When I was fifteen, back in the spring, summer and autumn of 1980, my parents sold everything they owned, quit work, and took my younger brother and me on an eight-month camping trip around the continental USA and Canada. We called ourselves The Rainbow Seekers, I guess because we were all looking for the same sorts of intangible treasures that Dorothy had been seeking in her own magical journey. I’m not sure just how many rainbows we found, more than a few I guess. But as I do recall, in our seeking we had one hell of an adventure.
Now, in the early winter of 2008, some 28 years after that adventure ended prematurely in Phoenix Arizona; I, a lone seeker, am about to set off on an a similar tour of the planet Earth. I’m not sure if I’m still looking for rainbows, or if I am just looking for whatever life has to offer. The words of Henry David Thoreau haunt me as I prepare:
I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practice resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms, and, if it proved to be mean, why then to get the whole and genuine meanness of it, and publish its meanness to the world; or if it were sublime, to know it by experience, and be able to give a true account of it in my next excursion.
I have decided to travel at this time for a few simple reasons: The short story: no work, and I love to travel. This year I closed a struggling business and essentially fired myself in the process. I had intended to re-join the workforce, but it appears that there is currently no desire for a middle-aged, highly experienced, chef.
I considered starting a new business, but nothing I have come up with yet, strikes a solid note with the entrepreneur inside my head. Maybe it’s just a case of yips from closing the last place, or maybe it’s the daily dose of economic doom and gloom in the media, or maybe I just need a bit of time. At any rate, no business venture currently feels right enough to invest my time and money in.
I have been quite busy since I turned 25. First building a stellar recovery from addiction, then a career with a similar lofty trajectory, then emigrating to a new country and falling madly in love, finally building a few businesses of varying success rates. Maybe I have earned a bit of vacation. I have always found great value investing time and money in seeing new places and cultures.
There is certainly a part of me that is nervous of the prospects, mostly about the unknown landscape of the future, I guess. A future where I return to Hong Kong with significantly less money and the same need to find work. But my parents did their adventure, and showed me that it is possible to return from such a trip and thrive. Plus, I know that no matter how well we kid ourselves, there is not a person on the planet who knows what their future holds; not tomorrow, let alone next year.
As I travel, see this world, live this life, take full measure; I’ll use this bog to publish what I find. You are most welcome to enjoy my report.