Every great adventure begins with a goodbye.
So it is that I face a series of goodbyes over the next 10 days or so before I embark on my next great adventure, travelling across Central & South America.
Later this week I say goodbye to Invesco, a company I have worked with for almost five years (how the years fly by!). The fact that it is more than double the length of time I have spent in any other company prior to that speaks for itself. I have had good times here, made some great friends and worked with some nice clients along the way.
Therefore, the easy decision would be to stay and cling to the safe option, a path with a fairly high degree of certainty in terms of how my life plays out. But as the philosopher Alan Watts once said “a completely predictable future is already the past”. I have always tried to embrace the possibilities life offers and so I feel the time is right to pursue a new challenge.
I have set my sights on becoming fluent in Spanish, a language that opens up a whole new world of possibilities. The tipping point for taking the plunge to immerse myself in the language and to travel more was my experience with the Spanish immersion program in Mexico at the turn of the year. Immersion is the best way to fluency. I have to do it. No regrets!
So on May 6th I take the first of my one way flights. I am spending a week in Canada with my brother, a week in Mexico and then I make my way across the border into the deep end, Guatemala. I am booked into a Spanish immersion program in Quetzaltenango for three weeks, which includes five hours of 1 on 1 lessons every day and living with a Guatemalan family. I then do 3 weeks in a similar program in Antigua, the colonial Spanish capital of Central America.
From there I may stay longer in Guatemala if it is going well or I might travel down to Nicaragua. Part of the adventure is having no set plan or length of time for which I’ll be gone. Roughly speaking my loose plan is to travel most of the countries in Central & South America as I make my way down to Argentina. But plans change, I’ll see where the road takes me.
For many people, quitting a job and hitting the road again probably sounds like madness. But is it not madder working your whole life, giving up your best years based on the expectation you’ll be able to live your life fully at 65, or whatever retirement age people focus on?
Don’t get me wrong, I am not preaching the life of a vagabond, nor I am against saving for retirement, but this obsession with the journey and reaching some destination has many people missing the most important part in between. Conditioned into believing that if you step off the treadmill you’ll never be able to get back on, fretting about how to explain a ‘career break’. If you merely define a career by some form of employment then maybe you have these fears.
However, I prefer to define a career more broadly driven by my own pursuit for learning and development, irrespective of whether I am within an organisation or not. So I don’t really see myself as taking a ‘career break’. Not only will I be developing in terms of learning a new language and experiencing new cultures I also hope to write more about Latin America and the opportunities in these markets as I meet investment people from the various countries I visit. For example, in Antigua I’m meeting a group that specialises in impact investing, investment with a social conscience.
Still, after almost five years working for one company and after becoming quite settled in Dublin, the decision to leave again is a big one.
I hate goodbyes but they must happen if one is to step into the unknown and forge new paths.
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