I met Jose in the kitchen of a hostel in Mendoza, Argentina. I was telling someone my story of what I was doing there…on a journey of self-discovery, wanting to design my life around the passions I found… Jose smacked his hand on the table, leapt up and shouted “YES!” and we’ve been friends ever since.
We went on to have many discussions about leaving the corporate world behind to pursue unconventional lives. Although born and raised in Colombia, he had since headed to the USA to pursue “The American Dream” only to feel that when he achieved that, it didn’t feel so dreamy to him.
It turns out that Jose was on sabbatical. He was traveling around South America, contemplating what his return and subsequent exit from Corporate America would look like.
So we started scheming together…asking questions, telling our stories, brainstorming ideas and congratulating each other on having the courage to create something new.
Typical reactions to a Jose story are along the lines of “you did what?” or “of course that happened to you” as he has a habit of getting himself into interesting, unusual, serendipitous situations…mostly because he is so curious and just an all around life enthusiast.
Everyone should have at least one person they can reach out to for a dose of encouragement mixed with conviction and positivity. That is Jose.
Whether it is being invited into photography shoots, artists’ homes, local Argentinian weddings…or casually telling the story about being pulled off a train and thrown in a Russian jail by mistake…he is a magnet, or maybe a curator…of fascinating situations.
So perhaps I should not have been surprised when I get an email from him to tell me that he has a new career as a “cannabis consultant”.
Me: “You’re a what?”
Jose: “I’m a cannabis consultant, the entrepreneur and expert behind the regulation and development of the legal Cannabis Industry across Latin America. How’s your book coming?”
He had gone back to the USA, shocked his boss and people at the office with a question about what they would do if they could do anything they wanted and then quit. He sold his things, moved to Buenos Aires and dove head first into pursuing this passion of his and trying to do some good in the world.
Jose has been hugely supportive in my journey and I gave him a paper crane to thank him for his encouragement and so many inspiring conversations. You can check out what he’s up to at josegastaldi.com.