It's been a little while since it was announced I was stepping down to part-time partner at YC. I'd been meaning to say something about it sooner but I've been afk for a while (quite literally as my only electronic travel companion has been my iPad). Better late than never though.
I joined YC in 2010 mostly out of curiousity. I was amazed how much it had grown since I'd gone through the program myself and it was fascinating to think about what kind of scale it could reach. The next three and a half years were more interesting than I could have imagined. Every batch presented a new set of unexpected and novel problems to solve. We funded over 300 startups during that time and learnt an incredible amount. It's something I'm truly grateful to have been a part of.
I knew though that I missed working on a startup and I decided at the end of 2012 that Winter 2013 would be my last batch as a full-time partner. 'Twasn't an easy decision but I knew it was the right one.
I had various thoughts and idea about things to work on floating around in my head and my instinct was to start building things immediately so I'd be ready to announce my new project within 0.5 seconds of stepping down. When I took a second to breathe though, one thing kept bugging me. I'd been wanting to go away and travel for the past decade and apart from some short trips here and there, never had.
I'd first thought about taking a gap year and travelling in 2003 but starting university asap seemed more important. I then thought about doing it after graduating, even started planning with some friends, but I was working full-time on my startup pretty much the day after my final exam. Now I found myself with the same desire to travel but a new realization that ten years go by pretty fast and having periods of time with no commitments seldom occur, especially as you get older. So this time I decided to actually do it. By biggest surprised when I mentioned this to people, especially those older than me that I looked up to, was just how unequivocal the encouragement to do it was.
I've been on the road for 7 weeks now. So far I've visited Mexico, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, The Philippines and Hong Kong. The past month has felt like a year. A barrage of new experiences that have slowed down (my perception of) the passage of time and that's felt wonderful. I've been exposed to a huge amount of new ideas, information and people over the past few years and it's been great having some time and distance to look back and filter through them.
If you have any travel trips or suggestions for places to visit I'd be most grateful. Having planned things out in advance over the past few weeks, I'm keeping the next couple of months more flexible and playing things by ear.
If you're thinking about doing something similar and taking some time out, I'd highly recommend reading this post from Michael Wolfe. I also found this post from Naveen, co-founder of Foursquare, quite motivating.
Look forward to seeing everyone when I'm back in September!