One Year Ago – Where was I?

Written by

Park Guell – Barcelona

Wherever you go, go with all your heart.

It was December 24, 2015 and my wife (then girlfriend) & I were sitting at SFO airport waiting for the plane to Chicago to begin boarding. That was the first day of my 9-week long vacation around the world!  At that time, I was employed at the Organic food company which had a great perk of a sabbatical after many years of service.  I was awarded the sabbatical in early December 2015 and decided to take a once in a lifetime vacation that started on Christmas Eve and returning to work on March 1st, 2016.

Since there were many destinations we were visiting, we planned for several months prior to the start of vacation. While my wife was able to join for most of about half of my vacation, she had a to go back home earlier for work.

But where exactly did I go for those 9-weeks? Here’s the list:

  • Chicago, Illinois for the Christmas Holidays
  • Paris, France for New Years – where we also got engaged!
  • Barcelona, Spain – Tapas!
  • Dublin, Ireland – Guinness Tour
  • Lake Tahoe, California – Ski day
  • Myanmar (Burma) – Bagan Temples & Family
  • Singapore – Family stop
  • Vietnam – Family stop & Lunar New Years
  • Cambodia – Siem Reap Temples
  • Thailand – Phuket & Bangkok
  • South Korea – Long Layover

9-Week Video – Quick Recap


During the vacation, it was packed with sightseeing and time to relax. We were able to see family, eat good food, & meet so many interesting people from all over the world.  After finishing the vacation, I finally had time to reflect and think about the vacation.  In a sense, it was a life changing experience.  Not many people are able to take so much time off, let alone travel the world. I was so fortunate for my employer to a) allow for such a great benefit, b) giving me the income & opportunity to work there.

Aside from the life changing events like getting engaged & dreaming up ModestPlanet, my perspective on what life should be like changed as well.  When we think about sustainability, we often first think of improving the planet & community. But, improving ourselves is a part of sustainability too.

Throughout my career, I have seen firsthand many good co-workers become burnt out from the corporate environment.  Eventually, motivation decreases & attitudes become pessimistic as the hours pile up each week…I made a promise to myself that work will not be the priority in my life, but living life to the fullest would be.

Today, I have a much better work & life balance.  Though we cannot all quit our jobs & travel the world, we can decide what is really important and maintain that priority. This is what I have chosen to do.  The 9-week sabbatical was not just a vacation, but also a time for reflection.  I reflected and hope I am a better person today.

So where was exactly one year ago today? Checking my calendar, I was in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean flying back from Europe.   Determine your priority & run away with it!

Make Today > Yesterday


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