On March 26, 2014, I turned 50 years old. Man was I stoked. This was going to be my decade. I was starting a new job as a c-level executive making $250K a year. My kids were graduating high school and moving towards college. I was a partner in a small surf art gallery that was stoking my creative fires. I was mentoring new entrepreneurs and helping them build their businesses. Everything was pointing to this being my best decade by far.
Then, about a week later (or what felt like it), I woke up and I was 51. I couldn’t fathom how fast time was moving. And as I was driving to work, I looked back on the last year, and asked myself what I had accomplished. The crickets in my head answered back.
I’d been working 70 hours a week for the last year, ignoring my health, my body, my family and my friends. My surf days were dwindling. I had contributed financially to the art gallery, but had no time or energy to add real value to the marketing, sales and business aspects. My gut told me I wasn’t doing what I was supposed to be doing.
If I’d had my passport with me that day I would have driven straight past the office in Carlsbad and right on to Mexico. At least I’d have spent the day eating lobster and drowning my sorrows in tequila. But instead I got off the 5 at Palomar Airport Road and went to the office, faithfully attending the 9:00 meeting on my calendar. And so the treadmill turned.
How many of you have had that feeling you’re missing out on what you’re really supposed to be doing? How many times have you wanted to make a change, but said to yourself, “when things get better, or when this happens, I am going to…!”? And then you wait for inspiration, or money, or some external influence.
As it happens I had just finished Paulo Coelho’s book The Alchemist, and was cracking the cover on The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. The former is a parable about the law of universal attraction, which states that we attract whatever we choose to give our attention to–whether wanted or unwanted. The latter is a guide to finding your authentic self based upon ancient Toltec wisdom. Both have served as catalysts for what the personal change underlying this journey. If you haven’t read them yet, you should, and they’re available as perks in this campaign.
These two books were like crowbars that opened my eyes, and my heart. I saw the signs. Work was a grind, and had stopped being fun. My team at work wasn’t jelling and I had serious doubts if the hard work was going to pay off. So I pulled the ripcord.
When I told my friends I was leaving my job, they all wanted to know what I was going to do. Surely I had something in the works already! Nobody quits their job without the next one lined up. That would be crazy? I assured them that I was just trusting the universe to show me what was next.
Taking inspirations from Doc Paskowitz, one of my heroes and a man I was lucky to befriend before he passed, I took an extended road trip up the Pacific Coast Highway in my 1977 VW Westfalia. If you don’t know about Doc, check out the movie Surfwise. Doc is a legend in the truest sense. Raising his family of 8 kids in a 27 foot camper driving between California and Mexico, he is credited with creating the vagabond surf culture that permeates today’s youth. His youngest son Joshua is my partner in the art gallery.
For some reason, I felt pulled towards this adventure. Like it was the most important thing in the world at that moment, and I followed that instinct. In July I took off from from San Clemente, CA, and followed PCH north to Canada. I surfed whenever I saw a wave, stopped off to see old friends along the way, and made new ones as well.
I have received a ton of support from folks who have told me that they all wish they could quit their jobs and pursue happiness. The reality is that they can, but are afraid. So I am going to document this whole story, and maybe it will serve as an inspiration to others. I will be blogging, writing articles, making videos and ultimately creating a book and documentary. I can’t tell you how the story is going to end yet though, as I am just writing the first chapter.
If my story resonates with you even a little bit; if you’ve ever wanted to just quit your job and head out into the world to see what happens, then I encourage you to come along with me. You can do it literally, by becoming a passenger and sharing a leg of my journey. Or you can come along figuratively by subscribing on the right side of the page. Either way, your support will be received with love and respect. You’ll be helping me spread the message that everyone can pursue their dreams. And who knows, maybe the universe will pay you back with an adventure of your own.
You can follow Bob along his epic journey at OnlytheRoadKnows.com.