A 31-year-old senior associate in business finance quits his job, his country and finds himself on an eight months trip through Oceania and Asia. To keep a foot in his field, he produces podcasts with entrepreneurs.
I met Jesse in Bali at the backpacker hostel where I was staying. It was my first day in Indonesia, Jesse had already been travelling for a few days in this country and arrived in Bali two days ago. The two of us, a beer in our hand, started to talk and share our stories. Quickly, he attracted my attention with his interesting thoughts, his joyful attitude and his funny stories.
Financial guys don’t travel in suits
Jesse is that type of person who easily starts conversations – about everything possible; be it travelling in Indonesia, Kafka’s books, or the second presidential debate between Clinton and Trump. Jesse quits the topics of small talk pleasantly quickly.
His favourite subject, though, is finance. With his beard, his curly hair and his sleeveless shirt, I must admit he looked somewhat like a hipster surfer boy to me, so I was surprised to learn that he had been working in finance for eight years before.
Jesse had worked for a private venture capital company in Washington D.C., meaning he’d evaluate investment opportunities, execute transactions and help companies to perform better. A good job, sure, but he quit: «I enjoyed my work, but I felt I wanted to do something which has a meaning. And I want to create», says Jesse.
Creating not necessarily in a purely artistic way, but if you have a look at his blog and Instagram profile, you quickly realise that Jesse doesn’t just want to analyse numbers but express himself.
Looking for inspiration
Before going on this trip, he had applied for another interesting job and taken it as a game-changer: Either he would find himself in a completely new job, or – in case he wouldn’t get it – he would go travelling for eight months.
In the end, the company decided to employ someone else but Jesse wasn’t disappointed – travelling for a few months had been on his bucket list for quite a while.
He felt like a trip far away from home might help him to find out what kind of job he would like to do and how he could add meaning to it. «I want to learn about the world and to inspire myself to think outside my former perspective», says Jesse about his travel motivation.
Quitting a job without cutting ties
To keep a record of his trip, Jesse has his own travel blog. Very organised, as he is in his daily life, too, each blog post is composed of the same three categories: surprising discoveries, the brief history of the place and things he did there. It gives an interesting glimpse of his travels.
A very interesting feature of his blog are the KPIs, Key Performance Indicators (no surprise he uses such a technical name, right?). Here, Jesse writes down in a very transparent way how much he’s been spending during his travels.
There are different categories, such as lodging, food, alcohol, entertainment and transport. In simple but pretty graphics, he shows the average cost of a day in a specific country. «I enjoy having a quantitative look at something», he says.
It also helps him keep track of his travel budget. But moreover, he wants to help people who travel in providing them with a transparent view on travel expenses in different countries.
Indeed, it is a helpful and fun tool to get an idea of the «price» of a country, even though Jesse admits that sometimes, this precise tracking makes him too mindful about his spending
Another very interesting feature on his blog are the so-called «startup journeys». Jesse produces podcasts in which he interviews people who are investors in start-ups or small businesses, or entrepreneurs themselves. «The aim is to get in contact with people in the same field career-wise and the podcasts offer a good ‘excuse’ to meet interesting people.»
The podcasts are not only a clever way of networking, they also show that Jesse keeps connected with his work during the travels. «I want to have something to show when I come back, so it doesn’t look like if I’ve been travelling and partying for eight months», he explains.
Solo-travelling in Oceania and South East Asia
Jesse started his trip in Australia and New Zealand and is now exploring whole South East Asia. He has got eight months because he wants to go back to the US for the wedding of a very good friend.
«Travelling alone has its advantages and disadvantages», he says. He enjoys the freedom of doing whatever he likes, of going wherever he wants. «But being alone sometimes means being lonely», says Jesse. It pushes him to get out of his comfort zone.
Travelling alone, he gets to meet a lot of new people. «There is actually something bittersweet about making new friends while travelling because you know after a few days, your paths will separate.» And what advice would he give to other travellers? «Be open minded, don’t over-prepare and get outside your comfort zone!»
On my trip around the world, I meet many different people and some of them leave an inspiring mark on my heart. In this series #EvaMeetsWorld, I aim to give a small glimpse into someone’s life in another part of the world, may it be travellers, locals or expats.