Pre-departure thoughts

With the arrival of 2017, the day1 creeps closer that I board the plane not knowing when I’ll be back on this side of the planet.

Depending on when we last spoke (if we spoke at all), I can almost guarantee that my motivations, plans, and mindset surrounding my upcoming travels have changed drastically. In the last few weeks, I’ve gotten more serious about planning– ditching the haphazard fantasies of a life abroad and seeing what desires remain as I buckle down, start buying airfare, and commit to various arrangements.

I’ve also nailed down my narrative on what I’ll be doing for the next year(ish) of my life:


What’s your plan?

I’ll be following my own curriculum to gain life experience outside the conventional workforce through volunteering, cultural immersion, and solo traveling.


I decided that the Silicon Valley life (including all of its associated stressors) isn’t for me at this stage in my life (unmarried, no kids, healthy parents, savings in the bank, spirit of adventure).

What will you be doing?

So far, my concrete plans are as follows: After a brief vacation with my S.O. in Taiwan and Hong Kong, I’ll be in Thailand for 2 months (February and March). I plan to backpack my way through the rural parts, volunteering my time at homestays, farmstays, and credible wildlife sanctuaries (one of which houses almost 1000 monkeys!). Afterwards, I’ll be in Europe for the summer (May through October). There, I’ll have similar arrangements, such as volunteering at a campsite in Burgundy, France!

So, are you going to quit programming?

Au contraire, I think this is a fantastic opportunity for me to pick up side projects fueled by my own motivations and not by money. Through this, I expect that I can regain the passion I once had for programming. In fact, this blog/website was my first passion project in a long time.


1: Specifically, the date is January 21st.

Jen is the founder of Lunch Money, a personal finance management tool for the modern-day spender. She is currently based in LA. Follow her on Twitter!

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