my colleagues. I know that I will be taking a step backwards in professional development, and a pay cut when I come back, but I said that I thought it was worth it. He said something to me that I really like. He was talking about coming back to a company that he left after a half year where he co-founded a startup, worked on his pilots license, went to Mexico with the Red Bull F-1 Team, and visited his family across the country. They thought that was awesome and brought him back for even more money.

He told me that you can buy things with stories. He said that when people ask what you did during a work gap if you say that you were unemployed, or that you were at home playing Xbox and drinking then you weren’t going to get a job. However if you have some great stories to tell then you are probably fine. Also he pointed out that if you weren’t working for 2 years then you better have a 2 year story, not, “I went down to Mexico to skydive.” That doesn’t take 2 years.

I love this idea, I love the idea of using our experiences as currency in our lives. It shows that wealth isn’t just material. I’ve been blessed materially, but I’ve never placed much value on that kind of wealth. I want a wealth of experience, and friends, and love. These are the things that I place value on.

I’m working on having a business running when I leave, but if not I’m putting aside enough money to leave for a year, and maybe more. That probably means that next Christmas will be the last one with my parents for a while. That’s bitter-sweet, but I’m excited. I don’t really get excited more than superficially about most things. The last thing I was excited about was going to the Philippines, but that ended up falling through due to lack of funds. I now make more money than I need, and 2 years in a senior role have equipped me with the skills to run my own business, and the nerve to make the deals to make that happen.

I look forward to the coming year, and hope my resolve stays strong.