Figure out what you want and when to walk away
I’d wanted to quit for years
In 2010 I found myself depressed, single, and working for a company I didn’t want to be working for anymore.
I worked the phones at Yahoo! for 5 years as a sales guy. My favorite definition of ‘sales guy’ comes from a snippet of writing I saved years ago from someone’s Tumblr page. Author unknown but I’m still looking.
He’s also a Sales Guy, it’s soon obvious, bestowed at birth with an intangible, infallible excess of charm and the compulsion to use it on the most proximate person to him at all times. I’m envious, as always. If he kept a blog like this it would be far more interesting than mine—not to mention syndicated at a dollar a word.
I didn’t feel like a charming sales guy anymore. My soul had shriveled to the size of a raisin. I was miserable and had wanted to quit for 3 years.
I needed something new
I had to leave but I didn’t know what to do or where to go. Common sense says never leave a job until you find another one, especially ‘in this economy’, which people say no matter what the state of the economy is.
I had to quit. The job was slowly killing me inside. I couldn’t stay another minute.
So I quit. With no backup plan. It was one of the hardest things I’d ever done. I was terrified of what the future would hold.
Make room for something new
My 32 year old girlfriend broke up with me when I was 23. She wanted kids and I was too young to have them with her. As long we dated she wasn’t available for what she really wanted. She broke up with me and made room for something new.
She’s married now, with two kids.
I left Yahoo! because I wanted something that Yahoo! couldn’t give me. Unlike my ex I didn’t know what I wanted, but I knew that I had to make room for it regardless. Whatever it was, I wasn’t going to find it working at Yahoo!.
A friend asked me if I wanted to move to Panama
He wanted me to help him start a hostel. I had made room for something new. Was this it?
I didn’t speak Spanish but he assured me that everyone speaks English in Panama. OK, let’s do it.
I soon found out that no one speaks English in Panama. I learned Spanish, grew my hair out, and started looking for a house.
It was hard work. Running a business in a foreign country, under a tourist visa, when you don’t speak the language well is madness. I wouldn’t recommend it.
We called it Panama Passage. The hostel worked. We scraped by. It was fun. I made friends with people I’m still in touch with today.
We were eventually evicted from our rental property after a year and the business folded.
I took a boat to Colombia
And rode my motorcycle to the tip of Argentina. This was definitely something new. It was also one of the hardest and most amazing experiences of my life. Incredibly beauty mixed with deep loneliness. Hard to connect when you’re always on the move.
I both craved the community I had built in Panama, and life on the open road. No one said it was going to be easy.
If you have 3 hours to kill you can follow the entire road trip here. Warning: it’s 15 pages long and has lots of photos.
After 9 months on the road and over two years away from California, I was running out of money. My tenants had vacated my apartment and my cash flow was drying up.
I shipped the motorcycle back to LAX and flew back to San Francisco. Time for something new.
Broke in the most expensive city in America
I could always go back to technology sales. It’s like riding a bike; you never forget. I also knew I’d be miserable within 3 months. I resisted the urge to fall back into my comfort zone.
I was out with friends having dinner one night, aware that my bank account was in the red when a friend got up and said he was going to work. I asked him what kind of job has him working at 9PM on a Friday night.
Taxi driver, he said.
The following week I completed cabbie school and started driving for Luxor Taxi. This was definitely something new.
Drive all night, sleep all day
I started driving Wednesday through Saturday nights. I’d pick up the cab in the late afternoon and drop it off at three in the morning. By Sunday I was a complete zombie. I’d sleep for two days and start driving again on Wednesdays.
This went on for a year.
Driving a cab is fun at first. Lots of cash. The rules of the road barely apply. It’s like a video game, speeding around to get a fare.
I’m working here. Move your ass!
But it’s a grind and like any grind it starts to wear on you. I needed the money but I also needed something new.
Welcome to The Love Drive
My friend Ali said I should probably start recording the conversations I had with my passengers. So I did. I bought a couple cheap cameras and some microphones. In 2014 The Love Drive was born.
I never knew that quitting my job at Yahoo! would bring me here. Writing blogs about sex, love, and dating and starting a new video series in Montreal. It’s exciting. And really fucking scary.
I still wonder if I should get a ‘real career’. Just for today, I’ll keep writing.
Leave what does not serve you
To make room for something new you have to leave something behind. That’s how it works. Easier said than done but you can do it.
Is there something in your life which no longer serves you? Something that used to nourish your soul but no longer does?
Maybe it’s your romantic relationship. Or your living situation. Perhaps it’s your job.
Maybe you’re eating too much sugar and watching too much TV. Both things I quit doing in January. I haven’t lost any weight but I did gain an extra hour of sleep.
Are you still smoking? Leave that behind. I smoked on and off for 15 years. More on than off. I quit 3 years ago. I didn’t save money because I just spend that money on other shit. But I smell better and sleep better.
May it’s an expectation. The expectation that this year you’ll lose 5 lbs (I’ve been telling myself that for 10 years). Or that this is the year you’ll fall in love (I finally just stopped telling myself that).
Whatever it is, take the plunge
Leave your job, your apartment, and your boyfriend. Leave the country if you can. Take your expectations and your dirty little habit and leave them behind.
Choose to step out of your comfort zone. Learn a new language or a new skill. Switch careers.
Stop having casual sex if it doesn’t make you feel good. Or start going to sex parties because you’ve always wanted to but were too afraid to. I did, it was really uncomfortable.
Not ready to leave that thing behind yet? That’s OK.
Hold onto it a bit longer until whatever it is completely stops working for you. Then leave it behind and make room for something new in your life.
You’re worth it.
Shaun Galanos is The Love Drive. He lives and writes in Montreal.