The past 1.5 years of my life have been filled with crazy adventures and extreme changes.
- I left Google and joined Verily to work on surgical robotics
- I moved from New York City to San Francisco
- I bought my first car!
- After one year, I left my job at Verily to explore opportunities in Asia
- I broke my lease in SF, put all of my belongings in storage, and moved to Taipei, Taiwan. (Everything worked out, and I even got my security deposit back!)
People always ask me how I feel, and I used to be at a loss for words. The closest description I can offer is that it feels like all the energy from a DBZ fusion dance of Excitement and Terror is bottled up inside my gut at all times.
In this post, I'll talk about why I decided to leave my job and move to Asia, and then I will give a brief update of what has been going on since I made the move.
My parents are entrepreneurs, and they've been running their own business since 1996. I grew up in a very scrappy start-up family environment - something which I took for granted when I was younger. I distinctly remember reciting lines for my Chinese school speech contest for my mom to critique in sixth grade. It was almost midnight on a Thursday evening, and we were in my parents' company's warehouse. My mom was using one of those red packaging tape dispensers to seal dozens of boxes containing steering wheels. The crackling rips of tape being separated from the roll echoed intermittently in the large open space while she corrected my grammar. For whatever reason, it didn't register with me until years later that these boxes that would be shipped out the next morning are what generated the revenue that would eventually put me through college.
As someone that has only worked at large companies, my parents' business seems like pure insanity to me. The self-sufficiency, the drive, the risk! As I got older, I realized that I want to put myself out there and try to do something different. I want to create value with my skills, and I want to take complete ownership in what I'm doing.
It's a big world out there
I felt the urge to travel and experience new things. My parents have lived in Shanghai for more than a decade; my dad moved there when I was in highschool, and my mom moved there when I was in college. My sister and brother-in-law are avid travelers, and they both have work that brings them to Africa, India, and other places completely different than the US.
America will always be home to me. But I realized that I wanted to try living abroad. I wanted to gain some different perspectives about society, politics, and the general human condition. How can you achieve that if you're always reading news written by people that have only experienced the same things as you? How do you truly open your mind and empathize with someone with completely different beliefs?
I've always been visiting Asia with the mentality that it was a brief vacation away from my permanent residence. Just three weeks - I'll be a tourist and hang out a bit. After, I'll go back home and return to "normal" life. It wasn't until late 2016 that I felt, for the first time, that I could see myself living outside of the US for a few years.
I realized that if I did not make this move, I would regret it for the rest of my life.
We all have the urge to get out of our comfort-zone. To experience new things. I realized that if I did not take control of steering the direction of my life, I would be on auto-pilot on the course of comfort and stability. I figured a short detour from that path would be something worth trying.
It definitely has not been an easy transition. Every bit of excitement and adventure has also come hand in hand with different kinds of hardships. I'm thankful for all of the friends and family I have who support me, and I'm eager to see what the future has in store.