SuperShe, Jen Yih, tells us why she quit her day job and hit the road for over 100 days to surf, write, read, explore, and rekindle her love affair with travel to ultimately recreate her life.
Written by Jen Yih from Cabo San Lucas, Baja California, Mexico
IT WAS ANOTHER WEDNESDAY MORNING. I WOKE AT 6:30AM HIT MY SNOOZE BUTTON THREE OR FOUR TIMES, LAID IN BED SCROLLING THROUGH MY INSTAGRAM FEED OF EXOTIC PLACES AND FACES, RUSHED TO GET DRESSED AND MAYBE BRUSHED MY HAIR, DROVE THE SAME STREET PASSING THE SAME PEOPLE WHO STOOD AT THE SAME BUS STOPS, TOOK THE SAME 3 FLIGHTS OF STAIRS UP TO MY OFFICE, AND SAT ALL DAY AT THE SAME DESK, DRINKING THE SAME COFFEE.
I was only 24-years-old when I landed what I thought was my dream job, and it was in many ways. But when I turned 25 and a few other “dream job” scenarios started popping up and extending high ticketed offers I started questioning those downward spiral kind of questions:
What am I doing?
What is the point?
What is my purpose?
I sort of felt like life had played some sort of sick joke on me, telling me from a young age to follow my heart, yet there I sat in a desk staring at a bright blue screen for 8 hours, 5 days a week. I looked around me and everyone else seemed to be just fine with our screen dwelling routine. As the spiral continued straight downward I really began to self-loath, treating myself like a sell-out. I wasn’t practicing what I wanted to be preaching. So, I had no choice.
I gave the company that I love & respect dearly a two month notice and started to downsize everything I owned & packed. I didn’t know what I was packing for but as I browsed the world wide web and threw a few darts at the map, I booked my first one-way ticket to Portugal, then Morocco, then UK, then Iceland, then Indonesia, and the list goes on. When you start leaking to the world and your community that you’re going to “take off” for a little while to maybe surf or ski or hike or camp or write or paint or [insert passion project you’ve been putting off here], the suggestions, people, and places start to naturally roll in. I didn’t know what I was doing or why I was doing it, but something felt more right about this departure than any of my other calculated options.
As I write this article to you, I’m on day 58 since leaving my job, living off of my savings account and jumping on the next train, plane, or bus to a new place in the world. Every single one of those 58 days has been completely different than the other, whether it is in a new country with new food, a new language, a new culture, or new friends. I’ve found myself hilarious as I joked on social media about my opt-in homelessness, sleeping under the stars at my most recent off-the-grid dojo in Baja California, Mexico. But, again, I realized this wasn’t “opt-in homelessness” this was temporary retirement.
What is temporary retirement?
Retirement the way our grandparents and parents have been doing it has really worked out for them, but when you tell a Millennial that social security won’t even be around by the time we’re ready to retire around 65-years-old, why wait? I came to the agreement with myself that I rather run around the world to ski, surf, and play when I’m young, nimble, and energetic vs. when I’m almost seventy with a fading memory, sexual appetite, and physical ability. At 65-years-old I’ll be much more at ease with resting my old, tired, well-used bones at a desk staring a blue screen with my bifocals on taking care of business. I’ll also be so old, wise, and resilient that the stresses of business and finances will be a thing of the past because we all know, by then, that everything always works out. Anyway, I figured, I shouldn’t wait to enjoy the world. The time is now.
You go to bed whenever you’d like & wake up when you’re ready without the jolting sound of an alarm clock. Wake up to the roosters in Hawaii or the soft rain in Bali, it’s your retirement & your choice.
You’re ready to take on the day feeling rested & willing, unforced & natural.
You walk everywhere. You’re no longer on a timeline to be somewhere by a certain time, the sunsets and sunrise dictate your day. You’re able to look around & take notice of things you never saw before.
You photograph people, places, and things for your memories and not for your Instagram feed.
You read and actually finish a book without interruption.
You can spend five days back-to-back surfing the Portuguese coast or kiting a new beach in Baja or exploring new cuisine in Paris because you’ve taken the time to sit down, chat, eat, and drink with the local people who want to share their culture, city, and secrets with you!
You have real memorable conversations because you’ve taken the time to listen and share. No more of the quick hello’s and goodbye’s in between coffee breaks.
You spend time with your family.
You help your friends when they need it.
You can go places alone, igniting your true independence.
You eat when you’re hungry, food becomes your fuel not for fun.
You’re allowed to be bored. You’ve heard it before, but boredom breeds creativity!
You organize your ideas & plans to take over the world without distraction.
You see the sunrise and the sunset.
You can do more of what you love and chase those childish dreams you once had to be a writer, a surfer, a photographer, and go to bed with a smile on your face as you remember who you are.
You become a better version of yourself when you’ve given yourself the time to remember what is really important to you.
Sometimes we need to slow down to catch up. I’m not an advocate of being lazy or not working or checking out, we need to contribute and participate, not only for our own well-being, but for the betterment of our communities, society, and future. But if you’re anything like me, you’ve felt a shift in the way things are today. It has been a go-go-go world and those expectations we had many years ago for where we would be at 25-years-old are shattered because we’re waking up and questioning the status quo. We know that money, the big house, the shiny car aren’t necessarily the keys to happiness, we’re smarter than that – but let’s stop getting distracted by what everyone else is doing and focus up. I am an advocate of putting down your phone and putting your money where your “likes” are. Let’s not wait until we’re old to enjoy the world and what it has to offer. Let’s be a generation that takes understanding diversity, connectivity, presence with a serious approach to having a never-before world view. …Next stop, Indonesia.