Spending a week in Byron Bay was a bit spontaneous. I only planned my first week in Australia with no plans for my second week in the country. Initially, I had a grand plan to drive along the Pacific Coast highway. At the last minute, I changed my mind and decided to spend a leisurely week in Byron Bay.
For the last six months, I've been constantly in transit from city to city, crossing oceans and borders with little more than one luggage, backpack and a duffel bag. It was rare for me to be in one city for more than a few days. Last month, I gave up my Santa Monica apartment, sold half of my belongings, and moved the rest into storage, so I never had a few days to sit back and do nothing.
The beginning of my Australian journey hasn't been without hiccups. My electronic travel authorization was delayed, so I had to delay my flight twice. I finally received the authorization, but it cut my time in Melbourne from 4 days to 36 hours. (Luckily, I'm on my way back for another 48 hours.)
Subconsciously, my body was yearning for a recharge and escape. I have become more attuned to my body over the last few months. After witnessing the sub-optimal US election results while in Sydney, I decided to forego the road trip in favor of a week long retreat in Byron Bay. I stayed in a beautifully decorated room hosted by Temple Retreats that was only a 5 minute walk away from town and the beaches.
Over the next few days, I explored all that Byron Bay has to offer. I spent many hours sunbathing and reading books on many beaches, including those hidden away on Broken Head. I watched sunsets at the top of Byron Bay Lighthouse. I hunted for waterfalls in the hinterlands. I strolled and photographed the dramatic coastlines in the mornings, and I basked in the light of the supermoon as well. Nonetheless, I devoted a good portion of my time relaxing and writing in my temporary home.
Over the course of five days, I organized, edited and catalogued my photos. I wrote and edited drafts recollecting my West Coast road trip (Parts 1, 2 and 3). I outlined future blog posts while I researched and scheduled meetings for my upcoming ventures. I slept at least 8 hours or more each night. I reverted to a clean and healthy lifestyle with little or no alcohol, red meat and processed foods.
After a few days of self-imposed isolation, I felt my energy surging back. My extroverted side began to yearn for some social interaction. Coincidentally, Bernadette, an old friend from my Google days, happened to be in Byron Bay for a wedding. We met up for dinner and spent the better part of the evening catching up and sharing notes on our creative journeys. Bernadette spent the last year or so creating art, and she is now writing a book about her experience. We both spent a lot of time reconciling our techie side with our creative side, and it was interesting to compare notes on our different approach. While I sought introspective truth abroad among strangers in unfamiliar environments, Bernadette sought to understand her conflict between her rational and creative sides in her own backyard through artistic pursuits and new communities.
We both struggled with our insatiable curiosity of all things. We both watched our peers picked something and stuck with it and witnessed how far they have gone in their careers.
Why did we have no desire to stick to a path or discipline?
Is there something wrong with us?
Not at all. Polymaths. Renaissance person. Scanner. Multipotentialites. Slashers. These people have many different interests and creative pursuits in life. They don't have "one true calling." They have many paths and pursue all of them either sequentially or simultaneously. My career thus far hasn't been specialized in one area. The most fulfilling projects have been where I found solutions to unsolved problems in areas where I had little or no previous experience. I thrived on learning, exploring and mastering new skills. I have a tendency of getting bored once I figured out how to solve the problem, but the pressure of "sticking with something" made me stay in roles and projects longer than I wanted.
Unfortunately, modern society tends to not value or recognize this group as they perceive this jumping activity as immature or flaky. This should come as no surprise as labor and corporate structures were highly incentivized to specialize to achieve economies of scale and competitive advantage. Now, advances in robotics and artificial intelligence married with a hyperconnected network are fundamentally changing the rules of the system. It's only a matter of time when machines will soon be able to perform highly specialized tasks.
As we sat on the shore of Byron Bay, we recognized how lucky we were to freely define our visions, pursue our various interests, and face our inner demons without fear of judgment from others. (Frankly, I stopped caring about what others thought about my opinions and actions a few years ago.) We embraced our curiosity of the world around us and a passion for finding connections between seemingly disparate objects. We are not boxed in by labels or identities defined externally. For the next phase in our lives, we want to align our core values with out day-to-day activities and surround ourselves with like-minded people. We are the modern Renaissance generation, empowered to embrace all knowledge and develop their capacities in physical development, social accomplishments and artistic pursuits as fully as possible. For all we know, this will be the new currency of power and wealth in the golden era of AI and automation.