Well, here we are again. Kicking off another long adventure into the unknown. I’m sitting on a balcony in Mahina, Tahiti, listening to the waves crash on a black sand beach at 5:17 in the morning. The sunrise is just starting to lighten the water and push out the brilliant moonlight with its yellow hue, highlighting the multiple outrigger canoes in their morning exercise routine. Tahiti is our launch pad for the next Great Trip, and we have another few weeks here before moving along.
I’ve been describing this feeling like going into a long, dark tunnel without knowing where the other end will come out. We’ve got the tools we think we need and a hand-drawn, incomplete map of where we think the tunnel will go, including a few areas labeled “Land Unknown”. Essentially, in a world of “life hacks”, and “life decisions” and “life planning”, we’re pretty much “life splunking” and it feels good.
Unlike the kickoff to our Africa/Latin America trip of 2008, I wouldn’t say we’re fully launched, however. I’m still working part-time with my previous company in the United States, Adwerx, which creates some interesting dynamics. First of all, I work East Coast hours for a portion of my time, which means roughly 6a to 11a local time here.
This creates some interesting dynamics, frankly. First of all, I still feel very connected to my Adwerx crew. Especially with the team that I worked so closely with for the last 7+ years. Working with Adwerx has been a great joy for me, where I had many opportunities to grow professionally and personally. I pushed my own boundaries and not only worked in management and leadership in ways I never expected, but found I truly enjoyed them in ways that engineering could never satisfy. (I did find I missed certain aspects of engineering as well, however.) The team became so intricately wound into my life that it’s difficult to extricate myself from them. Extending the transition period a couple of months into the travels is a little like ripping a band-aid off so slowly you feel every individual arm hair getting pulled.
The second dynamic is that Erin’s schedule and mine are intertwined, yet distinct. My 6a-11a schedule dictates a period in the morning when I need to be focused and heads-down, as that’s when there is decent overlap with the US Eastern time-zone. Our tourist activities then need to be clustered in the afternoons or weekends when I’m not working, which is fine, but definitely creates a pattern to our lives that’s more structured than when we dreaming of this Great Trip a year or more ago.
An unanticipated side effect of this, unfortunately, is that I’m locked into a laptop during the best weather of the day. Normal cadence of life here in Tahiti revolves around morning and afternoons being active and outdoors when the sun isn’t beating down on you. The middle of the day seems to be reserved for working or resting, depending on your station and season of life. I initially would bolt out the door after grabbing a lunch and try to go for a run or a hike or something, but I’ve realized my folly and the cultural wisdom of waiting for a better time of day. Now we’re more selective about just popping out at 1pm.
But all in all, the situation is good. Due to my daily engagement with the team back in the US, I’m regularly reminded of how privileged this opportunity really is. There may not be many people who want to take a couple years off their careers in the middle of their 40s to gallivant around. However, there are many people who want to dream alongside us and be part of this great adventure. This emotional support from friends who are gung ho about us following this passion has been fantastic, and I wish every person tackling any daunting venture with unknown outcomes and high risk could have a similar support group behind them.
To all those who are following from home, you have no idea how much your support has meant. Whether that’s storing random stuff, tending our car, picking up mail, logging out of our Hulu account, or just grabbing a beer to say farewell, thank you, thank you, thank you.
We couldn’t be here without you all.