I am writing this piece in route to Sri Lanka with my heart full of dreams and my head full of doubt. Not quite two years ago, we started blogging and now we have quit our jobs, vacated our house, disposed all our possessions, and are heading to Asia. You might think you have heard this tale repeated as a mantra by Millennials everywhere, but this isn’t that kind of story. Instead of fleeing corporate America, we are doubling down with a purpose.
Our worldly goods weren’t liquidated to fund the trip. In fact, we are just visiting Sri Lanka. All of our stuff is packed neatly in a moving truck as part of my corporate relocation package to Orlando Florida. True, I am in the final days of my 20 year career, but I am starting with a new company, in a more prestigious full time position with the full knowledge of what this means – I am re-buying into the system, but what has changed?
For years I felt betrayed by the professional promise of, not only making money but having free money to fund my lifestyle. Between the demands of children, my crazy ex wife, and keeping up with the Joneses, it felt like there was never any cheese left for me. I kept working harder and harder, with less and less freedom and only a fleeting feeling of financial security. Money should be an enabler, but like fire, it needs to be handled with care or it can burn you. Why was I feeling so burned?
The siren song of success is more than money. It is earning respect too. Tim Ferriss’ (4 hour work week) warnings about work for work’s sake resonated with me to the very center of my soul. I don’t want to form my identity from work, but I don’t want to be damned for working either. I don’t want to be damned by cynics, who call me a sellout or skeptics who lost the faith. Worse yet, I don’t want to be condemned in my own home. At its core, working is providing for your family and should be celebrated today as much as hunters returning with a fresh kill to cook on the fire. Anything less is pathological.
I am renewing my faith in my production, and my house to shelter, and my family’s ability to nourish in every way possible. I trust my second wife, Jenn, to nurture and protect our mutual interest. To use the fruits of my labor for the good of our little tribe. We aren’t abandoning the digital dream. Far from it. Coleman Concierge has its first full time employee with Jenn now able to fully commit to the business. Our dream is now funded, staffed, and poised for success.
We took off from LAX, not running from a nightmare but pursuing a dream. If you have ever flown west into the setting sun, you might have noticed a strange phenomenon. The sunset lasts forever. Instead of a flash of brilliance, it’s just a burning ember that refuses to go out. Then comes the longest night you can imagine. The jet’s engines just aren’t fast enough to recapture the lost day so you just plow forward into a never ending darkness.
There comes a time when you have to reset your clocks. As we finally rested in East Asia, a new day broke. Not only in the strange land around us, but in our hearts as well. The trick will be to take this energy home, and not end up chasing the remains of the day into a long dark night.
Not everybody around us shared our dreams and view of the world. Our family in California was more than a little apprehensive. Even though flying to our new home in Orlando takes the same time and money as driving to San Diego from Northern California, we were leaving their cognitive map. A cognitive map is beautiful and dangerous at the same time. You can cloak your world in memories of familiar places and safe passages. The very act of nostalgia floods your system with euphoria, but this is not the euphoria we are seeking.
Our little tribe of Coleman Concierge is based on wanderlust, which flies in the face of nostalgia. Instead of remembering the same and familiar, we are actively seeking the unique and different. With all things, however, you need balance and we are so far from being balanced. With any luck, we’ll soon find the balance we desperately need.
Our first stop on the road to balance is the Mahagedara Retreat, an Ayurvedic wellness center deep in the jungles of Sri Lanka. The simple translation of Ayurvedic is the knowledge of life. Practitioners believe that people have a core constitution that is a combination of three primary doshas – Vatta, Pitta, and Kappa. One achieves their optimal health for balancing these elements inside of themselves. We are hoping that thousands of years of wisdom from the far corner of the globe is exactly what we will need to jump start our journey.
Much like the balance between corporate American climber and digital nomad, Ayurveda teaching seeks to stabilize the competing energies in your spirit and unify the chi within you. Vatta is the element of air. It is critical for movement and creativity, but an excess can cause anxiety. Kappa is the element of earth. It is essential for compassion, but an excess can cause a resistance to change. Pitta is the element of fire. It spurs change, but an excess can cause anger. Everything is medicine and everything is poison at the same time. The key is to find balance. I can see these doshas playing through our new professional life and our future digital dreams.
It would be rash to believe that a few weeks in the jungle can instantly change our lives, but, like a butterfly flapping its wings in China, it can start a series of events that forever shape us. If nothing else, it fits our current paradox, of embracing corporate life to build our vehicle for travel, exploration, and freedom. If we remember to seek balance and not just simple novelty; to respect our personal constitution and the character of our tribe, then we just might have a chance to find true happiness in this crazy world of ours.