Marsala & Ramen: Failure and Happiness on Two Continents

The chicken tikka marsala smelled delicious and I couldn’t eat any of it. I was ashamed for so many reasons. I was dressed in black, my hair tied in a man-bun, serving curry with spite, to some extremely ungrateful customers. I had no idea that in a few months, the clinking of silverware around me would give way to the roar of a jet engine.

It was late 2015: I had just left a high-paced sales job in New York City. Lured in by the energetic young staff and the ringing of a sales gong, I signed on to work in a rapidly expanding tech company. Between awesome benefits, killer office parties and a decent income, it gave me plenty to brag about on Snapchat. I burned out of that lifestyle almost as quickly as I got sucked into it.

new york day city scape
NYC

Months before all this, on a pre-graduation college afternoon, I laid out my life plan. My housemate and I were eating our usual 2PM breakfast. After exchanging stories about our late-night exploits, I leaned over to describe how I would traverse the world when school ended. I would go on an international adventure, work in a job related to my environmental studies, somehow make a decent amount of money, meet foreign women and become a knockoff version of Anthony Bourdain.

Five minutes later I got the phone call which would send me diving headfirst into the opposite direction. They asked if I wanted all the goodies that would come with a nice job in New York City. My five second cost-benefit analysis looked like this: Money + NYC + Cool Startup > Idealistic Dream.  With gusto, I said yes, and you know how the rest of that story went.

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Graduate school on a foreign continent initially revealed itself as a compromise between this idealistic dream and the expectations of becoming a young adult which I felt bound to. I was hesitant to make the leap before stumbling upon a post from reddit. Some guy who, at 20, was daring, creative and ambitious was now 46 and living a life of regret. He played it safe and implored any and everyone to go out and chase the things that make us feel alive.

A one-way plane ride later and I was in Germany, on my way to completing a master’s degree that I previously didn’t even know existed. I ate strange food, poorly attempted to learn a language, met a beautiful young lady and worked for one of the biggest environmental NGO’s in the world. I even stopped sharing my life on Snapchat (Instagram is clearly the way to go). I was within arm’s reach of fulfilling my adventurous fantasy.

german nom noms
German nom noms

My favorite ideas have come about either in the shower, before bed or on the toilet. What I really needed was something that I could pursue for me, something that would force me to teach myself things while connecting people, something that would allow myself and others to share and create. Yes, the concept for this website, WoBistDude was squeezed out from above a porcelain dome of imagination.

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The ramen smelled delicious. I could eat some of it for a discounted price and I was happy for so many reasons. I was dressed in black, with my hair tied up, serving Japanese cuisine with neutral levels of enthusiasm to mostly grateful customers. After working in restaurants in two different countries, I finally learned that I wasn’t compatible with the culinary industry. In a few months, the snapping of chopsticks would give way to the clicking of keys on a laptop.

It is early 2019: my bank account balance is the lowest that it has been since college. I am thousands of miles away from my hometown. I’ve given myself permission to live the way that I want to and pursue the things I enjoy regardless of what anyone around me thinks about it. I’m actively pursuing a role in communications—both for both professional and personal fulfillment. It’s not what I studied, it’s not what anyone expected, and one could hardly call it lucrative. But for many reasons, it feels pretty damn good.


fooding

Michael edits, creates and curates for this website. He enjoys yoga, martial arts, and of course a big healthy meal. This guy likes to consume self improvement books and gritty movies on the side. Ja Genau.

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