“What Do You Do?”

Welcome to The Wild and Beyond

I’ve been traveling over the past year and a half out of a van that I converted into a fully-livable RV. I recently left the United States and I am currently in Cabo San Lucas, the southern most point of Baja California Sur, Mexico. And, I hope to spend the next several years circumventing the globe before eventually returning to the U.S.

As a full-time traveler I meet new people nearly every single day and one of the first things people seem to always ask is “What do you do?” I used to think this meant, “What do you do for work?”, “What is your career?”, “What do you do for income?” That’s always how I interpreted the question, up until just before I started working for New York Times Bestselling Author, Neil Strauss.

I had read a couple of his books, followed some of his email lists and ended up beta testing one of the membership programs for his life coaching company, The Society International. It was in that program that I learned that your answer to the question, “what do you do?” doesn’t always need to correlate with how you make your financial living. It always should though, mean so much more. When someone asks, “what do you do?”, your answer should relate to your passions, what you enjoy doing, and all the things that make you happy in life, whether within your career or not.

The unfortunate truth is that most people do not have jobs that they love. They toil away their workdays too tired to do anything worthwhile after they get off and feel like the weekend went by too fast with every Monday that rolls around again.

I didn’t imagine that would be the case for me after I met Neil in person and was soon after offered a position as the Membership Program Director for two of the three programs in his company. The job had many perks but despite them all, working for Neil ultimately turned out be something I hated. On regular weeks, I worked eighty to ninety hours and as many as one-hundred-and-twenty hours on the weeks in which we hosted our conferences. It was never the amount of work or the hours that were the real problem though. I loved the work that I was doing. I was helping incredibly ambitious and highly-driven people just like me set goals and reach their dreams.

In the end, after a year and half of being a part of a hard working and dedicated staff of employees tolerating being berated, psychologically abused, and being told on a weekly basis that nothing we did was ever good enough, all by the man that taught his own members to “Be Your Best Self,” I became completely disheartened to the work I was doing.

“Blood, sweat, and tears” barely grazed the surface of what we put up with trying to deliver on the over-promises Neil constantly sold to his members. Below the surface was the extreme stress we were all under that I learned firsthand can cause surprising and almost unbelievable effects. If you have an overly stressful job, you will be fortunate if the worst thing you ever experience is thinking you are having a heart attack only to later find out that it was just a stress-induced panic attack. Over the year and a half that I worked for The Society, I suffered from panic attacks, broke out in shingles, had large bald spots known as Alopecia Areata appear in random spots on my scalp, and eventually had a complete emotional breakdown behind the scenes of my last conference with the company. The breakdown was the final point in which I knew I simply couldn’t take anymore. I don’t believe that there is any job in this world, that if you don’t love it, is worth sacrificing your health and killing yourself for. So, I soon thereafter made up my mind to leave and gave my supervisor an overly-generous two month’s notice for my resignation.

I took the most valuable lessons I had learned from before I took the job, when I was still just a member, and used them over my last two months to figure out and plan what I would do next. And now, when people ask me, “what do you do?,” with genuine enthusiasm, I tell them:

I’m a full-time traveler. I am on an expedition, circumventing the globe for at least the next several years. I currently live out of a van that I converted into an RV. Right now, I’m taking my van through Mexico and into South America. From there, I am going to sell my van and backpack the rest of the way. I want to avoid using commercial airlines to have as much of a rough, raw, and truly authentic travel experience as possible and therefore, from Brazil I’m going to cross the Atlantic, likely by freight-liner, over into Africa. I plan to backpack through Europe, take the Tran-Siberian Railway across Russia, and spend time in Japan, China, and Australia before boating up through the Pacific, back to the U.S.

This is not ‘what I do’ in the traditional sense of what people do for work because I’m not yet making money from it.

Friends and acquaintances have long told me that I am a great storyteller. I love telling the stories of my craziest and most life-altering experiences. Despite the faults of my former job, it was there that I discovered my passion for adventure and my desire to share the resulting stories with the world.

As I travel around the world, I’m writing down all of my best stories, past and present, and working on building a career as a Travel/Adventure Journalist. I plan to update my blog regularly with many of my stories, photography, some bonus content (like favorite food recipes), and other travel advice, news, and updates. If fans and followers of my adventures enjoy my content, I greatly appreciate any donations that to help me keep going and delivering new content along the way.

Most of the content on my website, http://www.thewildandbeyond.com, is and will otherwise continue be free for everyone to enjoy. And, I hope to eventually make a living from future book publications comprised of all of my greatest adventures and life experiences, all together wild and beyond!

Over the coming weeks and months, as I cross through Mexico and make my way down to Brazil, you can look forward to hearing about my scandalous first twenty-four hours in Cabo and how I later received VIP access to a major Fashion Show & Party. I will share (as a former pizza chef and cooking enthusiast) my simple and amazing Pizza Sauce Recipe and my Phở Recipe that several of my friends say ruined all other phởs for them. And, I will continue to share all my travel photography, a lot of which is already view-able on my Instagram.

If you would like to follow my travel adventures, please connect with me on Instagram (Username: the_wild_and_beyond / Jake Grissom) and subscribe to my email list here on The Wild & Beyond.

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