I hit publish on this post from Terminal A in the Indianapolis International Airport. My sleepless night filled my suitcase and prepped my place for sublet (thanks, Airbnb).
Now that the journey has officially begun, let me tell you how I came to be venturing off to the tropics for two months.
“I’m thinking about spending my 25th birthday in the Philippines. Want to come?”
Nadalie’s big brown eyes flattened out as a grin to swept across her face. The silent close. My girlfriend used the silent close on me!
And it worked.
That’s how it all started earlier this year. As spontaneous as it sounds, this Southeast Asian adventure is more than a half-decade overdue.
Reward work ethic
“Once I get to the end of this product launch,” we tell ourselves, “then I’ll give myself a break.”
Hi, I’m Matt Hunckler. And I’m a chronic goal setter.
Goal setting has become a powerful part of my daily, weekly, and quarterly routines. It’s kind of disgusting, really.
Over the decade or so of my professional career, I’ve gotten better about setting realistic targets and consistently hit them. But like many people who love the things they’re building with their businesses, I’m just plain bad at following through on the rewards I promise myself for when I hit those goals.
So, what happens to us? Why don’t we have our cake?
As we cross that finish line, our brains give us a hit of dopamine and that gets us excited. Excited enough that we start thinking about where we can get our next fix. So, we dangle the carrot out a little further.
Nadalie helped me cut the thread. And this voyage is an unrealized carrot for a number of my big goals over the past 5 years: selling my first company, complete my full entrepreneurial fellowship, stick it out through two turbulent startups (1 success, 1 failure), launch a new multi-day conference… you get the picture.
I finally found the right way—and more importantly, made the time—to celebrate these milestones.
Anchor a shared experience
Life is about creating shared experiences with people we care about. At least, that’s my take on things.
That’s why building a business can be so meaningful. And despite what our history of time allocation might tell you, life is about more than business.
So, I’m creating some new shared experiences in the Philippines for the next two months. Tomorrow night, Nadalie and I will land in Manila, a fast-paced business region of about 12 million people.
Whoa, hold on!
Yeah, I know what you’re thinking. But I’ll be immersing myself in a new culture with my girlfriend, who was born less than 17 kilometers from what we’ll be calling home base for the next sixty days.
While I’ll still be checking in with the team, this is an experiment in turning off the screens. We do have a handful of meetings set up with some great entrepreneurs who have build successful tech companies in the Philippines. But we’ll also be exploring many of the 7,000+ islands in that small area of the Pacific.
I’m not sharing this to brag. But rather in hopes that it might inspire a reader or two to put down the work-ohol for a minute and consider the benefits.
Last night, eighteen of our core entrepreneurial community filled the front yard of Verge HQ inside DeveloperTown. The table talk got me excited about the opportunity ahead of me.
Travel gives you space—especially non-business travel. And space gives you a chance to really breathe.
Distance from the daily grind gives you perspective to bring back to your team, your projects, and your community. And while I will do some remote working, I think the real value I’ll bring back to my businesses will be the ability to shift perspectives.
Does this sound crazy to you? If you could go anywhere in the world, where would it be?