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What do you work for?

“When there are waves, I am on it.
No coat and tie.
I’m not rich, but my life is.
Freedom is wealth.”
-“Corky” Carroll

When I took on the arduous task of resurrecting Makara from the ashes I said to a few fellow awesome surfer folks who decided to give up the status quo and Ride their own way to write a little blurb about what it all means to them. At that time, I mentioned there was no rush and I didn’t need it right away…well this week, maybe 1 to 2 years later I finally got the first one.

Adrian came to Hong Kong from Spain. He was working a local contract in IT, but decided to quit and spend all the money he made travelling around Asia and Australia last year. He was part of the Hong Kong surfing crew. These are his words…

I left Hong Kong for good. One day I said that was it. I couldn’t stand the feeling anymore…That helpless situation in the office staring at the computer screen. Eyes wide open looking at all those warm colors in the surf forecast. Some swell was about to hit and it was just a Tuesday.

Who is anyone to decide for me when I can or can’t surf? What was the point of being at work? What’s the point of making any money when all you can think about is hitting the beach and that is completely free of cost? It just doesn’t add up.

These are probably the thoughts of most young surfers in Hong Kong with a local standard employment contract. Those expat packages are something for older guys that have been working for a while back home and were relocated. There ain’t nothing for the adventurous, the ones that arrived in this busy city with a tourist visa, few savings and a lot of hope in their pockets.

A Hong Kong local contract gets you about 14 days holiday per year. Subtract half to spend on a visit to your family once a year. That leaves you with 7 days, the so called “leave days”. What is a “leave day”? A day when you can be free, follow your gut, chase your dream destination, have no worries, and just do what you love, which for most of us is surfing. A free activity that can be practiced all around the world or just at your local spot if you prefer to be near home with your loved ones, which also happens to be a free activity.

This puts the job concept into question. What do you work for?

After 12 months on the road Adrian ran out of cash and had to get a job again, but at least he is now living in the North coast of Spain, a destination well known for having plenty of swell. He’s got plans to quit again. As he puts it, “It was the best decision I made in my life. I just can’t ignore that voice telling me to do it”.

Adrian’s experience puts forward an important question. What do you live for? The idea of “what do you work for” actually makes no sense at all. Think about it.

When you are old and frail, what did you accomplish? What did you experience in life? What kind of memories did you create with your friends and family? Oh sure maybe you worked super hard and over-time a lot. Congratulations! You gave your life to the company creating so much value for someone else’s pocket. And in return you missed a lot of time with your family being at work, you got stress, and maybe bad health. I don’t think that’s for Adrian. It’s also not for me. And, I think there is a few more like us.

I am not saying everyone go quit your jobs now and live on a beach. I am saying that the way society has developed over the last 100 years has led us to forget about what life is all about. We have been brainwashed into thinking that the most important objective in life is to make money. It’s not.

The most important thing in life is making memories. So go make some.

BrunoThis is Bruno. Adrian’s awesome surf buddy.

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