When I quit my job to travel around the world, a lot my friends and coworkers asked me why. The same question is often posed by the people I meet along the way – temporary hostel roommates, waiters, the dude next to me at the bar. Some people thought it was cool, some people thought it was stupid, but everyone wanted to know “why.” Why would you do something so . . . crazy?
At first, I felt like I had to give a long-winded explanation about how I really am a very not crazy type of person. I went straight from high school to college to law school to working for law firms without ever taking a summer off (or even an extended vacation). After law school, I took the great job I was offered because that is what I was expected to do. I worked long hours and stayed awake at night stressing about my cases because that is what I was expected to do (and because I have a serious perfectionist streak). I wasn’t miserable. In fact, I was happy-ish. I enjoy achieving. But deep down, something had been gnawing away at me for years. Something I realized when a good friend of mine was killed shortly before our college graduation.
I am going to die.
Probably (hopefully!) not for many years, but you never know. And in my final moments, I don’t want to be thinking about my near-perfect attendance record in elementary school or all of the dinners I ate out of my law firm’s vending machine. I want to be thinking about all of the great times I spent with my friends and family, and about finding true love. And about all of my adventures: skydiving, climbing mountains and hiking up volcanoes, getting lost, eating the best (and weirdest) foods in the world, seeing the wonders of the world and learning to see beauty in the mundane. And if I can do all of these things and then return to a satisfying career in the law (or some other to-be-determined career), great. But I’m eating dessert first, just in case.
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