10:00 pm.  Maybe I should go home, its been a long day at the office since I got here at 8 this morning.  It’s been a busy few months actually.  A trip to Japan, a trip to Korea, a couple days in China, several late night conference calls, and email from the time I rise until the time I go to bed, 7 days a week.  I do some of my best problem solving while in the shower and in my restless sleep, and on those 16 hour international flights

Vacation was nice.  I only spent a couple hours a day on email.  The extra late evenings and weekends leading up to vacation sure made it easier to unplug while away from the office

The truth is, I loved it.  For awhile.  The first years of my career I was learning so much so fast that I just wanted to keep at it.  I loved learning and solving problems.  I worked every holiday in college.  I graduated on Friday, moved myself over the weekend, and started my first job on Monday.  When I left my first job, I had the weekend off before I started the second job on Monday.  Instead of taking vacation, I cashed out my accrued hours.  And then about 10 years ago, I had my first long vacation, a total of 3 weeks.

Week one, I mostly thought about work.  Week two, I started relaxing and thinking that scuba diving in the tropics was not too bad.  By week three, I had a new problem to solve:  How can I do this every day for the rest of my life?

I started asking myself questions such as “What is the purpose of life?”, “What is the key to happiness?”, and “Is it possible to live a good life without a job?”  I started reading books and websites about retiring early.  I had a lot of questions and few answers

I wrote a 50 page business plan about how to scuba all over the world.  It was a good starting point, but I didn’t follow the business plan to the letter.  There were a few curves in the path, a few unforeseen obstacles, and a few lessons learned.

But 10 years later I have an answer for “Why do you travel?”  Because there is more to life than working in an office.  And thanks to years of preparing for it, because I can