I’m not really sure how best to begin here.
Over time, I’m hoping for this space to evolve into something that you’ll want to come back to and read on a semi-regular basis. The general idea is for this blog to be an outlet in which I share some general thoughts and observations from my upcoming travels in Asia.
I’m going to make a conscious effort to avoid a journal-like approach that simply reads as a daily or weekly activity log, and instead try to focus on broader topics that will be of greater interest to those of you that aren’t my mother (hi, Mom!). Call me crazy, but you probably won’t have much interest in knowing what I had for lunch on a given day, or how much it costs to get laundry done in Tongyeong (quick tangent: I recently lost a bet with a friend who I’ll be seeing on my travels. The terms were that the loser would have to eat silk worms in South Korea – so I may actually end up telling you about what I ate for lunch on that particular day).
While this is allegedly a travel blog, I have to confess that I’m currently writing this post from my home base in not-so-sunny San Francisco. Sorry for the false advertising here, but I just quit my job, I’m bored, and have nothing better to do this week. So, I figured why not sit in some nondescript, locally-sourced coffee shop alongside a cavalcade of wannabe Zuckerbergs as they work on their game-changing startup ideas, and put out my own air of self-importance? Little do they know, I’m just writing a blog post that maybe five people will read (and that I can’t even code beyond the most basic HTML crap that you learn in five minutes on Code Academy, I just happen to look like a geek). Suckers!
Anyway, I love to write, but it’s been a while since I’ve been able to do so in a more free-flowing, it’s-OK-to-say-”fuck”-if-it’s-in-an-appropriate-context kind of style. I spent the past four years working in public relations for tech companies in and around Silicon Valley. While it was certainly an interesting job that introduced me to a lot of insanely intelligent and interesting people, writing about enterprise technology is entirely different than, say, a travel blog.
It’s always a neutral and concise voice, often dealing with densely technical content that I barely understand – and rife with words like “groundbreaking,” “next-generation” and “cloud-enabled.” So, if you’ll indulge me, I’m going to write the rest of this first post – and try to provide a bit more context around my upcoming trip – in a format that’s become all too familiar to me over the past few years: an AP style press release!
OK, let’s give this a whirl:
Jaded 20-Something Quits Job to Pursue Overly Idealistic World Travel Pipe Dream
Once-Promising Career Path Derailed by General Lethargy and a Potentially Naïve Drive to “Do Something That Inspires More Passion”
SAN FRANCISCO – October 23, 2013 – Matt Coolidge, a former public relations professional, has successfully resigned from his position as an account manager at a technology PR firm to travel throughout Asia with his girlfriend for an indefinite period. The two will fly to Seoul, South Korea on Wednesday, October 23 on a one-way flight, and plan to make their way to India – via China and Southeast Asia – over a roughly six-month period.
Coolidge has lived in San Francisco since 2009, when he moved across the country on a whim after graduating college in Washington, DC. During his time there, he lived in five separate apartments (plus a six-month “homeless” stint in which he squatted with his sympathetic girlfriend, because San Francisco rent prices are f&^%ing ridiculous). Prior to his three-and-a-half year stint in PR, Coolidge served a variety of odd jobs in and around San Francisco, including as maitre’d at the city’s busiest steakhouse and as a glorified panhandler who solicited donations for a shady, Save the Children-esque charity along some of the most well-trafficked blocks in the San Francisco Bay Area.
“I’m absolutely thrilled to be embarking on such a life-changing experience, and with a phenomenal travel companion to boot,” said Coolidge, now a degenerate backpacker type. “What’s more, it’s genuinely impressive to see the year-over-year growth in tourism to East Asia, which is truly one of the most exciting places in the world. You’ll have to pardon the disgustingly over-excited tone I’m affecting in this quote; like I said, I’ve spent the better part of four years writing over-enthusiastic press releases about incremental updates to enterprise technology products – and it’s going to take a little while for me to break these old habits!”
Sarcastic quote aside, Coolidge is genuinely sad to be leaving behind a great deal of friends, family and colleagues in the Bay Area. It’s become home to him, and he’ll remember his time there fondly. He singled out the following random activities as particular highlights:
- Lake Tahoe in the summer, spring, fall and winter – but especially winter, and especially Squaw Valley
- Hiking on Mount Tamalpais
- Playing volleyball in Speedway Meadow on a sunny afternoon in Golden Gate Park (until the fog rolls in promptly at 3 PM, at least)
- Watching the sun set over the Pacific while perched atop the rocky outcrop at World’s End
- Tonayense burritos, forever and always the best taqueria/taco truck the Mission has to offer
- Hardly Strictly Bluegrass
- Having a crazed landlady that printed out an Illinois Public Housing and Food Stamp application as the formal rental agreement to sign upon move-in – and who proceeded to never remember the name of either Coolidge nor his three roommates during their six months in that house, probably because she relied on “burner phones” and didn’t have a checking account (she requested rent paid in cash, early, every month) nor a known address. Not so much a highlight, but it happened, and it needs to stored here for the annals of history
- Making some of the best friends he’s ever had
Neither Coolidge nor his girlfriend have confirmed a formal return date, nor an exact location to which they’ll be returning. Seattle has emerged as the most likely destination, but both Coolidge and his girlfriend are keeping things as flexible as possible for the time being, choosing instead to focus on their pending travels.
Learn More Today!
Interested individuals can check this blog regularly for new content, as there should end up being roughly two to three updates per week. They can also follow @mattcoolidge on Twitter for real-time updates on new posts.
Welp, that’s that. If you’ll excuse me, I now have less than 48 hours to gorge myself on Mexican food before having to quit cold turkey in Asia. And I promise I’ll never post another blog written in the third-person here ever again.
Talk to you all from South Korea!