At Yosemite this weekend I met an old man and he said to me “Young man, Americans work too much”

In his 50s or 60s, beard white, face of wrinkles, and the youthfulest spark in his eye the world has ever seen. I’ve never seen anyone look quite so young before.

“Cool how you can fit all your camping gear on the bike”, he said as I walked past the bear proof trash cans.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

Amazing drive was amazing

A post shared by Swizec Teller (@swizec) on

“Thanks! It’s amazing how small they get backpacking stuff these days. Nice setup you got yourself, do you come here often?”

He was in a converted pickup truck. Full bed with a proper mattress, storage space underneath, room enough to walk around if you crouch a little. Said he sleeps better in his truck than he does at home.

Cozy like a coffin he called it.

“Yeah it sucks this year I’m in different camps every day so I have to pack up and move around. Usually I set up camp for a few weeks and I have visitors, go on hikes, chill … I already had some visitors yesterday but it’s hard when you move so much”

Wow that sounds nice. Hard to take that much time off though …

“Yeah, Americans they work too much. It’s all about those 3 day weekends isn’t it? And you never quite get rested.”

I nodded.

“I used to be like you. Always working, always striving, pushing for something and one day I realized even I don’t know what I’m striving for. So I stopped.

“Now I work 6 months a year as a building contractor. All word of mouth. I don’t do any advertising. My clients wait for me. They call and say hey when are you available to do so and so and I tell them sorry I’m in Bali”

You what?

“Yeah I go to Bali every year for a few months. Then I come to Yosemite. Been here at least 100 times. Some four years of staying inside Yosemite in total I calculated the other day”

Wow that sounds amazing! Kudos to you my man

“Oh it’s great. And I live in Santa Cruz which is almost as expensive as San Francisco these days. I don’t know how anyone can afford to live in SF if they don’t work in tech. It’s crazy. But yeah there’s so much demand for construction and renovation especially with all these fires … I ain’t worried. The work will never dry up”

He’s right you know. The work will never stop.

You can rush to get everything done and tire yourself out, or you can work at a sustainable pace and enjoy life. Either way, the next task is always there for you, waiting.

I learned an important lesson that day.

Kind of reminds me of the opening anecdote in Company of One by @pjrvs.

Cheers,

~Swizec

Learned something new? Want to improve your skills?

Join over 10,000 engineers just like you already improving their skills!

Here's how it works 👇

Leave your email and I'll send you an Interactive Modern JavaScript Cheatsheet 📖right away. After that you'll get thoughtfully written emails every week about React, JavaScript, and your career. Lessons learned over my 20 years in the industry working with companies ranging from tiny startups to Fortune5 behemoths.

PS: You should also follow me on twitter 👉 here.
It's where I go to shoot the shit about programming.