In 2001, I quit my job, sold my car, put all my furniture in storage and traveled around the world for seven months, backpacker-style. When I came back, everyone said, “Wow, the trip of a lifetime. You must be glad you did it while you’re still relatively young.” And I said, “That’s not the trip of a lifetime. I’m going to do this all the time now.” And I went on to plan my next trip, a four-month jaunt through Central and South America.
Here it is ten years later. I never took that trip to South America; in fact, I haven’t been out of the country since, until two weeks ago. Two weeks ago I popped over to Germany for a couple days to teach a team building class and it was like a wake-up call. There isn’t any culture shock in Western Europe, but there’s just enough culture difference to make you think about how different cultures expand your mind. And so I thought, what happened to me over the past ten years?
I was reading posts by my favorite blogger Penelope Trunk this morning. She had a really popular post last year called Test: Is your life happy or interesting? The gist of the test is that you can get out of your comfort zone in search of learning, or you can stay in your comfort zone and be happy, but for the most part you can’t do both. It’s not that I haven’t sought adventure in the past ten years; I’ve done a lot of adventurous things. But something was lost, especially last year when I moved east to be near family again (which gives you a point in favor of happy over interesting in Penelope’s test). The older I get, the closer I move to the comfort zone. No wonder I haven’t been blogging so much lately; I don’t have anything interesting to write about. Who wants to read about happiness? We want to read about interestingness.
All the same, I can’t take off to South America right now. Besides, I’m not going anywhere without my dog. But I’ve decided to do something different with this blog for a while. I’ll use it for virtual journeys, a revisiting of my adventures and everything I learned. And while I’m sure we’ll still get some workplace lessons from that, more importantly, I’ll be interesting instead of happy.