I quit my job to travel the world for 2 years - and this is what I learned.
When I was 24 years old, I did something that would change my life forever.
I was nine months out of university, and made a decent living as a business analyst. But at 24, I didn’t want to spend most of my adult life in an office until I retire.
Growing up in an immigrant household, I saw how much my parents toiled to give my brother and I the better head start they didn’t get. Their work ethic and saving for a better future was drilled into me. Still, I just couldn’t get the math out of my head. 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, and 40 years of office life. (In Canada you start with only 2 weeks of vacation a year.)
It wasn’t long after that I quit my job.
I had no idea what to do, but traveling felt like the right choice. That was going to be my North Star. So I packed a bag, gathered my meager savings and hopped on a flight to London, England. Looking back on it now, 26 May, 2006 wasn’t just the first day of a new adventure, it was my first day living life with a new purpose.
I learned very quickly that following your passion will always be the right call because it energises you and you’d do whatever it takes to keep going. It’s grit over obstacles. New directions over challenges. Small wins over setbacks.
What I thought was going to be a 6-month Eurotrip, serendipitously morphed into nearly two years across all seven continents. The experiences I gained would last me a lifetime over! Touching the clouds in the Atlas mountains; seeing the moon rise from the ocean on Fraser Island; falling madly in love in and with Brazil; and celebrating my 26th birthday on the White Continent.
I mean, I could’ve done without the parasites in my stomach, or the run-in with skinheads 😅. But my biggest lesson learned through it all was this: much of what I thought was unique to my upbringing was so often universal; and the things I thought were universal often were unique only to where I grew up.
There is so much that binds us together, and so much more to protect and cherish in our tiny little world. For me, the environment became my calling and something I knew I’d dedicate the rest of my life to protecting — my new North Star.
I know a lot of us want to do better, but let’s put the fish on the table. Sustainable living — every single day — is tedious and frustrating. Especially when it’s 5pm and I’m rushing home to make dinner, so I can put my daughter to bed and do a little bit of work before Netflix and chilling… the last thing I’d want to do is spend 15 minutes I don’t have in the supermarket trying to make smarter choices.
What if there was something that can take the guesswork out of the equation? And simply tell me the everyday things I can do to make an impact?
My co-founder Matthieu and I have been working on just that; and it’s called smallfoot. It’s an app with the world’s simplest way to calculate your footprint, and we’ve made it just as easy to track your progress so you don’t have to.
Imagine going into a store, or going on a trip and not have to waste time figuring out what to do, or feel guilty for not doing enough. In fact, what if you can be so good 5 days a week, that you can have a little cheat day on the weekend and not feel bad about it?
smallfoot’s mission is to make low-carbon living worth it — every single day — saving you time, money and emissions. We believe small steps can really lead to big impact.
Ready to take your first step? Pre-register today!