2012 was a year of transition and introspection. I traveled a lot.
In the beginning of the year, my role at Tumblr was to build on our international growth. I got to meet Gina and had great adventures together in South America and Europe. It was a surreal chapter where I’d start days in boardrooms and end days laughing with new friends. I spent most days following the cultural scent and met some of the most creative young people on the planet.
I’ll keep these memories forever:
- A birthday party in a Rio favela.
- A rooftop party overlooking an Niemeyer classic.
- The Chilean government’s war room.
- An artist’s apartment of musty books and splotches of fresh paint.
- The lights over Sugarloaf and Corcovado.
- Beers, smiles, and samba under arches
- A boat ride without the sun.
- Running from tear gas with Chilean students.
- Meeting Jimmy Wales in a London eating club.
- A balcony. Smoking. Travelers talking as if old friends. Candles.
But while on the road I felt energized, I was deflated when I returned to the office. Why, I wondered. Tumblr is an awesome product! I had to admit that I loved tech, but I was burned out by the tech culture. I loved dialogue, but I was fatigued by the echo chamber. I wanted to be creative and love my work, but I found myself at odds with a lot of things.
So I left Tumblr around the middle of the year to… travel. This time to figure out what I wanted to do, what I loved to do and what I’d want to learn from life. So instead of meetings and presentations, I swapped my laptop for a backpack and camera. I spent time writing (with a pen!) and reading and probing the tension I had between my digital overconsumption and love of creating things to be consumed.
I made time for friends again. Got some inspiration in South America, the West Coast, and Canada, talking about anything but tech. Got my taco fix, too. Biked more. Discovered the outer boroughs of New York. Spent some time to let ideas and thoughts marinate.
I’m thankful I had the time to figure some things out. Most people don’t get the opportunity. Towards the end of the year I realized that I wanted to build something that I would like to use and that I would find useful. So in the early months of this year, I’ll try to do just that. And standing at the beginning of 2013, for the first time in a while, I’m excited.