I had done everything right
My story starts in Strongsville, Ohio, USA where I grew up and went to school. Then I went to Ohio State University to study electrical and computer engineering. During my senior year at Ohio State, I did a study abroad trip to Egypt for spring break. It opened my eyes to the wonders of travel and my life would never be the same afterwards.
I looked for international careers soon thereafter and accepted a job with oil services company Schlumberger as a field engineer. With them, I lived in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates; Edinburgh, Scotland; and Doha, Qatar. I traveled to dozens of countries on my own during vacations and I earned quite a bit of money at the expense of harming the environment and working on dangerous oil rigs in offshore or desert conditions.
But money wasn’t everything and the lifestyle of a field engineer in the oil industry wasn’t for me.
I went back to school to pursue an MBA. I attended IE Business School in Madrid, Spain and had the time of my life. I met truly amazing people in my program and Madrid is a wonderful city to live in.
After graduation I set my sights on Scandinavia, drawn in by its social model and high quality of life. I got a job as a business development specialist with Siemens Wind Power in Denmark. It would help me atone for the environmental sins committed in the oil industry and the job was exactly what I wanted.
But it wasn’t enough
Each phase of my life had gotten me closer to what I wanted and taught me valuable lessons, but it wasn’t enough. I had achieved exactly what I had set out to do, but quickly realized it wasn’t really what I wanted. I was following a script for success written by someone else, or by society. And the corporate world just wasn’t for me. It’s too stressful, political, and unfulfilling. I felt like I could never make much of an impact on the world from behind my desk in comfortable Denmark.
I identified my passions
In January 2011 I sat down and decided to take back control of my life. I thought long and hard and did tons of soul searching to identify my passions. I came up with writing, traveling, telling stories, learning/educating, and helping others. I thought about how I could incorporate my passions into a new career.
And I took the Happiness Plunge
I quit my six-figure job to explore the six continents. The Happy Nomad Tour was my Happiness Plunge – staying off the beaten path to learn how others love and pursue happiness while blogging about their stories and my own.
I created a life serving others that fulfills me and makes me excited to get out of bed every morning. I hope the site teaches, inspires, and convinces you that you can also create a life better suited for you. The life you want is probably very different from the life perfect for me, but the process of getting to that ideal life for you is what is important. I have outlined that process in my e-book, which you can download for free here.
And the journey continues
Though The Happy Nomad Tour has come to an end, my underlying interest in understanding happiness remains. I discovered my passions before undertaking this journey, and those passions are still the same; the amount of energy I’ve devoted to each passion has changed though.
From the beginning, this was all an experiment to better understand myself and happiness. I’ve grown in unfathomable ways and I’ve now shifted my focus toward researching happiness in an academic way. I’m currently a PhD student at the University of Alabama, where I’m researching happiness, well-being, empathy, and engagement within individuals and organizations. I am looking forward to meaningfully contributing to the body of science currently being built in the positive psychology movement, while trying to answer the millions of questions about happiness that arose during The Happy Nomad Tour.