This past year has been the most unexpected year of your life. Just in case you forget years down the road, I needed to write this down for you. You thought at age 25 you had life all figured out. You had gotten into grad school, had moved to Boston, had been in a solid relationship, and had your dog, Mandu. Everything was moving forward as it should have been. You were able to write out the next 50 years of your life.
Then all of a sudden, everything changed.
Your relationship fell apart, you moved back to LA, you were solely taking care of Mandu, and you started a new job at Automattic.
For the first time nothing was planned. It was one of the scariest and stressful moments of your life. You didn’t know it at the time, but this job was going to change your life. You met the most interesting people, and learned at a pace faster than you ever did in undergrad and grad school put together. Working at a distributed, tech company was not in your plans, but it’s probably one of the best things that has ever happened to you.
After the Grand Meetup in SF/Santa Cruz you made the decision with the encouragement of co-workers to hop on a plane with mnm to Barcelona holding a one way ticket in your hand and a small, blue backpack that would contain your entire belongings for the next 3 months. You spent those months working and traveling through Barcelona, Berlin, Budapest, Prague, and Lisbon without a schedule in sight.
You surprised yourself during this trip. Never would you have purchased a one way ticket to anywhere without a real plan for return. Never would you have hopped from country to country at a moment’s notice. Never would you have been so spontaneous. Never would you have thought working and traveling was possible. The combination of well-seasoned traveler and this job gave you all the push you needed.
You rode bikes all over Berlin, spent a train ride on New Year’s Eve into Prague, got pick-pocketed in Barcelona, discovered a love for Syrian food, went to the most insane museum of all time, went to a ballet by yourself in Budapest, and got lost in every city you went to.
You saw places and people that you would never have seen. But, to be honest, this trip wasn’t even about that. This trip was about finally living life the way you had always imagined, but didn’t think was possible. You worked the hardest you’ve ever worked, and lived life the hardest you’ve ever lived. You came back from this trip ready to learn and train with a focus that you’ve never had before. Don’t forget that feeling.
You realized from this trip that traveling isn’t about seeing the most attractions – it’s about the experience and the memories you create when you’re there in that space. Life isn’t about being so planned and worrying about what’s going to happen next. Live in the moment as cliche as it may sound. Can you imagine if you followed the path you created for yourself? You would never have been so free and known that life could be like this.
Don’t live within boundaries that are nonexistent. You’re stopping yourself from living life, and really take in every moment that you have.
Don’t live for anyone else and stop planning around other people’s lives.
Just know that these great moments and the wonderful, interesting people that you met were all unexpected and unplanned. You know what you want in life now, so work towards it, but don’t stop yourself from enjoying it. Life is unexpected and just let it be that way – don’t fight it.