One of the greatest things that happens to me with this blog is people saying “Oh! You have to talk to this guy!”
And then I get to chat with someone so awesomely inspiring. Someone I would never have otherwise had the chance to connect with.
This this guy is Chris Tripodi. He loved his desk and F’d it anyway.
Chris was working at a workplace he loved, in a career he was passionate about, and left to go travel the world because things lined up in a rare and perfect window of opportunity that was going to vanish if he didn’t jump through it.
If you ever see a window like this, break the glass. Whether you like what you’re doing or not, sometimes something comes up that you know you want more. Grab it.
He’s been in 6 continents, 66 countries and done 108 border crossings in 2 years with no regrets. And now that he’s back, he has a job where he gets sent around the world to lead tours of the most gorgeous places on earth. F@%K.
“I now have enough concrete evidence that if you head in the general direction of what you want, and don’t give up, and work hard, you will get something as good or better than you hoped for. Actuallly, I don’t know that anyone will for sure. That’s the thing, life is pretty unpredictable. Maybe you’ll get hit by a car and no matter how hard you work, it’s over. But onto more happy thoughts… “
Lately I’ve been digging the fact that life is short and unpredictable. Kinda makes you want to get more out of the now, doesn’t it?
That’s nothing really new.
But I guess the difference between wanting to get more out of the now, and getting more out of it, is tuning into that little inner voice that guides you and tells you to do fun, risky stuff.
Not the one about choking your neighbour’s dog. The one that talks about travelling, quitting, getting the girl, taking a chance, taking a class, trying a sport, jumping out of the plane, calling that meeting, saying your piece, doing the workout, opening a business, reaching out, pushing yourself, playing the big show, or whatever it is that calls to you, and listening to it when there are a bazillions reasons not to.
There are always more reasons to not do those things that scare us.
But those (fewer) reasons to take a chance yield a bigger pay off than sitting still.
Obvious, right? But how many people do we know who actually live it?
What I really like about Chris is, even though I haven’t met him yet to hear it in person, his story and the way he tells it is alive with an appreciation for seizing the moment, squeezing the best out of life, and then moving swiftly and easily into the next experience. No big deal.
Here’s what he was doing before he took off.
He had a great job at Universal Music. Not only was he happy there, he considered it his dream job.
“When I did actually tell my boss I was leaving…quitting… I asked him if there was any way the company could get the money back from me that they paid me for the previous 12 years. He looked confused, and said No. I told him ‘that’s good, because I would have done it for free.'”
Leading up to leaving, Chris was piling up his vacation days and using them to get out of the country. First, once a year. Then two. Then four a year.
“My list grew to the point that if I continued going to 2-3 places a year, I would need to live to 110 years old before I would complete the list, assuming I didn’t add anywhere else to it.”
So he quit and saw the world.
And I love this bit — for those 2 years of travel, whenever someone asked him “What are you going to do when you go back?” he answered “Who cares?”
I hear it’s one of the most annoying questions you can ask a long-term traveller. But according to Chris:
“It was as if I was just arriving to a dinner party and someone was asking what I was going to eat next week. It didn’t matter, and I had no clue whatsoever, and I spent ZERO time thinking about it.”
Eventually the time came to come back. After 2 years of experiencing new places, people, and food around the globe, he came back, got reacquainted with his friends, and started looking for something to do. But he wouldn’t take just any job. In fact, he says he turned down more jobs than he applied for.
“I was looking for something inspiring, and something that would allow me to keep travelling.”
And he got his wish. After a few months he landed a gig at Adventures Abroad that pays him to take small groups of people to any of 120 amazing countries across the world.
“No question about it, I consider myself lucky. And without a doubt, I know I wouldn’t be lucky if I didn’t jump at the little window of time I had years ago to leave something I loved for something I was passionate about.”
How inspiring is that?!
After he shared his story with me I had a few more questions. Here they are in rapid fire:
HOW DID YOU KNOW THIS WAS YOUR ONE WINDOW OF OPPORTUNITY?
Easy… I was one kid, one house, one injury, and one family crises away from not ever doing it. So I did it.
WERE YOU ALWAYS THE TYPE TO SAY “WHO CARES?” IF THERE WAS ANY QUESTION OR DOUBT ABOUT WHAT YOU WERE DOING?
I wish I was. But it was my honest answer to a natural question, I just wanted to enjoy each moment.
HOW ON EARTH DID YOU SEE SO MUCH IN SO LITTLE TIME?
Two weeks per country on average, but I just reminded myself that each day here meant a day less somewhere else as I had only so much money in my travel fund. I tried to get the essence of a place, and moved on before too many people knew my name.
IF YOU DIDN’T PLAN WHERE YOU WERE GOING, DID YOU JUST FOLLOW YOUR HEART? OR OTHER TRAVELLERS?
Heart. And gut. And a few pretty travellers.
WHAT WAS THE BEST DAY?
Always the next day.
WHAT WAS THE BIGGEST SURPRISE?
How easy it was.
WHAT WAS THE TOUGHEST THING ABOUT YOUR JOURNEY?
Saying goodbye over and over.
WHAT WOULD YOU TELL OTHER PEOPLE WHO KNOW THEY WANT TO TRAVEL?
Go when you can. It is easier than you fear and better than you could ever imagine.
So the moral of the story is I should go realize my dream to pet elephant trunks abroad.
Let’s get on that.
What’s your little voice telling you to do?