Setting sail on a new adventure

For nearly 15 years I’ve been a designer in the technology industry. I’ve worked with close to 200 companies, including Slack, 23andMe, Pocket, and of course GV, YouTube, and Google. I’ve designed websites, mobile apps, enterprise software, medical reports, newspapers, and even the personality for a robot.

But now I’m going to leave that world behind — at least for a little while — and set sail on a new adventure.

And no, that’s not a metaphor.

My wife and I are embarking on an open-ended sailing voyage!

This is an adventure we’ve been dreaming and discussing and planning together for almost 10 years. And now it’s time to turn this dream into reality.

So this fall, we’ll move out of our apartment in San Francisco and onto our sailboat. We’ll prepare the boat, ourselves, and our cats (!) for a nomadic life, then sail out of San Francisco Bay and head south into Mexico and Central America. We’re planning to cruise the coast, live aboard, travel slowly, and focus on the basics: food, water, weather, nature, and the people we meet.

In order to do this, I’m leaving my role as design partner at GV after six incredible years. But I won’t go off the grid entirely.

I’m going to keep writing

For as long as I’ve been a designer, I’ve been a writer. I write as part of the design process; I write about the design process; and lately I’ve been writing about ways to make time for what matters in our busy, tech-saturated world.

Embracing and developing my writing skills has changed my life. And I see no reason to stop. So I’m going to continue writing while we travel.

Specifically, I’ll keep writing about the amazing work teams are doing with design sprints. (You can subscribe to the Sprint Newsletter here.)

I’ll keep writing about making time at Time Dorks.

And I’m excited to start a new writing project with my wife Michelle: A cruising blog called Particular Harbor. (The best ways to keep up on our adventures are to subscribe to the blog or follow me on Twitter or Facebook.)

The next chapter

We’ve got our plan to sail and travel and write and live simply for the next few years. But if it sounds like we have it all figured out, well… we don’t. We have a lot of big questions for ourselves: When will we come back? Where will we live? What kinds of jobs will we get?

The truth is, we don’t really know. We have ideas, but we can’t say for sure where we’ll end up or how we’ll feel when we get there.

Michelle and I have talked about this as our “next chapter.” And I think that’s an apt metaphor. But sometimes, even the person writing the chapter doesn’t know how it’s going to turn out. Ideas that sound great in abstract don’t work in practice. Things feel different when they’re happening. And we’re OK with that.

So here’s to writing—and reading—the next chapter together. We can’t wait to see what happens.